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Benefits of IP Contact Centers – The Hard and Soft Benefits of IP-Based Contact Centers

Benefits of IP Contact Centers – The Hard and Soft Benefits of IP-Based Contact Centers

Benefits of IP Contact Centers – The Hard and Soft Benefits of IP-Based Contact Centers

By Donna Fluss

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Internet protocol (IP) contact centers are viable and deserve the serious consideration of enterprises considering a new investment or replacement of an existing solution. The leading vendors are investing substantially in their IP-based offerings, most of which are getting close to reaching functional parity with traditional time division multiplexing (TDM)-based offerings.

Enterprises that select an appropriate solution and invest in its implementation will realize great benefits and a rapid payback. However, the benefits will vary based on many factors, including whether it’s a new implementation, replacement system, single or multi-site environment; whether the organization is capable of converging voice and data networks; and how knowledgeable and technically sophisticated the support staff is. Keep in mind that like TDM, IP is a way to transport transactions (calls, emails, chat sessions. The major difference is that while TDM addresses only phone calls, IP handles transactions in all channels the same way.

The benefits for IP-based contact centers are both hard and soft. Hard benefits can be quantified and represent dollar savings. Soft benefits can be just as real as hard ones, but are more difficult to measure. Managers looking to obtain approval for an IP contact center should justify their investment based on hard dollar savings. Most chief financial officers (CFOs) will accept financial justifications based on hard dollar benefits only. While hard dollar savings should be used for the financial justification, soft benefits can be substantial.

Here is a list of the hard and soft benefits of IP-based contact centers:

Hard Benefits

  1. Reduction in network management costs for multi-site environments – IP contact center environments eliminate the need for network management software and related traffic charges.
  2. Decrease in call routing time for multi-site environments – reduces the time (and related carrier charges) for routing calls.
  3. Convergence of voice and data networks – eliminates the need for and cost of having a staff to handle voice traffic.
  4. Reduction in maintenance costs – as there is no longer a need to maintain separate voice and data networks, support costs will be less.
  5. Reduction of routing and queuing systems for multi-channel environments – IP handles all transactions similarly. This eliminates having to purchase and maintain separate systems to manage different channels, such as phone, email, chat, etc.

Soft Benefits

  1. Simplified network management – IP streamlines the processing of contacts because eliminates the need for separate voice and data networks.
  2. Standardized handling and enhanced service for all transactions – IP handles all transactions, such as calls, emails and chat sessions, as data packets. IP allows enterprises to deal with all transactions similarly and, therefore, to provide the same high level of service to all transaction types.
  3. Improved customer satisfaction and loyalty – This is a benefit of standardized handling of all transactions. Before IP-based contact centers, companies struggled to provide consistent service for all channels because they had different systems to manage each medium. IP-based contact centers allow enterprises to handle all channels in the same system and apply the same routing and queuing rules to all types of transactions. The result is more timely responses to emails and chat sessions, which enhances customer satisfaction.
  4. Added flexibility in supporting multi-site environment – IP-based contact centers do not care where end-points” are located. So agents can be in a formal contact center environment, in a branch office, or in a home office.
  5. Increased agent satisfaction and reduced agent attrition – agents who are allowed to work in the comfort of their own homes or other locations of their choosing are less likely to quit and more likely to be satisfied.

Network Bandwidth is Critical

The major issue that still confronts IP-based contact centers is network bandwidth. This is a critical path issue that must be addressed in advance of making an investment in an IP-based contact center, as it will offset any potential benefits. Whether a single site or multi-site contact center, network bandwidth capacity must be assessed to make sure that it is adequate to provide a consistent and high level of performance and service, even at peak transaction volume.

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