So that a call centers was successful and productive in any field a number of critical success factors must be in place. In order for a call center to be successful implementations require:
1. the development of processes and policy;
2. the implementation of appropriate technology;
3. effective human resource management processes.
Process and Policy
If a call center business strategy has already been developed, and the processes required to carry out the designated objectives have been adopted, it is crucial that those processes be evaluated. The main part of this evaluation involves looking at the types of contacts the call center is receiving, how contacts are routed, and how contact processes are managed. Polices and standardized operational procedures must also be established. What s the most important, quality monitoring and reporting processes must be in place, so that the call center can continue to meet established objectives.
Mostly call centers are particularly effective, and had their genesis, in organizations that received large volumes of calls from customers who were experiencing uncertain results as they attempted to find the individual or department that could deal with their issue. In such organizations staff were also frustrated, and not utilized effectively, as they forwarded calls or tried to help in areas outside their experience. The direction of calls to one area allows call center agents to handle queries in volume. Calls requiring additional expertise not available in the call center are referred on to other areas of the organization. As databases are created to allow agents to handle a wide range of queries, call centers become a collection point for organizational information. In such way, over time, the expertise and information available to a call center is expanded, so that it can handle more of the calls coming to it without resorting to referrals and call backs.
The concept of a call center also can be used to allocate and distribute workload in the organization. Highly paid professionals are often used to handle tasks that underutilize their expertise, without such a center. If a call center with good call routing processes can distribute calls to the individuals or automated agents most qualified to handle them.
All relevant information about a customer and their issue is documented and available to all agents within a call center. Moreover, with collaborative systems, more than one agent can simultaneously work out a particularly thorny issue with a customer, with each staff member contributing their particular expertise.
Customer-focused organizations use call centers most successfully. Many firms seeking to become more customer-oriented purchase and install elaborate customer relationship management (CRM) software suites that track and record service transactions. In case this installation occurs without significant planning, because managers are dazzled by the promises of the technology, the implementation is often a failure. It is emphasized that CRM installations work if the organization starts with a customer strategy, then realigns its structure and processes to fit the strategy, and finally selects the technology that is appropriate for the chosen strategy and processes. Implementing CRM technology, call center technology, or both, the organization must first ensure that its strategy is appropriately customer-focused, and that the technology being considered fits with that strategy.
Customer Relationship Management products have helped call centers organize some of their customer contact processes, and have also helped increase efficiencies and quality of service. A new approach must be added to follow up on CRM processes, according to John Kiska (2002). CEM (Customer experience management) is emerging as a means to retain valued customers. Retention of current customers is cost effective and highly profitable for an organization (Reichheld, 1996). It can also be true for a distance education organization that benefits from program or long-term students. CEM process begins by identifying key measures for customer satisfaction and retention. The gathered statistics can help organizations make sound decisions when it comes to call center operations and policies (Kiska, 2002). Customer loyalty and satisfaction are linked very closely to the success of the organization and call center.
In case a call center operators used customer contact to understand attitudes to the company, to assess brand perceptions, to research responses to marketing activity, and to begin to unlock the secrets of long-term loyalty and advocacy, the value of that call center operation would increase immeasurably. In such way it will enable other parts of the organization to assess the relevant issues and take the necessary action.