Call Center Outsourcing
This section of our technical library presents information and documentation relating to Call Center technology including software and products.
Since the Company's inception in 1978, DSC has specialized in the development of communications software and systems. Beginning with our CRM and call center applications, DSC has developed computer telephony integration software and PC based phone systems. These products have been developed to run on a wide variety of telecom computer systems and environments.
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Reducing Call Center Costs
The following is an extract from the article "Reducing Call Center Costs" by David Myron from CRM Magazine:
"Paul Horstmeier knows firsthand that there is a delicate balancing act between cutting costs and investing in customer support. Horstmeier, e-marketing manager for the business customer organization at Hewlett-Packard, and his team were faced with the issue of how to contain costs at HP's call center about two years ago. At that time customers could obtain much of their information through an automated phone response system. The support team however, realized it would be more cost effective to drive customers to the Web site for product information.
Conventional wisdom says that to keep customers, it is essential to keep customer-satisfaction levels high. This requires significant investments in customer support, especially at companies where contact center call volume is high. The reality of the slumping economy, however, can put the kibosh on conventional wisdom, as many organizations are forced to decrease customer support investments.
Yet, tipping the scales too heavily on the side of frugality may yield worse results. "Organizations that are not measuring the effect on customer satisfaction have no business cutting costs, because they might be turning customers off and losing
money on the back end," says Amit Shankardass, solution planning and enterprise solutions officer at ClientLogic, a contact center services company based in Nashville. ClientLogic, a subsidiary of Canadian diversified company Onex Corp., has 32 contact centers in 46 facilities worldwide.
Thankfully, companies do not have to invest a lot to gain a lot. "Although the investment seems daunting, companies need to focus on the return. The reporting and efficiencies of representatives helping customers and customers helping themselves is greater," says Michelle Curless, director of The Customer Group LLC, a Chicago-based consulting firm specializing in customer interaction. Curless and other industry experts agree that there are low-cost alternatives to providing support without tarnishing the customer experience.
For starters, eliminate customers' need to call by empowering them with information, Shankardass says.
A common way to empower a significant portion of your customer-base with information is to post it on your company Web site. However, there are trade-offs to simply posting content online. "The disadvantage is that people may not know how to get the information," Shankardass says.
HP's Horstmeier knows this firsthand as well. With 260 different printing devices listed on HP's Web site, finding the correct information can be daunting. So Horstmeier and his team decided to take a unique approach to customer support by becoming proactive, instead of reactive, with support. That is when they elected to start a CRM email newsletter.
"There's information available on the Web that people don't know about," Horstmeier says. "If we proactively send them both support and marketing information, would that increase customer loyalty, decrease support costs, and increase their likelihood to buy? If a customer buys printer X, can we identify common things that would occur that is associated with that purchase?"
There are several ways to reach out to customers with both marketing and support email campaigns that can reduce traffic into the contact center. At HP, for example, the first month after a purchase HP can send a thank you note and a link to a product support site, Horstmeier says. The fourth month customers can receive a link to a place on HP's site that explains how to buy or change their toner cartridge. During the sixth month HP can send a helpful tip on how to print memos and calendars. After the ninth month the company can send a notice stating a customer's one-year product warranty is about to expire, and offer the customer the chance to purchase an extended warranty.
With help from Digital Impact Inc., an online direct marketing company based in San Mateo, Calif., HP piloted its proactive email marketing and support program two years ago with approximately 100,000 customers. HP immediately benefited from a 30 percent click-through rate. "That was absolutely unheard of," Horstmeier says.
Based on those results HP and Digital Impact built a customer loyalty and marketing engine to deliver tailored messages based on customer click-through rates. "Now with every new product customers receive between twelve and twenty-four different product lifecycle messaging emails from HP if they register with us," Horstmeier says.
The email marketing and support program currently has 1.5 million subscribers, growing by 100,000 customers each month, he says. "Total cost of managing the program and the content is eight cents per email and the support cost savings is $173,000 per month from all customers," Horstmeier says. "If our only objective was to save money, we did that."
Proactive email support is only one way to cut costs in the call center. Offering Web self-help is another effective cost-saving strategy....."
To view the entire article, please visit www.destinationcrm.com.
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