If you don’t think things are changing at a rapid clip, ask yourself the following questions: When was the last time you used a public phone booth, sat in front of a CRT monitor, paid for long distance, ran out of hard drive space or got fuzzy TV reception?
When it comes to call centers, here are some things you may want to ask yourself. What if there was no desktop license…you didn’t have to upgrade your switch release to get the latest features…you had unlimited access to technical support…your system is always on the most current release…agents can be spread across multiple and dissimilar switches. Can my ACD move to any new switch platform (IP) or switch manufacturer? Do I have to pay extra for Unified Communications? You might say that all of this is about as unlikely as doing away with carbon paper.
One thing you can count on is that things will change. If you think all call centers or ACDs are the same, you haven’t been watching what is happening in the market place.
Just when you get comfortable with an ACD on your legacy system, someone comes to you and says: It is time to upgrade (if you want to stay current or get this new feature) and it will only cost you a small fortune. Oh and by the way, we will have to upgrade your PBX and voice mail platform so they are all compatible. Then, after you put your budget together and you go through the pain of the upgrade and your business picks up, you find that you require more agents and supervisors. What do you mean I have to go back to finance and ask for money just to add agents? They told me they didn’t want to see me again after they gave me the funds for the upgrade!
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Your call center user community also wants Unified Communications to enable presence, IM and highly knowledgeable agents to streamline their call handling and increase initial call resolution. They want it today. What do you mean that our legacy systems can’t do this without a costly upgrade?
Well this is where things at call centers have changed in case you weren’t looking.
New developments in ACD technology allow for connections to existing switch platforms such as Nortel, Avaya, and Mitel just to mention a few. These ACD’s use your existing switch release, phones and wiring. You get PC desktop agent modules with real time Key Performance Indicators, instant messaging call recording and screen capture just to mention a few. No Switch Upgrade is required.
Some of the better developers offer for No Desktop Licenses required for agents or supervisors. If you require additional agents or supervisors, existing hardware can support them. Our company, for example, provide during the installs a CD that allows you to add additional agents and supervisors at will. Who else will let you do that?
Another feature you have to be sure is provided is the ability for unlimited access to a Help Desk. As long as you are under a Software Subscription Service, you should be granted access to a highly trained support team. Whether it is how to bail yourself out of a problem, change a greeting, an existing menu or what a specific report does, you can do all this without any additional charge. Boy, this is a change!
Another big change you should look for is continuous access to the Most Current Software Release. As long as you are under a Software Subscription Service, you should keep your system current with the latest software releases at no additional charge. This includes new core features, once released by the vendor.
A new feature available is access to Network Remote Dissimilar Switches. If you have remote sites, even on legacy switches, your agents can be part of common skill sets. This includes consolidated routing, reporting and supervisory functions. You will have no loss in agent or supervisory capabilities as compared to a single site system. Again, there is no switch upgrade required, and agents use existing phones and wiring.
Migrating to a New IP Switch Platform is another new technology. If down the road you decide to move your ACD to a new IP switch platform such as Cisco, NEC or Avaya, the system will move with you to this new platform at a minimal charge. This is true investment protection, and very few developers provide this feature. With many mainstream companies you have to stay with their switch and continue with all the old ways of doing things like paying for desktop licenses.
Unified Communications is becoming a standard on the better ACD’s as a real-time presence, even across legacy or IP switches. Telephone presence is standard in our consolidated ACD application. This new feature eliminates additional upgrade to your systems to get presence, Instant Messaging or access to highly knowledgeable agents.
When you are looking at your current call center, ask yourself if your ACD vendor is keeping up with the times. Are they making the changes you are asking for or are they going by the way of the old rotary dial telephone by ignoring these desired changes that are available today.
About Terry Dunigan:
Terry’s responsibilities include corporate planning, product direction and product placement into large user and the telephone carrier space. Terry’s background includes 30 years of executive management experience in technologies that include IVR, ACD and PBX‘s. He has extensive experience in planning, designing and implementing sophisticated call center solutions.
T-Metrics, Inc. has developed many products for the telephony industry during its more than 20-year history. The Company is known for delivering the finest innovative products into the marketplace, and for providing the best customer service in the industry. The TM-2000 ACD is in colleges, universities, hospitals, IT Desk Centers, banks and local governments. In addition, our products are DoD certified and installed in over ninety military installations around the world.
Published: Thursday, April 1, 2010
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