Tips for contact centers

Related Links

One-stop shops

As they deploy contact centers that can field inquiries via multiple channels such as e-mail and telephone, federal agencies need to be mindful of potential pitfalls that could severely handicap the systems, according to Esteban Kolsky, a senior research analyst at Gartner Inc.

The multichannel contact-center system, which accounts for about 15 percent to 20 percent of the $2.4 billion customer relationship market worldwide, is the quintessential government application, Kolsky said. It has become a staple at local and state governments but "is still a new concept at the federal level," he said. For those launching such a system, he offers this advice:

Keep the customer experience consistent. "Consistency is the biggest challenge because in most multichannel implementations, each channel is a separate solution with separate operators...systems [and] procedures," Kolsky said. Because customers deal with only one organization, they expect to obtain the same information and experience from the different channels.

Pick the right reps for the channels. Each channel requires different skills: E-mail respondents must have writing skills, and call agents must be articulate and address questions in real time. Attempts to use blended agents to handle both channels have not proven successful, Kolsky said.

Always tell customers what to expect. They need to know how long it will take to get an answer, and they expect that interval to be no more than 48 hours, regardless of the channel, he said.

The Fed 100

Read the profiles of all this year's winners.

Featured

  • Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump at a 2016 campaign event. Image: Shutterstock

    'Buy American' order puts procurement in the spotlight

    Some IT contractors are worried that the "buy American" executive order from President Trump could squeeze key innovators out of the market.

  • OMB chief Mick Mulvaney, shown here in as a member of Congress in 2013. (Photo credit Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

    White House taps old policies for new government makeover

    New guidance from OMB advises agencies to use shared services, GWACs and federal schedules for acquisition, and to leverage IT wherever possible in restructuring plans.

  • Shutterstock image (by Everett Historical): aerial of the Pentagon.

    What DOD's next CIO will have to deal with

    It could be months before the Defense Department has a new CIO, and he or she will face a host of organizational and operational challenges from Day One

  • USAF Gen. John Hyten

    General: Cyber Command needs new platform before NSA split

    U.S. Cyber Command should be elevated to a full combatant command as soon as possible, the head of Strategic Command told Congress, but it cannot be separated from the NSA until it has its own cyber platform.

  • Image from Shutterstock.

    DLA goes virtual

    The Defense Logistics Agency is in the midst of an ambitious campaign to eliminate its IT infrastructure and transition to using exclusively shared, hosted and virtual services.

  • Fed 100 logo

    The 2017 Federal 100

    The women and men who make up this year's Fed 100 are proof positive of what one person can make possibile in federal IT. Read on to learn more about each and every winner's accomplishments.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group