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 presents product or service information relating to call centers and customer service help desks.
Call Center Spending: More on People Than Technology
by Joshua Weinberger
Monday, May 24, 2004
No matter how technologically advanced call centers become, the people costs of providing customer service will continue to outpace the system costs...
No matter how technologically advanced call centers become, the people costs of providing customer service will continue to outpace the system costs, according to a report issued by consultancy and research firm TowerGroup.
The study, entitled "Contact Center Performance Optimization: Getting Better at Getting Better," claims that U.S. banks will spend $1.9 billion this year on contact center technology, while spending $5.2 billion on personnel. Both figures are up 4.5 percent from last year. While the study focuses exclusively on the banking industry, its author, George Tubin, the senior analyst in TowerGroup's Delivery Channels practice, says the same ratio applies for contact centers in other fields, as well. "Most industries will use similar technologies" in their call centers, Tubin says, keeping the personnel cost at roughly 75 percent of overall expenditures, regardless of industry.
The report addresses the burgeoning field of performance optimization, which Tubin describes as a combination of workforce management, quality monitoring, analytics, and e-learning. In the context of the contact center, Tubin says, these fields rarely interact as they should, partly because expenditures on those efforts comprise only a small percentage of the overall operational cost of a contact center. The burden of other costs--call distributors, agent workstations, etc.--are far more substantial, according to Tubin. "...[B]anks tend to have a lot more technology and databases and systems than other organizations." Contact centers tend to be run in a similar manner across-the-board. With that in mind, he says, efforts to improve the efficiency of the human factor are more important than efforts to increase the money spent on technology. On a strictly mathematical basis, he writes in the report, "a 10 percent reduction in personnel expenses provides the equivalent savings of a 30 percent reduction in IT expenses."
Before performance optimization, Tubin says, companies' only aim was "to provide faster, better information, [which is] what they're constantly trying to do with technological improvements. Much less emphasis is placed on the people side of it -- and on the people that have to use that information." With performance optimization technologies, he says, "people are finding that they are getting significant savings on the personnel side," even without reducing payroll. The trick, he says, is to use technology "as a way of getting the [contact center] agents to use the information in a better way."
Susan Andros, a senior vice president at Bank One with a long history in banking-industry CRM deployments, says TowerGroup's findings are "no surprise." Banks, she says, "are still prone to spending more on manual labor than technology." Many banking executives, she says, "were not raised on technology so they don't invest as easily." Though she thinks the situation may improve in the future, Andros says she still sees a chasm between how banks approach the different systems that serve their front- and back-office efforts.
Tubin says he thinks the key is to focus on the highest-performing agents and replicate their techniques to "try to get the lower performers up to a higher level." The incremental cost of performance optimization technologies pale before the benefits, he says. "If you're after cost reductions, it may allow you to get away with doing more with fewer people -- or the same number of people," Tubin says. Some contact centers "will just get rid of the low performers," he warns, "but you have to give [those agents] an opportunity -- the means and training and support to get there.... By being more effective with your people, you won't reduce the technology cost, but [you can] slightly reduce your personnel cost."
Companies have yet to make the leap, Tubin says. "There's no single company that I know of that's implemented a full performance optimization suite. Some companies are working on it, but they're so early into it that getting measurements...hasn't quite happened yet."
CRM Call Center Software
Database Systems Corp. (DSC) has been providing CRM Customer Relationship Management solutions to businesses and organizations for 2 decades.
TELEMATION is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application employed in a wide variety of organizations including contact centers, help desks, customer service centers, service bureaus, reservation centers and corporate call centers. The package has extensive CTI features and is fully integrated with our PACER phone system. TELEMATION operates on Linux, Unix or Windows servers. Software programmers can develop call center applications quickly using the robost features found in the Telemation toolkit.
Call Center Phone System
The PACER is a call center phone system that handles inbound and outbound calls for a wide range of contact centers. Calls are either initiated by the phone system or accepted from the outside and distributed in an intelligent fashion to your service agents. The PACER includes ACD and IVR components, plus call recording capability. Using industry standard components, the PACER phone system has features and functions that can only be found in large scale PBX’s, but at a fraction of the cost. And the PACER has predictive dialing capability that cannot be found in most of these larger phone systems. The PACER phone system can connect calls to your employees working at home or in a local or remote office. The PACER communicates with applications written on Unix, Linux, or PC servers over a LAN. For a complete product presentation, download our PACER demo.