VoicenData Bureau
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Call center is an important part of business strategy for any enterprise

today, since it is the lowest medium in terms of cost efficiency for enterprises

to interface with their customers. It is critical for any enterprise to have

uniformity and consistency in communications with its customers through all

channels. The market size for contact center solutions is around $110 mn.


The contact centers of today are maturing, and adaptation of voice is a must

have. Most call centers work toward enhancing the relationship with the customer

during the call; executives are no longer focused on closing the call in a

specified duration. Quality of service is key to ensuring operational

excellence. The focus is typically to better utilize the resources for resolving

complex queries rather than using them for mundane interactions.

In today's competitive scenario, it is critical to offer 24x7 access and

contact centers have adopted an 'always available' stance for incoming calls,

and to be able to get the right people to answer those calls as quickly as

possible. This calls for a solution which is scalable and flexible. The

enterprises are fast realizing that automation is becoming a key to reducing the

operational cost and dependencies on resources.


In a tough economic environment, it has become important to maximize the

resources available, while at the same time finding the balance of delivering a

significant customer experience. Companies are recognizing the growing

importance of improving operational efficiency and agent effectiveness with

fewer resources; hence investments in performance optimization solutions are


As a result of the worldwide economic crisis, enterprises are becoming more

and more price sensitive and competitive. Organizations are slowly moving toward

adopting the SaaS model which offers quicker RoI while reducing capex. The

unified communications platform is further likely to drive the market.

Apart from that, organizations in the SMB space are looking toward contact

center products which offer an all-in-one solution that is easy to install,

maintain and integrate, and should contain pre-packaged business intelligence

reports, scripts and IP PBX.


Tech Trends

Today, call centers are increasingly using technology infrastructure as a

differentiator highlighting better quality of service and hence, better

delivery. There is a definite focus toward IP-enabled contact centers.

IP-enabled contact centers with PBX, voice logger, universal queuing and routing

and advanced CRM capabilities providing minimal capital expenditure are likely

to be the most popular. An IP-based platform offers various business benefits

like lower cost of transport with IP as a medium of transport and enterprise

wide contact centers vis-a-vis disparate contact centers. This movement toward

an IP-based platform is likely to further help in virtualization of contact

center resources.

One of the most visible trend in the call center solutions industry is the

switch from IVR to speech recognition customer service solutions. These

solutions enable enterprises to offer their customers a more enriched user

experience, whereby consumers are able to conduct self service transactions in

the language of their choice. The conversational quality of these interactions

is believed to be more appealing than the tone dial commands of IVR.


Apart from that, hosted contact center solutions are rapidly gaining

acceptance with contact centers of all sizes as an alternative to premise-based

technology from traditional call center vendors. An increasing number of contact

centers are making the switch from legacy software and equipment that they

maintain in-house to solutions provided over the Internet as SaaS.

Another technology which is fast catching up in the call center solution

space is unified communications enabled contact center solutions. A unified

contact center architecture brings together IP telephony, customer interaction

technologies and UC capabilities such as rich presence, instant messaging,

shared directories and calendars to enable organizations to improve how

customers, contact center agents, and enterprise knowledge workers interact and


Since customer experience has become of critical importance in the current

era of economic slowdown, Customer Experience Management software are increasing

in popularity. CEM for contact centers helps in integrating the customer's

voices through various channels in an enterprise.


The new technologies in this segment basically revolve around to simplify and

streamline the desktop to optimize agents and the contact center operations. It

mostly boils down to a unified agent desktop approach wherein it presents the

right information when and wherever you need it. Also, the new technologies are

built around a modular service-oriented architecture (SOA) which provides

organizations with great flexibility to extend the functionalities and reduce

integration challenges.

There is also clearly a move towards VoIP and open standards such as SIP.

Open standards are particularly valuable to companies because they deliver

increased compatibility among components, enabling true interoperability. As

open standards continue to mature, there is going to be development of a number

of new and innovative products and services using new standards, such as

VoiceXML, SCXML, CCXML, which have been built on early protocol standards such

as HTTP and SIP.

Some vendors have introduced the Video Contact Center, which is effectively

the next evolution of the contact center.

Tips to the CIOs

  • Architectural Approach: The architecture should be flexible to take

    care of business continuity, rapid deployment of new sites and centralized

    technology management.
  • Scalability of Solution: Solution should be scalable to allow minimum

    investment in hardware and software
  • Product Obsolescence: Solution should be upgradeable from software and

    hardware perspective
  • Vendor's Product Vision: Vendor should have an excellent long term

    vision and roadmap for product development
  • Vendor Financial Stability: Vendor should be financially stable to

    ensure R&D commitment for product development and support

Vendor Demands

Back-end data integration is one of the recent demands from call center CIOs.

Customers spend considerable time researching products, managing accounts and

order information and resolving issues compared to a traditional

brick-and-mortar storefront. This requires contact centers to have a 360-degree

view of the customer, and thus integration of data from across the enterprise

has become a must for a contact center.

Channels such as the Web and phone self-service make ordering, status

checking and account updates available without utilizing an agent. CIOs at

contact centers need to seamlessly and efficiently manage all customer

interaction channels-phone, email, chat and Web.

Going forward, contact centers are going to increase in importance where

customer acquisition is concerned. Vendors are further going to drive the market

with the introduction of new and evolving technologies. The solution provider

should focus on the business needs of the enterprises to come out with

innovative products to meet business objectives.

Gagandeep Kaur