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Chapter 2: Call Center Issues vs. Opportunities

Once the business issues are addressed, there are significant opportunities for implementing and supporting information technology, including:

  • client/server computing applications from a customer point of view, as

opposed to existing internal (i.e., product) perspectives

  • computer telephone integration

  • relational database implementation

  • electronic distribution channels

  • multimedia and the Web-based catalog

  • imaging of product data and pictures

  • call-pathing of inbound numbers

Capitalizing on the Opportunity

It’s easy to fall victim to old ways of thinking about customer contact; businesses do it and so do vendors. In these exciting times for technologies (with rapid advancements, increasing ease of use, and ever-improving price performance), those who have lived with technology should avoid the temptation to lead with technology. It may be trendy and alluring to discuss the latest chip, workstation, server or digital technology, but it is not the optimal decision factor to select a significant business initiative or solution.

To determine the value of growth or the cost of poor performance, conduct a full benchmark audit to measure and prioritize critical opportunities. Select a sound, tested survey to measure performance in operations, technology, human resources, cost, facilities, knowledge management, and customer service. Examine not only how to improve internal processes, but also run a peer-group comparison with at least 20- 30 competitors in your market. Purdue University research from the Center for Customer-Driven Quality developed a benchmark methodology some years ago. Currently, the survey and core findings from this datamart of best practices are found at <www.BenchmarkPortal.com>. The custom peer-group reports that you will obtain for your center are essential management tools that prioritize optimal areas for change. See Appendix Z for the blueprint on Benchmarking.

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