Call centres are not making sufficient use of IT to streamline processes, at the expense of customer service, agent satisfaction and the bottom line, according to industry experts.
Following yesterday's announcement of new guidelines from the Health and Safety Executive covering high stress levels and training requirements, experts said the problem was not purely related to demanding supervisors and abusive callers.
Talking exclusively to vnunet.com today (12 December), Jonathan Hebbes, European vice president for agent optimisation software vendor Witness Systems, said that many call centre problems could be eradicated by the intelligent deployment of software.
"The focus has to be on the metrics of success. I speak to people whose chief concern is how many calls are handled and how long they take to complete. This is totally the wrong tack," he said.
"Companies need to be able to evaluate what the customer really wants, motivate, train and value their staff and obtain useful information from customers and agents alike," he added. "This can now all be done by deploying the right software."
There are currently two million people working in around 6,000 call centres in the UK, and Hebbes estimated that only five per cent of the centres are deploying agent optimisation software.
He explained that e-learning was a major area where call centres could benefit, saving on training costs and reducing staff churn.
The IP contact centre is tipped by experts to be the 'killer application' of IP networks owing to the added functionality available.
Customer relationship management consultancy Academee estimated that IP contact centres could save up to 15 seconds on each call.
"Technology can be an effective tool to reduce stress and costs," said Academee's Steve Cox. "Voice over IP will see huge growth in interest once people trust the technology, but companies should definitely look to IT as a way to solve those high profile problems [such as queuing, call direction and agent satisfaction] that they encounter."
Ceres, located in the asteroid belt, has a carbonaceous-rich upper crust, SwRI study claims
The spacecraft found traces of hydrogen and oxygen molecules, known as hydroxyls, embedded in the rocky surface of the asteroid
The skeleton was unearthed more than 20 years ago in South Africa
Moon's dark side is mountainous, rugged and never visible from the Earth