Taking Customer Feedback from the Call Center to Marketing

Updated: April 30, 2009

As contact centers become critical connections between customers and businesses, their functions have expanded beyond customer service . Not only must contact-center agents meet customer demands and increase first-call resolution in the event of problems, but businesses must have processes in place to collect customer feedback and use that information to benefit marketing efforts.

Starting Off Right

If a contact center isn't performing at an optimum level in terms of customer service, companies aren't going to get useful data to analyze and turn over to marketing . Instead, organizations will waste time trying to rebuild burned bridges with customers.

The only way to avoid this is through agent training and continuous improvement processes. Call-monitoring programs allow companies to hold agents accountable to ensure they are polite and have the necessary knowledge of a company's products and services.

If agents are having problems, they may not have the proper skill sets to be working in contact centers. But these problems may also reveal flaws in an organization's call-center processes and training techniques.

Putting Data to Use

The next step is collecting data and putting it to use by making sure contact-center process are customer-centric, not agent-centric. CRM tools are capable of capturing, storing and analyzing every bit of customer information a company is collecting, but a business still might not be getting the right data and using it effectively.

According to a 2005 study by CRM provider Respond, 95 percent of firms save customer data but a mere 10 percent use it to make changes. If you're not going to use it, why bother collecting it in the first place?

Customer feedback comes from many sources. It can come from the contact center over the phone and through emails . It can be captured when a customer calls to complain, or through a fixed interval survey after a successful sale. Businesses need to know whether they are accurately and cost-effectively collecting feedback, but they also need to know that data is being put to good use.

Recent Verint Systems Inc. research into Australian call centers found that surveys conducted almost immediately after transactions generate a higher percentage of responses from customers, but that most centers still don't have an automated customer-feedback system. This automation vacuum means feedback is stuck in the queue until it is virtually obsolete, so that customer information is collected but not studied or used for anywhere from a month to a year.

Only an efficient and knowledgeable call-center staff backed up by automated processes for collecting and analyzing data will result in information that marketing can use to help an organization reach its target audience better.

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