Businesses need to bring their call centres in line with their e-commerce efforts -- furthering a technology convergence that may not make CRM (customer relationship management) faster, but will make it more efficient -- a Web consultant said Monday at the Call Center and CRM Solutions Expo here.
Don Van Doren, president and founder of US-based Vanguard Communications, urged attendees at the event to get everyone in their companies on the same page for both technology and customer management. Only now are corporations getting serious about bringing their IT departments, which build the e-commerce Web sites, and call centres together, Van Doren said. Instead of putting off such collaboration, he said, companies should speed it up -- and both sides should realise that customers want an array of choices when dealing with their representatives.
"The Web guys think that any time somebody wants to pick up a phone and call you, they've failed," Van Doren said.
However, the road to multi-channel CRM is a tricky one that should not be navigated carelessly, Van Doren said. Vanguard usually advises companies to draw out a long-term vision, but also to take small, incremental steps to get there ensuring that there will be enough room to make midcourse corrections as the market, or technology, changes.
Also, many companies need to re-evaluate their call centre goals, Van Doren said. Vanguard recently helped a bank revamp its customer care system, and the length of customer calls rose by 30 per cent afterward. However, he deemed the upgrade a success, saying that statistics such as the length of customer service calls are becoming less important.
"They are doing a much better job interacting with the customer now," Van Doren said. "They're differentiating what they're doing based on the service they're providing."
Call centre priorities should include supporting the overall corporate strategy, improved cross- and up-selling, and securing repeat Web customers, Van Doren said.