Regardless of where enterprises are on their customer experience (CX) journey, they need to consider the goals of their CX strategy and the support for enterprise-readiness as they modernize the contact center, to ensure they are supporting the broader business objectives.
Being “enterprise-ready” is a widely used term for what customer experience (CX) strategy needs to look like, especially for mid-size and larger enterprises. As organizations become larger and more distributed, the “enterprise-ready” challenges become greater. When it comes to enabling better CX, contact centers have specific requirements and needs. While not a comprehensive view of enterprise readiness, three requirements including the support for customization, integration and scalability will provide a strong foundation for your CX strategy.
Support for customization is the starting point for being enterprise-ready. With today’s cloud-based, on-demand applications, pre-packaged solutions will not be sufficient. Legacy-based systems, lack the flexibility to add new capabilities. Flexibility is a core tenet of CCaaS, not just for customized contact center applications, but also applications that are needed to interwork between the contact center and the rest of the organization.
Each business unit within an organization will have its own requirements and the closed nature of legacy contact center platforms cannot natively support them. This can reduce the contact center to being an island, primarily dependent on its internal capabilities. CX strategy needs to be more holistic, where the entire organization is customer-centric and supported with flexible, customized solutions to meet evolving business needs.
Another consideration is what customization means for end customers. In many cases, customers have adopted new technology faster than the contact center, and their expectations are increasingly based around digital experiences. A key characteristic is having user-defined, customized interactions with contact centers. When customers dictate the terms of engagement – which channel, when, how long, etc. – enterprise-ready means having the flexibility to support all preferences set by the customer.
2. Complex Integrations
To support today’s CX goals, integrations are needed on two levels. First is the need for contact center-specific applications that bring a richness to CX. These will often be based on APIs to manage elements such as routing, digital channels, knowledge base and post-call customer surveys.
Going a step further, integrations also need to occur between the contact center and other areas across the organization. These integrations can be even more complex, especially if there’s a culture of keeping separate silos where each operational area has its own set of integrations and proprietary interfaces. Good examples include platforms used for billing, sales, marketing, and business intelligence. Each integration may function well in isolation, but when it comes to CX, modern contact centers need to integrate with all platforms and applications.
To be enterprise-ready, requires the support for dozens of APIs and integrations. That can be a daunting task that most contact center are not able or inclined to do. This is where the right integration partners make all the difference – not just for initial deployment, but to support ongoing enhancements. Not only will these integrations make for more personalized forms of customer service, but when enabled and seamlessly integrated with the agent desktop, means that agents will have everything they need to provide great CX.
Support for the organization at scale is a given for being enterprise-ready, but scale isn’t a simple matter of flipping a switch. The larger the enterprise, the more customers there are to support, and with that, the larger the scale of contact center operations. Add to that the growth of digital channels, along with the new forms of customer data that AI both generates and captures. Contact centers are faced with a multitude of forces that make scaling complex.
When migrating to the cloud, contact centers tend to start on a small scale with a pilot and a subset of agents, or a new feature set to handle a specific type of customer or particular need. Once the pilot has been proven – for both agents and customers – cloud adoption can expand with a richer agent desktop and more API integrations.
Full-scale cloud migration can trigger enterprise-scale challenges. Configurations that worked well on a small scale may unexpectedly reach limits when scaling up. Most CCaaS platforms have a short history, and while vendors may claim a high ceiling for scale, the reality could prove otherwise, especially with complex integrations, and scenarios where volumes are prone to large spikes that could overwhelm the system.