Cost of Doing Nothing: What Legacy Call Center Systems Cost IT

“Choose a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life” is a well-known quote attributed to the Chinese philosopher, Confucius. Yet, for many IT professionals who are left struggling with aging, legacy call center infrastructure, this ancient career advice is difficult to achieve. Too often, IT is left in a position of saying “No” to business users for new or improved functionality – all while dealing with the headaches of an unstable system.

In this second post in our series “The Cost of Doing Nothing,” we’ll talk through both the hard and soft IT-related costs related to maintaining legacy contact center applications.

That next outage is inevitable

Admit it. If you work in IT supporting a call center with aging technology, the thought of an outage keeps you up at night. You’re keenly aware that with each passing day the potential for an outage increases due to an overly complicated and inefficient patchwork of siloed applications – many that seem to be hanging on with duct tape.

And there’s a reason why it’s causing you to lose sleep. When outages do happen, the costs are wrenching.

  • For sales interactions, there’s the cost of lost revenue.
  • Poor customer experience for those that were dropped, unable to get in, or not able to complete the tasks they contacted you about.
  • Depending on your industry, customers not getting thru can lead to churn, e.g., expectation that bank, hospital, insurance carrier should always be accessible.
  • Costs from vendor(s) for a patch and/or assistance (adding yet again to that duct tape sensation).
  • Loss of focus on other projects as numerous people and departments jump into emergency mode to help out.

One of our customers recently shared with me that they calculated the cost of a single outage to be over $500,000 when considering its full impact. So, the ROI of moving to a newer platform was easy, and I suddenly understood why he pressed so hard for an expedited implementation.

Throwing good-money-after-bad

Along with system instability, outdated infrastructure requires ongoing maintenance and upgrades, as well as custom integration work to connect channels and applications. Voice-centric PBX/ACD call center platforms were never intended to support omnichannel engagement, nor the rapidly evolving needs of today’s consumers. As IT feels the increased pressure from both customers and business users, they struggle with the limitations of their existing tools – all the while, time and money invested in an outdated system continue to rise.

Limitations of Aging Tools

When organizations elect to deploy a new channel, those with aging infrastructure are often put in a precarious situation. Looking at each channel individually, it all seems to work fine, but when channels are deployed as silos, you’re left with limited visibility across channels, disjointed data, and the need to duplicate efforts and create workarounds in an effort to make it all work together. The result is often a heavy reliance on IT – and even minor changes require extraordinary effort. Because of the lack of agility, IT is forced to focus on keeping up with requests for minor adjustments and maintenance, rather than being a partner helping to drive ideal customer experiences and the business forward.

It’s Costlier Than You Might Think

To compare the true cost of maintaining an aging contact center system to the ease of managing newer platforms, there are numerous hard and soft costs to consider.

Hard costs include integrations, training, additional staff, maintenance, upgrades, subscription fees, change management and disposal of hardware every three to five years.

Though often harder to measure, soft costs include risk factors (delivery not on time, no standard plug-in for integration, unfamiliarity with all the components and applications), not realizing efficiency improvements, plus time, focus and effort placed on maintaining status quo instead of innovating, growing the business.

Continuing to rely on an outdated system hinders the customer experience, while behind the scenes, IT struggles with ongoing issues that result in higher costs and increasingly complex work-arounds. As new communication channels and applications are added, it only becomes more difficult. This is why, in the 2017 Gartner Report Critical Capabilities for Contact Center Infrastructure, Worldwide, one of the top recommendations is to “mitigate legacy-constrained, voice-centric environments by focusing on the best-of-breed capabilities of contact center providers.”

Isn’t it time to love your job again? (And to get a good night’s sleep…)

Click here to learn more about moving to an all-in-one omnichannel suite. And if you want to learn more about boosting your skills to drive an excellent customer experience, take our FREE CX Professional Accreditation course online that combines both technical and business user perspectives.