Contact centre software solutions are moving from hardware-based technologies to an Internet protocol (IP) model, delivering greater flexibility at less cost.
“IP, as the data-networking standard using the internet to transmit voice and data, provides the means by which a unified communications platform is becoming a reality,” says Mark Edwards, director of product and services at Intuate Group, a privately owned, broad-based IT company that focuses on providing professional integrated technology.
Edwards adds that IP models allow providers to manage several locations from a virtual contact centre and enable call centre agents to work from a home base.
“Customer expectations for improved services are growing, underlining demand for wider interaction choices, including e-mail, web and text, accompanied by better response times. Minimised costs and improved productivity are also in demand.”
Developments in software are helping to meet these challenges and contact centre solutions are moving from hardware architectures to IP platforms for greater flexibility at less cost.
“The IP model allows companies to deliver superior customer experience with reduced costs and maximised revenues, as IP offers growing independence from expensive and rigid hardware, at the same time delivering greater choice and flexibility in solutions.”
Edwards says the new contact centre vision embraces unified communications platforms that sever reliance on costly and inflexible hardware, while blending contact by voice, e-mail and web into a single solution.
“This is contact centre software without boundaries, focused on increasing revenues, lowering overheads and improving customer relationships which offers a means to change and adapt to new systems and behaviours. The distinct advantage of IP is that it meets the head-on challenges of increasing productivity and services while reducing costs.”
IP systems are designed to provide built-in software flexibility to adapt to changes that hard-wired, circuit-switched systems are unable to readily support. They provide flexibility and control for resource management and optimise traffic while also offering call controls so that agents, both on-site and remote, may effectively manage interactions with customers.
“At hand is a new generation of software applications that work together as elements of a tightly-knit IP software suite providing many advantages. The new IP systems provide flexibility and excel in taking all kinds of interactions such as voice, web and e-mail and melding them together with a common communications platform. The result is a better understanding of the customer base and high service levels.”
Edwards adds that IP systems provide visibility, control and project resources for agents, irrespective of where they are located. Management of multi-media communications enables customers to use their preferred contact method. Integration with CRM and back-office systems can be easily achieved.
“It all boils down to having the ability to adopt quickly to change. This is key to any contact centre’s success, alongside providing the flexibility, power and performance for improving service, increasing efficiency, managing more effectively and at a lower cost.”