This is the second blog entry of a multi-part series where we examine emerging contact center trends. In Contact Center Trends in the New Reality (Part 1): From Cost-Minimization to Revenue/Margin Optimization of the series, we looked at how the contact-center strategy of many companies has shifted from an exclusive focus on eliminating service costs, to a focus on optimizing service revenue (and margin) via the contact center. Here in Part 2, we discuss the evolution of contact-center communication channels – from the traditional telephony based systems of the past, to the modern Internet Protocol (IP) based multi-channel communication systems of today. We of course also address how the SAP CRM Interaction Center can be used in conjunction with such IP-Based communication management software systems, like SAP BCM.
Evolution of Communication Channels
Traditional communication channels like fax, postal letter, and telephone are declining – though still in heavy use today (while smoke signals, semaphores, telegrams and carrier pigeons seem to have completely faded as modes of business communication). And while traditional communication channels are still used, newer communication channels such as email, text message, and Web chat are growing fast and catching up. Customers today not only demand to be able to interact with companies via a variety of communication channels, but also to switch seamlessly between channels – perhaps asking for an agent to call them via telephone after an unsuccessful attempt to use the company’s web self-service or chat application.
In order to support this proliferation of channels (and blending between channels) many companies are adopting Internet Protocol (IP) based communication management software – such as SAP BCM, which can be plugged directly into the SAP CRM Interaction Center. With this type of IP-based solutions, company’s can support any number, and any combination, of communication channels using a single all-software based solution. Companies can also take advantage of the concept of “unified contact routing” which means that any incoming customer communication (phone, email, chat, etc.) can be routed or dispatched to the best suited available employee.
Using software like SAP BCM together with the SAP CRM Interaction Center, companies can also provide the possibility for customers on the Internet using the company’s web site, to request a telephone call from an agent. Rather than losing potential business from a frustrated prospect who is having trouble navigating the web site or completing a sale, the company has a chance to contact the customer and help them satisfactorily resolve their online shopping experience. This is the new way that business is starting to be done. This is what today’s customer expects. If you’re still providing something less, you might soon find yourself in trouble – or at least with a few less customers!