Contact centers serve many functions, from the mundane (change of address) to the profane (irate complaints) and the arcane (technical service). But a center's value as a marketing tool—specifically as a company's prime selling point to its b-to-b customers—can also be a core competency if measured correctly.
Consider BNY Mellon Shareowner Services, a global financial services company whose stock transfer function assists companies with their shareholders' needs. The company fields calls from these shareholders on its corporate customers' behalf, answering questions about dozens of different products.
But the field can be very much a commodity business, with several other major players—American Stock Transfer and Trust, Computer-share and Wells Fargo—among them. The company wanted to go beyond operational efficiencies to offer more value to its corporate customers.
“Internally, we wanted to reduce contact center volume and drive it elsewhere, like the Web or to interactive voice response,” said Frank Madonna, COO of BNY Mellon Shareowner Services. “But what we didn't have was a way to make any intellectual, strategic decisions based on this,” Madonna said.
Madonna teamed with Enkata Technologies, a contact center analytics and optimization company, to take this extra step.
Enkata's tools helped the company track first-call resolution as well as up- and cross-selling opportunities. It was aided by identifying and routing calls based on their transactional nature. For example, with callers phoning for the status of their statements, agents were permitted to spend additional time to sign them up for electronic statements, both reducing monthly calls and opening the door for selling other company services.
Value scores were added to each interaction; a “good” value might be a quick resolution, but it also might be caller enrollment in a new program. The timing and reasons for calls also were tracked, with that intelligence affecting the design and content of collateral material and the company's Web site.
Finally, all this information was shared with Shareowner Services corporate customers, so they could learn more about their own shareholders' behaviors and needs.
As the focus shifted from reducing costs to enhanced call behavior, the company's contact center became a key marketing tool for the company, Madonna said.
“Our churn rate has always been above average, but as far as I'm aware we haven't lost a single client since we put this program into effect,” he said. “In addition, our customer satisfaction scores are better.”
Madonna is still a ways away from nailing down more precise ROI. The company is the product of the 2007 merger between Bank of New York and Mellon, and he's still working to incorporate a newly combined client database more fully into the new contact center analytics process.
“I can tell you that holding our own in this market is an accomplishment,” Madonna said. “When you merge two organizations and your customers have to go through that change, that's the right time for them to test the waters to go with another vendor.
“But we have performed very well for them during this period,” he said. “This differentiates us in the marketplace and creates a deeper loyalty among our clients. Our clients see us as a true partner now.”