Contact Center Technology – So What!?! Let’s Talk Benefits! Let’s Talk CTI!

By | January 8, 2016

So, as of the last issue, you’ve realized there are a lot of contact center technologies to choose from AND you’ve had your VEXIS Assessment! Now you want to know the “so what” of it all. What does it all mean to me and my business! What are the benefits to my contact center and, subsequently, to my customers?

Well, the most important benefit starts with “In today’s economy…” In today’s economy, cutting costs means real impact to the business bottom line. Implementing contact center technologies is an excellent way to cut costs. If your business is not in a “conscious” cost cutting mode, implementing contact center technologies is a great way to add real dollars, or “hard” dollars, to the bottom line. Some of those hard dollars are in the form of reduced agent talk time; reduced toll free numbers fees, and greater customer service and satisfaction (a “soft” dollar savings) which ultimately results in customer retention and referrals.

Everything we’ve discussed so far sounds logical, so let’s talk about a contact center technology that VEXIS recommends in the VEXIS Assessment. One excellent option in contact center technology is expanding the functionality and automation options of your IVR with CTI, or Computer Telephony Integration. This is a contact center technology heavy hitter! CTI can be as simple as enhancing call routing using call attached data such as customer information. Some examples are customer’s phone number, or ANI, preferred language, customer value, or if they have a past due account. CTI can also be as sophisticated as providing a “screen pop” of customer information and allowing phone control via a soft phone. If you really want to see “bang for your buck” and if you have a multi-channel contact center, utilize CTI to integrate your email, web, or fax functionality. Now we’re talking benefits!

Now, you’re really saying “So what?” Well, let’s take it one benefit at a time. You’re IVR is working it’s magic taking calls from the PBX, playing messages, menus, or prompts, asking for data from your back end system, playing it back to the customer, and maybe, if the customer requests it, routing the call to a customer service representative (CSR). Most of this IVR magic is by customer selection, either by DTMF (pressing buttons on the telephone keypad) or by speaking into the phone (Speech – another great Contact Center Technology to be addressed in a later article). What if the IVR could immediately route your callers to the best place in the IVR based on call attached data provided by CTI? What if your caller could go directly to their language of choice without having to make a selection? What if your caller was past due on a payment and was routed directly to the payment application of your IVR or to a collections agent? Think of the potential reduction in 800 numbers that could occur with this type of smart routing. Reduction in 800 numbers means direct reduction in costs and per minute charges, which directly translates into hard dollar savings to your business! The best part of this call attached data that “smart” routes your customer, is that if the customer needs to be transferred the call attached data transfers with the call resulting in additional agent talk time savings. Two times the savings for one call!

Now, let’s assume the customer could not take care of his or her business via the IVR and HAD to transfer out to a CSR. How much time would it save your representative to have all the pertinent customer data “pop” to his or her workstation at the same time they receive the call? Would it be 13 seconds, 17 seconds, maybe up to 23 or 30 seconds if they have authenticated in the IVR and your representative received a flag to his or her desktop stating the customer had authenticated. Multiply that by the number of calls to your CSR desktop and for a “back of the envelope” calculation of cost savings and dollars to the bottom line! Another great feature VEXIS recommends is to utilize the call attached data to reinsert the caller back into the IVR where and when appropriate to complete a transaction. The call attached data also transfers with the call to the IVR so the customer does not need to re-identify or re-authenticate themselves again.

I’d like to discuss one other important use for CTI and “screen pop” and that’s in the credit and collections department. A reduction in agent talk time in the credit and collections department means more through put to your credit representatives resulting in additional monies collected in any given day. I always think of this as a great example of productivity. In one installation I had a credit / collections representative say to me how excited he was because he had collected more money in one day than ever before! That was the best testimonial to the benefits of CTI and screen pop when it comes straight from the representative.

One final, and very important, benefit of CTI is the satisfaction of YOUR CSRs. Turnover of representatives causes additional training dollars so employee satisfaction is a very important component. CTI can help with that satisfaction by enhancing the customer experience in the IVR prior to getting to the CSR so the CSR receives a satisfied customer. Also, CSR satisfaction can be realized through the “screen pop” of customer data so the CSR knows who they have received on the call, knows whether or not they have been authenticated, and can more productively handle the customer with the information provided.

This information just scratches the surface of CTI benefits. VEXIS will work with you to determine which solution is best for you to realize the full suite of CTI and screen pop benefits. Watch for the next VEXIS Voice discussion of Contact Center Technology which will talk about speech enabling your IVR.

Andrea McCasland, Senior Project and Quality Assurance Manager