Cutting Edge Information reports that a new perception in the financial services industry of the call center’s purpose drives a revamped belief in service reps’ ability to create revenue.

Senior management teams are turning call centers from service-only units into profit centers that create new sales and marketing capabilities, according to a recent study from Cutting Edge. Financial service companies now aim to boost profitability by teaching agents to get the most from each customer interaction, the firm says.

“Transforming a traditional high-cost call center into a strategic profit producer takes more than simply implementing new technology or providing better employee benefits to retain top reps,” said Elio Evangelista, a senior analyst at Cutting Edge. “Top call centers now train talented, well-educated agents in relationship management to consistently drive lifetime customer value and add more financial services to each customer’s portfolio.”

Cutting Edge’s report, “Managing Financial Services Call Centers,” also reveals that outsourcing call centers overseas has become a major trend in the financial service industry. Despite some fundamental advantages, such as cutting costs and increasing retention, the firm says companies must weigh the limitation of this approach.

Before sourcing their service centers, Cutting Edge says companies should determine which activities maintain or improve customer service and which deteriorate it. If a specific call center’s operations are “delicate or exceedingly valuable,” the study suggests the firm usually keeps its operations in-house or trusted to a close collaborator.

“Managing Financial Services Call Centers” features metrics and qualitative profiles of call center strategies from several industry firms, including Merrill Lynch, Citibank, Wachovia, and Goldman Sachs.

The report includes practices in up-selling and cross-selling strategies, process efficiency and call center technology, call center agents’ incentive and compensation packages, inbound and outbound call metrics for the financial services industry, offshore outsourcing, cost per rep and many other key performance measurements.

To view the online summary of this 114-page report from Durham-based Cutting Edge,visit: .