Weighing Web solutions

Cost savings. Some organizations can cut the number of agents needed to service their current query volume; others can avoid future costs by being able to do more work with the same amount of personnel.

Benefits:

Cost savings.

Some organizations can cut the number of agents needed

to service their current query volume; others can avoid future costs by

being able to do more work with the same amount of personnel. Tony O'Brien,

competency leader for the Contact Center Practice at Zamba Solutions said

most integration efforts pay for themselves in less than a year and larger

ones in three to four months.

Better customer service.

Customers can get information answered around-the-clock

through their preferred means of communication, or in many cases, they can

get their answers through self- service. Thanks to more accurate collection

of customer inquiry content, World Wide Web sites can, for example, offer

and routinely modify a "Top Ten Most Asked Questions List."

More accurate reporting.

When all mediums are integrated, contact center

officials can better aggregate and correlate incoming data, enabling them

to more accurately determine future staffing and training needs.

Barriers:

Cultural resistance.

Traditional phone agents may balk at having to

answer inquiries by typing or surfing the Web. And then there's the issue

of bringing together your call center and Web departments. "They all have

their own budget and their own ideas, so bringing them together to work

together on a common solution is probably the biggest challenge agencies

face," said Henry Lai, director of the emerging technology center for the

telecommunications division of the General Services Administration's Federal

Technology Service.

Security.

Agencies need to ensure that as they're opening these capabilities

to citizens, they don't inadvertently allow users to affect, alter or destroy

Web pages.

Training.

To guard against losing efficiency, contact center personnel

need to be trained to respond using multiple mediums.

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