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Call Center Technology Pays Off In Increased Revenues And Cost Savings

"What executives may not realize is that, in recent years, key technologies such as voice recognition (VR), interactive voice response (IVR), call routing, customer information management, middleware connectivity, and workforce management have become more powerful and less expensive", explains Wayne E. Pietraszek and Adesh Ramchandran, analysts for consulting firm McKinsey & Company, Inc. The authors cite the example of a transportation company that invested less than $5 million in VR, IVR, call routing, and workforce-management technology and managed to save more than $20 million a year while simultaneously boosting customer satisfaction by 30%.

Call-center outsourcers routinely use the technologies to cut the cost of operating customer facilities by 30% to 40%, according to the McKinsey Quarterly article.

Automating procedures can be used to increase efficiency in the areas of customer contact, call volume and helping frontline staff resolve calls. Transactions that cost $2 to $10 when handled by a live agent cost only 2 cents to 20 cents when automated. McKinsey research has found that customers are getting used to auotmated transactions and that 60% prefer an automated option for many simple interactions.

Processes can also be redesigned by allowing call-center agents the capability of interacting with back-office systems. One transportation company began solving more problems (ten-fold) during the first call after it made a modest investment in the interface of its billing system and restructured its work processes so that call-center agents could access billing data.

To gain the benefits of new technology, the authors advise that changes need to be made in incentives, behavior and methods of management.

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