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The talk surrounding the next-generation, multimedia contact center tends to focus on the cloud computing conversation. And, while cloud-based contact centers are gaining traction, the deployment method is not nearly as important as the features included in the selected contact center software.

After all, customers don’t care if the center operates in the cloud – they just want results. To that end, Zeacom President, Ernie Wallerstein recently shared his insight in a post in Smart Business, highlighting the five keys for the next-generation contact center. He stresses high-value customer interactions, top-class customer support, multimedia queuing, and the prompt and professional delivery of all responses.

Why do these elements matter? More than 80 percent of companies in North America use the customer experience as a key differentiator; those not on board will quickly lose market share. But establishing high quality customer interactions as a priority takes more than just a desire to outshine the competition. Customer service organizations need to be able to meet these expectations within budget. And, the larger the customer base, the more likely the company is operating under tight margins, making it even more important to deliver exceptional service within the boundaries of available resources. Selecting the right contact center software that fits your budget and meets expectations is critical for success.

With Wallerstein’s insight, helpdesks and service organizations can better understand how to prioritize what’s important in their search for the solution. The following are the five features that must be supported:

1. Multimedia queuing – today’s customer no longer sticks to voice calls alone to contact a company, and he or she expects a seamless experience whether on the phone, via e-mail or SMS messaging. The call center software selected must support the same prompt responses regardless of the channel.

2. Skills-based routing – while routing has long been an important tool in the call center, a heavier focus on skill is critical to ensure the right agent handles each customer call. When a customer doesn’t have to be transferred and the issue is resolved quickly, the company spends less money to keep a customer satisfied.

3. Presence – the availability of real-time information regarding the whereabouts of any staff member is critical to the smooth operation of the contact center, especially with skills-based routing in place. Call center software that allows for mouse and keyboard movement tracking and personal scheduling monitoring help to maximize the efficiency of the center overall.

4. Proven technology – no call center software solution should be selected that hasn’t proven its value in the field. Everything looks good on paper – but how does it perform in real-world situations? Will it scale to meet business demands? What do current customers report?

5. Professional services – even the best performing call center software must still have excellent support to ensure continuity. Professional services should also provide training and business optimization to allow the contact center to focus on handling customer interactions.

Zeacom has established itself in the market as a leading provider of software and solutions that not only meet the needs of the next-generation contact center, but also perform according to expectations in the field. To learn more about Zeacom, please visit http://www.zeacom.com