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Intelligent Contact Center is More Than CRM

Strong customer relationships are critical to the success of most businesses. Also, companies rarely get a second chance to make a quality first impression.

Because 77 percent of today's interactions are still being conducted by phone, it is still critically important that front-line customer service representatives can operate efficiently and effectively, according to the Yankee Group.

Call centers engage in customer relationship management (CRM) projects to transform themselves into an intelligent contact center -- defined as a single point of contact to provide quality customer care, while also acting as an individualized marketing channel to push new products and services.

A contact center must empower front-line customer service representatives (CSRs) and customers with actionable information through context-driven assisted and self-service applications. CSRs and customers now have the correct information in the right format for each interaction, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the experience.

By combining the right offer with the right agent skills set to credibly present that offer will lead to a better conversion and increased revenue. At least, that's the primary objective.

Yankee Group research reveals that 41 percent of contact centers perceive themselves as evolving from cost centers to profit centers. With seamless integration of telephony communications and data within the enterprise applications, companies can ensure that customer data from any source can be not only used in routing decisions, but also that data can be used to personalize interactions either through customer self-service or assisted service.

Although many companies are trying to transform their contact center into an intelligent contact center, it is practically impossible to achieve this without tight integration across all communications systems and enterprise applications.

A seamless experience produces a more personalized service with automated routing of inbound communications based on a customer's needs and agent availability and capability to maximize first call resolution. Tight integration between telephony applications, the infrastructure and enterprise applications can also parlay itself into other benefits throughout the organization.

Yankee's primary recommendation is to infuse insight at the point of interaction to transform contact centers into profit centers. Some of the primary reasons why contact centers have struggled to truly affect agent performance -- and turn a cost center into a profit center -- are the lack of quality information, as well as the lack of actionable insight.

As a result, Yankee believes that contact centers will not fulfill their potential of maximizing profit and value until the foundational components of technology, data and process are unified.

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