The lack of a consolidated desktop and CRM application is the most glaring hole in the contact centre industry, according to observers.
Speaking at the Customer Connect contact centre forum in Sydney, Dimension Data global CEO Andrew Briggs said contact centres will be unable to fully automate processes unless operators have an "easy to use desktop [CRM] that allows them to store and access information" across all customer "fronting" points.
Specifically, Briggs said centres need a CRM which allows operators to immediately access and input customer information, resolve and document conflicts, and lodge and forward data between customer access points.
"If managers sit in the operator seat they will realize the issue is not about the number of systems, it's about rapid access to the right information which allows you to identify sales opportunities," Briggs said.
"Improvement starts by managing everything as one holistic program with an aggregate view of all [customer access points] and consideration for interdependencies.
Only one delegate from about 80 - representing banks, state government agencies and enterprises - responded when asked by Briggs if they have deployed a "well constructed" desktop system in their contact centre. He said such a system would extend cross-selling and up-selling opportunities, reduce costs and, most importantly, improve customer service.
However, Briggs added that there are no silver bullets, noting that good governance requires solid process management. He cited statistics which revealed that contact centre operators spend 13 percent of their time idle, 61 percent occupied with customer service, and 14 percent training.
About 25 percent of the conference delegates said they have proper process documentation which Briggs says is essential for outsourcing, scheduling and reporting, and mobility.
"Quality outsourcing relies on quality process documentation above issues with language and culture," Briggs said, adding that most criticism is targeted at process management rather than technology.
Genesys global customer experience manager Vicki Shields said contact centres build a false sense of security around customer service levels because it is their focal point.
She said some 80 percent of businesses falsely believe they deliver superior customer service, while only 8 percent of their customers agree.
"A good customer experience will give you the edge because it can't be replicated, unlike technology," Shields said.
She said good customer service will remove silos, boost employee morale, and assert the strategic advantage of the contact centre to the business.