Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I ran a medium sized call center...

This post was submitted by Cecile Peterkin, a Career and Life Coach. More info about Cecile is also available on her LinkedIn profile.

"I ran a medium size call center for a Mutual Fund company in Canada. Not all calls were monitored, however, I did random taping of all our agents on a weekly basis. The information was used for testing agents product knowledge, speed, accuracy, and professionalism. The information was also for training and performance appraisals

We wanted our agents to move away from "Call Center Agents" to "Client Relationship Specialists". Develop a relationship with the callers (Investment Advisers) to reassure all their needs are met.

I found the best way to improve agents phone skills was to have their calls analyze by their peers. There was a noticeable improvement in the handling of calls when the feedback was peer based.

Agents that were performing well on the phones were trained to do the monitoring and training/coaching. The agent in question would be asked to critique his/her call - what would they do differently. Together, the agent and the trainer would work on areas to be improved and assigned things to focus on for the following week."

- Cecile

Monday, June 20, 2005

The first call center I managed...

This post comes in from David Hall of OpenBox. He can also be found at LinkedIn.

"Actually the first call center environ that I managed was about 15 years ago and we just used an old dos based system to report on incoming calls, wait time, dropped off, etc...that was pretty archaic and the second experience I must say was not much more advanced...at Fidelity which was also a few years back we literally monitored calls manually with a quality control check list for interaction...eg, did reps give name? properly give stock Quotes and news? follow procedures? etc etc, ask if customer had any final questions...

We had a check list we developed so was not real high tech...at MCI Worldcom they Did venture into what they called the 'web center' which was to be a center for all customer toughpoints but don't think it ever really took off....

Also once we would critique calls based on our quality assurance check list those with a certain % or say 100% rating on customer call interaction we would give gift certificate to movie and dinner and/or award/certificate to reinforce the perfect customer interaction...."

- David Hall

Friday, June 10, 2005

Quality Monitoring Stats

From time to time we will publish interesting industry stats that we come across. Feel free to add comments or your own stats to this blog. Credit and a hyperlink will be attributed.

From Benchmark Portal and Dr. Jon Anton, noted expert on customer service -

"Based on our research, call centers that use monitoring or coaching software show measurable improvement in average talk time, average after-call work time and the number of calls resolved on the first contact. We observe the following differences among those that do monitor: a) average speed of answer is 19% lower, b) average talk time decreases by 29% and c) after-call work time is nearly three times lower."

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Call monitoring - every call or random?

When you are selecting a call center quality assurance system, you need to decide which method of recording is best for you: total recording (100% of all calls), a random sample (10 calls per agent per month) or on-demand (Click to start and click to stop).

Most call centers may require a combination of recording methods. Some industries mandate 100% recording, especially where there are liability concerns. Some companies don't have the budget to tackle 100% recording, as it can require multiple recording channels and possibly multiple servers. For most mid-sized call centers, random sampling is enough to get a baseline of agent performance.

Once the data is captured, no matter what the quantity is, there will be the opportunity to evaluate and score the calls, and then provide feedback to the agent to improve their performance. This can equate to hundreds of thousands of dollars in productivity gains over a years' time.

When the focus is on performance improvement, random sampling will work for you. When liability is a concern, you should record 100% of the calls. On demand recording can be a good feature to go along with random sampling. Typically random sampling and on-demand recording can be achieved with a 2 or 4 channel system.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Rave Reviews for Virtual Observer 3.0

"Hey guys,

I have not forgotten about you guys and apologize for the delay. First and foremost, I wanted to let you guys know how much I appreciate working with you on these implementations. Over the past 3 years I have lost a lot of faith in “vendor relations” and I can honestly say you has restored quite a bit of it. Your willingness to work with the customer and open lines of communications you maintain through the process are very commendable. In short, it is an absolute pleasure to work with you guys on these projects and look forward to future ventures that WILL occur.

Now, on to the technical stuff;

Overall, things are going extremely well and the software appears to be working great. We are pushing the Virtual Observer (VO) application out via SMS with an additional SMS job to modify the XP, SP2 firewall rules to allow the VO communication to occur successfully. We had open TCP port 5001, 5002, 5003 and 5005 following the installation for the application to function properly on each client.

Other items of interest;

Following the SMS push the application appears to be installed and all services are loaded and running. However, I am unable to telnet to 5001 or discover the agent via the explorer program until the agent logs off and back on. In order to keep things “quiet” I have just been waiting one extra day following the SMS push for the agents to log in the next day which gets things working smoothly.

Once I get all agents up and going and have some recordings in the system I will touch base again and let you know how thing look. From my initial testing and investigation, things look awesome!!!

Great job on version 3 of your call center recording software!!!

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