Modern consumers become more demanding each day, thanks to a growing number of digital technologies that make it easier to ask for support, raise a complaint, and track the status of an order. That’s made the contact center the linchpin of today’s service, but an old pin may no longer be able to hold things together.
What’s become clear for businesses today is that those that can’t meet customers where they are—and with the tools they want to use—will lose. If your business can’t accommodate their needs, there are no doubt others who will.
Is an old, outdated contact center what’s keeping you from addressing their needs and growing your business? To help you decide, we’re providing a series of blogs that help explain the difference between traditional contact centers and the contact center of tomorrow. In our first blog, we’ll analyze traditional contact centers (contact center 1.0) and why they struggle to address today’s modern customer.
What Is Contact Center 1.0?
The current contact center model is actually based on the one developed and deployed in the 1960s. Every agent has their own physical hardware that must be updated individually, with a large number of silos between agents, information, and customers.
All technology is separate and requires its own line or hard connection. Agents may answer a call, email, or live chat, but have difficulty sharing across these modes. There are no options to support remote teams, and the inflexibility of the technology means costs rise with each change you make.
It’s an analog solution that’s ill-prepared for a digital world where people and knowledge are more spread out, but easier to connect thanks to cloud technologies.
In our new eBook, we’ve identified six core challenges that caused by Contact Center 1.0. We’ll review four of them here:
- Expensive to maintain and improve
- Difficulty scaling to meet customer demands
- Integrations are becoming more difficult
- Agents struggle when everything is separated
Expensive to Maintain and Improve
Like most legacy systems, an outdated contact center can be a significant cost burden. Because it involves physical architecture (not only on the desktop but in walls), It’s costly for your IT team to maintain and upgrade,,. Each service, repair, or upgrade requires significant labor as your team moves from agent chair to chair, taking hours of their time and keeping at least part of your operation offline the entire time.
Contact Center 1.0 solutions also come with substantial equipment fees, hourly maintenance charges, and physical space requirements at each step. Maintaining or growing such a center means that every chair is a project, and even software updates often require a hands-on approach.
Difficulty Scaling to Meet Customer Demands
The physical nature of Contact Center 1.0 deployments also means an equally heavy burden to scale, which requires a costly physical installation, whether you’re adding a new channel, agent, or regional office. You’re limited by physical space and square footage, because you cannot employ remote teams to expand.
In addition, with separate, older systems, you’ll need to purchase new hardware to support your service organization as you grow to meet customer demands. When customers ask for email or text support, it’s a different system. You might need to switch to a whole new PBX when you exceed it’s supported lines for a single site.
With customers demanding support in the blink of an eye, not being able to scale dynamically means guessing about shifts in demand and building based on that guess.
On-premise solutions can’t support your seasonality growth either, requiring significant investments to be ready for these trends.
Integrations Are Becoming More Difficult
Outdated systems with physical limitations can make it more difficult to grow support capabilities, even if you have the budget for it. Older software not built around an electronic data exchange may rely on custom file and information storage types and likely can’t export the data it creates.
Early software contained its own database, requiring manual updates within the system. New tools often don’t integrate with legacy programs to support continuous interactions. When data is siloed, and each channel is separate, your team can’t provide consistent support.
You might be able to export one database to Excel and then import it to a new program. However, with contact center data changing every minute, not just every day, how much time and labor are you willing to spend to address this issue daily?
Agents Struggle When Everything Is Separated
An on-premise solution forces agents to operate separately from the rest of your organization. Physical infrastructure limitations can make it hard for them to ask each other for help. In addition, software limitations can keep them from accessing the most relevant data. When customers get placed on hold as an agent jump between screens to find what they need, , a poor-quality experience is virtually guaranteed.
Migrating your contact center to the cloud can start to mitigate many of these concerns on day 1. We’ve put together an eBook that walks you through these issues and more as companies like yours move from Contact Center 1.0 and embrace Contact Center 2.0.
To learn more, download our our eBook, And be sure to read Part 2 of this blog series, The Benefits of Cloud of Contact Center 2.0.
Originally published May 21, 2019, updated Aug 31, 2020