Recommended Reading: Call Center Practices for Pairing and Blending Inbound, Outbound, and Service and Sales

ICMI conducted an extensive industry survey on call center practices for pairing and blending inbound, outbound and service and sales. The results of the survey were presented in a recent webinar and are also available in the research paper, "Call Center Practices for Pairing and Blending Inbound, Outbound and Service and Sales".

The research revealed that while inbound call centers outnumber those performing outbound activities, even where centers deem themselves exclusively one or the other, they are performing, to some extent, both types of activities.

Overall, we assert that this research has uncovered a range of call center optimization or productivity-increasing paths that organizations might take today to save money, generate revenue and increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Executive Summary

The current combination of economic changes and evolving customer expectations (including new communication capabilities and emerging social communities) is driving fundamental changes in the contact center: Satisfy customers and do it more efficiently, even grow revenue. This research focuses not on customer access channels but how call centers approach interactions. In June and July of 2011, 440 call center professionals from around the world shared with ICMI how – and if – they handle inbound and outbound as well as sales and service contacts in their centers. Our goal was to understand the industry's practices around these activities: how centers account for resources and how their centers perform under current practices. In doing so, call centers and the businesses they serve should be better informed in their efforts to increase agent productivity along with productivity for the whole center by leveraging this critical data around transaction handling. What's impacting service level, average handle time, the customer experience and sales? What are some of the barriers to progress and success? What are other call centers doing and what are the impacts? These and other questions are answered here.

The full report is available for purchase.

This post was written by the ICMI editors.

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Amanda Miller — 10:25AM on Sep 13, 2011

i love how this article addresses the challenges center face when blending service with sales. -Amanda

Rose Polchin — 12:30PM on Oct 23, 2011

These study highlights an important fact: If you are going to implement change, whether that is to add sales to service, outbound with inbound, you need a strategic plan -- one that is integrated and aligned with the organization's mission, vision and values.