Successful and profitable performance of customer contact centers depends as much on having a solid business case as it does on any particular technology deployment. That's according to the three executives who analyzed "How To Get ROI from Your Contact Center," at yesterday's Customer Service Leadership Forum, produced by Insurance & Technology at The Roosevelt Hotel in New York.
The panel consisted of Susan Hess, vice president plan services and technology, The Hartford (Hartford), George McKinnon, vice president and CIO, Nationwide Insurance (Columbus, OH), and Karen Pineda, director of CRM, service coordinator, AXA Financial (New York), and was moderated by Insurance & Technology's editorial director, Katherine Burger.
The Hartford's Hess expressed the importance of knowing your customer, which in The Hartford's case includes consumers, sponsors, brokers, TPAs and employees. Also central to Hess' message was the need to develop a careful balance between "high-tech and high-touch." She warned against getting "so enamored with the technology that you forget how to do business."
Business strategies such as maintaining customers from age 16 until they are in their 80s are the foundation supporting Nationwide's CRM technology strategy, according to McKinnon. "We want to be able to take customers through to their full life expectancy," says McKinnon. "As we look to implement technologies, we are focusing on the customer retention side."
AXA Financial's Pineda noted it's important to focus on what functionalities the customer wants. For example, AXA Financial videotaped the usability testing of its IVR (interactive voice response) system, which people from "all walks of life" participated in. "It was an eye-opening experience," says Pineda. "As a developer, you think some things are so obvious." As a result of the testing AXA made a number of changes in the system. "It had a dramatic impact on the number of calls that were completed," Pineda reports.