Tuesday, October 09, 2007

McKinsey Study on Inbound Call Automation

Mckinsey Quarterly has a good article this month on Inbound Call Mangement. While its relatively easy (for the call centre operator) to see where there is value in turning inbound calls into an automatic voice response system, it is somethimes easy to loose sight of the fact that engaging with customers that have the right type of query can be very valuable. In the McKinsey study, they found that what we might regard as routine questions are actually customer signals that they are in a certain mode of thinking with regards your company. If I phone you about gaining clarity on my price package, I am not doing so in order to re-emphasise the feeling of fantastic value I am getting in this relationship. However, If I am phoning in to see if I am still booked for that appointment tomorrow, then that has a different motivation, and probably contains a low probability of cross and up selling opportunity. While the McKinsey analysis is a good analysis of inbound calling, dare I say its not a very good analysis of customer interation management. By pro-actively calling customers with approved upgrade offers, or better pricing tariffs, you can make a massive difference to measures of customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. By thinking about the type of information a customer wants to be presented with and leaving it up to them whether they want to know more, confirm, buy etc. you can drive a range of other organisational measures other than "average operator time per call". Given that questions surrounding "bill payment" are key to overall profit contribution of the call, why is there not a recommendation to pro-actively call customers that have certain bill detail parameters? If a persons bill "varies by 25% from their last bill, call them, and give them this offer....", not very hard to do, and I for one would welcome such an intervention before I put my telecom bill down on my kitchen table, frown, and surf the net for better deals.

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