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Call Centre Technologies

By Ian Aitchison, CEO, Asia Pacific Region, COPC Inc.

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Ian Aitchison, CEO, Asia Pacific Region, COPC Inc.

For many businesses, setting up a call centre is a big decision.

While many know what they want to achieve: higher sales, more product awareness, the offer of a new service, feedback on a new product etc., many are unsure of how to measure the success of their campaign.

While most will start with the obvious and look at something like the sales achieved or even customer satisfaction, it is the parameters that you put in place that are more likely to assure you of accurate measurement.

For starters, a customer resolution quality framework needs to be established. Far too many businesses focus on measuring on how quick a customer’s query can be answered, rather than measuring whether the query has been satisfactorily answered.

Equally important to the software are the rules you put in place regarding supervision, motivation and measurement of performance. Of course you need the appropriate software in place to ensure that the call centre staffs are capable of performing their basic tasks, but essential to the overall assessment of each call centre operator are the motivating factors of the business and what they think are the keys to success.

Every business needs to measure performance encompassing risk and compliance and the customer experience. The questions you need to ask are: Is overall compliance increasing? Are we resolving customers’ issues? If not, why not? What are our customers’ opinions about us? Whether it is good or bad, you need to know what it is and why.

A customer resolution quality framework will measure customer, business and compliance errors, and drill to the root cause and allowing you to add business intelligence attributes such as ‘was the transaction avoidable/satisfactory?’ ‘Did the customer make any negative comments about the business?’ or ‘Did the customer mention a competitor?’

Both your software and hardware needs to allow you to measure each component of the process in order to accurately assess what has worked, what hasn’t and where any potential or even real roadblocks are.

There are some common critical errors on each side of the equation. For example, the customer critical errors involve anything from the customer’s perspective that causes the transaction to be defective such as:

  • Not solving the query
  • Mistreating the customer
  • Failure to communicate clearly

Business critical errors are anything that causes the transaction to be defective such as:

  • Unnecessary cost to the business
  • Unnecessary loss of revenue to the business

While compliance critical errors could be any action or statement that is against prevailing regulations or laws and could cause the company liability.

When it comes to sampling, you need to be able to measure performance at a program level; there must be a truly random sample not based on a caller or length of transaction. Combining sample bias will also not give the true measurement of individual performance.

All software technology needs to be able to monitor case notes and promised activity such as a call back to see if the action was enacted. Furthermore, future monitoring of performance also needs to be available to see if a call centre operator is learning from past mistakes and following up on intended promised activity.

Also, the whole transaction needs to be assessed. If a call centre operator is promising to send a follow-up email or any other form of communication within a 24-hour period, and that isn’t happening, you need to find out why it isn’t and who is responsible?

Is the technology not working? Has the call centre operator not been trained in the next stage of the process? Are the management unaware of the whole transaction process and who is responsible for each action?

The best practice is for additional reviews to be equal to the normal number of monthly reviews.

There needs to be three levels of transaction monitoring: A risked based sample of transactions, to understand individual performance; a random risk based sample on natural clusters to measure business performance and identify process level issues, and a targeted random monitoring on topical issues. This focus will shift to reflect the current environment.

There should at least be a detailed end-to-end evaluation of each key process in the business, annually (e.g. home loan application, new account etc.)

For any business wanting to determine the quality of their messaging, transactions and customer experience throughout call centre operations, they need to analyse the transaction types and separate each one to see the true data.

There needs to be a clear reporting structure, so that clear ownership of performance can be accurately assessed and the rolling of three-month sampling results in order to attain a reasonable understanding of individual business units within a cluster.

Finally, findings should be documented and reported to the appropriate business managers, who in turn must take corrective action on any identified deficiencies. 

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