Do-not-call register comes up short

Over 90 percent of call centres not adversely affected

With the Australian Government's Do Not Call Register celebrating its first full year of operation this month, findings from the Dimension Data Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report 2008 revealed that it has not adversely affected Australia's largest contact centres.

When asked "What has the impact of the Do Not Call Register been on your overall outbound calling volumes?" 91.7 per cent of Australian participants stated that it had either had no impact or no change on volumes.

A follow-up question "What has the impact been on your campaign success rate?" elicited a similar response with 90.5 per cent claiming that it has had no impact. Overall outbound call volumes include calls to existing customers exempt from the Do Not Call rules and unsolicited calls.

"Given that the Register received over one million registrations in the first month of operation, and is now sitting at well over two million, this is really heartening news. In the lead-up to the introduction of the Register last year, there was a lot of anxiety as to its potential negative impact on Australia's contact centre industry," said Ian Dundas, principal consultant, customer interactive solutions, Dimension Data.

"That said, the majority of organisations who participated in the benchmark survey were larger enterprises and are not using unsolicited calls as a way to sell their products and services. Most have already moved beyond the 'hit and miss' nature and poor conversion rates of these types of outbound sales campaigns".

"What they are doing very well with is inbound marketing campaigns and outbound customer satisfaction and 'update' calls: recognising cross-selling opportunities during these types of calls with existing customers".

Yhe Report found that globally 31 per cent of all inbound transactions are completed on a self-service channel. Highest among these is Interactive Voice Response (IVR) self-service (15.5 per cent), followed by Web self-service (13.7 per cent), with speech self-service and Web co-browsing making up the balance. The findings also show that Australia deploys the most effective IVR self-service solutions, with 51.2 per cent of transactions successfully completed by customers through this channel.

"This is world-leading and reflective of Australia's language consistency and telecommunications infrastructure quality and availability. With one of the highest densities of mobile ownership in the world, we have a highly mobile population - and the convenience offered by IVR to transact with business translates into this phenomenal voice self-service completion rate," said Jason Thals, national solutions manager, customer interactive solutions, Dimension Data. Thals was also a co-author of the Report.

In contrast to this positive result for self-service, Australia reported a much lower grade of service performance than the global average. Australian contact centers achieved performances of 55.6 per cent and then 69.1 per cent in the 10 and 20 second target categories respectively compared to global averages of 65 per cent in 10 seconds and 72.8 per cent in 20 seconds for average time to answer rates.

"We need to consider the Australian results in the context of a massive rise in voice self-service availability in 2007. The poor grade of service result may be a case of overly ambitious business cases re-assigning staff before the benefits of self-service implementations have been fully realised", said Thals.

Len Rust is publisher of

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