Wednesday, September 10, 2008

On the rise of IP based Contact Centers

A few interesting points from a recent article on CRM daily: IP Systems have come of age. The need for truly integrated call centers, lower cost infrastructure and the lower costs of IP based systems are leading to a rise in the implementation of IP based Contact Center systems. Fully integrated systems that can handle multiple channels (Voice, Chat, E-mail and Fax) in a single queue and over different locations, instead of the loosely integrated, old, copperwire based PBX and TDM systems.

some interesting quotes from this article.

"That cut-over to having a majority of contact center seats IP-enabled could occur in the next few years. This trend, say analysts and suppliers, is being driven by legacy switch replacement cycles, adoption of IP by small/midsized contact centers, new sites, remote agents and informal contact centers, and by customer migration to text and e-mail from voice."

These IP based systems are not always implemented as a replacement for TDM based systems, but sometimes serve as an addition, enabeling quick deployment of new call and contact centers.
"Raun Kilgo, Director of Product Management, Aspect reports that while there has been increased IP adoption among his firm's customers it has not been, in most instances, as replacements for TDM. "

"Most of our customers have already invested in and are comfortable with TDM applications for their mission-critical inbound and outbound work and would need
a compelling event to rip and replace their existing infrastructure ," reports
Kilgo. "Alternatively, IP is the ideal solution for companies implementing new
contact centers or deploying remote or at-home agents."

Remote agents or the possibility to quickly scale up a call center in the event of an adverse event are benefits an IP based solution offers.

"Another advantage IP provides is reduced facilities and IT expenses through less wiring and no need for separate phone rooms: calls are increasingly handled via integrated, centralized and often off-site data centers. That also means faster, easier, and less costly expansion. New contact centers can be up and running in weeks, with no more sometimes lengthy waits for the telcos to install the lines."

The real advantage of having an IP based solution, in my view, is something which could be dubbed the pervasive contact center. All your employees can virtually become part of the call center, so that experts are able to answer your customers inquiries, when an agent is not able to. Providing a correct and direct answer to a question, without the hated call back request is something should enable you to quickly increase customer satisfaction.

Call escalations, especially support calls to outside experts at regional or head offices or who are mobile or at home are easier to set up and have greater functionality with IP, provided it is coupled with unified communications.

In other words, IP based contact center systems hold a lot of promise for the present and the future, when combined with On Premise or On Demand based CRM applications can enable you to better serve your customers and achieve higher levels of customer satisfaction.

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