There has been an onslaught of industry attention to the possible transformation of the contact center into a selling center. Noting a growing demand for customer service representatives to cross-sell and upsell while maintaining a high level of satisfaction, San Mateo, Calif.–based performance management software provider Enkata has unveiled its new Strategic Service Suite.
"There's a backdrop of companies at large, as well as our customers, trying to sell more in their contact centers and need [this solution] in their toolset," says Ronald Hildebrandt, Enkata's founder and the company's senior vice president of marketing. "It's not just about average handle time (AHT) and first-call resolution (FCR). How do we turn this great customer experience into higher revenue?"
Hildebrandt sees the answer in Enkata's new Strategic Service Suite, which he claims fills a pair of gaps not only in Enkata's current offerings, but in the industry overall:
- providing balanced measurement; and
- properly educating agents to sell.
The new offering -- built upon Enkata's Action Analytics platform -- has a packaged set of sales metrics as well as dashboards, reports, and scorecards that include measurements such as sales per hour, product/offer types, and close rate. What makes this a differentiator in Hildebrandt's eyes is the fact that these statistics are then "balanced" versus traditional customer satisfaction indicators such as AHT and FCR. "Now there's no disconnection between agent incentives and organizational objectives," he says.
The second of Hildebrandt's stated gaps involved the introduction of sales methodology to agents -- people who were typically hired to perpetuate great customer satisfaction, not to sell. To this end, the solution offers:
- automated sales-coaching plans with action scores, automatically informing supervisors of agents, call reasons, and metrics with the most potential for improvement; and
- deep-drill supervisor dashboards with "click-to-call" features, allowing supervisors to identify specific calls quickly for "more constructive, fact-based, and actionable coaching," according to information provided by Enkata.
Ted Lubowsky, managing director of West Orange, N.J.–based consultancy DMG Consulting, suggests that Enkata is helping fill a soon-to-be-major demand. "We believe the idea of contact centers as revenue generators will become an ever-increasing need going forward," he posits. "[This will] require much more selling -- and, honestly, analytics and coaching for these people right now is not there."
Another competitive differentiator, Lubowsky says, has to do with deployment time. Included in this offering is Enkata Rapid Applications, which has streamlined solutions that can go live very quickly -- some within 60 days. Applications include Sales Performance, Next-Call Avoidance, and Coaching. "Getting contact centers up and running faster is a major problem in this industry," Lubowsky explains. "Being able to put together a rapid deployment utilizing this technology is the right move for this [space] in general and especially for the customer."
For now, Hildebrandt says the company is specifically targeting the financial services and telecommunications verticals with Strategic Service Suite, noting that those industries see sales opportunities on more than two-thirds of all incoming calls. He adds, however, that there are plans to expand into hospitality, retail, and utilities in the next six months.
Lubowsky believes that all organizations, regardless of their respective verticals, need to beef up selling capacity in their contact centers. "Vendors need to lead customers in this direction," he stresses. "[Companies] put it off even though they realize it's coming...[but] the train is coming down the track. The timing is right and revenue generation on the part of contact centers is here now, but will only get bigger in the next couple of years."
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