Call Centers Becoming Profit Centers, According to Portrait Software Research

Stronger integration of customer data, online customer service and company brand values seen as critical for turning large B2C call centers into revenue generators

Henley-On-Thames, 19 October, 2010 – Large business-to-consumer (B2C) organizations are shifting the focus of their call centers to become revenue generators rather than simply answering customer queries or executing transaction requests, according to research findings unveiled today by Portrait Software, a leading provider of customer interaction optimization software and now a part of Pitney Bowes Business Insight (PBBI). Conducted by Loudhouse Research, the independent study surveyed strategic decision-makers at UK and US in-house call centers and found that 69% of large B2C organizations view their call centers as business-critical revenue generators.

To meet this growing demand for call centers to deliver revenues, 60% of respondents cited the need for better integration of inter-departmental customer data as a key focus for the next 12 months. In particular, the need to integrate call center data with online customer service was seen as a primary focus for the next 12 months, with 54% of decision makers citing this as a key challenge for the year ahead.

The changing role of call center employees

With more and more consumers opting out of outbound marketing (mail, email and telephone), organizations are looking to maximize all inbound customer interactions. Call center staff are increasingly expected to pursue new real-time cross sell and up sell opportunities however 86% of respondents stated that call center staff need a broader range of skills to deliver these revenues. A further 85% of respondents claimed that call center interactions with customers are drivers for conveying their organization’s brand values, making the role of call center staff even more critical in developing profitable relationships with customers.

“Organizations are realizing that traditional, outbound marketing, particularly via the telephone, offers diminishing returns for the business,” says Luke McKeever, CEO, Portrait Software. “As such, the future of the customer relationship resides in sustained, informed and tailored customer service and the call center is a critical factor in this process. Whilst customers may not expect to be sold to, they expect to be understood and for their needs to be met at all times. For progressive organizations this represents an opportunity to build loyalty and revenues at all levels of customer engagement. Looking ahead, as markets continue to become more competitive, it will be those organizations that use intelligent, company-wide data to fully understand the needs of their customers and to make relevant and timely offers, that will ultimately succeed.”

Notes to Editors:

The Portrait Software Customer Insight Research report was conducted in August and September. CATI (computer-assisted telephone interviewing) was used to speak with a sample of professionals in strategic decision-making roles in in-house call centres of 50 seats or more. 65 interviews were conducted with managers of centres in the UK and 70 were conducted in the US. The research was conducted by Loudhouse Research, an independent research consultancy based in the UK.

About Portrait Software 

Portrait Software is now part of Pitney Bowes Business Insight (PBBI).

Portrait Software enables organizations to engage with each of their customers as individuals, resulting in improved customer profitability, increased retention, reduced risk, and outstanding customer experiences. This is achieved through a suite of innovative, insight-driven applications which empower organizations to create enduring one-to-one relationships with their customers.

Portrait Software was acquired in July 2010 by Pitney Bowes to build on the broad range of capabilities at Pitney Bowes Business Insight for helping organizations acquire, serve and grow their customer relationships more effectively. The Portrait Customer Interaction Suite combines world leading customer analytics, powerful inbound and outbound campaign management, and best-in-class business process integration to deliver real-time customer interactions that communicate precisely the right message through the right channel, at the right time.

Our 300 + customers include industry-leading organizations in customer-intensive sectors. They include 3, AAA, Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi, Dell, Fiserv Bank Solutions, Lloyds Banking Group, Merrill Lynch, Nationwide Building Society, RACQ, RAC WA, Telenor, Tesco Bank, T-Mobile, Tryg and US Bank.

For more information please visit: www.portraitsoftware.com or www.pbinsight.com

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