A CIO’s Guide to Tackling the Top 10 Contact Center IT Challenges
In the rapidly changing digital landscape, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) role has never been more pivotal or challenging. As technology advances and business requirements expand, the IT department has become more than just a support system; it is a driving force for improving business efficiency, fostering innovation, and delivering customer value.
Table of contents
- A CIO’s Guide to Tackling the Top 10 Contact Center IT Challenges
- Challenge #1: Delivering value to the business
- Challenge #2: Addressing the IT talent crunch
- Challenge #3: Balancing service quality and costs
- Challenge #4: Enhancing contact center agent engagement
- Challenge #5: Managing remote teams effectively
- Challenge #6: Adopting AI and automation in the contact center
- Challenge #7: Managing data quality and governance
- Challenge #8: Protecting customer and company data
- Challenge #9: Managing IT-driven change in the contact center
- Challenge #10: Shifting from vendor management to a strategic partnership
However, with opportunities also come challenges. CIOs and IT leaders face rising technology costs, a shortage of skilled IT labor, and maintaining outdated legacy systems. Overcoming these hurdles requires creative solutions and strategic thinking. Contact center technology equips businesses with the necessary tools to navigate these challenges and leverage technology’s opportunities
Let’s explore the top 10 contact center IT challenges facing leaders today, along with valuable tips and strategies to overcome these obstacles and drive your business forward.
Challenge #1: Delivering value to the business
The key to effectively leveraging contact center technology lies in a well-defined strategy that aligns with the business vision. CEOs have identified as the top priorities for CIOs to strengthen IT-business collaboration, upgrade IT and data security, and improve customer experience. Meaningful collaboration between IT and contact centers is pivotal in prioritizing investments that deliver tangible value, reducing corporate risk, and enhancing the customer experience.
Automate to deliver immediate value: Automation helps reduce errors, saves time, and optimizes processes. For example:
- Agent Assist technology uses real-time speech-to-text processing to analyze interactions for customer questions and sentiment. AI-driven algorithms advise agents on the next best action to deliver a more personalized service experience.
- Real-time transcription creates accurate speaker-separated transcripts of the agent-customer interactions as they happen, so customers do not need to repeat themselves if the agent mishears something or needs to reference information from earlier in the conversation.
- Auto-summary tools use machine learning to create summarized notes of each interaction, saving precious after-call work time.
Learn how to deepen customer understanding, streamline efficiency, and master contact center language for optimal business performance and stakeholder engagement. Download the eBook Transforming Contact Center IT Challenges into Strategic Advantages.
Challenge #2: Addressing the IT talent crunch
The current shortage of IT talent poses a significant challenge for implementing important digital initiatives, particularly those impacting contact center operations. Skilled professionals in critical areas like data science, cybersecurity, and software engineering are in high demand.
The shortage is exacerbated by the rapid pace of technological advancements, which outpaces the ability of IT professionals to update their skills. This strains the existing workforce. Reports show that 74% of U.S. IT employers find it difficult to fill open roles, and up to 35% of tech talent base will need skill upgrades in the next few years.
Use AI and automation to optimize resources: Enable frontline managers to customize desktops and automate tasks for their teams using user-friendly tools. Doing so enhances the contact center’s ability to adapt quickly to changing conditions while lightening the IT workload. Consequently, you can free up your team to focus on strategic initiatives and reduce hiring pressure.
Discover more tips for bridging the IT talent gap in our Insider’s Guide for CIOs ebook. Download it now.
Challenge #3: Balancing service quality and costs
Managing expenses in contact centers is a delicate balancing act that involves more than just handling transactions; it’s about fostering customer relationships. Hasty cost-cutting decisions, such as reducing staff numbers, can negatively impact service quality and have severe consequences.
There are ways to reduce expenses without compromising customer satisfaction. One practical approach is introducing fast, user-friendly self-service options for routine transactions.
The key to successful cost management lies in focusing on three main objectives:
- Reducing or eliminating low-value transactions.
- Streamlining processes to optimize agents’ time.
- Effectively handling transactions.
You can maintain service quality while managing costs efficiently by achieving these goals.
Speed up engagements with quick access to vital information: LiveVox Connect’s fully integrated communication capabilities breaks down silos and connects teams in real-time, enabling agents to share knowledge, exchange best practices, and work with teammates, supervisors, and subject-matter experts to find customer solutions. In addition, providing quick, one-click access to a comprehensive and searchable Knowledge Center ensures agents have what they need to quickly and accurately answer customer queries. This reduces time-to-resolution while improving the customer experience and boosting agent satisfaction.
Find more tips on managing costs without sacrificing service quality in our ebook, Transforming Contact Center IT Challenges into Strategic Advantages.
Challenge #4: Enhancing contact center agent engagement
Agent engagement is a critical issue in contact center management, affecting productivity, scheduling, and customer experience. The cost of agent turnover is substantial, with SQM Group estimating replacement costs at around $20,800 per agent.
Job dissatisfaction, burnout, increased demands from changing customer behavior, and expanding channels all contribute to disengagement. In addition, 84% of contact center leaders report that agents juggle between 4-10 applications during customer interactions, highlighting the urgent need for streamlined systems.
These challenges highlight the need to balance operational costs with strategic investments in contact center agent engagement and technology upgrades.
Tailor the agent desktop experience: Each team within the contact center has unique needs, e.g., sales, service, collections, billing. Configurable agent desktops allow contact center managers to easily create tailored experiences that give agents access to the right limited set of information they need on one screen. Less desktop clutter and screens simplify the agent experience while reducing handle and response times.
Explore more strategies to enhance agent engagement in our Insider’s Guide for CIOs eBook. Read it now.
Challenge #5: Managing remote teams effectively
The popularity of remote and hybrid work models continues to increase, driven by agent preferences and the models’ flexibility and ability to adapt to fluctuating market conditions.
However, this transition poses a challenge for contact centers and IT professionals. Ensuring productivity, performance, and team cohesion across distances demands robust communication and collaboration tools.
Managers need to evolve their strategies to effectively monitor and provide real-time feedback to agents, irrespective of location. Moreover, the software deployed for remote agents must be user-friendly and intuitive, enhancing efficiency and productivity without requiring intensive training or technical know-how.
Make communication seamless: Employ advanced communication tools to boost team collaboration, efficiency, and productivity. Many organizations leverage third-party apps such as Slack, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams to synchronize, exchange ideas, and collaborate on projects. However, these tools can create silos and inefficiencies without integration into existing systems, making it harder for teams to stay in sync. LiveVox Connect is an example of a fully integrated, native communication tool that enables seamless communication between managers, agents, teams, and departments with chat capabilities, announcements, alerts, polls, and surveys.
Read more about how to stay on top of remote agent performance. Download our ebook now.
Challenge #6: Adopting AI and automation in the contact center
AI’s integration into our daily work lives, and its role in streamlining contact center operations is increasingly significant. It enhances customer experiences through personalized self-service chatbots, provides valuable insights into customer sentiments, and automates repetitive tasks, allowing agents to focus on complex interactions.
However, IT professionals must recognize that AI is not a panacea. While it ensures efficiency and exceptional customer service, it cannot replicate a skilled agent’s empathy and personal touch. With the increasing adoption of AI to address labor or skills shortages, it is important to take a practical approach to AI and automation, considering both its capabilities and limitations.
Empower agents with real-time support: Offer valuable guidance during conversations, providing agents with suggestions, recommendations, and step-by-step procedures that aid in the resolution of customer issues effectively.
For more ideas on integrating AI into everyday, high-impact solutions for the contact center, download our Insider’s Guide for CIOs.
Challenge #7: Managing data quality and governance
Data quality and governance are significant challenges for contact centers. According to a report by Experian, around 32% of customer data contains inaccuracies due to human error, unreliable sources, or system transfers. This issue is further compounded by the constantly changing nature of dynamic customer information.
Poor data can severely impact operational efficiency, decision-making accuracy, regulatory compliance, security, and financial stability. Clean data is crucial for training accurate models, especially with the rise of generative AI. Any inaccuracies or biases in the input data will be reflected in the AI’s output, resulting in flawed predictions and decisions. It’s also important to consider the ethical and legal implications of using customer data for AI training, emphasizing the need for data privacy.
Adopt a continuous cycle of data evaluation: Data quality degrades over time, so it’s essential to review the data and take steps to improve it regularly. Start by identifying key metrics that can be used to measure the health and effectiveness of your system. Test random samples of data regularly to ensure compliance with your standards. Verify the accuracy of derived decisions by back-testing with different sample data sets. Make adjustments to your process as circumstances change. Data should be regularly deduplicated, validated, verified, and enriched to maintain quality.
Dive deeper into data quality and governance in our ebook, Transforming Contact Center IT Challenges into Strategic Advantages. Download the eBook.
Challenge #8: Protecting customer and company data
In the evolving digital landscape, organizations face increased security challenges, particularly with the rise of remote work and the vulnerabilities it exposes. The traditional “trust but verify” network security model proves insufficient against threats that often emerge from within the network’s “safe zone.”
Zero Trust Security offers a more rigorous approach: “Never trust, continuously verify.” Zero Trust challenges the conventional model of trusting everything inside a network based on its perimeter. Instead, no one is trusted by default. Authentication is an ongoing requirement for every user, device, and location to gain access. This continuous procedure guarantees the highest level of security.
Adopt a Zero Trust Security framework that encompasses the following:
- Assume zero trust for all users and devices: Treat every user and device as potentially untrusted and require continuous verification before granting access to resources.
- Implement strong authentication measures: Use robust, multifactor authentication methods to ensure only authorized individuals can gain access.
- Enforce least privilege access: To minimize the risk of unauthorized access or accidental misuse, grant users and applications only the necessary access required to complete their tasks.
Ready to learn more about Zero Trust Security? Our ebook is just a click away.
Challenge #9: Managing IT-driven change in the contact center
Mastering IT-driven change in the contact center is a balancing act between technological advancements and human adaptability. As IT organizations roll out new technologies, they face dual challenges: ensuring optimal functioning and managing the human element of change.
The key to success lies in effective change management. This involves providing training and support for all stakeholders, including agents, managers, and the IT team. However, despite its importance, 70% of change programs fail due to employee resistance and lack of management support. To overcome these challenges, it is crucial to offer comprehensive training before and after implementation. 69% of executives who implemented this approach reported successful outcomes..
Prioritize change management: Make sure your team integrates contact center communications, training, and resources related to change into the project. Link the actual changes to the anticipated outcomes for all involved parties. Measure and analyze the project’s success based on how proficiently agents and managers can use the new technology and adapt to new processes. This will help everyone understand the direct impact of their adaptation on the project’s outcome.
Download our ebook for more tips on change management for IT initiatives.
Challenge #10: Shifting from vendor management to a strategic partnership
In the digital transformation era, vendors have evolved from mere suppliers to strategic partners, playing a crucial role in enhancing business efficiency and driving innovation.
Choosing the right contact center technology partner involves considering several factors, including their ability to enhance user experience, meet operational requirements, align with your long-term vision, integrate seamlessly into your IT infrastructure, scale quickly, offer flexible pricing, manage performance regularly, and maintain transparency.
Reevaluate your current vendor relationships: Do they provide the solutions you need to enable innovation and deliver meaningful customer experiences? Are they ready to provide proactive support, guidance, and value-added services? Do they offer flexible pricing, allowing you to pay only for the required features — by agent or minute? With LiveVox, the answer to all of these questions is yes.
Let’s make a game plan: Our team of experts can help you develop a contact center technology plan and timeline that will provide immediate impact and lasting value. Contact us today.