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Fortune 500 Finds a Secret Weapon in SaaS-based Contact Centers

July 02, 2009

From a business standpoint, software as a service (SaaS (News - Alert)) is all about operating vs. capital cost and rapid time-to-value. Fortune 500 enterprise companies can no longer afford to make steep, up-front investments in software integration, hardware and staff; and then wait from 12 months to over 18 months to realize business value. Today, companies need immediate return with little to zero up-front investment. That’s what SaaS delivers, and nowhere is SaaS delivering more convincing value than in the contact center arena.
 
SaaS-based contact centers resolve the demands to cut costs and do more with less while also satisfying the competing requirement to improve customer service.
 
Via SaaS, Fortune 500 firms now have a way to do this while shifting what would otherwise be a capital expense into an operating expense that lets them directly correlate costs with benefits. Please take a look at the enterprise snapshots below.
 
American Express (News - Alert) Incentive Services (AEIS) offers business-to-business reward solutions for corporate incentive and consumer promotions programs, maintaining relationships with 76 percent of the Fortune 100 U.S. companies. With a SaaS-based contact center from Echopass, AEIS successfully unified four different contact centers and their agents in St. Louis and the Philippines, seamlessly managing agents in all locations with call monitoring and recording. Previously, AEIS lacked centralized control, management and visibility over their contact centers. Highlights of the SaaS-based contact center at AEIS include:
 
  • Meeting internal Service Level Agreement (SLA) of completing 85 percent of calls with interactive voice response self service
  • Timely deployment with virtually no disruption to the business
  • Routing of calls specifically to the most skilled agent, quickly and efficiently
  • Cost effective Voice over IP (VoIP) connectivity between St. Louis and Manila, eliminating long distance charges
  • Audited security processes and procedures to ensure ongoing protection of sensitive customer financial information
  • Dramatically improved real-time agent reporting with a global view of agent performance in all contact centers
Overstock.com is an online retailer that offers discount prices on name-brand merchandise, yet has established itself as a customer-centric company with friendly sales reps available 24x7. Overstock.com turned to a SaaS-based contact center from Echopass to handle the technical challenges associated with multi-sourcing, such as using its own onsite and remote contact center agents along with agents in third-party contact centers as well as the need for consistency of both technology and agent and supervisory tools. The results speak for themselves, including:
 
  • A sharp reduction in abandoned calls — from 8 percent down to 2 percent, resulting in a higher number of sales conversions per agent
  • Accurate reporting of agent performance, abandoned call percentages and customer service operations
  • Shifting away from technology and vendor management to a  focus on coaching and developing agent talent to deliver a superior customer experience
  • Significant improvement in speed of answer, with 93 percent of callers now reaching an agent in less than 60 seconds
  • An increase in agent training time and effectiveness through introduction of Echopass’ call monitoring and call recording capabilities
  • A staggering increase in customer loyalty as noted in the Net Promoter Score (NPS) — often referred to as the “platinum standard” in customer satisfaction metrics — from 40 percent to over 70 percent, significantly above industry average
Aon Consulting is one of three business units within Aon Corporation, a $7.4 billion enterprise and leading global provider of risk management services, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and human capital consulting with 36,000 professionals worldwide. One Aon Consulting service — Employee Benefit Outsourcing — is effectively a contact center-as-a-service business, where flawless operations are a business imperative. Rather than develop its own contact center technology and manage the infrastructure in house, Aon Consulting partnered with Echopass for its SaaS-based contact center. Today, the company is focused on its core competency of outstanding customer service while enjoying the following results which began immediately after their SaaS-based contact center implementation went live within just 60 days:
 
  • Effortlessly scale contact center agent population by up to 500 additional agents during peak season
  • Meet stringent regulatory requirements for confidentiality of health information
  • Enhanced capability for 100 percent call recording
  • Ability to meet future company objectives, including adding work-at-home agents
  • Better work flow from integrated industry-leading technology, call routing and reporting
  • Ability to modify easily — 90 percent of required changes can be performed without provider intervention
That’s only a taste of what can be done at the enterprise level. At the end of the day, the challenge is about making immediate customer service improvements at the lowest-possible price. The SaaS-based contact center is the secret weapon that delivers, with speed and agility.
 
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Vincent Deschamps is chief executive officer and chairman of the board for Echopass, the experts in SaaS-based, hosted contact center services.
 

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Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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