Ways to Improve KPI Metrics in the Contact Center

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Contact centers maintain service level by relying upon key metrics. Some of these measurements revolve around how long a call might stay in queue while other times they involve agent handle time. An agent’s knowledge gap or skills are easily revealed through technology placed in the contact center to allow managers to measure KPIs otherwise known as Key Performance Indicators. Let’s look at a few ways to improve KPIs in a contact center.

Ensure Your Agents Are Taking Breaks at Appropriate Times

When an agent runs long for lunch or misses a shift all together it places added pressure on those employees who are trying to get calls out of the queue and answered quickly. The result? Customers oftentimes end up frustrated with longer wait times and agent absenteeism rates are increased.

Have the Agent Available with the Right Skill Set

Making sure you have agents scheduled who can handle calls quickly and efficiently with the appropriate skill set will affect a few KPIs. Firstly, when you have the someone who can solve a customer request first call resolution rises. Secondly, being able to quickly route a call to the appropriate person assists in decreasing the average handle time of calls. Both of these KPIs help increase customer satisfaction and maintain service level. You can easily solve these by utilizing a workforce management software program instead of manually scheduling on a spreadsheet.

Ensure Your Communications Platform Works Properly with Your Call Center Software

Your IVR or communications system needs to seamlessly integrate with your contact center software. Otherwise customers might hang up before reaching the appropriate contact, thus affecting your abandonment rates. Another issue includes the percentage of calls blocked. If your communication system is not equipped to handle enough calls then a customer may hear a busy tone instead of being able to wait in queue. By working with a vendor agnostic contact center platform, you can easily integrate call recording, quality monitoring and workforce optimization tools into your current communication system.

Give Your Agents and Supervisors Easy to Use Tools

Being able to ensure your customer satisfaction rates are high involves proper agent training and feedback. If an agent does not receive timely performance evaluations or coaching, then attrition levels and turnover sky rocket. It’s important for any contact center to have tools where both the agent and the supervisor can send and receive feedback in an efficient manner. This process starts with being able to easily search for calls. Many contact center software programs record phone calls. However, it becomes cumbersome to locate the call and then grade it for performance evaluations. Ensuring your supervisors can utilize a program with ease will allow your agents to receive the coaching needed to make them successful and decrease attrition.

If you are looking to upgrade or re-evaluate your current tools in your contact center CXM has been working with mid-enterprise companies for over 20 years. Our software easily integrates with the top PBX manufacturers and allows your end users to adapt to its functionality with ease. Check out more information through other blog posts such as Using Data to Enable Your Employees to Perform Better and Agent Training is a Never Ending Story. You can also reach out to us directly here!

Video: An Introduction to Community Workforce Management Software

Community's browser-based application delivers enterprise workforce management features and one-of-a-kind ease of use. CXM is an authorized reseller of Community.

Community is elegantly packaged for easy use by all your contact center personnel, from agents and supervisors to schedulers and managers. Community is coupled with a culturally sensitive and consultative approach that brings our expertise to bear on your unique challenges. WFMSG’s proven Steps-to-Success methodology will properly assess your needs, automate countless processes and capture the efficiencies associated with uniquely powerful tools including forecasting, schedule optimization, streamlined intraday management and real time agent adherence and alerts.

Schedulers, supervisors and agents will be acting collaboratively to execute your unique workforce management strategy and become an agile workforce that readily responds to the dynamics of your customers and their behavior. Reach out to us today to learn more!

Four Ways to Have Better Conversations with Your Customers

Four Ways to Have Better Conversations with Your Customers

The customer journey begins with how an agent builds rapport. People buy from those they like and trust. Conducting better conversations with customers allows your organization to thrive. There are a few key points to building rapport. The agent needs to allow themselves enough time to open the conversation, understand the key points, and pace the flow of the call to allow the customer to receive timely service. Here are four ways for agents to have better conversations:

  1. Introduction and Greeting: The first few seconds of any call is key to how a customer will respond to an agent. Begin with greeting the customer and finding out their name. A great example of a company who does this is Hubspot. They make it a point to find out the caller’s name every time a client calls into support. Have your agent write it down immediately to ensure a personalized touch and then utilize it throughout the conversation.
  2. Understand Why the Customer is Calling or Contacting the Organization: By comprehending key points you’ll be able to better assist with handling the client. Being a good listener usually involves repeating back or paraphrasing what the customer is looking to accomplish. For instance, if they are looking to make a purchase it’s always a good idea to know what’s driving them. That way you can align their needs to a solution.
  3. Be Consistent with the Speed of the Conversation: A good rule of thumb is to match the customer’s pace. If they are speaking a little rapid, you may want to consider picking your speed up while maintaining friendliness. If they are softer and a slower talker match their tone so you do not overwhelm. A good way to ensure your agents are accomplishing this is to have the right tools in your environment for quality monitoring. Call recording, screen capture and live monitor give supervisors an efficient way to listen to calls and provide feedback to the agent.
  4. Closing Remarks and Action Items: Once you resolve the client’s needs it’s time for closing remarks. Ask them if they have any other questions or concerns and thank them for their time. If there are additional action items now is the time for a quick summary. Finally, call them by name as you say goodbye.

Remember, better processes make better agents in a contact center. Maintaining service levels and minimizing handle time while supporting a client’s needs improve overall customer satisfaction. If you are looking for ways to improve your contact center reach out to us at sales@cxmrecord.com.

Five Contact Center Issues That Can Deflate Your Profits

Five Contact Center Issues That Can Deflate Your Profits

Your contact center is the front line to your customers and is critical to the image of your company. In fact, customer service in your contact center can have a bigger effect on customer loyalty and sales than a new website, logo, or storefront.  People want to have their concerns heard and handled.  You may feel like resources are scarce, but it is easy to overspend in the contact center.  Here are five areas to evaluate and how you can find extra money and time in your contact center:

    1. Optimize Your Schedules. If you are still using Excel to schedule your agents, then you are likely over staffed by as much as 30%. Most call centers run multiple skills and multiple channels. Erlang cannot handle creating proper agent requirements across skills or channels. The result is a schedule with more agents than really needed to cover the work. Automated tools use complex mathematics to optimize agent requirements. They can be adjusted to optimize coverage or optimize costs. The tools can also provide suggestions on cross training opportunities to further reduce agent requirements.
    2. Monitor Schedule Adherence. A hidden cost in the contact center is agents not adhering to their schedule. Contact Centers not using an automated workforce management tool to track adherence tend to have 65-70% out of adherence rates, meaning only about 30-35% of the agents login or take breaks on time. Five or ten agents taking a break at the wrong time, coming back late from lunch, or just taking an unscheduled break, can back up call queues for the rest of the day. Using a tool to monitor schedule adherence and training the agents on the impact of adherence; will improve service levels, reduce occupancy, and reduce agent requirements to cover a specific shift.
    3. Understand Your First Call Resolution Rate. The contact center buzz word that certainly has value, but may not make sense for your contact center. First call resolution is the idea that the customer is satisfied in one call. Maybe your contact is a sales center and people call a first time to ask questions and then call back to make the purchase.  Or your service model is dependent upon a multi-call staging of resources.  For example, level one must verify and diagnose the issue before assigning it to the proper technical resource.  The important thing is that whatever your model, that customers can get to the right person or process easily every time.  If the customer cannot get an answer they are likely to seek it out on other channels.  For example, calling sales instead of service.  This begins to multiply the cost to serve the customer.  You end up paying three or four people that can’t solve the problem, instead of one that can.  Understanding call routing, transfers, and agent training are keys to reducing re-work and will improve customer satisfaction.  An effective call recording system is key to identifying why people are calling, why they are transferred, and why the call back.  Quality monitoring and coaching tools can be used to cross train agents or just ensure agents are properly trained.
    4. Limit Refunds, Discounts, and Service Upgrades. The customer is always right is only true when the customer is sincere. If your contact center is dealing in consumer goods, a percentage of your customers have learned what to say to get something free. If you are not recording calls, you will never know if or when these cons are happening. Did this person just call another agent asking for the same offer? Is there an agent training opportunity? Did they really have a price quoted for first class tickets, or are they just saying that knowing you cannot verify? In the travel industry, we see entire departments created around solving problems while the customer is travelling. Free upgrades, free excursions, and free beverages are just some of the soft giveaways frequently absorbed by the contact center. Without the proper recording and reviewing of calls, you will not know if this is a training issue with an agent or customers taking advantage of your desire to delight.
    5. Reduce Agent Handle Time. Your best trained agents take care of your customers, give extra, and still have a lower handle time than their peers. The idea is not to rush the interaction. In fact, you want to ensure the customer issue is resolved completely before ending any interaction. However, you can learn a lot from your best agents. Watch what tools they use, how they organize their desktop, and then share those best practices with your other agents. You can record your agents and use performance evaluation, coaching, and training tools to train your agents so they can quickly provide the right answers or identify the right resources. A ten percent reduction in handle time is the same as a ten percent increase in staffing.

CXM’s workforce optimization tools can help you achieve a more efficient contact center. Our team can provide ROI tools to help you find these hidden cost savings to improve your contact center and your bottom line. For more information call us at 866-400-4296 or cxmrecord.com. 

Five Key Concerns for Recording Outbound Contact Centers

Five Key Concerns for Recording Outbound Contact Centers

All call recording is not the same, and that is especially true if you have a blended or outbound contact center.  Outbound contact centers have unique technology, compliance rules, and scripting.  These systems are designed to optimize calling to attempt to ensure live connections with the intended recipient.  Being able to easily find recorded calls and deliver them for review, may not just be for quality assurance, but also proof of regulatory compliance.  Here are five key concerns you should know if you want to record outbound calls:

Know how technology works - Most blended contact centers use a separate dialer for outbound calls that may not be from the same vendor as their phone system.  If call recording is only connected to the phone system, recordings are one continuous recording for the entire calling session.  If call recording is only on the dialer, direct dialed or inbound calls are not recorded.  Having a system that integrates to both systems allows you to record all calls on your phone system and sub-divide dialer calls into separate recordings.  It is also important to be able to identify campaigns and other call statistics provided by the dialer.  This is especially important for regulatory concerns.  If you are audited, you want to be able to confidently present all of the relevant calls without providing information or calls that are out of scope.

Regulations can be costly – When taking inbound calls, notification is easily added to the incoming call greeting.  In outbound calling however, the first sound the contact hears is likely the agent.  This means that you have to ensure notification rules are followed.  There are eleven All Party Notification States; the remaining are Single Party notification States.  This means that either one or all of the parties on the call must know they are being recorded.  If you deal with callers across state lines, it is recommended to always provide notification of recording when making an outbound call.  This can take the form of the agent’s script in the call or by using beep tones that signal a recording is occurring.  Some systems also allow you to control recording by area code and you can choose to not record outbound calls for all party notification states.  In most cases, the need to protect the business interest and ensure great service will outweigh any perceived inconvenience associated with giving notification.

Recording data matters - Inbound call data is typically separated by skillset, caller id, or call queue.  Outbound calls are managed by campaigns and dialed number.  As such, your recording system needs to be able to capture the key data associated with the interaction to provide proper reporting.  You may also want to tag recordings with data such as disposition code, allowing you to easily identify successful connects for evaluation.  Your recording system should be able to tag the recording as an inbound or outbound call, so that the associated data can share common fields.  This makes searches across both inbound and outbound calls faster and simplifies reports.

Evaluation forms drive outcomes - When making outbound calls, the first 10 seconds can mean everything.  So the introduction and connecting with the person being called is more critical on an outbound call, that that of an inbound call. This difference in call structure and call plan should be incorporated into your evaluation process.  You also need to make sure how you evaluate the agents matches the goals of the call.  Collections, Sales, Marketing, Appointment Confirmation, and Healthcare calls all have different communication strategies.  As such, the evaluation needs to match that goal.  One example is patient confirmation in an outbound medical call.  In this case, it is important that the call recipient is confirmed as the patient and no information is given that might fall under HIPAA requirements.   This may contrast drastically from a collections call, where the call may quickly transition into collecting information in hopes of finding the contact that may be attempting to avoid paying a bill.  When these two are combined in medical collections, you can see where these objectives can compete.  Carefully reviewing how your evaluation questions drive behavior will ensure you have positive outcomes and stay in compliance.

Business logic identifies key calls – Embedded within quality monitoring software solutions, there are a few business logic tools that can help identify calls for evaluation or further consideration.  Outbound calls have call time length patterns than can be used to quickly isolate successful contacts.  For example, calls over 45 seconds may indicate a successful connection with a correct caller.  By using the minimum call duration feature in the business rules engine, the system can automatically select calls that best fit the profile of a successful call.  Calls that are exceeding the expected call time may be presented into a special review queue to ensure compliance and complete customer satisfaction.  Business rules can also filter out inbound calls that come in on the customer response queue versus general business contacts.   Business rules may also be used in order to control if and when you record internal communications.

Outbound contact centers have unique legal, technical, and operational challenges.  In many cases, government regulations require outbound contact centers to prove compliance.  This can result in a guilty until proven innocent situation, costing companies that cannot prove innocence a lot of money. By recording all calls, businesses can prove their compliance with regulations and their commitment to great service.  For more information on how CXM can help you in your outbound call recording, go to www.cxmrecord.com.


CXM v5.2 Helps Clients Optimize Recording Capabilities

CXM v5.2 Helps Clients Optimize Recording Capabilities

HOUSTON, TX  August 11, 2016 -  CXM announces the general availability of version 5.2.  This interim release includes enhancements to optimize network bandwidth utilization mirroring phone system deployment strategies and other network management considerations.
The default payload size and commonly recommended IP payload size for phone systems is 20ms.  However, depending on network settings and voice optimization, 10ms and 30ms payloads are becoming more commonly deployed.  CXM has added support for 10ms and 30ms payloads for Avaya, Cisco, and Mitel phone systems.  For Avaya and Cisco, this is supported with either G.711 or G.729 codec.  This enhancement provides a wider range of support to meet our client’s needs, allowing them to choose the deployment methods that best meet their network quality of service requirements.
With most phone systems operating on VoIP, there can be network issues that block specific phones voice traffic from the recording servers.  Tracking down these issues can be troublesome and time consuming.  CXM has created enhanced alerting capabilities to report when a call is seen in phone system data, but no audio is presented for recording.  This allows the technicians to quickly diagnose any network issues that might prevent proper recording down to the individual phone.
Recording PC screens requires a lot more processing power than recording audio.  For larger centers, keeping track of licenses and load balancing the servers can be challenging.  In this release, CXM now provides load balancing for screen servers.  This prevents clients from needing to define the specific local server; making upgrades, desktop replacement, and agent turnover much easier to manage.  This can also act as redundancy capability, allowing the agent screen recording client to reconnect to an alternative available server if one goes down.
CXM has recorded radio transmissions along with call recordings in security and emergency response environments for nearly 15 years.  Typically, these environments include EMS or campus dispatch systems where the calls and radio recordings are all part of the same department.  When there are multiple departments involved, or in outsourced support environments, a desire to control user access to the radio recordings is required.  CXM has now aligned user permissions on radio tower recording with the rest of the business. 
Current CXM maintenance customers will receive the upgrade at no charge and should contact the CXM help desk online at support.cxmrecord.com to learn more about scheduling the upgrade.  
CXM stands for Customer Experience Management.  Nearly 20 years ago, a client in the financial industry was in need of a call recording solution, but found the available systems to be difficult to use and expensive.  CXM set out to solve this customer’s pain and still drive development around customer needs.  CXM has grown from a recording system to a robust workforce optimization suite. CXM still focuses on one single thing – simplicity. With a simple intuitive interface, CXM delivers results that help our clients protect their business and exceed customer expectations. For more information on CXM, call us at 1-866-400-4296 or learn more at cxmrecord.com.