Value Creation in Call Centres


Value Creation in Call Centres

February 4, 2002 by Niels Kjellerup, publisher of this website.

 The Bubble is ready to burst.

It is only 18 months since the Dot Com bobble burst. Today similar signs are on the horizon for the CRM & Contact Centre Bobble.

Over the last 12 months Customer Satisfaction has been dropping in all Industry categories – the message is very clear : “We don’t like to be treated like cattle; we don’t like talking to machines when we call to get help or assistance, and we hate the long waits on the phone”. (Read ‘Why Customer Service Fails’)

The Companies, which allowed their IT departments to dictate their Customer Service Delivery Platforms and Policies, are finally waking up to the fact, that the promised Return on Investment (ROI) is not going to materialise and the customers are walking to the competition with better service.

It’s easy to point the finger at the Vendors & Consultants who sold this piece of blue sky. Over the past 5 years a minimum of $30 billion was invested in CRM- E-commerce-Call Centres with very little to show for it. Call Centres are failing because they aren’t adding value to the Business Model.

 The real culprits.

Senior management permitted Customer Service to be removed from the Business Model and allowed it to become an appendix, where customers were kept at arms length at as low a cost as possible. The Call Centre became a Call Producing Factory only interested in cost per call, length of call. Adoption of  these vendor dictated Metrics gave the Call Centre its False Benchmarks. (Maybe this article can help)

Management failed by not applying common sense and asking : “ If the customer is our most important asset and the sole source of our revenue stream – how come Call Centres are not measured on how they add value to revenue”?

Sales were happy, as they didn’t have to share revenue with any one else.

Marketing was happy, as no one had to pay attention to the feedback from the customers via the Call Centres.

Call centre management was unhappy, but nobody had to pay attention as cost centres are normally  invisible to Senior Management.

The real challenge.

Corporations need to revisit their Business Model and review the core role customers have in ensuring profit growth above and beyond, what can be achieved by cost cutting. Any Business Model, that does not see Customer Service Delivery as an essential integral part of future revenue creation, will fail. Viewing sales as an interactive process with the customer is the key to this change. Selling is Service and Service is Selling.

CRM fails along side the Call Centre Channel, when the Business Model doesn’t view sales, marketing & service as an integral process.

Only Senior management can review and implement these changes.

 Capturing Value Creation in the Call Centre.

The CRM & Call Centre Vendors failed to provide us with the tools, we need to capture & document the Customers Experience. In fact because they only could measure the mechanics of the call, they created a ‘false’ science of how to manage a call centre based on call metrics. Sure you need some operational data to optimise manning and minimise waste – but to make this the purpose of your activity – you gotta be kidding.

The first step is to realise, that these so called ‘Best Practices’ are seriously flawed and led us into the tunnel of no meaningful productivity gains in the first place.

Second step is to realise that High Customer Satisfaction or Excellent Customer Experience  matters not at all, unless this is reflected in the customer becoming more profitable to the Business Model. In other words, unless we can develop methodologies and applications, which allows us to document, how the Customer Experience leads to more sales at less cost, we’re still fighting the windmills.

Third step is to realise that the flip side to the coin called Customer Experience is Senior Management Satisfaction. The Call Centre provides Senior Management Satisfaction by Value Creation, i.e. engaging customers in interaction with the Aim of 1) Taking cost & Time out of the process of doing business with us, 2) Marketing & 3) Selling. Ensuring that these values are captured, documented & part of the Business Model is the primary job of Call Centre Management.

Light at the end of the tunnel.

Call me an optimist, but in the last 12 months I have travelled the world with this message and been in front of 100’s of major corporations with large Call Centre operations. Every single senior manager, I spoke to, understood and accepted the need to integrate the Call Centre with  the Business Model and focus on Value Creation.

Restore Customer Values to all your activities and trust your common sense more than the Vendor-Metrics and you have a head start on the competition. I have located technology (Eyretel) which enables capture & documentation of Value Creation and lets the Call Centre deliver senior management satisfaction for a change. (Eyretel is a sponsor of this web site, because here's a workable solutions for all call centres).

It's really up to you to convince Senior Management that the Call Centre deserves to be allowed to add value to the Business Model

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