Contact centres: Bye bye cost centre, hello profit centre

24th Jun 2011

Just under half of organisations now view their contact centres as profit rather than cost centres, implying that they are starting to become full service customer management facilities, according to a report.

A poll among 546 firms with contact centres in 62 countries undertaken by IT software and services provider Data Dimension also revealed that most respondents’ top priority was to try and encourage consumers to employ a range of communications channels when getting in touch in a bid to increase customer satisfaction.

Andrew McNair, the company’s head of global benchmarking, said: "We see a new focus on customer lifetime value management with a high number of respondents ranking it as the number one issue. This, in conjunction with improvements in customer satisfaction set to replace cost reduction as the prime self-service driver, underscores a renewed business focus on overall profitability."

Just under two thirds of those questioned said they were already handling online queries, while two out of five dealt with SMS-based correspondence and a quarter provided web chat services. A mere 19% were currently managing social media interactions, however, with the figure dropping to 9% in the UK and rising to 31% in the US and Asia.

But a further 32% indicated globally that they intended to tackle the social media issue over the next two years, while 27.3% of UK respondents said that they expected to do so in the 12 months. The top UK driver for adding such support was to boost customer service (22.8%), followed by cutting costs and boosting sales (both 12%).

Other important trends were automating or optimising business processes (65.8% in the UK vs an average of 58.6%); encouraging customer self-service (59.8% in the UK vs an average of 51.4%) and dealing with regulation and legislation (36.7% in the UK vs an average of 32.9%).

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