Dimension Data: The Age of the $33 Billion Seat

    Are Organisations Getting the Best Returns on Contact Centre Seats?

    JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA, March 19 /CNW/ - New research released today
reveals that organisations spend some USD 5,000 per month per agent seat to
provide customer service through their contact centres. This includes staff,
technology and other facilities and management costs. When applied to an
estimated 6.5 million contact centre seats worldwide, this translates to an
investment of USD 33 billion.

    These results from Dimension Data's Global Contact Centre Benchmarking
Report 2007, which surveyed 403 contact centres located across 42 countries,
underscore the need for management to ensure greater productivity and
effectiveness from contact centre resources.

    Cara Diemont, editor of the Report comments: "The challenge for
executives and contact centre management is to ensure that organisations get
the best return on investment for both business and customers. Two key levers
they can focus on to achieve this are call resolution and automation."

    The Report indicates a drop in the percentage of calls resolved by the
first agent over the past three years: from 82.1% in the 2005 Report to 80.7%
in 2006 and 69.8% this year. Also, contact centre agents spend around 60% of
their time speaking to customers, responding to e-mails and handling queries.
These two findings are concerning: 40% of the investment made in agent seats
is not directly linked to customer interaction and when it is, only seven out
of ten calls are resolved by the first agent.

    "Unresolved calls frustrate customers and cost organisations money. If
companies improve call resolution and agent utilisation, contact centre
effectiveness can be substantially improved," says Diemont.

    The second lever is automation, which is widely regarded as a critical
strategy for contact centres. The 2007 Report highlights that automating
processes or parts of processes is the top re-engineering and improvement
priority for contact centres (54.9%). But a word of warning: keep top of mind
that processes determine the 'how' of contact centre operation.

    "Many organisations focus on process automation and overlook the
inescapable fact that automating a poorly defined or executed process will not
improve the situation," says Diemont.

    Self-service is an automation strategy that is increasingly being adopted
by organisations. Currently, 13.5% of contact centres use speech recognition
while a quarter plan to implement it.

    "Success rates with voice-driven self-service have also improved, with
completion rates on self-service continuing to climb - 19% compound growth on
last year - across the board," concludes Diemont.

    About Dimension Data

    Dimension Data plc (LSE:DDT), a specialist IT services and solution
provider, helps clients plan, build and support their IT infrastructures.
Dimension Data applies its expertise in networking, security, operating
environments, storage and contact centre technologies and its unique skills in
consulting, integration and managed services to create customised client


    About the Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report

    First published in the UK in 1997 by Merchants, Dimension Data's
specialist contact centre outsourcing and operations division, this year's
edition is the ninth in a series of the industry-renowned benchmarking
reports. The report has balanced global and industry representation from 403
contact centres located across 42 countries and five continents, and is an
invaluable reference for all contact centre professionals. It provides
managers with a set of best practice standards and benchmarks, including
staffing and training, performance metrics, technology usage, budgets and
development plans. The report is researched and published by Dimension Data.
For more information about the Report, please go to www.ccbenchmarking.com

For further information:

For further information: Dimension Data Hilary King Tel: +27 11 575 6728
Cell: +27 82 414 9623 Fax: +27 11 576 6728 hilary.king@za.didata.com

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