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Contact center technology: Building a business case

In this contact center tip, learn what to consider when building a business case for contact center technology.

It seems like concepts like return on investment (ROI) and total cost of ownership (TCO) are getting harder to build and defend for contact center technology. Can you provide any advice for companies to consider when either building an ROI model or in interpreting ROI for contact center technology?

I think ROI and TCO haven't gotten harder in themselves – people are just required to do a more thorough job these days than in the past. And that is a good thing. Executives and steering or governance committees are more careful about where they make their investments. When we help clients make a case for a contact center technology investment, we use an activity based costing tool that allows us to build a realistic baseline cost, and then compare it to a scenario that shows all the costs and the impact the technology can have to create savings. Whether you're building an ROI model or using one from a vendor, here are some things to consider when it comes to building a business case for contact center technology:

  • Consider all the right factors based on strategy. An ROI looks different, for example, when seeking cost savings versus driving revenue.
  • Understand and fully account for baseline costs, including staff, contact center technology, network, maintenance, internal support, etc.
  • Completely account for the costs of the new contact center technology solution, including internal and external costs, initial and ongoing.
  • Clearly define benefits, with labor as the focus (that's where the big bang for your buck is).
  • Execute on the savings you project; if you say you're going to be more efficient, cut staff, reallocate staff, or let attrition play out.
  • Follow through to assess results after implementation to boost your credibility for the next business case.

My consultancy, Strategic Contact, has some resources on this topic. I'd recommend reading an article that provides more information on building a believable and achievable business case for contact center technology.

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