Call centre automation: generates profit and satisfied customers

March, 2011
proto$ gen VI mod 3FFECA (Londinium)
Ruki iz Plech
The call centre is fully integrated with dia$par. When receiving a call, the system generates an extract from the client’s file online and forwards the call to the most suitable operator, taking the into account the client’s probable reason to call. Instead of being the forward defence line against empty talk and customer frustration, the operators become your cross-selling agents.

??You’ve probably tried (hopefully once) to get through to either a large company call-center or a mobile phone company or, say, the bank your card issued by.
?We also bet there isn’t a living person that hasn’t been outraged pleased being on half an hour hold (oh yes, "your call is of great importance" for them), and then transferred, often chaotically, between employees of various competence level, individuals who are, most of the time, willing to just shuffle the issue off to their colleagues from departments that are remote in all respects.

So it seems there is a good reason, very much due to this kind of treatment of customers, that Russia’s "big three" mobile network operators are known as WC s ("wireless carriers" vs "water closet").

Unfortunately, the clients of this oligopolistic triad are not left much choice, which is what lets these WCs wipe their feet on their clients. By contrast, Humanless is oriented towards businesses working in a competitive environment, and if you’re reading this, you must be one of many having to fight for your spot under the Sun in the market.

Which means you have to make sure your call-center is doing a good job. In both regards.

So, here is a general picture of how a regular call-center operates.

If the company has spent the very minimum on its IT infrastructure, the client is not going to hear the "busy" signal but will be taken to an IVR, which will politely inform the caller that "all the operators are busy" and ask him to "remain on the line, the next available representative…". In other words, the client’s call is very important, but they won’t be taking it for now.
It’s a regular occurrence that the caller has to psychotically listen through a Bible-long list of voice menu options, from which the client gets a clear idea that, by making his, absolutely stupid and unrelated, call, he’s distracting some busy and VERY SMART people from their work. Therefore, the client is 98% likely to still keep waiting "for the next available operator". And what for, on Earth, did they set up this voice menu thing? Oh, yeah, that’s for everyone to see it’s there. That’s SO SMART!

The client, finally, gets through to an operator who sorts out the purpose of the call. The operator may often ask the caller a couple of leading questions that can be quite baffling, like "could you give me the number of
your agreement", which may have been written down on some tiny piece of paper that ended up in a waste paper basket God knows when.

However, a strong-willed and level-headed client, despite all obstacles caused by the human understanding of "client-oriented service" and even more human aspiration to pompously appear on-air regardless of any common sense, will sooner or later make it, and will be put through to a staff member who is competent enough… er.. in theory… (some kind of a "manager"). And that’s when the real conversation should, finally, commence.

If you’re lucky.

If you’re not "that" lucky and the Department A manager appears to be less competent than you expected (or if the situation is not too pleasant to try to resolve the issue on your own), the client is put through to the Department B manager. And on it goes — it’s all about luck.
Note that, if it’s a large company, the client, by switching from B back to A, will now get to a different "manager" and is 95% likely to be sharing his, really ordinary, problem with the guy all over again.

While, if the company isn’t that rich and advanced, they can just tell the client to call a different number and ask for another Jane Doe, as is the case with most government agencies — may Heavens save us from the trouble of ever having to do with them.

In a word, it’s a realm of victorious, client-oriented, Modernization.

Well, how does it work when it’s done the way it’s "supposed" to?

The way it’s "supposed" to be done, the client rings the company and gets to a contact-center that is 100% integrated with dia$par. It uses the phone number to automatically determine who’s calling, checks the relevant client folder, and locates the info it needs.
By the type and status of current orders, dia$par then determines which department and which manager to direct the call to (no operator is involved). On picking up the receiver, the manager is automatically presented with the client folder (the client’s name, pending orders, completed orders, complaints,
communications, and history of calls).
The manager addresses the caller by saying something like "Good afternoon, Mr/Mrs so-and-so" (instead of just mumbling out a nonchalant "Hullo") "your order will be ready by 12 pm tomorrow. Just for your convenience, would you like to have it delivered? And, since you’ve called, I’d like to let you know, in passing, that there are original docking stations for your notebook available for sale at the moment. Would you like to add one of those and we’ll have the driver get it over to you in one shot? [cross-sellings — Humanless] You got it, sir/ma’am. We’ll also enclose some cloths for you to wipe your LCD screens; they cost pennies [A 400% profit margin — Humanless]".

This is, for instance, the way the contact-center of the "Ruki iz Plech" (Handy man) service center operates. This is how a call-center can turn from a cost unit into a selling, i.e. earning, one

And, by the way, why is it "contact-" and not "call-"?
Where do service center operators get so much time for selling stuff instead of battling loads of silly calls full of the same questions from clients mad with having to wait? Where are the half-hour-long lines for the next available operator?
Can it be that there are few calls or too many operators and the level of service is achieved owing to redundancy?
No. There are enough calls: "Handy man" is Russia’s largest post-guarantee service center. As well as the most efficient (being "handy" while many others are "all fingers and thumbs"). So they don’t have more operators than they need.

Things are simpler than you think.
At Humanless, it’s not the call-center (phone call processing) that is integrated with dia$par but the contact-center (processing all communications from the clients). There is a huge difference. In processing client communications, we strive to shift the primary burden onto free-of-charge fully electronic means of communication: most of the general info is provided through the site; the client is able to track the state of all his orders in his Personal Area; he gets updated of the progress of processing his orders also totally automatically, via email and text messaging.
The only time the client may need to get in touch with the operator is when there is a non-standard situation (which is rare by definition) or when there is a probability of a commercially fruitful contact.

One may suspect that implementing a contact-center of this kind has cost the "handy" company an arm and a leg in terms of investing in equipment and software. Suspicions may turn into confidence once you discover
multi-thousand-dollar prices in the catalogues of manufacturers like Avaya or Cisco.

But that’s not the case with us.
The additional costs have not exceeded 0 dollars and 00 cents. For, as we said above, the contact-center comes integrated with dia$par right from the start. You don’t need to buy anything separately, including equipment, while the cost of transiting to dia$par is included in the overall price-tag: with dia$par things are always fair and square.

And, yes, as a free, but priceless, bonus, you get happy and loyal clients. And it is what constitutes the primary component of the cost of a service brand.

One is better off being rich and healthy than poor and sick, better off serving happy clients and enjoying climbing sales than dealing with heaps of complaints, losses, and consumer claims.

Being inside dia$par. Some stories
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