Integrating Contact Center & Unified Communications

Integrating Contact Center and Unified Communications Before we get started on the who, why, how, and when of Contact Center and Unified Communications integration, let’s review a few necessary terms. A Unified Contact Center is a centrally managed contact center […]

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Integrating Contact Center and Unified Communications

Before we get started on the who, why, how, and when of Contact Center and Unified Communications integration, let’s review a few necessary terms.

A Unified Contact Center is a centrally managed contact center that is designed to deliver call routing, management, and administration features for businesses both large and small. It can also administer Automatic Call Distributor (ACD), Integrated Voice Response (IVR), call recording, interaction history, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) integration. 

Unified Communications (UC) happens when all of a business’s external and internal communications are combined together into a single, user-friendly platform. This single source of information is where agents in every department can turn to for a 360-degree view of customer profiles, history, and information. It not only accommodates channel pivoting, but streamlines every interaction with each customer. 

Omni-Channel is a customer approach that uses multiple channels to provide customers with a seamless, satisfying, and engaging experience. Omni-channel allows for an accurate analysis of customer interactions in real-time. In terms of omni-channel communication, this refers to customer interaction via voice, web, email, chat, and social media from a unified contact center.

Now, let’s get into the details of who should integrate contact center and UC communications, the benefits of doing so, how to complete integration successfully (plus mistakes to avoid), and when to get started.

The Who: Integrating Contact Center and Unified Communications

A new CCW market survey named “The Future of the Contact Center in 2019” has found some very interesting insights into some popular visions for the contact center. 

For instance:

  • 64% of organizations believe customers should have easy access to a live agent.
  • Consumers say they prefer “easy” experiences to “personalized” ones.
  • A priority is to empower agents to provide unique resolutions to customers.
  • Reducing agent effort is a concern.
  • 45% of organizations feel they need to offer complete service in channels such as live chat and social.
  • 36.88% of contact centers believe “data” is their most valuable contribution to the business. 

In addition, the survey says the following initiatives are priorities for many contact center and customer experience teams in 2019:

  • Improving offering in digital channels (chat, mobile, social, etc.) = 46.25% 
  • Customer journey mapping/orchestration = 39.38%  
  • Integrating contact center tools = 35%  
  • Improving interaction analytics = 33.13%  
  • Connecting contact center/CX with other departments = 28.75% 

If you agree with the survey responses and feel strongly about the same priorities, your business is a good fit for integrating contact center and unified communications.

The Why: Integrating Contact Center and Unified Communications

The potential benefits that come from integrating contact center and unified communications are huge. They include significant improvements across the following key metrics:

  • Agent productivity
  • Call abandonment rates
  • Sales conversion
  • Revenues
  • Retention
  • First contact resolution rates
  • Customer satisfaction rates

In addition to these standard contact center KPIs, integration with UC provides a number of other equally important benefits.  

Seamless Integration with Other Enterprise Systems

Integration will enable agents to create and follow tasks throughout the entire process right from their desktop. Updates made on the agent desktop can also be integrated into other enterprise systems; for example, the CRM, ERP, and order management systems.

By centrally monitoring the business and operational performance of agents, teams, sites, systems, and partners in real-time, performance in every area will see great improvement. Also, this same centralized cloud management of operations, resources, and interactions significantly reduce administrative overhead. 

Successful Omni-Channel Customer Engagement

The integration across agents and departments allows a complete, up-to-the-minute view into customer insights and moments of engagement. This ensures a globally consistent, yet extremely personalized message throughout contact centers. 

Better Collaboration for Issue Resolvement

Analytics tell what is really happening with your customers, and predictive analytics routing anticipates customer needs. This optimization provides agents with real-time decision-making guidance and the opportunity to collaborate for the best overall solution to any customer issue.

Complete Compliance with Internal and External Privacy Regulations

You’ll also be able to retain customer contact data, even when transferring customers between agents. This helps keep a lid on data leaks and maintains agent compliance with both internal and external customer privacy regulations.

The How: Integrating Contact Center and Unified Communications

Here is how to integrate contact center and unified communications (and some all-too-common mistakes to avoid):

  1. Opt for a Tier-One Voice and Data Network: What you need is a reliable, redundant worldwide network. You’ll get this with:
    1. National/International DID/DDI Provider
    2. Toll-Free RespOrg ID and LRN
    3. Facility-based CLEC and Regulated Carrier
  1. Choose Your Features: Contact Center Packages include a multitude of standard and premium features that can be customized to the needs of any business. This includes the options for implementing a Contact Center Analyzer, using IVR (Interactive Voice Response), running the entire contact center from within Salesforce, including a suite for Workforce Optimization, and more!
  2. Cost-Effectively Deliver on Customer Expectations: Do this by customizing your communications to use the right channel, delivering the right information at the right time by:
    1. Customizing every step of the customer journey
    2. Connecting in the ways the customer prefers
    3. Creating proactive conversations and collaborations through automation
    4. Relying on a robust and secure cloud communications platform to scale as needed

Common Mistakes

Often, organizations choose the wrong type of technology when trying to create better contact center experiences for their customers. 

Here are four common mistakes to avoid when making your own technology strategy:

  1. Incorrectly integrating and optimizing channels by not using an omni-channel approach. Customers want to communicate via many channels at any time, and forcing them into a certain channel or requiring them to move between media will only frustrate them.
  2. Using old, fragmented technology across individual systems that don’t speak to each other. This prevents information from getting where it needs to go and does not allow for a seamless customer experience. Without a nimble cloud approach that spans functions and locations, problems will only exacerbate in the years ahead.
  3. Racing to implement bots without actually elevating the customer experience. Bots should be customer-centric and connected to other channels rather than seen as just a quick fix.
  4. Not understanding and harnessing the value of an effective analytics solution. Deep insights cannot be gained without the ability to dive deeply into interactions and extract key opportunities for providing agents with actionable, predictive truths.

The When: Integrating Contact Center and Unified Communications

This one is easy. The “when” of integrating contact center and unified communications is now. Don’t wait until after your competitors have already left you in the dust! 

If you’re ready to maximize the results of your contact center and unified communications, contact a FirstDigital solution specialist and get a quote that fits your specific business and customer needs!