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Thoughts on buying contact centre tech



When I first work with a new client I normally carry out a diagnostic of their operations, including observing advisors interacting with the contact centre tech and using the tech as a customer would. This gives a great insight into both the advisor and customer experience and the amount of effort they’re using to get stuff done.


I’ve learnt a lot since my early days assessing and purchasing technology for contact centres so I thought I’d share my thoughts on the topic - add your comments and let me know about your experiences and suggestions.


First things first. What is driving the need? Are you a start-up with a blank sheet of (virtual) paper, looking to change/upgrade what you already have, in a new role and inherited solutions you don’t think are optimal or maybe you already have the tech and you want to use it to its full potential. These are all very familiar situations and I’ve been in all of them.


As well as the reason for looking at technology there are many other considerations. Do you want one system that does it all, or maybe select more than one (complementary) system so you can pick best in class for the size of your contact centre and what you need the system to do for you and your customers?


Having one system has benefits in terms of a single view of the customer and the data for analysis purposes - and all the functionality should work really well together - although check whether all functionality is proprietary or not. If not, it may not be as seamless as you may be led to believe. And, there’s a reason why specialist systems exist, such as workforce management and speech analytics - they can be really complex and expensive to build from scratch.


Having multiple systems also means more supplier management, more technology management, more data management and potentially more complexity for your people and your customers. I’m not saying don’t do it; just consider these things as part of your internal selection process. In the past I have worked with ‘all-in one’ solutions as well as multiple solutions - both were right for the organisation and what we wanted to achieve.


There are also a few other considerations it’s worth mentioning. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what functionality you want - otherwise you may over or under buy (it’s much more likely you’ll over buy). And think about how you expect to scale over time; in terms of both users and functionality.


Think about your people - will they need training, new processes and will there be new ways of working? Almost certainly yes. Does your organisation have the technological skills and knowledge to help in the purchase, deployment and development stages?



Finally, be clear about the problem(s) you’re trying to solve and/or the opportunities, benefits and advantages you’re trying to gain from getting new tech. Does what you’ve outlined deliver to your strategy, your service design and the overall business goals? If ‘yes’ great: it’ll help secure investment and support for what you want to do because you’ll be able to clearly articulate this to internal stakeholders as well as vendors.

Now you’ve considered everything and have a clear understanding of your needs, it's time to research and meet vendors. Don’t have a huuuuuuuge list, or if you do, cut it down quickly by assessing a few key criteria. Make sure you have your colleagues in tech with you all the way and also speak to existing users of the solutions you’re interested in. Finally, I love a pilot to see what solutions are like in real life - not one of those skewed pilots that always miraculously give great results and then don’t once live; I mean a pilot that is real and is stopped or paused before a purchasing decision is made.


Phew! That felt like a lot of information - so here are my final thoughts:

  1. Live the current tech experience first hand - advisor and customer

  2. Be clear about what you want to achieve

  3. Make sure any solution supports your service strategy and business goals

  4. Don’t over buy

  5. Pilot if you can to learn in real life


If you want support with your technology or the art of the possible with your contact centre - technology, people or performance get in touch!


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