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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Coaching is King: Skills Development Trumps Process Every Time!

Is your company more focused on skills or on process? Most managers say they concentrate on processes. Our experts suggest that when organizations become very process-oriented they also become very compliance-based, which leaves little room for valuable ...
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Optimize the Revenue Potential of Your Contact Center

By Mark Coudray and Bruce Belfiore
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Tips for Optimal IVR Call Flow Design

Never underestimate the importance of your IVR. It is often said that good service starts at the front door. Just like a good hotel, where the doorman greets you and the whole experience is set by the ambiance of the lobby and the welcome received, for call ...
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When 30% of Your Time is Spent on “I’ve Got a Complaint!” Calls

Across all industries the complaint ratio is approximately 7.5% of all calls, with complaints in the auto manufacturing industry touching nearly 20%. Regardless of their nature and origin, the proper handling of complaint calls is one of a call center’s most ...
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Investments in Employee Training… Are you getting bang for your buck?

Call center leaders want well-trained employees who are good performers, but they need practical training solutions that can be implemented quickly, without breaking the bank. IF they can be assured that the investment will yield the desired results; call ...
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BenchmarkPortal CEO Interview With CEOCFO Magazine

Check out this Interview with our CEO Bruce Belfiore from CEOCFO Magazine. Bruce answers some questions like: “Why would it be important to a company to have their in-house call center certified?” and “How do we come up with all of our statistics?” and “Why ...
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BenchmarkPortal Celebrates 20 Year Anniversary

To members of our BenchmarkPortal community, we invite you to celebrate 20 years of contact center excellence with us!  Our benchmarking activities began as a student project at Purdue University in 1995, and we have been expanding our activities ever since.  ...
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Aux Time: What Should It Be Used For?

Auxiliary time (or AUX) is an agent state (when logged into an ACD system), that is used to make an agent unavailable for incoming distributed calls. Its basic purpose is to manage the workload of non-call activities. It is important in managing service ...
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Call Center Training

Training is an essential component of call center operations. It is important at all levels and is often the secret weapon for getting poorly performing centers to “Top Drawer” status. Research at BenchmarkPortal suggests that when building or reviewing ...
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Team Meetings-How Your Employees Will Benefit

Team meetings are regularly scheduled, compulsory gatherings of the contact center team that usually last at least an hour. They are often perceived as being drab and boring – or they become the hurried huddle where a manager or supervisor hastens to push out ...
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Avoiding Agent Burnout

Agent burnout is often correlated to the culture of the call center and to the culture of the people working in the call center. Sweatshop centers and “crisis call” centers have particularly high levels of burnout. A statistical proxy for burnout is agent ...
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Compensation Strategies For Agents and Supervisors  Part 2

Studies show that the majority of call centers set their agent compensation purely to meet that offered by the “call center down the street.”  Experts, however, say that compensation should be viewed as a corollary to company strategies and mission. ...
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Social Media and The Call Center

Companies need to have a defined strategy toward Social Media in order to leverage it properly.  This means managers must understand SM and feel comfortable engaging with the SMNs such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. To avoid disaster and gain the optimal ...
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Tips on Adherence to Schedule Adherence

By definition, schedule adherence is the percentage of time agents are where they are supposed to be, according to their assigned schedules – – which can include work time, lunch and break time, training time, team meeting time, etc.  Poor adherence can be ...
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Complaint Resolution: When 30% of Your Time is Spent on “I’ve got a Complaint!” Calls

Across all industries the complaint ratio is approximately 7.5% of all calls, with complaints in the auto-manufacturing industry skyrocketing to a high of nearly 20%. Regardless of their nature and origin, the correct and proper handling of complaint calls is ...
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First Call Resolution Revisited

First call resolution (FCR) is a double-edged metric in that it relates to the quality of calls as well as the efficiency of the call center. In terms of quality, FCR is a customer-facing metric, as customers are very aware as to whether their call was ...
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Developing a Customer-Centric Center

In a competitive market, the ability of a company to be customer-centric and develop strong relationships with its customers through its customer service channels becomes a prime differentiator that favors success. It is therefore essential that companies ...
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Benchmarking Made Easy

Benchmarking is a tool best used for optimizing the performance of the contact center. Through its use, managers can pinpoint areas of opportunity for improvement, and support those initiatives that will result in the best ROI for the center and organization. ...
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Compensation Strategies For Agents and Supervisors

Base pay and benefits should be competitive given local market conditions and the skills of the agents. Do comparative surveys to know how your package plays in your employment basin. Where appropriate, consider pay differentials to recognize less convenient ...
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How to Minimize After Call Work Time

After call work time (ACWT) is a component of call handle time that deserves managerial attention. It usually involves completing the customer record before taking the next call. This is normally done via electronic systems, but may, in some centers, include ...
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Reducing Abandon Rate

Call abandonment is often considered as a lower-level metric, and thus people do not focus on the implications of abandoned calls to the organization, which include staffing issues (too few agents indicates that staffing levels are not in alignment with ...
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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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Understanding Contact Center Dashboards

Empower your agents and increase productivity through good dashboards. Studies show that while over 60% of call centers have management dashboards, only 40% have agent dashboards. Research also indicates that when agents are properly trained, properly ...
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Understanding E-mail Best Practices

In e-mail centers, where voice communications take a back seat to written communications, the soft-skills requirements to “smile as you dial” or “keep a smile in your voice” have little importance. However, in those centers where asynchronous communications ...
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Service Level Best Practices

Service Level is the granddaddy of call center metrics. Traditionally, answering 80% of calls in 20 seconds was considered a best practices goal.  While some remain attached to this metric, experts increasingly see this as a metric that needs to be put into ...
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At-Home Agents: How to Recruit, Train, Monitor and Motivate

There is a growing trend by call centers to transition, in whole or in part, to using home-based agents (HBA). The management of home-based agents, however, requires skills not commonly used in the traditional center. Understanding these skills can lead to ...
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Dispelling Myths About Social Media

As social media networks gain in importance for companies, so do the myths and rumors about them. The three largest myths are (1) social media does not affect customer service; (2) there is no ROI (return on investment) for social media in customer service; ...
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Balancing Life and Work: Managing and Motivating Agents in a Healthy Way

A healthy approach toward work-life balance is crucial for both productivity and motivation. Instead, we often see dysfunctions in the contact center workplace. At one end of the spectrum, some cultures require and reward consistent presence and continual ...
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Beyond Benchmarking

While benchmarking your metrics is essential for good call center management, executives must embed benchmarking into a larger process focused on three “D’s”: data, diagnostics, and decisions: Data – Don’t get lost in the weeds. Determine what three metrics ...
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Quality Assurance & Coaching for Success

Quality monitoring programs often become fixated on QA forms; however, there are other necessary components that will assure you are getting the greatest value from your QA program, which is agent feedback and coaching. The coaching that happens in a call ...
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WFM Analytics Demystified Session 2 of 2

Recent developments on the customer side are focusing contact center management on multi-channel Workforce Optimization. While Boomers talk, Gen X/Millennial customers text.  The Millennial milieu is fast overwhelming the marketplace and thus our workplace as ...
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Organizational Structure: Foundation for Contact Center Success

We have all seen photographs of sinkholes that have swallowed buildings whole.  Weak underpinnings can have tragic consequences; what you don’t see can really hurt you.
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Workforce Management Advanced

In today’s advanced contact center environment, Workforce Management (WFM) should not be thought of as only a process, but a culture that uses data to drive systems and practices toward optimum results. Centers that continue to maintain their WFM practices on ...
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Quality Assurance Agents Love

Quality Monitoring, traditionally seen by agents as the dreaded ‘Big Brother’ operation of a company, can be transformed into a process appreciated by agents, as well as helping achieve customer service objectives. Key points include:
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WFM Analytics Demystified Session 1 of 2

If you have been approaching Workforce Management (WFM) the same way for the last few years, you may be missing important advances.  WFM is no longer just about the labor force (agents) and putting butts in seats; its evolution is now about changing floor ...
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Employee Morale

We all know that poor morale causes agent churn and that lack of positive leadership can contribute to these maladies. We may even suspect that we, as managers, may be doing something wrong. But what should we do about it? Make some notes on the following ...
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Managing Gen Y in the Contact Center

Managing Gen Y in the Contact Center By Greg Van Zandt, Senior Consultant, BenchmarkPortal
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2012 Year in Review by Bruce Belfiore, CEO, BenchmarkPortal

One of the key words for 2012 was “multi.” There was a noticeable increase in interest in multi-channel benchmarking, to which we are responding with an expanded survey, due out shortly. We also saw a desire to take a multi-year approach to contact center ...
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Workforce Optimization: Analytics Demystified -- Employee Focus (Session 1 of 2)

Workforce Optimization: Analytics Demystified — Employee Focus (Session 1 of 2)  Date: January 19, 2011 Host: Bruce Belfiore, CEO of BenchmarkPortal Guest: Bill Durr, Principal solutions consultant for Verint Below is the Recording of the show:
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Workforce Management: How to Understand and Embrace Advanced Workforce Management.

Work Force Management: How to understand and embrace advanced workforce management.  Date: January 12, 2011 Host: Bruce Belfiore, CEO of BenchmarkPortal Guest: Adam Cincoski, Senior Director of Workforce Management for United Health Group Below is the ...
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Employee Morale: Ideas and Insights to Create an Outrageously Cool Culture

Employee Morale: Ideas and Insights to Create an Outrageously Cool Culture  Date: January 5, 2011 Host: Bruce Belfiore, CEO of BenchmarkPortal Guest: Kirk Weisler, Chief Moral Officer Below is the Recording of the show:
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Site Selection: What does the research show are the key success factors?

Site selection: What does the research show are the key success factors?  Date: December 8, 2010 Host: Bruce Belfiore, CEO of BenchmarkPortal Guest: Kristin Beatty, Site analytics specialist with CB Richard Ellis Below is the Recording of the show:
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Hold Time and Transfers: The Balancing Act You Can Win

Hold Time and Transfers: the balancing act you can win  Date: November 10, 2010 Host: Bruce Belfiore, CEO of BenchmarkPortal Guest: Dayne Petersen, Call Center Expert Below is the Recording of the show:
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Consumer and Agent Loyalty: 5 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Before You Leave Work Tonight

Consumer and Agent Loyalty: 5 Questions you need to ask yourself before you leave work tonight  Date: October 27, 2010 Host: Bruce Belfiore, CEO of BenchmarkPortal Guest: Jeanne Bliss, Customer Service Expert Below is the Recording of the show:
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Outbound Calls: Challenges and solutions for both blended and dedicated centers.

Outbound Calls: Challenges and solutions for both blended and dedicated centers.  Date: October 13, 2010 Host: Bruce Belfiore, CEO of BenchmarkPortal Guest: Alex Demczak Below is the Recording of the show:
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Stop botching your incentive plans: Get the science behind the results

Stop botching your incentive plans: Get the science behind the results Date: September 29, 2010 Host: Bruce Belfiore, CEO of BenchmarkPortal Guest: Dr. Brooks Mitchell Below is the Recording of the show:
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Outsourcing: Which communications should you consider trusting to a partner?

Outsourcing: Which communications should you consider trusting to a partner?  Date: September 15, 2010 Host: Bruce Belfiore, CEO of BenchmarkPortal Guest: John Chatterley, Industry Expert Below is the Recording of the show:
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At Home Agent

At Home Agent  Date: August 18, 2010 Host: Bruce Belfiore, CEO of BenchmarkPortal Guest: Steve Silver, Consultant Below is the Recording of the show
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Team Meetings- Why Your Call Center Needs Them & How Your Employees Will Benefit

Team Meetings- Why Your Call Center Needs Them & How Your Employees Will Benefit  Date: June 14, 2010 Host: Bruce Belfiore, CEO of BenchmarkPortal Guest: Barbara Burke, Call Center Consultant Below is the Recording of the show:
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Taking a fresh look at your Center: Big and small changes that can make a difference

Taking a fresh look at your Center: Big and small changes that can make a difference  Date: June 30, 2010 Host: Bruce Belfiore, CEO of BenchmarkPortal Guest: Dr. Bill Davis, Director and Account Executive Below is the Recording of the show:
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Compensation Strategies for Agents and Supervisors

Compensation strategies for agents and supervisors  Date: June 17, 2010 Host: Bruce Belfiore, CEO of BenchmarkPortal Guest: John Chatterley, Call Center Industry Expert Below is the Recording of the show:
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