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Multichannel and Multitasking in the Contact Center

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Cisco Employee

As our connected lives get more entangled - web collaboration sessions going, a stray email here, an offline IM comment there, twitter feeds on your mobile device - the tendency to be "always on, always connected", in all modes of communication is clearly on the rise.

Outside of the workplace, a quick glance at todays news stories has plenty of stories about the implications of the connected life.  From the tragic headlines of auto accidents, to the broadcast of public of new laws banning the use of devices while behind the wheel; we easily get the point - there is a time and a place for multitasking.

I am not convinced the same clear view is held in the contact center world.  Dave Brown @ supportcenteru.com seems to see it the same way too.  Check out his recently published SSPA news article on "The hidden cost of Multitasking in the Support Center."

It has been my experience that there is not always a benefit of agents supporting multiple channels simultaneously - much like what Dave Brown describes.  In high volume operations, our contact center has reverted back to dedicated agents for the various channels of interaction.  ...And that's the key for us, High Volume.

Outside of our "Americas" operations, staffing is largely driven by the number of hours and the number of languages we support - not the volume of interactions.  In those environments, not having agents support multiple channels of communication simultaneously is simply prohibitive.

As someone with an operations "care about", efficiency, effectiveness and productivity are all very important to me.

As an employee and shareholder at Cisco, I am happy when market share and sales are up.  I get excited when new capabilities and features open new markets and sales opportunities.  There are lots of things to be excited about when I look at Cisco's Unified Communications solutions future; anywhere, anytime, any device, any channel, multichannel - you name it.  I'd love for Cisco to be your multichannel contact center capability provider.

As someone who is an employee, shareholder and has a strong operations care about ... I want to make sure these capabilities are not naively shoe-horned in and then miss expectations - but thoughtfully applied to create value to your business and your customers.  

If you are thinking about multichannel and multitasking in your contact center, keep in mind a favorite saying of mine these days "Just because you can does not mean you should."   If you're already doing multichannel and multitasking, I'd ask you to share your experiences - where you find multichannel multitasking works and where it doesn't.

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Director, Operations

Customer Interaction Network

and the Contact Center Unification Framework

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