Technology changes constantly. One day you are watching a rented DVD with your family and the next you are streaming Netflix on your 3D Smart TV. Who knows what changes lurk around the corner?
For contact centers and call center agents, staying up to date with technology is essential to survival. Not only does it mean keeping up with the competition, but also changing customer expectations.
But should you innovate just for the sake of innovating?
Look Inward:Understand your company’s needs
The purpose of technology is to support your operational activities and allow you to meet your strategic goals.
Before investing in new technology, you need to understand those goals and identify whether your existing infrastructure allows you to meet them. Another question you need to ask is whether that technology allows your business to grow and remain agile enough to respond to what the market demands from you. The same applies to vendors. Are they are constantly innovating and driving you forward?
If the answer to any of the above is no, then you should probably be looking at investing in something that will allow your company to thrive.
Set out your goals and strategies first. Invest in technology second.
Listen To What Your Customers Are Saying
When was the last time you conducted a customer journey mapping exercise or analyzed the data from your inbound call center, customer feedback and surveys? Understanding your customers’ needs and wants is a crucial step in choosing technology for your contact center.
Do a CX (customer experience) audit across all your communication channels to identify customer likes, dislikes, preferences and improvements that need to be made that will enhance the way your customers experience your company.
If your customers want you to go multichannel, then that should become one of your company’s strategic objectives. You will then need to identify the best tech to implement that goal.
Do A Competitor Analysis
A competitor analysis is a handy exercise to discover what technology your direct competition is using to meet their goals and strategic objectives and to drive growth.
Conduct market research to identify the similarities between their target market and your own. If your competitors are already multichannel, look at what technology they use to support those extra channels and how successfully they are being utilized.
Read Reports And White Papers
The best way to understand how technology, especially call center software, is changing in the contact center landscape is to read the latest industry reports and white papers. Many of these reports include industry survey results that provide invaluable inside information about what market leaders are doing as well as their forecasts for the future.
Bodies such as ICMI regularly publish useful white papers, while companies such as Dimension Data, Forrester Research and CCW are amazing sources of free trend reports and case studies.
Our current favorite is Dimension Data’s 2019 IT Trends Report published in December last year.
Attend Industry Events
Perhaps the best (and most fun) way to stay up to speed with what is happening in the contact center industry tech space is to attend conferences and expos, the biggest being ICMI, Enterprise Connect and CCW to name a few. Not only will you be able to see all the latest contact center software and innovations together under one roof, but you will also be able to hear industry leaders talk shop at expertly curated panels and conferences.
Who knows, you might stumble across a lesser-known product that ticks all your boxes perfectly.
What To Look For In New Tech?
Now that you have done some research and have a fairly good idea of where the market is going, we return to our first question: do you innovate just for the sake of innovating?
To answer, we have to go back to our first point about looking inward. What are your strategic goals and how will technology allow you to meet those goals? For example, if your company wants to go multichannel, you need to identify what technology will support that functionality and meet your needs.
Perhaps the most important question you can ask yourself is – will this tech add value to my business?
Utilizing the latest technology in your business means nothing if it does not serve a valuable purpose. By all means, move on from legacy systems that prevent you from moving forward, but when it comes to investing in the new, you have to do your homework.
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