Beginning of the contact centre change

COMPUTING

|
Image: By BiztechAfrica
Beginning of the contact centre change

By Karl Reed, Chief Marketing & Solutions Officer at Elingo

A few years ago most consumers would refer to a call centre – a term which reflected the fact that the majority of brand interactions centred around voice calls. Today, thanks to the surge in digital communication across the world, most of us have instinctively switched to contact centre. From Facebook posts to Twitter, SMS, email and fax, the list of possible interaction channels between the brand and customer goes on and on. Contact centre really is the only relevant phrase to use. 

But this is just the beginning of the change. Deeper shifts are occurring within the communication sphere, and many of them are illuminated by our evolving understanding of common industry phrases such as inbound, outbound and, perhaps most importantly, the blended contact centre.

The inbound centre 

An inbound contact centre does exactly what its name suggests – it deals with contact initiated by the consumer or stakeholder. The most significant shift over the last five years in the realm of inbound communication is the proliferation of possible contact channels.

Today's brands have been forced – very suddenly – into opening up methods of communication that not long ago would have been unthinkable. As a result, contact centre technology has become mission critical to handling a veritable flood of inbound communication. Proprietary, hardware-based systems involve significant development work to cope with the addition of new communication channels. Not only is this a time consuming exercise, but it can be logistically complex and very expensive too.  Conversely, single engine communication systems with an open structure are able to scale easily (and quickly) when the brand needs to add or remove contact channels.  

The outbound centre

The word outbound immediately brings to mind those dreaded (to say nothing of illegal, if you haven't specifically asked to receive them) sales calls. But a sale is actually just one function of the outbound contact centre. An additional outbound function is proactive customer service. It has become common cause across the global economy that customers value being proactively updated by the brand they're interacting with, and many organisations now use outbound calls as an important customer service tool across complaints and repairs / service processes.

The oft-hidden ace up the outbound sleeve, however, is the ability to reduce the debtor’s book. Corporations are significantly improving bottom line performance by adding outbound diallers specifically tasked with getting to the front of the customer's payment schedule. Debt write-offs are reduced, and debtor’s days generally come down too. In high volume operations the savings achieved can be staggering, and an account management approach to outbound actually delivers the highest Return On Investment of any contact centre element. Many companies cover the cost of rolling out a new system in a matter of months by taking control of account management with outbound interactions.   

The blended centre

As the name suggests, a blended operation will utilise both inbound and outbound functions. But this isn't actually where the word resonates. Rather, blended refers to how a contact centre chooses to apply its human resources to the mix of inbound and outbound processes.

In well structured contact centres, agents can be used to carry out more than one function. This is often an economically efficient use of the talent within a centre, because it reduces the risk of redundant agent time when contact volumes dip. The key to blended contact centre success is ensuring that the dual functions fall within the agent's general area of activity. An agent making debtors' book calls would more than likely cope very well with incoming account queries, for example. You wouldn't want to ask them to get involved in sales calls, however.

We're not nearly as far behind global trends as we often think we are. In fact, in certain areas we're actually a little ahead of the curve. We lag in terms of certain processes, and in our perpetual bandwidth limitations, but when it comes to inbound contact centres, we are right up there with the world leaders, and in the outbound and blended spheres we are catching up at good pace. 

It's interesting to note that in certain sectors of our economy the idea of a blended contact centre still raises scepticism. This generally occurs when the role players have only experienced systems featuring poor reporting, poor management or poor security functionality. The bottom line, as always, is that the technology must support the desired processes. If you're changing or limiting a business process to cater to the parameters of the system, you're using the wrong technology. 



Share the News

Get Daily Newsletter

comments powered by Disqus

MORE COMPUTING NEWS

Expert decries lack of e-readiness in Botswana

The Director of Strategic and Special Projects at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology, says not enough is being done to ensure that Botswana is e-ready.  Read More

CA Southern Africa Road Show – next stop Kenya

The CA Southern Africa roadshow is set to bring Digital Transformation and the Application Economy to Kenya. Read More

Converged infrastructure and services lay the foundation for agility and dynamic IT provisioning

The real value of technology can only be realised if solutions are fully integrated, says T-Systems. Read More

Nanotechnology to be translated into Setswana

July 31st has been set as the closing date for the Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation nanotechnology challenge.  Read More

Clock strikes twelve on Windows Server 2003 support

As of midnight tonight, Microsoft will no longer offer support for Windows Server 2003. Read More

Cyber City Kgotla hosts Knowledge Transfer Session

Botswana Innovation Hub’s ICT Developer Community, Cyber City Kgotla, has hosted its first Knowledge Transfer Session (KTS) in partnership with Oracle.  Read More

Seeing the light: How file analysis tools can unleash the light in ‘dark data’

Almost all organisations have volumes of dark data stored away in dusty vaults and off-site storage facilities, historically unaccounted for, unmanaged, and undervalued, says CommVault. Read More

Accenture identifies tech trends for CIOs to follow

Accenture has identified social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC) as the new technology trends in the business environment, urging FMCG industry CIOs to take advantage of these trends. Read More

Telecom Namibia implements information display system at Ondangua airport

A team of Telecom Namibia engineers and technicians successfully implemented for the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) a Flight Information Display System (FIDS) over the Telecom Namibia network at Ondangua airport recently. Read More

Associated Discount House migrates to Finacle 10

Computer Warehouse Group (CWG Plc) has powered the successful migration of Associated Discount House banking services to the Finacle 10 core banking application in a bid to improve their efficiency and improve their customer experience.  Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage ERP AfricaSAP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoiceMicrosoft 4Afrika

FEATURED STORY

Batswana dragging feet in digital migration Batswana dragging feet in digital migration

More than a month after the deadline for the digital migration from analogue television, few people have shown any pronounced enthusiasm in entering the new digital TV realm. 

IN DEPTH

As curtain falls on MDGs, what next?As curtain falls on MDGs, what next?

Dr. Bjorn Lomborg, president of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, speaks to Biztechafrica about setting smart targets.

COMPANY NEWS

MTN Business App of the Year submissions closed

Entries for the annual MTN Business App of the Year Awards taking place on 13 August in Johannesburg have closed, and an expert panel of judges that is adjudicating ...