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July 2003


This month, the CEO Spotlight is on the management team of CCC Interactive. Rather than choose one individual, CCC Interactive's entire management team responded to the questions, as the company is a strong believer that CCC Interactive is based on the team that makes them successful and who they are today. For more information about CCC Interactive, please visit www.cccinteractive.com..

What is your company's specialty and mission statement?

CCC Interactive is a full-service inbound, outbound and e-CRM contact center services provider, supporting clients in the financial services, energy/utility, telecommunications and consumer products industries. Our reputation has been built on five key commitments to our clients: exceptional quality, superior people, responsiveness/flexibility, constant improvement and value creation.
Our proven record as a trusted and innovative team player and a significant number of industry awards illustrate our team's core commitment to our clients and their customers. The unique combination of management experience, motivated telephone associates, continuing training and development and innovative technology allows CCC Interactive to be one of the most cost-effective, efficient and results-oriented solutions available today.
Our mission statement reinforces this commitment to our clients:
' To provide a seamless extension of our clients' customer relationship management program by being a premier provider of customer care, acquisition and retention services.
' To build strong client relationships and strategic partnerships through quality people, excellent service and superior technology, resulting in an exceptional CRM product and outsourcing value.


What makes your services unique and how can customers benefit by using them?

As you can tell from our picture, we are a company of people, a team formed around the goal of providing unsurpassed quality and service. This is demonstrated in four critical areas:
People. We believe our people are the key to our success. By building our company on this fundamental philosophy, we have earned a reputation for having the industry's most responsive and flexible workforce. CCC Interactive has developed a proprietary candidate hiring process that enables us to better profile, identify, screen and hire agents, thus resulting in better performance to our clients and their customers. Our staff works in a team culture that promotes positive attitudes, commitment to quality and the desire to succeed, and offers the opportunity for workers to enhance their knowledge and be recognized for superior performance.
Quality. Based on Six Sigma and ISO guidelines, CCC Interactive employs innovative processes and technologies to deliver performance, accuracy and quality in every customer contact. Peer and supervisor quality coaching, a skills enhancement/associate development program and various performance incentives have combined to drive optimum performance. In conjunction with our quarterly client satisfaction surveys, we conducted formal quarterly reviews with our dedicated client project team, ensuring constant improvement initiatives every 90 days. This process results in a superior outsourcing product to our clients with each customer contact.
Experience. CCC Interactive has solid experience within major customer-based industries and provides services in four languages. In the financial services industry, we have been named the number-one credit card acquisition vendor several times by one of the nation's largest premier financial institutions. We have successfully partnered with some of the largest energy companies in the U.S., providing products in regulated and deregulated markets. In telecommunications, we have managed high-volume programs including long-distance, DSL, wireless and bundled product programs. CCC Interactive is proud to have been recognized by Customer Inter@ction Solutions' magazine as one of the Top 50 Teleservices Agencies and an MVP Quality Award winner for excellence in quality and customer satisfaction.
Service. Our commitment to our clients' satisfaction is unwavering. By understanding our clients' businesses and with a dedicated account team drawn from a well-educated, globally diverse population, CCC Interactive provides creative campaign development and execution, flexible problem solving and superior customer service. We become a virtual extension of our clients' initiatives, enhancing their customer care, acquisition, retention and satisfaction programs.
In this environment of continuous improvement and a total commitment to quality, our people provide the experience and motivation our clients demand from our strategic relationship. The results are superior client representation, customer contacts, customer loyalty and a high return on investment.

What is your vision of the future of the CRM/contact center/teleservices industry?

Over the past 20 years, the teleservices industry has grown exponentially in both technology and human resource deployment. This has resulted in more profit-driven differentiation of services in the internal and outsourced contact center arenas.
In the short term, over the next 36 months, there will be a reverse drive away from technology and price-based outsourcing toward a more traditional model that focuses on shareholder revenue, retention of customers across the clients' diversified bases and value on the outsourced investment or simple ROI. Both our industry clients and their customers want to be treated as individuals, not transactions, or by an automated e-mail or a disembodied voice across an endless IVR menu. This will create a strategic shift from technology-based solutions to live agents. The demand for these live agents to multitask, service, sell and cross-sell a client's products as well as communicate across both voice and e-mail venues will create a need for a more highly trained and skilled agent. This will define these new agents or their ability to sell, cross-sell, service and manage customer relationships across different media.
Products and services will then become differentiated by client, not price. Within each client, specific differentiation will occur by individual client customer portfolios. This practice of diversifying and segmenting individual customer portfolios by brand, habit and demand will become the complete realization of what CRM services will deliver. The client will individually manage all projects to ROI with the emphasis on constantly increasing customer share of wallet and retention. For the last several years, economies of scale and technologies to drive contact center savings have been the drivers for production. Today and in the future, quality service and revenue by human contact will become the strategic initiative. Our industry will be charged with growing our clients' portfolios and developing non-industry-specific solutions for sales and acquisition while also preserving brand identity. The industry will be required to create e-commerce and voice perception of excellence for customer service, to execute projects and exceed metrics, and to maintain an appropriate ability to scale capacity up and down as the client's needs change, all while providing a seamless, solutions-based approach for service and delivery challenges. Additionally, our business practices will be focused on developing quality assurance practices that rival ISO or Six Sigma guidelines. Adding to the challenge, the industry will have to execute all of these processes while increasing client shareholder revenue and closely managing expense. We are poised to design, implement and deliver the high-end solutions demanded by the competition in today's economy. We believe that our focus of exceptionally trained agents and innovation in product and campaign design will lead the industry.

What, in your opinion, is the most pressing issue facing our industry today?

There are two pressing issues facing our industry today: legislation and economic growth.
Telemarketing is the single most effective direct sales medium and is critical to companies in almost every industry. Call centers employ more than six million workers and generate more than $600 billion in sales annually. In addition, it creates and provides employment in B and C cities, for minorities, the elderly, persons with disabilities and other part-time workers. CCC Interactive, as well as other reputable teleservices agencies, holds itself to very strict telemarketing guidelines and maintains all required do-not-call lists to ensure the highest level of call compliance. We were also prepared for the FTC regulations prior to April 1st and the subsequent postponement to October. Unfortunately, legislation will not stop the truly unwanted telemarketing, since unethical companies selling scams and illegal products and services are initiating much of that activity. It is doubtful that this group will ever comply with any do-not-call list or federal regulations.
The pending legislation will bring our industry additional expense in order to acquire the technology, maintain data and manage the multiple do-not-call lists to assure compliance. The potential challenges with sales performance, in addition to these expenses, will cause telemarketing to become a more expensive channel for companies to market their products.
The depressed economy has put strain on corporations to maintain growth. As a result, this has increased internal financial pressures and lessened the focus on metrics that improve customer service. Hence, our industry has not seen the level of growth anticipated in the past 24 months. As economic conditions improve, we do expect corporate outsourcing of call center services to increase dramatically, especially in light of the needs to increase revenue, retention and ROI.

What are your recommendations to alleviate such problems?

The government needs the counsel of leaders in our industry, from both the outsourcing and the business sides. The DMA and the ATA have already enacted standards for our industry. These high standards must be the core of future legislation. Involvement in the political process, our industry organizations, contribution to industry legal funds and the education of our elected officials will provide great benefits.
From our perspective, outsourcers need to assure their preparation and certification of compliance with current legislation is completed well in advance of the targeted implementation date. The requirement to upgrade or replace existing technology, educate our workforce and deploy the infrastructure to meet the requirements and manage DNC lists and the archive data will be critical to the survival of many outsourcers.

What is your vision for future trends for the contact center/CRM/teleservices outsourcing market regarding profitability and international competition?

Governmental regulations, of course, will impact the expense, time and training required to do business in this new environment. Service delivery and contact technologies (i.e., growth of the Internet) will need to be constantly updated to meet our clients' and the market's demands.
Maintaining competitive services, pricing and quality in the face of offshore competition will be a management challenge. Offshore outsourcing currently supplies a niche and a need for corporations, and will continue to provide a strong solution for certain low-contact functions. As the economy improves and the focus turns more heavily toward quality customer service and the need to retain customers, the emphasis will shift back markedly to domestic providers. We are and will be ready to focus, implement and deliver.

[ Return To July 2003 Table Of Contents ]


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