As the call centre becomes an increasingly vital customer contact tool, enterprises are searching for innovative technologies to help them improve customer service and satisfaction. Internet access is at the forefront of this quest, but it is not without pitfalls. Jonathan Wineberg, senior vice president, engineering and product development at EIS International, thinks efficiency is crucial.
"Considering that labour accounts for more than half of the average centre's operational costs, efficiency is critical. Some Web enquiries - like requests for basic information - can eliminate live-agent involvement and free agents up for complex cases," said Wineberg.
Two challenges to implementing Web-enabled contact centres exist. The first is technological. Web-enabling software should be compatible with and integrated into existing contact centre technology. Otherwise, disjointed management data and a lack of unified supervisory controls will result.
A second challenge is quality control. It is essential to establish procedures to ensure Web contacts receive the same level of service as telephone contacts. Poor Web service can force a customer to use the telephone, resulting in two contacts.
Many centres, overwhelmed with Emails, take days or weeks to respond to urgent requests. But centres can mitigate this problem. The first method is technological. Manufacturers now offer unified queuing that treats Web requests and Email equally. To facilitate Email responses, some software allows users to build a library of responses to frequently asked questions. Parsing algorithms that attempt to determine the subject of an Email are more problematic and Wineberg advises being cautious of those that generate automatic responses.
Organisations must decide how to handle Web-generated requests. Will all agents accept and process requests, or will a dedicated pool handle this function? In either case, agents using the Web will require tailored training.
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