The transformation of business communications from telephony to unified communications and collaboration (UCC) has resulted in the complexity of managing these tasks. As a result, a strong business case must be developed in order to maximize the integration of UCC and a company’s business processes. Customers who work with value-added resellers (VARs) in order to determine their UCC needs and to uncover how business processes can be integrated will gain the benefits of reduced expense, enhanced productivity, and simplified management. But what does it take to build a business case for UCC and business process integration? Let’s take a look using the example of a customer service center.
When a service company found that it was struggling to maintain numerous technology platforms, manage different vendors, and deploy effective communications in order to provide the best possible service to its customer base and to attract new customers, UCC appeared to make sense. The company’s current model included a 15-year-old, premises-based call center with a separate voice mail system, a third-party reporting system, and lights that flashed when calls were in queue. The voice-only platform allowed clients to call into an agent in order to check on the status of service requests, ask questions, or schedule service. Agents could call out to prospects and customers, but had no other simple way to reach them. The call center hardware was outdated and took up a lot of the IT department’s time and resources. In addition, there was no automated mechanism to track customer calls, and notes were taken manually on paper and stored in a folder in a filing cabinet.
This business needed an integrated solution that would allow customers to reach the service center by voice, text, fax, email, chat, and video chat. It also needed a way to track calls, automate note-taking, give clients contact and routing options, and allow agents to greet clients with knowledge of the customer’s history. The company’s current solution was negatively affecting customer service, preventing the addition of other locations, and lacked continuity.
Managers from several departments met to determine what they needed in order to solve the issues they were currently dealing with. Along with a VAR, they developed a plan that could show strategic ROI. The team started by identifying the hard dollar benefits of implementing UCC and integrating it with new or existing business processes. They determined:
- The company would save time and effort, and therefore money, by automating the manual note-taking and filing process.
- By moving the call center into the cloud, they would save money on the initial capital outlay.
- IT employee time could be redeployed to other revenue-generating projects.
- Integrating voice mail, routing, queuing, and reporting into one solution would save money by consolidating administration, maintenance, and upgrades.
The next step was to determine “soft” benefits, benefits that may not necessarily have a dollar value associated, but affect and streamline the customer and agent experience and integrate other departments into the flow. This included:
- Offering multi-channel methods of contact in order to appeal to everyone’s desired way to reach out
- Integrating a CRM solution so that everyone could access customer and prospect records and so that agents could answer calls knowing ahead of time who is calling and what his or her history is
- Providing self-service routing options in order to simplify customer contact with the company
- Offering queue messages and options in order to increase sales and prevent aggravating customers who don’t want to wait
- Adding a second contact center location in order to improve coverage hours, improve service, and add business continuity
Once this business case was developed and presented to upper-level management, the company moved forward in stages, starting with moving to the cloud. The company was able to trial applications like call routing, self-service, CRM integration, and multiple contact channels before adopting them, giving both agents and customers a chance to become accustomed to the new, integrated technology. The company built a strong relationship with its service provider, continues to grow and thrive today, and is ready to continue adding to and improving its service center while integrating it with other corporate business processes and tools.
VARs can help their customers integrate UCC and business processes into a unified solution. This can greatly increase the productivity of any organization to enable more efficient team collaboration and streamline business processes.