Contact Centers: From Necessary Evil to Strategic Advantage

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December 21st, 2010

The contact center has been working for years to change its perception from “necessary evil” to “strategic advantage.”  We’re finally seeing that long-sought shift gaining strength and picking up speed. Why?

The impact of customer service in a competitive business environment is a big impetus. But in my view, what’s really driving the change is the contact center’s ability to deliver value to other departments within the enterprise.

The value to Sales, Marketing, Back Office and other departments derives from information and the insights that can be distilled from it. The contact center generates vast amounts of information, mostly about customers—not only their demographics and account data, but also their drives and desires. Historically, because most of that information is unstructured—the product of verbal conversations—capturing and transforming it into insights has been virtually impossible. Not anymore.

Customer Dynamics is a new way of looking at and harnessing the insights within customer- business transactions and interactions across all points of contact – phone, email, self-service, chat, etc. It begins with in-depth analysis of cross-channel customer interactions, enabling a business to fully understand its customers’ expectations, needs and wants, and how well it is responding to them. More than that, though, optimizing Customer Dynamics enables organizations to take immediate action on strategic insights. Through breakthroughs in real-time decisioning and next-best-action technology, routine processes can be completed automatically and employees can be intuitively guided to achieve the best possible outcome in even the most complex interactions.

How does that translate into value for other departments? For Sales, it’s understanding what up-sell or cross-sell offerings customers respond best to, when to offer them and to whom. For Marketing, it’s knowing how customers feel about your—and even your competitors’—latest marketing campaigns and being able to adjust on the fly. For Collections, it’s reaching right-person contacts more often, and identifying the agents who are best at persuading debtors to pay and showing others how to emulate them. For Compliance it’s being sure that policies and procedures are correctly followed across the entire spectrum of customer contact.

Information like this has been impossible to obtain and act on without expending great effort or expense. Having it readily available and easily accessible organizations can substantially improve performance, at both departmental and business-wide levels, using the information only available via the contact center.

Isn’t it time to stop being a “necessary evil”? Transform your contact center into a strategic business asset by becoming the conduit for valuable information for departments throughout your enterprise.

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