The Evolution Of The New Agent Desktop

September, 2010

This month’s blog looks at the current and forthcoming challenges faced by contact centers at the agent desktop, and outlines a way forward for contact centers struggling to cope.

This month’s blog looks at the current and forthcoming challenges faced by contact centers at the agent desktop with call script software, and outlines a way forward for call centers struggling to cope.

Until now, there have been a couple of possibilities at the agent desktop, each with its own drawbacks:

  • CRM software(Customer relationship management software)
    Great out of the box, but may take considerable effort and programming skill to integrate into a legacy environment. As most CRM software grew out of the corporate world they are built to manage and organise customer data. As they were not designed and built specifically for call centers, it is increasing difficult to make a straight CRM system do the job required of it. Even with an easy visual page designer, the fact of its design limitations remains.
  • The Home-Grown Solution
    Those (increasing few) players with in-house IT expertise can build their own calling script tool. Following the necessity to be web-based, this means typically, ASP.NET, PHP or Javascript. The problem is that as time goes on, programmers move on, code is extended and the system can become a tangled mess before you know it – unwieldy, unmanageable and unstable.
  • CRM plus Call Script Software
    This has been the standard for many contact centers, and addresses many of the current needs. But how will it fare faced with imminent challenges?

Two needs are becoming increasingly apparent:

  1. To customise each project to a different set of requirements. If you are to stay in business you have to be able to say, ‘yes, we can do that’. Chances are you will be asked to stretch your capabilities beyond that which is currently available.
  2. To accommodate an increasing range of contact options. Life was simple when the choice of consumer contact was either landline (fast) or mail (slow). Now there is a need to handle email, SMS, chat, voice and increasingly video.

So how can you fulfil these requirements? You can’t pass them on to your software vendor; by the time new requests have gone through the development, test and release cycle, either the business has been lost, or requirements have moved on.

So you are left with frustration, rather like being stuck driving behind a slow moving tractor. What you really need is the ability to take matters into your own hands, press the accelerator and overtake; you need the power to create, extend and integrate your agent script software without the need for a large IT department; to meet requirements yourself, to extend the functionality of the core product in the way that fits your circumstances.

Consider this example:

You have a database of 10 million customers. The requirement is for separate contact strategies for those who prefer contact by phone, email, Facebook, SMS. What do you do?

You need software that can

  1. handle any media channel, and connect to the various necessary APIs
  2. manage the workflow involved in queuing and processing for each type

Maybe you have spent a good deal of effort on creating an agent script environment that works for you, and you don’t want to ditch it. Therefore you need software that will allow you to link directly to other services, in effect extending functionality without rip and replace.

You also need a sandboxed execution environment so that should anything stuff up, there is no impact on production.

If this makes sense to you, and you feel like you are stuck behind the tractor with your current setup, talk to us. We should be able to get you moving.

P.S. We usually try to keep any sales message at least subliminal but we see so many call centers struggling, we decided to be a bit bolder in this blog.

What We Offer

Sytel Limited develops and supplies Softdial Contact Center® (SCC) - multimedia, multichannel, fully blended cloud contact center solutions.

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