Businesses Still Treat All Customers the Same, Says Latest Frontrange Solutions Call Centre Expo Survey

Businesses both large and small increasingly understand the benefits of converged voice and data applications in improving customer service. Yet, despite the ability of such solutions to support effective service differentiation, businesses continue to take a 'one size fits all' approach to service delivery.

So finds the second annual FrontRange Solutions User Survey, undertaken at Call Centre Expo 2006 currently taking place at the NEC, Birmingham, and designed to 'take the pulse' of companies attending the Show.

Of those surveyed, 25% want cost reduction, 18% best practice process improvement and 14% reduced complexity (e.g. by reducing the number of suppliers) from their communications solution. Yet fully 23% are now looking beyond this to increased customer satisfaction and retention, achievable only through a converged solution combining business intelligence with telephony. Supporting this, 22% of respondents already recognise converged voice and data applications as most important within their call centre.

'New for old' with IT telephony
The latest report endorses the findings of the 2005 survey, that VoIP is firmly on most companies' IT investment 'radar'. Of those surveyed, 81% have either already implemented, or plan to implement an IP telephony solution over the next 12 months, compared to 67% last year.

When asked which benefits were of greatest value to them as individual managers in implementing a VoIP solution, responses still focus strongly on internal issues such as reduced call costs (45%), call centre churn (20%) and reduced admin costs (12%). However, as in 2005, external factors such as increased customer retention (27%) and increased customer satisfaction (20%) figured highly when respondents were asked which benefits were most important to the broader business.

Other findings included:
96% of respondents expect to invest the same, or more, on communications (e.g. IP telephony, web site, call centre or converged technology) in the coming year.
Of those companies providing a banded service, 39% differentiate their service based on current spend, followed by 28% on type of product/service purchased and 21% on size of customer. Only 6% currently prioritise on the basis of potential spend.
When investing in a communications solution, 49% believe return on investment to be the most important factor in their decision-making, ahead of cost of deployment (16%), customer satisfaction (15%) and speed of deployment (11%).
For 25% of respondents, automated call distribution (ACD) is the most important requirement for their call centre, closely followed by voice self-service (23%), converged applications (22%) and interactive voice recognition(IVR)/skills-based routing (15%). "This squares well with the stated desire to improve customer service, " points out Trower. "Our own experience shows an increasing recognition among client companies that customers will respond positively to such technologies so long as they are properly implemented with ease-of-use for the customer front of mind."

FrontRange Solutions is exhibiting its complete range of integrated contact centre and customer management solutions at Call Centre Expo 2006, Europe's leading customer contact solutions event. This year, the Show will attract more than 200 exhibitors and aims to support the education and purchasing of the latest customer relationship technologies and solutions.

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