One of the weaknesses analysts say are shared by many call centers is a lack of ties to back-office systems and processes. Witness Systems Inc. this week introduces eQuality Office, a software bundle designed to let call-center staffers share call recordings and performance-analysis data with other parts of the company to get a better idea of how back-office processes are affecting customer service.
The idea: to identify things like data-entry errors, compliance breakdowns, and ineffective processes that result in excess call-center traffic, then correct those problems to reduce call volume. Witness VP Ryan Hollenbeck says shaving even seconds off call resolutions can means millions of dollars in savings for large companies.
Yankee Group analyst Art Schoeller says eQuality Office could help companies extend the process of resolving customer requests from the call center to other areas of the business. He says call- and screen-monitoring tools such as Witness' eQuality suite don't typically reach outside the call center, even though problems referred to staff outside the call center may still be part of the resolution process. "You need to monitor the whole business process," he says.
Margaret Flink, director of customer-service operations at CCH Inc., a publisher of professional-services information, is interested in the promise eQuality Office holds for improving the resolution process--not only in reducing the time call-center staffers spend on individual calls, but also in improving the quality of help they provide during that shortened time. "Any time you have an opportunity to identify areas you can improve is a good thing," Flink says. "If you don't improve, your competitors sure will." CCH uses Witness' eQuality suite for call- and screen-capture, but has not yet looked at eQuality Office.
EQuality Office is priced at $525 per seat, plus $8,000 for an accompanying E-learning module. New customers also must pay an entry fee of $16,000.