Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

New Report Examines UK Contact Center Performance: Part III

December 10, 2007

An assessment of the contact centers in one region or country can provide keen insight into procedures that work, as well as those that cause problems within the center and the parent organization.

While contact centers can be essential to the overall success of the company, they can also be significant drains on capital resources. For this reason, contact center managers must often pay close attention to internal processes to ensure maximum performance.

Self-service channels have become part of the contact center strategy. One trend that is pushing this demand is that of consumers seeking real-time information from anywhere and at any time. Organizations are also realizing the benefits that can be enjoyed when customers can take care of their own issue instead of tying up an agent in the contact center.

Contact centers in the UK have yet to embrace self-service and speech recognition as a whole. According to the UK Contact Centre Operational Review, only 26 percent of contact centers offer a voice self-service option.

It is true that many contact centers operate in an industry where self-service is not a viable option due to the nature of the calls or the customers. These centers can still benefit from the automating of the initial identity verification procedure. Such a move can make a significant impact on the repetitive nature of the calls, freeing agents to spend more time adding value to the conversation.

Beyond the time that it saves for the agent, automation can also save the organization a great deal of money. While the average identity verification process only takes 20 seconds per call, the UK contact center industry spends more than £900m each year taking callers manually through identity checks.

Call blending is also seen as a wise alternative to traditional processes. In an outbound environment, businesses can use call blending to decrease attrition rates through a variety of tasks that agents do.

The call blending method provides the ability to deliver both inbound and outbound calls seamlessly to the agent, regulating outbound call volume based on inbound traffic. When inbound traffic is low, outbound calls are automatically generated for a specific campaign.

At the point that inbound traffic picks back up, the dialer dynamically slows the number of outgoing calls to meet the inbound service level. With this method, the contact center can realize increased agent productivity, streamlined staffing, and improved customer service.

Implementing call blending can also have a positive effect on staff attrition. The Operational Review revealed that only 29 percent of contact centers using call blending stated they had a problem with attrition, compared to 56 percent who did not use such a method.

The many challenges that the contact center industry faces in trying to achieve optimal performance change as frequently as daily, making overcoming these challenges even more difficult. While there is no one-size-fits-all in the industry, many can learn from the performance – or lack thereof – of others.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC and has also written for To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page.
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