SRC, a UK contact centre technology provider, has launched a marketing consultancy service to address the mass-marketing needs of companies using the telephone as the primary point of contact to gain new customers. The division will be headed up by SRC business development director Anthony Buxton , and has already worked with Freeview, Britains new free-to-view digital terrestrial television service, in its drive to attract customers to the service.
The consultancy operation has already developed two speech services for the call centre environment – SRC ContactCapture and SRC PaymentCapture. These enable UK residential names and addresses to be captured (for brochure requests and similar DM campaign responses) and the collection of credit and debit card payment details for real-time bank authorisation (APACS 30) and transaction settlement (APACS 29 ).
The new division will deliver consulting services to specifically advise companies on the complex issues of automated customer interaction and how to achieve an increase in successful customer acquisition through mass-market telephone response. These consulting services will be supported by SRC s automated telephone service design and deployment teams.
Until now, companies wishing to advertise during prime-time television shows have been unable to promote a telephone number for customers to call because the extreme peaks in demand would have been impossible to handle cost-effectively, Mr Buxton said.
The Freeview service demonstrates for the first time how using speech recognition technologies offers totally new opportunities for prime-time mass-marketing campaigns. This approach has allowed Freeview to deal with more than 20,000 calls a day efficiently and cost effectively, so even in the very busiest periods, callers are not kept waiting.
Mr Buxton also said that outsourcing to cheap labour markets had been a short-term alternative to the problem but had bought with it the potential disadvantage of lower quality call handling leading to customer loss in the long-term.
Weve seen this in the software industry where, initially, outsourcing to developing markets enabled companies to make significant labour cost savings. But those companies who invested in considerable infrastructure overseas soon found costs rose to match those of more traditional markets and there were compromises made in quality, he concluded.