What is the call center executive thinking about today? That's a topic that those who sell call center materials are likely thinking about just as hard—potentially even more so—than the call center executives themselves. But a recent set of graphs that emerged as part of a larger study are about to make those topics a lot easier to consider, as the graphs in question show just what's on the minds of call center executives.
The first key point is just what the top priorities of call center executives are at the moment. 34 percent said that improving the customer experience was the top priority, while stepping up agent productivity was next at 26 percent. A tie for third at 16 percent each emerged for decreasing operational costs and increasing customer demand for personalized services. Five percent claimed using customer data to improve efficiency was top, and three percent had a focus on making customer traffic more predictable.
In terms of the wider year 2014, however, business goals were actually just as clear despite some fracturing. The top two goals were close together and closely related, with “improving customer relationship management (CRM) processes” just edging out “increasing customer loyalty”, which can be seen as two ways to say much the same thing. Oddly, “increasing sales” came in fourth behind “meeting performance metrics,” and bring up the rear were “growing brand recognition,” “coping with complexity,” and “other,” in that order.
Absolute spending priorities, meanwhile, focused on the somewhat nebulous concept of process improvement, followed up by CRM, live person sales, and big data projects. Given that big data is still kind of a new tool, it makes a note of sense that it's farther down the priority ladder of spending.
What's more, issues that were priorities in just 2012 aren't really priorities any more. While an earlier survey suggested that just over 60 percent rated “broken processes” as a problem that was “most pressing,” now just 10 percent of respondents can say likewise. Similar drops were seen in “frequent data input errors” and “missed sell / up-sell / cross-sell opportunities.”
Finally, there's the issue of how the call center is viewed: is it an asset, or is it a cost? This changes by function, actually, and within every subclassification, there are elements that see asset, and others that see cost. But a majority sees it as an asset when talking about outsourcing, finance, medical, and manufacturing, while in TMT, services, the public sector, retail and distribution, and insurance, it's regarded as a cost. In entertainment and leisure, however, it's a perfect split.
Knowing this point, and having an understanding of the rest of these points, can provide critical insight on how to structure marketing efforts so as to best chime in on the point a company would agree with. For instance, showing how a product can improve first-call resolution would likewise fall flat, but an emphasis on how it can improve customer relationship management processes and in turn increase customer loyalty would be very well received.
Naturally, there are exceptions to these rules all around—no point rang true 100 percent of the time—but armed with information like this, companies can better play the odds and increase the likelihood of making sales based on how a company perceives the offering in question. There's no silver bullet solution here, but for call center executives, there are just some points that hit harder than others.
Edited by Cassandra Tucker