One of the benefits of having a contact center and not just simply a call center is that it allows businesses to use more advanced forms of communication to stay in touch with their target market. In the case of B2B markets, flexible communication is even more important because business owners use these new technologies to engage their own customers.
However, as in any industry these days, you need to quickly identify if your agents are really working with the technology that they have or are just struggling to live without it. The same applies if you turn it around. So many marketers easily cave-in to hype and adapt these new forms simply because they're new.
Such is not a good response to change and is not going to give you any progress. Both situations are the result of too much pride that it blinds them to any flaws. You just have one side who overestimates human skill while the other overestimates technology. You can see these in outsourced marketing firms as much as you will see it within your own company's marketing team. But regardless of which describes your lead generator, you need to bring them back down to earth and objectively view these elements. Instead of setting them up to fight, why not see how well they can support each other?
- For technology – Skeptics of technology often challenge new forms by asking one simple question: How does this help? You should ask the same question. Don't just invest in or outsource something unless you understand how the technology helps agents perform. For example, will the data gathered result in insight to overall market behavior? Can this new channel of communication help generate permission for outbound telemarketing? How do you calculate the results to see if it's really effective? You can even simply ask if this can at least help your agents work just a little bit faster without compromising quality. Again, the key is to stay objective and not cave-in to hype.
- For agents – If the technology is proven to help agents work, then they'd better use it. Integrating new technology isn't often as wasteful as some critics claim. The waste could actually be their own fault and it's your job to see if that is the case. Just as technology is capable of improving marketing efforts, marketers should have a complimentary amount of expertise to understand how why this is so. One example is when you enforce the use of email to help qualify sales leads. Therefore, your agents must understand how email actually helps in enhancing engagement with prospects.
As they say, tools are only as good as the people who use them. Taking pride in only either human effort or advanced technology only blinds you to what you can really do. Today, new technology only continues to offer new ways to engage markets and gather information about them. Such means of recording, calculating, and organizing data is beyond human capacity. On the other hand, what good is all that when you can't understand how it all helps in generating qualified leads? That requires a human mind and not just coded algorithms.
So when you're evaluating a contact center, make sure that its agents know the difference between using technology to enhance their efforts and simply trying to substitute one for the other. Both human skill and technology have limits as much as advantages.