CIOs are feeling the heat to deploy digital technologies faster to stay ahead of the competition. As companies strive to create meaningful connections with their customers through more interactive and engaging experiences, the lack of qualified IT workers is limiting how quickly they can execute their plans.
By Patrick Summe, Chief Technology and Engineering Officer, LiveVox
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Contact centers are thoroughly dependent on technology to meet their objectives. Yet, understaffed IT departments often are too busy with backlog and other projects, which prevents long-awaited initiatives from being prioritized quickly enough. As a result, many contact centers are left feeling isolated and neglected.
The projections for global labor shortages are dismal. Recent research points to several major demographic trends as potential drivers of this problem — from population decline, an aging workforce, and a sharp decrease in new workers entering key markets such ICT (Information Communications Technology). In fact, studies forecast an alarming need for 85 million new IT professionals by 2030 — with 1 out of every 6 people estimated to be aged 60 or older.
In light of these workforce trends, companies must look for long-term solutions to bridge the gap between contact center requirements and IT capabilities. To do this, CIOs need to create a new partnership model for the contact center and IT department that leverages both teams’ expertise to drive more significant innovation and faster deployments.
The most effective place to start is the agent desktop. Consider it a living, breathing platform that can be easily updated and modified to reflect changing customer and contact center needs, and giving agents access to the most up-to-date apps and tools. By optimizing the agent desktop, IT and contact center teams can join forces to prioritize and quickly implement necessary technologies, while also ensuring that the business remains competitive.
Agent desktops: Easy to configure, integrated workflows, automation
When faced with the reality of too few people to support too many tasks, IT leaders must make smart choices about where to focus their resources and when to relinquish control.
Fortunately, technology has become far more user-friendly, and today’s contact center managers are willing and able to take on more responsibility for managing and configuring their tools. Empowering managers to create their own workflows and tailor agent desktops to specific tasks not only helps them to maximize their team’s performance, they’ll be able to solve many of their operational challenges on their own.
And that barely scratches the surface of what is possible.
Let’s explore how configurable agent desktops with integrated agent workflows can help bridge the gap between these two departments.
Giving agents a single, streamlined user experience
A properly designed and integrated agent desktop limits the noise and clutter while delivering relevant, timely information that allows agents to focus on serving the customer. Integrating the user interface for external applications into the agents’ desktops makes it easy for them to access all resources from one place — a one-stop shop. This is especially helpful in the case of web-based applications whose integration might not be possible otherwise.
For IT departments, giving contact center agents a single source of truth for their workflow helps to streamline operations and improve the accuracy of data and tasks, reducing the need to troubleshoot errors. Further, by providing agents with a single, sleek user experience — instead of having them jump between multiple applications — IT teams can help improve agent morale and engagement while reducing application training time.
Helping the contact center to become self-reliant
Highly configurable desktops allow those who are closest to the work being performed to build the automation that make their agents’ jobs easier. For instance, managers can create task-specific navigation paths and screen layouts tailored to agents’ and customers’ needs. They can also easily set up contextual scripts, quick links, event triggers, and more that allow for the easy orchestration of organizational data and business processes.
The benefit to the IT department is twofold. First, the increased configurability of agent desktops reduces IT’s workload and frees up resources for other projects. Second, with the right platform in place, IT teams can ensure that contact centers have the most up-to-date technology they need to remain competitive and meet customer demands. IT teams can help contact centers achieve greater success and productivity by providing the necessary tools and support.
Providing transparency to identify and address challenges
With the proper workflows in place, contact centers can also track issues and collect real-time insights that can be used to improve customer service and agent performance. This data can be used to identify service delivery gaps, determine improvement areas, and track agent performance over time.
By equipping the contact center with the vision and resources to identify and conquer previously unthought-of issues, they no longer need to depend solely on IT to resolve all their problems. This frees up IT teams to spend more time on strategic projects that create value for the business.
Enabling innovation from the business side
Contact center leaders are intimately familiar with their processes and those that affect their customers. As they gain experience and understanding of intelligent and sophisticated workflows, they can better identify new approaches to everyday problems. And with their firsthand knowledge, they often can develop novel solutions that may go unnoticed by IT professionals.
Contact center managers’ innovations can help automate tedious tasks, streamline workflows, and improve customer service. This saves IT teams valuable time and resources by not having to troubleshoot issues constantly and maintain applications. Finally, when contact center leaders can identify and address challenges quickly, it can increase customer satisfaction and trust for a positive impact on the overall reputation of the business.
The power of collaboration
Much opportunity exists for the contact center and IT to work together to create value for their operations and business. By engaging in a collaborative partnership, organizations can leverage more than just the existing workforce and technology — they can develop powerful strategies to succeed.
This alliance requires a consistent dialogue between the two departments and an understanding of each other’s roles and responsibilities to create an effective working relationship. Start the process by investing in a powerful, configurable agent desktop platform that empowers contact center managers and eases IT bandwidth. Together, the possibilities for innovation and growth are limitless.