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Call centre automation could save economy £23bn a year

Posted on Oct 22 2010
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In an interview with Computing, local government CIO Jos Creese said local authorities should be looking to move as many services as possible into self-service. However, a report from Gartner last month argued that the technology was not yet sophisticated enough, and that self-service struggles to solve more than one eighth of IT problems.
 
A step towards self-service, at least from the perspective of the consumer, is call centre automation.
 
A study released yesterday and carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research estimates that UK organisations and consumers could save more than £23bn a year by reducing inefficiencies in public and private sector call centres using call automation technology.
 
The study, called The Economics of Call Automation, said firms could recoup £14.8bn through call centre automation, and consumers could save £8.3bn a year through not being put on hold at call centres.
 
The potential public sector gains rise to £13bn per year if increased call automation is applied across doctors' surgeries, universities and government departments, as well as call centres.
 
The study draws on data from the Office for National Statistics and other official material and examines five areas that comprise call automation: natural language call steering; speech and voice biometric automated identification and verification; speech-automated self-service; proactive outbound notifications and mobile care. It examines the percentage of calls that can be automated as well as the current rate of automation.
 
Scott Wickware, vice president market development EMEA enterprise and mobile at Nuance Communications, a company that specialises in call centre automation, said: “For too long call centres’ contribution to the bottom line has been overlooked, and they are losing out on investment to other parts of the business."
 
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