5 Ways to Improve Your Call/Contact Center

Everyone is constantly trying ways to lower the cost of operations while at the same time generating additional revenues.  One key area of focus in today’s enterprise is the call or contact center.  Here is where your existing and potential new customers “meet” or interface with your company.  The contact center provides a channel for gathering data/information, providing customer satisfaction and selling or up- selling your products and/ or services.  Therefore it is critical to have the call center operate at its optimum and at a low cost!

The following are five areas that one should consider in either upgrading or enhancing your call center.

1-      Multiple media support:    In today’s environment people have a choice of how they prefer to communicate and if one does not meet these needs  you are not only going to lose customers but will also be viewed as laggers not an  innovators or a leading- edge company.  With the growing acceptance of technologies like VOIP, mobile phones and the Internet in general, your call center should be supporting multiple communication channels.  While the good old telephone is important, it is being replaced with the following methods:  Mobile/cellular phones, Web interfaces, email, and chat (SMS), twitter and VOIP communications.  So is your call center capable of supporting these diverse media and if so, have you surveyed your customers to find out what they prefer?  If your call center currently does not support these media, what is required to upgrade it?

2-      Web Base Self Service is practically a necessity given that the consumer is now in control. What I mean by that is the consumer wants to be able to access information about the product or service they are thinking about buying or information about the product or service they currently own.  From the enterprise point of view, self service contributes to reducing costs and therefore resources can be applied to other services or applications. A question we often get relates to the management of this function and content…Customer Service or Marketing. Bob has written in the past about how Customer Service is moving more under the Marketing organization.

3-      Reporting and Analytics: the world is evolving from mass merchandising to one on one merchandising.  In order to get to one- on- one connections, analytics and reporting are needed.  It makes no sense to gather data and then just let it “sit” in a data base. Reporting and analytics are required to turn data into information.   Analytics not only help convert data into information but give you guidance on potential trends, consumer preferences, geographic buying and insight on potential features.  As for reporting it is very beneficial to continuously run customer surveys for inputs into your customer satisfaction programs.

4-      Integration with other application platforms: to have a universal view or what others call a 360 degree view, your call center needs to be fully integrated with other service and or communication applications. Applications such as ACD, CRM, IVR, call routing, customer satisfaction data and escalation reporting provide this full view and therefore unique value propositions which will differentiate you from the competition.

5-      Survivability/security: considering the call center is the critical interface between the customer and your enterprise, you need to make sure it is available 7 X24 and if there is a glitch, the call center can recover seamlessly.  If access by the customer is difficult or time consuming, you are several clicks or phone calls away from losing them. As for security, we all have heard incredible stories about stolen information.  If this happens to your enterprise, the number one factor that will be destroyed is goodwill, which could be gone forever.

To summarize, you first must have an overall strategy and then make sure that you match your customer needs and habits with the type of products or service you are offering.  Part of the equation to accomplish this is a call center. So make sure you have the correct capabilities within your call center and the major factors of multiple media, self service, reporting and analytics, survivability/security and integration with other customer facing applications.  

One last thing, make a call yourself to your own call center and see what kind of experience you have!

RHL 6/08/10

1 comment to 5 Ways to Improve Your Call/Contact Center

  • You wouldn¡¯t believe it but I¡¯ve wasted all day digging for some articles about this. You¡¯re a lifesaver, it was an excellent read and has helped me out to no end. Cheers,

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