All too often,call centres have been perceived by companies as a cost, rather than as an asset contributing to their balance sheet. It might have been true in the past, but call centres have evolved considerably over the last couple of decades, and their more accurate modern name of ‘contact centres’ holds the secret to making them your most profitable asset.

Search engines profile you as soon as you get onto the internet and offer a stream of personalised ads based on your browsing history– whether you like it or not; data companies selling lists of names and other data have made a fortune; loyalty programmes offer customised rewards. This is all because information has become the hottest property on earth, a fact organisations have started to recognise. And aren’t contact centres an untapped mine of information? Now is the time to make good use of it.

First, you need to be able to manage vast quantities of raw data –both digital and physical – and invest into the technical tools to do so. Useful information that should be recorded, kept and analysed includes purchase history, demographics, common issues, and how they are resolved.

Then, insights gleaned from it must be shared with departments that can benefit from it such as Marketing and Sales teams, of course, but also, depending on the nature of the business and issues highlighted, Operations and Accounting for example. Does it sound obvious? Yet a study by the International Customer Management Institute revealed that less than a third of the companies surveyed used this data to inform their business strategies.

This lack of communication is, without a doubt, a missed opportunity. The information collected by the contact centres, for free, could lead to cross-selling and upselling if it were shared with the marketing team, and likewise, contact centres could offer current special offers and additional services during their interactions with customers if they were kept informed by sales and marketing teams.

In addition to increased revenue, open communication channels within organisations can also generate a less tangible but as valuable an asset: brand loyalty. By collecting data, contact centres will be able to deliver a more human and personalised experience during calls, which is essential to develop customer satisfaction, and eventually a long and lasting relationship.