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Bad technology infrastructure in a call center

You Don’t Have to Cut Corners on Your Technology Infrastructure as a Call Center!

Uthaman Bakthikrishnan

Uthaman Bakthikrishnan

Executive Vice President

Every month, we speak to several prospects who evaluate our platform for customer experience needs.

Some of the prospects come up with objections like these:

  1. You know what, the other provider is willing to provide us unlimited outbound calling options at a fixed price
  2. The other provider offers standard one-time pricing for the platform with unlimited calling options at a fixed price. It is very predictable for us, and we don’t have to worry about it.
  3. The other provider is willing to bundle the dialer for free, and they would charge only for unlimited calling

Often, we used to wonder how do people take up such offers. Then, we thought that the ones who came up with these objections were probably not the right target customers for our offerings. So, we made peace with this decision and moved on.

Surprisingly, in a couple of quarters, some of them returned to us stating that they did not get the desired experience from the platforms they chose and wanted to reinitiate conversations with us to deploy our platform.

We decided to write about this and probably call out the problems that the customer service or customer experience functions would face with such platforms.

This is what we have covered in this blog.

1. Most Cheap Providers Offer Open-Source Platforms

Most cheap providers configure and package an open-source dialer and offer that as a platform. While the open-source platforms may have the most features needed, these providers don’t support them well.

This means that the customer is talking about at least 10-12 hours of downtime every week. This is not just about downtime, you will have to bring in testing and commissioning times, and that would run into another 10-12 hours every week.

2. Unlimited Calling Plans

Often, the providers tell the customers that every agent can make an unlimited number of outbound calls for a fixed price.

However, they would always have a Fair Usage Policy (FUP) in fine print, coming up with additional charges. Otherwise, they would use cheap carriers who wouldn’t provide you with a quality calling experience.

3. Fixed Infrastructure Cost

Let us look at all the costs involved in running a call center. It is the physical infrastructure, dialer costs, telephony costs, self-service capabilities, contact center technology costs, and labor costs. When you look at them deeply, anywhere between 60% and 76% of the costs can be attributed to labor.

So, the biggest concern you should have as a call center is to figure out if you provide your agents with the right tools to deliver excellent customer experiences successfully. You shouldn’t be bothered about the platform costs.

Imagine that the technology investment pays for itself even if your agents’ productivity goes up by 20%.

4. Call Center as a Cost Center

The typical mentality is to consider a call center as a cost center. However, what gets sidestepped is that it directly impacts the organization’s revenue – customer loyalty, repeat purchases, and increased customer lifetime value are directly related to the customer experience that you provide.

Why would you cut corners when investing in the right technology to provide the best possible customer experiences. Think of your call center as the face of your industry, and your profit center mindset would get turned on.

5. Very Little Integration

Most open-source platforms provide you with the dialers but very little integration. Whenever you call a prospect for a follow-up, you will have to pull up your earlier interaction manually. Your reminders are also done manually.

This is very inefficient, and can lead to lost revenues.

6. Very Little Analytics

Most often, all you get is the number of minutes an agent was on call, average handle time (AHT), call waiting time, and time taken for disposition. If you look at it, almost all of it is geared towards improving agent efficiency and policing them.

You don’t get to see if the common resolutions can be grouped into a self-service solution, red flags and compliance issues based on the language used, call recording & storage with inbuilt analytics that can offer insights on opportunities. All of these are not part of open-source fixed-price solutions. These are features that would make your call center super successful.

7. No Workforce Management

How do you handle call spikes in your call center? Currently, your system pushes it to the next available agent, and till such time the customers are put on hold. There is no prioritization done here.

Instead, imagine having a platform that can prioritize a customer based on their credentials and give the loyal customers preference over the other customers. This means zero waiting time and better customer satisfaction.

Besides, you can have skill-based, time-based, and location-based routing to help improve the customer experience. Also, with the analytics, you figure out your busy hours and appropriately staff your call center to handle the spikes, then almost every customer would love the experience.

8. Scaling up and Down Is a Challenge

With cheaper solutions, you end up paying for the number of seats you buy, whether or not you use them. Anytime you want to add the number of seats, you will have a waiting time of a few days before your agents can start to use the system.

Whereas, with enterprise-class cloud-based platforms, you get to scale up and down within minutes. There is no cost pressure on you. You only pay for what you use.

There are no contractual commitments and no minimum guarantees.

It would help if you didn’t let technology hinder your call center’s success. Problems are bound to happen in every call center, but technology should be the last thing that should hinder your progress.

With the right technology, you can deliver outstanding customer service – no matter how complex your offerings are. So, understand your call center’s needs like customer service, lead generation, outbound sales, and customer support, and accordingly invest in the right technology platform.

Don’t cut corners. After all, you only get what you pay for!

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