Call Center Technology—Is It a Help or a Hindrance In Your Company?



Kristina Evey
09/29/2009

Customers and companies alike are relying on call centers to manage large portions of their business functions. Companies are using their call centers to serve as a resource for customers to answer questions, schedule repairs, take orders, process purchases and for possible upselling. Customers rely on call centers to answer questions that are not clearly explained online, to purchase, to get more information or to simply have a human being and call center representative be their connection to the company, not the Internet.

Therein lies the challenge—how to effectively utilize and manage a call center to best serve the needs of both the customer calling in and the company itself. The main purpose of the call center is to provide excellent service in order to increase customer satisfaction and retention. In the mind of the customer, the person with whom they are speaking is the company. The smart companies are using their call centers to partner with the customer in order to enhance the experience that their customers are already having with them in order to generate retention, loyalty, and increased profits.

Focus On the Customer By Using Technology

Call centers are striving toward high efficiency and effectiveness. This is aided by new technological developments that have appeared on the market at lightening speed in recent years. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software provides amazing tracking and scheduling for customer touchpoints and purchases. Call center technology has advanced to the point where calls can be monitored and tracked, queued at the point of inception, as well as time per call demonstrating work flow and scheduling needs, etc.

All of this technology is extremely useful provided the focus remains on the needs of the customer. Technology is a wonderful thing, but steps need to be taken to ensure companies aren’t using it as an obstacle for the customer or losing the personal aspect of the interaction. Automated attendants, voice queues, time per call measurements are useful and have their place, yet the "live person" is what so many consumers prefer and appreciate. Once we lapse into having technology "process" our customers, the quality of the call suffers in the drive to minimize the duration of each call.

Your Call Center Presents Opportunity

The call center is an excellent opportunity to focus on customers and grow business. It is an avenue of communicating with customers during which customer expectations can always be exceeded. The goal is to maximize the relationship between the company and the customer through the call center. The key word here is "relationship."

Customers are buying the relationships that we are promising them, not merely our product or service. When the customer has an excellent experience with the call center, customer loyalty and retention improve. Technology improves the effectiveness and efficiency of true partnerships with customers. It serves as the foundation of information for the call center employees to carry the experience to the next level. CRM software can relay the previous purchases of the customer, yet the call center staff themselves are developing the sustainable and loyalty driven relationship when they actively and genuinely engage with the customer to anticipate needs before the customer is even aware they have them. When customers feel that the call center staff and company is truly on their team, they reward the call center and the business with their loyalty and dollars.

First published on Call Center IQ.