IP's Contact Center Advantages Add Up to Quite a List

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IP contact center proponents are big on lists. The obvious reason is that in their eyes IP technology offers such obvious benefits that the best promotional tool is simply listing them.


VoIP News offers several such lists. After stating the traditional benefits -- less expense, integrated voice and data and flexibility and scalability -- the article describes some features and, separately, benefits of IP-enabled contact centers. And quite a set of lists they are. A typical contact center offers screen pops to speed calls; advanced routing based on customer data; skills-based routing; centralized management of locations and agents; and configurable user interfaces and unified messaging tools. Some or all of these capabilities surely are available with legacy systems. They likely would be far more expensive and cumbersome, however.


The piece lists 11 specific benefits of an IP-enabled contact center. The advantages are comprehensive -- from the ability to maintain existing investments to lower agent attrition driven by increased satisfaction. A third list enumerates advantages to the contact center representatives.


TMCNet also uses a list to extol the benefits of call centers. IP-based contact centers cut long distance costs and enhance the flexibility of both what personnel do and where they are. The last point is key: VoIP allows folks to work from different countries -- and from home. This enables companies to economically offer live representation on a 24/7 basis. In a terrific side benefit, such flexibility offers folks who are disabled or for some other reason can't leave home a powerful earning option. OfficeVoIPSolutions adds CRM integration and on-the-fly recording to the list to the list of benefits.


A major theme of VoiceCon 2008 was the use of unified communications (UC) -- VoIP's big brother (or, more precisely, extended family) -- in contact centers, according to Network World. The writer says that one example is Microsoft's partnership with Aspect Software to bring Microsoft's UC and voice platform to contact centers. The writer notes that Mitel (also in partnership with Microsoft), Avaya, Cisco and Nortel also are bringing UC to the contact center.


Things are changing rapidly across the IT and telecommunications landscape. In many cases, creative folks take developments in more than one area and combine them. This is happening with contact centers and software-as-a-service (SaaS), which relieve businesses of the need to write and manage applications. Fierce Wireless says SaaS can be combined with VoIP contact centers. The story proposes -- of course, in the form of a list -- the advantages of this approach.


Again, the list is formidable. It includes lower investment and operating costs, faster time to market and access to new technology, the creation of virtual contact centers, improved agent efficiency, high scalability and improved customer satisfaction. The interesting thing about this particular list is that it indiscriminately combines the claimed advantages of both IP in the contact center and SaaS.