Gary E. BarnettJune 28, 2017

The Contact Center Industry is Exciting…Again!

  • “How can we get our customers connected to the right information faster?”
  • “We can’t forget the importance of convenience.”
  • “Simplification. We need everything to just be simpler. Is that possible?”
  • “We have to focus on our transformation journey while also growing our business.  It’s not easy.”
  • “We are excited to embrace bots, AI and even IoT, especially if these technologies can improve our customer and agent experiences.”
  • These are just a few of the challenges heard around the expo floor and in the Avaya Innovation Lounge here at Call Center Week this week. The topics are many. The conversations are inspiring. The need to digitally transform is painfully obvious.

    There is no doubt that contact center leaders are feeling the pressure to have their centers and their agents perform more efficiently, faster and with more insight. Companies today are mostly competing on customer experience. Many contact center decision makers are realizing that just upgrading technology will not suffice in this transformational era. Transformation is a journey. The technology purchase decisions made should be open, scalable, and flexible enough to undergo the entire journey and beyond.

    Now that we are about three years into digital transformation of enterprise communications, the contact center has taken center stage. The intensity of the spotlight has attracted other influencers such as the Chief Marketing Officer, the Chief Experience Officer, VP of Customer Service, and so forth. These executives are finding that their business priorities and goals are attached to customer experience outcomes. As a result, they want to understand what technology purchase decisions are being made and why. What does this mean? The traditional contact center decision makers can no longer go it alone.

    No surprise that the battle cry for simplification is louder than ever. This need for simplification is rooted in the fact that transformation is happening very quickly. The faster companies transform, the faster they can adopt newer technologies such as AI and IoT to improve customer and agent experiences. However, with any new technology comes the need to simultaneously begin transforming the agent’s experience. The newer technologies, including omnichannel, need to quickly become as intuitive to the agents as a voice call or email. To do this, training the agent needs to be easy and efficient. This is where automated workflows, consistent and intuitive agent desktop, and the ability to quickly design and customize both become a huge benefit. Likewise, built-in call/screen capture recording and quality monitoring, supervisors and managers can quickly spot areas of training/improvement across all channels. They can observe interactions and provide coaching as well.

    To borrow a line from the original Top Gun movie: “I feel the need, the need for speed.” Though not said exactly like Maverick and Goose, speed is a very trendy topic at this event. Business at the speed of thought is our goal at Avaya. We challenge ourselves to keep this idea top of mind when developing and innovating. Speed is key. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear some people here are actually talking faster than normal because they feel the need for speed!

    It’s an adrenaline rush to be here, especially in the Avaya Innovation Lounge where many people are realizing that Avaya is the ideal trusted advisor with the expertise, the right portfolio, and the partner eco-system to digitally transform a contact center. As challenging as it is, I truly believe that digital transformation has made the contact center industry very exciting again.

Gary E. Barnett

Gary Barnett is senior vice president and general manager of the Engagement Solutions business unit at Avaya. In his current role, Barnett has responsibility for Avaya's customer engagement, team engagement and mobile engagement portfolios. Gary was a founding engineer at Octel, the founder and CEO of Prospect Software, and later served as president and CEO of Aspect Communications.

Read Articles by Gary E. Barnett


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