In today’s business climate, providing value-add while creating lasting partnerships is at the core of excellent and efficient customer relationship management. All too often, brands make customer care decisions based on price or rate rather than total value or return, thereby leaving significant value untouched in many cases. Customer relationship strategies are frequently developed by solving tactical concerns and wrestling with budgets and stakeholder commitments. This tends to run counter to the goal of providing excellent customer care.

One of the keys to adding value to customer relationship management is the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) approach. This financial model helps determine costs of the customer care business unit, enhance customer relationships and helps enterprises get healthier in a more comprehensive fashion that yields value to all parties.

When building a customer relationship management strategy, organizations are often challenged by internal demands. This makes it hard to see that the “cost centers” that exist within their contact center enterprise are a critical component of the overall customer experience. It’s time to re-evaluate this strategy and look at the true value of the contact center enterprise and how, if properly embraced, it can help to develop a much clearer vision of the customer experience.

In many cases, contact centers can be transformed from cost centers to profit centers. Are you making the most of every customer interaction? For example, a consumer electronics company could turn a simple inbound customer care call into a revenue-generating event with a satisfied customer by offering:

  • Premium Technical Support
  • Extended warranties
  • Accessories upsells

In many cases, TCO-focused customer interactions can even serve as pre-collections opportunities. Is the customer behind on a bill? By proactively addressing the issue, businesses can get the client current without investing in multiple outbound efforts.

The TCO approach is all about challenging traditional approaches. It’s about thinking not what if or why, but how and when. The model enables brands to think beyond the supplier, vendor and partner, focusing energy on the customer and, finding value for all.

Contact center agents work very hard every day to take the complexities of customer relationship management, processes, policies, products and ambitions and orchestrate them into a crisp, accurate and satisfying interaction with millions of customers each day. That’s what it all boils down to in the end – how do we collectively make that single interaction as satisfying for all parties as possible – what’s the balance point? And, how do we monetize this at an enterprise level so we can invest in forward progress? It’s different for each organization, but the common issues are staggeringly similar.

Ask yourself: How can we blur the lines to such a point that companies can financially afford to deliver optimum service to the end consumer? How can we deliver new heights in the quality and relevance of customer interactions?

By evaluating customer care through TCO, business decision makers can truly understand overall value and how they can optimize value at the enterprise level. The TCO process evaluates customer care based on total cost of their enterprise, by factoring in the entire global organization, not just a price point per hour or minute or call. This model has helped organizations save millions of dollars each year and better define customer care objectives, and it can work for your organization as well.

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