Monday, July 31, 2006

Virtual Observations # 4 - Call Center News, Tips and Strategies

Virtual Observations - a newsletter featuring call center tips, strategies, and news.

* Best Practices - Why Use Random Sample Call Recording?

In the TDM/Analog phone system world, many companies still prefer to randomly record calls rather than record all calls. The main benefit with most systems is the cost savings - less hardware, less channel licenses, less storage space required, etc. For an example, let's look at a 30 person call center. If you were to record all calls, you would need to have 30 different recording channels to ensure capacity to record 30 simultaneous conversations. Typically there is a per-channel license charge. You'd probably require more of a work horse server to handle the call volume and storage requirements.

With random sampling, you could tell the system you'd like to have ten calls per month per agent, and using SMDR, you'd be able to grab 300 full-length calls per month (as opposed to a "block of time" recording method). That would be a generous sampling of events for your supervisors to evaluate, wouldn't it?

In the VoIP recording world, there is less of a cost savings, but perhaps more of a sanity savings...instead of sorting through thousands of calls to choose some for evaluation, your supervisors need only evaluate the 300 calls that have been recorded.

* Call Center Knowledge Share

What are some of the benefits of implementing a VoIP phone system?

Cost reduction - multiple offices can all exist on the same phone system and reduce long distance costs, without regard to physical distance between locations.

Improved productivity and collaboration - integrated voice and data applications allow for unheard of productivity gains and unlimited enterprise-wide capabilities

Mobility - call center agents using VoIP phones can work from anywhere with a sufficiently fast Internet connection

Convergence - receive your faxes, emails, and phone messages all in the same place

* Tips for improving customer service performance

How do you defuse an increasingly hostile customer?

Every company has their own policies and procedures. Here's one in particular that works:
You start by making sure you listen!
Let them speak without interruption
You then reiterate what they said, in the form of a question. This tells them that you did in fact listen
Next, tell them you want to make sure they're completely comfortable after you've resolved their situation

If you don't have a resolution immediately, assure them you are going to take it to the next level, without them having to repeat their story again
Restate the fact that your goal is to turn them into a referenceable customer
Ask them if overall, besides this specific issue, service has been acceptable
Offer them something

Close with how much you truly appreciate their business. If the issue isn't resolved, ask them how often they'd like to be called with an update...that's the line that'll blow their socks off!

* Demystifying Common Acronyms:

These acronyms are examples of call record data, typically retrieved via a computer:

SMDR - station message-detail recording
CDR - call detail recording

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