Harnessing the Power of Business Intelligence in the Call Center

Call CenterHaving the power to make timely and knowledgeable decisions is a crucial part of succeeding in the call center environment. Business intelligence (BI) allows organizations to harness this power, giving leaders greater insight into performance and talent attributes where greater efficiency and productivity can be achieved among individuals and throughout the entire organization.

In spite of the well-known advantages of BI, it still remains new territory for many organizations. The following places a spotlight on BI and its ability to promote positive change in many aspects of the call center.

Defining Business Intelligence

The goal of BI is to sift through big data and use the information gained to aid in the decision-making process, ensuring that organizations remain competitive and responsive to upcoming trends and sudden changes in marketing strategy. BI also seeks to foster consistent improvement, promote beneficial business activity, and allow leaders to identify and tackle potential problems before they have an opportunity to sideline operations.

BI has always been around in one form or another, but the rise of cloud-based call center technology has made it much easier to use. In the days before modern tools, much of the data needed to facilitate BI would have to have been pulled, analyzed, and reported manually. As a result, organizations that needed BI most often lacked the agility to benefit from it.

The Role of BI in the Call Center

Integrating BI into the call center allows leaders to harness the power of big data for their daily operations. By using analysis of agent performance and how it could potentially affect business outcomes in real time, it becomes much easier to quickly and easily address performance concerns. The end result is months of improvements that now only take weeks to achieve.

BI also introduces a historical perspective to call centers. For instance, improvements in scheduling, resource allocation, and cost forecasting often come from examining historic data. Trends gleaned from this data can be put to good use when adjusting hiring needs, agent schedules, and additional training.

Employing historical and real-time BI allows organizations to become more responsive to changes in customer demands, allowing call center agents to pivot quickly in order to meet those changes.

Quantifying Success

Organizations should remember that BI isn’t a smoking gun when it comes to producing success. It’s important to define, monitor, and measure the metrics that are essential to the call center’s overall effectiveness. These metrics can be used to identify areas in need of improvement and generate new data sets for further analysis.

For more information on how business intelligence can benefit your call center operations, contact us at ROI Networks for a no-obligation consultation.

5 Ways to Build Better Call Center Coaching Sessions

Call CenterCall center managers are constantly searching for ways to help their teams provide better, more efficient service. Group coaching sessions are an excellent way to create consistency when communicating strategies, techniques, and expectations to agents and representatives, but they need to be carefully designed to ensure their effectiveness.With that in mind, here are five techniques for creating more engaging and productive call center coaching sessions:

Protect Employee Confidentiality
During coaching sessions, avoid calling out individual agents or customer service representatives for errors or inefficiencies. Instead, find private ways of communicating expectations to under-performing employees, or consider using one-on-one coaching for those individuals.

Back It up with Numbers
When the time comes to provide agents and employees with feedback and constructive criticism, it’s always a good idea to back up claims with hard data. For example, rather than telling an individual that his or her quality score has “gone down recently,” offer that it has declined by “X percent over the past Y days/weeks/months.”

This helps employees set tangible improvement goals while giving managers a concrete baseline for evaluating future performance.

Encourage Employees to Evaluate Themselves
Having agents and employees evaluate their own performance, either anecdotally or by using recordings of customer calls, is an excellent way to encourage two-way feedback between management and staff. It also encourages employees to think more critically about how they engage with customers.

Avoid Generalizations
One of the best ways to improve call center agent performance is to be specific rather than general when offering feedback. Again, call recordings can be very helpful in this regard, as they provide specific times, dates, and interactions that managers can use to call employee attention to particular habits or shortcomings.

Offer Positive Feedback
Too often, call center coaching sessions focus on what employees are doing wrong at the expense of what they’re doing right. A little positive reinforcement can go a long way, and encourages employees to work harder at self-improvement. Whenever possible, frame constructive criticism by saying, “You’re doing A, B, and C really well, but I’d like to see you work towards D. Keep up the good work!”

Businesses seeking advanced call center technologies can count on the professionals at ROI Networks to meet their changing needs. To learn more about the ROI Networks suite of solutions, please contact a client services representative.

SIP Trunking: So Much More Than a Dial Tone

SIP TrunkingThe first forms of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking services were fairly primitive, and were really just a way to get basic phone lines set up at larger companies. As with any technology, SIP trunks have evolved and developed into much more capable and attractive services, and are predicted to continue growing as a provider offering. When designing telecommunications packages for organizations, there are many ways to creatively arrange the system to make the most of current SIP capabilities.

Rich in Features

Modern SIP trunking packages contain a wide variety of great features such as toll free lines, full 911 services, fax lines, and caller ID. For enterprises that need more intricate phone networks, today’s SIP trunks also contain private MPLS, direct dialing for inbound extensions, PRI transparency, and connection to PSTN/POTS lines.

Some providers have amplified their offerings even further, and furnish call center and conferencing capabilities as well as progressive screening of calls, premium disaster recovery services, and on-site equipment. SIP trunking services may come as a flat fee option, potentially shared across multiple company locations and able to accommodate sudden spikes in call traffic through bursting flexibility.

Making a Move

Many companies still find themselves constrained by old telco lines and antiquated services that they paid high costs to implement and manage. For that reason, they may be hesitant to transition to modern services for fear of not fulfilling their predicted return on investment or concern with the unknown costs of installing a new system. The opportunity cost of missing out on advanced services is quite high, however. Offering improved productivity, better customer handling, and collaboration tools, SIP trunking services quickly make up for any initiation cost.

Leveraging Mobile

Supporting a mobile workforce is increasingly important in today’s market, and old tech simply doesn’t do the job. SIP trunking is an effective tool to handle the needs of this technologically advanced labor pool without requiring a dozen different vendors for telecom services or a huge investment in hardware. These systems are able to connect the old world with the new in innovative and graceful ways. The result is a constantly connected, cohesive set of teams that are providing excellent customer service and getting things done rapidly.

SIP trunking is a robust and flexible service that can dramatically improve communications and production for companies that implement it. To learn more about the benefits of this great arrangement, contact ROI Networks today.

Comparing Progressive and Predictive Dialer Technologies

Call CenterAll outbound call centers share a common goal: to reach as many prospects in as short a time as possible. Auto-dialers have been a fixture in call centers for decades, and manufacturers have responded to niche needs by developing products with specialized capabilities.

The progressive dialer and the predictive dialer are two of the most widely used types of auto-dialers, but what differentiates them from one another? How do they compare, and how can companies choose the option that’s right for them?
The Progressive Dialer: How It Works

Progressive dialers use call lists, from which they automatically dial numbers in sequence, one at a time. A progressive dialer will only place a call if there is a call center agent ready and waiting to speak to the person on the other end.
The Predictive Dialer: How It Works

A predictive dialer, by contrast, calls multiple numbers at once, regardless of whether or not a call center agent is ready at the exact moment the call is placed. Predictive dialers work by using data analysis to “predict” how long it will take before an agent is free to speak to the next customer, and places calls accordingly.

In addition, a predictive dialer is capable of anticipating the likelihood of a call going unanswered, based on trends generated by the call list in use. If the situation warrants it, predictive dialers will increase call volumes to make up for downtime caused by unanswered calls.
Progressive Dialer vs. Predictive Dialer: How to Choose

Progressive and predictive dialers both have their strengths and drawbacks. While progressive dialers are not able to match the sheer call volume that predictive dialers are capable of generating, they do add a more personal touch by ensuring that an agent is always on hand to speak to a customer who answers the call, without exception.

Conversely, predictive dialers are the better option when it comes to maximizing efficiency. Progressive dialers offer major efficiency improvements over manual calling, but come up short in comparison to predictive dialers. On the down side, they can result in customer-end frustration, since a customer may answer a call before an agent is ready to speak to them. In such cases, the customer may abandon the call, even though a prompt can be used to let them know an agent will be with them shortly.

The business communication experts at ROI Networks have extensive experience helping clients choose the right technologies for their unique needs. To learn more about the dynamic, next-generation solutions available to today’s enterprises, please contact us to consult with an ROI Networks professional.

The Contact Center Can Make Or Break The Customer Experience

We’ve all had at least one bad customer service experience via call center, and poor experiences can mean customer losses. But retaining customers doesn’t have to be a struggle. Check out the infographic below to find out more about how the right contact center software can turn disgruntled customers into happy ones, and help you manage your client relationships to increase revenue.

Contact Center

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4 Must-Have Features for a Call or Contact Center

Contact CenterThe contact center is an essential part of any service-oriented business’s infrastructure. To function optimally, call and contact centers require certain technical capabilities, especially in the connected age. Even businesses that don’t need or maintain a strictly defined call center can benefit from having their customer service staff adopt leading technologies.

In particular, there are four key features that are indispensable to the modern call center: Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), social media, real-time reporting, and a suite of tools that facilitate specialized functions referred to as “monitoring,” “whispering,” and “barging.”

Here’s a look at how each of these tools supports core call center functions:

VoIP

Legacy landlines may still have a place in some call centers, but they are in massive decline largely thanks to the rise of VoIP telephony. These Internet-connected voice communication platforms facilitate streamlined and interconnected functionality with other customer support systems, all while dramatically lowering operational costs.

VoIP systems also require far less infrastructure and hardware and enable customer service agents to work remotely, which can generate even more cost savings.

Social Media

Increasingly, social media platforms are being used for complaint resolution applications, and to collect and address feedback from customers. From a business standpoint, it’s important not only to leverage the power of social media as a way to connect with customers, but also to correctly monitor it.

Employees should be carefully trained in the proper usage of social media platforms. As many industry observers have noted, the correct response can defuse even the most tense and critical situations. When used constructively and positively, social media can be an extremely powerful supplementary contact center tool. However, management should carefully monitor social media channels to ensure they’re being used in accordance with company objectives.

Real-Time Reporting and Statistics

Technologies that support real-time tracking, reporting, and statistical management help improve customer service. They also help management identify and correct systemic inefficiencies while providing key insights into employee performance.

Call queue reports, call volume statistical tracking, and inbound/outbound call history tracking are a few of the most commonly used applications of these tools. They can be configured to present data from a range of viewpoints, which maximizes their relevance when seeking answers to specific questions.

Monitoring, Whispering and Barging

These contact center tools allow supervisors and management-level staff to:

  • Listen in on calls (“monitoring”)
  • Communicate with the service agent without the customer’s knowledge (“whispering”)
  • Join or take over the call if necessary (“barging”)

In addition to improving service and operational efficiency, barging, whispering, and monitoring are extremely useful training and employee evaluation tools that every contact center can benefit from.

The communication professionals at ROI Networks are experts at helping businesses improve their contact center capabilities. To learn more about these and other technological solutions for call and contact centers, please contact ROI Networks today.

Using UC in a Contact Center: Two Key Factors to Consider

August Blog # 3 (1)Unified communications (UC) provides a perfect solution to the everyday needs of contact center agents, who often juggle many different types of communications while serving customers. Considering that many call centers deal with incoming requests from dissatisfied customers, the need for an efficient and high-performing UC system is amplified.

By correctly identifying core capability needs and potential challenges, the system will be more robust and more reliable, helping agents provide superior customer service. With that in mind, there are two key factors to consider when planning a contact center UC strategy: integration and channel usage.

 
Integrating Contact Center UC Systems with Other Parts of the Business

Some contact centers use service platforms that run separately from other key business systems, while others are directly integrated. Currently, separate platforms are the norm in call centers, since agents have communications needs that are far more complex than those of most other staff members. However, as cloud computing continues to penetrate deeper and deeper into prevailing enterprise models, integration considerations become increasingly necessary.

Think of the UC solution as a means of linking contact center communication platforms with the core capabilities used by the rest of the business. Larger-scale operations — particularly those that maintain multiple call centers across broad geographic areas — have more complex needs in this regard. In such cases, it’s even more important to ensure that contact center agents have all the tools they need at their fingertips, at all times.

 
Which Modes of Communication Are the Contact Center Agents Using?

In a typical customer service center, agents are simultaneously using multiple modes of communication to handle incoming requests. Though telephone services still remain at the core of the contemporary contact center, email, social media, and other Internet-based communication systems are becoming increasingly intertwined with CMS software.

Take stock of the channels agents are using, and make sure they are all integrated into the UC strategy. It’s also a good idea to speak to agents to see if there are any capabilities that don’t currently exist that would help them do a better job of serving customers going forward.

The advice and direction of an experienced and knowledgeable channel partner or telecom agent can be a big help to businesses of all sizes looking to leverage the power of UC to improve customer service. To learn more about the emerging range of dynamic customer service center solutions, please contact the experts at ROI Networks.