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U.K. Contact Centers Struggling to Meet Avoidable Contact Requirements

November 04, 2008
Data collection is a tricky and often challenging task within the contact center. Not only does this process help to enrich the information that can be plugged back into CRM systems within the organization, it also helps to deliver more efficient processes for agents and customers.

U.K. government required that councils have data collection mechanisms in place by October of 2008, but according to Rostrvm Solution, one third or 32 percent would not meet this target date. This initiative was put in place to reduce the number of avoidable contacts within government agencies.

Avoidable contact consists of unnecessary communication between the community and its local authority. The local council’s performance on reducing this will be assessed within a new performance management framework known as National Indicator number 14 (NI14).

Local authorities found that collecting the data required for meeting government expectations was the most challenging. This process was cited by 41 percent of projects within this research. CRM systems are considered to be the simplest method of data collection, but 31 percent of users said that their system cannot be readily adapted to measure avoidable contact.

Contact centers within this research also found problems such as the ambiguity of what is required (19 percent), the necessity of training staff to comply (11 percent) and preparing the back-office and service support systems to handle the extra data (10 percent).
Another 8 percent indicated that they would struggle due to a lack of resources and time constraints. Only 4 percent of local authorities surveyed did not perceive any problems preventing them from meeting the target.

Ken Reid, Marketing Director of Rostrvm Solutions, commented in callcentrehelper: “It makes good sense to reduce avoidable contact, which can be a strain on resources, effort and money for both councils and their residents.  However, our research confirms anecdotal evidence that a significant number of councils are struggling with the limitations of their CRM systems, which do not easily allow the collection of data.”

While most may not be concerned with measures of avoidable contact, the reality is that this is a key issue within contact centers throughout the world, perhaps just under different terminology. It is clearly a benefit to the contact center when all direct contacts are right contacts and first call resolution is achieved.

As an increasing number of contact centers are feeling the financial strain of the current economy, whether they are government agencies or not, decreasing avoidable contact saves both time and money, which are becoming increasingly scarce within the contact center environment.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jessica Kostek
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