Running a contact center 20 years ago required a lot of guesswork. Before modern workforce management solutions that helped accurately predict call volume based on historical data and other factors, allowing companies to keep the optimum amount of staff on the phones, contact centers had to make educated guesses and then pay the price for either being overstaffed (wasted money) or understaffed (risking poor customer service).
While most contact centers today have workforce management solutions to rely on, contact center technology has moved on even further, and companies can now choose very advanced solutions such as analytics that reduce the unknowns even further. Another technology that can help eliminate problems called insight gaps is advanced real-time decisioning (RTD), which helps contact centers present the right offer at the right time to customers, thanks to data that helps them understand who among their customer base would be most open to upselling at any time. RTD solutions can also detect the customers mostly likely to churn.
According to a new research study sponsored by Portrait Software, a provider of customer interaction optimization solutions and now part of Pitney Bowes Business Insight (News - Alert) group, contact centers that do not have advanced real-time decisioning (RTD) engines are suffering from serious gaps in knowledge and insight compared to competitors that have already adopted the technology. The study, which was conducted by Loudhouse Research, found that 75 percent of businesses with advanced RTD capabilities believe they are “good at identifying customers who can be persuaded to consider new offers.” This compares to just 35 percent of organizations that have not yet installed this technology.
A further 83 percent of RTD-enabled businesses believe they are “able to make use of customer insight to retain customers they might otherwise lose,” while just 55 percent of respondents without RTD believe they are able to do so. In addition, 61 percent of RTD enabled businesses say they are effective at “re-establishing profitable relationships with former customers,” compared to just 42 percent that have only installed interaction-based systems.
The research also found that approaches to real-time decisioning technology vary by country. Organizations in the UK are more likely to have one of the more sophisticated decisioning options (29 percent versus 24 percent in the U.S.), and U.S. call center agents are more likely to receive no prompts at all (36 percent versus 23 percent in the UK). However, the research also found a degree of polarization in the U.S. responses – 20 percent of U.S. respondents have the most sophisticated level of decisioning support compared to just 11 percent in the UK.
“The volumes available for outbound customer communication is limited and the effectiveness of traditional marketing communications has declined as ad fatigue continues to take hold,” said Luke McKeever, CEO of Portrait Software. “These factors make real-time decisioning, particularly through inbound marketing, an essential part of any B2C organization's customer interaction strategy. Our research indicates that those organizations that have so far failed to implement such technologies face a clear 'insight gap' in comparison to competitors that have adopted this approach to customer engagement. As a result, they are far less able to identify which customers to target with specific offers, find it harder to retain customers that are planning on leaving and find it harder to re-establish relationships with returning customers. In an age where every interaction counts and establishing trust with customers is key, it is those organizations using advanced real-time decisioning that are primed for success.”
For more information about the study, visit www.portraitsoftware.com/resources/white-papers/customer-insight-research-2010
Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Chris DiMarco