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Back to the Future: How to Align New Technology with Business Needs

The contact center industry is saturated with new technology companies that promise to be the next big thing. Yes, I'm a huge fan of technology, but technological adoption for the sake of adoption should be viewed with some healthy skepticism. The contact center industry is rife with technological horror stories which involve picking the wrong technology, disastrous implementations, and poor alignment with business needs.

While there are many valid reasons why every business should be on top of their tech game, it is wise to be cautious when considering implementing new technology. The future isn't necessarily always just about having the latest technology. Instead, it's more about having the right technology along with the right people and processes in place. So, when you are looking at the future of the contact center, it's crucial to look less at new technology and more at good, ole' contact center basics to ensure your tech aligns with your business needs.

Back to Basics

I see far too many companies placing importance on technology at the risk of negatively impacting the customer experience. This may seem like a contradiction at the outset when you think about why businesses traditionally adopt new technology. The problem is, many companies try and force a new, cutting-edge technology without fully considering business needs and customer impact. Many contact centers make the mistake of bringing in tech without fully understanding the customer journey in connection with their existing processes. In effect, they try to fit the customer experience to meet the technology when it should be the other way around. When in doubt, always go back to the basics and look at things from the view of customer impact.

How to Pick the Right Technology for Your Business

Here are some tips that I think you will find useful for narrowing down the right tech choice for your business:

Define Processes FIRST

Don't fall prey to the flash and dazzle of new technology! If you select a new technology platform without fully understanding how it will affect your business processes, you will be in for a massive headache. A thorough assessment of your current state business needs and future state vision will help you define and fine-tune your customer processes, which will help you select a technology platform that best supports your needs.

Buy for Needs Not Wants

Contact Center Pipeline's 2018 Contact Center Technology Survey reveals that features and functions rate the highest in terms of evaluation criteria for new technology, followed closely by cost.

When considering features and functionality, automate when possible and think in terms of real must-haves versus unnecessary bells and whistles. Evaluate your core reasons for wanting new technology. For example, do you need to do a better job offering omnichannel support? Do you need to do a better job gathering customer feedback?

Adding more technology to areas that you don't really need to add to can make your processes too complicated, which contributes to inefficiency and can create an unnecessary drain on your budget.

Take a Peek at the Competition

Do a Competitor Analysis to find out what your most successful competitors are implementing for their processes and technology. While this in itself shouldn't be your only criteria for evaluation, it certainly helps to understand what your competitors are doing right and what they may need to improve. Looking at their customer feedback can give you information about this.

Involve the Necessary Parties

Always involve key stakeholders in your selection process. Aside from leadership, include the contact center agents and other end-users so you can identify loopholes and potential areas that need to be addressed before signing the dotted line.

Know Who You Are Serving

Involve customer preferences and audience insight when choosing the right technology for your business. For instance, Chatbots are not seen to be very appealing to an older audience, but younger audiences tend to adopt such new technologies quickly.

Best Practices for Implementation

It's a good idea to have an implementation plan in place to ensure that the integration of your technology is a smooth and seamless experience.

Document User and Technical Requirements

Before you select a new technology and start the implementation, it is absolutely crucial to understand your business requirements and how they will impact your technology needs. How will operational changes affect tech strategy? This is an important question to consider when developing or fine-tuning your technology strategy and can dictate future implementation.

Have a Plan

Have a plan to identify and milestone each stage of your technological implementation. Set criteria to evaluate the success of your tech adoption. In other words, do you have the means to measure how much better you are performing as a result of the new technology?

Encourage User Feedback and Make Changes as Needed

Encourage users to leave feedback. Work to make changes as needed and aim to make your processes as smooth and seamless as possible.