Meeting the Challenges of a Global Contact Center

Not so long ago, organizations needed little more than telephones and Internet connectivity to create a functional contact center. However, these operations are substantially more complicated today in a world of 24×7 operations and international markets requiring “follow the sun” customer service across a variety of communication channels.

To address these shifts, organizations have invested in powerful platforms designed to improve the customer experience. These platforms unite telephony, email, voicemail, messaging, mobility, conferencing and more to create a single “omnichannel” experience. They deliver advanced analytics, consolidated reporting, routing management and more in an effort to respond quickly and efficiently to customers anytime, anywhere.

Still, companies often find global operations present very specific challenges. Because customers may come from various countries, agents can often encounter cultural, language and even legal barriers. Even in organizations with multilingual agents, ensuring that calls get routed to the right agents can be a difficult proposition.

Because customer experience drives customer choice, global businesses are continually investing in contact centers technologies that can help them improve that experience. They are hiring and training agents to handle complex interactions — and 85 percent of contact center professionals expect these contacts will become even more complex in the next two years, according to a recent Deloitte study.

More and more organizations are choosing to deal with this complexity by switching from on-premises contact center infrastructure to cloud-based platforms that provide access to the latest technology and applications without a large capital investment. Additionally, a cloud approach can provide more flexibility and agility by allowing companies to scale assets up or down to meet changing demands.

Cloud solutions such as the latest release of Five9’s Virtual Contact Center (VCC) are particularly effective for global operations. A proprietary global routing engine intelligently distributes contacts to one of the in-region points of presence (PoPs) the company has established in Australia, Japan, China and other locations around the world. By keeping calls in region, the solution ensures high voice quality and low latency, while dramatically reducing instances when language and cultural barriers interfere with effective communication.

This intelligent routing capability gives companies control over their inbound interactions on any communication channel, including voice, text, social and email. A skills-based routing feature enables contacts to be sent to specific queues based on variables such as language, skillset, geographic proximity or waiting time.

Organizations can run multilingual and international contact center operations within a single-tenant platform with language localization. Five9 uses a fully externalized string architecture that makes it easy and inexpensive to adapt new languages and support character sets such as Japanese and Chinese.

These are all features likely to help create a positive customer experience. In the Deloitte study, 66 percent of contact center executives said quality of information was the most important attribute of a successful interaction, while ease of interaction was a close second at 62 percent. Language and cultural differences can clearly have a negative effect on those qualities.

According to Forbes magazine, around 70 percent of world GDP growth over the next few years will come from emerging markets. In a global marketplace, more and more companies are establishing customer bases in these regions — often without considering the customer service challenges and the strain placed contact center operations. This is one reason why industry analysts believe cloud-based contact center solutions such as Five9’s VCC will experience rapid growth in the near term.