Contact Center quality

12 Best Tips for Effective Contact Center Management

Contibuted Article by Ravi Soni 

Top tips for effective contact center management 

Influential administrators in the call centre business must remain acquainted with every element of their industry, lead by example, and operate within confined budgets that can be overpowering. However, you can better manage your call centre with these effective tips below. 

So let’s get started, shall we?

1. Comprehensively onboard and train your agents

Even after hiring suitable agents, your job as a manager is never done. Rather it has just started. According to a report, around 87% of employees in a call center believe that training and development are important in the workplace. It begins with a comprehensive onboarding process, self-assessment, periodic training, and monitoring throughout their job span with the contact center.

In addition, both star agents and poor performers require comprehensive onboarding training. However, the only difference is how frequently you conduct your onboarding training and the strategic emphasis of the training. 

For instance, training for poor performers should always remain focused on negative client feedback and QA scorecard assessments. Furthermore, using performance data, you should concentrate your actions on which aptitudes need progress and provide them with training to fill those learning gaps

2. Employ the right agents 

Contact Center managers are only as effective as the workforce behind them. Therefore, it is imperative to employ suitable  agents who possess the required hard and soft aptitudes to accomplish their job. It demands the managers put much of their energy and time into the recruitment process when scanning resumes, checking references, and interviewing. 

Furthermore, managers should concentrate on employing a workforce that exemplifies client assistance soft skills such as initiative, adaptability, teamwork, compassion, virtue, problem-solving, communication aptitudes, and emotional intelligence. 

While these aptitudes are challenging to gauge, they are the most reasonable indicators of success within every call center. The key is to create the list of aptitudes most required within your workforce and then employ agents who maintain these required attributes.

3. Concentrate on Employee Engagement

An engaged workforce is a happy workforce. Such a workforce is more productive, innovative, motivated, and loyal and is more likely to remain associated with your contact center for a long time. For example, a successful call center management team always emphasizes employee attention as the core focus of their administration strategy, and they: 

  • Deliver exact expectations, including objectives and KPIs, so your agents understand what they are working toward in the organization.
  • Help their agents’ actions through onboarding, tools, and training.
  • Present routine feedback—both negative and positive.
  • Listen to the call center agents’ feedback, letting their opinions be heard during the decision-making process. 
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4. Guarantee Appropriate Scheduling For Effective Management

Operating in a call center is challenging. That pressure can impact your employees. So the point they start to feel overworked, their ability to function at a high-level decreases. That’s where appropriate scheduling comes into the picture. Providing your employees adequate rest to refresh and refocus can guarantee that your clients obtain the best service.

However, planning a downtime can be challenging to schedule even for a small team. For instance, to ensure the maximum efficiency for your call center, it is prudent to factor in employee ability, peak and low hours, employee availability, and numerous others. It can assist you in turning the scheduling into a full-time job by using the most suitable tools available for time tracking.

5. Build a highly communicative call center

For effective management of your center, it is essential to maintain a holistic communication style. Also, as a manager, you must build ample opportunities to discuss your agent’s performance and objectives. By creating a communicative call center management approach, you provide your agents with an outlet to communicate their thoughts and allow you to share your thoughts and opinions on their work performance.

6. Regularly QA your agents’ calls 

Regularly QA your agents’ calls. Listening to the recordings of your agents’ calls will allow you to evaluate your workforce’s strengths and weaknesses to manage the call center better. 

By executing a QA (Quality Analysis) compliance, you can prioritize your calls based on agents’ performance. And with this, you can emphasize which client-centric actions accomplished favorable outcomes and which failed. So we can say that the definitive objective of listening to your agents’ calls is to assess if your client service agents are fulfilling client experience goals. 

7. Evaluate call center QA every day

If you aspire to understand how to handle a call center efficiently, you must initially comprehend how you function, which requires day-to-day quality assurance. This routine quality assurance helps you evaluate your leaders, agents, and clients’ performance at your call center.  

In this way, you can decide what changes are required and where. It offers you a beginning point for progress. You can evaluate every communication in real-time with the help of a streamlined internal quality validation process.

8. Regularly engage with customers, passives, promoters, and detractors

As a manager, you might incorrectly think you don’t have to engage with your clients unless something goes amiss and your intervention is required. Nevertheless, that’s not the point at all. One of the most crucial supervisor skills is replying to positive and negative customer feedback, and you must: 

  • Follow up with the promoters to thank them for their commitment and exhibit your company’s persistent dedication to their delight.
  • Get in touch with detractors and passives to understand how your call center workforce could enhance their efforts to better fulfill the customers’ requirements. 

9. Focus on the data and track KPIs

Reliable data must support decision-making. As a manager it  is imperative to remain familiar with your call center’s most crucial performance metrics based on KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and employ that data to understand your processes. The key is to estimate accurate information based on your company’s strategic goals and objectives. In addition, within your strategic call center information framework, you should use a tool that provides information on: 

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) metrics
  • Customer Satisfaction (CSat) indicators
  • Call abandonment
  • Average handling time
  • Call resolution
  • Crucial KPIs as delineated by your QA strategy 

10. Give targeted feedback to your workforce

Periodic quality-of-service review is crucial for the prosperous working of any contact center. Take some time to give feedback on your employee performance and then remain ready to take some feedback for workplace improvement. 

11. Delegate duties to your workforce

 It is easy for call center managers to get caught up in the precise details of the job. Nevertheless, numerous small jobs need to get accomplished for a  center to operate efficiently.

There are a lot of high-level strategic decisions that you must take to keep your center running at its best. It is better to delegate some duties to your workforce so you can better concentrate on issues that demand urgent attention. 

12. Always remain on top of your managerial tasks

 As a call center manager, you strive hard to make your call center operate smoothly.Hence, it is equally important to take out time for things like calculating profit margin,  managing timesheets, training, and project planning as it will offer a solid foundation for your team to work on. 

The Bottom Line 

To sum up, we can say that with the right technology and tools and following some effective tips above, you can better manage your contact center to improve your customer service. By following these tips, you can provide your agents with everything they require to effectively and efficiently perform their tasks. If you are looking for cutting-edge call center management tools, there are many leading online platforms that offer comprehensive solutions that will help you offer exceptional client service, better agent satisfaction, and improved productivity.  For reference, start with the CrmXchange Vendor Directory.

2 Out of 3 Agents Want to Change Their Script

Contributed by Balto

At their best, call scripts provide agents with a way to guide their call in a consistent and clear way to achieve optimal call outcomes. Scripts or talk tracks are meant to provide avenues for agents to respond to objections and provide a top-notch customer experience. At their worst, however, they can be prescriptive, clunky, and impersonal.

That being said, scripts remain one of the widely used tools in today’s contact centers, so how can we make them better? Balto, for example, reimagines scripts as dynamic, data-driven Playbooks that only surface talking points to agents when they need them — no memorization needed.

But what about the remainder of the contact center industry that still relies on traditional scripts? The Conversation Excellence Lab conducted a survey of 568 agents to discover what they thought about their script, how often they adhered to it, and more.

We asked agents: What, if anything, would you change about your script? 

Approximately 64% of agents wanted to change their script, whether with something as specific as changing the phrases they use to open a call, or as broad as the general tone and vocabulary throughout. 34% of these respondents wanted to change the length of their script, followed by 17% who wanted to improve the overall naturalness and tone, and 17% who wanted their script to be more flexible and dynamic.

These numbers are telling on their own, but an analysis of agent script-writing involvement, agent tenure, and industry differences better illustrates novel trends within these answers.

Agent Involvement with Script Writing 

While the majority of agents want to change something about their script, 36% do not. That is not a low number. More than one third of agents would not make a change to their script if given the opportunity.

Agent involvement is a major mediator in this number. We asked agents how involved they are on a scale of 1-5 in writing or updating their script, and agents who reported the lowest involvement in writing their company’s script (2.19) were the most likely to want to change everything about it. Those agents who reported wanting to change nothing at all about their script had the highest rate of involvement (3.53).

Interestingly, the next highest category in terms of script involvement belonged to those who said they wanted more ownership over their company’s script (3.5). This suggests that involvement begets more involvement. Once agents are given the opportunity to provide feedback on their script, they want to keep doing so, perhaps in increasing amounts.

This is a good thing. It shows initiative, buy-in, and an ownership mentality, all of which lend themselves to better performance and retention outcomes. To better understand other factors that impact agent attrition, check out our 2022 Attrition Report.

The Effect of Agent Tenure 

Those agents who had been at their contact center the longest were most likely to want to make their script more flexible or dynamic, followed by making the tone more natural. This makes logical sense: The longer that an agent has worked for a company, the more they’ve internalized the call script. But more than that, they’ve also had opportunities to uncover their own best practices and objection responses.

Giving more tenured agents flexibility to sway from their script or respond dynamically to customer objections is, then, an apt method to increase agent satisfaction with their script and otherwise. Read more about agent tenure and satisfaction in our recent report.

Those agents who had been at their job for the least amount of time were most concerned with changing the length of their script, perhaps because they were in the mindset of learning or memorizing it rather than evaluating its contents.

After script length, agents with lower tenure were most likely to list “everything” as a response to what they would change about their script. They may resent the presence of the script to begin with, both as an aspect of their training and as something they are evaluated on in their new role, or they may not understand the reasoning yet behind different aspects of it.

Industry Differences in Sentiment Towards Script 

In terms of industry, which agents thought their scripts were the best-suited? 50% of our respondents in the Home Improvement industry reported wanting to change nothing in their script, followed by 42% of those in Collections and 39% in Constructions.

On the other end, only 9% of respondents in Travel & Hospitality reported that there was nothing to change about their script, followed by 20% in Utilities and Healthcare, and 21% in Professional Services, Financial Services, and Insurance.

This is just a sample of the population and scripts vary widely both within industries and across them. However, there are still insights to be gleaned from these numbers.

Industries like Home Improvement, Collections, and Construction lend themselves to more predictable calls, and therefore more straightforward scripts. Home Improvement and Construction calls generally seek to either provide customer support or set up appointments, while Collections is concerned with collecting funds.

On the other hand, Travel & Hospitality contact centers may see a plethora of call types: bookings or reservations, cancellations, service issues and other complaints, sales, concierge-type services, general questions, and more.

It may be more difficult to align a script with all of these disparate scenarios, leaving more room for improvement from the agent’s point of view. This variety can be found in Utilities, Healthcare, Professional Services, Financial Services, and Insurance as well.

As our surveyed agents pointed out, there are a lot of areas where a script can go wrong, from being too lengthy and prescriptive to being too narrow and not relevant to the caller’s concerns.

Although we have our own take on scripting at Balto, there is no denying that traditional scripts remain widely used across the industry. While it’s true that the majority of agents want to change their script, this number varies depending on their involvement in writing or editing it, their tenure, and the industry within which they operate.

How do managers adjust accordingly?

If you employ a script, take into account agent feedback about its length, tone and naturalness, and how flexible or dynamic it allows agents to be. Make sure to check in with agents — especially those who have been at your contact center for multiple years — and involve them in the script-creation process. Regularly source feedback and refine your script based on the measures above (Figure 1) to ensure that your agents are not among those who express discontent.

Subscribe to Conversation Excellence Lab reports here.

How Can Companies Provide a Human Touch and Ensure Consumers’ Calls are Answered During a Crisis?

By now, we are all only too aware that contact centers have had to adjust to a new paradigm. Thousands upon thousands of formerly premise-based agents have transitioned to become home-based agents, often in the face of dramatic spikes in call volume.  While companies and front-line personnel are struggling to gain their footing in this unprecedented environment, they must not lose sight of one important truth. On the other end of each call is an individual who is likely to be in a crisis which requires more attention and consideration than it ever did before.

Even before the onset of the current situation, PwC research revealed that 59% of worldwide consumers surveyed believed companies had lost touch with the human element of customer experience, and 75% of respondents preferred to interact with a human as opposed to dealing with an automated system. Given the isolation and uncertainty of what is now referred to as the “new normal,” no one can blame consumers for being even more insistent on service with a human touch.

In a CX space based on people and relationships, taking care of customers has always been a top priority. But even as the sense of urgency has ramped up, sheer volume has resulted in extended wait times and higher customer frustration levels. This also affects agents adjusting to working at home while trying to keep up with the non-stop flow of calls. They may be dealing with consumers frantically trying to cut off automatic payments due to job losses, or people calling with critical inquiries about rapidly shifting business policies that cannot always be resolved online. Effectively handling customers in these fraught situations requires agents to make an added effort to do more intensive listening, apply faster thinking, keep their patience and take every necessary step to ensure that callers feel that a connection has been made.

In all cases, customers must be treated in a way that makes them feel valued. Much of this responsibility falls on the organizations involved, including updating websites and self-help portals more frequently and adjusting their scheduling to deliver higher service levels. However, given constantly changing conditions and rising demand, even that may not be enough. A March, 2020 Bloomberg Business report noted that hold times to reach a customer representative at Capital One were in excess of 20 minutes, based on calls placed by Bloomberg. That compared with an average of 41 seconds in 2018, according to a study from MyBankTracker. While the early gory stories of multi-hour wait times may have ameliorated somewhat as businesses have had time to adjust, it is safe to assume that they remain higher than in previous years. Undeniably, this is a phenomenon that doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon.

Customers who feel neglected or disrespected will remember their negative experience long after the pandemic has been resolved. The question for executives and managers of contact centers in every conceivable vertical is whether their operation is optimized to handle burgeoning demand. One perhaps obvious way to deal with increased volume is to implement a call-back feature.

On Thursday, June 25th at 2:00 PM ET, Fonolo, a pioneer of cloud-based call-back solutions, will present a complimentary webinar on CrmXchange entitled “How Your Contact Center Can Meet Customer Service Demands During COVID-19.” Shai Berger, Co-Founder and CEO of Fonolo and Chris McLean, Fonolo’s VP of Strategic Accounts, will explore the most significant challenges now being faced by contact centers and how to meet them. Topics will include:

  • Tips and tricks for managing ongoing obstacles to providing service with a human touch
  • The most actionable tactics for contact centers suffering from staff shortages
  • How to manage ongoing high call volume

Berger is recognized as an innovator and thought leader whose mission is to educate the CX/contact center industry on how to improve the customer experience. McLean is a long-time contact center veteran who specialized in building lasting relationships. They will also conduct a demonstration of Fonolo’s call-back solution which reduces the frustration of long hold times, leads to more satisfied callers, and helps create a more profitable contact center.

Register now for this timely and informative presentation. If you cannot attend the live webcast, a recording will be posted 24 hours after it has taken place.

Companies That Are Serious About CX Need to Up their Mobile Customer Support Game

It is no secret that customer experience (CX) has become perhaps the most compelling influence in the consumer’s decisions to initially do business—and build an ongoing relationship  –with a company. CX can be defined as the sum of all experiences a customer has in their interactions with a company and its products or services. Understanding these interactions, specifically what makes them positive or negative, is central to making improvements. Effective CX is determined by the quality of the experience customers have when they seek product information and seek support—tasks they now mostly use mobile devices to accomplish.

Engaging mobile consumers requires businesses to become more creative. Mobile devices are more than just hand-held web browsers. People have long since become accustomed to using mobile devices for a very wide range of activities, beyond calls: social media, taking/viewing photos, GPS navigation, downloading music and videos or watching live entertainment

SMS, or mobile text messaging is also a long-term primary use case, in social and now increasingly in business contexts. In fact, with the rise in mobile device usage, messaging is the default user behavior. But it goes beyond SMS texting alone. Mobile phone users throughout the world are sending messages back and forth, using Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat, and other emerging channels of mobile chat messaging. However, in the US where most of us are text messages, companies are just starting to learn more about these emerging channels and how they can use them to improve communications with their customers. These are developments that are taking hold and it’s becoming more critical for businesses to be knowledgeable about them. This particularly true for organizations that wish to expand their global presence.

According to research by Forrester, people don’t wish to go out of their way for support. This   put companies in the position of having to keep up when their customers are blazing new trails. As Forrester put it in a recent report, “Customers will explore emerging channels to reduce friction. Customers want to move between channels without having to repeat their situation every time. They want to get service at any point in their pre- or post-purchase journey.” This need for flexibility and responsiveness becomes a serious problem when customers are unable to reach a company’s agents as quickly as they would like to. Then, once connected, customer frustration ramps up rapidly when they can’t adequately resolve their issue through a voice-only conversation. So, the undermined customer loyalty and increased cost becomes a lose-lose scenario for businesses.

Of course, there are more effective methods to deliver mobile customer service that enhance as opposed to detract from the customer experience., Mobile service specialist UJET will share detailed information on how organizations can to transition from voice-only interactions to engaging their customers on a variety of rich and responsive messaging channels. On Thursday, May 27 at 1:00pm, UJET will present a complimentary webinar on CrmXchange entitled “Mobile Support For Cost-Effective and Enhanced Customer Experience.”

Josh Mazgelis, Solutions Consultant, UJET, will draw on his 25 years of contact center experience. He will discuss how to cost-effectively deploy the company’s cloud-based mobile-focused customer satisfaction platform to enable customers and reps to share photos and videos, take screenshots, and even combine voice and text together. Among the topics to be covered are:

  • Enabling end-users to easily share multimedia with agents
  • Elevating the customer experience with Rich Communications Services
  • Using data intelligence to customize and improve support channels

Register now to see how your company can upgrade its mobile service. If you can’t attend the live webinar, a link to it will posted 24 hours after it is presented.

An Online In-Depth Education Program Without the Cost and Inconvenience of Traditional Live Conferences

While there are numerous quality live conferences in the CX/contact center space that delve into workforce optimization, attending these events often entails a series of complex decisions. First, you must determine if it includes enough seminars that are relevant to your specific needs and exhibitors with the right solutions to advance your program. Then, you need to obtain approval and funding, plan the details of the trip and make sure all your responsibilities are covered while you are away. While some consider traveling to an event a welcome break from routine, others find it a time-consuming, expensive disruption that they simply can’t justify.

The need for ongoing education in this critical operational area continues to grow. Over the past 12 years, an increasing number of workforce planning professionals have found a flexible, no-cost, no-travel alternative in CrmXchange’s annual online Best Practices in Workforce Optimization virtual conference, produced in conjunction with the Quality Assurance and Training Connection (QATC) and the Society of Workforce Planning Professionals (SWPP).

Over the past two years, the event has been expanded to provide even more in-depth education. For 2019, it will take place the first two weeks of November, with the first week (November 4-8) focusing on QA and Analytics and the second (November 11-15) examining strategies for Workforce Management and Performance Optimization.

The enhanced conference content reflects the evolution of how contact centers now approach workforce planning responsibilities. It used to be handled in independent groups, with one team handling quality assurance, another conducting training, and yet another developing agent schedules. Supervisors often tried to do coaching with no input from other functional areas, while managers simply ran and reacted to reports. But this disconnected approach no longer works in today’s complex, omnichannel contact center environments. Workforce Optimization is a wide-ranging field that now encompasses all these elements as a unified discipline. And the CrmXchange virtual conference provides WFO professionals with the year’s most convenient and comprehensive opportunity to gain greater insights on the latest technologies, tactics and best practices.

Attendees have the opportunity to meet in real time with industry experts and colleagues who can answer their questions and offer business solutions tailored to their contact centers, without the cost and time away from the office of an on-site conference. Anyone can attend learning sessions the same way they would in an on-site conference.

The format allows entire WFO teams to share newly acquired knowledge throughout an organization. Team members can attend live sessions together or attend different session tracks. All sessions will be recorded and available on demand for one week after the conference – giving those who could not attend the initial presentation the opportunity to view the sessions later.

In addition, attendees can visit the virtual exhibit hall to download product videos, and obtain product information, press releases, white papers, and much more. Sponsors, including Calabrio, CallMiner, NICE, NICE inContact and Verint, are ready to share the latest innovations that may benefit your contact center.

And while you can’t sit down over a drink after hours, you can still chat with presenters and peers in the virtual lounge, a specially designed virtual networking forum for registered members of this online event. Learn what others are doing, meet colleagues, pose questions, and offer your own insight.

The Best Practices in Workforce Optimization virtual conference kicks off on Monday, November 4 at 12 noon ET with a high-interest keynote address Building a Customer Experience Movement which examines the true elements required to create a culture-changing CX program that is built to last. It will be presented by Nate Brown, Co-Founder of CX Accelerator, a virtual community of customer experience professionals.

Join the thousands of industry executives who have already benefited from this powerful complimentary two week online conference Register now and check out the broad ranging agenda.

Boost Customer Experience Utilizing Service KPI Insights

Contact center Key Performance Indicator (KPIs) are used by SMB and enterprise companies to make better business decisions and improve the customer experience. Also called metrics, KPIs are the measurable values that show just how effective your business is at achieving its goals.

In our last couple blogs, we touched upon the top agent KPIs and team KPIs that your contact center should be tracking. We also covered the real-time metrics that supervisors use on a daily basis to monitor the status and productivity of their agents.

This time, we’ll check out some of the most used services metrics that show how your services are doing. A service is a specific reason for customers to initiate an interaction with a contact center, or, in the case of outbound dialing, for a contact center to initiate an interaction with a customer. In the contact center space, a service typically means the type of channel that connects the customer to the business: voice, email, chat, and so on.

Not only do supervisors monitor teams of agents, you are checking the performance of the services your contact center offers. Real-time dashboards and wallboards provide a broad view of:

    • Status: Where are the customers now—in IVR, on hold, waiting, being helped?
    • Abandonment: How many interactions were abandoned or dropped?
    • Dropped calls/chats: How many interactions were dropped, and why
    • What’s in the queue: How many customers are waiting to be helped?
    • Service level: How many calls and interactions have been accepted and handled today?

 

Keep in mind that you can track the nitty gritty of things by showing very granular metrics–if you want–and there may be dozens of service KPIs available in your contact center software.

The following are generally the most used and most basic of metrics that show where your customers are in your service offerings.

  • Name – The name of the service. This may seem obvious, but it’s not when you’re monitoring three or more simultaneously.
  • SLA – For voice services, SLA is the percentage of calls answered before the threshold time calculated over the most recent 20 calls. For email, it’s the percentage of emails replied to within the predefined service level threshold.
  • Waiting – How many customers are waiting to be helped for the given service.
  • Max Wait – The longest amount of time that the customer could wait before being helped.
  • In IVR – How many customers are in the IVR for self-service.
  • Queued – The number of customer interactions waiting to be connected to an agent.
  • Handled – The number of customer interactions that have been handled for the service.
  • Active – The active users (agents) handling interactions for the service.
  • Logged in – The number of agents logged in to your contact center.
  • Busy – How many agents are busy helping customers.

When you work in customer service, it’s safe to assume that people are calling, texting, emailing, and chatting with you not because they want to, but because they need to. Assume that they are already having a bad day, so do your best not to make it worse. For any service, it’s ideal to see low numbers for the metrics related to waiting and being on hold. In addition, you want to see high SLA, which shows that agents are helping customers promptly. Your goal is to help people quickly and efficiently. Don’t make your customers wait.

Service metrics provide detailed information about how your team’s customer service handling is impacting the customer. Ultimately, the quality of your services is directly related to customer satisfaction. Supervisors who see the number of customers waiting in queue rising higher than the number of logged-in, available agents to help them, can see that some adjustments need to be made as soon as possible.

A Contact Center Driven by Insights

KPIs provide the insights you need for improving agent engagement and elevating the customer experience. The customer experience hinges on empowering agents with the right training, tools, and service model. Bright Pattern’s omnichannel contact center software helps empower agents with unique tools that facilitate better conversations, boost agent performance, and deliver higher returns in customer satisfaction and agent engagement. Having a unified and powerful agent desktop that displays important KPIs helps to keep supervisors focused on teams and agents focused on customers.

You can learn more about how monitoring agent metrics can help improve agent engagement and customer service by downloading our e-book.

4 Essential Components of Your Workforce Optimization Software

Delivering a positive customer experience is no small feat ­– there are a lot of moving parts that have to work together, with workforce optimization (WFO) being a major component. When considering which WFO suite to go with, keep the following four must-haves in mind.

  1. Integration with Existing Systems

The WFO system you use should be compatible with the rest of your contact center. Cloud WFO solutions are typically the easiest to integrate ­– they can be custom-fitted to your contact center, prepped and tested before going live, and even run along with your current WFO solution as you make the switch so there’s no downtime.

  1. Creation of Reliable and Adaptive Schedules

With the right WFO solution, scheduling becomes much easier. Your WFO software should generate schedules with enough agents to cover daily shifts, accounting for agent requests like certain days or times off, flex shifts, or work-from-home shifts. At the same time, your software should review shift data to accommodate for high and low patterns, which will affect things like breaks and training sessions. Your WFO solution should also be flexible enough to adapt when something unforeseen occurs that requires a quick change in the workforce.

  1. Real-Time Schedule Adherence

In order for management to know if an agent’s daily activity is in line with contact center objectives, you’ll need to see reports about schedule adherence. Your WFO solution should monitor and record real-time adherence, tracking log in and log out times, plus lunch breaks and other types of breaks. For contact centers that have out-of-the-box needs, like after-hours coverage, your WFO solution should let you create custom guidelines.

  1. Accurate and Robust Reporting

WFO (and just about everything else at your contact center) revolves around reports ­– otherwise, it’s very difficult to know what’s going on in your business. Even the best managers can’t be everywhere all the time, which is why they rely on reporting. The data that’s gathered will help you figure out where changes need to be made and what type of training needs to occur moving forward. Comprehensive reports will help you make the right workforce decisions.

The philosophy of WFO ­– shifting the workforce for the sake of optimal productivity ­– has been around for a long time, but actually embracing this philosophy by seeking out the tools to achieve it is still new for many contact centers.

4 Best Practices for Analyzing Quality Assurance Data

If you’ve ever called a business, you’ve heard the recording that goes, “This call may be monitored and recorded for quality assurance.” The best contact centers don’t just record customer calls, though – they also monitor them and then make changes to improve the customer experience. Here are four best practices to help you put call analysis to work.

  1. Clarify your goals and processes.

It’s impossible to know what parts of call analysis to pay attention to if you don’t have a game plan. Which KPIs will you measure? How many calls will be evaluated and within what timeframe? Who will review the data? What will be the process for recommending and implementing changes? There’s going to be an overwhelming amount of data coming in and you need to know what to do with it.

  1. Get everyone involved.

Determining goals and processes should involve the whole team, from management and executives to the agents themselves. Everyone should feel comfortable making suggestions and providing feedback. Also, make it clear that quality assurance is an evolving and collaborative process. Quality monitoring can sometimes be stressful to agents because they feel like their every move and decision is being judged. By emphasizing constant improvement instead of perfection, agents will be more relaxed and effective on their calls.

  1. Pay attention to repetitive comments.

Trends should get a lot of attention, whether they’re positive (compliments) or negative (complaints). While single incidents on either end of the spectrum are not unimportant, tending to the more common issues will have the biggest impact. Start with the major influencers before working on one-off issues.

  1. Allow for subjective ratings.

Scores shouldn’t always be taken at face value; allow some wiggle room for context. For example, you may have an agent who has lower-than-normal Average Handling Time scores. However, their customer satisfaction scores may be higher than average. It’s possible that they’re taking extra time to better understand and soothe the customer, which could be more valuable to the contact center than if they sped through the call just to solve it quickly. Before trying to fix a problem, make sure that there’s an actual problem to fix.

By monitoring phone calls and then using the information you discover to your advantage, you can streamline the agent-customer communication experience, improve contact center performance and greatly increase customer satisfaction ratings.

How Can Your Business Relate to the Millennial Community?

Millennials are arguably the most rapidly-evolving and flippant consumer base in the industry. It is a challenge in itself to understand what they desire in a product, and even moreso how to please them in the aspect of customer service.

In reality, millennials just want what everyone wants. All people generally tend to want to do the right thing, belong to a group, and avoid conflict. The difference between this generation and others is not their access to a plethora of information, but their reliance on that access of information. They rely on their online community just as much as we rely on our immediate neighborhood community.

Think of the neighborhood community you grew up in. Not so long ago, neighbors relied on each other for borrowing spices, taking care of pets, and generally looking after one another. Millennials look to devices, which many of them have grown up using, as their own community. Just as your neighbors would, these devices recommend bars & restaurants, barbers, dog walkers, carpools, and most importantly, connect them with like-minded people.

What a successful business looks like in the millennial community:

Then: Strong values. Now: Progressive values, and being able to exemplify each one.

Gusto, a payroll software company based out of San Francisco and Denver, is an excellent example of a company that makes their progressive values clear, and leads by example to see them through. Co-founder Tomer London took a two-month paternity leave after his daughter was born. In writing, any business can value a “work-life balance”, yet pressure their employees to work 12-hour work days. London takes it upon himself to set the example in his company, and follow through with the values he sets in place.

These types of stories circulate in the millennial community. In the click of a button, millennials can find exactly what people are saying about your business, whether these people are customers or employees. They rely very heavily on these reviews and take them very seriously: they will not be your customer if they don’t like what they see.

Then: Strong, ethical leaders. Now: Strong ethical leaders, and being able to connect with them.

Speaking of leading by example, executives of businesses can be reviewed just as much, if not more, than the business itself. Glassdoor is one of the most prominent resources when it comes to researching businesses and jobs. In the snapshot below, you can see how employees review Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, and actually read through each review.

To millennials, the ability to connect with the leaders of a business is crucial. For the millennial employees in a company, feeling ethically and morally aligned with the person they are working for drives productivity and purpose. The same goes for consumers. With business leaders under a constant spotlight, it is easier for consumers to decide with whom they’d like to do business. After Uber’s many PR disasters, and CEO Travis Kalanick’s inability to mend them, the hashtag #DeleteUber went viral, causing about 500,000 users to reportedly delete their accounts.

The force of the online millennial community is strong. Your business is under a spotlight, but that doesn’t have to be frightening. There is no secret code to learning what millennials like and what they don’t like. Your business does not have to look like Hillary Clinton trying to appeal to young voters through cringe-worthy and outdated slang. In fact, a majority of the Democratic millennials who did not vote for Hillary simply felt that she was untrustworthy.

The millennial generation holds businesses to a higher, more personal standard. If they feel comfortable doing business with you and trust you, chances are they will let their online “neighbors” know. On the other hand, if you’re deemed untrustworthy or unpleasant to do business with, they will certainly make sure their online “neighbors” know to never do business with you.

3 Contact Center Metrics Improved by Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics predict future events by combining various techniques that analyze historical and current patterns. Predictive voice analytics can have a major positive affect on integral contact center metrics, including customer retention, follow-up call success and quality assurance.

Customer Retention

One of the customer service industry’s main goals is customer retention, and experts believe that it costs more to acquire a brand new customer than to keep an existing customer. Predictive voice analytics, which analyze the customer’s voice during customer-agent interactions, can determine if the customer is at high risk for ending their relationship with the company altogether. It can then inform the agent that they need to put more focus on retaining the customer. On the flip side, predictive voice analytics can also tell which agents aren’t doing enough to keep the customer coming back. This is more effective than random checking for quality assurance, which can take a long time to identify poor-performing agents.

Follow-up Call Success

Often, the first contact with a customer isn’t the one that has a positive outcome (i.e. a sale); it’s the follow-up call that proves to be more advantageous. However, it’s difficult to know which customers are a priority for follow-up contact. Instead of leaving it up to your agents to determine which customers are worth a follow-up call, predictive analytics can analyze past interactions and study voice features to determine if the customer’s tone and behavior predicts a favorable outcome during the next interaction (like making a payment or finalizing a sale). Predictive analytics can create a ranked list of customers, organized by their likelihood to say “yes.”

Quality Assurance

Predictive analytics are a richer way of assessing quality assurance than traditional methods. Routine QA testing often ignores customer patterns, and it is also unable to learn in real-time. Predictive analytics, however, can analyze all types of data, both structured and unstructured, to give a well-rounded view of agent behavior and how it impacts the customer. All customer-agent communication is assessed in-the-moment, allowing the contact center to get an accurate view of agent performance immediately instead of having to wait several weeks.

Contact centers can’t just gather metrics to assess their current performance and then call it a day. They must also use what they’ve learned from the past to create goals for the future. Predictive analytics can help shape those goals realistically.