SKYPE FOR BUSINESS CONTACT CENTER
Thousands of companies have successfully deployed millions of Skype for Business seats, yet many still don’t think of Skype for Business as a platform for their contact center. What they may not know is that Skype for Business is a natural fit and has significant advantages over legacy PBX platforms.
Consider this: There have been more change in telephony technology in the last five years than in the last several decades, and many PBX systems are based on outdated technology. PBX hardware for contact centers will be nearly vestigial in a few years – Skype for Business will be better for your contact center in the future, even if it doesn’t look like the hardware you may be used to with phone wires sticking out of it. Here are five reasons why:
1. Multi-channel communications are here to stay
The industry has fundamentally changed as communications have gone digital – voice interactions will be in the minority as compared to new channels (e.g., IM and Web chat) by the end of 2016.1
Skype for Business was built from the ground up to support voice, IM, video, and screen sharing using the same underlying technology and user interface. It makes using separate software and devices unnecessary, and dramatically ramps up the learning curve for new agents.
Think of how little sense it makes to force (and train) users to use one software for calls, another for web chats, another for internal IMs, a separate desk phone for internal calling, and then something else for email or social media or video routing. Agents get pulled in many directions, which makes them less effective at customer service. It also can lead to agents becoming overwhelmed, which can lead to high turnover.
2. The contact center is moving to the cloud
The cloud is disrupting how contact centers are deployed: in 2016, 61% of companies are planning on moving their contact center to the cloud in some form, with only 23% planning to retain technology on premises.1 Microsoft has been very focused on building cloud functionality for Office 365 – such as Skype for Business Cloud PBX. Cloud functionality like this will make it much easier for companies to switch from on-premises deployment to the cloud in the future, and so keep their options open.
3. Development and Extensibility
Skype for Business has a robust development platform that allows contact center and other third-party vendors to automate and build on Skype for Business’s inherent capabilities to enable new features, rather than loosely tying together two or more separate pieces of technology to get contact center functionality. The “native” contact center solutions for Skype for Business generally don’t even require a desktop client application to be deployed at all. Anyone who is a Skype for Business user can handle contact center calls without further client-side installation – a game changer for quick setup and for mobility.
It’s becoming more important to enable people to take calls at multiple locations with
several devices, especially for subject-matter experts who may not take calls full time.
With Skype for Business, Microsoft put a great deal of effort into seamless and secure external access, so that users can take calls from outside the corporate network without compromising security for those communications. Contact center platforms built natively for Skype for Business leverage these investments in mobility and security without any additional effort.
With mobility optimized by Skype for Business, there are huge implications for speedy user on-boarding, disaster recovery, remote workers, and workers who move around or aren’t easily reachable on a desk phone.
5. Significant cost savings
Apart from all of the advantages for users and customers, one of the most compelling reasons to use Skype for Business for contact center is purely economic. Native contact center platforms for Skype for Business can enable all of the key contact center functionality you need without duplicating the core call connectivity, media processing, and security infrastructure that Skype for Business already provides. Since this infrastructure is often complex, specialized, and difficult to maintain, Skype for Business contact centers with the same functionality may be available at a lower price point than the equivalent in a legacy platform loosely integrated with Skype for Business. Provisioning and maintaining the contact center also becomes a much less burdensome proposition, eliminating the need for additional maintenance, staffing, planning, etc. for mostly duplicate infrastructure.