Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What VoIP Can Do For You

Most companies are aware of the latest VoIP (Voice over internet) technology, but many don’t recognize the benefits of such technology and the positive impact that it can have on their organization.

There is a wide spread misconception about the benefits of VoIP.

If you ask many companies why they want this technology, they say they’re looking to eliminate their long-distance bills. While this might be financially compelling in some scenarios, the reality is that the true ROI of implementing this technology is not in the savings of telco bills.

If Not Cost Savings, What Is The Benefit?
Most VoIP solutions offer customized applications that can be designed specifically to meet the customer’s needs. No one industry benefits more from this technology than Call Centers themselves.

A poll of 105 Call Center Managers in 2006 by Interactive Intelligence showed that 73% plan to implement VoIP Technology in the future. 43% of these respondents said that improving customer satisfaction was the main concern when evaluating communication platforms.

Are You Building A Customer Service Powerhouse?
The truth is that by installing such technology and properly using it, you can help a call center establish a service powerhouse. This technology provides flexibility, innovation, and agility. The end results can provide a company with the ultimate customer service advantage–more profits, longer term customers, more revenue.

OK, so it is easy to claim all of the above, but if you are like me, you probably want to know how. Each call center is different, but there many applications that can help call centers across the board. Some of these applications are Interactive Voice Response, Unified Messaging, Skills Based Routing, Administration, and Outbound Dialing. Below I will briefly discuss the benefits of each application.

A Quick Menu of Options
■Interactive Voice Response (IVR) can offer self-service to customers 24/7. The IVR can be speech-enabled and can create an auto response for e-mail and web chat. [what kinds of companies do you find that don’t use this now that could? What are the characteristics of the type of company that this could fit?] This feature is popular in education, financial services, and companies that have customers who are calling in to check on their account.
■Unified Messaging today does more than just deliver your voicemails and faxes to your email. Today’s UM allows for Presence Management (ability to see on PC what other employees are doing) and enhanced call functionality (allows callers in to see where you are. By having unified messaging, employees work smarter, faster, and more accurately. Recording, chat, camp and conferencing functionality are just some of the features that allow that to happen. The bottom line is that every one of these features reduces cost, could increase revenue and increase customer satisfaction.
■Enhanced Routing features give a company the ability to route calls to locations or people based on skill level. This same routing technique can apply to e-mails, chat requests, and pre-defined media such as trouble tickets. Bottom line is it gets the customer in contact with the person they need to speak with—quickly.
■Administration of VoIP technology can be a Telecommunication Director’s dream come true. Gone are the days of paying for someone to change an extension or move a phone. Every aspect, from users to security access, of a VoIP communication system can be managed locally or remote. In addition, administration takes place from one interface. While every company is different (number of stations and people) one company saved over $55,000 in the first year. And many other companies have decreased their reliance on outsourced telecom service personnel.
■Outbound Dialing in the VoIP world allows call centers to optimize revenue opportunities by monitoring and analyzing real-time campaign performance. In addition, the outbound dialer can be set to an “agent-less” dialer. This dialer can be programmed to target specific demographics at certain times of the day or week.
The True Value For Your Company is Customer Satisfaction (and Revenue)
You can talk about the technology all you want—and many people do—but you need to know this: The true benefits, if properly designed and installed, can impact a call center significantly with higher levels of customer satisfaction and profitability.

It is imperative for the contact center manager(s) to get involved in the design of the technology before anything is decided upon.

Doing this will help ensure that the system is specifically customized to how it can best help your business

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