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Some great McKinsey stats on call center automation

Another nice McKinsey piece today - Automated self-service comes to telcos (registration required). In particular it has some nice numbers:

  • A typical call-center transaction costs $8 to $10; the same transaction online costs $0.15 to $0.80
  • Printed bills cost four times as much as e-bills, and customers can be served online 24 hours a day without significant additional costs.

It goes on to use these numbers as part of a rationale for Telcos in particular to provide more automated options for customer service. It's a great article and it highlights some factors that I think should push you towards EDM-style decision automation in the call center.

  • Personalized or tailored pitches work better and allow the automated system to do a better cross-sell and up-sell job.
    • EDM is perfectly suited to this as using rules and analytic models to precisely target marketing offers is a well-honed science these days
    • An EDM approach also means that these decisions can be re-used across the self-service and call center channels, improving the cross-sell/up-sell proficiency of (especially newer) call center staff while guaranteeing consistency
    • Tailored pitches will tend to be more time-sensitive. The agility that comes with having a single point of decision management and the use of business rules management systems to make it easy to change the rules is invaluable in making your pitches timely.
  • Interactive data capture to capture the right data from people to help them
    • An opportunity to use rules-driven data capture forms if ever I heard one - check out the Smart Forms section.
  • Segmentation into low potential and good potential opportunities
    • This involves both customer segmentation in real-time, something for which the combination of data mining and business rules in EDM is perfect, and use of choices by a customer to drive automation/manual review decisions.

Obviously there is typically a lot of backend stuff to fix too and EDM is not good for everything they recommend but it seems like a good fit for a significant component. There's more on a similar vein here Boosting Call Center Performance with EDM where I comment on another McKinsey report.

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