New Study from ICMI and Zendesk Uncovers Hidden Profits in Contact Centers

Report shows more than 62% of contact centers are perceived as cost centers; have the opportunity to elevate their standing within an organization

Jul 21, 2015, 09:00 ET from International Customer Management Institute (ICMI)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., July 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) in partnership with Zendesk, today released the 2015 report, "Collapse of the Cost Center: Driving Contact Center Profitability." Contact centers worldwide are often viewed as a "necessary evil." Organizations realize contact centers are a vital way to support customers, but contact centers are still typically thought of as inefficient to the organization as a whole. ICMI and Zendesk found that more than 62% of contact centers are perceived as cost centers, perpetuating a stigma that is hard to deny – especially when only 27% of contact centers are effectively measuring and reporting their service level. Contact centers can do more to prove their worth, and in turn, win the battle for tools, resources and support that benefit the organization as a whole.

"Contact centers provide unmatched and essential services for organizations, yet their importance is hindered by the lack of visibility their contributions have on a grander scale," says Justin Robbins, senior analyst for ICMI. "Organizations must uncover the opportunities hidden within their operations and take the necessary steps to make their worth apparent."

To effectively communicate the contributions that contact centers make to the organization as a whole, the report suggests contact centers should focus on hidden opportunities relating to:

Service Level: Only 27% of contact centers are effectively measuring and reporting service level. The opportunity for 76%+ of contact centers to better identify and affect their incoming traffic patterns is a sure path to improved efficiency.

Schedule Adherence: 62% of the contact centers surveyed measure their agents to ensure 90% of their time is fully utilized - raising concerns of agent burnout or measurements.  Schedule Adherence can be looked at in the broader context of customer satisfaction on things like agent happiness or the agent deciding to serve the customer out of adherence.

Accuracy: 50% of contact centers do not measure their accuracy – leading contact center leaders to continuously generate inaccurate future forecasts.

Surveys: A common method for measuring customer satisfaction is through surveys, which can be delivered through a variety of digital and traditional channels: live phone, web, email, paper, automated phone, and more.

Customer Satisfaction + Alternative Methods: 21% of contact centers do not currently have a formal method for measuring customer satisfaction, leaving opportunity when it comes to improving the customer experience.

Cross-Selling & Up-Selling: Only 25% of contact centers have ever considered a cross-selling/up-selling program, despite that when done well they are known to improve customer experience while also increasing revenue. Driving up-selling programs at contact centers is vital to turning them into revenue generators.

"We recognize the necessity of contact centers for a wide array of businesses," said Marcus Bragg, SVP, Worldwide Sales and Customer Success, Zendesk. "However, in order for contact centers to continue serving businesses effectively, executives should envision them as revenue generators instead of unnecessary overhead. We believe our report in partnership with ICMI highlights key areas on which contact centers can improve and develop."

Findings from this report were taken from the global survey, "Moving from Cost to Profit Contact Center Research," deployed by ICMI and Zendesk to 416 respondents in Spring 2015 to discover the challenges contact centers face in transitioning perceptions from cost-centers to profit-centers.

Media can obtain a copy of the report by contacting the ICMI PR team at

To learn more about current industry trends and hear from top professionals in the field, register for the 2015 Contact Center Demo & Conference, taking place October 19-21 at the Rio in Las Vegas, Nevada.

To request a media pass, please visit:

About ICMI
The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) is the leading global provider of comprehensive resources for customer management professionals -- from frontline agents to executives -- who wish to improve customer experiences and increase efficiencies at every level of the contact center. Since 1985, ICMI has helped more than 50,000 organizations in 167 countries through training, events, consulting, and informational resources. ICMI's experienced and dedicated team of industry insiders, trainers, and consultants are committed to helping you raise the strategic value of your contact center, optimize your operations and improve your customer service. ICMI is a part of UBM plc (, a global events-led marketing services and communications company.

About Zendesk
Zendesk provides a customer service platform designed to bring organizations and their customers closer together. With more than 57,000 paid customer accounts, Zendesk's products are used by organizations in 150 countries and territories to provide support in more than 40 languages. Founded in 2007 and headquartered in San Francisco, Zendesk has operations in the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia and South America. Learn more at


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SOURCE International Customer Management Institute (ICMI)