A story about Contact Center Software

Thursday, October 07, 2004

How do you measure the quality of your blended contact center?

A little followup to the previous story "How do you blend telephone, e-mail, web and chat in your contact center?"
The success of your inbound contact center has normally been measured by metrics based on call throughput such as
  • average speed of answer
  • call duration
  • queue size
  • abandoned calls
Et cetera. You could easily get these key figures from the ACD of your switch, realtime or historically. Probably most of the contact centers were set up to reduce the cost of doing business with the customers, hence the above-mentioned metrics. Contact centers were regarded as cost centers, therefore pressure was put upon them to lower the price of each contact, rather then value the customer experience.
However, you cannot simple assure the success of your call center based purely based on these numbers. Of course, measures of efficiency are still important, even for contact centers where customer experience is put before anything.
More attention should be paid to measuring and improving the customer experience. In other words, don't only see your call center as a cost center, you could turn it into a profit center! In order to do this, you need to understand what service(s) you are providing to your customers and walk the tight rope between efficiency and effectiveness to run a contact center that provides a high quality service in a cost-effective manner.
As more and more channels are entering the arena, it is vital that the customer experience remains a positive one. Therefore, I don't see the voice channel shrink in the near future (in absolute terms); customers will continue to prefer doing business with other people - and no automated system can beat a human being for flexibility, knowledge and rapport.
Agents will still be needed when the nature of the interaction is both complex and urgent. When you look at the speed and complexity of today's world, it seems unlikey that agents will be replaced by self-service, be it web, IVR or other.
However, some types of work are more likely to move to self-service; most of these are low-value, repetitive or transactional work where the agent is just retyping data. The customer self will benefit from this automation too - he will get a 24x7 service and no queueing time (when the call center scaled their systems right).
Not really accidentally, we make such software. If you are interested, check it out.


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