Unified agent desktops: Five revealing questions to ask

A unified desktop for agents is essential if you want your contact center to maximize efficiency and drive up sales. But which desktop solution leads the pack? It's time to ask difficult questions.

As we saw in our recent blog"Agent desktops: How to have your cake and eat it", a unified desktop can lead to a bonanza of business benefits. You can reduce agent frustration and attrition; achieve substantial support savings; and keep every agent equipped with the latest tools to maximize sales.

Agents can get everything they want on a single screen — their CTI, ACD, CRM, social media channels, email, knowledge-banks and more. This can save them from the morale-sapping hassle of switching between systems and screens to answer enquiries.

When issues are resolved faster, then customers are happier too. And there's more time freed up for agents to focus on sales.

In fact, the business case for unified desktops is so compelling, we could go and on. But that's not what this blog is about. The question we're asking is: What makes a good unified desktop solution?

Buckling under pressure

It's important to remember that unifying the desktop for your agents is only half the battle. You don't want to choose a solution and then discover it's a dead-end technology or fiendishly complex to support. It would also be horrible to discover it buckles under the strain of adding tomorrow's tools, apps and channels.

Some features are fairly easy to grasp when you're looking around for a unified desktop solution. For example, the layout should be clean and friendly — not cluttered just because it's pulling in content from various systems. Similarly, any established product worth its pixels will be trusted by major organizations around the world already, so ask for case studies.

But what else should you be finding out? Which issues will have the greatest impact on long-term costs and performance?

Agent desktops: Five killer questions to ask

Although unified desktop solutions follow the same concept, they may operate very differently. In fact, it's some of the product features below the water-line that could have the biggest impact on the success of your deployment over time. These are the kinds of things that salespeople may not tell you straight away — unless you ask.

Question #1: Is it vendor agnostic?

This is essential if you want to avoid being locked into any particular vendor. An agnostic desktop means you can mix and match technologies beneath the solution's 'presentation layer' to ensure you always get the best tools for your agents and your business.

Question #2: Does it support secure payments?

Increasingly, your customers will be demanding the ability to make secure card payments via chat, voice or phone. But will your unified desktop support PCI DSS requirements? If the answer is 'No' then your agents will be forced to switch to another system for this task, undermining your whole unified desktop concept.

Question #3: Does it enable a single sign-on via a browser?

Even though your CRM and other systems may disparate, how easily does the desktop solution unify them? And does it enable browser-based access to everything via a single sign-on with SSL encryption? The whole solution must feel light and easy with zero footprint on the agent device.

Question #4: Is it scalable?

Can it be managed simply and centrally, with instant rollout and strong stability? Can agents be added with ease? Simple administration will make a huge difference to costs and scalability over coming months and years.

Question #5: Is it flexible?

In the future, the needs of your business, agents and customers may change significantly. But can your desktop adjust accordingly? Look for a solution that's easy to configure and customize. Make sure it will support BYOD so you can equip all agents and mobile workers. And for extra flexibility, consider a solution that's multi-tenant, which can be used by service providers or outsourcers.

Discover more

If this sounds too much like a starry-eyed wish-list, you'd be wrong. Proven unified desktop solutions are delivering business benefits the world over. Get helpful guidance and see what's available by downloading your free copy of Eckoh's new e-book: Can you have your cake and eat it?'.

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Posted by eckoh at 12:05 PM on Feb 1, 2018

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