Customer Service Week: Be Ready, Here's How

BY BRUCE BELFIORE | September 28, 2018 Are you prepared for Customer Service Week? Customer Service Week is October 1-5, 2018. Find opportunities to bring forth stories and experiences about customers. Find powerful ways to get your colleagues to put ...
read more

Revitalizing Your Call Center: Small Changes that Make Big Differences

 CallTalk™ Caramels: Sweet Snippets from BenchmarkPortal’s Best CallTalk Episodes Tip of the day: The investments you make in your people (including their work environment) are your most important investments - and will provide you with positive Return on ...
read more

BenchmarkPortal Announces The Top Ranking 2018 Top Contact Centers Contest Winners

BenchmarkPortal, a leading contact center consulting services group, announces the winners of its 2018 Top Contact Centers Contest.  Participants submitted performance data on key operating metrics. The winners in each category had the highest statistical ...
read more

Revitalizing Your Call Center - Small Changes that Make Big Differences

Like any other work environment, call centers can either become a place of joy or the proverbial dungeon – that place to which we must go to serve out our time. If you find yourself dreading work each day, it’s time to take action.   Some simple changes can ...
read more

When Community Comes Together

Industry conferences are powerful when they allow you to make personal connections, hear compelling new concepts and send you home with your head full of ideas on how to improve your center. I will be attending numerous events this year, but two I am really ...
read more

Benchmarking: Putting KPIs to Work

Where Data Turns Into Action, Producing Measurable Results! This blog will be perky and pointed. There are some things in life you just have to do - - and you get a lot out of them. Benchmarking is one of them. True, some contact centers just seem to bump ...
read more

A New Year for Your Contact Center: An Excellent Time to Plan for Excellence!

As the curtain rises on 2018, contact center managers should make resolutions to lead their operations to measurably higher levels of performance and preparedness for the future. Keep it simple or you will feel overwhelmed. Bring things down to three ...
read more

Webinar: No More Boring Queue Time

Learn about the low cost, high value technology that optimizes any Queue Time you cannot eliminate - - in a way your customers will love! •Earn money from your queue and hold times, or •Enhance your branding message during queue, or •Increase cross-sell ...
read more

It’s Budget Season – Be Prepared!

BY BRUCE BELFIORE | OCTOBER 24, 2017 In a previous blog, I wrote about spending the budget you have left for this year, before it is taken away. This second blog focuses on budgeting for next year. 
read more

Budget Bonanza? Check Yours Now!

BY BRUCE BELFIORE | October 31, 2017 The end of the year brings two budget items for most managers: Spending what’s left of this year’s budget Submitting (and advocating for) next year’s budget. For contact center managers these are important items, for which ...
read more

Customer Service Week: Be Ready, Be Very Ready

BY BRUCE BELFIORE | September 29, 2017 Are you prepared for Customer Service Week? Customer Service Week is October 2-6, 2017. Find opportunities to bring forth stories and experiences about customers. Find powerful ways to get your colleagues to put ...
read more

Balancing Information Security and Customer Needs

BY BRUCE BELFIORE | September 29, 2017 Security breaches in the contact center environment can be enormously expensive and damaging, so it is worth real money to approach these matters the right way. It is important to foster a strong security culture ...
read more

Are Your Team Meetings Getting Stale? Try Using Huddle Boards!

BY DEBBIE FRAZIER & BRUCE BELFIORE | September 19, 2017 “When the team comes together to plan on a regular basis using a Huddle Board, we become more high-functioning and efficient and accomplish so much more with our teams.” – Debbie Frazier
read more

Music Lessons for Call Center Coaches - Hitting the High Notes!

BY CHRIS TOMSA | September 21, 2017 Some articles give you pointers on how to manage. This article will give you a creative new way to think about managing. How often do we watch a great musical performance without considering the countless hours of training, ...
read more

Customer Service Week is Coming! Are You Ready??

BY BRUCE BELFIORE | September 18, 2017 I know. It’s not exactly Independence Day or Christmas, but Customer Service Week (CSW) still deserves some thought and celebration. In the U.S. it comes between Labor Day and Thanksgiving, which seems appropriate. After ...
read more

Team Development: Techniques Managers Forget

BY BRUCE BELFIORE | September 6, 2017 I think it was college basketball legend John Wooden of UCLA who said “coaching is teaching.” So if you are trying to build your contact center team, channel your inner teacher!
read more

Agent Motivation Muddle: Don’t be the Monkey in the Middle.  Five Steps to Move From “This Stinks” to Success

If you have an issue with agent motivation, it can weigh you down in really unpleasant ways. Going to work isn’t fun for you, interactions are strained and performance is low. Those poor or mediocre reviews of your center on social media sites don’t help ...
read more

The Agent Turnover Tornado: This Hurricane Can Hurt You

Four Ideas to Help Retool Your WFM Planning for the Coming Storms I was struck by a report that tornadoes were spawned from Hurricane Harvey in Texas. As if a hurricane is not already too much! The idea that a concentrated danger can be found within a broader ...
read more

How To Deliver Remarkable Customer Service

Every contact center wants to deliver great customer service - - the kind of service that will boost satisfaction scores and contribute to loyalty. However, is this enough?
read more

How To Motivate Call Center Agents

“Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.”  Dwight D. Eisenhower
read more

How to Tame Your Call Center Agent Turnover

Agent Turnover is costly and disruptive to call centers - - and it is going up as the economy improves. Our benchmark data over the last decade show that since 2014, agent turnover is heading back toward pre-recession peaks.
read more

Customer Service Teams: Success with Generation Y

Contact center managers are caught in a triangle: they have to satisfy their bosses by satisfying their customers, which requires satisfied and productive employees. Increasingly, the employees they have to satisfy belong to the millennials of Generation-Y.
read more

Say What? Optimizing Your Language Interpretation Capabilities

  You may have seen the clever ad about the young German Coast Guard officer who receives a Mayday call from a British ship that is going down.  “We’re sinking, we’re sinking!” yells the Englishman.  The German calmly asks: “Vat are you sinking (thinking) ...
read more

Leveraging Your International “Sibling Centers” for Fun and Profit

More and more contact centers are part of multi-national enterprises. Either as a result of organic growth, or as a result of trans-border mergers, contact center managers are increasingly part of a polyglot corporate community. However, most managers live in ...
read more

Everything You Wanted to Know About First Call Resolution

 First call resolution (FCR) is best defined as the percentage of calls coming into your center that were satisfied completely on the first call, whether by IVR or by an agent. The goals of FCR include better agent performance, increased customer ...
read more

Balancing Hold Time and Transfers

When agents are faced with a challenging question and do not have the answer, they generally have one of two options; 1) place the caller on hold, while they look for the answer, or  2) transfer the call to someone with the requisite knowledge. Thus we see a ...
read more

First Call Resolution - It’s Not Only a Quality Metric

I consider First Contact Resolution (FCR) the “magic metric” for call centers, because it has impact on both quality and costs. Thus, when you take steps to improve it, you add value to your enterprise, both in terms of loyalty and bottom line. Most managers ...
read more

Nobel Prize for Economics - The Link Between Customer Contact and Economic Growth

Ok. Here’s my bid for a Nobel. One of the macro questions for the customer contact industry is: “Does a robust customer contact industry correlate with higher economic growth?” The implications of this question are enormous. If such a relationship can be ...
read more

Prince Charles and AHT

“If you chuck away too many things, you end up discovering there was value in them.” This quote from Prince Charles is a warning to our sector. The customer contact industry is prone to vogues just like any other. Several years ago it was fashionable to be ...
read more

OMG Text To Collect LOL!!!

Mobile is seen as a big challenge by most of the contact center industry - - and rightly so. However, it also offers some wonderful opportunities, one of which is aimed squarely at your collections function.  Traditionally, a right party connect has required ...
read more

When WFM Means Workforce Manna - Contact Center Economics 101

There are literally thousands of contact centers that are on (or over) the cusp of needing advanced workforce management systems. Continuing to spreadsheet your workforce needs as your center grows and becomes more complex may seem like a thrifty thing to do ...
read more

Acting on the Voice of the Customer

Customer feedback is only worthwhile when it is used to change behaviors within the organization to improve the customer experience. Yet most companies find it challenging to design and implement a truly effective customer voice program that adheres to best ...
read more

What is Your Cost of Turnover? and why you should know it

Do you know what your true cost of turnover is? When I ask this question to groups of call center managers, few raise their hands. Yet it is important to know how much it costs to recruit, on-board and train agents for two main economic reasons: a) turnover ...
read more

Staffing Smart = Bucks to the Bottom Line

  Do you know what your average cost per call is? If not, you should make the effort to compute it. It is a key metric because important decisions should take it into account, including staffing decisions.  Consider one center that had an abandon rate of ...
read more

Big Data Meets Recruiting

We hear a lot about “big data” - - but what has it done for you? For many, the answer is “not much”…yet. However, recently concluded research results indicate big data may help you hire better in the very near future.
read more

How and Why Contact Center Benchmarking Works

Industry-specific benchmarking is the baseline for best practice analytics because it is the essential first step in analyzing your situation against other contact centers that take similar calls and service similar customers. Without this competitive ...
read more

Initiating an At-Home Agent Policy

The Home-Based Agent (HBA) continues to gain popularity within the contact center industry for compelling reasons of:
read more

At Home Agents Are Strategic Assets - CallTalk Caramels

The Home-Based Agent (HBA) continues to gain popularity within the contact center industry for compelling reasons of:
read more

Agent Satisfiers

The surveys taken by the respondents included two open-ended questions:
read more

Agent Satisfaction by Region - USA

Our research showed some interesting results when surveys were broken down by geographical region. The following information is for the U.S. only:
read more

Agent Satisfaction and Center Size

There has been much speculation but little hard data regarding the relative merits of large centers vs. smaller centers. Our research offers a window into the impact of center size on agent satisfaction, which is important given the attendant impact of agent ...
read more

Agent Satisfaction and Commute

While most managers do not consider commuting distance in their recruiting and hiring decisions, the following data challenges this norm.
read more

Satisfaction: Full-Time vs. Part-Time Agents

The over 5000 agents surveyed for our study broke down as follows between Full-time and Part-time:
read more

The Impact of Tenure On Satisfaction

Parsing out agent satisfaction by tenure provides some interesting results:
read more

Agents and Team Leads

Agents participating in this survey N = 4,683 (90.4%) Leads participating in this survey N = 497 (9.6%) The role of “Lead” or “Team Lead” varies from center to center. In general, however, the Lead is a senior agent who supports newer agents, handles ...
read more

Innovation and Involvement

The skills of ‘taking initiative and taking ownership’ are being evaluated on more performance reviews these days at all levels of responsibility. Some organizations nurture these skills and harness the results more than others. Agents, like all employees, ...
read more

Value/Appreciation

This area is of obvious importance to agent satisfaction. Agents tend to stay and be satisfied where they feel valued and appreciated.   
read more

Communication

Communication is the grease that makes things happen smoothly in contact centers. It is also an area in which there is often the greatest variance between management and agent perceptions. Managers sometimes feel they are doing a good job of communicating to ...
read more

Direct Supervisor/Manager Style

Research shows that the relationship between a contact center agent and his or her supervisor is a crucial component of agent satisfaction. Fostering good working relationships at the team level is one of management’s most important functions.
read more

Recognition

Contact center professionals are, in general, people who feed off of the approval of others, both external (customers) and internal (managers and colleagues). Superiors who understand this dynamic and who act on it help foster positive feelings and superior ...
read more

Best Practices in Developing Your Caller Satisfaction Surveys

The success of any service organization depends on continuous improvement, and the key to improvement is found through listening to the voice of the customer via direct surveys. There are numerous methods available to collect customer feedback, which include ...
read more

Voice of the Customer

Listening to the voice of the customer is not just a cliché - - it is a key for measuring performance and for determining areas requiring improvement. Successful centers usually have open channels and open minds when it comes to gathering information, both ...
read more

Customer Focus

Agents exist to satisfy the needs of customers. Most agents feel this keenly and appreciate working for a company that is structured to support the goal of superior customer service. 
read more

Coaching

Superior coaching is a key differentiator for contact centers. Content, delivery and follow up are all important to a great coaching program. Technology and training that facilitate the coaching function make sure that the participants have the information ...
read more

Quality Processes

Quality is key to customer satisfaction and loyalty. It is important that agents perceive a true commitment to quality on the part of their organizations, and that they feel the processes aimed at guaranteeing quality are working properly.
read more

Expectations and Compensation

As every lawyer knows, the three elements of a contract are “offer”, “acceptance” and “consideration” (compensation). A clear, common understanding of what the offer entails is key, and a reasonable level of mutual satisfaction with the compensation is ...
read more

Resources and Technology

Properly selected and trained agents require the support of good technology to allow them success with customers. Proper IVR and routing capabilities, good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, well-chosen and continuously maintained Knowledge ...
read more

Training and Promotions

Job initiation and career prospects are both very important to contact center agents, as they are to all employees. This category starts with questions about initial training and transition and then asks questions about the individual’s professional and ...
read more

Optimizing Call Center Location and Labor Analytics

Location, location, location! Whether for new companies trying to establish their first center, or existing operations looking to expand or relocate their centers, the business of site selection and optimization presents some challenging issues. Our panel of ...
read more

Belongingness

Contact center agents are, generally speaking, “people people” who like to interact both with customers and with their colleagues.
read more

Articles & News

see all