DSC Tech Library
This section of our technical library presents information and documentation relating to Call Center technology and Best Practices plus software and products.
Since the Company's inception in 1978, DSC has specialized in the development of communications software and systems. Beginning with our CRM and call center applications, DSC has developed computer telephony integration software and PC based phone systems. These products have been developed to run on a wide variety of telecom computer systems and environments.
The following article relates to call center technology or customer service best practices and techniques.
Call Center Statistics
Call Center Technology Penetration
In a new report entitled "Unified Messaging CPE: Moving to Unified Communications," The Pelorus Group, cites strong growth in system sales.
From worldwide sales of 10,299 systems in 1999, shipments of unified messaging systems should increase to 517,000 by year-end 2004. The leaders in this systems race are Nortel at 12.6%, NEC at 11%, and Active Voice at 9.5%.
"Unified Messaging CPE: Moving to Unified Communications," The Pelorus Group, 5/2000.
Over 90% of managers polled indicated that the Internet will be incorporated within their call centers by the end of 2000. This is an increase of 15% from those citing Internet use at the end of 1999. Email integration represented 79% of Internet applications cited by call center managers while call-me-back and Internet telephony represented 14% and 6%, respectively. By the end of 2000, however, e-mail will represent only 55% of total Internet applications while call-me-back and Internet telephony applications will increase to 25% and 19%, respectively.
Pelorus Group, 3/00
One-fifth of UK firms surveyed had human contact available from their web sites and there are no examples of shared browsing to date. Only 14% of call center operators have website access and only 11% are able to provide web site assistance. Overall, 60% of the financial service operations benchmarked in this report had systems for handling e-mail queries from web sites in call centers. Employing integration systems and technology can increase the overall operating costs of a customer services unit by around 10% per year. In a center of 150 agents, and with a web site costing around £300,000 to maintain annually, this would represent a increased cost per agent of around £3,000 (from £33,000 to £36,000 per agent seat overall).
Forrester Research, 3/00
The total CRM software market in Southeast Asia grew from $60.3 million in 1998 to $104.2 million in 1999. Double-digit growth rates should continue throughout the forecast period (2000-2006).
Frost & Sullivan, "Southeast Asian CRM Software Markets," 1/2000.
Total market revenue for PBX and KTS equipment in Asia Pacific reached $672.6 million in 1998. While unit sales grew to 6.8 million, the market experienced a decline in the average unit price. Growth is being driven by the Asia Pacific economic upsurge and increasing demand for call centers, unified messaging, networking capabilities and computer telephony integration.
Frost & Sullivan, "Asia Pacific PBX and KTS Markets," 1/2000.
The interactive kiosk market is projected to exhibit a compound annual revenue growth rate of more than 20% from 1999 to 2006. Interactive kiosk vendors supplying the retail, government, banking and finance, tourism and entertainment, transportation and telecommunications industries brought in $806.6 million in 1999.
Frost & Sullivan, "World Interactive Kiosk Markets," 1/2000.
By 2005, total peak global international demand for bandwidth will be about 7 Tbit/s, with an average annual growth rate of over 90%. The demand for bandwidth will be driven by growth of Internet use. By 2005 the forecast is that 83% of international demand will come from Internet traffic. Also, Ovum predicts that the value of business to consumer e-commerce transactions will be $358 billion, and business to business e-commerce transactions will be $2.1 trillion. Average annual growth rates will be about 60% per annum over the period.
"Global Telecoms & IP Markets", by Dr. Richard Kee, Ovum, 12/1999
More than 90% of companies are planning on incorporating Internet technologies into their CRM efforts, focusing efforts on web-based customer service solutions. A study analyzed user experiences in incorporating Internet technologies into CRM applications in the areas of sales, marketing, and customer service and support.
A benchmarking study of IVR use says that with the increased use of technology (e.g., speech recognition and intelligent call routing) and increased customer use and sophistication, IVR integration has gone up in the last two years (51% in 1996 and 67% in 1998) in the financial services industries with frequently used applications (e.g., mutual funds, credit card, banking). However, at the same time, customer satisfaction has slightly decreased, from 87% satisfied (with calls completed in the IVR) to 80% satisfied.
CTI penetration rates will rise from 17% of financial services call centers at the end of 1998 to 36% in 2003. At the end of 1998 there were 183,000 agent positions in retail financial services centers. This number will grow to an estimated 215,000 by 2003.
The compound annual growth rate for the web/call center application market for 1997-2004 is forecasted to be 110.4%.
Frost & Sullivan, 1/99
By 2001, more than 75% of Global 2000 companies will outsource some function of their help desk, a growth curve of more than 35% annually.
Meta Group, 11/98
A report forecasts that from 1998 through 2002 growth in the US market in the number of call center systems sold will be 13.6%. The PBX-integrated call center market will have a sustained CAGR of 13.2%. The standalone market segment will have a CAGR of 9.4%. And the CO-ACD market will have a 36.4% CAGR.
Pelorus Group, 11/98
Customer contacts by e-mail will grow by more than 250% over the next three years. In 1996, only 15% of the US population used e-mail, but that number will grow to 50% by 2001.
Mustang Software citing Forrester Research, 1998.
The worldwide market for automated speech recognition products is projected to grow from $100 million in 1998 to $1.6 billion in 2002. The US market for speech-enabled auto attendant products is expected to grow from less than $10 million in 1998 to $250 million by 2001.
Phonetic Systems, citing TMA Associates, 9/98.
A survey of call center opportunities in the Asia Pacific region found that:
- Only a quarter of surveyed centers use externally-assessed quality control, something commonplace in other regions.
- Technology is lagging in areas covered by the study, with less than half of these centers using specialized software packages to assist in planning and operation, and less than half having a disaster recovery plan.
- One quarter of the centers are dissatisfied with their telephone service.
- Average operator training is 15 days, 5 days below the world's best practice level of 20 days, which is standard.
- Centers are often established with little regard for how they function as an integral part of the business, with up to 80 percent of the respondents indicating they don't measure cost and revenue per call: a sign they don't consider call centers as revenue-generating assets.
Sydney, Australia-based ACA Research, surveying 1,860 contacts in 12 countries, covering size, traffic, human resources recruitment, training and pay, technology, performance, management, satisfaction with suppliers and investment intentions.
The US IVR market is growing at a compound annual rate of 11.6%, with 1996 revenues of $684.4 million, and is expected to reach $1.5 billion by 2003.
Frost & Sullivan, November 1997.
Internet telephony will capture as much as 5% of the long distance calling minutes worldwide by 2002, and will be 3% of long distance revenue. (The disparity due to the fact that IP telephony has a lower consumer cost.) The total market for Internet telephony—including both services and hardware and software—will grow to $9 billion in the next five years. Business fax transmissions, voicemail messages, and pages—not real-time voice conversations—will drive most of the growth in the use of Internet telephony in the next five years.
SRI Consulting, 1998.
The CTI industry continues to grow at a steady rate, with 1996 revenues of $1.5 billion and growth projected at an annual rate of 27.4% compounded. Results show that the boards market is dominated by a few large manufacturers who control the majority of the market share, with competition based primarily on depth of product line and the ability to match volume discounts. The software market, on the other hand, is less concentrated, with competition in that arena depending heavily on a company's ability to partner with complementary solution providers and systems integrators.
Frost & Sullivan, 1998.
From a study of CTI:
- Users of CTI technology plan on increasing CTI expenditures by 40% in 1997. The greatest increase is reportedly going to be in consulting and integration services.
- 82% of users surveyed said that the technology is used for inbound call processing. 51% said they use it for outbound call processing. Respondents rated "improved customer service" as the most important benefit of CTI.
- Workgroup collaboration scored higher (41%) than outbound telephone selling, credit verification or collections.
- 60% of respondents said that call centers would become more decentralized in the next two years; 40% said more centralized.
MMTA & CommunicationsWeek, 1998.
Revenues for help desk software tools will grow from 1997’s $7.9 billion, to an estimated $24.5 billion in 2004, with a compound annual growth rate of 17.6%. Opportunities cited as driving the market include: increasing self-help capabilities, a shift towards proactive versus reactive operations, cost reduction and service quality improvement, and the shift from help desk management to enterprise management. Market restraints are also covered, including long sales lead time, unwillingness to outsource help desks and the large number of vendors.
Frost & Sullivan, 1998.