Eight Essential Steps to Moving the Contact Center Beyond Operational Efficiency to Business Effectiveness: Aspect Software

Author: Aspect Software

Date: 26th February 2010

For years, the goal of the contact center has been to operate efficiently, keeping costs as low as possible. During the recent economic downturn, cost reduction became even more crucial, and most businesses measured the performance of their contact centers almost exclusively on how little they spent.

Today, however, the inward-facing, savings-oriented contact center is outmoded. Technology makes it possible, and competition makes it necessary, for the contact center to become an active contributor to revenue goals. Efficiency is no longer enough. To succeed in a fiercely competitive global economy, businesses must see the contact center for what it has the potential to be a profit center that can make significant contributions to the bottom line by fostering customer satisfaction and loyalty, winning new business, and increasing revenue.

To transform the contact center from a cost center to a profit center, managers have to consider every type of contact center system: contact routing applications, interactive voice response (IVR) systems that deliver self-service, workforce management software, and tools for reporting and analysis.

All of these are good tools for keeping the cost of communicating with customers down, and businesses should still tap that potential. But technology advances have given all contact center systems new capabilities that can go beyond cost savings and directly support enterprise goals such as expanding business reach and building new revenue streams.

Perhaps more important, businesses need to look at the way these systems work together. Tight integration that makes contact center applications function as a unified whole can substantially increase the potential of each individual application.

This white paper discusses these issues in detail, explaining best practices employed by businesses that already operate their contact centers as profit centers and touching on the technology that enables those practices.

In its early days, the call center was seen as a cost center. Business managers, IT managers, and call center managers alike focused on keeping costs, particularly staffing costs, low. Early call center solutions were designed to promote efficient operations.

But as the call center has evolved into the multichannel contact center and as increased competition, globalization, and a more demanding customer population have changed the business playing field, many companies have come to realize that the contact center can and must be more than an expensive necessity. New technologies have made it possible for the contact center to be a profit center that increases customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, sales, and revenue

In short, running an efficient operation that minimizes costs is not enough. Today’s contact center must be effective as well as efficient-effective in contributing to the business’s most critical goals of winning new business, retaining valued customers, driving sales, gaining competitive advantage, and increasing revenue.

Here are eight essential steps in moving beyond the traditional goal of efficiency into the revenue-generating realm of contact center effectiveness.

1. Use Advanced Contact-Routing Techniques

The most basic function of the contact center is call routing. In its simplest form, the contact center exists to distribute incoming telephone calls to service representatives. And the simplest call-routing strategy focuses
on cutting two major contact center expenses-PSTN costs and staffing expenditures. That means reducing wait time by getting calls to the first available agent, balancing loads across agent groups to keep agents from sitting idle, and routing as many calls as possible to an interactive voice response system.

These are all good tactics for cutting costs, but contemporary advanced routing techniques make it possible for the contact center to do much more.

Aspect Software

Read the full white paper below

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