In any organization, Power Follows Money. One of the principal reasons why the Customer Support/Service department is low on the corporate pecking order is the lack of clarity about its contribution to overall company profitability. That needs to change. Start by producing a verifiable Cost Per Operational Minute value, and build your profitability picture from that beginning.
The costs for maintaining the training inventory for the company's customer contact center are seldom if ever tracked or reported. As a result, senior management's ability to make financially sound decisions regarding the center is hampered. This is the seventh article in the "A Contact Center Primer" series for executive management teams. While directly applicable to all technology companies, the implications for Software As A Service companies will be significant.
Much has changed over the past 20 years in customer contact centers throughout the corporate world. What could not even be imagined in the early days is now taken for granted. However, despite the dramatic changes in the tools and their capabilities, senior management needs to keep firmly in mind that the essential nature of the operation has not changed at all: it is still a knowledge inventory and distribution system where profitability is the key driver.
The Customer's Metric is the vital one for customer contact call centers, especially in the SaaS (Software as a Service) world. Companies that do not focus their strategy and operational decision on maintaining customer relationships will not succeed in their profitability goals.
Customer contact call center responsiveness is a strategic profitability issue that requires Senior Management decisions. One of the first strategic decisions senior management must make is: How fast does the center need to be in order to retain customers and maintain profitability? Here is a brief primer on the essentials of call center management that senior executives need to know.
All customer contact call centers are in essence knowledge inventory operations. This is the central point behind the concept of knowledge centered support. Customers request access through any of several possible channels. Some channels are significantly more efficient, and therefore more profitable than others. The challenge for senior management is to properly align the strategy, process, people and technologies of the contact center and to set policies and priorities regarding those access channels to ensure the greatest profitability returns.
The drivers of customer contact call center profitability and success are Strategy, Process, People and Technology. The first executive briefing of the Contact Center Primer series covers the definition of these factors and the importance of their proper alignment.
The call center or customer contact center benchmarks that count are those directly tied to profitability. Net Promoter Scores, FCR (First Call Resolution) and other trendy measures are only numbers; what matters is the percentage of customers who actually do recommend you to their friends and where the result is new sales and repeat customers.
Instead of claiming to be a "World Class" customer contact center, go for the gold, the enhanced profitability that comes from being legendary. The key is aim and follow-through, just like in baseball or golf. Does your company have what it takes to be legendary?
A discussion of the real mission of a customer contact center: Profitability, especially in the SaaS / On-Demand technology marketplace. All metrics must point to Profitability and Customer Retention. The key to success is a profit-driven management model.