Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Quick List: Benefits of Quality Monitoring

I was speaking to one of our customers this morning.

The customer was very happy with basic, simple call recording and was a little unsure of bringing in a robust quality monitoring system, but they were considering the upgrade (CSI's customer upgrade program delivers free software upgrades to active customers) to Virtual Observer.

My contact there, the call center manager, asked me for some basic bullets she could use to present a case for implementing a quality monitoring system.

The list I sent her was hardly complete, but a powerful reminder of how strong a short list of the benefits could be:

- reduce employee training cycle time
- reduce attrition
- generate more sales, saves and "upgrades"
- view trends over time, compare month-to-month or year-to-year and make decisions based on real performance data
- resolve disputes through call retention
- create training materials based on the best recorded calls
- automate many of your current internal QA methods

With the above list, the benefits of both quality monitoring and Virtual Observer are very, very clear.
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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Nex-Tech implements Virtual Observer for automating customer service initiatives

We are pleased to announce that Nex-Tech, a telephone service provider headquartered in Hays, Kansas, has selected CSI’s Virtual Observer Professional for call logging, screen capture and quality monitoring. Nex-Tech will be using Virtual Observer to enhance customer service initiatives.

Amy Normandin, Nex-Tech's internet help desk supervisor, said "We chose Virtual Observer based on the features it offered, the fact that it would be easy to use & implement, and the price for the overall package".

About Nex-Tech:
Nex-Tech is a subsidiary of Rural Telephone, a leader in the telecommunications industry since 1951. The goal of Nex-Tech is to provide the highest quality service possible to our customers at affordable prices. Rural Telephone and Nex-Tech have provided services for 50 years.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

These are the rules of business...in call logging terms, that is.

With the rise of a number of regulations and security standards, including PCI and HIPAA compliance, more and more companies are seeing the requirement to record every call and keep them archived for X years, but also to keep them encrypted.

From the SMB up to the Enterprise, there seems to be no escape from compliance. This has created a tremendous demand for highly-reliable, highly-accessible, tightly-secure call logging systems.

Ok...so now your company has every call made in and out of your operation.

The contact center team wants to play back calls for quality monitoring purposes.

You have a gazillion calls per day mounting -- how does your quality supervisor find the ones which he should evaluate?

With Virtual Observer, we apply business rules which determine which calls show up in which supervisors' queue. Business rules can be defined as calls with recorded screens, calls from customer X, calls which are X minutes or longer, calls handled by agent A, calls passed from agent A to agent B, etc.

The complexity of your business rules depends on the different ways you are capturing data with the call. You may have CTI, or simply an SMDR feed. You may have agent tagging, which allows for the agents to tag calls with special notes or codes.

Applying business rules to your call logging solution can turn a mountain back into a molehill, which your supervisors will appreciate.
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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Computer Generated Solutions moves forward with Avaya call recording solution

We are pleased to announce that Computer Generated Solutions (CGS), headquartered in New York, NY, has selected CSI’s Virtual Observer Professional for call recording and quality monitoring. Virtual Observer was implemented to record calls off of CGS's Avaya phone system using the Avaya DMCC recording methodology.

"Virtual Observer (VO) will enable us to meet our agent development goals across multiple call centers as well as meet compliance demands. DMCC connectivity allows us to scale with a smaller footprint. We did our due diligence and compared vendors, and we discovered VO to deliver the best value with a low cost of ownership," said Julian Alviz, IT Director with CGS.

CGS was recently highlighted in the news as a "business solutions company on the move" in the world wide contact center market.

About CGS:
Computer Generated Solutions, Inc. is a leading global provider of end-to-end, technology-enabled business solutions, including ERP, SCM, PLM, WMS, CRM, portal, e-commerce, application development, project services, e-learning, training, staffing, call center, and global sourcing solutions.

Founded in New York City in 1984, CGS currently serves North America, Europe, and Asia with 20 global locations, and 2500 employees worldwide. CGS enables mid-market enterprises, Fortune 1000 companies, and government agencies to drive business transformation and improve operating performance by adapting and implementing advanced technologies—carried out by proven, cross-industry, multi-platform experts that are dedicated to customer satisfaction.

CGS delivers an integrated portfolio of solutions and services reflecting a broad range of technology and business practices that offer a single point of accountability, which reduces total cost of ownership and maximizes return on IT investments. The result is end-to-end delivery and support of a comprehensive set of solutions and services that enables clients to focus on driving competitive advantage in their core business. For more information on CGS, please visit http://www.cgsinc.com

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Chicago-based Advocate Physician Partners implements quality monitoring system

We are pleased to announce that Advocate Physician Partners, located in Mt, Prospect, IL, has selected CSI's Virtual Observer Professional system for call logging and quality monitoring.

Laura Santiago, Resolution Center Supervisor for Advocate Physician Partners, declared Virtual Observer the logical choice based on flexibility and sophistication of data analysis available.

"I can certainly tell you that CSI's sales approach was professional and prompt. They knew exactly what we were looking for, and were very timely in their responses when questions arose. We've received great customer service post-sale through the installation and training. What sold us was the ability to pull a random sample of calls to evaluate, which no other vendor could accommodate. We also loved the screen capture feature, which allowed us to view what the agent did while on the call; where he/she looked to, what screens he/she viewed, etc. The system is extremely user friendly," Santiago stated. The system is recording all calls off of an Alcatel switch in their contact center, providing the organization with the ability to evaluate calls, as well as provide agent feedback and training. Advocate Physician Partners is also utilizing Virtual Observer's E-Learning module to help train agents based on scoring performance or weaknesses.

About Advocate Physician Partners:
Advocate Physician Partners is the care management and managed care contracting joint venture between Advocate Health Care and select physicians on the medical staffs of Advocate hospitals. With a physician network that includes more than 900 primary care physicians and 2,300 specialists, Advocate Physician Partners is focused on improving health care quality and outcomes - while reducing the overall cost of care - in both the inpatient and ambulatory settings. Advocate Physician Partners’ award-winning clinically integrated approach to patient care utilizes best practices in evidence-based medicine, advanced technology and quality improvement techniques.

Advocate Health Care is a not-for-profit, faith-based integrated healthcare delivery system serving the greater Chicago metropolitan area. Advocate Health Care is ranked among the nation’s top health care systems. With 27,300 employees, Advocate Health Care is the second largest private sector employer in Chicago. For more information, please visit http://www.advocatehealth.com

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Catholic Knights implements Virtual Observer to enhance agent training

We are pleased to announce that Catholic Knights, located in Milwaukee, WI, has selected CSI’s Virtual Observer Logger system for call recording and quality monitoring.

Joyce Brost , Facility Coordinator for Catholic Knights declared Virtual Observer a logical choice for their organization.

The system will be recording calls off of an Avaya switch in their contact center, providing the organization with the ability to evaluate calls, as well as provide agent feedback and training.

About Catholic Knights:
From 1885 to today, Catholic Knights has continued to grow and expand. Catholic Knights was formed as a fraternal benefit society, dedicated "to unite fraternally for social, benevolent and intellectual improvement of all practicing Roman Catholics of every profession, business and occupation."

Today, Catholic Knights is a vital Catholic membership organization. It attracts new members who want to be part of an organization that puts Catholic values into action and has significant benefits to offer its members. Catholic Knights is in a prominent position for significant growth as the organization takes on the challenges of the 21st century. Read more at http://www.catholicknights.org

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Virtual Observer & Server Virtualization: Lean, Green & Mean

The engineers up in the labs are once again giving us excellent content to drop on our blog. This time, the topic of "virtualization" came up with an enterprise prospect who needed a zero-hardware call recording implementation.

Of course, since this prospect had Avaya and AES, we went down the path of CMAPI/DMCC for harvesting the calls. We are definitely able to avoid recording boards when we integrate directly with the phone system. There's one hardware requirement removed from the equation.

Our engineers asked if there were any servers in the data center running VMware. The prospect said yes -- we explained we have several customers running the Virtual Observer recording, database and application services on VMware, creating a smaller footprint and a much greener environment.

Our engineers informed us we've actually had VO deployed in virtualized environments since 2001. More and more enterprises are going green, and virtualization is one of the processes helping them meet that goal.

VO is 100% compatible with VMWare and Microsoft Virtual Server, an excellent option for a lean and green Call Recording and Quality Monitoring implementation.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

A Special Father's Day, Complete With Excellent Customer Service

For Father's Day this year, my wife and son decided to take me to an independent coffee roaster in Bethel, CT. I was very excited to go but there was one hitch: they weren't open on Sunday. I decided to email the company and see if there was any chance of setting up an appointment.

The owner of Redding Roasters, Bill O'Keefe, emailed me back right away. He explained that he had the day off and was going to be spending time with his granddaughter, but he offered to open up the shop at 9 am and he'd give us the tour.

I replied instantly, thanking him for his offer but I told him we'd decline as we'd never want to interrupt HIS Father's Day. He insisted again, saying it was not an inconvenience at all, so we made the appointment and the early morning trek down to his facility.

He brought us in a little bit early as there wasn't much traffic, and immediately made us some fresh Ethiopian Harrar. He then gave us a lengthy overview of his business process, from roasting tips and methods to the decaffeination process. He was even patient with our 1 year old, as the baby morphed from patient observer to restless explorer.

Bill then did what I was hoping for - he fired up his 2004 Diedrich Roaster, and ran a small batch of Ethiopian Harrar. The green beans turned to a medium brown in about thirty minutes or so, as the roaster scaled to 440 degrees fahrenheit.

Bill showed us his inventory of beans, highlighting the most popular and the most rare. He didn't mind that I wanted to take pictures and ask questions. Our visit lasted two hours, an hour beyond what was initially agreed on for the appointment.

It is rare that you come across this kind of customer service. Bill left a tremendous impression on us.

I did become a customer, purchasing a 1/2 pound of the fresh roasted Ethiopian Harrar (he said to wait about a week for peak flavor), a 1/2 pound of Brazilian, and a 1/2 lb of Brazilian decaf.

Redding Roasters offers a large menu of fresh roasted beans and also does quite a bit of private labeling.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Virtual Observer Earns ShoreTel Certification

We are pleased to announce that Virtual Observer (VO) is now certified within the ShoreTel TPP (Technology Partner Program). Having successfully tested out our ShoreTel integration in the ShoreTel labs, VO's call logging engine is designed around ShoreTel Architecture, integrating with the ShoreTel System (TAPI) and runs on Windows Servers. VO provides the lowest cost of ownership in the industry for ShoreTel Call Recording.

More about ShoreTel's Technology Partner Program:
ShoreTel's growing eco-system of technology partners provide complementary products that extend ShoreTel’s Unified Communications system capabilities. Members offer hardware, software, and services that enable customers to enhance their communications and more fully leverage their investment in the network and in their voice system. By working with the Technology Partner's, ShoreTel's expansive network of channel partners can offer customers' comprehensive solutions to today's most challenging business communications needs.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

CSI puts quality monitoring to work for eRx Network

A while back we posted the announcement that eRx Network had selected Virtual Observer, and now we're pleased to publish the full success story documenting the performance gains achieved by the eRx contact center after implementation. Here is an excerpt:

"We track several quality metrics using Virtual Observer, including weekly, monthly, and quarterly quality assurance scoring averages per agent, team, and center," said Joseph Balcken, contact center quality manager. "We believe that immediate access to more data, as well as reliable, consistent reporting of QA scores, have improved the department’s overall quality -- a dramatic result that is attributable to our use of Virtual Observer."

Read the full quality monitoring success story here.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Three ways call recording and quality monitoring can provide an instant return on investment

There are many different ways a call recording and quality monitoring system can provide benefits, both in the short and long term.

Here is a quick bullet list of three ways that come to mind based on customer feedback, providing them with an almost instant return on investment.

  • Call center customer service agents, knowing they are going to be recorded, may be motivated to start stepping their game up. They'll want their scores to be decent. If the implementation of the call monitoring system is rolled out in a positive manner, the employees will embrace the effort to make them better at their jobs.

  • If your company implements a call logging solution, capturing every call, you'll never be caught missing that important call which can be preserved for training purposes. For example, a customer was able to play back and score a call which captured an agent saving a large customer's account. The "why" behind the possible cancellation and the "how" the save was conducted was preserved as training material for all new hires.

  • In some cases, call recording can help catch fraud. A system was recording for just under 48 hours when it captured a fraudulent customer calling in to activate his stolen credit card. The caller had presented all of his contact information, and the recorded call was presented to the authorities.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Call center quality monitoring can yield dramatic improvements

The core quality assurance features which come bundled with Virtual Observer helped to make SRA Associates' recent call recording implementation a resounding success:

Read this excerpt from an article on TMCnet:

The Virtual Observer team implemented a system to record calls of SRA’s Samsung (News - Alert) phone system. Using an SMDR feed, the calls are able to be tied back into the agent database. Screens are captured and synchronized to give SRA a complete perspective on the customer's interactions. SRA leverages the integrated evaluation, screen capture and performance reporting to automate the quality process and reduce agent turnover as well as improve customer satisfaction.

"Virtual Observer presented a strong value proposition, and I would recommend it for any financial services organization," offered Chiara, as he turned on his pc screen, which showed thumbnails of his entire staff's desktops. Using VO Live technology, John can double-click on an agent desktop, go full screen, take control, or chat for assistance. "VO Live is one of the features that sold me. The power was apparent," John added.

Continue on reading the entire article SRA Associates Sees Dramatic Improvement in Call Center Performance...

Friday, May 01, 2009

Going the classic trade show route in an era of Twitter

Last week we exhibited at an industry trade show. The face to face meet and greets at a trade show can be like speed dating in that you have about a minute to impress people (kudos to my sales manager for the analogy).

On the opposite end of the marketing spectrum (debatable?), last month we also saw the launch of our Twitter account, which is available at http://twitter.com/virtualobserver.

We're going to use it to deliver brief bursts of CSI and Virtual Observer news, as well as snippets and other noteworthy call center industry links.

The best way to describe Twitter for those who don't really understand what it is yet is that Twitter allows you to post or receive quick status updates on people/companies/brands that you care about. In about three minutes, you can go to your Twitter homepage and review what everyone is doing. That's it, you're caught up, you can get back to your busy day.

Many companies are using Twitter to reach their most loyal customers, updating them with exclusive specials, breaking product news, or insider tidbits that only a true fan would want to know.

Of course, many people bombard Twitter with many trivial and useless tidbits of information. If you don't want to follow those people, you don't have to.

Back to the trade show. The trade show was very fruitful -- very glad we went. Sometimes you can't beat good, old fashioned face-to-face contact.

Friday, April 03, 2009

CSI and Windstream partner to deliver Siemens call center quality monitoring to Assurity Life Insurance Company

We are pleased to announce that Assurity Life Insurance Company, located in Lincoln, Nebraska, has selected CSI’s Virtual Observer Professional for call recording and quality monitoring. Virtual Observer was implemented to record calls off of Assuritys’ Siemens phone system.

CSI worked hand-in-hand with partner Windstream Communications to configure a robust quality monitoring solution for Assurity which not only met all project requirements but was also able to bring in the total project cost under budget.

About Assurity:
Assurity Life Insurance Company offers a wide variety of insurance and annuity products and services designed to solve complex financial problems for individuals, families and businesses. Assurity is committed to tailoring clients’ plans with a variety of creative solutions to fit wide-ranging needs for protection and wealth accumulation. For additional information about Assurity, please visit www.assurity.com

About Windstream:
Windstream Corporation is an S&P 500 company that provides digital phone, high-speed Internet and high-definition video and entertainment services to residential and business customers in 16 states. The company has approximately 3.1 million access lines and about $3.2 billion in annual revenues. For more information, visit http://www.windstream.com

Recent enhancements to call recording performance reporting features

Here’s a quick update on some of the latest updates to VO's Performance Reporting & Analytics features:

- Added dynamic real-time date range capabilities to our "Dashboards" feature: Current Day, Current Month, Current Year.

Added Trending Reports:
* New Recording Statistics which cross-reference a period of time (Hour, Day, Week, Month, Quarter and Year) against Agent, Agent Type, Supervisor, etc.
* New SMDR Statistics Report: gathers SMDR Stats over a period of time, such as (Hour, Day, Week, Month, Quarter and Year) and grouped by Extension, Trunk, Direction, Digits (ANI / DNIS) etc.
* New Channel Statistics Report: includes recording attempts over a period of time, such as (Hour, Day, Week, Month, Quarter and Year) and grouped by Agent ID, Agent Name, Extension, Channel, Result Code.

- Added a "simple" view for our Query Wizard as an alternate option for diving deep into data. Simple mode is a new mode that allows a user to quickly select a field and a value and quickly get the result they are looking for. You may also chose a condition, such as equals, not equals etc, and a relation to each piece of data (AND or OR). The user has the option of moving between advanced and simple by clicking the proper buttons. The query wizard will remember your last selected mode and will stay in that mode until you change modes.

- Enhanced Calibration features within our evaluation system.

- Enhanced the Event Log with "Favorites": Users can now set a quick-pick list of commonly used data searches. These Favorites are saved in the User Profile so they are independent from user to user and are not shared. The system ships with and initially sets up a list that is empty. The user can click the new "favorites" button and then add, edit or delete favorites. Each time thereafter, when the event log is loaded, the favorites will be available from the pick list.

Please contact customer support for questions about these new features.

Friday, March 06, 2009

8 things your call center can implement to help offset the impact of a challenged economy

* Reinvest in current customers. Re-allocate resources to take extra care of those customers who have stuck with you.

* Cross train your people. Cross training your call center reps will improve productivity and add flexibility to your schedules.

* Take new approaches. If your customers aren’t spending time on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.com, etc., they will be soon. Make sure your company is visible on these social networks and easy to find. You’ll want to include social network monitoring and response as part of your agent cross-training.

* Consolidate troops. Move all your teams and departments to the same location to save money on technology, energy and training cost. Taking it a bit further, you could combine your purchasing power with other companies to gain greater negotiating leverage and reduce costs. This applies not only to purchase products and supplies but also to services. What contact center does not utilize a cleaning service?

* Reinforce the basics. Simple fine tuning of courtesy skills can have a dramatic impact. Even if you have not implemented an automated quality monitoring system yet, set up some peer evaluation and coaching as part of your new cross-training regimen.

* Reward your people. Innovative rewards and incentive programs can motivate and refocus your team. Make it fun to achieve.

* Personalize your CRM efforts. If you have call handling scripts, think about adding some personalization. Add some fields in your CRM for your customer's birthdays, sports teams, local town, family status, etc. Next time the customer calls in, they will feel special and truly cared about, and most importantly – “they're more than a number” to you.

* Capture the “WOW”. Have your reps add some notes on the "wow" moment - that moment when a customer seems to really show their satisfaction. Save these recorded calls to a "Best Of" media library and share amongst the organization. This will not only beef up morale but can help in training new hires.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

News, RSS Feeds and Social Networks for our supported phone systems

Virtual Observer connects to most popular phone systems, and I've tried to round up some of the latest news from each of them. After perusing the excerpts and links, you will find a list of RSS feeds for each phone system vendor so you add them to your RSS feed readers. If that's not enough, I've also compiled a list of the various social networks where these companies have presence.

ShoreTel: Nortel Demise Marks the Beginning of a Huge Category Shift
An excerpt: "As you've no doubt read, Nortel Networks has filed for bankruptcy, marking the demise of a once leading company in the communications industry. Is Nortel just another unfortunate victim of the recession? Does it indicate major problems for all providers of telephony solutions? No and no....click here to read the full article on ShoreTel's Blog.

Avaya: Avaya Unified Communications and Contact Center Solutions "Certified Green" by Independent Test Labs
An excerpt: "Avaya, a leading global provider of business communications applications, systems and services, today announced that its Unified Communications and Contact Center solutions have been "Certified Green" by Miercom, an independent testing organization. The designation verifies that Avaya Communication Manager-based networks are environmentally-friendly designs that can save companies money and boost efficiency....click here to read the entire news release.

Cisco: 1-800 CONTACTS is deploying Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise to help it manage growth and increase uptime. An excerpt: "By integrating contact center, web support and administration on the same platform, 1-800 CONTACTS is now able to expand capabilities of its at-home agents by blending inbound and outbound calls into a single queue, allowing contact center associates to answer calls faster. In addition, the entire system is more stable and uptime has been increased by eliminating technical issues inherent in a patchwork system...click here to read the entire article

- Avaya Contact Center News RSS Feed
- Cisco Unified Communications RSS Feed
- ShoreTel news feed
- Mitel RSS Feed
- Alcatel-Lucent RSS Feed
- Nortel RSS Feed

- Avaya DevConnect on LinkedIn
- Avaya DevConnect on Facebook

- ShoreTel on LinkedIn
- ShoreTel on Facebook

- Cisco Ecosystem on Facebook

- Mitel Solutions Alliance on LinkedIn

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

How the Results Group automated their quality monitoring with CSI-Avaya solution

Avaya just published a success story detailing Virtual Observer's impact on the ever-scaling Results Group's quality initiatives.

Some highlights:

* Results Group expanded their operation by opening 23 new contact centers across North America and Europe.

* Results Group needed a scalable call recording and quality monitoring solution that could accommodate their aggressive expansion and still provide excellent value to price.

• The number of successfully recorded calls has risen to more than one million calls per month

• Staffing levels have increased to more than 4,000 agents

• New agent training is completed in a fraction of the time

• Quality levels have risen dramatically

Please read the full Avaya success story here.

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