Page 1



Focus on Workforce Optimization

Page 7

Issue 1 | 1


The financial ROI of coaching By Bruce Simpson


he benefits of skillful coaching are substantial and can have a dramatic impact on the overall profitability of any company. For contact centers in particular, a well implemented coaching program is the surest path to minimizing costly repeat calls, optimizing revenue opportunities, and delivering a consistent, high quality customer experience. With 65-75% of contact centers costs driven by agent wages, benefits and incentives, coaching has become the critical tool for world-class operations to improve the retention and overall performance of frontline knowledge workers. It also corrects the problem constantly voiced by non-coaching organizations that, despite the expense and effort, classroom training fails to produce a performance ROI (return on investment). As organizations push for improvements in performance and to encourage change, they often focus on the frontline employees and bypass investing in the “Leadership Triangle”.

Make a big difference. Try a different reward. Research shows that companies offering non-cash incentives have 6.6% higher revenue. When you have the right reward, there are other nice benefits too.

Questions? Call 1.800.293.1136 or visit to learn more. Source: 2011 Aberdeen Group study This card is issued by Peoples Trust Company pursuant to a license by Visa Inc. Cards are issued in connection with a loyalty, award or promotion program. © 2012 InteliSpend Prepaid Solutions, ULC

2 |

Frontline supervisors / leaders are the leverage point for agent skill and knowledge, yet few organizations make the required investment in these leaders that provides a real operational ROI. Industry stats consistently indicate that a rigourous coaching system returns an 8-18% reduction in operational expense and/or increased revenues. Many Contact Center organizations believe they have an effective coaching program in place. There are many clues that this is not the case, such as: poor or inconsistent results, increasing operational costs, and high agent attrition, to name a few. See section “Coaching Principles” below to help define for yourself if you have the building blocks in place today?

Key categories of financial impact Benefits of employing performance coaching in your call center can be split into five different areas of impact: 1. OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY – The ability of each agent to maximize their time on a call-by-call basis and over each shift worked. This category has a direct and immediate impact on profitability because constant improvements in efficiency lead to the need for fewer agents (and the support roles around them). Reducing agent headcount by even 5% is pure profit in the true sense of the word. 2. OPERATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS – Proficiency at handling calls accurately, with high client satisfaction the first time without the need to escalate (or ask for help). Many non-coaching organizations experience a greater than 30% repeat call + transfer rate, dramatically driving up their operating costs. 3. REVENUE GENERATION – Coaching supports and improves the advanced selling skills of identifying customer needs and solving problems customers didn’t know you could help them with.. This ability, especially on service calls, allows organizations to transition from cost center to profit-center and easily pay for the investment in coaching. 4. CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND RETENTION – With the high cost of customer acquisition, retaining the right customers is necessary for success. As product lifecycles mature so fast exceptional customer service has become the only sustainable competitive advantage in businesses today. 5. EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT AND RETENTION – Keeping proficient agents and frontline staff engaged and in the organization longer. Sustained coaching can easily produce a 25 – 50% reduction in agent attrition rates. The data on savings possible – less recruiting, less training, less lost productivity – that by adding even 2-4 months to average rep tenure is compelling. Frost & Sullivan and SwitchGear Consulting have developed a calculator that allows you to input specific data from your call center and estimate the potential benefits of coaching for your company. This calculator helps the head of finance understand the expected ROI from a real investment in your frontline leaders.

FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPLES OF COACHING The first foundational requirement to developing a “coaching culture” is the ability to establish trust and engage people in meaningful work. You can manage employees without trust, but to lead and coach them Issue 1

CSR requires that they trust you. The second foundational element is that coaching can only be successful if it becomes a top priority / responsibility for the frontline leader. In most operations they have become the “dumping ground” for tasks AND have no time to coach. With these two foundational elements in place ... here is SwitchGear’s Top 10 Coaching Principles

1. GET THE COACH “ON-THE-COURT” – Get the coach (supervisor) working side-by-side in, and on, the business with every individual on their team. It’s very difficult to establish foundational credibility needed to be an effective coach if the coach does not understand the business today. 2. RUTHLESS PRIORITIZATION – Stop the emails and the special projects and start applauding managers for being on the floor and working with their people (see point one). Focus is critical – what is more valuable than the coach’s ability to motivate and help accelerate the performance of his / her people? … the answer is nothing. 3. MANAGEMENT LEADERSHIP AND COACHING – Be clear on the differences: • Most call centers struggle because they are over-managed, underled & under-coached. • Most often leaders are wearing their management hat up to 90% of the time – caught in a reactive paradigm that focuses on processes, control, and what happened yesterday. Coaching by contrast is proactive impacting results now, today and tomorrow. 4. ASK VS. TELL – “Ask” is the foundation for both commitment and accountability. Focus on helping managers learn from their people versus being a judge. In this knowledge-based world of contact centers ask yourself, “Who knows more about workflows, systems, products: agents or managers?” The common “Command and Control” approach is useless in the new era of knowledge-based call centers.

10. PRACTICE – why should the coach be any different than their athletes, they should practice too.

COACHING BENEFITS CALCULATOR The Coaching Benefits Calculator allows you to use your organizations’ data to see how changing your current results will impact your bottom line. While there are many downstream benefits of adopting the Applied Performance Coaching approach, the calculator focuses on primary, measurable and direct results. You can also see the range of financial results achieved by a cross-section of sales and service organizations.

CONCLUSION Coaching used to be a discussion limited to the Human Resources group, but now operating executives and heads of Finance are clear on the tangible benefits it provides to the organization. It is clear that coaching isn’t a soft skill or feel-good activity but rather a critical leadership tool that produces quantifiable results and delivers a bottom-line financial impact. World-class organizations that make the investment in developing this skill in their frontline managers overwhelmingly outperform their competitors from a service delivery and revenue generation perspective. They enjoy a culture of high performance, retain their top talent, and get the best out of their people. If you’d like to receive the Coaching Benefits Calculator and understand the business case for coaching in your organization, contact bruce@ or visit . SwitchGear are the authors of the 2nd edition of Call Centre for Dummies.


5. ENERGY … THEN VALUE – If agents don’t trust management and interaction with the “higher ups” sucks energy from them, then it is unlikely that supervisors will be trusted and welcomed on the call center floor. It’s a leader’s job to bring positive energy first, they’ll be in a position to provide / add value to their people. . 6. START FROM WHAT THEY DO WELL AND BUILD ON STRENGTHS – Don Schula, the former Miami Dolphins coach, is famous for saying, “If the someone is doing her job well 75% of the time, why isn’t 75% of the feedback they receive positive?” A decade of employee satisfaction research shows that the top reason people leave an organization is due to a poor relationship with their direct boss. What does your attrition, attendance and employee satisfaction metrics tell you about this? 7. FOCUS ON ONE SKILL AND STEP AT A TIME – A weekly or daily approach which first focuses on specific behaviors produces incredible results. Conversely, giving someone a monthly list of required results without support typically fails. 8. BE SPECIFIC! – If your coaching summary is “build better rapport,” or “ask more questions” then there’s no way to leverage these into measurable results. If an agent and manager can’t walk away and both know exactly what to work on, then coaching has not occurred. 9. FOLLOW-UP – If the coaching can’t be used on the next customer call and the agent doesn’t start implementing and learning immediately, would it be likely that they will suddenly implement the new technique weeks from now? The objective of follow-up is to provide support and positive reinforcement, not micromanagement. Issue 1

Customer Service with a Difference! | 3

Workforce Optimization

It’s time to get a hybrid

within reach to any size organization. I’ve always had a little trepidation when it comes to buying a hybrid car, because of the reduced choice of styles, shapes and engines available. Luckily, auto manufacturers are finally listening, and I no longer have to sacrifice quality to get the car I want. Again, this is paralleled in the cloud tech market. The pricing model advantages and technology advances available via the cloud are all evident when implementing new technology, but why should moving something to the cloud mean sacrificing features? Companies want the best, delivered by the best, using the best means possible. This is where technology decision makers struggle today. Organizations are increasingly comfortable moving applications like WFM, PM and analytics to the cloud, but crucial, tier one applications are a different matter. And that’s why hybrid deployments are coming to a dealership near you!

The journey to the cloud By Doron Simon


s I shopped for a new car recently, I was struck by the similarities between the electric car industry and today’s cloud technology market. Although electric cars have made some inroads into the market, infrastructure issues guarantee that it will be years before they go mainstream. That said, I can’t justify guzzling more and more gas. It feels so inefficient—it’s a bigger footprint than I want or need. That’s why it’s time to get a hybrid. Enterprise software is in a similar state. Many companies have heavy-duty on-premise solutions that guzzle IT time and resources. They are becoming progressively harder to maintain and really justify over time. But it’s hard to go from that end of the spectrum to SaaS at the other. As data floats around the cloud, it feels like a loss of control and that can be unnerving. Fortunately, contact centers can also go hybrid—keeping some components on-premise while migrating others to the cloud.

The options

The choices

When you do not want to move everything to the cloud at one time, it’s best to look for solutions that accommodate a hybrid approach. Continue to leverage existing, sometimes depreciated, premise solutions that can connect to the sophisticated applications of the future. It may sound a little unconventional, but enterprise-grade applications like workforce management, performance management and interaction analytics are readily available in the cloud today and serve you, the customer, with a choice of deployment – not a choice of vendor. In addition, higher sticker shock is being removed as a barrier, putting proven technologies


Hosted IVR Services


Call Routing

Another key advantage of a hybrid approach is the availability of modular solutions that are ready when you are. Be cautious when considering suites that force you to purchase all the items at once. Evaluate and choose solutions that fit your most





Voice Broadcasting ed IVR Services l Customer Notifications Routing

1-855-782-7835 TELECOM

l 1-888-968-8699





4 |



STARSIP Based Services & So



l l

l l l






TELECOM l Telecommunications Se (Toll Free, Long Distanc SIP Based Services & Solutions l Call Recording Telecommunications Services Resource (Toll Free, Long lDistance & Based DID) Call Ro Call Recording l Failover Call Routing l















NuVoxx NuVoxx

cation Recording


l Appointment Reminders Broadcasting l Customer Satisfaction Surveys omer Notifications (Inbound and Outbound) ointment Reminders l Verification Recording omer Satisfaction Surveys ! und and Outbound)

Telephone Resource BasedlCall RoutingConferencing l Avaya Compliant Failover Call Routing


Telephone Conferencing


Avaya Compliant Issue 1

Workforce Optimization immediate need and are within your resources to implement. If that isn’t enough, choosing solutions in the cloud is also the agnostic way to decide. You’ll find best-of-breed solutions that plug-and-play with your existing cloud and premise tools (ACDs, Predictive Dialers, Point of Sale, CRM, CTI, etc.) and consolidate your Big Data into a single repository. A good place to start is with performance management. Tools like performance management are more than just data consolidation; hybrid deployments in the cloud are an opportunity to get a holistic view across systems, sites and channels.

The road map Unlike buying a car that will remain the same for years to come, purchasing point solutions for your contact center in a hybrid model also allows you to phase your deployment to match internal readiness. One of NICE’s customers in the telecommunication industry that currently has an on-premise model and has created a roadmap that takes a hybrid approach. Their three-year plan starts with using WFM as their forecasting backbone in the first year and performance management to begin capturing data and coaching people in year two. In the third and final year, they will move call recording and analytics to the cloud. This paced deployment will help them manage resources, prepare employees and address relevant regulations. If they were forced to make these changes all at once, they would have to sit on-premise much longer. A hybrid model accelerates their journey to the cloud and keeps their options open for the road ahead. In the end, contact center technology decisions are about driving the customer experience, managing operational efficiencies and driving top-line revenue, while simultaneously monitoring total cost of ownership. Choose what’s best for your company and don’t let the delivery model scare you. The proven ROI of WFO applications are available to all, and considering a hybrid approach today may get you the features you want with just the right amount of style. Doron Simon is Head of Cloud at NICE Systems. For more information visit

Issue 1

Case study:

NuVoxx How automated appointment reminders were a win-win for large international retail chain The challenge: A large international retail chain relied on a team of 25 live agents to handle customer appointment reminders and notifications for their home delivery services, for large ticket items such as white goods and big screen TVs. Going into the 2012 Holiday Season this organization realized three things: • The ramp up required to handle increased post-holiday volumes would be difficult to execute. The call volume over a period of one week, following Christmas, increases to tenfold the average call volume. • The cost of making the appointment reminder and confirmation calls has been climbing over time. Due to the competitiveness of the retail sector and the need to reduce the cost structure, the client was looking for a way to rein in the cost of this function • The holiday season was less than a month away and they needed a solution in place quickly • (subhead)nThe solution Having used NuVoxx to automate call processes in the past, the client turned to NuVoxx with the above business challenge. The goal was to provide a solution which would address the cost and scalability requirements and to implement this solution in under a month. The initial requirements gathering meeting helped define the message, call flow and variables, which are generally standard for this type of call. The standard appointment reminder call flow utilizes date and time provided by the client, to provide specific details regarding the appointment. Also, as a part of the appointment reminder call functionality, the customer if given the option to confirm the appointment or to be transferred to a live agent, to reschedule the appointment. In order to replicate the appointment reminder process, NuVoxx designed and developed a bilingual outbound IVR application replicating the live agent process in place. Based on the data feed provided by the client, the NuVoxx IVR Appointment Reminder application calls the customer, clearly identifying the reason for the call and providing the exact date and time of the appointment. The customer is given the option to confirm the date and time by pressing a touch tone key, or to be transferred to a live agent, to reschedule the appointment. NuVoxx also developed reporting to provide quantitative feedback to the client with respect to call outcomes, including confirmed

appointments, reschedule requests and other relevant metrics.

The Results With two weeks to spare, NuVoxx launched the automated IVR appointment reminder application. After a few days of piloting the application, reviewing results and making adjustments to optimize the answer rate and call flow, the IVR appointment reminder application was formally put into production, replacing live agent calling. Based on the follow up analysis, it was determined the automated IVR appointment reminder service delivered on all expectations: • The tenfold increase in daily volume was handled successfully. The inherent scalability of the NuVoxx platform allows for seamless capacity increase on as-needed basis. With sufficient spare capacity, many times its average daily volume, NuVoxx is able to easily accommodate spikes in volume. • In terms of cost savings, the results were tremendous. Prior to IVR automation the client was paying for a team of 25 agents to make outbound appointment reminder and confirmation calls. The annualized cost of this function ran in the range of over $500,000 per year. By switching to the hosted IVR solution provided by NuVoxx, the cost of the appointment reminder function was reduced to a fraction of the live agent cost. The ROI was achieved in under one month, with total annualized savings approximated at over 9 per cent. • Finally, by automating the process, the client eliminated the overhead time and effort associated with managing the appointment reminder function on an ongoing basis.

Conclusion By using NuVoxx outbound IVR to automate a simple high-volume call process, such as appointment reminders and confirmations, organizations can achieve significant cost savings while strategically freeing up resources for higher value work. Cost savings and capacity flexibility make appointment reminders a particularly suitable call type to automate in the IVR. If your organization uses live agents to make outbound appointment reminder calls, to remind customers of an upcoming appointment, contact us to find out how NuVoxx can help you streamline and drive cost out of your appointment reminder process. NuVoxx is a Canadian, Toronto-based organization, with over two decades of experience in Interactive Voice Response development and hosting. We specialize in providing fully managed IVR services to organizations that choose to outsource their inbound and outbound IVR to professionals. NuVoxx has established itself as the IVR provider of choice for a number of organizations, whenever there is a project or event which requires quick turnaround and rapid deployment by a team of IVR experts. | 5

Workforce Optimization

Pushing contact center improvements - the big picture approach By Matt McConnell


he contact center is often the first place companies turn to when looking for cost savings. There are many metrics typically targeted as the likely suspects for savings – shaving seconds off handle time or effectively managing average speed of answer can amount to real dollars for many centers. While driving improvements in these areas certainly supports an organization’s efforts to increase the bottom line, a bigger opportunity is realistically within reach. It’s important to take a step back and look at the big picture and ask some relevant questions. How can we make adjustments that improve attrition, or what will it take to ensure

better performing employees, and how can we do so with minimal cost? Establishing a holistic approach to improvement using intraday management throughout all aspects of the center proves more beneficial and leads to significant cost savings. Widening our focus to be more about a continuous culture of improvement doesn’t suggest we ignore what we know helps with cost savings, such as making improvements to handle time, average speed of answer or agent attrition. Instead, it means we look for opportunities to be proactive and configure the reactions to some of the common issues that interrupt our plans to make improvements, eat up time and contribute to costs. In a typical day, familiar problems impact a call center’s response structure and efficiency: a storm prevents agents from coming into work, call volume spikes due to a service interruption, one queue has excessive hold times while another hosts agents with an abundance of idle time. The list of possible fire drills is extensive and as a result, workforce management scrambles to smooth things over in order to have as little impact on the customer experience as possible. However, when these types of events occur, it adds to the operating expense and proves to be frustrating for everyone involved: the agents, supervisors, managers and customers. But having a mechanism in place to address these issues up front can help contact centers reach goals to reduce handle time, speed of answer or attrition as well as improve overall productivity and customer experience.

Developing a continuous culture of improvements Intraday management helps contact centers build out the tools needed to continuously drive cascading improvements throughout the center as they react to everchanging business fluctuations. Think of it as developing reflexes for ‘instinctively’ responding to unforeseen events in realtime, allowing for immediate responses to unpredictable conditions. In the process, many of the metrics the center is always chasing improve as a result. A relevant example is related to the ongoing quest to match up workforce with workload, and what reactions happen in response to different staffing scenarios.

Understaffing, ASA and customer experience If a center is understaffed, ASA and customer experience suffer. When understaffed, what if you could improve average speed of answer by automatically triggering text messages asking at-home agents to log in and start taking calls when there is a sudden increase in call volume. Being able to quickly offer voluntary overtime to staff members can 6 |

Issue 1

Workforce Optimization make a big impact on customer experience and agent satisfaction as well. Customer inquiries will be addressed faster, and agents can earn more money, while relieving other agents from dealing with frustrated customers. When you take a holistic approach to improvement through the use of intraday management technology, you can apply the same logic as you would manually but much more quickly and consistently. Your workforce management team might set a business rule to select top performers, who have opted in and are eligible for overtime hours based on the length of time that has passed since they were previously offered overtime. To make these offers manually would take considerably more time that you may not have.

Overstaffing, costs and agent satisfaction A similar approach can be used when things slow down. When call volume is unexpectedly low for a sustained period, rules can be set to offer voluntary time-off to the right agents. Again, the workforce management team’s rules would offer agents the option to leave based on specific criteria. These could be lower performing agents, who haven’t already been offered time off within the past month, for example. Or, sometimes agents have last minute requests to leave early for a doctor’s appointment or to watch their child’s first pitch in the baseball game later that afternoon. Being able to automate the response to these requests along with a long list of other criteria not only lowers costs, but also has a positive impact on agent attrition. If intraday conditions allow and you can easily grant these types of last minute requests, why not show your employees you value them by doing so?

Dynamic response, performance and satisfaction Fluctuating call volume often leaves little time for agents to do anything else during a shift other than take calls. Or so it seems. The average agent spends 11 percent of the time available, but that time is fragmented and can show up as 30 to 45 second to 2 minute segments while agents wait for the next call. Intraday management can aggregate the small slivers of time and make it productive. There’s not such an excessive amount of time that your workforce management team would want to send agents home, but with intraday management technology, there’s enough time to be able to squeeze in the activities that would help improve back-office operations or agents perform better at their jobs. Issue 1

The ability to weave in off-phone work like communications, coaching, back-office work and training into the pattern of a typical workday is where organizations begin to realize dramatic savings. Building in this continuous culture of improvement allows each agent to complete more training and receive personalized coaching based on business objectives and individualized agent needs. Deploying personalized and prioritized activities directly to agents during their available time proves beneficial in many areas. They have variety in their day because they’re completing administrative tasks, handling social media inquiries or reading important communications. Agents also receive the development activities they need to progress and learn new skills, improving their performance in serving your customers. Having the right mechanism to automate these intraday activities proves beneficial for the center – and customer – as well. Your contact center can be more flexible and react quickly to the volatile call center environment while still finding a way to improve on key metrics without swimming against the tide. Each day brings new challenges. Instead of fighting against the inevitable and unexpected changes throughout the day, creating a mechanism to use the changes to your advantage will pay off in a bigger way with more sustainable results. Refining contact center intraday management results in an improved workforce – agents are given activities that break-up the monotony of their workday and the bandwidth of the contact center management team is freed up to focus on coaching, analysis, and other core responsibilities. An organization with a happier, more fulfilled workforce results in less attrition, improved agent productivity and increased performance levels. Add in the reduced costs of managing staffing more dynamically and its positive impact on your customers, and intraday management technology becomes a toolbox at the ready for contact centers’ ongoing efforts to provide stellar customer experiences with less costs. Matt McConnell is chairman, president and CEO of Intradiem (formerly Knowlagent). Matt co-founded Intradiem in 1995 with a vision of helping companies increase the level of customer service they deliver by improving the performance of their agents. Today, Intradiem is a leader in its market with more than 450,000 call center agents around the world using Intradiem every day. Matt is the author of the book Customer Service at a Crossroads and holds 11 software patents. He graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering.

flex ble

CLOUD-BASED COMMUNICATIONS SOLUTIONS Business needs change. We get that. Our customers are discovering imaginative new ways to collaborate, deliver services and better interact with their customers — from anywhere – and all from the cloud. In our cloud, businesses are realizing the possibilities to become more powerful, more resourceful... more flexible. CONTACT CENTER UNIFIED COMMUNICATION BUSINESS PROCESS AUTOMATION Cloud-based or On-premises | 7

Technology in the Contact Centre


customer care centres as a competitive advantage By Cameron Dow


he call centre, or customer care centre, is often the poor cousin to the more high profile customer focused parts of a company, like marketing and advertising. Frequently outsourced—sometimes underresourced – customer care centres are often viewed as a cost centre rather than an opportunity to create more value for the company, whether in terms of a hard return on investment or competitive advantage with respect to customer service. Part of this perception is based on the very nature of why people connect with customer care centres. With an increased focus on web-based self-help (both by companies themselves looking to cut costs

8 |

and consumers’ growing inclination to look to the internet for solutions), a large percentage of call centre interactions are based on an individual’s inability to find a solution elsewhere, whether it is to rectify a billing problem, get a product fixed or get information that is either unavailable on the web or is so hard to find that a call is viewed as an easier solution. So if you think about why people call, you can see that the customer care centre faces some rather unique and daunting challenges. After all, who actually looks forward to picking up the phone to dial a 1-800 number? In a best case scenario the caller is coming in neutral – simply looking for information on a product or service that they cannot find elsewhere. More commonly however, the caller is coming in with a level of frustration associated with the task: something is wrong and they need a person to help fix it. Throw in the typical customer care centre touch tone menu and by the time the customer care employee is actually speaking to the customer the situation has digressed. The simple fact is that is that the customer care centre is not only the frontline of a company’s personal interactions with its customers but also a fantastic opportunity to gain market intelligence, strengthen customer relationships and, when properly managed, upsell and cross sell customers. To make all this work seamlessly a company needs two things: great call centre employees and great technology. This piece will look at the latter. Customer care centres vary dramatically in the size and scope of the problems they address. Some have very high call volumes with straightforward solutions for the majority of inquiries, others have fewer calls but far more complex issues to solve, and still others have high volumes of complex issues. But all of them follow a few basic tenants. The core tenants focus on reactive, issues management: What happened? What is the problem? How can it be fixed?

Issue 1

Technology in the Contact Centre At a slightly higher level are those that are more predictive in nature. Why are the calls happening? What will be the business impact be if this trend continues? What will happen next (both from a business/product perspective and a customer retention perspective)? And finally, what is the best case scenario for this and similar queries?

People, people, people Before companies look too far into the predictive side of customer care centre interactions (from an overall business perspective) they need to deal with what is often the most elusive problem for call centres: staffing. How many people will we need, when will we need them and what levels of expertise will we need to have available? These challenges, of course, also require predictive capabilities and to address them customer care centres need forecasting technology powerful enough to process what is often millions of customer interactions a month while at the same time granular enough to support the multiple layers that allow detailed, fast and accurate segmentation of the types of requests that are coming in. By funneling structured customer care centre information into powerful analytics tools, managers can improve strategic and tactical planning while lowering operational costs and improving operational efficiencies. Structured information would include what time the call came in, when it was answered, who answered it, and how long it took to resolve the issue. This information, when properly analyzed can give managers an accurate sense of who needs to be available and when, in order to most efficiently optimize customer care centre scheduling. The data can also identify the sequence of how problem s are solved and help to better educate customer care employees with the goal of increasing the percentage of first call problem resolution. The diamonds in the rough, however, are often found in unstructured data. This is the information, often in text form, gathered in during the conversations with customers. It can offer specific insight as to why the customer has a problem, which can be invaluable. One SAS client actually hired grad students to read call notes. It was both costly and slow. Today they use powerful text analytics technology capable of analyzing unstructured data and categorizing it. The process is fully automated so it can be done much faster and more accurately. With the manual version issues were categorized into one of 16 buckets. Text analytics software created two new categories and within one of those categories the company unearthed a major defect in one of their products – a defect that until then had gone unnoticed as it was being improperly categorized. Issue 1

By analyzing all the data customer care centre managers can easily identify patterns and themes (for the less tech savvy the information can be presented visually) as well as outlier issues that may need special attention.

Customer care no longer in a silo If a customer care centre is the starting point for managing and gaining value from unstructured data then social media is the Holy Grail. With millions of tweets, Facebook posts and Pinterest Pins every day, the scope of the information can be overwhelming. Of course only a limited percentage of posts would be of interest to the average company but that small percentage can be a gold mine – and an early warning system. For a certain generation of Canadians the first thing they do when they have a problem with a product or service is to comment about it on social channels. By pulling in social content (as well as live, online customer chats), customer care centres will have a better understanding of what issues need to be solved, and where and how they are occurring. All companies have customer care problems – the key to success is to solve them quickly and effectively. Given the amounts of data available to a company through customer care and social channels the only way to stay ahead of the curve and gain value from the information available is to integrate all of it and let advanced analytics analyze it. With the right technology in place customer care centres can become a strategic corporate asset. They can supply marketers with accurate and up-to-date information in order to better understand customers, become an effective early warning system designed to quickly identify unknown product or service issues, and develop into an additional resource to upsell and cross sell customers. The best customer care centres are prepared for unusually busy times and slow times as well; they plan for changing market conditions instead of merely reacting and they account for the nature and timing of marketing campaigns, public holidays or even how a big sporting event might affect call volumes – think cable providers and the Stanley Cup playoffs. With data analytics customer care centres can not only forecast what will happen and when it will happen – but also why. Cameron Dow is the Vice President of Marketing for SAS’ operations in Canada and Latin America. As head of marketing, Mr. Dow is responsible for growing SAS’ market share in targeted industries through the development and execution of the go-to-market strategy. Mr. Dow is also a key contributor to the overall business strategy for the SAS subsidiaries.

security CLOUD-BASED COMMUNICATIONS SOLUTIONS With the customer-isolated cloudbased communications solution from Interactive Intelligence, everything about your business communications is more secure. Increase security and flexibility by way of a single-customer, multiinstance virtualized environment. Keep all voice traffic local within your network, increasing quality, control, and security. With our cloud-based solution, no one else is getting in. CONTACT CENTER UNIFIED COMMUNICATION BUSINESS PROCESS AUTOMATION Cloud-based or On-premises | 9

gtacc 2013 conference Take it to the NEXT level!

Please join us on Friday November 8th. This will be a day of motivation, best practices, emerging trends and all the inspiration you need to get to THE NEXT LEVEL! The Greater Toronto Area Contact Centre Association Conference will be covering a broad range of topics so that there is something for everyone.


November 8th, 2013 tiMe:

8:00 am to 5:00 pm EST location:

Pearson Convention Center, 2638 Steeles Avenue East, Brampton ON L6T 4L7 accoMModations:

Hilton Garden Inn Toronto/ Brampton, 2648 Steeles Ave. East, Brampton, ON L6S 6J9 Tel: (905) 595-5151 To check for updates, purchase tickets and take advantage of the EARLY BIRD pricing, visit!

Morning Keynote - Michael “Pinball” Clemons! Few people exemplify the qualities of personal excellence, teamwork, community leadership, and overcoming the odds better than CFL legend Michael “Pinball” Clemons. With boundless energy, Pinball’s talks centre on the potential for each of us to achieve anything we set our minds to. Unabashedly emotional and impactful, he shows audiences how to put heart into everything they do. guest speaKer - D. John Jackson, Vice President of Global Customer Services Strategy, Planning, Engineering, Innovation & Customer Identity at FedEx. The Right Now World….How Will You Lead” Key points of discussion are as follows: • Understanding changes in technology and the changing marketplace • Realizing the importance of innovation • Exploring the competitive landscape • Creating a thriving environment to unleash creativity and innovation • Leadership in the changing marketplace social Media - The Next Level! Andrew Gillespie of Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts, Gina Mulic of Rogers Communications, and Evelyn Chan of ING Direct Mobile coMMerce and the Customer Experience, with Aran Hamilton, VentureGrower

Price per Ticket

Price if you buy 4 or more

Buy Before

WFM strategies: Common challenges - exceptional solutions! Dean Turchiaro, Scotiabank International and Marco Sciarra, Bell Canada



Aug 31st



Sept 30th



Nov 8th

the president’s panel - Visionary Leaders Taking Teams to the Next Level • Bryan Pearson - President and CEO, LoyaltyOne Inc. • Joe Poulin - President and CEO, Luxury Retreats

platinuM sponsors

gold sponsors

Media partner

A portion from every ticket sale will be donated to: Daily Bread Food Bank and Room to Read

For more information on the Greater Toronto Area Contact Centre Association 2013 Conference Please contact: Sangeeta Bhatnagar • 416-564-0399 •

10 |

Issue 1


Need Advice? Ask Affy!


Like most organizations, we reward leaders who meet or exceed targets. Our results seem to fluctuate and bounce around. It is frustrating for all levels of our organization. How do I stop this fluctuation and sustain the gains that I have made? ~Bob who is bobbing around


Great question but not an easy answer. To keep it simple, I will give you the first step in our ‘secret sauce’ to sustainability. It is simply to focus 70% of your First Line Leaders (FLL) time on activities that directly link to positive change in rep behaviour. The typical reaction I get when I respond to this question is, “We already do that. We spend the majority of our time coaching! What more can we do?” When we peel back a layer we often find that leaders think that they are coaching when they are merely preaching or teaching. Most organizations devote very little time to effective coaching, which we know without a doubt to drive change in rep behaviour and is linked directly to sustainability of results. In most organizations, performance evaluation of FLL is typically event driven versus using first hand observation of HOW a First Line Leader develops rep skill. In fact, most Second Line Leaders have little qualitative criteria at their fingertips, which in turn force them to look for random events to make an assessment or ask FLLs to write their own annual performance evaluations. So what’s the solution? How do we better evaluate and stay closer to WHAT our FLL are doing (their daily actions and behaviours) and HOW they are leading and getting results (or not). If we only evaluate them on metrics (a lagging evaluation) and have no idea about HOW Front Line Leaders are coaching reps, we will never get to root cause understanding of rep behaviour. Without that critical piece of knowledge, you will not be able to control your KPI fluctuation. There are a few ways we can improve this situation: 1. Re-think what you measure - don’t just measure the average of your FLL’s team performance; any mathematician can calculate that 3-4 high performers will boost a team’s average performance results. • Instead measure the percentage of frontline employees that are above target AND compare how many are better than they were three months ago. This would show the incremental gains that point to Issue 1

migrate consistent leadership and a focus on rep skill development. 2. Everyone in the Pool -do you know how much time FLLs spend with ALL their reps? Usually they spend more time with the third who are “easy” to work with and may keep their distance from the tougher, more tenured two-thirds. • Effective coaching is when your FLL is working on each rep on his team to improve every week … even middle and top-performers! 3. Get Close - the Second Line Leader (2LL) needs to answer some key questions about their FLLs: • How well does she coach and run a team huddle (is she having huddles?) • Does she handle daily issues without adding to the drama? • Does she diagnose why results are going up or down in her team? • Are you observing your FFL coach or just meeting to review their results and then waiting for these random events to occur. 4. Survey the internal client – the rep - the big annual employee survey is okay, but a quarterly short form survey specific to the FLL relationship with her team will give you insight on how she is leading day in and day out and how the team feels about her leadership. Knowing that the number one reason that people quit their jobs is “I don’t like my boss”, quarterly frequency of surveying will allow you to provide active support to help your leaders to improve today and not a year from now. In a nutshell, Bob, the busyness in our operations leaves our Second Line Leaders too little time to clearly understand the daily actions that FLL take to lead their teams. We need to be close to those leaders who are consistent and effective in leading and coaching their reps to beat their personal best. It is those leaders who will make the biggest difference to your organization and will ensure that you sustain your gains. You get what you applaud - so acknowledge and reward your FLL’s consistent daily behaviours in building and maintaining rep skill in sales and service and watch your results soar.

CLOUD-BASED COMMUNICATIONS SOLUTIONS Moving your business communications to the cloud has its advantages. But what if conditions change over time, and moving from the cloud to an on-premise solution provides a greater advantage? The cloud-based communications solution from Interactive Intelligence allows you to migrate our cloud-based solution to your site at any time. Migration is seamless, you don’t incur downtime, and there’s no need to retrain users. CONTACT CENTER UNIFIED COMMUNICATION BUSINESS PROCESS AUTOMATION Cloud-based or On-premises | 11


31,133 square feet of contiguous commercial space available. ❱ The site is owned and managed by Crombie REIT. ❱ Fibre optic connections are available in Port Colborne from Bell Canada, Cogeco, and the Niagara Regional Broadband Network. ❱ Ample parking at front and rear of building with over 600 spots on site. ❱ Electrical service available to the mall is 750 kVA. Upgraded service is available.

12 |

With affordable labour rates, no local competition, and a regional workforce of over 200,000, Port Colborne is positioned to welcome its first call centre. The city has a long list of advantages for contact centres that includes: ❱ No local call centre competition; ❱ Population of 26,000 (Port Colborne and Wainfleet); ❱ An opportunity for over 2000 more jobs meet local community needs;

❱ Workforce of over 200,000 people within a 30 minute drive; ❱ Regional economy that can support an additional 2500 call centre jobs; ❱ Knowledgeable workforce, with a higher rate of bilingualism (English and French); ❱ Available student workforce; ❱ Training programs available locally from Niagara College; ❱ Redundant fibre network with service from the major providers plus Niagara Region Broadband Network; ❱ Integrated public transit service; ❱ Located just 25 minutes from Buffalo, New York and an hour from the Greater Toronto Area.

Issue 1

Contact Management Magazine Issue 1 2013  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you