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Put Process Before Technology

Posted on  21 July 10  by 

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By Dan Clay

Here’s a common sight on courses around the world: a golfer with a $500 driver and a horrible swing.  The unfortunate reality that these club-connoisseurs confront is that the lightest titanium clubhead in Callaway’s line can’t fix a broken swing. 

It’s an expensive lesson to learn, and many contact center leaders make a similar discovery following a new technology purchase.  They put a new technology over a broken process or let a fancy vendor presentation define a process for them – and are then frustrated by lackluster returns.

That’s why, whenever a member asks me, “What’s the next great technology we should consider for our contact center?” I provide the most annoying answer known to mankind: another question.  “Well, what are you trying to accomplish?”  To be successful, technology purchases and implementations must clearly align with specific business objectives.   It’s simple, but if you ask yourself this question before analyzing technology, it ensures technology is satisfying an existing need rather than serving to keep up with the competition or scratch an itch planted by a vendor.  Additionally, this question can save you a lot of time and money – the further you progress on the implementation timeline, the more expensive technology is to fix or replace.

CCC members can compare common technologies across expected productivity and quality improvements in CCC’s Technology Resource Center

The second guideline to ensuring you’re picking the right technology for you comes during the vendor evaluation sessions, and here I’ll take a page out of Hyatt’s fascinating project management playbook. 

During typical vendor evaluation sessions (or “Dog and Pony Shows,” as more than a handful of members have referred to them), contact center leaders provide a list of requirements and vendors provide a scripted presentation that miraculously exceeds expectations across all pre-defined requirements.  What’s hidden during these presentations are customization costs and integration complexities. 

To circumvent these challenges, and to ensure that the vendor fits with Hyatt’s ideal process, instead of having vendors tell them how the technology meets requirements, Hyatt has vendors show them how the technology would work in a typical Hyatt scenario (an interaction that Hyatt hopes to facilitate with the technology—perhaps a warm transfer from a reservation specialist to a local hotel or a quick search for non-smoking vacancies in Boise).  Scenario-based meetings focus conversations and present an accurate picture of a vendor’s capabilities and abilities to fit existing processes. 

CCC members can learn more about Hyatt’s Scenario-Based Vendor Evaluation Sessions.

That’s it – two steps.  Define your goal and set your ideal process – then find the specific technology that fits those needs.  It’s simple (even making Pop-Tarts involves more steps), but I don’t confuse simplicity with ease.  Do you have any tips or tricks for ensuring your technology purchases best address existing business objectives?

On the other hand, perhaps while you’re refining your golf swing, you’ll find out you’d be better served by lessons than a new driver.

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