Thursday, December 13, 2007

Financial Services Branches, IP and Contact Centre

One of the blogs forums I read regularly is Finextra, the financial services community forum. The UK financial services sector is such a major user of call centre technology that this is an excellent place to explore the environment that contact centre technology needs to interact with.

A good example is Michael Goldman's post on extending IP convergence to branch. His perspective is not that of the technologist (who have long argued for this) but that of the business person looking at processes and customer experience. I'm pleased to see that he's in favour of more IP convergence, but it's a different perspective from the technology vendors.

It's an area that I'm very interested in as consistent service across channels means (re)-joining the branch and contact centre. I say 're-joining', because historically the branch did manage the telephone channel and it was in response to consumer needs like 24hr service and the difficulty of queuing calls at branch that led to banks to moving the telephony channel from the branch to a centralised service point. This also allowed innovations with 'branchless' and single channel banks, like First Direct in the UK, long before the internet.

Technically, delivering contact centre functionality to branch (where appropriate) is very interesting as it allows a business a lot more flexibility in how it constructs the customer experience. It's an area where Cisco has perhaps a slight advantage from the scale of our IP Telephony deployments, but where Genesys, Nortel and Avaya also have interesting developments. It's probably a subject for further posts as something I'm doing a lot of work on at the moment.

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