Avoid Implementation Potholes on Your Path to Cloud Telephony
There was a time in the not too distant past when early adopters of contact center technology were beginning to consider Cloud Telephony. But that is no longer the case today; premise-based telephony is becoming more and more expensive, while cloud-based systems are able to provide a completely new level of reporting and functionality.
If you're not already using it, you're falling short of the key benefits Cloud Telephony provides, as shown in the image below — perhaps the most important benefit is the ability to locate agents anywhere.
Source: The State of Salesforce Report
As Bluewolf works with companies around the world to help them implement Cloud Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) as well as full Cloud Telephony to support their Salesforce Sales and Service Clouds, we have identified these key elements to ensure a smooth transition. Our research into Service Cloud's impact on customer engagement shows that 14% of salesforce customers are currently invested in telephony, and over the next twelve months, we predict a growth of 30% or more.
Make sure that you are well-positioned to capitalize on this growth. When implementing Service Cloud, above all else, ensure that there is a solid project plan. In most cases, the telephony vendor will be responsible for creating and managing the implementation plan. While it is a technology-focused project, you will also want to ensure that the plan includes two key elements to drive internal understanding and adoption for this new functionality:
- Develop a deep understanding of the “business” side of your center.
Ensure you have a good understanding of how business is really conducted in the contact center. Our customers tell us that they expect Cloud Telephony to drive service success through improved screen-pops, outbound dialing lists, new levels of reporting and more. When gathering requirement, meet with key leaders to develop the goals for the program. It is important to design detailed workflows that outline exactly how each group plans to use the new telephony. We also recommend side-by-side sessions with agents, as well as meeting with the frontline supervisors to understand that expectations and metrics are aligned and measured accurately - setting the right expectations for each group. The new technology will allow you to improve many of the processes (call lists, hold messages, voice mail messages, screen-pops, dashboards, etc.), so it is important to understand how these work today – and how they should work in the future.
- Ensure your IT and Network teams are actively engaged in the project.
The complexity of Cloud Telephony reaches across many areas of the IT organization. The Telephony and Network groups have always worked together — but perhaps not as tightly as required for Cloud Telephony. As part of the process, you will most likely move from your server-based, internal Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) system. This system is typically maintained by a Telephony administrator who is responsible for the managing the system, ordering new lines, and managing routing and load balancing. The move to Cloud Telephony will most likely mean that some of this work will be moved to a new system administrator. This person needs to have an understanding of how the new application works as well as support from several other teams — the CRM application, such as Salesforce, Networking, Firewall, Marketing, and the Telephony teams. Each one plays a critical part in making sure that calls reach the right agent at the right time in order to provide a good customer experience.
The marriage between Cloud Telephony/CTI and Salesforce is great addition to any company’s contact center. While screen-pops are the most well known functionality, the ability to create calling lists and auto-populate interactions straight from the soft-phone application, can reduce talk time and provide a better experience for the agent and the customer. When it is done right, the benefits are many.
Choosing the right vendor is also a must. Ensure the vendor has real client stories to support what they say they can do. Ask how they have solved typical setup problems like network latency and phone-system compatibility (how many times have they integrated with your Avaya, Cisco, etc.). Have them share their training plans and examples before you sign the contract. In the next installment of this blog series, I will discuss specific tactics for choosing the right Cloud Telephony partner, and share five attributes of a true partner.
With the right planning, moving to Cloud Telephony can be a pothole-free experience that will allow you to improve the experience of your agents, as well as your customers.