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Using EDM to manage call center (and other) costs


While the primary focus of applying EDM to customer service should not be cost containment or reduction, there is still a role for EDM in managing costs. For instance:

  • With 25% churn and complex IT systems, training costs are a huge problem for call centers.
    By automating decisions EDM can reduce the complexity and thus cost of training as a call center representative simply needs to know how to invoke the decision and pass on the answer to the customer, not how to make a potentially complex decision.
  • Unnecessary calls to agents because the IVR system is unmanageable increase staffing costs and wait time
    A better IVR system, personalized to a caller and designed to allow automated actions means that fewer customers will want to “get human” meaning fewer staff and shorter wait times.
  • Because the website is brochure-ware and does not let customers do anything, more customers call in than is necessary
    A website that supports true self-service, with automated decisions, means that more customers will self-serve and fewer will call in. Automating cross-sell and up-sell on the web even means you won’t lose a sales opportunity.
  • Time spent by agents reviewing customer records or querying BI systems to try and determine if a refund can be paid costs real money as well as reducing the quality of experience for customers.
    Automating the decision, not the display of information, speeds response times and so reduces costs while making it easier for call center staff to get the “right” answer.
  • Automation that is hard to verify for compliance with regulations can cost money for fines and manual audits after the fact.
    Using business rules to manage decisions makes for easier compliance as business owners and legal experts can directly review the rules being executed. Fewer errors, fewer fines, less costly review cycles.
  • Customer service systems require constant change to cope with changing demographics and customer expectations.
    These costs too must be considered part of the cost. EDM helps build agility into the system making it easier and cheaper to change pricing, delivery, refund and other rules without spending on coding or, indeed, on training.

There are more than just these but you get the drift. EDM does not just personalize and improve customer service while building loyalty, it reduces costs too.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Nathan Jones January 23, 2008, 3:35 am

    Hi James,

    I’ve been very intrigued by your thoughts this week, there is such a lot there and its obvious that you have done of this stuff for real.

    I’d be interested in your thoughts on how EDM will help companies navigate the (possible?) coming recession. It feels to me that there is a good message to be told that if EDM is good business, investing in EDM across some key points in the business will help, even if it means there is an opportunity to drop headcount. I haven’t put a lot of thought into this yet but I think I will over the next couple of weeks.

    What are your thoughts on this?