“Too many people spend a fortune to buy a great product, and then break it by not doing the implementation properly,” says Jacques du Toit of Vox Orion.
“A call centre is a complex human and technical environment,” he adds. “You can’t just buy new systems and plug them in. The trick is in how you integrate it: Did the consultant understand your business processes and how different systems need to work together?”
Breaking expensive tech
There are two major ways to break expensive technology, says Du Toit. “The first is failing to pay your consultants to do a detailed business analysis together with a complete implementation; the second is failing to manage your people and their behavioural changes to their working environment. Either one could leave you with a white elephant on your hands.”
Before making any technology decisions, call centres should carefully assess their needs. “What kind of growth is expected, do you do mainly inbound or outbound work, do you have a requirement for converged messaging, voice and video services, how much social media capability do you need and what are your strategic technology needs?”
Knowing your options
A small contact centre might do well with a hosted, open-source platform, says Du Toit, with costs starting at R70 per extension per month. “Hosted platforms give you all the advantages of flexibility and scalability at low cost, but you may have to tweak your processes to fit the technology.”
“At the other end of the scale is technology that can cost up to R3 500 per extension per month and take up to a year to implement,” says Du Toit.
“There’s a place for both the inexpensive and fast and the state of the art systems. You need to choose a consultant who will work with you to choose the option that is most appropriate for your own business.”