After 18 months of a grim economy, companies are emerging from one of the most volatile business environments in recent history. Some are still feeling the pinch, while others are optimistic about what this year will bring. Regardless, companies are – for the first time in a longwhile – looking ahead, exiting survival mode and focusing on how they are going to gain a competitive advantage in a post-recession environment.
This is especially true in the call center. In December 2009, Knowlagent conducted a survey to determine the impact of the last 18 months on call center performance and budgets. The survey was also intended to determine the areas where call centers will be focusing their improvements and investments in the coming year.
At a high level, the survey yielded two key observations:
-The call center is more important than ever to today’s enterprises. Roughly 72 percent of respondents said that the call center’s perceived value to the company increased in 2009.
-It appears that the days of cuttingstaff and slashing budgets are coming to a close.
The next 12 months will also be in a state of flux for most enterprises. The ability to improve customer service and satisfaction levels at a minimal investment will be instrumental in determining who will thrive in a post-recession business climate.
As call centers prioritize their budgets for 2010, they should focus their investments in areas with the most potential to eliminate process inefficiencies, improve agent management, while improving the customer experience and customer interaction. Managing the talent of the call center to effectively execute on the goals of the enterprise represents the largest opportunity for cost reductions and revenue improvement. The challenge will lie in finding a solution that reflects the call center’s greatest hurdles and can be as on-demand as the very nature of call volume.