Blog Post

Magento Call Centre Solutions

Magento Call Centre Solutions

Introduction

At Salmon we aim to shape the future of ecommerce for our clients. Celebrating and enhancing what makes our clients unique is what drives us.

With over twenty years’ experience as ecommerce experts, our clients’ expectations are high. We define the vision, strategy and approach to take them on a journey from where they are now to where they want to be, whether primarily driven by revenue growth, increasing market share, increasing customer traffic, improving conversion rate, or a multitude of other KPIs.

One of the key factors in being able to deliver these strategic solutions is the breadth of our capability matrix. From our deep experience managing the flow of data from back-office systems, to the in-house design skills necessary for a great customer experience, to the ability to discern improvements from analytics data, Salmon doesn’t just tick the boxes for expertise; we define them.

One of the key takeaways from our experiences in delivering best-in-breed ecommerce solutions is that, for a lot of our clients, a call centre application is a must-have.

Call centres for retail

Even back in the day when call centres were the only way of contacting companies, the problem of where to enter the information you were receiving existed. How did you ensure that the information was entered consistently, and in a way that was reusable? How did this information make it to pickers in the warehouse? How did you manage lines of credit?

Online commerce created both the location to store and use that information, and the means for customers to place those orders themselves. However, the prevalent use of Live Chat on websites shows that people still crave human interaction.

And, even in amongst all the advances in technology within ecommerce, customers still want to speak to real people.

Add to this the question of managing credit. Can an out-of-the-box system flex enough to align with your company needs?

Some platforms have created seamless means of capturing orders placed over the phone by introducing in-built tools that allow call centres to place orders on the customer’s behalf. Technology companies such as Zendesk have sprung up, with software that integrates with Magento to provide this exact service.

Let’s take a closer look at what makes an effective Magento call centre solution, and some key considerations to consider when embarking on your call centre journey. 

A real life challenge

One of our Magento B2B clients had an interesting set of legacy applications and databases - disparate systems and data not being shared between a call centre application, a credit engine and the customer-facing website!

This inevitably led to out-of-date information, placed orders not being visible until db synchs, and complex management of IT systems. Not to mention, credit updates not being reflected in real time for the call centre users!

The challenge was simple; create a simple solution that contained all existing complex functions (plus some new ones) and, at the same time, simplified the technology stack and user journey.

A unique Salmon & Magento solution

So, armed with the mandate of simplicity and complexity, Salmon architected a solution in which two unique websites were designed and built on the Magento platform:

  1. A unique B2B website for the customer base to use
  2. A unique website for the call centre and credit teams to manage their customers

As well as allowing us to make use of Magento inbuilt flexibility and make the call centre website as user-friendly as possible, we also had the ability to ensure page load times were the same as the B2B website.

So, what did each department end up with?

Operations Centre call agents could:
  • Place orders on a customer’s behalf
  • Manage baskets on the call centre site and immediately see the results on the customer facing site
  • Place bespoke promotions and price reductions (including zero price products)
  • Manage outgoing diary calls to customers to chase late orders
Credit control call agents could:
  • Manage credit line for clients
  • Take partial payments
  • Schedule chase-up calls and share credit information in real-time with the call centre staff
Admin users could:
  • Manage content
  • Manage product enrichment
  • Run product indexes
  • Produce detailed reports

Architecting in this manner created a very natural separation of administration functions, such as content and product administration, and the day-to-day order placement and customer management required by the call centre and credit staff.

Not only did the solution result in a very responsive and well-structured site for the call centre and credit teams, but also a very smooth journey for their customers – we created the same user experience whether customers were using the customer-facing website on a laptop or phone, calling in to the call centre, or being called by the credit team.

This, in turn, has made it easier for our client to push customers on to the online site.

Considerations and Salmon’s take

The right tool for your call centre is hard to purchase off the shelf. Your business is unique and, as such, requires unique solutions.

The Magento 2 admin function is incredibly intuitive and flexible, providing 80% of the functionality you require to manage your call centre. Furthermore, the ability to have a single view of your data is a major strength. Extending the admin function to cater for the remaining 20% is a simple task for a partner with the relevant skills, but can introduce problems if done poorly. This can be particularly true if the data is not set up in the right way.

For guidance on the best practice approach to ecommerce solution delivery, take a peek at Salmon's Insider's Guide to Choosing a Platform.

Building a bespoke call centre solution (e.g. a bespoke-built Magento 2 website) comes with its own benefits and challenges. Though inherently more expensive than using OOTB admin functions or call centre tools, these solutions also offer a vast amount of flexibility, real-time integration to your customer facing website, and the ability for your call centre team to make in-real-time amendments to baskets without being worried about affecting your ongoing business administration functions.

Therefore, it’s important to not only find a partner with the ability to extend existing Magento platform software, but also one who brings the broad ecommerce expertise to know what to build for you and why to build it.

Being able to define the “why” as well as build the “what” can be the difference between realising your KPI goals and creating a solution that will need to be replaced in a year’s time.

Find out about our Magento solution

Read our blog: Migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2