It's always good to put a name to something.Posted by: David Regler @
After my earlier post which asked the question "Is stand alone telemarketing dead?" I was reading an article in CCF (yes, even I read the call-centre press) and came across the term "Unified Communications" in an article about future technology trends for call centres.
The article refers to Unified Communications (UC) as the "next big step" which offers real integration between telephony, the web, email, instant messaging and social networking sites.
The example they give is where agents "have a view of which experts are available to help them if they encounter a problem when on a call. The expert could be asked to join a chat session and shared documents could be used"
Obviously, much of this is referring to large inbound contact centres but how about UC for outbound?
From my perspective, as a small telemarketing agency already combining phone, web, email and IM (such as Skype) on a regular basis between client teams and our new business people, this is already available. OK, it requires a certain amount of intelligence on the part of the "agent" but that's not a problem for us.
Another area where unified communications is an interesting concept, particularly with respect to telemarketing & lead generation, is the integration of web forms, email marketing and pay-per-click lead generation with an outsourced telemarketing or telesales resource.
To me, this is when we start to see increased returns by joining up disparate marketing technologies into a closed-loop process. The actual communication channel used shouldn't really be of any concern; neither should we be be forcing prospects into any particular channel for ongoing communication.
As I say, unified communications are available now, but just not on one platform that you can scale and manage across 1000's of agents
So, I guess it'll still be a few years before the big boys catch up.