Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Top 5 Motivational Quotes for Call Center Agents

1) “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them become what they are capable of becoming” - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

2) “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier” – Mother Theresa

3) “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader” – John Quincy Adams

4) "It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." – Charles Darwin

5) “You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life." – Steve Jobs, Apple

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Virtual Observations # 3 - Call Center News, Tips and Strategies

* Best Practices - Six Sigma
There is a big movement underway to adopt Six Sigma philosophies within the call center industry. Six Sigma is mostly known in the manufacturing world, relative to quality and process improvement techniques. "Six Sigma" can be defined as a quality measurement and improvement program originally developed by Motorola that focuses on the control of a process to the point of ± six sigma (standard deviations) from a centerline, or put another way, 3.4 defects per million items. A Six Sigma systematic quality program provides businesses with the tools to improve the capability of their business processes. You can find out more about Six Sigma from the following resources:

* More VoIP recording system compatibilities announced!
We are pleased to announce Virtual Observer (VO) random sample VoIP recording for call centers with 3COM, Cisco, Avaya as well as any SIP-enabled phone systems. This allows call centers to "Start Small and Think Big" when purchasing a call recording system by enabling them to record select calls instead of recording all calls, which requires many more channel licenses.

VO is one of the first solutions that will be able to randomly record calls off of 3COM (NBX and VCX (SIP) phone systems) VoIP phone systems for quality purposes. "This will allow us to enter many new markets," said CSI Vice President of Development Dan McGrail. "We already are established as the leading vendor of choice for this process in the legacy recording world. Now we're extending the same lower cost of ownership and rapid return on investment to customers who have invested in VoIP technology."

We also provide 100% call logging for VoIP, as well as random sample recording and 100% call recording for legacy/TDM phone systems. Other supported phone systems include Nortel, Mitel and Siemens.

* Customer upgrades should NOT be a complete RE-BUY of the system...
CSI has long focused on keeping our customers happy via excellent, beyond-the-call service levels. When it comes time to upgrading Virtual Observer, we charge only nominal fees for the labor and time to implement the new software and train employees on new functionality. Many of our higher-priced competition charge more for an upgrade than what we have for an initial sticker price. This contributes to our extremely high customer retention rate. We have a similar philosophy in regards to annual support and maintenance. Our standard annual support fees are only a fraction of the original purchase price of our software. You would think this would be standard, but some companies charge almost as much as the customers' initial investment. With CSI, you can rest assured our pricing policies are always going to be customer-friendly, like our software.

* Call Center Knowledge Share
In this section, we will share tips, techniques and data used by successful call center managers. This month we look at the "Call Center Networking Group".
The Call Center Networking Group (CCNG) is an international organization, built around the sharing of knowledge, best practices, and being an advocate for call center managers. One of the benefits of belonging to this group are the open tours of call centers. They offer programs for local, national, global and virtual access. Benchmarking has never been easier!

* Tips for Improving customer service performance
Allow your agents to hear themselves. Often, they will be more critical of themselves than even their supervisors would be. Make a playlist of all of their recordings available to them to listen to when they have downtime. Give them a goal of self-evaluating eight calls a month. Run a contest for "most improved agent" each month.

* Customer service issues that occur and the resolutions that solve them
There is nothing quite as aggravating as being stuck in an endless e-mail support loop. If a customer has account information with you, imagine their delight when you receive an email support question from them, but instead of replying with a status report, you called them back to make sure there are no other issues, and you will have squashed any further questions that may have ended up in a frustrating email loop.

* Demystifying Common Acronyms:
ANI/DNIS: Automatic Number Identification (ANI) and Dialed Number Identification System (DNIS)
ANI and DNIS are the part of your telephone system that provides the call information. ANI presents the caller id and DNIS presents the called id.

* How to maximize your use of VO 3.0
This is relevant to customers using block of time recording -- In 3.0, the item that really blows supervisors away is the ability to select an event, and then package a portion of the event from the block of time recording into its own sub-folder. You would then name that file, repeat the process for multiple calls, and you will end up with a media list. For example, "Gary's Greatest Hits" would include Gary's last five stellar calls. Each call would be free of dead air because you were able to extract only the call itself.

* Top VO 3.0 Support FAQs
Question: Can I see what calls are being recorded this very minute?
Answer: Yes.
Open the Application Launcher.
Select the Event Log.
When you are in the Event Log, click on the eyeglass icon (mouseover will show "Record Server Status").
This will bring up a list of current calls being recorded.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Skype's Master VoIP Plan

Yesterday I tested Skype's new 2.0 version, mainly because they just announced they will allow Skype-to-Landline (US and Canada) calls for free.

I tried it by calling the office. They said I sounded very clear. I then tried it by calling one of our remote sales reps. They said I was choppy at best.

Will I be throwing out my landline at home and using Skype for VoIP calling at home? Not likely, as my fiancee holds on to the main telephone for dear life, as if we'd be wiped off the grid if we got rid of it. If it were up to me alone, I'd say sayonara to Cox.

Skype shows a lot of commitment by offering this service for free. I was a bit afraid they'd get swallowed by the Ebay consumer commerce monster and be used exclusively as a conduit for buyers and sellers.

Here's an excellent article I found on

Skype's Net Neutrality gamble: we'll be so big, they can't stop us

James Bilefield, head of Skype's European operations, has a plan for combating telecommunications companies eager to do away with Net Neutrality: get big. As companies such as AT&T think about cashing in on a "tiered Internet," which would include "opportunities" for consumers to pay extra for the "guaranteed delivery" of data, companies such as Skype are worrying if their business models can withstand an assault from the commercial Internet infrastructure.

But that's not the only concern. What if Internet Service Providers decide to just block Skype altogether? More than a few companies are working on commercial solutions to block Skype and other VoIP-traffic, hoping to find early adopters among state-run telecommunications companies and security-conscious businesses.

Skype's battleplan is simple. If their user base is large enough, companies will think twice about tampering with Skype traffic. When Brazil's biggest telecom pulled the plug on Skype, the outcry in the country was big enough that the decision was soon reversed. Bilefield said, "The community has the power to change things."

Nancy Gohring's report from VON Europe conference in Stockholm indicates that worries about VoIP aren't going anywhere. While VoIP may be great for consumers' pocketbooks, it's not great for the corporate purse. "Our existing cash flow is being challenged," said Joacim Damgard, VP for broadband and fixed services at TeliaSonera. It's not hard to see why. VoIP calls are considerably cheaper than land-line alternatives in almost every case, sometimes by an astounding margin. In the United States and Canada, a new Skype promotion will even see free calling throughout the region for the rest of the calendar year.
..end excerpt.

Author: Ken Fisher

Monday, May 08, 2006

Demystifying Call Center Buzz

I found a great article which spells out the meanings behind all of the acronyms you see floating around. While some are obvious, I am sure there are some that even the most knowledgeable reader will say, "oh, that's what that means...".

Here is an excerpt:

COmpressor-DECompressor, COder-DECoder, or 'Compression/DECompression: A device or program capable of performing Encoding and Decoding on a data stream or signal. CODECs can also be used to compress and decompress data to allow for smaller data file transmission.

Customer Relationship Management: The group of systems and practices (methodologies, strategies, software and web-based capabilities) that encompass a business's management of its customers.

Computer Telephony Integration: Technology that allows interactions on a telephone and a computer to be integrated or coordinated. CTI encompasses all contact channels (voice, email, video, fax etc.)

Interactive Voice Response: A computerized system that allows a person to select an option from a voice menu or otherwise interface with a computer system by speaking.

Session Initiation Protocol: A protocol and standard for initiating, modifying, and terminating a multimedia (voice, video, etc) interactive session. SIP was accepted in 2000 as the 3GPP signaling element and a permanent element of IMS architecture.

eXtensible Markup Language: A W3C-recommended general-purpose markup language for creating special-purpose markup languages, capable of describing different types of data. In other words, XML is a method of describing data that is primarily used to facilitate data sharing across different systems. Programs can modify and validate documents based in XML without prior knowledge of their form.

The rest can be found in this referenced article from VoIP News

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