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Why Should Procurement Get Involved in a Digital Transformation for Customer Experience?

“I see the customer experience industry finding new, faster and more efficient ways to meet their customers’ needs, maybe through the use of new technology, while also balancing a deeply personal, empathetic human connection.”

Shep Hyken, CS & CX Expert, Keynote Speaker, and NYT Bestselling Author

Earlier this month, in an, Ask Me Anything (AMA) segment, ACLIVITI’s Ryan Young talked about the role that procurement should play in digitally transforming customer experience capabilities.

Now you may be wondering why CS & CX is so important and why procurement should facilitate the digital transformation of the call center?

In this article, we will give you the answer.


A “No Brainer”

We see call center optimization as a big opportunity that should become a priority line item on any procurement professional’s no-brainer list.

After all, everything ultimately runs through the procurement department, giving us an unprecedented level of vision regarding the enterprise’s collective operations. As a result, we know that elevating call center capability requires more than simply renewing a software license or getting the best price on a patchwork solution to fix an acute problem. We will talk more about patchwork approaches to call center efficiency shortly.

By taking the lead in transforming our call centers from an outdated phone system to a digital platform, we can deliver cost savings opportunities that over time can count in the tens of millions of dollars.


Outdated Call Centers

When was the last time that you called a 1-800 number for support? Did you receive one of those annoying messages warning you that wait times will be longer than usual due to an unusually high volume of calls?

Add into the equation the impact of COVID-19 on call center proficiency in which working remotely is the “new reality,” and you can understand first-hand why we will never want to call an 800 number again.

According to a February 2021 article, “It is HIGHLY unlikely that we will see a return to the contact center in the way that many anticipated at the beginning of the crisis.” What this means is that “investments in infrastructure and new contact center technology to make remote working possible won’t vanish.”

In his assessment of the situation, Ryan Young—ACLIVITI’s CEO—agrees change is needed and inevitable. The question he has is how to get there from both a technical execution and cost standpoint.


Beginning at the End

During the AMA segment, Young highlighted the fact that pre-COVID the budgets to make the transition to digitally transform your customer or call center capability beyond the legacy vendors was minimal.

The lack of financial commitment is especially a problem because, in a post-COVID world, companies now live or die based on their ability to “raise the bar” of customer service experience.

So, how do you find the funds to transform your customer experience into a digital environment without an overarching Phoenix-type rebuild?

In the AMA segment, Young advocates a “start at the end” approach.


Begin at the Arrival Point

You cannot solve specific problems on a siloed or patchwork basis, which most organizations tend to do. This approach’s irony is that beyond the inefficient delivery of service, addressing problems as they arise ends up costing twice as much as a complete overhaul. Think of the fable about the boy trying to plug the holes in the dam. Eventually, the water is going to breakthrough.

What is needed—and this is where procurement’s expertise comes into play—is presenting a viable business case for the digital transformation of the call center that starts with the end in mind.

Beginning at the arrival point, you then work backward into which tools lead to the desired outcome. Those organizations who have used this approach have found that the initiative is self-funding from the get-go and provides an immediate ROI.

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