kid-5452-icuc-2016-blog-post-agents-are-people As cloud communications companies like RingCentral and inContact have matured, the contact center world has been seeing an increasingly rapid move to the cloud. At the same time we see a trend away from traditional contact center and call center metrics like average handle time, and towards newer, customer-focused metrics like customer satisfaction, or CSAT. Taken together, these two movements are bringing about real change in the contact center.

The first change we see with increasing frequency is that of the “relationship agent.” Large contact centers have traditionally been characterized by anonymity – a customer could call the contact center ten times and never get the same agent twice. This anonymity tends to reflect badly on customer satisfaction, particularly when a customer needs to call repeatedly to resolve an issue. To counter this, we see contact centers beginning to give tools to their agents to build relationships with their customers and own their customers’ issues.

I had a positive experience with this technique recently when I called my insurance company to begin a new life insurance application. I called the main number and got an agent, who answered my questions, and before we ended the call he said, “My name is Tim, and here’s my direct number. Call me back directly if you have any more questions.” The next week I did have another question and so I called Tim, who remembered me from our prior conversation, saving me the trouble of having to walk him through the details again. I came away from that call a more satisfied customer.

Interestingly, the same technologies companies use to build relationships between agents and customers can also be used to enable people not traditionally considered agents to improve their relationships with customers. Here at RingCentral, many of our customers fall into that category. My favorite example is that of a realty office. When the realtors are in the office, they are in some sense like a contact center agent. Calls may come in from out of the blue, but once a realtor picks up the phone, the caller becomes his or her lead. From that point forward, the realtor maintains that relationship – and if he’s out of the office, showing a property for example, his clients had better be able to reach him. That’s where a unified communications suite comes in.

By blending the complete contact center functionality of inContact with the unified communications suite of RingCentral, we bring the best of both worlds to enable both traditional and nontraditional contact centers to create these relationships with their customers and provide better customer satisfaction.