How To Scale Up Your Contact Center
Just as businesses must evolve to stay successful, so do their contact centers. While shifting customer expectations and market trends can propel the need to scale a contact center, they aren’t the only reasons. In fact, there are many factors that indicate that it’s time for a change. From seasonal bumps to major system limitations, the reasons to scale a contact center are diverse and all have their own specific considerations.
Reasons to Scale
- Upgrade to Omnichannel
Among the most common reasons why businesses are scaling up their contact centers is demand for omnichannel customer experiences. According to research from Dimension Data, the average enterprise-level company will have 11 communication channels by the end of 2018. Connected customer journeys are no longer just a good idea. They’re a must for sustaining a level of competitiveness. Yet, this requires an omnichannel solution that can integrate channels, touchpoints and customer analytics. A legacy, voice-centric system is no longer enough – especially with the addition of new digital channels. To move from multichannel to omnichannel, a contact center often needs to be scaled up with improved technology and agents with more diverse skillsets.
- Bursts of High Demand
Outdated, on-premise contact center infrastructure isn’t well-equipped to handle bursts of high demand. Whether it’s a bump due to a seasonal need or a period of rapid growth, being caught off guard can be very costly. Increasingly, businesses require greater flexibility to increase capacity or to adjust the mix of licenses to meet changing needs. For the greatest level of adaptability, cloud-based contact centers need to adjust to changes in interaction volumes and customer preferences.
- Mergers and Acquisitions
When it comes to blending two or more businesses, there are more challenges to tackle than office space and employee count. One of the biggest difficulties businesses face after a merger or acquisition is disconnected contact centers from multiple vendors. There is often the need to integrate ACDs, networks, SBCs, recording software, contact center software, IVRs and more. There are also issues of centralization, distribution, data center locations and carrier levels. For many businesses, the big question is whether it makes more sense to scale up existing infrastructure or take a rip and replace approach and start over.
- Who and What Is Being Impacted?
The first consideration always is to determine who and what is going to be impacted by scaling up a contact center. While agents will certainly be impacted with any significant changes, there are many other areas that will likely be affected, including:
- Hardware and software
- Data bandwidth
- SIP trunking needs
- Network capacity
- Quality of service
Because so much is at play during the planning and implementation stages of any scaling project, it’s vitally important to work collaboratively with leaders from every area of the business that is connected with contact center operations or the customer experience.
- Design and Maintenance
To successfully scale up your contact center, it’s important to have the right team for both design and maintenance across the new solution. This should be established early in the planning stage to avoid any mishaps along the way or after deployment. With the right mix of experts, deployment can be streamlined while minimizing disruption and maximizing value.
When scaling up a contact center, there is often the need to add or upgrade licenses. For example, some vendors provide licenses for one channel but not all. Others offer greater flexibility by allowing the mix of licenses to be adjusted to meet specific business needs. To ensure you’re getting exactly what you need, carefully consider your licensing requirements and the associated costs. In some cases, it may make sense to evaluate the possibility of switching to subscription pricing, particularly if you have business needs that frequently change.
- SLA Expectations
On-boarding new agents is typically part of scaling up a contact center. Whether they are derived via outsourcing or a result of an acquisition, there can be performance or quality impacts. By setting clear, attainable SLAs upfront and providing the necessary training and tools to enable agents to meet them, the gap between expectations and reality can be minimized.
- Workforce Management
With increasing interaction volumes, workforce forecasting and scheduling will likely need to be adjusted. An integrated workforce management solution that leverages data from all channels is the best way to capture the big picture and make strategic decisions to support a growing contact center.
- Skills Training
Employee engagement is another big area to focus on when scaling up a contact center. Agents will likely need training on new tools, such as an omnichannel desktop, CRM or knowledge base, as well as strategies to sell new products and services.
- Reporting and Analysis
If the scale up involves combining acquired or outsourced contact centers with existing contact centers, reporting and analysis also needs to be integrated to prevent siloes that can impact service and the customer experience.
Once a system is scaled up, the project shouldn’t be considered complete. End-to-end testing is necessary to ensure every component is functioning optimally. Channels, applications and tools should all be reviewed to support consistent, seamless customer journeys.
Scaling up a contact center is never a quick, simple project. However, by carefully evaluating what is needed and establishing clear, realistic goals, it can be an important part to continued growth and success.