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Customer Centric Call Center - A Poin t of V ie w P ap e r...

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A Point of View Paper Customer-Centric Enterprise The Center of the
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The Center of the Customer- Centric Enterprise How can contact centers help companies build strong, lasting and profitable relationships? Breakthrough technologies—and new ideas—in customer management are making the contact center a focal point of customer-centricity. In a world where customer expectations are constantly rising and competition is always growing, companies are under increasing pressure to become customer-centric. The concept is clear: By basing their activities, offerings, services and products on the customer’s needs, rather than the requirements of internal processes and systems, they will be in a better position to build lasting and profitable customer relationships. But customer- centricity can be an elusive goal: Many large, expensive implementations of customer relationship management (CRM) applications have yielded only disappointing gains. Shifting the organization to outward-looking systems and processes can be slow and difficult. Often, initiatives designed to heighten customer focus and service seem to conflict with the basic mandate to keep costs down. The Strativity Group research firm in Parsippany, New Jersey, which focuses its work on strengthening customer relations through strategy development and execution, reported last year that surveyed executives cited a growing emphasis on customer-oriented strategies. However, 57 percent said that their company does not conduct a true dialogue with its customers, only 31 percent said they had the tools and authority to actually serve their customers, and 59 percent said their companies do not deserve customer loyalty. Now, however, some companies are taking a new look at a familiar tool in the struggle for customer- centricity—the customer contact center. As they explore new approaches in the center, they are finding this is a place where practical steps can be taken today to organize both processes and information around the customer. Traditionally, efforts to increase the impact and reach of contact centers have targeted cost-control or, more recently, the up-selling and cross- selling of products and services. But new technologies are prompting many observers to see the center as a vehicle for using customer-centricity to drive long-term, sustained success with customers. In this view, the goal is not just to drive efficiency. It is to shape the center so that customers get the most value out of each interaction—whether they’re calling with an order, a question or a complaint. “Meeting customer expectations will be one of the key issues for contact centers in the coming year,” says Stephen Loynd, senior analyst for CRM and customer care BPO research at IDC, the Framingham, Massachusetts-based analyst firm. “One would expect to see contact centers moving their focus from internal functionality to enabling the processes that can really help them meet customer expectations.” Armed with new technologies and innovative
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