An Update on Call Recording and PCI Compliance for the Call Center

The horror stories of security breaches where millions of consumers have had their personal information exposed are all too familiar, TJX is probably the most infamous. Since its initial release in 2008, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) has become a sort of ‘gold-standard’ for the protection of consumer information. In fact, some states have even written parts of the standard, or compliance with it, into law. A trend that is likely to continue.A recent update to the PCI... continue reading this post »

Creating a Customer-Centric, Multichannel Contact Center

The days of ‘telephone-only’ customer service are long gone. Our customers now expect to contact us through email, chat and the web, including social media. Managing service across all these disparate communication channels can be a challenge. Businesses that do this well have a distinct and potent competitive advantage. Their customers are more satisfied, less apt to take their money elsewhere and inclined to increase the business they conduct. One key to improving customer satisfaction,... continue reading this post »

Balancing Agent Productivity and Lifestyle

We talk a lot about balancing efficiency and effectiveness in our call center operations. Something we don’t talk as much about is balancing agent productivity and quality of life. Agent attrition is the bane of call centers, and its costs are huge. For every agent that leaves a new one must be recruited, screened and trained.  Those are just the direct costs associated with agent turnover. Often overlooked are the indirect costs from turnover’s impact on productivity, service quality and... continue reading this post »

If only every agent could be a superhero

Quite often, when customers contact a business a moment of truth occurs during that interaction, the crucial instant where the customer’s satisfaction depends on agent’s actions. We prepare our agents as best as possible to successfully navigate these critical points through training and coaching. By necessity, these efforts take place before the interaction occurs, and that presents some problems. The flow of an interaction is dynamic. It’s subject to change depending on what happens, how the... continue reading this post »

Customer Service 2.0

One trait successful companies have in common is the ability to detect impending change and adapt to it. The world of customer service is undergoing one of these major shifts right now, moving away from the traditional reactionary service mode towards a more proactive engagement model. I like to call this Customer Service 2.0. Customer Service 2.0 extends the boundaries of the company/customer interaction into social media and moves away from the call/respond service model. This entails much... continue reading this post »

Up in the Clouds – The Looming Demise of Premise-Based Contact Center Solutions

Whether you call it cloud computing, software as a service (SaaS) or on-demand systems the move away from premise-based equipment is accelerating rapidly. Two primary factors are driving this move – total cost of ownership (TCO) and Flexible Functionality.  TCO for a SaaS solution is generally much less than that of the premise-based equivalent. This is due to the elimination of needed IT infrastructure, reduction in maintenance efforts and lower deployment costs for SaaS. SaaS solutions... continue reading this post »

Not Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining

 It seems that every new technology or solution holding a lot of promise tends to fall prey to over-hyping. This happens because when a really good idea comes about, everyone wants to get on the bandwagon. Cloud computing is one of the latest new offerings to fall prey. There are many potential benefits of cloud computing in the contact center. High availability, lower IT costs, instant scaling and worry-free upgrades, to name a few. With everyone climbing aboard the cloud bandwagon, it’s more... continue reading this post »

Observations and Musings on Customer Experience

Customer centricity is a hot topic in the industry. Everyone wants to be customer centric; in fact I’ve never met a business leader who would say their company isn’t customer centric. But what does that look like? To me, it means running your company from the customer’s viewpoint. What is it like from their perspective to do business with you? The key to driving your organization towards customer centricity is to focus on the customer experience. After all, that’s how your customers’ measure... continue reading this post »

If I had a working crystal ball this would be so easy…

One my favorite Yogi Berra quotes came to mind the other day while reading a white paper on the importance of good planning in the contact center. “Prediction is difficult, especially about the future.” Accurately predicting future resource requirements is very difficult in the contact center because of the impact of seasonality and other complex factors. It’s difficult, yes, but that doesn’t mean we should throw up our hands and give up. Many people in the industry view workforce management... continue reading this post »

Analytics and Quality – A Perfect Marriage

Quality management has stood as a cornerstone of contact center performance management for many years, and for good reason. It focuses on the interactions between agents and customers; those little moments of truth where customer satisfaction hangs in the balance. For the most part, quality management hasn’t changed much through the years. The advent and rapid adoption of analytics technologies in the contact center is about to change that.

A new white paper from Ventana Research explores...

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Even the Best Laid Plans…

Without the proper training it doesn’t matter how effective resource planning is in your contact center. If your agents lack needed knowledge when interacting with customers, satisfaction will suffer. A well trained workforce also provides another benefit to the business. Agents are likely to be more satisfied with their job, leading to lower turnover rates. Training isn’t free and has its own associated costs though. Agents in aren’t available to service your customers. You also need to hire... continue reading this post »

Seeing Through the Cloud

Cloud computing is a hot topic in the IT world, and as with many hot topics there’s a great deal of marketing hype associated with it. Hype frequently keeps close company with its friends misunderstanding, unrealistic expectation, uncertainty and very often disillusionment. That’s not to say there aren’t real, and significant, benefits to an IT organization by embracing cloud computing concepts.

The key to success, as with many potentially over-hyped technologies, is being able to separate the...

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Experience – It’s the Customer’s Call

It’s universally accepted that providing superior customer experiences promotes customer satisfaction, loyalty and ultimately, long-term business prosperity. That being said, knowing what to do is often much easier than knowing how to do it. I came across a white paper from Cicero that provides some good insights into how to position your business to deliver satisfaction-winning customer experiences.

The paper summarizes feedback and identifies practical steps from customer contact professionals...

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Social Media – The Killer App for Unified Communication?

The rapid growth of social media is forcing businesses to develop strategies for integrating it into their operations. Unfortunately, the poor attempts greatly outnumber the successful ones so far. A primary contributing factor in many failures is the tendency to view social media channels as just another marketing medium, a new way to push out press releases and sales campaigns. More enlightened companies realize that social media is more about pull than push.

Social media provides its users a...

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Working in a Bipolar Industry

The customer service industry is bipolar, and no, I’m not talking about the clinical definition of the term. We’re bipolar in the sense that we get to experience customer service from both sides, as customers and as service providers. That gives us a unique viewpoint we can use to gauge and manage contact center performance, one we need to use. This thought occurred to me while reading a white paper from Genesys on cross-channel customer experience. The paper is the work of independent... continue reading this post »