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August 2011

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Call Center Threshold Violations, Call Center Outsourcing Case Study, Latin America Call Center Outsourcing, Speech or Input for IVR?

August 25, 2011

According to a recent post from Spectrum Corporation (“Unified Contact Center Reporting”), on a daily basis, “call centers and agents exceed their thresholds and the manager and the agents are made aware of the threshold violations.”

Now we know you’re a busy manager, you don’t have time to explore each KPI threshold violation. Heck, if you tried to do that you wouldn’t have time for the rest of your job. But wouldn’t it be great to get a summary report of the threshold violations? Then you’d have a tool showing exactly where the call center can improve.

That’s the beauty of summary reports, they boil down the thousands of lines of statistics into simple, easy to read and understand reports that you, the busy manager, can then use to manage the call center and make the changes that improve productivity, without having to spend all the time tracking down all the violations yourself.

Spectrum offers call center reporting software and contact center wallboards, designed, in the words of company officials, to “improve call center performance by reviewing critical KPI's and acting on the variances from your goals.

First Coffee CRM Roundup Aug. 24, 2011

August 24, 2011

In a 2010 survey by DMG noted on the Monet Software blog, call center managers rated what they thought to be the four tasks they consider their top call center workforce management challenges:

The need to schedule phone and non-phone activity.

The need to optimize the mix of full-time/part-time/flex workers.

Poor agent adherence.

The need to schedule multiple channels -- such as phone, email, chat.

Earlier this month TMC’s Susan J. Campbell wrote that the good news is that call center management throughout the industry have already discovered best practices to ease the process:

“While a schedule driven only by forecast and basic agent requirements as determined by call center management may work, it won’t help to boost performance or productivity. The development of the forecast and schedule needs to include agent needs, as well as breaks, multiple skill sets, training, time-off and a realistic buffer for shrinkage. Consider categorizing all activities according to your unique environment.”

Read more here.

Automated Chat Translation, Voice Management Platforms, Five9 Remote Call Center, IVR Redundancy

August 19, 2011

With some articles, all you need to read is the headline to get the tone, attitude and gist of what’s going on. For example: “Is Machine Chat Translation like a 2-Year Old or a 45-Year Old?”

Industry observer Saul Marcus wrote recently how Andrew McAfee, a research scientist at MIT who studies how digital technology affects the business world, asked him that very question. Marcus says McAfee believes “high quality” machine translation will have a huge impact on business.

Note the qualifier, “high quality.” As in, not the two-year old variety.

Telephone Consumer Protection Act, Call Center Outsourcing Checklist, IVR Voice Signatures, Flexible Call Center Ops

August 19, 2011

Lexology walks us through a recent legal action of interest to the auto dialer industry: specifically the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), 47 U.S.C. § 227(b)(3), for which the U.S. Supreme Court recently granted certiorari on this very issue in Mims v. Arrow Financial Services.  

Powering Customer Support, Midmarket CRM Profiled, CRM for Schwab, Spanish Contact Center

August 19, 2011

A recent Webinar explored “Powering Customer Support with Social Media Intelligence” with Forrester Independent Research Analyst Zach Hofer-Shall. The presentation was scheduled for Wednesday, July 27 at 11:00 in the morning on the West Coast, and at 2:00 in the afternoon on the East Coast.


Register at the link below to get the entire presentation.

Certainly we’ve all seen the power of social media’s explosive growth and what it means to consumers and brands. Webinar organizers say the presentation will teach about the new ways consumers interact with companies and their expectations of engagement through social channels by way of proactive and reactive engagement.

This will include monitoring keywords and following up, which is “more or less common knowledge,” Webinar organizers say, as well as more sophisticated approaches such as identifying statistically relevant emerging patterns of conversation and taking action.

Hofer-Shall is a recognized expert on Social Intelligence, and how to use insights generated from online discussion to inform marketing and business strategy.

Enterprise Password Management, Hispanic Call Centers, Simplify Call Center Routing, Data Center Management

August 5, 2011

Enterprise password management is a much talked-about issue today, what with the spate of high-profile enterprise security breaches, thus attention is now on ways to prevent identity thefts. Industry insider Beth Schultz has recently written an article on password management systems, citing the fact that Gartner data shows that password-related queries “account for approximately 30 percent of total call volume for multipurpose help desks.”


Naturally, people forget their passwords all the time, especially when working under company policies to keep changing them.

Smart Call Center Outsourcing, OpenERP, OnApp Interview, Racemi's Guillory

August 5, 2011


What would intelligent Web engagement look like? Good question, isn’t it?

Sitel, a call center outsourcing provider recently produced a paper on just that topic, titled “Sitel Intelligent Web Engagement: A Social Engagement Model for Incremental Return on Customer Investment.”

Basically if you’re using social media to either attract or interact with you customers, you need to read this white paper.

VoIP and Telecom Quality, IVR and Automated Business Processes, Knowledge Management Challenges, Chat Translation and Ulysses?

August 1, 2011

Industry observer Dan Baker recently conducted a great interview with Neal Axelrad, CEO and co-founder of GCS and veteran of the VoIP industry working with companies such as ITXC (now Tata Services) and Infiniroute (now TNS).


Axelrad talks about how VoIP is now “one of telecom’s greatest success stories.”

Baker himself credits network engineering innovation for much of the improvement, but draws attention to what he feels is “another equally important factor often overlooked: the competitive wholesale telecom market that we have, particularly in the U.S.”

As Baker says, take VoIP provider Vonage as an example.

CRM Down Under Healthy, Last Space Shuttle Launch, Unhackable Passwords, Reset Your Password - Now

August 1, 2011


Ulrika Hedquist, who writes for Computerworld New Zealand, recently reported that analysts from both Gartner and IDC agree the CRM systems market is still in good trim, being worth $1.06 billion in Asia-Pacific and Japan last year “after having grown 21 percent year-on-year.”

She says that IDC is seeing “a continued focus on customer-centric initiatives and this includes using mobility, collaboration, BI, social networks and CRM,” citing Rasika Versleijen-Pradhan, senior services analyst at IDC New Zealand: "This continues to be a key area of investment for many organizations.”

Gartner's own research points to healthy investment in loyalty management, multi-channel, web and interactive customer offerings in Australia and New Zealand, “particularly in the banking, telecoms, financial services, insurance and airlines sectors, as well as government,” says Praveen Sengar, principal research analyst, e-commerce and CRM at Gartner, adding that SaaS adoption is showing healthy signs in Australia and New Zealand, with Salesforce.com growing by 35-40 percent, according to Hedquist.

Versleijen-Pradhan told Hedquist that adoption levels have somewhat stayed the same, “only that small-sized companies see it as being more relevant and important for their business.” Interestingly, the analyst added that “for the time being” the majority of organizations' preferred choice is on-premise. That’s probably the case, but one can expect to see the numbers continue to shift to hosted options.

Read more here.

Improving Call Center Ops, Salesforce.com AppExchange, Virtualization and Customer Care, CRM and Social Media

August 1, 2011

Here’s a useful topic these days when it comes to improving your call center operations -- “The Power of Real-Time Delivery: Using Agent Idle Time to Improve Service.” Fortunately that’s also the title of a recent white paper from Knowlagent, a provider of call center operations created to improve efficiency.

One of the most interesting subjects covered in this white paper is sharing updates with agents during downtime is crucial to improving call center operations. This is a great way to improve your staff’s knowledge and skills at minimal cost, without disrupting the flow of operations.

Pulling your agents from the phones to attend a training or coaching class is not the ideal approach, sending out training or coaching during a slow period, 5- to 20-minute education and training sessions or content, works better.

“You can use the same content for every agent, but effectiveness will be increased if training content is customized to address the specific needs of every agent,” the paper notes, giving an example of how it would work with your existing call center operations:

Let’s say your quality assurance process identifies 35 agents with performance issues. After the performance issues are identified, the QA tool sends each agent their QA evaluation form, the paper explains, and explains what they need to do about it.

Read more here.

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