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Customer Segmentation Improve Call Centers

A survey of call centers around the globe shows increased usage of customer segmentation techniques -- the division of a customer base into groups based on criteria that are relevant to the business.

According to the ninth annual Global Contact Center Benchmarking Report, a survey conducted by Dimension Data, more contact centers have adopted broader organizational segmentation strategies than in the past to improve interactions with customers.

The percentage of organizations worldwide delivering personalized and segmented service has jumped to 42.8 percent from 28.3 percent last year. With the contact center being a key point of contact for many customers, it should have easy access to customer information owned by other parts of the organization.

In many cases, this flow of information has become relatively unobstructed, with information about customers and their spending patterns integrated into various business divisions. According to the report, 34.4 percent of contact centers use the same segmentation as their broader organization, up 10 percent over last year's results.

These contact centers are using customer segmentation to raise service levels to new heights, tie in customer loyalty and secure greater spend within their market.

Top lessons learned from the segmentation trend are:

- Just 36.0 percent of organizations have a single view of the customer across voice, email, chat and Interactive Voice Response (IVR). Yet over 50.8 percent of contact centers have a single view when it is across products and services; 48.2 percent across customer data and 46.0 percent across customer transaction history. As companies realize the true value of retaining existing customers, there has been a distinct move away from separate segmentation strategies with figures dropping to 26 percent.

- Everyone in the organization should support the customer. Contact center goals should be in synch with broader organizational goals and be applied across multiple channels to create "good customer karma" especially in hotly competitive global markets. Incredibly, 30 percent of contact centers believe developing a single view does not apply to them.

- Over 74.3 percent of contact centers want to reduce the cost of serving customers without adversely affecting service quality. In 2006, more than 80.5 percent say that increased competitiveness and price sensitivity is making this goal even more important than ever.

- Mature markets, like telecommunications and financial services, need greater segmentation of product and services to keep customers happy. Segmentation is key so companies can more effectively target groups with appropriate marketing messages in order to balance customer objectives with cost-to-serve metrics.

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