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5 Tips for Getting the Best Results from Your Contact Center Technology Purchases

You may be – or at least you may know – a person who’s home is filled with gadgets that were marketed and sold as the one must-have item to make life easier. Heck, I’ve even seen cluttered homes where a good portion of the clutter was made up of unused organizational systems, including books on de-cluttering your home! The call center is one place that demands effectiveness and efficiency for the sake of the customers and the organization it supports – as well as for the sanity of those who run it and work in it. Technology purchases for the contact center are no different: They’ve got to do what they were meant to do and be employed wisely to do it.

With that in mind, here are five tips for getting the best results from your contact center technology purchases.

1. Align contact center goals with the organization's strategic goals. This should be an ongoing practice, but never is it more important than when your contact center is about to embark on a project that will require an investment of corporate dollars and resources. It begins with building a solid relationship with corporate management as well as other business unit leaders. Many contact center leaders that succeed at this start by delivering the value of the center to other business units. In doing this, you open up the dialog that will help you better understand the organization’s strategic goals and how the contact center can meet them.

2. Involve your IT team early. Your organization's IT (information technology) division not only offers a wealth of information about the organization’s technology "big picture," it's also a critical partner in selecting and deploying technology projects smoothly and successfully. If you don’t know this department already and can’t find them in the company directory under "IT," try looking under "BIS" (business information systems). These folks have intimate knowledge of corporate and call center technology architectures and can guide you on everything from compatibility with existing technologies and platforms to specifying and implementing new tools and systems. They might even be able to help you identify cross-function capabilities that would allow you to share the cost of a technology with another division or tag onto another unit’s enabling technology or platform. In other words, this is a powerful partnership to have.

3. Make sure that technology is the solution. This tip actually isn't about technology; rather, it’s about making sure that the issue or challenge that you want to address requires a technology solution. Start by asking yourself – and your team – if this is something that can be corrected or improved by people or process. Technology is not a cure-all and should always be considered only as an enabler to people and processes. Remember: People, Process THEN Technology.

4. Choose your technology wisely. Alright, so you’ve decided that technology is the necessary route: How do you begin identifying which technology – specifically, which technology provider – is right for your contact center? Start by knowing your contact center and the available options that meet its needs. Is yours a small call center? Do you need to avoid capital expenditure or spread IT support and maintenance resources? All this information will go into your shopping list, so that you can align your center's needs when you begin your search for and compare vendors.

5. Monitor and report the technology’s performance regularly. Let's assume that you worked carefully with IT (see Tip 2) to select and implement your new technology, and that you used the relationships with other parts of the organization and your team to set expectations and get buy-in for it. Now, the proof’s in the pudding: Is the technology doing what you bought it for? To know that, you'll have to monitor it’s performance carefully and report that performance (and make tweaks to improve it) regularly so that everyone from the top down can be assured that their getting a good return on their investment of time and money.

The great thing about doing this is that it builds trust and confidence for the next endeavor in the contact center.

Good luck to you. And if you encounter challenges along the way or have a smashing success, I’d like to hear about it[email protected].