- Eric Berg
Changing Technology - Steps to follow.
Customer behaviors are changing, and technology is changing to keep up with them. The question is, Are you?
Keeping up with the changing behaviors of customers can be a daunting task. New communication tools and technologies are coming out every year. Todays customers expect technology to help them communicate and work with the companies in manners consistent with how they communicate and work with their friends and families. In many cases, customers are leaving companies that are not using tools that make it easy to get service.
The changing habits of our customers causes us to have to change the technology we are using to meet our customer demands, but where do we start?
In this article I will outline five steps to bringing in new technology. These steps will help guide you and ease the strain of bringing on new technology, while ensuring you bring on the correct products to meet your unique needs.
Avoid common pitfalls
· Smoke and mirrors – saw a demo, loved it, bought it.
· Everyone else is using it
· Quadrant section – just because it is in a “magic Quadrant” does not mean it’s right for you
· Limiting selection to incumbent tech only
· Not understanding what you need.
The best way to set us up for failure is to buy technology without fully understanding the functional and non-functional requirements. But what are they and how do I create a document that aligns with my goals?
For those of us that are in endless meetings you may not like this part. We must meet with people in our organization to better understand the issues we need to solve, and the requirements needed to solve those issues. This is broken down into Function (what the technology does) and non-functional requirements (how the technology works).
This is the operational side of the requirements. In other words what do we need the technology to do? For this we will need to meet with agents, supervisors and executives of the contact center to identify the gaps in our current solution, document what we need technology to solve and create a list of functions needed to solve the problem. Typically, these could include business processes, administrative functions, reporting capabilities, access or authorization levels, user interface and usability, integration with other systems, and implementation/change management.
Once we have the list of all the requirements everyone wants, we will need to weight the requirements based on must haves, nice to haves and not important. This will be critical later in our process to select the correct partner.
Nonfunctional requirements cover many of the requirements not covered in function and typically are prioritized by your IT team. Some of the nonfunctional requirements include:
· Reliability/up time
· Data integrity
Non function requirements relate to the quality of the technology and ensure the system will perform when needed and within best practices for technology.
With many problems there are many solutions. Navigating all the providers to determine which is best for your company, often times should start with a procurement/selection process that includes one or more of the following:
· Request for Information
· Request for Proposal
· Request for Quote
Your RFI/RFP/RFQ should be aligned to your requirements document. Through this process we can vet several technology providers to determine which solutions possess the features and functions we need to me meet our customer experience needs and goals. Additionally, this is our first opportunity to see pricing of each provider and compare.
Now that we have completed the RFP/RFQ process and have narrowed our vendors down to the top 3-5, we need to schedule demos of the technology that can showcase how the technology will provide a solution to our unique challenges. Creating a demo scorecard will ensure everyone on the decision team is score carding the vendors based on weighting and functionality that is critical to our organizational goals.
The scorecard should be broken into at least three sections; Functional requirements checklist; Nonfunctional requirements checklist; Cost comparison. Some decision guides also allow for stakeholders to rate the technology based on the user interface and the overall look, feel and ease of use.
Then throughout the demos everyone can use the scorecard as a guide to ask appropriate questions and ensure each provider accurately demonstrates how their respective technology will solve the challenges we have.
Once the demos are complete and everyone submits their scorecards, we need to assemble the results and create a decision guide/ recommendations document that outlines the solutions and gaps of the finalists. Once this is done, there is typically a front runner that we can begin negotiations with. Some companies prefer to single source negotiate with only the top vendor; some prefer to negotiate 2-3 vendors against each other. If the technology providers meet the requirements of our company, both ways can result in cost savings.
ContactCenterPRO Consulting provides FREE technology selection consulting to qualifying companies. We work with you to create a custom requirements document, RFP and Decision guides to compare all vendors apples to apples. We provide you the tools to make the right decision. Email eric@CCProConsulting.com to learn more and get started.