Julien Rio, AVP International Marketing, RingCentral

Julien Rio, a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) and AVP of International Marketing at RingCentral, is a renowned figure in the CX world. Julien is the founder of CX Therapy, a vlog that delves into real-world customer experiences, and the author of “Customer Experience Unearthed.” Recognized for his contributions, including being named among France’s top marketing influencers, Julien’s passion for storytelling and customer engagement marks him as a respected leader in the field. As a founding member of the European Customer Experience Organization (ECXO), he continues to influence and inspire with a commitment to advancing customer experience.


In the realm of customer service, contact centres have long stood as the frontline of communication, bridging the gap between businesses and their clientele. Traditionally, these centres functioned from physical locations, where teams of agents manned phones, responding to a barrage of customer queries. This setup, while efficient in theory, harbored inherent limitations that stemmed from its very structure.

The physical proximity of contact centre staff to each other, paradoxically, did not translate into effective collaboration across the company’s various departments. More often than not, these teams operated in isolation, siloed within different offices or scattered across various floors. The architecture of these traditional centres—geared towards maximizing productivity—discouraged agents from leaving their stations to seek out information. The quest for answers, especially for complex customer inquiries, was a cumbersome process, heavily reliant on the internal ticketing system. Agents, when faced with challenging questions, would log tickets, providing as much context as possible in hopes of receiving a helpful response within a predetermined time frame. This method, however, was far from conversational. It was a one-way street of communication, devoid of the personal interaction and deeper understanding that comes from direct dialogue. The agents and the responding employees remained faces behind screens, their interactions limited to the transactional exchange of information.

The onset of the pandemic served as a catalyst for change, accelerating the shift towards remote work. Contact centres, like many other facets of business operations, had to adapt swiftly. Yet, this transition to working from home did little to alter the fundamental way in which contact centres interacted with other departments. The silos remained, as did the reliance on the impersonal ticketing system. However, this period of upheaval also presented an opportunity to reimagine the traditional contact centre model. It set the stage for the emergence of the Collaborative Contact Centre—a concept that would leverage technology to break down barriers, fostering a culture of open communication and teamwork across the entire organization.

The Advent of the Collaborative Contact Centre

The Collaborative Contact Centre represents a paradigm shift in the way customer service is delivered. At its core, this model champions the integration of Unified Communication (UC) and Contact Centre (CC) tools into a singular, cohesive platform. This fusion facilitates a seamless flow of communication, not just between the contact centre agents and customers, but across the entire organization. It dismantles the traditional barriers that once compartmentalized departments, encouraging an environment where information and expertise are shared freely and efficiently.

In this innovative model, the cumbersome process of logging tickets for internal queries becomes obsolete. Agents are now empowered to initiate direct conversations with peers in other departments, enabling real-time dialogue and collaboration. This shift from a ticket-based system to a conversation-driven approach marks a significant evolution in internal communication dynamics. It ensures that customer service representatives are no longer isolated figures, siloed away from the rest of the company. Instead, they become integral connectors, bridging various facets of the organization with the common goal of enhancing customer satisfaction.

The underlying technology that enables the Collaborative Contact Centre is predominantly cloud-based, ensuring flexibility and scalability. This cloud infrastructure is indifferent to geographical locations and working arrangements, thereby supporting a diverse range of company models—be it onsite, hybrid, or fully remote. By centralizing communication tools, agents are afforded a unified interface that simplifies interactions both with customers and within the company. This streamlined approach not only enhances efficiency but also enriches the quality of service provided to customers.

The transition to a Collaborative Contact Centre model not only transforms the landscape of customer service but also brings with it significant operational benefits that touch every corner of the organization.

For Customers: One of the standout advantages of this model is the improvement in First Contact Resolution (FCR). By enabling agents to receive and relay answers more swiftly through direct conversations with colleagues, customers benefit from faster and more accurate responses. This efficiency not only boosts customer satisfaction by addressing their needs promptly but also reduces the volume of inquiries. A higher FCR rate means fewer customers need to make follow-up contacts regarding the same issue, leading to a noticeable decrease in the overall number of inquiries. This streamlined approach to problem-solving reflects positively on the customer’s perception of the company, fostering loyalty and trust.

For Agents: The collaborative model has a profound impact on agent satisfaction and retention. The traditional challenges of recruiting, onboarding, training, and ramping up new agents represent significant costs for contact centres. By fostering an environment where agents feel a strong sense of belonging and are happier in their roles, thanks to more meaningful work and greater flexibility, the model directly contributes to higher retention rates. Happier agents are more engaged and productive, which in turn benefits the company not just through reduced turnover costs but also by creating a more experienced and knowledgeable team to represent the company to customers.

For the Company: At its core, the Collaborative Contact Centre champions a customer-centric culture that is invaluable in today’s competitive business environment. By situating the contact centre as a central hub within its operations, a company can more effectively streamline its strategies and processes around the customer experience. This strategic alignment goes beyond enhancing customer satisfaction; it catalyzes operational efficiency and fosters innovation across the board. Furthermore, the model’s emphasis on agent satisfaction and retention translates into a more stable, skilled workforce, reducing the financial and operational burdens associated with high turnover rates. The cumulative effect of these benefits underscores the model’s role in driving not just customer-centricity but also long-term business success.

The Collaborative Contact Centre model, with its focus on direct communication, cloud-based flexibility, and unified platforms, stands as a testament to the evolution of customer service. It acknowledges and addresses the modern customer’s need for swift, accurate, and personalized service, while also recognizing the human element behind every interaction. By enhancing both the customer and agent experience, it sets a new standard for what effective, efficient, and empathetic customer service looks like in the digital age.

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