Start with the contact centre for successful unified communications

Contact centres are a logical starting point for any company implementing a unified communications (UC) strategy

May 11, 2012

Contact centres are a logical starting point for any company implementing a unified communications (UC) strategy as a means of significantly increasing the efficiency of agents by reducing the time they spend finding answers to customer questions.

International research reveals that more than 10 percent of the calls handled in the contact centre require input from employees with the knowledge to field specific or technical questions from callers.

“Such calls waste time and reduce agent efficiency,” says Pommie Lutchman, CEO of contact centre solutions provider Ocular Technologies. “Bringing the contact centre into the company’s overall UC strategy empowers call centre agents to immediately check the availability of the employee with the specialist knowledge and obtain the required input at a few keystrokes or a mouse click.”

Where more complex customer issues are concerned, UC technology speeds up and simplifies the conference call process to a point where the agents may not have to call the employee with the required knowledge, conference the customer into the call and make an introduction before transferring the call.

“Instead, the agent could transfer detailed notes about the issue at hand to the knowledgeable employee with the call, shortening the transfer process and avoiding anyone having to repeat the information,” adds Lutchman.

The benefits of UC include reduced call handling times and reductions in the associated costs. However, Lutchman points to the value UC delivers to customers as the most important benefit.

“The real value lies in increasing first call resolution accompanied by a decrease in the amount of time customers spend on hold. This has a great impact on customer satisfaction and the old adage that a happy customer becomes a loyal customer applies. Satisfied customers conduct follow-on business and recommend the company to their family and friends. High customer satisfaction translates into profit growth.”

UC delivers benefits beyond employee productivity. Lutchman says the technology provides a means by which companies can move forward into a space where every customer-facing process improves markedly and the customer interaction results in enhanced customer loyalty. Typically companies will reduce problem resolution cycles and boost cross-selling and up-selling of products and services.

“Ultimately customers will be able to contact the right person with the right expertise at the right time, using their preference of communication channel whether it be Internet, e-mail or telephone,” adds Lutchman.

Contact centre applications can be fine-tuned to more efficiently access knowledgeable employees, pinpoint their availability, monitor and coach their interactions with customers and agents, track and report on the frequency of interactions with skilled, knowledgeable employees and the type and success levels of those interactions.

“Taking contact centre capabilities into the enterprise increases the company return on technology investment, significantly improves customer service and satisfaction, elevates customer loyalty and increases revenue, the ultimate goal of unified communications for any contact centre.”