What’s Driving Overspending in the Contact Center?

Spend Matters welcomes another guest post from Matt West of NPI, a spend management consultancy focused on delivering savings in the areas of IT, telecom, and transportation.

The in-sourced contact center is a microcosm of IT complexity within the business. With innovation rapidly transforming how agents interact with customers (both internal and external), many enterprises have become reactive in how they source and manage contact center IT. The result is most companies are overspending by a wide margin on their in-sourced contact center technology and telecom investments.

So, what’s driving that overspending?

  • The complexity of the contact center IT ecosystem. A vast amount of IT and telecom solutions are required to handle the demands on today’s contact centers. The typical contact center technology ecosystem comprises a wide range of inbound and outbound calling services (including PRIs, SIP trunking, toll-free and advanced toll-free services); hardware such as call managers, call recording, automated call distribution, legacy PBXs.; a myriad of software; and professional services.
  • The migration to the omni-channel. Customer demand is pushing today’s call centers toward the omni-channel. Support and service is no longer limited to phone and email. Agents are expected to perform their jobs using chat, texting, remote desktop and social media – in addition to traditional methods.
  • The outdated IT infrastructure of many call center environments. The move to digital channels of communication has underscored another problem in contact center IT management - the technology platforms, hardware and software in many centers are outdated. This is especially true for in-sourced call center operations that have been in place for some time, and have been under budget pressure. This challenge continues to grow as legacy systems must be integrated with next-generation technologies in order to support new contact center and customer service initiatives and stay competitive.
  • The reactive IT sourcing culture. The pressure to add a new feature or function to enhance call quality ASAP – whether driven by customer service, competitive, or operational reasons - can make the cost control and sourcing environment within many contact centers largely reactive. The time and research between “we need to do this now” and vendor negotiations has been greatly compressed.

Regaining cost control of contact center IT requires a commitment to cutting through the layers of complexity, understanding what drives vendor behavior and pricing, and creating a technology roadmap that will support the success of the organization in the short and long term. With this insight, buyers can level the playing field. They can also engineer a profitable client-vendor relationship that protects a fair and reasonable vendor margin while making budgetary room for new IT projects that will improve service and support operations.

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First Voice

  1. Francis Carden:

    I concur with the general premise of this blog but it’s also a little counter intuitive thinking when in fact most Call Centers are looking to “cut” costs (driven by a number of factors). Thus the thinking of the “how do we do more with what we’ve already got” is what we hear day in day out. It can amount to the same thing I suppose but the truth is, any “replacement” of technology is always 2-3 times the cost what a vendor will tell you it is!

    I tell our call centers accounts (we are driving close to 1/2 million agent optimization users today) to focus on technology that takes any of the existing products they already use – and enhance them. BUT it doesn’t end there. You need to do it quickly (Agile) with near immediate (or at least in-your-face obvious) ROI’s. Today, the software exists to get you results quickly, i.e. the required “spending” controls whilst really impacting what you care about – improved customer satisfaction and happier workers!

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