Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Differentiation Through Customer Service Excellence

October 22, 2007

Let's face it: in this era of globalization, e-commerce and standardization, most products and services (unless you're buying Lear Jets) are becoming very commoditized. So best-in-class companies are implementing intelligent contact center solutions to differentiate themselves through service excellence.

This is the message in the new AberdeenGroup benchmark report entitled: “The Intelligent Contact Center: Increasing Multi-Channel Visibility.” Underwritten by contact center and CRM solutions provider Astute Solutions, Aberdeen’s research was compiled by surveying over 200 companies across multiple industries.
The study addresses the reality that the contact center has evolved into a critical interaction point for customers. Companies are striving to gain a competitive edge through customer service. Yet, Aberdeen found that 61 percent of organizations surveyed are challenged to leverage the increasing amounts of data available to the contact center accumulated through customer management systems (CRM, SFA and order fulfillment) and customer interactions (customer data, issues and transactions). This can diminish the customer experience by negatively impacting service speed and reliability.
Best-in-class companies that strive to differentiate themselves through customer service are rolling out intelligent contact centers to address the quality of responses provided to customers. According to the study, an intelligent contact center provides consistent, accurate and timely information in response to customer inquiries via the customer’s chosen medium. It is capable of collecting, analyzing, managing and disseminating data across multiple channels such as phone, e-mail and Web self-service.
Aberdeen cited competitive pressures, the need to improve first contact closure rates and escalating operational costs as the three main drivers among best-in-class companies implementing an intelligent contact center strategy. Ninety-seven percent of these organizations experienced improvement in customer satisfaction within two years of implementing an intelligent contact center.  In addition, most have experienced an improvement in cost per contact and first contact closure rate. Conversely, none of the laggard companies experienced an increase in customer satisfaction, and some report that their cost per contact has increased over the same two-year period. This is due largely to the challenge of managing data to effectively meet customer needs with their existing solutions.
“In order to achieve best-in-class status, companies must implement knowledge management solutions. Providing dependable, accurate and well-timed data across channels is critical to enhancing the customer experience,” said Alan Hubbard, SVP, Customer Management Technologies Group at Aberdeen.
The study revealed that best-in-class companies are more than twice as likely to implement knowledge management solutions. Enabling technologies like natural language queries and guided search drive success because customers and agents can retrieve data quickly and reliably across any channel. Companies can deal with customer issues at their point of origin, while increasing agent efficiency and improving customer satisfaction levels.
The Aberdeen research report educates companies on how executing on an intelligent contact center strategy can enhance the customer experience, reduce contact center costs and help them remain competitive. It also offers specific recommendations to help companies achieve their goals. For a limited time, Astute Solutions is offering a complimentary copy of the full Aberdeen report at:
Tracey Schelmetic is editorial director for CUSTOMER INTER@CTION Solutions. For more articles please visit Tracey Schelmetic’s columnist page.