A story about Contact Center Software

Friday, October 29, 2004

A call center morphing its way into the 21st century

A few days ago I spoke with a business consultant. He was doing consultancy for a well known company. A very well known company, I must say - nation wide, lots of visibility (in our little country). And he told me the story of restructuring their current call center into a full fledged contact center with knowledge base, workforce management, fax, e-mail handling, e-learning, business intelligence, and whatever else you can imagine. Chat? Yep. I-mode? You bet. Scanning, OCR, natural language analysis, ... the works. They wanted everything the minute they learned about the existance and possible use.
I asked him what timeframe the organisation planned to do this in. Well, he told me, the told me that their initial plan was to just buy all the boxes, wire it together and make it work. This is how they did it in the past. And after a careful analysis he showed them that they bought an awful lot of boxes the last couple of years and didn't make them work together. Or didn't use them correctly. Or at all.
So, time for a plan, Stan.
He started out making a structured document pointing out what they wanted, why and in which stadium it should come into play. He put everything in there. The scanning and OCR (they receive 500 letters ... a year, so a real need for OCR? I think not). Business SLA's, web-evaluation tools. Really everything. Then, this structured document was approved and formed into an RFP and sent out to a couple of companies.
With this, he achieved multiple thinks.
First - other companies will give their input and thought about the call center and how it should be morphing into a 21st century super duper contact center. For free.
Second - his thoughts (no scanning/OCR; is this business intelligence really needed in the first two years) will be backed up (or corrected) by the vendors or consortiums.
Third - he will help them choose the right vendor and help manage the implementation (cash again).
Fourth - All vendors will tell them to go step by step. Don't bite of more than you can chew... He could tell this, but if everyone tell them this, it must be true...
You see, quite smart, this chap. He is not the one taking the decisions, but he guides a company in need into taking the right decision. And then, managing it, slowly but surely; transforming it from an outdated call center (that didn't have any real CTI integration; where intranet and website were the same; where tools were misused) into the best contact center there is.
He will not take all the credits for it. He will leave it up to the general manager of the company. After all, at that time, his (probably well payed) job is done, moving up to the next one. But hey, that's the life of a call center business consultant.
Do you feel that your call center needs a brush up? Why not contacting Altitude, or talk to me? You will be surprised of what we can do for you.


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