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Turning Service Into Sales
The role of the contact center agent has expanded considerably, with each agent now required to act in up to three roles.
Posted Oct 18, 2004
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As initiatives like the Do Not Call Registry and the Federal CAN-SPAM Act become more prevalent, enterprises are forced to find new ways of marketing products and services to customers. Additionally, as customer retention becomes increasingly difficult due to increased competition and customer cost consciousness, personalized customer care is especially valuable. As such, the inbound contact center becomes the primary channel through which company communication, as well as cross- and upsell opportunities, is executed. The role of the contact center agent has expanded considerably, with each agent now required to act in up to three roles: as customer service expert to solve issues efficiently; as customer advisor for potential relevant up-sell opportunities; and/or as empowered agent leveraging technology to maximize every customer contact. Such change not only requires a shift in how companies view and staff their contact centers, it also necessitates the introduction of new technology and tools. To be successful in each role contact center agents require best-of-breed, "intelligent" technology support. For many companies access to critical data is still locked away in multiple systems, making it exceedingly difficult to find the right information at the right time. As new products and services are introduced, corresponding individual legacy systems, both for billing and customer care, are installed in parallel. To the contact center agent these new products and services mean additional screens, systems, and terminals to be navigated through to even attempt to deliver efficient service. Many agents are also frustrated by what can best be seen as conflicting priorities--the mandate to reduce call handling time and increase sales. Intelligent contact center systems must help agents better leverage the information they have on their customer, including user preferences and data from other sources. Integrated customer management (ICM) allows contact center agents to focus efforts on increasing customer satisfaction and retention--it's a way of doing business that puts the customer at the center of business, aligns corporate resources, and enables operational agility. This is achieved by seamlessly integrating front- and back-office systems and call centers, and by ensuring that all these systems are working together. The result is an intentional, differentiated customer experience to create and capture maximum value.
By better understanding the customer's preferences, agents are able to offer relevant services resulting in increased revenue for the company, while providing increased value to the customer. The solution needs to provide a single, consistent, simple agent-desktop application that enables agents to transform information into actionable intelligence to provide excellent customer service and new offers when appropriate. Integrated customer management makes this possible by providing a single customer view and instant access to all customer information. About the Author Scott Kolman is the director of product marketing for the ClarifyCRM division of Amdocs. Scott has 19 years of experience marketing high-tech products and applications. His broad marketing experience spans product marketing, strategic alliances, industry and channel marketing, market management, and marketing communications. Prior to joining Amdocs Scott worked for Lucent Technologies in a variety of senior marketing management capacities, including product marketing, strategic alliances, and market management for the Asia Pacific region. Scott holds a BA in advertising from San Jose State University. He can be contacted at Scott.Kolman@amdocs.com Related articles: Why use call center data to improve sales and marketing efforts? Don't Integrate, InTRAgrate Unifying customer data will improve CRM results. Consolidation in Billing and Customer Care Market Nearly Over, Research Reveals Mergers and acquisitions are now driven by the desire to integrate front- and back-office technologies.
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