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

Search News

comments powered by Disqus

MORE COMPUTING NEWS

Mellanox solutions accelerate the fastest supercomputer in the world

Anton Jacobsz, MD at Networks Unlimited Mellanox Technologies, Ltd., a leading supplier of end-to-end interconnect solutions for data centre servers and storage systems, has announced that Mellanox interconnect solutions accelerate the world's fastest supercomputer, at the supercomputing centre in Wuxi, China.  Read More

Achieving full visibility in a cloudy hybrid environment

A growing number of organisations are migrating applications and information stores to public and private cloud solutions, so that hybrid IT architectures have become the norm. Read More

Make way for VAS: The era of VM-aware storage

Along with DAS, SAN and NAS, storage now has another term, VM-aware storage (VAS).  Read More

Trisat showcases online platform for schools management

Software development company Trisat Communications Limited has launched an online platform, nortify.com.ng, to provide digital tools to simplify school management. Read More

Transforming and maximising existing fibre networks

Maximising existing optical fibre infrastructure is a challenge that needs tackling by network operators - both large and small. Read More

Technology leaders join forces to bring an open acceleration framework to data centres

Anton Jacobsz, MD at Networks Unlimited Mellanox, ARM, Huawei, IBM, Qualcomm Technologies Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, and Xilinx, Inc. have joined forces to bring a high-performance open acceleration framework to data centres.   Read More

Why going paperless can make you more money – and save some too

The environment and saving costs when moving a business to a paperless office are the two most popular benefits, but there are many more benefits to doing so.  Read More

Airtel chief: Disruptive technologies vital to Nigeria’s GDP growth

Leading telecommunications services provider, Airtel Nigeria, has said disruptive technologies can contribute significantly to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) if ICT start-ups are encouraged to create innovations that deliver value. Read More

Youths gain fom ICT Dynamix support

Botswana based citizen owned company ICT Dynamix is upskilling and employing youths in the ICT industry. Read More

Acer to invest in Botswana

Acer, the global hardware, software and services company, announced its investment and growth strategy for the Botswana market. Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage EnterpriseSAP AfricaTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoiceMicrosoft 4AfrikaNetworks UnlimitedArbor NetworksEricssonTigo Ghana

FEATURED STORY

First-ever Africa Barclays Accelerator programme concludesFirst-ever Africa Barclays Accelerator programme concludes

Ten fintech companies have concluded the first-ever Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars in Africa.

 

IN DEPTH

Ethical Hacking students can’t get a heck of a jobEthical Hacking students can’t get a heck of a job

Botswana ethical hacking students report that they are failing to break into the local job market. 

COMPANY NEWS

The Tech Revolution: Sage Sets out the Vision for African Businesses

Sage, a market leader in cloud accounting software used its global Sage Summit 2016, held this week in Chicago, to outline its strong commitment to future technologies, ...