Trends and selling through the channel.
A report by Technavio, Global Contact Center Market for 2015-2019, shares that the American contact center market will exceed $5 Billion by 2019, growing at a CAGR of over 7%.
Coming out of Contact Center week in Vegas it’s a good time to cover industry happenings. The face of managing customer contacts, inquiries, support and sales is changing. Over the last few years, innovations in the cloud make it so that it’s not just about responding to the customer, but engaging with them. Engagement takes many shapes, but it’s now about contact center employees being better equipped and prepared to take each call or online chat, that they know browser history, or historic purchases or consumer preferences. It’s arming call center agents with knowledge of what to do with IP addresses, locations and perhaps some other personal information like his/her age. Combining new analytics with demographics is paving the way for more insightful, persuasive and overall better interactions with customers.
Driving the list of trends in contact centers above all else are improving the customer experience and building operational efficiencies. Those two factors have made lots of headway to sell in cloud contact center solutions.
|Customers want to deal with an issue themselves but will dial in if they have to, call back service is appreciated if they do call in. Forrester says that 45% of customers abandon an online purchase if they can’t get answers to their questions quickly enough. Companies are looking to resolve issues and questions better and quicker by whatever medium they are searching on. The DIY mentality is alive and thriving, meaning that live chat and social media customer service will continue to be very important. Smart companies, identify and track the path customers take on their own journey and then use it to improve the agent experience|
|Companies need a consistent and positive experience across the multiple ways customers can and will try to reach you via web, app, chat, phone, email and text. Software needs to be able to read and convert the multiple channels (ex. text to voice and vice versa) so anyone viewing can understand, interpret and act. Cloud solutions help deliver a seamless experience across all channels with a particular focus right now on mobile connecting.|
|Video. Video. Video.|
|Video is growing in popularity as companies realize a cheaper solution to more technical expertise and demos. Additionally, video will be used to converse on the platform internally as more call center agents work from home.|
|Tracking and replying to comments and questions on social platforms is a must. People always take to social media for both praise and discontentment. Software being used to track and serve up customer complaints, inquiries and particular asks, has to be fully integrated with the company’s social media strategy and platforms and be flexible to tailor specific messages for personalization.|
|Customer experience ownership across the enterprise.|
|The onus is not just on the call center agents anymore. Instead, forward thinking companies are investing in single systems that allow everyone in the company to view and comment, offering solutions or insight into customer inquiries and how to improve, overall. Various departments are coming together to leverage data and develop new programs.|
|Correctly using emerging technologies like AI, machine learning, big data, IoT.|
|Nextgen call centers use AI and machine learning to crawl data, identify popular or frequent keywords and figure out ways to react without an agent. This preemptive strike can lead to proactive questions placed in front of customers and further recognize or bring to the front items that would have come up later in the customer journey. Additionally, suggestive features already exist and customers have positively reacted to anticipatory needs. On the company side, culling through recordings and data storage helps better train agents with more specific scenarios and better accuracy.|
Customer experience is critical to customer lifetime value. Poor quality or the inability for a customer to get answers quickly can leave you without a customer. An efficient contact center impacts the customer spend, retention, loyalty, advocacy and helps the company cut down on customer acquisition costs. Cloud contact centers are improving the way companies interact with customers.
As I mentioned earlier, improving operational efficiencies is one of the leading drivers for change in this industry. Selling anything cloud in the channel requires more consulting upfront, identifying problems and explaining or demonstrating the way migrating to the cloud for specific functions/features improves business. Therefore, selling cloud contact centers should be no different. For SMBs it helps to level the playing field. For the enterprise it helps to share ease of deployment and integration with existing systems. Work with Providers to share real world examples that relate to the customer’s current problems.
Customer Problems & Challenges
- Seasonality/ bursting
- Voice service quality and ease of use: click to call, monitoring, integration
- Overhead costs, new employees, remote employees, intercompany communications
- Workforce management tools, reporting and supervisory capabilities to measure performance
- Capturing actionable items on social media networks
- Moving from on-premise solutions to a pay as you go model
- Improving post call process and training
- Further integration of CRM and Contact Center to improve lead capture and import/export
Selling through the channel
Contact Centers are typically an easy sell if you have a customer with a customer service center already. Also, it’s great for those that are migrating to the cloud with UCaaS. Other potential opportunities are with customers with at-home agents, multiple locations or technology systems and those with both inbound and outbound calling centers. Explore pilot programs or free trials to demonstrate how cloud improves security, builds efficiencies, flexibility, scalability and is quick to deploy.
Selling a cloud contact center can greatly increase your commissions. Contact Centers are high margin sales with average sales being close to $500K on up. Most of TBI’s Providers prefer for direct teaming with sales. Often times contact center solutions are replacement or overlays to Avaya systems. Plus, it’s a nice segue into broader discussions around network, capacity, DR and BC, SaaS management.
Ultimately cloud contact centers help your customers with:
- Unified access across multiple locations on one platform
- Reducing CapEx with a pay as you go model
- Enhancing self-service and social media engagement
- Maintaining industry and regulatory compliance
- Reducing system complexity and providing the ability to overlay existing infrastructure
- Inherent software updates/upgrades along with built in redundancies, security and DR/BC plan
About the Author
As Director of Marketing at TBI, Cohen is responsible for managing TBI’s marketing communications and implementing multi-channel branding and press strategies. In addition to driving TBI’s overall marketing strategy, Cohen directs both internal and external communications to ensure the delivery of valued products and programs to providers and partners alike. You can contact Corey at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with her on LinkedIn.