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Home >Call Centre > Full Story

Call Center Management

As the Internet becomes a viable, practical method of transacting business and exchanging information, savvy organisations will take advantage of their Call Center resources to extend and refine customer service. We are in the midst of an astounding transformation in the way organisations serve their customers. Every day we have a new breed of Call Centers emerging.

Managing a Call Center in the networked economy calls for the latest technology to access up-to-date information enabling the company to establish, build and manage customer services. The most important challenge is to train the agents to manage customer relationships.

The Manpower Challenge
What do the customers want? What factors lead to customer loyalty? What is the organisation doing to integrate e-commerce and Call Centers? After all 'Call Centers' is the front-end for an e-commerce activity.

In today's fast moving world it is easy to lose sight of the most important ingredient in a Call Center—the people. Finding and managing the right people plays a critical role in creating and implementing a successful customer service strategy. Call Centers have evolved into the strategic core of the enterprise. They have to be staffed with agents who can effectively handle multiple complex transactions and provide unparalleled service. The success of the Call Center depends on the agents' ability to communicate effectively via phone, fax, e-mail or real time chat. All of these require a different set of skills.

Most Call Centers today face a problem of high labour turnover. The job of an agent is often viewed as merely an entry level position that the sooner you get out of there, the quicker you will rise to be a star somewhere else. This negative perception and lack of awareness and recognition of the Call Center's value starts with the senior management. Career pathing and motivation can be a solution to this problem. It also leads to high performance levels. Career development programs are often an effective measure curbing agent attrition. The longer the agents remain in the Call Center, the better the chances are that they will become supervisors or managers, meaning that the center will continue to be run by veterans who truly understand the dynamic environment.

Handling call after call can be very repetitive and often results in early agent burnout and turnover. The problem is that Call Centers focus too strongly on call statistics to please the management, and not enough time on involving agents in projects and decisions, or on creating career paths.

The Call Centres have started to realise the importance of training. Karrox Technologies Ltd.'s e-Customer Relationship Management (e-CRM) training is as intensive as its recruitment practices. The program, which has been designed in association with Algonquin College of Canada, lasts 6 weeks and consists of classroom and domain training. The training covers modules like customer care services, stress management, communication skills, contact center procedures and telemarketing. The program can be cutomised to suit the Call Center's specific requirements.

CRM is the process of sales, marketing, service and support within an organisation with the customer as the focal point. Irrespective of the medium the customer chooses to interact with the company, a Call Center will always know who they are, and optimise their experience with the company. The Call Center is the foundation for customer interaction and draws all company resources on the customer. It is the moment of truth for the company.

The Technology

Automatic Call Distribution (ACD)
The ACD's job is not just to route calls but also manage the information associated with the calls. It is that single piece of technology without which the whole edifice of inbound sales, order taking and customer service will crumble. It allows you to route calls intelligently. It ensures that that the human resources in a Call Center are used effectively. ACD helps skill based routing. Traditional routing was based on equitable distribution of calls among the available agents and the random nature of incoming calls. Skill based routing route calls to the agent who is best equipped to handle the call.

Predictive Dialing
Predictive dialing has automated the outbound call process, with the computer choosing the person to be called and dialing the number. The call is only passed to the agent when a live human answers. Most of the non-productive time in terms of: looking up the number, dialing the number, listening to the rings or engaged tone, dealing with an answering machine, etc. is completely wiped out.

Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)
CTI integrates the computer and telecom systems to bring the customer's phone call along with the relevant data right to the agent's desktop.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
It is a computer system that prompts callers to enter information either through a telephone keypad or spoken word. The caller then gets some information back or is prompted to enter something else by a digitised or recorded voice. The IVR is used as a front end and together with the ACD it can help routing and enable more intelligent and informed call processing.

Software
The right kind of software ensures that the all information can be retrieved and updated by the agents. This means that the customer gets the same service each time he calls, regardless of the agent he speaks to.

Telemarketing and Scripting software can create scripts for different telemarketing activities like sales, follow-ups or handling difficult customers.

CRM software combines front-end customer interactions with all the customer data lurking behind the scenes throughout the company. For the customer, it means no repetition of information as the agent has information ready on who the caller is and what dealings they have had in the past. It results in shorter calls, and better calls that generate higher revenues.
 
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