Alternative Forms of Integration Offer Clients Low-Cost Marketing Solutions

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In recent years there has been a dramatic changeover in the telemarketing industry to enhance the overall productivity of call centers. In the past, most call centers used proprietary automatic call distributor and predictive dialing hardware packages to increase productivity. Today's Web-based technology offers more freedom to choose practical cost-effective methods to help increase a call center's productivity.


Should you have the opportunity to meander through any computer telephony expo, you'll immediately become enthralled with the endless possibilities Web-based technology can bring to a call center. The advent of such technology allows Web site visitors to connect immediately with operators to place orders for goods and services quickly, efficiently and accurately. And, to help offset the costs associated with the sophisticated software required to run these Web-based programs, call centers often will "bundle" these services for their clients.


However, the reality beyond this impressive technology is that most service bureaus work on behalf of other clients and need to provide services at a fair and competitive price. While many companies offer Web-based software that can be used to increase productivity, most fail to provide these hi-tech benefits at a reasonable or competitive price.


The challenge for most service bureaus is to use this Web-based technology in the most practical and cost-effective manner so they can offer these advanced Web-based features without charging clients a large amount of money.


ACD and Web-based solutions used in call centers are often very expensive. As such it is difficult to use this technology in a cost-effective manner that will prove justifiable to clients. It may be cutting-edge but not practical in the monetary sense, as even the most sophisticated client may not be able to see "through the dollar signs" when presented with a hi-tech solution.


How can you use the technology to provide enhanced services to clients at a cost that will not scare them away but entice them to adopt it to help campaigns produce results? Some examples of this type of hi-tech, cost-efficient technology include:


• Taking full advantage of your ACD system capability to transfer calls to an off-site location without interruption or detection that the call is leaving its original destination.


• By providing detailed online response reporting, a company looking to find up-to-the-second program status can access a specially designed Web site programmed to prepare and run reports based on specific program variables. The advantage of such a site is that not only can clients analyze and obtain "real-time" reports, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but there is no need for additional administration time.


• Utilizing the Internet to create customized response sites that attract targeted visitors to find additional information about clients' products and services. These sites should integrate direct-mail programs with specially designed Web sites used as an additional response method. This method will retrieve customer information via an access number, saving time when searching a database and using the same application that customers could use on the World Wide Web.


• Utilizing the call monitoring system set up through the ACD to monitor telemarketing reps and evaluate their performance based on various portions of their telemarketing scripts and overall program knowledge. Not only is this system viewed as a review mechanism by managers and a training/improvement tool by the reps, it provides clients a "looking glass" into the call center as they can receive reports that document the telemarketers' progress.


There are several alternatives to the high costs of today's hi-tech solutions. The practicality of these alternatives make the transition into a hi-tech campaign easier for the future, as they show the basic premise of how the Internet and Internet-related programs will help to progress the growth of a company and its products and services.
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