TMCnet News

Going Beyond CTI for True Customer Intelligence
[July 25, 2005]

Going Beyond CTI for True Customer Intelligence

Customer Communications Management (CCM) integrates call centers with back-office data and applications.
By Christopher Baker, Group 1 Software
CTI applications have been around for many years, but even the best customer information delivery system suffers when the data are out of date, inaccurate or irrelevant. A basic lack of business intelligence is at the root of customer communication challenges. The reasons are obvious: most companies typically have serious issues with data accuracy, data integration and data access.

Maximizing the effect of all customer communications — especially call center interactions — requires integrating them with the appropriate business processes they connect with, however disparate the processes may be. Businesses need to make these processes talk to one another, then take those integrated information streams and plug them appropriately into their CTI applications and the overall customer relationship management (CRM) effort. This allows the agent to benefit from examining all relevant customer information before reaching out to the customer.

This integration of key business processes and their related information streams into CRM defines and drives a new category of solutions called Customer Communication Management (CCM).
CCM harnesses the power of specific business processes and back-office systems and ties them to customer-facing initiatives to create, develop, manage and maintain effective customer communication.
CCM is designed to provide access to all relevant customer information, which is typically housed in myriad back-end systems, as well as the tools and processes that ensure that data are of the highest quality.
CCM solutions integrate business intelligence, business geographics and market analytics both upstream, during the planning of market strategy, and downstream, at multiple points of customer interaction.
Five CCM solutions are especially pertinent to call centers. Data access and ingestion tools provide instant, seamless access to customer information wherever it lies. Companies can then consolidate and integrate all customer data across a variety of systems. Additionally, these tools give marketers the ability to generate business intelligence reports, marketing campaign analyses, customer segmentations and customer audits.
Data manipulation tools can target offers based on specific business geographics and create customer profiles defined by household demographics and buying patterns. As a result, companies can predict response rates across a range of offers and agents can more readily identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
CCM’s “data vault” places all customer data into a single, secure and accessible electronic environment. It reduces storage costs and enables all customer data and communications to be instantly accessed for long-term retention and trend analysis.
CCM customer and call center support tools — with access to a centralized customer data vault — can help achieve a far higher level of service. Call centers can be faster and more efficient and customers can enjoy 24/7 Web access and take advantage of electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) services and other benefits.
It is important to note that call center interactions do not take place in a vacuum. CCM replenishment tools close the loop for each customer transaction. They automatically update and connect all communications to related business processes. Mail tracking can reduce or eliminate dunning notices, expensive collection costs and interruptions of service. It can help improve customer support and decrease call-handling times. And it supports CCM’s prime goal: a consistent, coherent and highly satisfactory customer experience.

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