As call centers are pressured to reduce costs and increase efficiency,their need for comprehensive, well-organized performance data grows.And in this volatile economy, the ground beneath managers’ feet shiftsfrequently. Frank Ortiz, vice president of sales and marketing atInova, told CRM Buyer Magazine that merger and acquisition activity promptsmany of his company’s customers to seek ways to manage multiple callcenter facilities from a single command center.
Ortiz said he has walked into several large call centers thathad people assigned to do nothing but sit and watch multiplescreens to monitor volume and activity, and identify possible trouble spots. Thatscenario, he said, obviously calls for a different approach.
Inova’s LightLink suite is a middleware product designed to tietogether the many disparate data sources that large call centers relyon to manage activity and measure performance. Ortiz said hiscompany’s typical customer is a blue-chip enterprise with severalcustomer service facilities.
Some of the many data sources from which LightLink can gleaninformation include the following:
- ACDs (automatic call distributors), including Aspect, Avaya,Nortel, Rockwell, Apropos, Centergy, Interactive Intelligence,Perimeter and Teloquent
- Predictive dialers, including Avaya and Eshare
- CTI (computer telephony integration) systems from Cisco andGenesys
- CRM systems, including Vantive, Remedy and Clarify
- ODBC-compliant databases
- HTML pages, through LightLink WebStream
The company also can build custom interfaces to accommodate legacysystems.
Need To Know
The LightLink system creates notification messages whenever the customer company’s defined parameters are exceeded. Those notices can be sent toindividual customer service representatives, managers or executivesthrough a variety of channels, including personal computers andwireless devices.
This is the trend in call center management, Deloitte Consulting partner Nidal Haddad toldCRM Buyer — gathering data so that decisionsaffecting overhead, costs and revenue can be made on solidinformation. Consolidation of contact centers is oneapproach, he agreed. However, the facilities themselves need not beconsolidated for the information to be aggregated and made available tothose managers who need it most to run a center’s daily operations, Haddad argued.
Although the debate over whether or not outsourcing is the rightapproach to customer service rages on, Ortiz said that his company’sproducts work equally well in a variety of situations: “We providereal-time monitoring,” he noted, “whether the customer is pushinginformation out to an outsourcer or whether our customer is theoutsourcer itself.”
For example, ClientLogic is an outsourcer that employs more than 5,000representatives at 12 different facilities to handle incoming volumefor about 30 companies. Dan Clark, director of network operations atClientLogic, told CRM Buyer that deployment of the LightLink commandcenter allowed him to streamline his control center’s monitoringequipment from 13 computers down to a single wall of consoles.
“We fancy ourselves like Switzerland,” Ortiz said. “If a company ishaving trouble pulling information out of a Genesys system, forinstance, we can do customized reporting and lay Genesys and Ciscoinformation side-by-side.”
The information server that takes in data and sends out notificationmessages has a set license fee of less than US$10,000, according to Ortiz.However, an implementation’s price tag will vary according to thenumber of data sources used — the charge is about $2,500 per datasource for a perpetual license. An average project phase comes inaround $100,000.