Friday, December 10, 2010

Call Recording / Monitoring also beneficial to Marketing and Development Teams

For over twenty five years, Baudville has been an integral part of recognition programs and practices in organizations across the country.

Baudville provides recognition products and expertise to businesses, schools, hospitals and non-profit organizations.

Kurt Carlson, Director of Sales for Baudville, recognized Virtual Observer as a key component in the success of their call center operations.

"If you run a call center, you probably already know the value and importance of remote monitoring calls for coaching, development and training. However, as a catalog direct marketer, the impact of Virtual Observer has been immeasurable when we’ve used it to play portions of calls for our Marketing team and Product Development teams."

"This has happened in three major ways: 1) Hearing how customers misinterpret catalog copy that could be written more clearly; 2) Understanding how customers use the product has given insight into new product ideas, upsell opportunities, or different ways to present the product in pictures, and lastly 3) insight into how well the product training is retained and presented to customers by CSRs," Kurt added.

Friday, November 19, 2010

More Than Simply a Customer / Vendor Relationship

More than simply a customer and vendor, GECU and CSI share synergy in their operating philosophies.

GECU’s mantra is "We’re With You". As El Paso's largest locally owned financial institution, GECU understands the value of the value of consistently delivering excellent member service.

CSI's operating philosophy of "Simple, Effective and Affordable" call recording solutions has always been one which is customer-driven, delivering great customer service experiences since way back in 1972.

GECU has understood the relationship of call monitoring and improving member interactions for a long time, implementing their first recording system back in 2001. Besides being a significant factor in member service performance improvement, they also realize the added benefits of using their call monitoring system as part of an employee development process.

GECU chose Coordinated Systems, Inc.’s (CSI) Virtual Observer call recording and quality monitoring system. "There were immediate synergies in our operating philosophies," suggested Cynthia Salas-Santoyo, quality assurance supervisor for GECU, saying "When our account manager told us about the level of service they could provide, of people working with people, we knew CSI was a good fit for us."

Recent business metrics demonstrated loan volume increase by 28%, largely due to performance gains as a result of their call monitoring efforts. In fact, call monitoring was instrumental in GECU reaching their lending goals:

"VO’s E-learning features allowed us to create training clips to the agents on products and services to enhance their knowledge, providing another method of ongoing training," mentioned Santoyo.
"Supervisors are now free to spend more time coaching, resulting in an increase of evaluations to an average of four per month," she added. "With screen recording of agent activity, supervisors can easily identify suggest ways for the agents to increase productivity while still fully serving members’ needs. Screen captures also shows us when agents take too many steps and identifies when agents miss cross-selling opportunities."

GECU implemented VO with full time ("100%") recordings, giving the credit union a far greater number of recorded calls to evaluate. "Call logging has also allowed us to track complimentary and unsatisfactory calls to recognize or improve the quality service provided by the agents," Santoyo offered. "We also really appreciate the VO Live feature suite, which allows supervisors to view several agents as they are on the call with the member to look for coaching opportunities." GECU continues to experience performance gains from Virtual Observer, enabling the credit union to continue pushing the boundaries of excellence in the call center.

About GECU:
The largest locally owned financial organization in El Paso, Texas, GECU is proud to offer members a variety of benefits, including savings and investment accounts to help build a financial secure future for you and your family, Low-rate car loans with up to 100% financing on new and used vehicles, Free checking accounts, Competitive first-lien mortgage loans, Home equity/home improvement loans for property located in the U.S. within 150 miles of El Paso County.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Harvesting the Phonetic Value in Recorded Calls

The seeds have been planted, the ground has been watered, now is the time to harvest the phonetic value you’ve been waiting for.

What does "Harvesting Phonetic Value" mean?

It is the ability to automatically make sense of words and phrases stored in your recorded calls and using them to your advantage to help decrease cost and improve performance.

All call center managers are tasked with the same challenge: reduce costs and improve performance.
Depending on industry, improving performance could mean many different things, such as providing better customer service, selling more products and services, reducing handle time, increasing first call resolution and many others.

Basically the idea is simple. Management wants you to do what you do "better" and would also like you to do it "more affordably".

Virtual Observer Call Insight is a phonetic-based, enterprise-class Speech Analytics solution that is simple, effective and affordable enough for call centers of all sizes.

Our Phonetic Tools will harvest information in your recordings that were once otherwise not available in your normal telephony environment or enterprise data.

Extract these valuable pieces of information and put them to work for you.

How does phonetic speech indexing differ from large-vocabulary speech indexing?

CSI studied the speech analytics market for 3 years, listening to customers, partners and industry experts compare and contrast the large vocabulary indexing process and results vs. the Phonetic method.

Both approaches have their benefits, but vary in how they index your calls.

Phonetic based speech indexing occurs at a much faster speed than large-vocabulary speech indexing and is capable of making multiple searches across tens of thousands of recorded calls to identify valuable contact center insights, rapidly.

Perhaps the question then becomes "How fast will Speech Analytics harvest value from my recorded calls?"

Thursday, November 04, 2010

CSI’s Virtual Observer Earns Avaya Aura Certification

Coordinated Systems, Inc., a leading provider of enterprise call recording and quality optimization solutions for call centers, has received certification for the Virtual Observer call recording solution for integration with the Avaya Aura IP communications platform. Virtual Observer has been compliance-tested by Avaya for compatibility with Avaya Aura Communication Manager and Avaya Aura AES.

By delivering Virtual Observer (VO) alongside Avaya Aura, Avaya dealers who sell VO will be able to offer a highly scalable, enterprise call recording platform at an industry-best low cost of ownership. Virtual Observer is a logical, organic fit as an important application in the Avaya ecosystem which can open up new markets for the Avaya reseller channel.

The Virtual Observer call recording and quality monitoring system provides customers with call recording, integrated screen capture, performance reporting, e-learning, the real-time VO Live supervisor-agent assistance toolset, Call Insight Speech Analytics and Data Defender for enterprise security and PCI compliance.

The integration of these features with Avaya Aura provides organizations with the tools required to optimize call center performance. In addition, this certification will open up a range of opportunities which will lead to increased application sales across the channel for resellers.

The Avaya certification process, conducted by CSI and the Avaya Certification Technical Team, involves comprehensive testing for installation, functionality, performance, interoperability, and serviceability.

"The integration of our technologies proves out our continued innovation and value to customers and dealers. We’re excited about the opportunities which Avaya presents. We’ve been a leader in terms of leveraging the DevConnect program to offer a tightly-integrated, high-value solution to customers. Our breakthroughs in flexible DMCC recording have placed us in a leadership role for recording off of AES and Aura, added Marcia.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Call Quality Monitoring Is More Important Than Ever With Holidays Approaching

Believe it or not, the holiday shopping season is less than one month away (Black Friday), or in some retail outlets, it is already here!.

Reports say that consumer spending in 2010 might be down this season. Other online reports show increased spending for Christmas.

This has some interesting effects in our space: online catalog companies, and e-tailers, are likely to see an increase in call center activity, as shoppers call in with questions, for support, to place orders, etc.; call center operations managers will be challenged to produce -- more upsells, more saves, increased customer satisfaction.

As always, it will also be important to reduce the costs of running the center - less churn of employees, faster training cycles, faster customer handling times, etc.

Virtual Observer has been able to help many e-tailers address these issues and make serious performance gains, including Harry & David, Crutchfield Electronics, Fox Head Inc., Casual Male XL, Cigars International, J&P Cycles and many more.

Do your CSRs enter credit card information on-screen or take credit card information over the phone? It is also mission critical for e-tailers to maintain PCI compliance.

Virtual Observer helps firms remain compliant through the use of 256-bit media encryption and through granular security which allows administrators to control privileges down to the functional level and through our "LightsOut!" functionality, which automatically eliminate sensitive data after it has been entered on the screen.

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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Inside CSI: Everyone's favorite customer training manager

This week I am pleased to present an inside look at CSI's Customer Service and Training Manager, Dennis Vincent. Many customers have met him in person for onsite training, but I thought it would be nice to provide some additional insight into the man who drives our training initiatives.

Rich Marcia: Dennis, I understand you just returned from a vacation in Ireland. Any customer service experiences to share? 

Dennis Vincent: Rich, it was a true pleasure traveling through Ireland to see this wonderful country. My wife and I went for 2-weeks, using an escorted bus tour. As we traveled from place to place, and from hotel to hotel, I couldn’t but notice that no matter where you go the differences in customer service stand out. We landed at Shannon Airport, and the Customs officials and the Customer Service desk were both staffed by wonderful folks. Our tour guide hails from Limerick, and throughout the entire tour, we were treated with tender loving care by an individual who loved his job, loved people, and loved his country. At different establishments and hotels, we were met with both excellent service and an example or two of poor service, depending on the individual you were dealing with. Interestingly, at the family owned establishments, service seemed excellent, while at the chain hotel we stayed at, service did not seem as caring or as friendly. Is this a coincidence or an indication of today’s world? However, overall, what stood out to me the most is that the Irish people are a very friendly people who take great pride in their country.

Rich: Tell us a little about your background. What experiences contributed to making you a specialist in call center training?

Dennis: I actually went to college for teaching. During my career, I have been part of system development projects, in charge of call centers, with all of the hiring, firing, training, staff development, and people challenges associated with the job. I have also held positions dealing with agent compliance, ensuring that our agents were adhering to company rules and state and federal laws, and being part of disciplinary or court proceedings if necessary. I also traveled around the U.S opening up field offices.

Because of my prior background, I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to travel around the country, introducing Virtual Observer to our new customers and providing on-site training in the use of the software, giving me a chance to meet our customers. I get a feel for their business needs, and help them learn how we can help them achieve business goals. It is a pleasure to get to feel like a “member of the team during my visits. I learn from my customers on each visit, and hopefully may have a unique insight for each customer based on my previous on-sites. There are many ways to "skin the cat".

Rich: Which onsite customer visit was your most memorable?

Dennis: Wow, what a tough question!! In our business, we are meeting with customer service folks. By nature, people in the customer service business usually like people (or they may be in the wrong business!) so I always feel that each visit is a memorable one. But, I specifically remember a trip to Denver, Colorado, and getting a wake up call at 5 AM from the airline telling me that my flight for that evening was canceled because of a pending blizzard. Being from New England, I didn’t think much of it, until I went to the customer site and learned that they do not get that much snow in Denver, so it was a pretty special event. After training was completed that day, I returned to the hotel, and learned what customer service was all about. The hotel was taking in as many people as they could, allowing people to sleep in the lobby, opened up the bar for drinks on the house, and provided 8 buses the following morning to bring people to the airport!! What could have been a frustrating and difficult time for travelers was turned into a holiday celebration by some very thoughtful and creative customer service people. A lesson we can all learn, how to turn a difficult situation into a positive one.

Rich: You do travel quite a bit. What are some of your favorite destinations? 

Dennis: As I travel around, I find many wonderful places everywhere I go. It is difficult to select as I have visited all of the 50 states.
- Colorado, with Denver and the beautiful Rockies
- Oregon, where I found the Medford area simply stunning
- Long Beach, California, with its beautiful harbor area
- Florida, which has Miami, Jacksonville (with St. Augustine near by), Tampa, which is near where my youngest daughter lives with her family
- Canada, where I have loved Montreal, Toronto and Edmonton
- Pennsylvania with our several customers in the Villanova and Pennsylvania Dutch area, and also my trip to Warren, on the other side of the state
- Nebraska, where I found that in the Lincoln and Omaha areas nothing sounds like it is spelled, but the steak is outstanding
- North Carolina, with the entire greater Charlotte area
- Georgia, where I found Athens a beautiful city. Also, I have had the privilege of visiting Hiawassee, in the Smokey Mountains of Georgia, and it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been
- South Carolina, where Charlestown is one of my personal favorite cities
- Caribbean Ocean, where everyone should try their first cruise. Pick an Island, you will enjoy!
- Mexico, with the history of Mexico City and the beauty of the ocean near Acapulco
- Nevada, with Vegas and the Grand Canyon
- Italy, where my wife and I toured for our 30th anniversary, should be seen by everyone. The beauty, coupled with the history, is indescribable
- Ireland, where my wife and I just returned from, with its happy people and beautiful countryside, and if you like Guinness or Jameson, a must visit!
- New England, where I was born in New Hampshire and have lived in Connecticut for most of my years, is to me as beautiful as anywhere I go. I guess that is why I still live here after all these years. All New Englanders can be proud of Boston, the birthplace of Liberty
- My bucket list still includes a Mediterranean cruise, with Athens, Crete, Egypt and Jerusalem on the itinerary, Australia and South America. Also, I have never been to San Francisco, my wife’s favorite city.

Rich: Which VO feature do you think is the most valuable to your customers?

Dennis: That varies customer by customer, depending what was in place prior to VO’s arrival. In general, I would say that if screen capture is being introduced, it opens up many new avenues for review. With screen capture, the process flow can also be QA’d, along with the phone skills. Sometimes it is not the agent, but what an agent must go through to get the customer information that can be a source of delays, hold-times, etc., and changing flows can have a significant impact on performance. After that, our Live Desktop feature gives the Supervisor to monitor what agents are doing, whether they are on the phone or not.

RM: How are you going to be adapting "Speech Analytics" into your training programs?

Dennis: I am very excited with the introduction of VO’s new Speech Analytics capabilities, and can’t wait to see it in action. To be able to do phonetic parsing of calls, to analyze greetings, key words, closure, and even find strong terms such as "Cancel my subscription" etc., is going to be a huge help to our customers to help them find which calls they want to listen to.

Rich: Lastly, any new beverage discoveries in Ireland?

Dennis: For years I did not think I could drink Guinness Stout. Well, when you go to Ireland, you do what the Irish do. The first night, we were given our choice of Guinness Stout or Irish coffee. My wife had the coffee, I had the stout. I also like the draught, Smithwick’s ale, Kilkenny ale and Murphy’s Ale. My personal favorite, however, came in Dublin on the recommendation of our tour guide. It was a pleasant light ale called "Galway Hooker" and went excellent with my lamb.
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Thursday, September 16, 2010

8 ways Speech Analytics can help your organization ramp up call center quality

It's a given that Speech Analytics has good buzz, but let's step back a second before we assume everyone understands what Speech can do for you.

Different people interpret Speech technologies in different ways. Speech is being used in more and more diverse applications every day.

For purposes of this post, we're speaking of Speech Analytics for the call center, where recorded calls are indexed by a speech engine and then made available for search and reporting.
Here are eight ways Speech Analytics can impact your quality process, in no particular order:

* Improve agent script adherence: Modify imperfect agent processes by quickly finding instances where agents have used slang ("Umm", "Err", "Yo", etc.)

* Flag important calls for evaluation: Highlight calls where customers have mentioned a competitor's name.

* Fine tune your training programs: Identify trends in the types of calls your center is receiving: are they sales calls or support calls? Allocate your training resources appropriately.

* Increase First Call Resolution (FCR): Find out which callers have called in about the same issue more than once.

*  Reduce Average Handle Time (AHT): Discover process improvements as Speech Analytics reveals new insights into how agents respond to common questions. Some agents may be making the same mistakes over and over again. A simple speech search on the response will show exactly how many times it was used.

* Identify trends in customer displeasure: By grouping together keyword phrases which may indicate displeasure ("I'm not happy", "not working", "your service sucks") and instantly see how many calls match this category.

* Ensure compliance: Create a search using agent-trained trigger phrases such as "credit card number" or "social security number" to identify calls where sensitive data may be spoken and recorded. This has direct impact for Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance in particular. Someone tasked with removing these types of media or the specific data in question will appreciate a view where they can just see a list of calls which match this particular query.

* Fine tune your marketing campaigns: By creating search categories using your product names, brand names, ad slogans, and other keyword phrases, you can analyze emerging call trends on what's hot and what's not among all of your campaigns.
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Enhancing Quality Monitoring with Speech Analytics

We are pleased to officially announce our Speech Analytics suite as an integrated feature in the Virtual Observer call recording and quality optimization solution.

We have partnered with Aurix to leverage their phonetic-based speech engine, offering CSI customers the ability to enhance their quality monitoring processes with phonetic speech analytics features such as automatic call scoring and automatic call tagging.

You can read more about the strategic partnership with Aurix and more about our Speech Analytics features on our website.
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Enhancing Agent Assistance in the Call Center

There are multiple ways supervisors can assist agents in doing a great job.

They can provide training, side-by-side coaching, one-on-one simulations, and more.

One of the more effective methods we have seen is available in our very own Virtual Observer call quality optimization solution - a feature set called "VO Live" which enables the supervisor to view agent desktops in real time.

"VO Live" is like mission control for the call center professional.

From their own desktop, the supervisor can view agent's screens in real-time. This allows the supervisor, at a glance, to observe agents who may be having trouble using applications properly, or who may be not using the correct applications at all.

The call center supervisor can then initiate a chat to help the agent in their current task.
If the agent requires additional help, the supervisor can then take control of the agent desktop and provide hands-on assistance.

Of course, VO Live can also alert managers to distracted web surfing, which may be preventing agents from completing their tasks or from performing optimally. Every company has different policies regarding this, and it certainly isn't the main objective here.

VO Live delivers agent assistance in a way which greatly compliments other methods of assistance, taking quality monitoring to an entirely new level.

VO Live is included in Virtual Observer as a component in our bundled quality optimization features.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Nothing Casual About This Massachussets Company’s Growth

Recently I visited Casual Male XL in Canton, MA and toured their corporate headquarters. I was really impressed by the catalog showroom, located next to their call center hub.

Casual Male XL is transitioning its’ call center agents to become "wardrobe assistants", where they have stocked a fully-inventoried showroom to provide the agents with a means of making stylish suggestions and complimentary add-on offers to customers placing orders. "It really helps to have all of the materials and colors in front of you," said Christina Shortall, Call Center Director at Casual Male XL.

Casual Male XL has expanded quite a bit since it’s early days. They operate 5 different lines of business featuring upscale, contemporary & economical clothing, shoes accessories, all for the big & tall male shopper, a growing demographic.

Casual Male uses Virtual Observer to assist in training the agents, or "wardrobe assistants", as Shortall’s staff of supervisors score calls and provide feedback and reporting back to the agents on where they can improve.

"Since Virtual Observer is very scalable, it helps during the peak holiday seasons, when both call volume and staffing spike," Shortall added. "Virtual Observer also helps us in our training sessions, as we can play back calls so employees can hear themselves on the phone."

Christina also mentioned big plans for the business, announcing plans for a combined superstore in Chicago, Houston, Memphis and Las Vegas this summer. The store, Casual Male DXL, is a new lifestyle super-store which caters to all big & tall men's needs under one roof. We actually shared exciting announcements as I discussed the Virtual Observer product roadmap with her.

As I left, I felt very proud of the way Virtual Observer had helped Christina meet aggressive performance goals and how her team of supervisors and agents were handling their transition to becoming "wardrobe assistants".

More information relative to the new super store announcement can be read here.
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Monday, July 19, 2010

Innovation in the Call Recording Space

Potential new customers may not ask "How Innovative Are You?" during the sales process, but perhaps they should.

Businesses who innovate well and often, such as Apple and Google, don't typically need to be asked because their audience just knows they do, from the constant PR and web buzz that surrounds each new release.

At CSI, we're excited about the next wave of product announcements and innovations we have planned for our customers, partners and potential new customers.

These announcements are truly groundbreaking.

I can tell you this, right now, there will not be one call center supervisor or manager who won't want to get their hands on these new time-saving features.

For a long time, CSI has kind of flown under the radar, content to be the "best kept secret in the call recording industry." However, we have been doing this innovation thing for a long time.

Let's quickly review:

Virtual Observer was one of the first integrated call recording and quality monitoring solution designed to deliver robust QA features AND call recording.

At the time, the industry giants were priced way beyond the reach of the small and mid-sized call centers.

We saw our opening.

The marketing opportunity is not where the innovation was, however. The innovation was in designing our system with a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), meaning we'd be delivering an enterprise-ready solution for everyone.

SOA makes Virtual Observer a true enterprise-ready solution, translating to an extremely scalable platform for mid-sized centers with seasonal spikes in activity or global multi-location enterprises who are adding locations through growth and acquisition.

Delivering true enterprise scalability and aggressive quality assurance feature set truly shook up the call recording industry, which previously froze out the non-fortune 500 companies from similar  suites because of an amazingly expensive price point and upgrade path.

Virtual Observer’s competitors have since multiplied as the industry has noticed the success of our business model.

Virtual Observer was also the first vendor in the call recording space to offer lifetime free full software upgrades for customers on active maintenance contracts.

Bringing customers along to the latest release of our products made sense, and was in direct contrast to the "re-buy" proposition upgrade path offered by our larger competitors.

Many other vendors in our space have copied this model as well.

Virtual Observer was the first call recording suite to assist customers in becoming PCI Compliant by encrypting recorded media. We’ve broken through again with additional tools to assist in the PCI process and we will continue to stay at the forefront of the standards committee, as they continually update their rule set.

Virtual Observer was the first quality monitoring suite to include an advanced real-time supervisor-agent assistance tool, called "VO Live", which enables supervisors to view thumbnails of all agent desktops where they can then assist via chat or by taking control of the desktop.

Competitors are still attempting to knock this off.

We will continue to blaze trails for call centers, giving them the tool sets needed to exceed quality assurance objectives and meet organizational goals.

Stay tuned on this blog and on our Twitter page for all of our exciting forthcoming announcements.
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Friday, June 11, 2010

Future Contact Centers Are in the Hands of our Children

This post doesn't relate to my company or the call recording space at all, but I wanted to share some interesting feedback I'd received relative to depicting the call center of the future, and -- in imaging the future, you must have to include tomorrow's workforce in the equation.

Thus, I wanted to share an article I had recently on FastCompany entitled "How the iPad became child's play" which positioned the Apple tablet as an excellent learning device for children - toddlers even.

I know this to be true. My son, turning 2 this week, has an innate sense of how to use my cell phone, my iPod and besides breaking a few keys off of my keyboard, my laptop computer. He knows which videos he wants to play, and which songs he wants to hear. I think this is indicative of most toddlers now -- they take to electronics like they did to a bottle a year before.

A few months ago, I told my wife "if I could get him an iPad, he could navigate it and use it immediately - without breaking any keys!".

Before too long, I have no doubt my son will be using Skype to video conference his 1 and 1/2 year old cousin in Hawaii.

By the time this generation joins the workforce, technology will be second nature and current forms of customer interaction, such as telephone calls and even web chats, may be outdated and replaced by means of which we may not even comprehend as of yet.

For example, imagine a tiny bar code or interface implanted on a product which, when engaged, opens a video chat projected on a wall, with a customer service expert on the very product you are using.

Click here to read others' predictions on the call center of the future, gathered from the LinkedIn network.
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Monday, May 24, 2010

Unified Communications Dealers: Enhance Revenue Streams with App Sales

"App Stores" and the "App Market" are familiar phrases in today's tech world, gaining popularity with the emergence of the Apple iPod, iPad and Google Android devices.

In a logical, winning business move on the b2b side of things, many Unified Communications dealers are also building a diverse portfolio of applications for their customers.

Many such dealers are complimenting their phone system sales with application sales. Besides being a good foot in the door to large revenue telephony platform sales, application sales can generate a high-margin revenue stream of their own.

For years, telephony dealers have aligned themselves with the large, incumbent call recording vendors in order to bundle call recording and quality monitoring with their phone system solution sales.

The typical "Large-Call-Recording-Company" offering was typically a monstrous suite of features which shut out the small and medium sized enterprise and locked the bigger customers into a lifetime's high cost of ownership as well as a re-buy scenario when it comes to upgrades.

We (Coordinated Systems, Inc.) used this as an entry point to entrench our Virtual Observer call recording and quality monitoring solution as an obvious alternative to the existing call recording offerings made available from the telecom market.

Virtual Observer enables channel partners to not only sell call recording and quality monitoring to the smaller and mid-level enterprises, but also to provide enterprise customers with a more affordable, robust system and lower overall cost of ownership.

We also enable our partners to share in professional services (such as CTI, custom integrations, onsite training, etc.) and annual support agreements. It's a very win-win situation for CSI and our partner ecosystem.

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Friday, April 16, 2010

The Rewarding, Renewing Cycle of Sales-Technical-Sales

We at CSI are coming off another solid quarter of new business.

The success of our sales teams directly fuels the workloads of our project management, support and training teams.

Ironically, it's the performance of those same technical folks which gives our sales teams added confidence and gives us marketing staffers the customer retention stats, success stories, and testimonials which we so proudly speak to.

It is always a pleasure to open my Outlook inbox and find a shining example of the customer service efforts provided by my team:

"I just wanted to send an email out to thank all of you at CSI for the great tools and support you offer. I can’t really say enough about the level of customer service provided to me on every interaction I have with your teams. We use one of your products (Virtual Observer) and anytime I’ve had a question or any issues, I give you guys a call and it feels like you drop what your doing to make sure we are up and running. I was assisted in the past by the training team,who always takes care of business. I have also been working with the project teams who always takes the time to answer every questions I may have. I also love that  they take the time to check out our systems and ensure we are running to full capacity.

At Rewards Network we pride ourselves in our World Class Customer Service experience and it’s great to know there are other companies out there that feel the same way. Thanks again for all the help!!!!"

This email was sent today from the desk of Gil Alvarez, Member/Merchant Services Trainer/QA Supervisor for the Rewards Network.

The Rewards Network runs Virtual Observer on an Avaya S8710 phone system, handling recording and quality assurance tasks for their customer service center.

This is proof of the endless cycle of sales feeding the technical staff, who in turn feed the sales and marketing folks.

Internally, at CSI, we treat each individual in our company as a customer, with tremendous respect and consideration for their individual goals as well as the company's goals. We're also not shy about crossing over to help out if another team member needs help.

It's all about keeping the cycle turning.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

CSI earns Partner Loyalty Recognition honor at 2010 NACR Sales Conference

We just finished up attending the NACR / ConvergeOne Sales Conference 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The show was a rousing success for NACR and for CSI, as we were given a prestigious "Partner Loyalty Recognition" ribbon and prism from Tiffany's for continuous years of services:

"NACR recognized 9 partners at a Loyalty Luncheon hosted by Tom Roles, NACR President and CEO. The event was held February 16, 2010 at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, NV. as part of the company’s yearly sales conference event. Partners recognized for participating in the past 7 sales conferences were Amcom Software, Avaya Financial Services (AFS), Computer Instruments, CSI, Extreme Networks, Mutare, NICE, SimpliCTI, and Veramark. Each company was awarded an engraved Tiffany pentastar for their continuous support for these events." - Cathy Burns, Partner Relationship Advocate, NACR.

The show brought together a small army of technology companies working together to present NACR's Avaya sales force with a solid array of best-in-breed offerings.

The annual sales conference also featured an introduction of newly acquired Empire Technologies into the ConvergeOne family.

We've been working with NACR for eight years, providing Avaya customers with bulletproof call recording and workforce optimization at an industry's best cost of ownership.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Over 37 years in business, CSI's CEO speaks to longevity and success

Mr. Robert Hutcheon, CEO of Coordinated Systems, Inc., was recently interviewed and the story was picked up by the Hartford Business Journal, TMCnet, and several other news sites. Here is an excerpt from the article:

Robert Hutcheon is not only the CEO of a successful Connecticut technology company, but also being a decorated war veteran of the United States Army, he has endured difficulties which are far greater than that which may be read in the Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Hutcheon has steered his company through many turbulent economic times, including the recent economic recession. In many ways, his past experience in the Army helped shape the business philosophies he employs today and were instrumental in allowing CSI to survive the economic storms of the previous thirty years as well as today's climate.

What's your perception of the previous decade in business?
RH: "From my perspective, as I look back on last year and the previous decade, I always come back to the same thinking with each new economic encounter, that things can't get any more convoluted than the previous calamity or economic downturn we have ever come up against before. Yet it always amazes me that things sure seem to find a way of proving me wrong in that assumption. And I have to say as I look back and realize what a ride it has been to maneuver the business climate this ‘Great Recession' has handed us, it has definitely added more to that thinking than it has taken away. But I also have realized that no matter how bad things seem at any given time, and it may take awhile for it to come to realization, but there always seem to be numerous positive side effects that rise out of most declines."

Please describe your first 30 years in business?
RH: "Having been founded in 1972, Coordinated Systems, Inc. has seen many recessions and boom times with the economy. With each up and down we have experienced came lessons of survival that enhanced our character and brought our company to what it has become today. "

Click here to read the entire interview
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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Healthcare Facility Creates Call Center of Excellence

Sacred Heart Health Systems (SHHS) Extends Quality Process to Call Center Using Call Recording & Quality Monitoring, creating their latest center of excellence - their call center.

An excerpt from the entire article demonstrates how they were able to fully customize the weight of the scoring forms in order to give greater importance to the following questions:

- Did the operator say their name?
- Did they use courtesies?
- Was the volume level to loud or to low?
- Could background noise be heard?
- Was a transfer announced?
- Did voice project a positive and helpful demeanor?
- Was the call process correctly?
- Was patient room and name verified?
- Did we offer the phone number when a line was busy?
- Was the call documented correctly?

SHHS assigned 2 points per positive response, minus 5 points for not processing the call correctly and 1 extra point for receiving a compliment or turning an unhappy customer into a happy customer.

Overall, SHHS set a goal to reach 98% as a group. The first month they achieved 91% as a group and by the third month they were able to reach the goal of 98%. They have stayed at the goal or above consistently since that time.

"Our customer service skills have improved considerably and staff members are much happier in their jobs because everyone is accountable for excellent customer service," offered Jane Adams, Call Center Operations Manager.

Click here to read more about this healthcare organization's successful call center transformation.
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

An Opinion on Social Media and the Contact Center

An interview with Rich Marcia, marketing director for Coordinated Systems, Inc.

Q. How do you use social networks as part of your corporate communications and customer service initiatives?
A. I’m experimenting in social media where there exists clear purposes: for example, Twitter, to deliver quick updates to our followers; LinkedIn, to extend an open hand to potential business partners and customers who may want to reach us via referral; and our blog, which serves the dual purpose of replacing our online newsletter and managing our readership. More “leaps of faith” for the B2B marketer, such as Facebook, Mobile, etc., are a bit more risky. I’ll be looking more into them in 2010, and it’s possible we may dive deep there, but it’s more likely we’ll just be testing the waters.

Q. How can contact centers utilize social networks to increase sales, productivity and operations?
A. That’s a great question. Many companies now need to hire and train “social ambassadors” who search, read and contact people who may be expressing opinions about their companies or brands in social media. Companies, I believe, will eventually cross-train contact center employees to do this. If a Facebook fan contacts you on your fan page, that’s not much different than a prospective customer reaching out to you on your website. Contact center employees can be trained to handle those types of inquiries. It will, however, require a different skill set to professionally “manage” a public relations “incident” where someone on Twitter complains about your company or brand. The “social ambassador” will have to reach out and address the issue at hand.

Q. What social networks are recommended for business purposes?
A. For business purposes, almost all business people can benefit by being on LinkedIn. Referrals are the best forms of leads, job opportunities, partnerships, etc. Twitter is also useful as a cog in your content machine. Twitter can direct people to your blog, which directs people to your website. Throw your LinkedIn profile in there and you’ve exponentially increased your online visibility and the ways of which people can contact you.

Q. How should businesses manage employee usage of social networks?
A. I believe to some extent employee usage of social media should be encouraged – in that they should be evangelists for their companies. They should care what is being said on the net about their company. They should want to defend certain criticisms and investigate others. They should post news and share excitement about their company. Management can still monitor usage and enforce the same rules as in regards to personal calls or web surfing. In the same regard, managers and business owners can’t simply expect all employees to be organically evangelistic – the employees need to be nurtured and marketed to as well. For a product or company to be mentioned in a truly authentic manner, those doing the chattering have to truly love the product or company.

Q. What are some of the main benefits of using social networks?
A. Personally, I’ve seen cancer survivors discover and connect with other survivors on Facebook. They’ve exchanged tips, shared news and made new friendships. I’ve also seen people “connect” with neighbors from communities they haven’t actually moved into yet. Media such as music, video, websites and such are shared amongst your trusted connections, and thus immediately given some degree of legitimacy. Of course, as with anything, there are a list of “cons” to go along with the “pros”. Overall, I’d say the “pros” are winning out.
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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Call Center Agent Training: Onsite vs. Webinar Training

When customers purchase our call recording and quality monitoring solution, one of the most important considerations is whether or not to select on-site training or to schedule Webinar training.

While both training options offer a high-value, personalized training approach with a tenured, professional member of our training team, "Webinar training" is often selected because of convenience and cost savings.

The benefits of Webinar training include:
- zero travel expenses
- flexible scheduling
- a "train the trainer"
- unlimited subsequent training as needed

In comparison, on-site training offers a bit more of a "hands on" approach and allows our trainers to gain an appreciation for a customer's environment and culture. Our people become familiar with the staff, and vice-versa, where faces are attached to names and titles.

With on-site training, we can also provide the option to train an entire group of users vs. an individual. It entirely depends on the customer's requirements.

On-site training is typically conducted over two business days while Webinar training can be spread over multiple days. It's completely up to the customer's preferences.

Either way, the customer benefits greatly and is hand-held as much as needed. We have earned a stellar reputation in the industry by offering superior customer service, and a great success story always begins with great training.
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