myth and reality of ROI in Call Centre Investment.
Niels Kjellerup, Editor and Publisher of The Call Centre Manager Forum June 2nd
day I get Emails from mainly Europe & the US asking me to validate
information in an ROI document.
stands for Return on Investment, and when the IT department is tasked with
buying new software or hardware for the Call Centre the vendor prepares a
document, which shows how the new equipment will cut cost and make the
investment worthwhile. The time it takes to recoup the investment is essential
to get the ROI.
general an ROI from a vendor rarely reflects what happens in real life. In fact
it’s very rare that anyone ever actually audits the ROI and ensures that the
promised savings were actually realised.
and presenting IT with an ROI document for a Call Centre investment has become
an empty ritual completely removed from the actual situation of deploying and
implementing new technology effectively in the Centre. Everyone involved in the
ritual understands that an ROI document is needed, but seems to have forgotten
most ROI documents are based on a best-case scenario, no one expects the ROI to
have any relevance, as long as it’s there for reasons long forgotten.
A Case study
European mid-size bank contacted me for help in sorting out the investment
priorities in their +200 seat Call Centre.
Call Centre Management team had written a priority list of the most important
Call Centre investments for next 6 months.
list had 3 items –
A voice recording system to
implement a quality monitoring & evaluation program.
A work-force management system to
better organise staff scheduling and handle call flows.
3) A CRM-type software to improve Management reporting
vendor had submitted an ROI, which showed expected savings of around Ecu 1
first question was ‘What is the purpose of the Call Centre?’ & ‘How do
you know if you’re contributing to that purpose’?
first I was inundated with ACD statistics – no. of calls, length of calls,
wrap up time, average wait times, queuing statistics. After much soul searching
we came up with a Call Centre purpose, which basically helped refocus on the
Customer, the OUTCOME of the call and how the Call Centre experience affected
question was ‘what are the key factors determining how the customer feel about
answers helped us set the priorities for achieving the Call Centres purpose 1) the call,
2) how the Service Rep handled the customer & 3) did
the call outcome exceed customer expectations?
it was easy to set the priorities for the proposed IT investments –
Quality – to ensure the Call
Centre produces what it is supposed to produce, i.e. well trained staff
producing desired call outcomes resulting in happy customers with increased use
of the banks services.
Scheduling – now that the staff
is creating desirable customer outcomes, it makes sense to optimise the
scheduling & forecast.
CRM software for improved
management reporting. Now that the Call Centre has valuable results to report it
defining the purpose of the Call Centre and then look at how to achieve such
outcomes, it became quiet clear that Quality of the call and well-trained
CSR’s was the basic building block to achieving the overall purpose of the
Centre. Had we elected to go with workforce management software, we would have
achieved better schedules and better utilisation of the CSR’s, but the ROI
would never materialise unless the CSR’s were producing good or excellent call
outcomes. So it was ‘the cart before the horse’ scenario. As my old teacher
in IT often pointed out “If you automate a flawed process, all you get is a
lot of flawed process”.
better reporting systems is no good, unless you’re producing something worth
reporting, so the same logic applies to CRM software investment.
sequence of improvement alone determines if an ROI is achievable.
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