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 ...
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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 ...
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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

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 ...
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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

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 ...
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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 ...
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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

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.
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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 ...
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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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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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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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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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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 ...
read more

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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