March 19, 2003, 12:00 AM

How leveraging web site in call center can improve service and cut costs

Extending customer-facing web technology companies already have to the rep-facing functions at a contact center could improve customer service at a third the cost of new, packaged applications, Jupiter says.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

As Internet retail sales grow, so do the number of customer contacts. Seeking faster installation times and lower development costs, 63% of companies across several industries surveyed by Jupiter Research Inc. say they’ve used packaged applications to deliver customer information to customer service reps’ desktops. But only half of those surveyed are satisfied with this solution, Jupiter reports.

Due to the customization required to fit off-the-shelf applications to individual customer contact center environments, large-scale companies could be better off simply adapting their existing technology for the job, at less cost. Jupiter estimates that extending the customer-facing web technology companies already have to the rep-facing functions at the contact center could save them as much as two-thirds of the cost of using packaged applications.

At this point, few companies have made that connection. “Most companies’ web sites share little technology with their call center applications,” says Jupiter. The disconnect wastes resources on two sets of applications and distances reps from customers’ web experience, the research company contends.

For example, 63% of those polled by Jupiter had provided a searchable knowledge base for customer service reps, but only 27% had extended this information to consumers online in the form of self-service. And though 70% of large-scale customer service operations had a content management application for personalizing the delivery of content to online customers, most did not have technology to offers reps the same view.

“As such, customer service reps are often ill-equipped to suggest comparable products and offers,” according to Jupiter. “Companies are missing selling opportunities by not making their online personalization and recommendation engines internally facing.”

 

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