Article : Answer The Call To Increase Productivity And Customer Satisfaction
There is a cultural change afoot in the call center industry. Its name is CTI, short for Computer Telephony Integration, and it promises to increase productivity and customer satisfaction. People have been talking about this for years and years --
Let's face it. Business units, and particularly call centers, cannot work in silos any longer. By bringing together their technologies, communications and real-time business information through the power of computer telephony integration, call center managers are creating real value.
Academy Award Performance
Implementing the typical CTI functions—linking phone systems with customer database applications and the Web, for example—is easy when your phone system uses the same IP infrastructure as your data. A 66-seat call center realized it could improve performance through CTI. Now it is able to supply its customers with enhanced 24/7 customer service through web chat/calls, voice calls, pop-up dialog boxes, email, and real-time access to account information and decreased response time. They have reduced their response time from 4 to 5 days to 1 hour or less.
Converging voice, data and your business processes into one system can optimize contact center performance, retain profitable customers and capture revenue opportunities. Plus, call center managers are finding that one converged system gives their agents access to valuable information to up-sell, cross-sell, and personalize services for recurring revenue opportunities.
Integrating computer and telephone systems for your contact center with your back-end databases, results in a much deeper understanding of contact center activity. This deeper insight into activity allows you to map contact center performance to your organization's objectives for maximum profitability.
Show Me The Money
Combining voice and data into one network can yield significant savings. IP PBX systems are much less proprietary than their mainstream cousins, and their features are accessible with familiar Windows-like interfaces. Moving, adding, and changing users and phones are almost effortless on an IP network. And, the integration of Voice Over IP (VoIP) with the Internet provides new flexibility to call centers needing to leverage at-home agents in highly mobile environments.
Whether it is an in-house customer service center, help desk, contact center, or financial services call center, integration is ideal. Especially if they wish to bring together a workforce with a greater pool of skill levels, enabling them to address areas of expertise and provide better customer service for a considerable, rapid ROI.
Forrester Research notes that by automating several forecasting and scheduling tasks – for example, by integrating voice and data networks with IVRs and business intelligence apps – organizations can reduce by at least 25% their time invested in manually performing managerial tasks.
In fact, IP Telephony cost of ownership over five years is approximately 65% less than traditional PBX systems. Moreover, the same 66-seat call center mentioned above, realized significant cost avoidance with their CTI implementation: They realized a cost avoidance of $600,000 the first year on a $100,000 telephony investment; plus, they eliminated the duplication of work and increased efficiencies across the board.
You Like Me, You Really Like
When the customer service function operates well, it improves call center operations. Because of CTI, call center managers are enhancing customer service and helping their agents respond to incoming calls, regardless of the location of the caller or the agent. CTI allows call centers to provide quality customer service by using the system to move calls around to any physical location without the additional expense.
For instance, a leading southwestern call center integrated its applications and implemented IP telephony 12 months ago. As a result, the call center reduced its FTEs by 15 agents and reduced their customer service response time from 5 days to 45 minutes.
Integration of the data and voice network with your back-end databases balances various work factors such as optimal staff levels, anticipated workloads, campaign timetables, resource availability, and technological capability.
The promise of CTI integration is calling you. Go ahead – answer the call.
About Lawrence McNutt:
Lawrence McNutt is co-founder and Special Order Systems’ Director of Professional Services. Mr. McNutt’s telephony qualifications include: Telecommunications Administration, Certification in Advanced Telecommunications, Cisco Certified Design Associate, Cisco IP Telephony Design Specialist, Enterprise Voice over Data Design, NEC certified engineer, and Interactive Intelligence certified systems engineer. Mr. McNutt holds a B.S. from Cal Poly.
Published: Friday, September 22, 2006
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