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contact center uc integration

A Guest Blog from Aberdeen Research

The contact center is the nerve center of most businesses as it relates to customer experience management programs. This is no surprise; the modern contact center is very different than the call center of yesterday. The latter meant companies addressing customer requests when clients would call the company to seek support. Instead, the modern contact center enables customers to address their needs themselves through self-service. It also determines those issues that are best addressed through agents and can assist clients across multiple channels. Customers today can not only call a business, but they can email, text message, video, and chat to address their needs.

Despite this growing complexity and the importance of contact centers being able to manage customer experiences, Aberdeen research shows that only 58% of companies align contact center activities with the rest of the business (e.g., sales, marketing, and back office) to deliver seamless customer experiences. What’s more? Only 37% of contact centers currently use unified communications (UC) to enable agents to easily communicate and collaborate with one another and colleagues throughout the rest of the business. Figure 1 shows that firms integrating unified communications within their contact center activities reap their reward in the form of superior performance.

Figure 1: Integrate UC within Your Contact Center for Customer Satisfaction & Operational Efficiency

number of companies integrating uc and contact center

Briefly, what is UC? UC refers to companies using a set of technologies that allows employees throughout the business to interact with one another through various modes of communication. These include phone, video, chat, etc. UC also enables employees to use a single number to communicate through all these channels, making it easier to communicate and collaborate across the organization. However, technology is only the delivery mechanism for UC. The goal for most UC platforms is to help contact center agents and other employees communicate and collaborate more efficiently.

Data shows that when companies integrate UC within their contact center activities they outperform those without it across several areas. First, they enjoy superior agent productivity – a metric reflecting how well an agent uses their time to address customer requests. This metric will suffer (decrease) when agents can’t access right insights. In turn, customers whose needs aren’t met efficiently are more likely to be unsatisfied. Findings in Figure 1 validate these two outcomes. By allowing contact center agents to more easily communicate and collaborate through unified communications, firms increase agent productivity by 3.0-times more year-over-year and improve customer satisfaction rates by 3.2-times annually, compared to contact centers without UC.

Annual performance improvements between companies with contact center & UC integration vs. all others are staggering in their decrease of customer complaints. Because agents can more easily communicate and collaborate across sales, marketing, and the back office, they are more likely to address client issues at the first point of contact. Indeed, companies with contact center and UC integration enjoy 2.8-times greater annual increase in first contact resolution rates. These firms are also more likely to do so in a shorter amount of time (hint: shorter average handle times), compared to firms without this integration.

Using UC in your contact center can truly be a differentiator. However, it will only yield desired long-term gains when coupled with the right activities that will help agents do more through better communication and collaboration. Listen to a webinar to learn more about how savvy firms maximize their contact center results through UC.

About the Author

Omer Minkara is the Vice President, Principal Analyst within Aberdeen Group. In his research, Omer covers the Best-in-Class practices and emerging trends in the technologies and business processes used to enhance customer experience across multiple interaction channels (e.g. social, mobile, web, email and call center). Omer’s research is widely consumed by senior-level Customer Care, Marketing, Sales and Service executives. He has published numerous industry research papers, which are used by executives worldwide to build and nurture strategic customer engagement programs. Omer also speaks frequently with global decision makers to discuss their customer management activities.