I'm thinking of starting a new educational institute. One of the plans I had in mind was to use a call center with a good ACD (Automatic Call Distribution ) capability, so that each customer would be redirected to the specified operator (teacher here).
However, since I have many criteria for a good ACD, none of the available Call Center applications on the market are flexible enough to answer my requirement. So as I consulted some IT guys and I'm a web developer myself, it became clear that what I want requires a customized solution, which of course would cost me much more than what I initially expected for it.
Is there any study to show how much ACD affects marketing? Should I just forget about it, or is it just a matter of wrong time of thinking about ACD?
Should I think about customer loyalty at all, before even starting my business?
Yes, you should absolutely think about costumer loyalty before starting the business. Why? Because the best new client is your existing client! (it's cheaper, if he is satisfied with you, it's an "advertisement for free" via the mouth-to-ear, and so on...)
Concerning the ACD, first think about the number of clients you expect (to see if this solution is not an overkill). Then, if you are webdeveloper, why not to replace by a "online support " (chat) - in that you can customize it as you want and it's not so expensive (compared to customized ACD).
Then create a consistent and youseful FAQ on your web - if people find answers on their questions by themselves, all the benefit is for you... You know, people usually don't like calling... Ask your friends, you will see that many of them prefer a nice and useful FAQ section of the website.
And from experience (not based on a study) I can say, that lot of people find the ACD impersonal and they don't like to "communicate with a machine" and waiting after each step to know "what number to press" in next step...