The changes wrought by COVID-19 on the business environment will continue to be felt long after the virus is finally gone. Take the new world order known as “work from home” and the effect it has had on the contact center. Suddenly, the imperative of having your agents in one room is no longer looking as mandatory as it once was.
Let’s say you’re a convert and ready to transition some or all of your seats to a remote contact center. Great!
Where do you start? What will your agents need?
1) A proven UCaaS solution with a connector into a CCaaS
2) A quality internet connection
3) A quality headset
4) A secure connectivity into your software database
(Businesses also need to consider a simple software defined network (SD-WAN) solution to provide affordable redundant connections, but we’ll save the rabbit hole for another time.)
Most people get hung up at number 1.
The process of choosing a UCaaS or CCaaS provider is an incredibly time-consuming task. Identifying needs criteria, sitting through sales pitches, parsing feature/functionality capabilities, assembling price comparisons… time and labor intensive but necessary to ensure project success.
When assembling your needs criteria, think about how you’re using your current technology and identify what’s a “must-have” from a “nice-to-have”:
- How many agents are in your contact center that you want to enable to work from home?
• Where is your contact center located?
• Do you require more than just voice capabilities?
• Do you require a CRM integration?
• Do you require speech recognition?
• Do you require any special reports?
• Do you require compliance with any specific data security requirements such as HIPAA or PCI?
• Do you require outbound dialing?
• Recording? Hold messaging? Disposition codes? Call queues?
Once you have that list complete, it’s time to begin vendor evaluations—the most time-consuming, but necessary, part of the process. Getting recommendations, evaluating technologies, comparing needs to vendor functionality, analyzing pricing…it’s a multi-step process that can take months.
It’s at this point that many companies choose to work with a vendor-agnostic service provider, such as vCom, to handle the nitty-gritty. The time savings alone is significant. These companies typically have access to dozens of providers and can guide you to the technology that best fits your needs. A good partner will take your needs criterion (and in some cases help you create it) and conduct the entire RFP process, sourcing the vendors, building technology and pricing matrices, narrowing the list of finalists, conducting a security assessment, handling price negotiations, and overseeing the implementation of the solution.
With a willing partner, this process can take the evaluation period down from months to weeks. On the positive side, the seismic shift to remote agents has led to speedier implementation times, with a host of CCaaS providers reducing deployment times to about 48 hours. Many of these providers are also offering free software or seat licenses. Great deals, but its imperative you don’t sacrifice your needs in the name of expediency.
Going remote to better serve your business needs makes sense. So does putting in the due diligence required to ensure you pick the best provider for your organization.
Article contributed by Chad O’Donnell, Product Specialist at vCom
Reprinted from National Call Center May 2020 Newsletter