Magazine article CRM Magazine

The End of Call Centers? A Conflict Is Brewing between Groups Focused on Managing Costs and Those Focused on Generating Profit

Magazine article CRM Magazine

The End of Call Centers? A Conflict Is Brewing between Groups Focused on Managing Costs and Those Focused on Generating Profit

Article excerpt

ON-DEMAND computing is beginning to disrupt the call center. We are all familiar with the disruptive innovation that started with SFA, but that was simple compared with what we'll see in call centers' futures.

When on-demand first appeared there were plenty of skeptics who said it could never compete with conventional applications. There were other skeptics who said that on-demand would be a security nightmare. Vendors, however, kept innovating and selling, and eventually they overcame the major objections to the point that even large, conservative companies now run on-demand applications--and many are open minded about getting more of them. All these proof points will come in handy as the on-demand call center tries to traverse the same hierarchy to land larger customers.

On-demand call center infrastructure is changing what call centers do. Once, they were a central place that agents commuted to; now the new infrastructure brings technology to people. Not only does on-demand infrastructure enable people to work from home, it can also enable different departments to have their own specialized calling operations.

The call center has much better organized (and vocal) opposition to on-demand than earlier innovators did in sales and marketing--it's the difference between having reservations and being entrenched. The conflict brewing is between the workforce management group and the adherence group or, roughly, the usual tussle seen between groups oriented toward managing costs and those focused on generating profit. …

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