Fewer than 15 per cent of UK call centres have fully integrated IT and telephony systems. They blame lack of communication between IT departments and call centre managers, and inadequate understanding of the potential of computer-telephony integration (CTI).
According to a survey of 106 call centres by customer management consultancy, The Merchants Group, most businesses have installed automatic call distribution (ACD), but integration between the customer centre and core business systems is severely lacking.
The report authors said: ?Only 13 per cent have reached the integrated stage. None met our criteria for a strategic and optimised call centre.?
However, most companies claimed to be at the ?developing? stage with their technology. Around 40 per cent plan to introduce CTI this year. A further 40 per cent said they would upgrade their ACD or voice processing systems. Voice processing in its basic form can at least take messages when agents are busy, screen calls and operate ?intelligent queuing?.
Aubyn Howard, one of the authors, said call centres could better serve customers if centre managers and IT staff strike up a dialogue. ?Businesses are still in awe of the technology. Call centre managers don?t understand the possibilities of the technology, and technical staff need to tell them what the systems are capable of,? he said.
Other barriers to widespread implementation of CTI include lack of budgetary control - IT departments usually control spending on systems and choose priorities - and failure to make a business case, continued Howard. But integrated systems could mean the difference between offering a super service rather than an average service, he concluded.
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