Customer Engagement

Process Optimization Comes to Fruition

Today’s technology can enable value-driven change. To learn what’s possible, first take a hard look at the tools you have in place.

Brian Hinton
Lori Bockland

As we observe contact handling in centers of all sizes, shapes and locations, we hear the frustration with disconnected and manual tasks — during the contact or wrapup, and when work flows from the center to other parts of the organization. Few have made progress integrating desktop applications, automating processes or tracking work as it leaves the center.

Process change is hard. IT is busy implementing and maintaining systems and applications, leaving little time to optimize. Ideas for changes go onto wish lists or await a “future” initiative. Too often companies deploy technology with little or no plan for process change, forcing operations to “make it work” as best they can. And anyone with baggage from a past business process reengineering initiative probably has a sense of “oh no, not again” whenever suggestions of focused process improvement surface.

It’s a new year, a new time, with new products and possibilities, so we need to do new and different things. Yes, Virginia, there really is an opportunity to improve processes. You can get more from your current applications or apply new capabilities. And it’s not just the latest hype: There is technology available that enables value-driven change.

Define the Opportunity

Most contact centers were not built with all the applications you would ever need, ready to scale with you. Rather, most centers were cobbled together step by step, adding applications and functions as needed to respond to changing requirements. Two things tend to happen under these circumstances: less than ideal application integration and a recreation of the old processes with new technology. Manual processes often bridge the gaps created by integration and process shortfalls at the desktop and at the “border crossing” as work moves out of the center across the organization. It is not efficient, effective or scalable.

A customer-focused solution requires an end-to-end process view and accountability. Breaking processes into silos based on process segments, technology tools or organizational boundaries may work for that silo, but the end-to-end result can be inconsistent, unscalable and error-prone. And that’s just the internal view. Customers suffer through unsatisfactory interactions, unmet commitments, dropped balls and communications failures that might otherwise prevent the next contact. Everyone wants to meet business goals — improve the customer experience, lower costs and/or drive revenue… but it’s hard to do with the same old siloed processes.

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