Who Makes the Call?
In the contact centre environment today, technology buying and implementation no longer work with a top-down approach and now involve more departments and people to ensure success.
“For these large purchases, a top executive is the most likely participant and final decision maker, but from there, the variety is quite diverse.” Gartner, 2022
Complex technology needs
A modern contact centre is not just a place where customer experience is delivered, and customers’ experience of the brand made real, it is also a central repository of data and insight into customers, their behaviours, and their preferences.
It is a feeding ground for all other areas of the business that need to dip into this pool of knowledge.
The upshot is that running a modern contact centre is complicated as it touches on so many other areas of the organisation.
Its technology requirements are therefore also extremely complex.
It takes a whole team to make a good decision
According to an annual survey by FoundryCo the average number of people involved in an enterprise-level technology purchase is around 20. On average 10 of these will be in IT and 10 will be from the line of business.
The more complex a technology is, and the more strategically important its implications are, there will be a higher number of senior stakeholders involved. In the C-Suite, there is an understanding of how integrated into business strategies both technology and CX are these days.
All of which means that technology purchases and implementations today are rarely isolated within a department or enforced by top-down directives. While the top executives may have the final say, the decision of what gets purchased and how it gets implemented lies with a wide spectrum of people and departments.
Different types of contact centres have different tech needs
When we work with contact centre operators as technology consultants and partners, our role is to help them understand exactly what they need in order to achieve their business and CX goals.
Much of that need depends on their type of contact centre operation. Each will have its tech requirements and different ways of making the purchasing decision.
1. Clients who have an established contact centre
When we work with organisations that already have a contact centre facility, whether it’s in-house, outsourced, or a bit of both, they already have their own existing technology solutions.
In these cases, we have to work within their existing technology environments which means taking their legacy infrastructure and software into account and understanding how any proposed solutions work alongside them.
In this category, we also include larger businesses with existing tech infrastructure, where the new technology purchased might be running a particular program instead of the full contact centre operation.
This generally requires a larger team to be involved as those using and managing the legacy systems need to be at the centre of designing the new solution to ensure it works. Those stakeholders must also buy-in to the new solution. A top-down push from the executive level is often counter-productive, so this can take tact to build relationships and really understand what all stakeholders need.
2. Clients who have no contact centre solution in place
When working with a client that’s setting up a contact centre from scratch, or outsourcing for the first time, it’s usually a more straightforward implementation and the decision-making process involves fewer people.
A member of the executive suite would normally lead a project such as this, given the importance of CX and customer service these days, with input from IT and other functions who have direct business objectives that can be achieved with a new contact centre. However, as there is no legacy technology involved, the whole project tends to include fewer stakeholders.
Smaller or newer organisations such as start-ups usually want to focus on their core business offering, or sales and marketing, so they trust a technology provider and contact centre outsourcer like us, as CX and contact centres are our core business.
Organisations with an existing contact centre solution but who are not necessarily tied to it, or are happy to replace it, can also fall into this category. They will often engage a consultant with expertise in the area to show them how their existing platform could be improved or replaced.
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Tech decisions focused on 3 key areas
Organisations have many different, and often competing, priorities when it comes to technology purchases. Regardless, we are seeing several key trends arise that influence what types of technology contact centres need, and the way those decisions get made.
1. Empowering agents is now key to CX excellence
There is a saying in the contact centre industry (and if there isn’t then there should be) that EX = CX. What this means is that the customer experience is ultimately delivered by the customer service or sales agent with whom the customer is interacting. That’s the case regardless of the channel used.
The day-to-day working experience of the agent needs to be as smooth and comfortable as possible if they are to perform at their maximum, hit their KPIs and achieve for customers.
This is especially true, of course, when they are working from home or remotely, as so many are today.
To understand that need requires input either from agents themselves or at the least from frontline managers, preferably ones who have experience of doing the job themselves. This ground-up view is needed to sanity check the top-down view that senior managers have.
All too often we see technology implementations ruined because nobody considered the hour-by-hour work that agents and supervisors do. These people, after all, are going to be the main users of most of the tech in your contact centre.
2. Security is now a bigger concern than ever
With the move to work from home and hybrid working, contact centres have a whole new heap of security and business continuity planning (BCP) issues to deal with.
Clients were well acquainted with how to make an on-site working environment secure and compliant with PCI (Payment Card Industry) and other industry standards. Doing it for homeworkers and remote workers requires a lot more consideration of the functionality and security of the applications that team members are using in the remote environment.
This brings another raft of decision makers into the tech purchasing and implementation team, namely Infosec executives charged with ensuring that everything connected to the corporate network and IT system is secure and compliant.
Typically, there will be a high-level information security audit before they will allow any new technology, including that for the work from home environment, to be integrated into their systems.
3. Trials and POCs are playing a bigger role
With the increased awareness among executives of the different capabilities that technologies offer, and with new solutions launching on to the market seemingly every week, there is a greater appetite to test new functionalities, to see what business benefits they can offer.
This means it’s no longer about just reaching out to the big tech vendors to see what they have in their suites. It’s important to know about and be able to lead a client’s exploration of more niche vendors and innovative solutions. RPA (Robotic Process Automation) is a good example of a relatively new technology that few businesses yet use at scale.
Previously there might have been worries around being able to scale such solutions from smaller vendors, and whether they were able to provide the required support, however the move to the cloud has largely removed those concerns.
Adding new solutions to an existing platform is an absolute requirement to ensure that the platform remains up to date. Fortunately, today’s cloud-based solutions are much easier to integrate using APIs than past legacy systems.
These initiatives, which can be guided by an expert technology consultant or vendor partner, usually involve the line of business decision makers who are the ones that see the need for functionality to give their business that competitive edge, or to drive new efficiencies.
Outcomes are still the main drivers for tech implementations
As we have seen, technology purchasing and implementation decisions involve many members of different teams and departments depending on the type of contact centre and the functionality needed.
This often starts right at the top of the organisation, with the C-Suite and senior management team that sets the organisation’s strategy and objectives.
From there it needs to be distilled down into tactical programmes and goals by heads of business, and then teams, like operations, IT, Infosec, marketing, sales, customer experience, and break those down further into the functionality they require to deliver those goals.
As a technology consultant, vendor, and CX outsourcing partner, these clients more often than not come to us with a problem and the outcome they want. Our goal is to help all stakeholders from top to frontline and advise them on available technology solutions to drive towards those outcomes.
TSA are Australia’s market leading specialists in CX Consultancy and Contact Centre Services. We are passionate about revolutionising the way brands connect with Australians. How? By combining our local expertise with the most sophisticated customer experience technology on earth, and delivering with an expert team of customer service consultants who know exactly how to help brands care for their customers.