August 1, 2001, 12:00 AM

Customer self-service has not reduced call center workloads, says new study

More than half of companies that have implemented self-serve web options for customer service report an increase in call center workload.

Nearly half of companies that operate customer call centers offer a customers self-service option on the web and an additional 38% plan to offer the option in the next year, according to a survey of 268 call centers nationwide published in The Multi-channel Call Center Study Final Report released today by the Incoming Calls Management Institute. But interestingly, the survey of call centers found that non-phone access channels are not reducing agent workload-57% of call centers with self-service web sites report increases in workload.

Further, a third of the respondents said their organization is planning to implement call center/Internet-enabling technologies in the next 12 months, including e-mail response management, unified reporting and multi-media queuing.

The study also reported that the two biggest challenges facing organizations in developing an Internet-enabled call center are budget, cited by 56%, and the difficulties of integrating technology with existing systems, cited by 46%.

The study surveyed call centers in 12 industries, including retail and catalog merchants, financial services, healthcare, computer/Internet services, insurance, manufacturing, telecommunications, professional services, government/non-profit, travel, utilities and service bureaus.

 

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