Modern technologies and development trends of contact center
|In whatever area we work, whatever activity we are engaged in, we inevitably have to deal with such a tool as a contact center. When booking a plane ticket, buying theater tickets, booking a table in a restaurant or requesting information about a new loan program, we turn to the services of a contact center to one degree or another, which, using a variety of modern tools, helps us quickly and efficiently. get an answer to our question.
Contact Centers in a Recession
The contact center today has become an indispensable business tool that helps to increase work efficiency, optimize customer service and expand the customer base. If earlier contact centers were in demand mainly by mobile operators and financial sector organizations (banks, insurance and investment companies), now their popularity is growing in such areas as fixed-line communications, retail services, and the public sector. In the latter case, the presence of a contact center can significantly improve the level of public service, the effectiveness of a particular government program or initiative.
In today’s difficult economic situation, when increasing the level of customer loyalty is one of the most important tasks of any business, contact centers are an effective tool for solving it. Avaya’s experience shows that in times of crisis, enterprise management increasingly turns to such a department as a contact center, as it allows you to correctly assess the market situation, collect and analyze the information necessary to make important business decisions.
In addition, the contact center is an effective tool for retaining existing and attracting new customers, and therefore, making a profit. If the client is not satisfied with the work of the company, then it is very likely that the people in his circle of contacts, that is, in fact, potential clients, will never become real. On the contrary, a completely satisfied client, according to statistics, attracts up to ten new ones.
Technology is an extremely important tool in the process of working with clients through the contact center, and its proper use allows you to achieve the highest results.
The technologies used in contact centers are constantly evolving and often offer services that are not yet in demand. So, a few years ago, the only way to communicate with the call center was a phone call. Today, thanks to the constant development and improvement of technology, almost any organization can be contacted using several alternative methods of communication. The voice channel is mainly used by the older generation, as well as those who are far from the computer, for example, are on the road, at home, on the street, etc. In other cases, that is, with free access to the Internet, in order to obtain information about a particular product or service, users more often resort to written communication – using e-mail, chat, or various types of messages.
The younger generation today prefers to use social networks, blogs and microblogs. At the same time, very often we want to get product images (a picture, a photograph, and sometimes even a video), and this is no longer something out of the ordinary, and in some cases even the opposite. All this suggests that new channels and methods of communication are constantly appearing and developing, which should already be served in contact centers.
Contact center organization
To date, there are several options for the architecture of contact centers: for example, with a linear organization, the operator receives calls and tries to respond to the client’s request as quickly as possible; with multi-level – at the first level, the request is specified, and then transferred to an expert. Such an architecture is typically used in industries that require a high level of specialization and expertise, such as medicine.
Modern technologies of contact centers
The difficult economic situation that we all have had to face in one way or another has forced many companies to think about the possibilities of working more actively with their customers and take the initiative in their own hands. All this has led to the fact that recently a lot of projects have been implemented to introduce systems for automatic outgoing calls . Such services have proved their effectiveness and demand in the financial sector. And this is not only the collection of debts, but also measures to prevent them: various reminders of the need to make payments on time and offer the most convenient ways for this. This decision turned out to be relevant not only for banks, but also for telecom operators and government agencies, i.е. all those organizations where there is a problem of late payment.
In addition, the past period has made many companies realize that their internal communications are not well organized. In a crisis, decisions must be made very quickly. However, practice has clearly shown that it is often impossible to do this due to the existing organization of business processes. If in a normal situation the client is ready to wait for a response within a few days, then at critical moments any delay can lead to his loss or the failure of a lucrative contract. Unified communications technologies allow you to connect the client with the necessary expert, help you quickly find the right employee and, as a result, promptly process the request. Thanks to unified communications, a person can be contacted wherever he is, and at the same time use the method of communication that is convenient for him at that moment. Such constant availability of key employees of the company can significantly increase the efficiency of decision-making, and hence the efficiency of the business. At the same time, the higher the rank of the leader, the more fair this statement.
An equally important direction in the development of contact centers are technologies that allow employees to work remotely. Firstly, it provides convenience and flexibility of work: i.e. an employee from home can perform almost all the functions as if he were in the office. Secondly, it gives certain advantages to the company, which, due to home office solutions, can seriously reduce the costs associated with the maintenance of the office and permanent staff. In addition, companies are significantly expanding the list of potential agents: young mothers, pensioners, and people with disabilities can work with such an organization of work, i.e. all those for whom the daily visit to the office is a serious problem.
The same technologies allow you to quickly expand the staff of agents to implement a project, for example, to support a specific program or marketing campaign. In the public sector, this may be the organization of a hotline where people will contact for operational information or psychological assistance in case of any emergency.
Thus, it becomes clear to many that, despite the active development of technology and the automation of many processes, the operator and his time continue to be the most important resources of the contact center. And, if earlier companies could afford to hire new employees and invest in their training, then in a crisis it is necessary to fight for the operator almost the same as for the client. Trained and experienced operators can often bring more value to a company than any new system. To make the work of a professional operator as efficient as possible, it is necessary to involve him only in solving the most important and complex issues, the solution of which cannot be automated even with the help of the most modern technologies.
For processing simpler requests, there are self-service technologies that help clients answer standard questions: office hours, location, list of documents for a particular procedure, etc. With the advent of speech recognition technology The list of these services has expanded significantly. Now the subscriber does not need to listen to the entire list of proposed options, wait for the item of interest to be announced (if it is announced at all), and also press the appropriate button. For example, you want to know the location of a new ATM, change the mail delivery address, book a train ticket to a certain station, etc. Previously, it was only possible to segment a request in order to later transfer it to an operator who had already issued it in internal systems. Now technologies allow the self-service system to independently process a subscriber’s request without involving an operator. All this makes it possible to optimize the customer service algorithm: on the one hand, this saves the operator’s resource, on the other hand, it significantly reduces the service time.
In addition, the system can identify the client without linking him to a specific operator and independently answer some of his questions. Thus, the creation of a voice tag allows you to identify the client not by the code word, but in the process of the request itself. At the same time, a card with the history of calls of this client is automatically displayed on the operator’s screen, on the basis of which a decision can be made that this client can still be offered or recommended. This allows multiple tasks to be handled at the same time, be it cross-sales or emergency services, such as in the case of insurance companies when it is necessary to attract a medical worker or provide assistance on the road.
Moreover, at the moment there are technologies that work quite effectively that allow, by the voice of the subscriber, to determine the level of his emotional tension when “communicating” with the self-service system, and when a certain threshold is reached, connect an agent to the conversation in order to smooth out sharp corners and prevent refusal. subscriber from service.
Development of contact center technologies in Russia and in the West
If we talk about the differences between technologies and systems used in Russia and in the West, then from the point of view of the platform, there are practically none. That is, everything that works in Europe or the USA works in the same way in Russia.
All differences are determined by the level of market development and demand. So, at the moment in Russia, self-service systems that use speech recognition technology are still not widely used. A few years ago there was a problem of perception of the Russian language. Additional difficulties were created by the presence on the territory of Russia of various pronunciations and “dialects”, slang used in a given situation by people from different regions, etc. Now this problem has been successfully solved, however, a certain time lag in comparison with the same Europe is still felt, since the duration of the same period there was much shorter.
If we talk about outbound dialing systems, then there was a problem of immunity. That is, many people, having received a message from an automatic system, did not even listen to it to the end: the negative from the “metallic” voice of the computer and the imperfection of the system was so strong. Now technologies have reached such a level that it is difficult for a subscriber to understand when the system is talking to him, and when a living person. Pleasant Russian-speaking voices have already been synthesized, and there are an order of magnitude fewer malfunctions.
At the moment, companies are coming to understand that speech recognition technologies are necessary. So, in Russia there are a huge number of regions where the only form of voice communication is analog telephone, i.e. when contacting the central office, they cannot use the tone mode to continue the full service. Here, again, speech recognition technologies come to the rescue, which allow equalizing the opportunities for residents of the periphery and large cities.
In the field of technology consumption, there are practically no fundamental differences between Russia and the West either. It can only be noted that in Russia customers are not always ready to implement certain services, or it takes more time. However, the Russian consumer, increasingly confronted with modern technologies in the West (having been on vacation, on business trips, at school, etc.), gradually begins to get used to a new level of service and quite acutely feels its absence here. It is this audience that in many ways is a kind of demand initiator.
Another feature that distinguishes Russia from the West in terms of the introduction and use of new technologies in contact centers is the ability to access, whether it be telephone or Internet, as well as a combination of both. And this fact only confirms the thesis about the need to develop multimedia contact centers.in Russia. At the moment, there are not so many existing contact centers in which all types of requests are processed, but projects for their implementation are developing extremely actively. Thus, demand for video technologies is developing very intensively in Russia, primarily from retail companies and ticket sales companies. Thus, you can get on the screen of your mobile phone an image of the product you want to order, your seat in the auditorium, etc. In this regard, we are not far behind our Western colleagues, who are also just now starting to introduce video contact centers .
Thus, we can conclude that there is no significant difference in terms of development and implementation of technologies for contact centers between Russia and the West, the differences are due only to the presence of the corresponding demand, and, as practice shows, it is constantly growing. At the same time, some functions are present in all standard Avaya equipment packages, and if there is a need, the customer can easily connect and start using them.
Contact center technologies need to be constantly developed. Those companies that start offering new services to their customers in advance, firstly, acquire a reputation as a company that keeps up with the times and offers customers only the best, and secondly, demonstrate their financial well-being and reliability. Thus, people receive a certain guarantee of the stability of the company, which attracts both potential employees and customers.
I do not think that the thesis that the use of modern technologies is a serious help in business development can be questioned. However, we should not forget that it is not technology itself that ensures success, since technology alone cannot attract customers or increase sales. And only a clear understanding of what tasks the business faces, how business processes should be built, and what tools and technologies are needed for this, as well as their correct and reasonable use, will determine the success of any company, regardless of its size and field of activity.
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