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Article : Mission Critical

When a company's mission is to deliver enhanced shareholder value over time, increasing revenue and reducing costs are pre-requisites. Revenue can only be increased by acquiring new customers or increasing the value of existing ones.

In the present economic climate, and in light of the research that demonstrates profits can be increased by almost 100% by retaining just 5% more customers, loyalty is more often than not the key. Equally, costs can be reduced by optimising the balance between the cost of service to each customer and their lifetime value to the company.

Customer Interaction Management (CIM) is central to making sense of these business equations. Excellent CIM optimises the choice of interaction channel available to the customer, with the maximum value for the organisation.


When we know that 70% of customer satisfaction derives from the interaction experience not from the product itself, why are so few companies realising this goal? Because, they fail to ensure the alignment of business processes, technology and people that facilitate successful customer interaction. Datapoint can help drive up shareholder value by unlocking the potential worth of those customer interactions.

CIM drives Shareholder Value
CIM enables successful inbound and outbound contacts between business and customer.

The Rise And Rise Of Multi-Channels
The contact centre market is evolving fast as customer and technology drivers encourage and enable the use of a wider variety of interaction channels. Driven by this explosive growth in internet and mobile technologies, customers now expect to be able to interact with organisations via any channel of their choice.

Latest generation contact centre technology now permits managed web, web collaboration, chat, mobile and email contact in addition to traditional voice channels. Interactive Digital TV (iDTV) and third generation (3G) mobile applications will increase the complexity and richness of customer interaction.

Companies struggle to manage single channels. For example, in a traditional call centre, the focus is on minimising call handling time and maximising the operational efficiency of call center agents without noting the impact of the company's bottom line.

The Board speak of strategy, customer retention and satisfaction while call centre managers are driven to cut costs. The Board must ensure their strategy is executed through all levels of the organisation. The call centre managers must ensure they support the organisation's strategy.

What Is Customer Interaction Management (CIM)?
CIM is the means by which businesses build loyalty through enabling 'value-add' interactions between customers and suppliers. Challenges can include;

  • Optimal use of Customer Interaction Channels - providing the customer with their interaction channel of choice and optimising its use.

  • Personalisation - customising interactions based on the customer's profile.

  • Integration - of channels so the customer has a consistent view of the company and the company has a consistent view of their customers.

Optimal Use Of Customer Interaction Channels
These challenges split in two:
1. Providing customer with interaction channel(s)
2. Optimising their use

In response to competition, companies need to provide high value customers with the interaction channel of their choice. They must offer the flexibility for customers to select any channel for a given interaction. This flexibility must focus on the customer's perception of the most convenient interaction channel for that particular instance.

Conversely, the challenge is also to provide low value customers with low cost (to the company) interaction channels. This must be supported by a migration of those customers to these low cost channels without compromising their perception of service.

Businesses must optimise the use of their channels to ensure maximum value to themselves and the customer when interactions occur. This can be a complex process whether it is a single channel, usually voice, or additional channels, the most common alternative presently being email and IVR.

Effective use of channels can increase revenue, reduce costs and improve the customer's experience so establishing customer loyalty. Technologies such as interaction (voice or email) routing, queuing and workforce management can reduce costs while improved customer experience leads to revenue improvements from higher customer retention rates.

Personalisation
The personalisation of customer interactions is one of the cornerstones of CRM. The goal is to deliver the one-to-one service of yesteryear in an era of mass transactions and communications. In other words, "mass customisation".

Personalisation means responding to the customer as an individual with distinct characteristics, circumstances, preferences and history with the company, regardless of whether the transaction is personal or automated.

This goes beyond generic segmentation, such as using a postal code, to treat customers in their own right, in recognition of their real-time changing status. For example, propensity marketing compares a customer's behaviour against that of previous customers. This method accurately predicts their future service needs.

Personalisation is a powerful tool in the competition for customer acquisition and retention. It allows companies to distinguish themselves by providing a better service to their valuable customers. Datapoint can help personalise customer interactions to improve customer retention and acquisition. Personalisation can improve communication effectiveness, convenience and monetary savings. This improved interaction experience is more satisfying for the customer.

Personalisation can enhance the relationship between the company and the customer. This will increase the value of that customer to the company by retention and increased sales. Within CIM, technologies such as Caller Line Identification and Speech Recognition IVR can be used to recognise callers and deliver a customised service in response.

Integration
One of the key challenges for companies is to integrate their interaction channels so that the customer experiences a consistent view of the company regardless of their channel choice. Consistency of service is an important component of customer satisfaction. It improves the customer interaction experience, improves communication effectiveness and the cost of information gathering to the customer.

For the company, the improved consistency of service encourages the retention of valued customers. It also improves cost efficiencies through quicker resolution. As a result of the improved service to customers, employee satisfaction improves, as agents are able to resolve calls more effectively.

Staples
Their motto is 1+1=5, with more than 1,200 retail stores, a catalogue business, kiosks and a website, integration of customer interaction channels is essential. When a customer is migrated from shopping through a single channel to shopping through two, they will actually spend 2.5 times as much; when they shop via three channels or more spend rises to 4.5 times as much. Staples adds incremental value and explanations for why customers should migrate, e.g. when a shopper who goes into one of the retail stores finds a product is out of stock, they can go to a kiosk, place an order for the item and have it delivered the next day.

Otis
Significant cost savings were achieved by integrating SMS to handle the 2,800 non-priority daily call-outs with a 10 second handling time for each message rather than a 90 second call handling time for messages handled via the traditional voice channel.

What Is The CIM Problem?
Creating a single view of the customer is a common problem many businesses experience. The challenge is how to align people, processes and technology to provide this single view. The complexity of this problem is illustrated conceptually below. Corporate infrastructure, business processes and customer touch points all spin round in different directions and at different speeds.

When the customer chooses to interact with the company via the touch point of his or her choice the company must be ready to take a snapshot of that individual. The complexity is, therefore, to align the channel used with the right resources, infrastructure and information depending on the "level" of the customer. This must work for every business process whatever the channel used.

The critical CIM problem is the integration of people, processes and technology to create:

  • Single view of the customer - helping the company provide consistent service and target/ segment the customer according to their lifetime value.

  • Single view of the company - irrespective of the customer's choice of touch point, they will receive seamless consistency. Consistency is crucial for customer satisfaction and helps build trust, the necessary ingredient for sustainable relationships.

What Should CIM Look Like?
CIM integrates technology, processes and people to create a unified customer touch point regardless of the channels used to deliver seamless service to customers. CIM enables successful inbound and outbound contacts between your business and your customers. The scope of CIM is illustrated in the diagram below;


Maximum value is derived by integrating people, processes and technology. Source: Datapoint

The customer interaction sits between the customer and the back office and encompasses;

  • All of the touch points - ie. all the media available for the customer to reach the organization

  • All of the business processes - the services set up to respond (passively) or to reach the customer (pro-actively) irrespective of the function (billing, sales, marketing, logistics, etc)

  • All the infrastructure systems - e.g. CRM, ERP, back office, supply chain.

The Customer interaction fits across all of these and aims to deliver a seamless service to the right customers, be it either outbound or inbound. It is therefore a key enabler for CRM.

Conclusions
The following conclusions can be drawn from the critical issue of Customer Interaction Management:

  • Shareholder Value is enhanced by delivering improved customer interaction experiences and this is the driver of CIM.

  • Excellent CIM optimises the choice of interaction channel available to the customer with the maximum value for the organisation.

  • Simply, CIM is management of inbound and outbound customer interactions.

  • The key components of CIM are

    • optimal use of customer interaction channels - providing the customer with their interaction channel of choice and optimising its use.

    • personalisation - customising interactions based on the profiles

    • integration - of channels so the customer has a consistent view of the company.


About Alastair Bateman:
Alastair Bateman has worked in the IT industry for 5 years and has a Masters degree in Strategic Information Systems. He is Principal Research Analyst for the Datapoint Group where he has worked for 2 years.

About Datapoint:
Datapoint is a professional services company focused on enabling companies to effectively communicate with customers using a variety of communications channels. Whether using email, telephone, the internet, iDTV or WAP, Datapoint helps companies to use multi-media communications to create business advantage.

Today's Tip of the Day - Can You measure It?!

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Printer Friendly Version Printer friendly version

2024 Buyers Guide Headsets

 
1.) 
All Ears Ltd

Freemate headsets, and sanitary solutions for headsets
Freemate headsets available, corded and wireless for telephony and USB. 3 year warranty compatible with all model phones. We supply accessories from downleads, USB leads, ear cushions, leatherettes and we service call centre headsets, these are sanitised and repaired or serviced as required.

We supply the corporate environment, Government departments, security, medical and professional offices and meet the needs of many of New Zealand's SOHO market.

We can even develop and create one-off solutions for those with mobility or disability limitations opening up a world of freedom in communications. And we like to have fun on the journey.

2.) 
Comfort Telecommunications

Smith Corona Headsets
3 year warranty compatible with all model phones. Accessories also available. Cords, earpads, etc all factory direct pricing

3.) 
Headsets Connect

Since 1998, Headsets Connect has been supplying Call Center Grade corded phone headsets, wireless headsets, headset telephones and a wide range of headset accessories to accommodate Medical, Insurance, Financial offices and large Call Centers environments offering you value, comfort, flexibility and increased productivity in your day to day business.

4.) 
Headsets123


Since 1998 Headsets123 has been supplying Call Center Grade corded phone headsets, wireless headsets, headset telephones and a wide range of headset accessories to accommodate Medical, Insurance, Financial offices and large Call Centers environments offering you value, comfort, flexibility and increased productivity in your day to day business.

Our offices are located just outside of Seattle, WA. We hope you enjoy our wide range of headsets and accessories.

5.) 
Jabra

Jabra
Jabra is a leader in engineering communications and sound solutions – innovating to empower both consumers and businesses. We are committed to letting people hear more, do more, and be more than they ever thought possible. Through sound and video, we help transform lives. Jabra engineering excellence leads the way, building on 150 years of pioneering work. This allows us to create integrated headsets and communications tools that help professionals work more productively; wireless headphones and earbuds that let consumers better enjoy calls, music, and media; and pioneering video conferencing solutions, enabling seamless collaboration between distributed teams. Jabra employs approx. 1,400 people worldwide

6.) 
JPL Telecom

Based in Dorset, England, JPL designs and manufactures innovative professional telecom headsets. We have a wide range of professional telecom and call centre use headsets in wired, wireless DECT and Bluetooth styles.

Making sure that your customer’s voice can be heard is vital. JPL Telecom ensures that your customer’s experience is first-class. All headsets have our Surround Shield™ noise cancellation to make certain your customer only hears what you want them to hear. Comfortable and attractively designed headsets are built to withstand the constant use in any call centre environment.

Our aim is to continuously improve customer choice, offering a fair price and value to our resellers and end users.

7.) 
Leitner Headsets

Contact Center Headsets
Over one million North American businesses have purchased headsets from us in the past two decades – we understand headsets.

Leitner Headsets are the most durable contact center headsets backed by a 5 Year Warranty, giving you a best-in-class productivity tool that fits your needs (and your head). As the trusted experts, we make headsets simple to choose, and easy to use.

8.) 
Unicom Services Ltd.

Contact center headsets and conference solutions
Unicom Services Ltd. is a distributor of professional headsets and communication solutions for all possible applications.

Products and Services:
* Headsets for contact center, office, small office and home, mobile phones, computer headsets and adapters.

* Conference systems - audio video terminals, personal and group multipoint conferences.

* Telecom Products - office wired and wireless phones, dect systems, softphones.

* Video conference software for contact centers and offices.

* Unified Communication Solution.

9.) 
Xiamen Mairdi Electronic Technology Co., Ltd

Call Center Headsets
Mairdi is a professional call center headsets maker in China. We've designed, produced and exported professional communication headsets for 16 years. Our headsets were exported to over 120 countires in the world.
Our headsets are widely compatible with nearly all IP Phones, desk phones, PC and mobiles. They are all noise cancelling and with built-in hearing protection technology. Our headset accessories are Plantronics or Jabra compatible. All the headsets and accessories are CE,FCC, RoHS certificated.
 

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