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West Executive Interview

Dan Gordon, SVP, Strategy and Development, West

1.  While nearly all companies seem to be aware of the benefits, what do you consider the most significant remaining barriers causing businesses to hold back from deploying a cloud solution for their contact center?

When you look at businesses that are still hesitant to convert to the cloud, I think a lot of apprehension stems from a combination of legacy IT equipment, ill-equipped staff, and a lack of available time and organizational resources. Brands think about the difficulty that integration can present as it relates to their legacy equipment, and their focus shifts to the price tag that could come with a major technical overhaul. Couple the prospect of costly upgrades with a concern for their current technical limitations and a lengthy deployment and you have a brand that has a hard time jumping. Instead of letting intimidation limit the future success of their CX, companies thinking about converting to the cloud should lean on the consultation of a skilled strategic partner with a proven track record of facilitating smooth, cost-effective client transitions.

2.  In what ways does West Interactive’s previous background of running a successful large-scale contact center operation make it a more effective technology partner?

At West, we spent decades honing our contact center management craft through firsthand experience. When you’re on the front-lines, you learn what makes the business tick pretty quickly—in everything from the needs of your contact center staff, to your customers, to how it all relates to the enterprise as a whole. That type of hands-on knowledge is what separates West, and puts us in the best position to help partners implement more personalized solutions that drive lasting impact organizationally and for the end customer.

3.  How does the multi-channel integration and routing capability of your Cloud Contact Center make it easy for enterprise organizations to coordinate the activities of front-line personnel in multiple call centers as well as work-at-home agents?

The foundation of a successful contact center strategy is an intelligent contact flow. Process agility means everything for companies seeking to achieve higher customer satisfaction while keeping operational costs low — which makes it easier to manage simple and complex inquires across multiple channels. CCC puts this type of agility within every company’s reach. The modern contact center expedites the training process and frees any agent to adapt contact flows in real time, virtually eliminating the need for costly IT involvement. Happier customers means happier agents. Happier agents means less turnover.

A company can lean on skills-based routing, for example, to intelligently route customers to a specifically trained agent. Or they can turn to demographic and data-directed routing to go beyond product or query level data points and provide a truly personalized experience. Even setting up a routing strategy focused around specialized treatment for VIP customers is something worth considering when working to drive more rewarding interactions.

4.  How does your solution help prevent data breaches, keep sensitive information confidential and ensure that all transactions are conducted with absolute security?

Imagine the typical interaction that takes place when a customer needs to relay his credit card information over the phone. The agent on the other end sees and hears everything, and when they don’t, they instead have to interrupt the call recording entirely in order to discreetly obtain the necessary information. Our Secure Transactions solution, powered by Eckoh, is the first and only voice solution in the U.S. that eliminates sensitive data from ever entering the contact center. Because it exists only in the cloud, agents can never see, hear or access sensitive numerical data, and you mitigate risk entirely—protecting customers, their ideal experience and your reputation.

5.  Please explain the importance of giving companies a 360-degree view into contact center administration, monitoring and reporting.

Without a single, integrated view of a customer’s journey across every channel, a lot of conversation ends up for naught. Customers end up repeating themselves, agents waste time trying to understand issues that should have already been resolved, and everyone’s frustrated. In fact, 35 percent of customers expect your agents to be able to refer back to all previous interactions with your brand. So whether they’re working from the office or at home, stopping conversational redundancy starts with providing agents with a more unified view across all channels. It all comes down to setting them up to succeed.

For example: agents should really only be occupied 60 – 80% of the time. Monitoring their utilization can ensure they aren’t getting burnt out. And when they’re working hard, your smart use of data and judicious monitoring and reporting are key in maximizing their impact. Look at peak hours and best time to call data. Can you shift campaign hours or agents’ shifts to facilitate timelier inbound conversations? For outbound, perhaps your data can help pinpoint when your target audience is most likely to be in “buying mode.”

Smart use of data can even help brands respond to call fluctuation in real time. Leaning on a technique like waypoint reporting, for instance, allows you to tag points in the contact flow to then track and analyze things like call containment and better understand contact routes. Whether you’re looking to drive more sales, or handle more queries, waypoint tracking can take the guesswork out of understanding customers’ journeys in your contact flow, so you can analyze, tweak and test on the fly—accomplishing your goals in real time. Nurturing better customer experiences and building a stronger brand reputation all comes down to providing more visibility across the customer experience lifecycle.


Dan is going to present a live October 25th web workshop: Does Your Contact Center Make or Break the Customer Experience? You can click here to join.