Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Enkata: Contact Centers Strive to Increase Revenues, Profits

August 15, 2008

Enkata, a provider of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS (News - Alert)) Performance Management for customer operations, is helping organizations to improve the effectiveness of their contact and claim centers through analytics-powered applications.
 
I had the opportunity to interview Liz Amaral, Senior Director of Product Marketing at Enkata ahead of her presentation at the upcoming Call Center 2.0 event happening September 16-18 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, collocated with INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO West.
 
 
What is the biggest trend you are seeing in the contact center space?
 
At Enkata we are seeing contact centers shedding their reputations as cost centers and striving to become revenue and profit centers. As the hub of customer interactions, contact centers have rare, one-on-one contact with customers that organizations can leverage to introduce up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. This shift from service to sales operations can transform a contact center into one of the most strategic assets at a company. Of course, it’s only when organizations master service delivery and solve a customer’s question during the first contact that it can “earn the right” to make any sales offer.
 
What should contact center decision makers know before upgrading their systems?
 
Our customers have found that most claims from system providers are more hype than reality, as there isn’t a true “all-in-one” solution. With the myriad of vendors and platforms in the contact center, there isn’t a single vendor that has a complete solution that meets all of their business’ needs. Every contact center has its own unique set of challenges and requirements. Before starting from scratch and replacing the entire infrastructure component, executives should research overlay solutions that integrate easily into their existing technologies, are proven to solve specific business problems and deliver tangible ROI. 
 
 
How is UC changing the contact center space?
 
Some companies would like you to believe UC is a silver bullet; however, it’s not. On its own, UC will not improve First Contact Resolution (FCR). FCR has been cited by industry analysts, such as DMG Consulting LLC Principal Donna Fluss, as the most important metric for measuring how well a contact center is serving the customer.
 
Is Web integration in contact centers finally happening?
 
Customers are definitely using the Web more often and attempting to self-serve. However, very few contact centers have visibility into whether using this channel is actually driving down call volume or causing an adverse impact on the number or complexity of customer contacts. Enkata works with our customers to aggregate contact data across these communication channels, to help them understand, and improve the customer experience, regardless of initial contact point. These organizations are now able to measure First Contact Resolution and determine which types of issues are best resolved in each channel.
 
How is Microsoft’s (News - Alert) entrance into the market changing it?
 
Microsoft is a broad platform vendor with a wide array of technologies. For our experience, the contact center is so strategic that service operation executives will not settle on a single vendor platform solution for “convenience.” They need the absolutely best-of-breed business solutions and unique contact center expertise, that’s also proven.
 
What about Web 2.0 – is it changing the contact center space?
 
There have been several discussions about how contact centers can leverage the promises of Web 2.0: one-on-one connections through social networking and self-generated content. Enkata works with service industries that are struggling to balance the benefits and drawbacks of these customer-to-customer interactions. On one hand, online communities can improve customer experience and resolve issues before they reach the contact center. On the other hand, companies can lose touch with their customers, and communities may distribute poor information. The best practice so far is a balanced approach, which leverages Web 2.0 tools to enhance the communication between agents and customers.
 
8. What is one surprise we will see in the contact center space in the next year?
 
With the current economic conditions, retaining existing customers is more important than ever. Companies are now taking a more unified view of interactions with their customers. To that end, we’ll see a push from sales and marketing within a company to make contact centers more strategic in terms of customer retention and sales.
 
9. Why should people come to hear you speak at Call Center 2.0 and what will you be discussing?
 
During Call Center 2.0, I’ll be discussing the benefits of First Contact Resolution. Not only does FCR cut costs by eliminating repeat calls, it directly correlates with customer satisfaction and impacts the contact center’s ability to become profitable. The path to becoming a strategic contact center starts by achieving a superior level of service that earns agents the “right” to approach customers with a new purchase or extended service. Enkata’s customers have found that by improving FCR, incoming service calls significantly decrease. These saved minutes help agents refocus the call to an intelligent customer dialogue, resulting in lower churn and more up-sells.

Rich Tehrani is President and Group Editor-in-Chief of TMC. In addition, he is the Chairman of the world�s best-attended communications conference, INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO (ITEXPO (News - Alert)). He is also the author of his own communications and technology blog.

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