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Calculating ROI for VoIP in the call center

Learn how to calculate ROI for VoIP in the call center in this expert tip from CRM ROI expert Tom Pisello.

Do you have any tips for calculating the ROI of a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) implementation in the call center?
Some of the opportunities for VoIP savings and potential benefits include:

• IT/Telecommunication Cost Savings
o Reduced phone bills via toll bypass -- save up to 60% on current call costs by routing inter-office voice calls over data networks
o Reduction in old Centrex contracts which tended to be pricey
o Consolidation of calling plans and rate reductions
o Elimination of inter-group/call center toll transfer charges

• Increased IT Administrative and Support Productivity
o Convergence -- one network, one management easier to manage solution
o Reduce moves adds and changes as it is easier with an IP based solution, changing hardware reconfiguration to plug and play or simple software reconfigurations.

• Capital Savings
o Reduced cost to establish new call centers, or investment required to support call center moves, adds and changes
• Increased employee mobility and productivity
o Unified messaging – voice mail, email, FAX
o Personal Assistant features like Find-Me-Follow-Me
o IP voice and video teleconferencing

• Business capability and agility
o Virtual call centers
o Integrated applications
o Improvements in ability to direct calls to self service, handle calls with the right channel and right resources, and reduce on-call / research time
o Increase up-sell and cross-sell
o Enhanced customer service-oriented applications

• Costs to consider include:
o VoIP central system hardware and software
o Phone set upgrades or replacements
o Network equipment and wiring / cabling upgrades
o Managed services or hosting (alternatives to in-house)
o Implementation labor and services
o IT Training
o User Training
o Transport cost increases (T1 lines)
o Application development or integration
o Other change costs: write-downs, support increase initially, potential downtime

• Potential risks to consider that might drive up costs or undermine benefits include:
o Network readiness and upgrade investment underestimated due to poor readiness assessments and planning
o User adoption/ training – users do not adopt or use new features as expected
o IT capability and maturity – IT staff is not productivity improvements do not occur as expected.
o Quality of service (QoS) issues
o Security and disaster planning

To help you on this project, I recommend visiting Alinean's Web site for a free ROI analysis tool that includes a robust VoIP model as well as a model for Customer Contact Center automation which can help isolate call center benefits.

Another suggestion would be to work with your service provider, and perhaps one or two alternative providers to provide you with their own independent analysis. Although each vendor may have some bias or agenda, working with them to personalize the analysis and challenging various assumptions, as well as looking at several different analyses can help you in preparing your own presentation.


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