Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How did 1-800-GOT-JUNK nearly double contact center productivity amidst rapid growth?

If you watch TV, read newspapers or magazines, or browse online news sites chances are you've heard about 1-800-GOT-JUNK?

The company has garnered amazing brand awareness through a strong PR approach and it's paying off in spades in their contact center. Call volume to the 1-800-GOT-JUNK? contact center has surged. 

The need for a call recording vendor had been identified with a goal to ensure quality remained a top priority during busy times.

Outstanding customer service has always been the hallmark at 1-800-GOT-JUNK? with the company's four quality focus areas: friendly uniformed drivers who call customers in advance of arrival times; on-time service; up-front rates; and clean, shiny, trucks. The truck teams even do a sweep before they head off to the next job.

1-800-GOT-JUNK? practices environmental sustainability also, working hard to divert as much as 60% or more from the landfill, either by recycling or donating to charity.

Wowing customers is also a top priority in the company's contact center, where technology enables managers to focus on improving service and maintaining a competitive advantage.

1-800-GOT-JUNK? has experienced significant growth over the years, having to ensure only the most scalable enterprise technologies to handle the spikes in call volume. The contact center has doubled in size every year for the last six years. In all, the company has hauled away more than five million truckloads of junk since it was founded in 1989. 1-800-GOT-JUNK? now has almost 300 locations and 2000 employees system-wide across the globe.

When the company began researching call recording solutions, they identified key quality monitoring features from the industry giants as must-haves. The investigating team added CSI and Virtual Observer to their mix of vendors and began to evaluate each solution's feature set and overall cost of ownership.

CSI and Virtual Observer were selected over the well-known vendors; 48 channels of call recording were purchased with the goal of leveraging the recorded events to focus on quality assurance and agent development.

A Senior Manager for 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, was instrumental in the discovery and selection of Virtual Observer. "Throughout this whole long, drawn-out process of investigation, I have found that the capabilities of some of the other quality monitoring software solutions may have been more extensive than what CSI offered with Virtual Observer (which is also reflected in a much higher purchase price), but the larger organizations weren't a consideration for me because of the poor customer service exhibited by their reps. It all really comes down to the transfer of trust, regardless of what is being sold," he said, ending with "and I trusted CSI, thankfully."

1-800-GOT-JUNK?'s contact center supervisors were able to use the quality assurance features of Virtual Observer very quickly. They were able to playback calls, score the agent's performance, identify training needs and use the solution's E-learning features to deliver appropriate training material to the agents.

The overall efficiency of the contact center has nearly doubled in less than two years, and conversions of incoming calls to sales leads has increased significantly. Recently, growth continued as the call monitoring system was expanded to add additional recording channels in a second location.

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Friday, August 12, 2011

Everyone's talking about Screen Time

Desktop analytics and screen capture are huge topics in the call center space these days.

For a starting point, centers can begin by looking for desktop activity improvements using integrated screen capture. Most mature call recording companies offer a synchronized screen and audio recording which allows supervisors to recreate the customer experience and evaluate the effectiveness of the agent.

Call centers want the ability to see what employees are doing with their screen time. Are the agents using applications effectively? Are the agents fumbling through the menus and icons? These are some of the questions which can be answered very cost effectively, using screen capture.

We've taken the simple integrated screen capture model and made it more flexible and intelligent:

 With Virtual Observer, customers are able to use our Rules-Based Screen Capture and use business rules to define how they want to capture screens:

- Record a percentage of screens from inbound calls handled by agent X
- Record a percentage of screens from all recorded calls
- Record a percentage of screens from calls from customer x
- Record screens based on agent skill set
- Record screens based on call type
- Record screens based on ANI (Caller ID)
- Record screens based on DNIS (Dialed Number)
- Record all outbound calls with screens
- Record all calls with screens
- Record only screens (no audio) on-demand
- Record only screens (no audio) using a schedule

Many organizations also now allow their users to have multiple monitors to give them more desktop real estate, which we're supporting. When a user  plays back a recorded event, they will get a synchronized playback where they are able to recreate the entire interaction experience, including dual or multiple screen captures.

Speaking of screens, screen time is also a big topic in my household.

Between the iPad, iPod, DroidX, and our two televisions, we find our son is becoming as big of a tech geek as his Dad.

Restricting his screen time has been a useful tool for us in helping him do the things he doesn't really want to do, such as getting dressed in the morning, picking up his toys, eating something other than Chicken Nuggets.

Thinking about it, maybe instead we should look closer at his screen time and optimize what he is doing during his screen time -- improving the overall parent-child interaction experience.

Or even better, I think I'll drag out some of his favorite books and encourage some old fashioned reading...

 I found this related article fascinating:
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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Meeting of the contact center minds in Foxboro, MA

CSI was excited to be exhibiting at the annual NECCF show in Foxboro, MA. Riding on the heels of releasing our fourth generation of product (VO4), a browser-based quality optimization solution, we were able to present our customer-friendly options to an audience of contact center professionals and executives from all over the Northeast and New England.

The NECCF is a non-profit organization and was founded in February 2001 by contact center executives and specialists who wanted an unbiased "user group" to facilitate the exchange of ideas among contact center executives and managers. Since that time, the NECCF has grown and remained committed to addressing the day to day management concerns and strategic planning needs of contact center professionals throughout the region.

We sent two key team members to the show who had a great day interacting with the attendees and other exhibitors, as well as some of our own customers from the region.

NECCF members (or anyone running a contact center, especially new centers) are also encouraged to download a whitepaper detailing some bullets relative to the benefits of implementing a call recording and quality monitoring system.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Inside CSI: Driving quality implementations with both hands on the wheel

Inside CSI: In this edition of "Inside CSI", I am pleased to provide you with a few glimpses into a key member of our Support and Implementation Team, Mr. Blake St. John.

Highly technical and organized just might be the prerequisites for a CSI engineer, but to say Blake St. John is technical or organized might be a vast understatement. In charge of managing his stable of customer implementations, Blake also finds time in his busy schedule to oversee technical server specifications and configurations for turnkey server projects.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Blake for a lunchtime interview. It had to be a neutral place, as the engineering staff doesn't normally allow the marketing team up in the lab area. Just kidding.

Blake, you got your start with CSI in CSI’s sister company,, doing IT consulting and network administration for small business. Has that helped in your transition to VO support and implementation?
It surely has. A strong foundation in Information Technology and network administration is definitely helpful. I will say that it is only a piece of the pie though.

Please tell us a little bit about your background.
I have roughly 8 years of official schooling in IT and Windows systems administration, (and a couple of unfinished associates’ degrees, as well as a bachelor’s degree) along with a pile of IT certifications that are in a pile of dust or propping up a desk somewhere. My real schooling (books and papers only go so far) was out in the field, doing everything from computer hardware repair, network wiring, network design, and windows administration. I also had a several year jaunt in college performing DSL and router support for SBC as well as server operations at IBM Global. My background is also speckled with industrial construction, freight elevator repair, commercial auto parts sales, and in high school I was a restaurant swing manager.

What type of call recording projects get you the most excited?
The projects I really dig into are the ones that make people’s head’s spin; where you go into these international organizations and build these recording and Q/A solutions that span the globe. They are the systems with over a thousand agents and hundreds of different components in all different countries that tightly integrate into one custom solution. Those are the solutions that after you design it and then build it, you sit back and look at how well everything flows together and how seamless it is.

What point in the project plan is most critical to a successful implementation?
They all are; but especially the recording requirements and the server / network requirements. Without either one of those being successfully fulfilled, the project grinds to a halt.

What will you be doing on your next vacation?
I wish I could say that I would be going away somewhere, but instead I will be continuing the endless process of restoring and renovating my home, a 125 year old Victorian.

What tech companies do you admire (besides CSI, of course!)?
Fog Creek Software: they make great products and there is always a support person available to answer your questions quickly (Just like us here at CSI!)

Thursday, May 05, 2011

4.0 reasons to celebrate

Today CSI announced the newest version of our call recording and quality optimization solution, Virtual Observer Version 4.0

One of the most significant enhancements in our storied history (39 years in business) is the new web interface, which enables call playback, scoring, reporting and more from your browser.

Here are 4 more reasons to celebrate this announcement:

* All of the robust quality monitoring features of our client-server version have been carried over to the web version, in a user-friendly browser environment.

* Enhanced Dashboard Analytics. Our reporting has been overhauled to include an easier-to-use querying wizard and bundled dashboards for displaying groups of data with live real-time updating.

* Painless upgrade path for current customers. As always, current customers are brought along to the latest software release without costly upgrade fees.

* Call Insight Speech Analytics is available in the web interface as well, of course. The new reporting UI gives new meaning to "insight in action"!

Other sites reporting the news:

PR on the wires





Wednesday, April 06, 2011

10 Ways to Boost Customer Retention

Came across a great read from on tips for customer retention.

There are many forces at hand trying to weaken your customer retention rates:

- Increasing competition
- Economy
- Emerging technologies
- Changing customer expectations

I've taken the liberty of rewriting their list of tips and condensing the article down to some strong bullet points.

Adopt two or three of these ideas for a boost in customer retention:

- Prep the customer for what's coming next, prior to tranferring to another agent

- Add space in your CRM for interesting notes about the customer. Hobbies, Kids, Music, etc.

- Provide a comprehensive yet abbrieviated recap of what's been discussed.

- Compile an easy-access list of save opportunities for different categories of customers and calls.

- Use analytics at hand to anticipate customer behavior based on experience and trending.

- Music on hold keeps the customers tapping their feet as they await pick-up.

- Be consistent in all channels: phone, email, web chat, social, etc.

- Place a higher value on FCR (first call resolution) as opposed to AHT (average hold time).

- Share successfull calls/stories among agents

- Let the customers know how happy you are to have solved their issue or answered their questions.

You can read the entire article from in its' original form here:

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Monday, March 07, 2011

Automating the call scoring process with speech analytics

Speech analytics used to be a big, intimidating, expensive undertaking, offered only by the call recording industry giants.

Now we've seen 8 or more other call recording vendors release their version of speech analytics.

Almost all of them have decided to invest in a technology from the UK rather than developing their own product - including my company, CSI.

It's a good business decision -- why reinvent the wheel when an existing, proven technology is out there with OEM / white label availability. Saves time and resources.

Some of the call recording companies have decided to just go to war with the same out-of-the-box vanilla features which come with the API.

A few, like CSI, have fully integrated the speech engine within their own optimization suite.

Some have taken it a step further and created unique, differentiating features. One such feature is the automated scoring feature from Virtual Observer Call Insight.

As soon as a call is indexed by the phonetic speech engine, Call Insight scores the call based on scoring forms built by the customer.

10,000 calls recorded on tuesday? 10,000 calls are scored.

It's pretty dramatic when compared to a live supervisor, who can score, maybe, 30 calls a day. Of course, you'll still want to use a supervisor to evaluate your most important calls. The speech technology can also help you more efficiently identify which calls are those "most important calls".

The automated scoring process works best in a script adherence format, where questions can be answered with either a true/false or yes/no type of answer. Most existing scripts can be refashioned into workable scripts for Call Insight to do it's thing.

It's extremely powerful for telemarketers, who are typically script-driven to begin with, but as we're seeing with more and more different types of implementations, it can be applied in many different industries across many different types of contact centers.

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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Leading Publisher Leans on Call Recording System For Training New Reps

HarperCollins Publishers is one of the world’s leading English-language publishers. Headquartered in New York, the company is a subsidiary of News Corporation.

HarperCollins was founded in New York City in 1817, publishing a range of Bibles, atlases, dictionaries, and reissued classics, expanding over the years to include legendary authors, such as H. G. Wells, Agatha Christie, J. R. R. Tolkien, and C. S. Lewis. In 1987, as Harper & Row, it was acquired by News Corporation.

Founded in 1819, William Collins & Sons published a range of Bibles, atlases, dictionaries, and reissued classics, expanding over the years to include legendary authors, such as H. G. Wells, Agatha Christie, J. R. R. Tolkien, and C. S. Lewis. HarperCollins has publishing groups in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia/New Zealand, and India.

Today, HarperCollins is a broad-based publisher with strengths in literary and commercial fiction, business books, children’s books, cookbooks, and mystery, romance, reference, religious, and spiritual books. Consistently at the forefront of innovation and technological advancement, HarperCollins is the first publisher to digitize its content and create a global digital warehouse to protect the rights of its authors, meet consumer demand, and generate additional business opportunities.

"At HarperCollins Publishers, Virtual Observer has become an important means of training our new customer service reps as well as keeping the experienced ones up to par. We use the VO system to demonstrate how a call could have been handled differently, and we share calls that were handled excellently as a training tool. The system is a must for companies that are serious about proper and professional customer service."

- Roberta Clemens, Manager, Customer Service
HarperCollins Publishers
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