Knowlagent Survey Finds Call Centers Ready to Invest in 2010

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Benchmark study finds call centers ready to invest in processes and technology to improve agent performance and efficiency post-recession

Leading call center talent management software provider Knowlagent today announced findings from its 2010 benchmark study: The Post-Recession Call Center – The Focus, The Spend & The Case for Talent Management.

The study, based on a December 2009 survey of more than 100 call centers focused on the impact of the last 18 months on call center performance and budgets. The survey also asked where call centers will focus improvements and investments in the coming year.

The results indicate that – for the first time in many months – call centers are looking ahead, exiting survival mode and focusing on how they will gain a competitive advantage by improving customer service and satisfaction levels in a post-recession environment.

The majority of respondents said they had no plans to reduce headcount or slash budgets in 2010. Instead, they plan to do more with what they already have or make additional investments with high discretion.

Because call centers continue to be the frontline of customer support and satisfaction, companies are looking for creative ways in 2010 to make them more effective and productive. Technology, process improvements and increased training are top areas of investment, according to the survey.

“The biggest challenge coming out of the gates will be getting a jump on the competition using the same processes and tactics,” said Matt McConnell, Knowlagent CEO. “To truly improve performance and better serve customers, you have to strategically manage the people who manage your customers.”

Some 55 percent of respondents said they plan to increase training frequency in 2010 and 54 percent said they will increase coaching. Forty-four percent said they plan to increase agent communication or at least maintain the frequency of communications.

The study found that call centers are most likely to invest in technology to meet their 2010 goals. Many call centers are expected to invest in new technologies and/or upgrade their existing systems over the next 12 months, according to the survey.
Additionally, there were some micro-trends observed based on the size of the call center. At-home agents and outsourcing were largely favored by centers with more than 500 agents. Other tactics included in the survey were reducing headcount, increasing headcount and increasing self-service.

“Traditionally, talent management has been a low priority in the call center,” said McConnell. “But as more executives recognize the call center as a highly overlooked area of opportunity, an increase in agent productivity could translate into millions of dollars in new revenue.”

Access The Post-Recession Call Center – The Focus, The Spend & The Case for Talent Management here.

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Kerry Engle
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