How can companies support their distributed agents operations or virtual contact centers more efficiently and, at the same time, consolidate the technology infrastructure and achieve important cost savings?

That is the challenge for many contact centers managers and finding an answer is not risk free; however, a successful path being followed by companies has proved itself.

A recent report conducted by the industry’s leading analyst, The Aberdeen Group, surveyed over 175 companies to see whether contact center infrastructure technologies can be consolidated to provide consistent and accurate information while supporting distributed agents and applications.

The report outlines the results that Best-in-Class organizations have seen across several key contact center metrics and compares the results with those of Industry Average and Laggard companies. The consolidation of the contact center infrastructure by Best-in-Class companies will reduce contact center expenses and improve contact center uptime.

How can companies achieve consolidation? According to the report, developing a culture that supports standardization, training, vendor management, and virtualization is critical to the success of the contact center. Specific recommendations to develop this culture and achieve Best-in-Class performance include:

  • Standardize customer support across all channels
  • Develop a ROI for consolidation projects
  • Implement e-learning to train agents
  • Implement a virtual contact center platform.

Aberdeen Implementation roadmap framework

There are several options to drive your consolidation efforts; however, you need to identify your goals and the characteristics of your organization before choosing a specific option. Some examples of different strategies, which can be complementary, in the report are as follows:

  1. Move all contact center agents to a single site – The main driver is cost reduction and this approach is recommended for small companies that do not have to provide 24×7 support.
  2. Manage multiple sites with intelligent routing – Supported by intelligent routing, many companies are deploying agents in offshore locations taking advantages of the cheap labor and technological advancements that allow a transparent and efficient management of this type of operations.
  3. Manage multiple sites with a single vendor platform – For contact centers that reached a certain level of maturity, the resulting effort of implementing this strategy will significantly reduce integration and communication issues.
  4. Place virtual contact centers on a single logical platform – This strategy is suitable for more sophisticated operations allowing the creation of a contact center without walls where agents can be connected, for example from their homes, without any service disruption or impact on the service level provided to customers.

The consolidation path is not easy and some inhibitors can delay or stall your efforts. When embracing such project it is critical to assure that the necessary corporate support is in place and the different stakeholders have the same understanding of the overall strategy. Some common problems may include:

  • Vendor performance issues
  • Lack of access to the necessary resources by the Implementation Team
  • Underestimated data transfer requirements
  • Site preparation
  • Partner training issues

Reducing costs is the main goal for all companies undergoing a contact center consolidation effort and the results can be rather astounding. Although cost reduction is important to the entire organization, specific areas, such as maintenance, agent headcount, IT, and management greatly benefit from it.

Source by Nuno Periquito