Dictaphone: An Old Dog With Very New Tricks

| Contact Center/CRM Views and Analysis

Dictaphone: An Old Dog With Very New Tricks

If I put 1,000 business people into a room together, and asked them all what the most significant cost of doing business is, my guess is 999 of them would answer "labor." (Perhaps the one lone dissenter works in the Underworld, where "firing employees" literally involves the use of a flamethrower.)

Why is labor so expensive? It's not just the salaries, of course, though those are a large part...it's the turnover. From the moment an employee departs, the process of hiring a replacement involves a cash and resource outlay every step of the way. First, you've lost company human capital in that trained employee who has just departed. You've lost his or her memories, experiences, personal and business relationships and contacts, methodologies, knowledge and educational anecdotes. Considering the rise of software designed to turn employees' casual knowledge into company capital, these factors are not inconsiderable.

Next, you need to tap into your human resource department's time and budget: advertising the position, preparing paperwork for both the departing employee and the new hire, time to select resumes and interview, time to write rejection letters for the non-hires, and time to put together a job offer.

Finally, when the new employee starts, you need to embark on the expensive process of training.

Many companies, though resigned to the fact that labor, including hiring new employees, will always be their biggest expense, have discovered that streamlining the process of employee searching, hiring and training is an opportunity to save significant amounts of cash. We accept the adage that it costs more to find a new customer than keep an existing customer happy...it's time to apply the same concept to employees.

Connecticut-based Dictaphone, a company that has been around since workforce management involved chiselling marks onto stone walls with rudimentary hand tools, has announced the debut of some new features for the company's really spot-on ContactPoint Workforce Management solution.

"Workforce management" used to involve only keeping track of existing workers. But why stop there...why not apply the same principles to potential employees, and use a better process from the pre-hire process?

The full release is below.

Customer-Driven Features Enhance Dictaphone’s Workforce Relationship Management Solution
For Optimizing Contact Center Performance

DALLAS, TX, and STRATFORD, Conn., Feb. 1, 2005 – Dictaphone Corporation's Communications Recording Systems (CRS) group today announced significant feature enhancements to its ContactPoint Workforce Relationship Management solution for contact centers. The announcement was made at the Call Center Demo & Conference Dallas 2005.

Dictaphone's ContactPoint Workforce Relationship Management solution provides a fully-integrated solution for optimizing agent performance, focusing on three major functions: recruiting, training and assessments. The ContactPoint software suite is comprised of three modules – Recruiter, Trainer, and Assessor – that are linked together through a common competency model detailing the skills, knowledge and abilities agents need to be successful. Once identified and captured in ContactPoint, this competency model can be applied to the contact center's hiring, training, and assessment programs to increase agent effectiveness and improve customer service.

"As the first solution to address agent performance from a total life-cycle standpoint, ContactPoint is already revolutionizing the way that contact centers hire, train, assess and motivate their agent workforce," commented John Kaiser, vice president of global marketing for Dictaphone CRS. "Now, ContactPoint's new features give contact center managers even better tools for optimizing performance, such as enhanced tracking of coaching and training activities, and more flexible, automated reporting capabilities."

Included among the new ContactPoint features are:

An Assessment Workflow Tracking Engine
ContactPoint's new assessment workflow tracking engine helps contact center managers more effectively identify and track specific problem areas for agents, all the way through to their resolution, to ensure proper steps are being taken to improve agent performance. Specifically, it allows managers to:

- Flag items on agent assessment forms to indicate specific performance issues

- Determine the appropriate action steps for improving agent performance
(e.g., coaching, training, or some other user-definable follow up category)

- Track and report on these follow up activities from start to finish

A Report Scheduler For Flexible, Automated Reporting
While conducting agent assessments is important, having the ability to derive meaningful information from the assessments is equally important. ContactPoint's automated report scheduler provides contact center managers with timely, meaningful information while improving productivity and saving valuable time. Specifically, it enables managers to:

- Create report "templates" by specifying various report criteria:

-- Time frames, data elements, and roll-up categories (e.g., based on specific assessment questions, agents, campaigns, centers, etc.)

- Generate customized reports to fit individual contact centers needs

-- More than 1,700 customized reports can be created

- Run reports automatically based on pre-specified schedules (e.g., daily, weekly, monthly, etc.)

- Automate the distribution of selected reports to specified recipients (by e-mail)

- Generate reports using data available through each of the three ContactPoint modules

ContactPoint Trainer Enhancements
Using ContactPoint Trainer, contact centers can import SCORM-compliant training material and deliver that material directly to agents' desktops. New enhancements to Dictaphone's ContactPoint Trainer module save contact center managers time, by automatically tracking the training status of every agent, relative to individual learning modules. The system keeps track of which learning modules agents have been assigned, which ones have been started or completed, the agent's progress (percent of modules completed), and the agent's actual results or test scores.

Other new Trainer features include a "randomized question capability" which randomizes the order of questions in a specific learning module to prevent duplication of tests administered between agents, and the ability to create timed tests, which require an agent to complete a test within a specific time period.

The new version of ContactPoint also includes other new features, such as an enhancement to the incentive management system, which allows contact centers to link agent assessments with merits and incentives so agents can be rewarded for exceptional call handling. Additionally, it gives managers the ability to create multi-dimensional assessment forms by specifying conditional questions. For example, as a supervisor is completing an assessment, if the score on one assessment question indicates a particular problem area for the agent, the system will automatically lead the supervisor to a different set of assessment criteria/questions that enable the manager to have a clearer understanding of the nature and cause of the problem and implement appropriate action.

"Since its launch in August 2003, ContactPoint has been installed in contact centers employing more than 18,000 agent positions," added Kaiser. “With the addition of these new customer-driven features, we’re looking forward to another banner year."

The new ContactPoint software release is available immediately.

About Dictaphone Corporation's Communications Recording Systems (CRS) Group
With thousands of installed customers worldwide, Dictaphone Corporation's Communications Recording Systems (CRS) Group is a leading provider of recording and monitoring systems for contact centers and Workforce Relationship Managementä solutions designed to optimize agent performance. Dictaphone CRS is a division of the Stratford, Connecticut-based Dictaphone Corporation.

Dictaphone's ContactPoint Workforce Relationship Management solution helps optimize agent performance by helping contact centers hire and retain the best agents, assess them fairly and consistently, and empower them with the right training and rewards. The centerpiece of ContactPoint is a competency model that enables the creation of job profiles that outline the skills, knowledge and abilities that agents need to be successful. Once identified, these skills, knowledge and abilities can then be systematically applied to the contact center's hiring, training, and assessment programs using ContactPoint, to help increase agent effectiveness and improve customer service.

The ContactPoint solution was designed to work in combination with Dictaphone's Freedom Enterprise system. Freedom Enterprise records customer/agent interactions, using standard voice recording or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) recording. The agent's desktop screen activity can also be captured. Other features supported by ContactPoint and Freedom Enterprise include: remote playback via Web access; Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) for data capture, service observe, and advanced analytics; and integration to legacy HR systems to capture recruitment, assessment and training data. For more information, call (800-886-4908), or visit www.dictaphone.com.

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