Communications Providers Are at Crossroads Over Adding New Services

It's a delicate balance. Communications providers are working to find just the right mix between lowering customer call volumes and providing customers with new services. A study published this week indicated that with recent regulatory changes, technology advances, and increased competition, communications providers are adding new services at an unprecedented rate. The study, conducted by Enkata Technologies, which develops and sells software that analyzes the root cause of call center problems, focused on 147 call center managers and senior executives from 24 wireless, wire-line, cable, and satellite companies. Key findings also indicated that adding these new services often leads to increased customer call volumes. These new services may achieve call rates that are two or three times those of existing services. Respondents also say this increase can make a significant impact on a company's bottom line, as well as on customer satisfaction levels. The average cost of a customer service call is estimated to be $7. Other findings include a majority of respondents claiming that improving self-service channels is the best way to help reduce the number of agent calls when a new service is offered. According to Forrester Research, the cost of the average Web self-service session is $1, compared with $10 for an email response and $33 for a telephone call. However, the Enkata research also indicated that current self-service technologies like Interactive Voice Response and the Web are not being maximized. A majority of respondents say there is room for 50 percent improvement when implementing an IVR or Web-based self-service solution. Industry-watchers claim that when done right, Web self-service can answer 80 percent to 90 percent of customers' questions with a high degree of satisfaction at a much lower cost than telephone or email customer service. However, this means going beyond posting FAQs and providing immediate, relevant, and satisfactory answers to specific questions customers will have by using data warehousing and analytics
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