Excerpted with permission from the fourth edition of "How to Conduct a Call Center Performance Audit: A to Z," by Jon Anton and Dru Phelps, Copyright 2004. Published by The Anton Press, a division of BenchmarkPortal, Inc. ISBN 0-9630464-6-2. For more information about this book and similar titles, please visit The College of Call Center Excellence.
How to Conduct a Call Center Performance Audit: A to Z
Chapter 2: Call Center Issues vs. Opportunities
Chapter 9: Cost/Benefit Analysis, or Return on Investment (ROI) for Call Center Enhancements
Few departments within companies have grown as quickly in the last few years -- and become as expensive -- as the call center function. Competition is the biggest reason for the increase in demand for better call centers that can handle calls more effectively.
Re-engineering the Call Center
The model for reengineering for optimization has most recently been directed toward one of two objectives. Two of the latest keys to success are enhancing customer focus or the use of information technology.
Until recently, however, "know thy customer" was usually easier said than done. Computer technology just wasn't up to the job: the data existed but were too voluminous, too widely scattered throughout the organization, and too inconsistently recorded for effective use. But now with powerful workstations, client server platforms, extensive networks, specialized software packages and extra-powerful database engines, technology is no longer the problem.
The single most important thing a company can do is to understand the needs of current and prospective customers by proper use of information readily available through their call centers. The laggards will have to do it to survive. The leaders will do it to become even more successful.
A well-implemented call center helps:
- retain current customers and attract new ones
- define and track what they value
- define and meet customer-perceived quality standards
- listen, then customize products and services
- anticipate the next hot product as articulated by the callers
- meet customer expectations by providing quick, accurate answers when needed by the customer
- maximize profits in the process
This sounds easy and, indeed, most companies will insist they are customer-focused, but those closest to the customer are the most successful. The good news for consultants is that few companies adequately utilize all existing information technology in their call centers, leaving a great deal of room for improvement.
The objective for improving the call center is often survival and/or growth. In any case, being internally focused will no longer work. Due to cost pressures, more and more customer contacts will come through call centers and other electronic communications.
Read the rest of this excerpt and download Chapters 2 and 9: Call Center Issues vs. Opportunities and Cost/Benefit Analysis, or Return on Investment (ROI) for Call Center Enhancements
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