Budget Bonanza? Check Yours Now!

The end of the year brings two budget items for most managers:
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Customer Service Week: Be Ready, Be Very Ready

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 themselves in the customer’s shoes….and then ...
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Balancing Information Security and Customer Needs

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 supported by well-designed processes - - ...
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Are Your Team Meetings Getting Stale? Try Using Huddle Boards!

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

Some articles give you pointers on how to manage. This article will give you a creative new way to think about managing.
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Customer Service Week is Coming! Are You Ready??

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 all, good customer service involves a ...
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Team Development: Techniques Managers Forget

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!
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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?
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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
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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.
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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.
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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) ...
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Leveraging Your International “Sibling Centers” for Fun and Profit

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

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

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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Big Data Meets Recruiting

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How and Why Contact Center Benchmarking Works

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Initiating an At-Home Agent Policy

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

The surveys taken by the respondents included two open-ended questions:
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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:
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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 ...
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Agent Satisfaction and Commute

While most managers do not consider commuting distance in their recruiting and hiring decisions, the following data challenges this norm.
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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:
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The Impact of Tenure On Satisfaction

Parsing out agent satisfaction by tenure provides some interesting results:
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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 ...
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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, ...
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Value/Appreciation

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

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

Perceptions of work environment are important factors. The topics that make up this category are often the “buzz” of call center talk, and are easy to bring up with agents in casual conversations.
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Work Schedules

This category takes a close look at agents’ perceptions regarding the scheduling function - - its fairness and its ability to facilitate a balance between work and personal life. It also addresses senior management’s effectiveness in ensuring that required ...
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Leadership and Trust

”Leadership means never having an off day.” Not many leadership teams can live up to this high standard, and contact center leadership is no exception. However, we have to try! The questions in this category focus on whether leadership listens to employees, ...
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Organizational Vision

Vision is what helps employees see beyond the day-to-day tasks that confront them. It links them to something more important, more engaging and more energizing.
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Time Management Tips You Can Use

How often and true become the words, “If there were only a few more hours in the day…” As with any other form of management, time management involves a series of processes depending upon it goals. Whereas the trend is to consider time management as a balance ...
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Overall Satisfaction

Our Agent Voices blog posts are drawn from the results of research on over 5,000 agent surveys conducted in North America. 
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Agent Voices

Our Agent Voices blog posts are drawn from the results of research on over 5,000 agent surveys conducted in North America.
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Agent Satisfaction and Customer Contact Success

“Happy agents make for happy customers.” As custodian of the largest database in the world of contact center metrics, BenchmarkPortal can vouch for the statistical relationship between agent satisfaction and customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers, in ...
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Zappos or Zapatos?: Walk in the Customer’s Shoes to Understand the Customer Journey

Everyone knows Zappos.  Not everyone knows Zappo’s took its name from zapatos, or “shoes” in Spanish.  One of the reason’s for Zappo’s success is that they not only supply shoes to customers, they work hard to walk in the customers’ shoes, literally and ...
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