The use of a call center, help desk, or service desk to provide a focused point of contact for internal and external customer inquiries can be effective in reducing costs and complexity, as well as a method to capture and categorize reasons for process variations and defects by formalizing the response process and analyzing the reasons for inquiries. Some other real benefits are improvements in customer satisfaction levels and the ability to positively impact the image of Shared Services, allowing for a shift to delivering services that have greater impact and value.
A PeercastTM in the Shared Services Leadership research area featured a large global company sharing recent experiences in implementing a call center in their regional Shared Service center in Central America. The use of a call center was identified as a solution to address both less than stellar customer satisfaction levels and a low perception of value delivered. As part of their due diligence, two customer groups were identified and either surveyed or interviewed: 1) 90 users who were surveyed and 2) 31 managers (identified as “VIPs”) who were interviewed. Satisfaction was measured on a 5-point scale from “Very Satisfied” to “Very Unsatisfied”, and value perception was measured by selecting one of 5 service adjectives ranging from “Strategic” to “Bureaucratic”.
In the design of the call center, the goal was to have 10% of all inquiries handled by self-service and 50% by Level 1 and Level 2 call center staff, with some of those requiring Level 2 support having a designated process specialist provide assistance. An important enhancement was to provide formal support for strategic transactions, including policy interpretation and exception handling, critical incident support, and solving critical issues with individual business units. In addition, the center of expertise services was formalized, including delivering new services, third-party administration, and validation of service level agreements.
A related iPollingTM question examined the use of a call center within Shared Services at Peeriosity member companies. For 38% of responding companies, they use multiple call centers to support a range of processes, with 12% reporting that they use one call center to support varying processes. While an additional 12% have call centers aligned to similar processes, a surprising 38% do not currently use a call center design.
Here are the details:
The second question asked about the impact having a call center within Shared Services has on overall customer satisfaction. Interestingly, 82% of the companies indicated that there was a positive influence, with only 18% indicating they weren’t sure, and none selecting options to indicate the impact was neutral or negative.
While the formal call center approach isn’t embraced by everyone, there are significant benefits available, including being a focal point for process improvement initiatives and ensuring consistency and accuracy of customer response, both of which can contribute to lower processing costs. The greater benefit, however, might come from an increased positive perception of Shared Services, resulting in higher levels of customer satisfaction and the ability for Shared Services to take on increasingly complex value-added responsibilities.
Does your company use a call center design as a part of your utilization of Shared Services? Has the use of a call center improved customer satisfaction levels and allowed you to take on more complex responsibilities?
Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?
“PeercastsTM” are private, professionally facilitated webcasts that feature leading member company experiences on specific topics as a catalyst for broader discussion. Access is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from attending or accessing discussion content. Members can see who is registered to attend in advance, with discussion recordings, supporting polls, and presentation materials online and available whenever convenient for the member. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, attendees can easily communicate at any time with other attending peers by selecting them from the list of registered attendees.
“iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility of all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participated in iPolling.
Peeriosity members are invited to log into www.peeriosity.com to join the discussion and connect with Peers. Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted. To learn more about Peeriosity, click here.