New technologies and CRM best practices are breathing new life into call centres, and helping them to evolve into multi-channel, customer-centric contact centres, according to a new study by market analysts, Aberdeen Group.
The study, entitled What Works: Ten Significant Implementations in CRM - Call and Contact Centres, examined ten customer contact centres that have successfully reduced costs, improved agent effectiveness, and increased customer satisfaction by integrating new technologies.
"Surprisingly, traditional call centres are only now beginning to adopt a CRM-centric view of their customers, and are looking at technologies such as IP-based contact centres (IP-CCs), customer experience management (CEM), and workforce optimisation tools, to focus on effectiveness," explained Aberdeen's research director, Christopher Fletcher.
According to the study, many of the most innovative contact centres are moving away from metrics of efficiency (measuring calls per agent) and are instead focusing on the customer.
For example, by working toward first-call resolution, companies can reduce 'repeat call' volumes. This finding comes from companies that have achieved success in their contact centre initiatives - judged not only by their own standards but by commonly accepted industry criteria.
While most companies are placing a heavier emphasis on the return on investment, those that focus on their customers and invest in empowering agents (with tools, training, and information) are more likely to realise improvements in customer satisfaction, and to reduce costs at the same time.