Unified communications (UC) solutions are found in nearly every enterprise, and the benefits they provide, including enhanced communication (even at a distance) and improved collaboration within teams and between business units, enable cost savings by reducing travel, and much more. But, one, sometimes overlooked, business case for UC is improving customer engagement.
Nemertes has repeatedly found that integrating unified communications and contact center technology correlates with higher contact center technology success, better operational success, and greater customer satisfaction. Agents are happy to be able to do things like use instant messaging to communicate with peers, supervisors, and other business units to ask questions on the fly without having to place customers on hold or transfer them. Customers receive more personalized, effective, and efficient service; they avoid sitting on hold while agents either scramble to find the right person with the information they need or transfer them around hoping that they eventually find the “right agent.” An effectively integrated UC/contact center strategy ensures that every agent can be that right one for any particular inquiry.
Some organizations even queue UC interactions and use them to expand their multichannel capabilities. For instance, internal helpdesks may allow customers to use instant messaging to submit a support ticket. Others extend screen-sharing or remote control capabilities to guide customers step-by-step through complex scenarios rather than having to talk them through the process.
Despite the potential benefits of integrating UC and contact center, in our 2016 Contact Center Benchmark, Nemertes found only 16% of companies integrating these technologies today. Another 24% are evaluating how to do so in future. If integrating UC and contact center is so beneficial, why are more IT leaders not doing so today? The short answer is often that they didn’t think to do so or didn’t realize it was an option. This is especially true for the 75% of organizations that use different vendors for contact center routing and UC. But, even in this scenario, integration is often still an option, and the benefits to integrating are worth the effort.
For example, Nemertes finds that most companies (63%) use Microsoft Skype for Business (formerly Lync) somewhere in the organization for instant messaging, voice/video chat, and web conferencing. Unlike other large UC vendors (e.g., Avaya, Cisco, etc.), Microsoft does not offer its own contact center solution. So, it’s not entirely surprising that IT leaders don’t immediately think to integrate Skype for Business with contact center; in fact, only 5% have done so. Yet, likely due to the same benefits described above that are not limited to any particular vendor, integrating Skype for Business and contact center correlates to higher contact center operational success and greater customer satisfaction.
Regardless of whether using the same vendor for UC and contact center or different vendors, IT leaders should evaluate the best way to integrate these solutions. Why miss out on the obvious and proven benefits?