CRM Trends for 2012, Contact Center Quality Measurement, Agent Shrinkage, Contact Center Fluctuations

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CRM Trends for 2012, Contact Center Quality Measurement, Agent Shrinkage, Contact Center Fluctuations


End customers are increasingly aware of what CRM systems are capable of. So says industry observer Ian Whiting, who adds that in 2012, customers “will be even more insistent that businesses deal with them as they expect.”

Writing in CIO magazine, Whiting offers some CRM trends CIOs should watch for in 2012.

Anywhere, anytime. Anywhere/anytime computing offers benefits in the CRM space, Whiting says: “In 2012, mobility and the cloud will continue to create opportunities for businesses to engage with customers in intelligent ways across all touch points.” This doesn’t mean they need to go hand-in-hand -- Whiting predicts some businesses will be too concerned about the cloud’s security issues. But customers expect you to be able to check what’s in the pipeline and for any outstanding issues before speaking with them, especially since they’ll expect services via mobile and tablet devices as well.

Any insight. CRM systems generate and collect a great deal of data -- as those tasked with administering them realize -- and the majority of it always goes to waste. It’s a CIO’s job to improve the value their businesses can extract from their CRM data, especially for marketing, market insight and customer engagement opportunities. Whiting sees CIOs “driving” this in 2012, and thinks CRM vendors “will also have a role to play in educating businesses about what’s possible.” As any good CRM vendor should be doing already.

Read more here.

A recent Webinar, entitled “Using Speech Analytics to Improve Contact Center Quality Measurement,” was presented by TMC and speech analytics leader UTOPY.

Contact center quality assessment traditionally has had two major challenges, Webinar officials said: sample size and criteria objectivity. The Webinar showed how speech analytics can help with both of these challenges by evaluating every interaction each agent has with a customer, and using “standardized definitions to measure behaviors that can be objectively defined in terms of what agents actually say during calls.”

Presenting was Michael Miller, vice president, Customer Strategy for UTOPY. Miller is responsible for customer strategy, pre-and-post-sales support, and operational consulting at UTOPY, a customer interaction analytics provider.

Read more here.

The solution to contact center agent shrinkage is rather easy: Wash them in cold water. (Rimshot)

But seriously folks, according to the pros at Monet Software, shrinkage is the time agents are not productive due to breaks, meetings, training, vacation, illness, absenteeism or whatever reason they have not to be working. Doesn’t really matter what the excuse is, the end result is all the same.

Yes, you can build stuff like training and vacations into the schedule, but Monet identifies one cause of shrinkage that can’t really be planned for: adherence. In other words, the measurement of the time agents are scheduled to work compared to the time they actually work. What percentage of their actual paid time you’re getting.

You know the drill. Agents leave early, start later or take longer breaks than specified in their schedule. Boom -- shrinkage. There go your staffing metrics out the window. It’s not the kind of thing you can quantify, like you can quantify Quentin’s taking two weeks off to go to India. It’s time, productive time, that just evaporates.

Read more here.

Monet Software has put together another fine blog post on handling fluctuation in call volumes throughout the day -- yes it’s still one of the key challenges in managing a call center, as they say.

You know the common questions Monet runs through -- how to update the forecast? How to create a new schedule? How to staff for this throughout the day -- is there a way to plan for this?

As Monet says there are generally two scenarios in this situation. On the one hand, you have the events that the call center should have known about, but didn’t. For whatever reason -- it wasn’t informed about a campaign, it didn’t plan for the event, what does it matter what the excuse is? There’ll always be one and it won’t matter a bit. Most of the call volume-related impact can be avoided through planning.

And on the other hand, there are events, mostly external driven, that cannot be planned for. Think of sudden product issues. Weather. Catastrophes. One doesn’t pencil those in two months ahead of time. By the same token call volume fluctuations due to these external events cannot be planned for, but you can enact constant monitoring, and quick action can lower the impact on service levels and customer satisfaction.

Read more here.


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