Business Systems UK Ltd - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
Winter is here, and with it comes a group eager to devour all that may lie in their path.
Luckily, it’s not the white walkers from the hit show Game of Thrones, but a whole other type of army – shoppers waiting to grab the latest bargains in the lead up to the festive season.
Black Friday takes place this year on November 24th and if it’s anything like 2016 which saw an estimated spend of 2.9 billion* (with savvy shoppers also browsing online in order to avoid the high street chaos), contact centres handling inbound customer contacts will need to be ready to handle the repercussions of online as well as offline customer purchases.
How can contact centres make sure they are fully equipped?
Workforce planners worldwide will all nod their heads in agreement when we say that regardless of the sophistication of the workforce management tool or processes in place, the foundation of optimising staffing relies on the precision of forecasting. Optimising schedules to meet the demands of Black Friday, will not be successful unless staffing requirements have been identified correctly.
The question then is: How can we best predict the demand for such special events?
Here are our top workforce management forecasting tips for contact centres in the run up to Black Friday:
Make use of historical data
Before any scheduling can be done, an organisation needs to understand what has happened in the past.
Identifying the workload
In order to forecast the workload for each channel type, you must consider the historical data (both volumes and average handle times). Whether you are using a Workforce Management solution and have the data ready at your disposal, or whether you are still using Excel, you should be making use of the historical data from previous Black Fridays.
The period itself needs looking at, not just Black Friday, as the days before and after will also be influenced. More and more companies are promoting “Cyber Monday” and “Black Friday Weeks”, meaning that periods requiring bespoke forecasting outside “business as usual” levels have become greater.
Profile is key
As well as using historical data to forecast workload for each channel type, it is equally important to use this data to identify and create an event profile as well as one for the surrounding days.
Event profiles will be used to understand how and where the workload will be coming from. Creating a profile for your Black Friday (period) forecast will allow you to see where your spikes will be and enable you to plan accordingly.
Preparing a selection of scenarios
The preparation in the lead up to Black Friday for any workforce planner is vital. During this time period, and before any specific details are available around the different deals, planners should be preparing for varying levels of impact on the contact centre.
In order to prepare, planners should put together different forecasts, making use of “what-if scenarios”. When further details come to light it may be clear that the expected impact is more/less severe than previous Black Fridays you have witnessed. Having different forecasts on hand that are ready to be pushed into your default scenario when needed will be of huge benefit to you.
If this is the first year that your company is extending deals (such as ‘Black Friday week’) then you may wish to have scenarios ready to quickly/dynamically reflect varying levels of impact on volumes, as you start to establish how volumes are being affected.
It is also important for planners to use real-time management during Black Friday and the period around it, in order to compare and identify any misalignments between planned agent activity to actual call and contact volumes on the day.
Real-time management will provide you with the insight you need to assess if and when you will need to re-forecast on the day. This is extremely important and should be identified as early as possible in order to promptly realign resources to meet your demands.
If you do find your forecasts are misaligned with business needs, do not act hastily and realign forecasts to meet demand but make sure you analyse the situation and why this might have happened.
Scenario: It’s Black Friday and for the first four intervals of the day, web chat volumes are 40% higher than inbound, which was not expected.
The question now is: do you adjust forecasts to support the shift in demand?
However, before you decide, you need to ask yourself: Why are chats up? Perhaps this is due to a flash sale which consumers could only be a part of online. If this is the driver, and the flash sale has ended, then no action may be needed here other than to monitor this channel.
On the contrary, if volumes (across channels) are down against what you forecasted and you identify the reason for this is that competitors have significantly undercut you on key products within the market that you were looking to push, then it’s unlikely the volumes will get back to the forecasted level today. Action should be taken – re-forecast and adjust staffing levels accordingly (flex down).
Workforce Management can play a pivotal role in ensuring the success of your organisation. With over 30 years’ experience in voice and Workforce Optimisation technology, our team have seen it all. If you need advice on how to optimise your workforce management solution or whether you are still considering implementing one, then talk to our expert team of workforce optimisation consultants.
Lastly, we’d love to hear from you! How have you been preparing your contact centre for Black Friday?
Let us know in the comment box below!
*Black Friday sales rush reported by retailers – BBC News
Publish Date: November 15, 2017 5:00 AM
With regulators across different markets demanding for increased trade transparency and longer retention periods for call recordings; how can financial firms keep on top of their call recording estate?
Not to state the obvious but, it won’t be long before MiFID II comes into effect in January 2018. It’s practically Christmas already.
Data sits at the heart of these regulations. MiFID II aims to improve quality of advice and investor protections, and in doing so requires extensive data recording.
Call recording and retention of calls is no longer a ‘nice to have’, but a serious FCA requirement extended under the financial legislation of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II).
The rest of this article can be found exclusively on Bobs Guide. Check out the rest of the article ‘MiFID ll countdown: Everything you need to know about call recording retention and retrieval‘.
Publish Date: October 24, 2017 5:00 AM
Our latest webinar, Bringing Quality Monitoring into the heart of the Contact Center, was packed with an array of knowledge and best practice techniques on the topic of quality monitoring (QM). On the back of this, here is a bite-sized version of the most valuable takeaways from the day.
Refining the QM Performance Cycle
Step 1: Analyse/Evaluate
The QM performance cycle is something most contact centers will be familiar with. However, most contact centers are failing at step 1. According to our latest report, The State of Quality Monitoring—2017, non-voice interactions are not being as closely monitored as calls. For example, only 32% of contact centers are evaluating web chat interactions and just 48% are evaluating email.
The rest of this article can be found exclusively on the Contact Center Pipeline website. Check out the rest of the article ‘Bringing Quality Monitoring into the Heart of the Contact Centre‘.
Publish Date: July 10, 2017 5:00 AM
What the WannaCry Ransomware attack means for Voice Recording systems operating on Microsoft Windows
Following the recent strain of the WannaCry ransomware attack, experts have cautioned that the best protection for systems running the Microsoft Windows operating system, is to have downloaded a patch issued by Microsoft in March.
1. What if my server is no longer supported by Windows?
If your system is no longer supported by Microsoft (this includes Windows XP, and 2003) then this means your system is extremely vulnerable to hackers. In the voice recording world, a similar cyberattack could mean the loss of voice recordings and extremely personal data if a recording server is not up to date with the latest security patch.
2. What options do I have if this is the case?
Business Systems (UK) Ltd provide a wide variety of systems from different manufacturers and depending on the system, it will most likely consist of servers that utilise Microsoft Windows as their Operating System.
Whilst the implementation of Microsoft Security Patches is not the responsibility of Business Systems, we do appreciate that customers will want to manage updates in-line with all other affected servers on their estate. As a result, Business Systems can provide you with advice and guidance on how best to manage the implementation of Microsoft patches.
Some manufacturers certify MS patches on a monthly basis and Business Systems can proactively inform you when this has been done, if relevant to your system. Where the manufacturer does not provide this, the general advice is that you may patch as per your normal IT policy.
With either option, our advice is that thorough system testing should be carried out after installing Microsoft patches to ensure all relevant systems have started up and the system is operating as expected. Should the patching results in system errors, it is recommended to uninstall the patches and contact us for further guidance.
For any additional information you may need on this topic (regardless of whether you are a Business Systems customer or not), please speak to our team of experts who will be able to provide best-fit technological advice or call us on 0800 458 2988.
Publish Date: June 12, 2017 5:00 AM
When trying to meet and improve service level agreements, reviewing agents’ performance and providing adequate agent training is imperative for success.
Unfortunately, making time for training doesn’t always seem possible. Contact centers are notorious for being extremely busy and agent time is closely monitored to ensure that customers’ calls are promptly answered.
There are a few things that you can start implementing immediately to help meet training needs while investing less time and effort and improving your outcomes…
The rest of this article can be found exclusively on the Contact Center Pipeline website. Check out ‘5 Ways to Get More Out of Your Agent Training‘.
Publish Date: June 7, 2017 5:00 AM
Working in a law firm means you probably take a lot of important calls on any given day, but if you really needed to, could you recount every call you have received and every detail discussed during these calls?
Whether you need to record for note-taking, dispute resolution, regulatory compliance or training, call recording can benefit your firm. Here are 3 ways how:
1. Avoid loss of information
When talking to clients, it is vital to actively listen and note down important information. However, relying on taking notes during a conversation can be disruptive and may result in erroneous or missed details. Similarly, there may be instances when it is difficult to understand what the client is saying (noisy environment, talking quickly, speaking in a heavy accent etc). It offers lawyers peace of mind knowing that if necessary they are able to revisit the conversation post-factum and can therefore concentrate entirely on the conversation with their client.
Through call recording, staff can listen back to calls, pick up any missed information and/or clarify any misunderstandings/miscomprehensions, ensuring that nothing critical has been missed
2. Protect your firm from complaints
According to the Legal Ombudsman over 1,600 complaints were filed for failure to advise and failure to follow instructions in 2016.
When a formal complaint does happen, firms can reduce the risk of liability by utilising call recordings to fact check information and resolve disputes ideally before they escalate in to a lawsuit, saving the firm time and money.
However, many complaints are initially made informally, like a person phoning to say that a minor matter has not been dealt with within a stated timescale. While this person may not be making a formal complaint, they are expressing dissatisfaction about an element of service that they have received. Being able to pick these up on time from the call recordings, can help prevent from further escalation.
Moreover, The Legal Ombudsman found that 82 per cent of clients would choose a lawyer based on the recommendation of friends, family or colleagues. As such preventing complaints can also result in additional business opportunities.
3. Facilitate personal development and benchmark best practices
Call recording is an invaluable tool to improve your team’s performance. For legal assistants tasked with dealing with clients over the phone, the ability to demonstrate empathy, professionalism and an understanding of the legal context behind the call is fundamental for achieving service excellence.
Managers can evaluate employees’ calls and provide constructive feedback on their performance by using call recordings to monitor, evaluate, coach and highlight examples of best practice.
Call recording solutions can also be used for training new hires on company best practices and on how they are expected to conduct themselves, as well as to bring them up to speed with client cases they have been assigned too.
From helping firms ensure they don’t miss important information when talking to clients to avoiding complaints and supporting employee development, call recording can offer law firms numerous advantages.
If you want to find out more about call recording in law firms, feel free to contact us: 0800 458 2988, email@example.com.
Publish Date: May 25, 2017 5:00 AM
A few years back we were discussing how the mis-selling of Payment Protection Insurance has highlighted a need for banks to improve monitoring of customer-agent interactions to ensure compliance to regulations.
Today, the recent figures published by the FCA regarding consumer complaints, show not only how important it is for banks to re-engineer the way they monitor their customer interactions, but also how damaging it can be if they don’t. According to the report, UK financial institutions have recorded 3 million complaints over their products and services in the last six months of 2016, hitting a 5-year high. However, what really shows the impact these complaints have on the business is the compensation banks paid during the same period, which totalled £1.9 billion. Not surprisingly, PPI remains a hot topic representing 29% of the total number of complaints, followed by registered current accounts, packaged accounts and credit cards.
Building the case for customer interaction monitoring
Against this backdrop and with the FCA alongside finance-focused special interest groups making it easier for consumers to switch banks, an environment has been created in which superior customer interaction monitoring is one of the best investments a bank can make. Speech Analytics (term used to also cover Interaction and Real Time Analytics* for the purposes of this article) offers 100% monitoring and analysis of customer interactions, enabling retail banks to prevent customer attrition, reduce customer effort, build a more competitive offering and ensure compliance.
Preventing customer attrition
Analytics tools can search the entire database of recorded communications for predefined key words and phrases that may indicate negative customer experiences or customer intention to switch banks. These interactions might otherwise have been missed if monitoring had been carried out through sampling techniques. With this insight retail banks can take corrective actions to reverse the negative customer experience and prevent them from switching banks.
Reduce customer effort
Another area where Speech Analytics can prove valuable is in reducing customer effort. By identifying and categorising the interactions, the bank gains a better understanding of the prevailing reasons why customers are calling. More often than not, these calls could have been avoided avoided if a certain piece of information was made available online or clarified to the customers in the product literature. With this intelligence the bank can improve the product descriptions available to the public and run campaigns to highlight missing or unclear information, saving its customers the frustration of searching and trying to get in touch.
Building more competitive offerings
Most customers will not inform their bank of their decision to buy a product from another provider or why they have decided to switch to a competitor. It is almost certain however that at some point they have made their intentions known through a call, web chat or email. With Speech Analytics, these conversations can be identified (for example by searching mentions of competitive brands) and fed back to the marketing and sales departments to help design a more competitive offering and prevent unwanted loss of business.
In a tightening regulatory environment, speech analytics for compliance is also a hot topic, benefiting retail banks primarily by offering risk-based quality monitoring across 100% of interactions. Rare but potentially catastrophic breaches of regulations are unlikely to be picked up by any of the sampling methods most call centres typically select to assess their interactions. Using analytics, phrases that indicate mis-selling or other compliance failings (such as agents offering advice to customers) can be isolated and followed up, within hours if necessary, enabling the bank to rectify potential failings early, at a non-critical stage. Moreover, in the event of an investigation for breach of compliance, whether internal or external, analytics could also be used to quickly identify and isolate all relevant interactions.
In conclusion, there are many arguments in favour of using Speech Analytics within a retail banking environment and by making a strategic decision now, banks could yield demonstrable returns during a volatile economic climate.
*Interaction Analytics – Monitoring all multi-channel voice and text interactions including email, online forms, chat, social media, phone calls, surveys and more.
Real-Time Analytics – Automatically capturing and analysing the entire customer interaction as it unfolds, formulating a tailored next best action guidance message on the desktop of the agent handling the call.
If you want to find out more about speech analytics in retail banking, feel free to contact us: 0800 458 2988, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publish Date: May 3, 2017 5:00 AM
It is no secret that as consumers we want to communicate with a brand when we want, however we want. In fact, most of us use two or more channels, top of which are the website (85%), phone (75%), email (65%) and live chat (58%).
Despite this, a recent study found that 58% of retailers provide different answers to the same question across multiple channels. This is not a surprise as too often, although a contact centre will support multi-channel communication, these channels are managed in silos. For the planning department, this creates great complexity and manual effort if their workforce management system does not offer multichannel forecasting methods.
So how can you optimise resource planning in multi-channel contact centres?
Get the technology right
Most of the latest enterprise Workforce Management (WFM) solutions today facilitate automated or serviced queues across multiple channels. It may be difficult but the “universal” queue or the integrated platform is possible, enabling the customer to move easily between channels. Cost constraints and infrastructure may hinder the migration to a converged platform, however the good news is that there is technology available that can link existing channels to populate and consolidate customer information automatically, and automate navigation.
Understand the demand and get the staffing right
Multichannel contact centres require an accurate method of forecasting and scheduling resource. This is only possible with a WFM application that can track volumes for multiple contact types and create multi-skilled schedules. The WFM application will be able to forecast the requirements for each contact type across the day and also provide proactive real time management to cope with unexpected demand. WFM will capture the volumes and handling times to build a set of historical profiles that can be used to improve the accuracy of forecasts across different contact types going forward.
Empower the Employees
Consistency of service is critical for the multi-channel experience and this can only be achieved if the employees have access to knowledge and tools for delivering the service. Without a knowledge base, and effective performance management and quality monitoring support, it will be a real challenge for the employee. Real time process guidance can be used to assist and prompt employees, whereas other technologies such as interaction analytics and business intelligence can provide meaningful insight to the business to ensure processes are efficient and agents are fully supported.
If you want to find out more about how you can optimise your resource planning for multi-channel, feel free to contact us: 0800 458 2988, email@example.com.
Publish Date: April 26, 2017 5:00 AM
The property sector in the UK is a continuously evolving sector, largely influenced by the changing socioeconomic and technological landscape of the country at each given time. A few years back, we were talking about the change brought about by the introduction of online property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla. Today, affordable housing initiatives by the government as well as the rise of property sharing in big cities are once again changing the market dynamics.
In such a diverse and fast-paced environment, excellent customer service and brand loyalty have become the competitive differentiator behind the business that is real-estate.
In order to achieve these ‘USP’s’ estate agents require not only excellent communication skills, but also expert knowhow on the pertaining legislation for the different schemes. Yet once those phones start ringing with viewings being scheduled, rental rates negotiated and offers being put forward, it is surprising how little of this activity is monitored, measured or recorded.
As costs for solutions like call recording have come down in recent years and the technology becomes more user-friendly, property agents are increasingly using it to help close the gap in their sales process.
How can call recording help me meet quarterly sales targets?
- Do you know why some of your inbound property enquiries fail to secure any viewings?
- Can you pinpoint which of your lettings agents excel in turning around the popular phrases ‘this property is a little over my budget’ to ‘ok well it can’t harm to have a look at it’?
- Do you have any visibility of what your new starters are saying to potential buyers or renters?
With call recording now accessible via easy to use web portals providing call metrics and reports, training needs can be identified, showcasing examples of best practice whilst shining the spotlight on why you are failing to meet your quarterly targets.
Calls can also be recorded on office, home and mobile phones ensuring you can track the progress of your estate agents regardless of where they are.
How can call recording help protect your property agents, tenants and house buyers?
A key element of the job role involves negotiation, putting forward offers on behalf of clients, advising landlords, scheduling tenancy inspections and providing expert knowhow on the legislations for the many different schemes (such as shared ownership, help to buy ISA, national mortgage to rent scheme and so on) now available. In some cases, third parties may not be happy with the outcome or may challenge what was said. Call recordings are an effective means of supporting your estate agents should their actions be questioned, proving that a fair and due process has been followed which meets the standards of professional bodies such as the Property Ombudsman.
How can call recording help you train and benchmark against your top performing agents?
Call recording is an extremely effective method for capturing examples of best practice by sharing the content from those ‘exceptional calls’ with others. In larger agencies it can also be used to identify individuals who may benefit from a transfer or promotion, and who can take those examples of best practice and apply them to help address issues with poorer performing regional offices.
With more and more agencies adopting affordable and easy to use call recording technology to help boost revenue and measure and track success, can you really afford to ignore the possible benefits it can reap for your business?
To find out more about the call recording options available contact our team.
Publish Date: April 10, 2017 5:00 AM
In today’s digital world, robotic process automation (RPA) is experiencing a fast uptake, driven primarily by the abundance of data accumulated by organizations and changes in consumer behavior.
As consumers, we have come to expect immediacy and accuracy for our typical dealings with companies, like seeking an answer to a question, placing or changing an order, or just updating our details. OBut, when faced with more complex issues, we look for empathy and understanding, and it is on these occasions that we tend to seek human assistance. Getting the perfect balance between the two represents a big challenge for companies, while at the same time it offers a significant opportunity to improve not only customer satisfaction but the bottom line as well. And this is where automation can help.
The rest of this article can be found exclusively on the smartcustomerservice.com website >
Interested in RPA solutions? Then check out our website or contact our team for more information.
Publish Date: April 6, 2017 5:00 AM
Workforce management (WFM) technology has developed alongside the contact center, coming a long way from the single-channel scheduling tool it once was.
Like any tool, however, if not used correctly, it can become more of a burden than a saviour. Here are 5 common mistakes made when scheduling with a workforce management tool and how to avoid them in order to meet targets with less effort and achieve a faster return on investment.
The rest of this article can be found exclusively on the Contact Center pipeline website. Check out ‘5 mistakes to avoid when scheduling with WFM‘.
Publish Date: February 15, 2017 5:00 AM
Recruitment has always been a highly competitive sector with consultants and agencies pitted against one another to achieve top biller or best agency status. The challenge any staffing agency has, is to replicate the successes of their top recruitment specialists whilst learning from the mistakes using these insights to drive better performance and revenue whilst increasing employer and candidate satisfaction.
Call recording is not a new concept, historically being used by contact centres for call quality monitoring and banks for compliance. Following on from the last article we wrote in 2014 on ‘Using call recording for recruitment to give you an edge’, and the interest we’ve been receiving from this particular market, we thought it timely to provide you with an update on how recording your calls can help you maximise your top billers and strengthen your USPs.
Here we delve deeper into the benefits this technology can bring for recruitment agencies, proving that call recording really is a no-brainer for this industry.
1. Training, benchmarking and best-practice
It’s simple. Past call recordings can be used to build up a library of different types of calls. This pool of knowledge will then be readily available to use for a number of different purposes including:
- Finding out what employers and candidates are talking about. What are their main drivers, their difficulties, their objectives?
- Pinpoint the exact characteristics and techniques behind a successful call. The good calls (including those with great negotiations on contracts or salaries) can be used as best practice calls for new and existing consultants.
- Pinpointing the characteristics behind a not so successful call. Similarly, these can be used for benchmarking and training purposes for underperforming consultants as well as new ones.
- Using past recordings for role playing purposes involving ‘real life’ scenarios, with a particular focus on certain situations which might be challenging or difficult to handle. This can include tricky questions being asked by an employer or an accusatory statement being made by a candidate. As a result, these calls can uncover golden nuggets of information including particular techniques and tips on how to address these situations in the future.
2. Provide an absolute account of ‘who said what’
Similarly you can learn a lot from the very bad calls and use call recording as a means of resolving disputes as well as fact verification purposes. Have you or your client been unfairly accused of employment discrimination during the interview process? Is there a discrepancy in the contractor salary rate you agreed with the client versus what was promised to the contractor? Call recordings can provide an absolute account of ‘who said what’ helping smooth over any issues and build trust in recruiter, candidate and client relationships.
3. Dare to be different - provide clients with recorded telephone interviews
Call recordings which support the reasoning behind your candidate selection process could be provided to clients as a value add service and could also mean the difference between a client placing a job role with your recruitment agency over another. If you are able to provide recordings of telephone interviews to the client in advance of them meeting the candidate, this can become the key differentiator needed for your agency in building the best portfolio over others.
4. Pro-actively market good candidates using audio interviews
On the flip side of this, you may have a candidate you telephone interviewed who is not right for a particular client but may be perfectly suited to another role you have been trying to fill. Just think how powerful it would be to not only send across that candidates CV to your client for a potential offering, but also a call recording of the telephone interview you conducted which perfectly captures the reasons behind why you have chosen to put this candidate forward in the first place.
The most successful recruitment consultants according to Karin Schroeck-Singh’s blog on 15 Qualities a great recruiter must have tend to share one thing in common, they require great listening and communication skills. Having said this, it is well known that recruiters spend a large amount of their time on the phone. Can you really afford not to have a way of measuring how successful these qualities really are, whilst gaining an insight into the conversations taking place and the reasons behind successful placements?
To find out more about the call recording options available contact our team.
Publish Date: February 9, 2017 5:00 AM
In early 2015 we started the conversation on how Workforce Management can support, automate and optimise workforce and associated business processes within the Police control rooms.
Our article ‘3 Ways Workforce Management can Improve Policing Efficiency’ touched on how scheduling, forecasting and real time adherence can help the police force improve quality of service by increasing both resource efficiency and availability whilst reducing unnecessary expenditures.
Following conversations with those in charge of ensuring control rooms operate at their best, another important factor was highlighted. On top of following government guidelines, public expectations, high demands from their own and surrounding forces, and the ultimate pressure of maintaining public safety, planners are also faced with the important challenge of maintaining morale and development of their staff.
With a general consensus based on the importance of nurturing the individual in order to achieve as a whole, we highlight how workforce management can help improve staff engagement and increase moral with the aim of delivering high levels of service to those in need.
Self-service provides staff with the ability to manage their own hours, including holidays and shifts, in line with established police force requirements, consequently allowing for a healthy work/life balance. Self-service gives employee control and flexibility, two fundamental motivators that are highly appreciated by most.
- Preference scheduling: Where employees can state their preferred days and times to work as well as their preference for additional activities, such as lunch, breaks and training.
- Availability: Staff can enter what days and/or hours they are able to work and the WFM Tools can make use of those offers as and when required by the force.
- Shift swaps: Employees are able to swap their shifts with other employees. In addition, WFM now also offers next generation functionality in the form of a shift trade board, whereby control room staff can post a shift available for trade and set criteria for what they are looking for in return. The WFM system takes in to consideration managerial pre-established requirements and automates the shift trade process minimising team leader intervention, all whilst maintaining staffing level requirements in order to meet service level demands.
- Absence requests: Staff can enter absence requests through their WFM Tool. Their request is reviewed against pre-established absence management rules with an automated response possible for team members. As well as being accepted or denied a team members request can also be placed on a waiting list for team leader acceptance.
Self-service does not just benefit the employee; it can make a big difference for the organisation as a whole:
- Improved work-life balance leading to better employee performance and focus
- Encourages and fosters a team environment
- Morale is improved helping reduce attrition rates
- Staff deployment is optimised and overtime costs reduced
- Automation reduces supervisory and admin work, reducing overall costs and allowing managers to focus on more important factors
Workforce Management Training
As a final note, control room supervisors have found that adequate training on how to use the system is crucial to the success of WFM Implementations. One of the biggest issues that police forces have with WFM tools is that they are not always taught how to use the systems and therefore the tool does not get used to its maximum capacity. In some cases, they are not even made aware of the system’s full functionality. It is highly recommended that supervisors request appropriate and comprehensive training from their WFM provider during the implementation phase.
Publish Date: February 7, 2017 5:00 AM
Contact Centre Managers can face a real challenge when it comes to reducing cost. To make the most out of every customer interaction requires a balance of productivity, quality and efficiency in day to day operations.
Here are our top 4 technologies that can help optimise costs without compromising quality:
1. Workforce Management
Workforce management (WFM) technology allows planners to quickly allocate the right employees, with the right skill sets at the right time, in order to meet service level agreements in the most efficient and cost effective way possible.
WFM can help organisations save a significant amount of money through:
– Resource planning precision
With a modern WFM tool, planners are able to forecast, schedule and track effectively the exact resources and skills needed in the contact centre on a daily basis. This means that costs related to overstaffing (and understaffing) can be avoided.
– Self-Service functionalities
Self-service functionalities enable agents to highlight their work preferences such as overtime availability, desired shifts and time-off requests, which not only help cut administrative costs, but also improve agent engagement and moral. The latter leads to a reduction in agent attrition rates which will in turn save the contact centre recruitment and training costs (for example, if you were to recruit 100 new agents within a year’s time to replace employees that left, you would be spending close to £250,000 in recruitment and training costs).
2. Interaction Analytics
Interaction Analytics (including speech analytics) does all the hard work for you by “listening” to all forms of communication to spot predefined keywords and expressions that can indicate both problem and opportunity areas as well as valuable insight.
Interaction Analytics can reduce cost in the contact centre through:
– Quality Monitoring & Performance
With 100% of calls being monitored and categorised, only the most valuable are passed on for agent training. Interaction Analytics can help develop a targeted agent training programme improving overall KPIs, including those designed to reduce the cost to serve.
– Avoidance of fines
Interaction Analytics can be used as a precautionary mechanism; being able to search for and identify inappropriate interactions through thousands of records, can allow the contact centre manager to remedy the situation before it repeats or escalates.
– Improving customer retention
Similarly, being able to search thousands of interactions using keywords such as competitor names, and phrases that indicate customer dissatisfaction, means you can reduce customer churn and consequently loss of revenue.
3. Robotic Process Automation
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) uses robots to eliminate repetitive manual tasks and deliver greater consistency over operational tasks, with unparalleled accuracy and speed.
RPA can reduce cost in the contact centre through:
– Automation of desktop activities
These include application launch, mouse selection, field entry, information copy/paste, template auto-fill and calculations; allowing agents to focus on more challenging tasks of greater value to the business.
– Self-service functionalities
This includes automating the back-end processes of your customer self-service channels, therefore helping improve overall channel performance. As self-service is one of the most cost-effective channels, the more customers use it the less your cost-to-serve will be.
– Back-office tasks
RPA can take care of many manual and resource intensive back-office operations such as organising and indexing electronic documents and sending automatic replies to predefined requests, saving costs associated with a wide range of administrative tasks.
– Avoiding technological failure
Health checks, updates and other event-triggered processes can be automated saving the IT department time and ensuring the contact centre will not be disrupted by a potential costly technological failure.
4. Hosted Services
Cloud and hosted services allow for a more flexible way to acquire applications without having to deal with the costs associated with the procurement and maintenance of on-premise equipment.
Cloud and Hosted services can reduce cost in the contact centre through:
Cloud services allow organisations to meet customer demand, scaling the number of licenses used according to their needs. This also means you are billed for what you use on a pay-as-you-go basis saving unnecessary expenditure.
– Maintenance of equipment
Using a cloud or hosted service means there are no operational and maintenance expenses, typically associated with traditional on-premise equipment.
If you want to find out more about any of the technologies referenced in this article which can help you reduce cost in the contact centre, contact us for more information.
Publish Date: January 20, 2017 5:00 AM
The way call recordings are stored, plays an important role in ensuring organisations are able to access audio assets either for compliance or business intelligence purposes. Today, magnetic tape represents one of the riskiest storage mediums for recordings as it has a finite lifespan (10-20 years) and is susceptible to premature degrading dependent on storage conditions and access frequency. In the past, keeping multiple copies and transcription have been the recommended failsafe methods. Today however, digitisation (moving the audio data to a digital environment such as a hard drive or the cloud) has become best practice as it helps organisations reduce disadvantages and risks that come along side magnetic media.
- Accessibility: Finding a specific recording that is on tape, someone has first to look on which tape the recording has been stored, then physically find the tape amongst the thousands stored, put it in the appropriate audio machine, and rummage through all recordings to find the one needed. This process is likely to take days and ads to the wear and tear of the tape. By migrating to a digital environment, recorded calls can be easily found and retrieved through their metadata and quickly made available upon request.
- Life span: Tape as a means of storage is subject to time degradation or damage, consequently rendering the recording inaccessible. Tape manufacturers often claim that tapes can last up to thirty years if kept in absolute optimal environmental conditions (humidity, temperature, cleanliness etc). But even in such cases, there is a risk that the tape lifespan will surpass the lifespan of the play back equipment making it increasingly difficult to find working recorders to play the tape. A more realistic lifespan is between ten or twenty years. If you are storing sensitive data on tape, we recommend keeping them for no longer than 7 years to avoid possible losses. (for more information on the life expectancy of tape can be found here)
- Physical Space: Not only does storing tape recordings take up physical space, organisations also need to ensure they are kept in a secure location where they cannot be tampered with. Creating and maintaining safe physical environments, made to meet the recommended environmental conditions, often results in elevated costs. Moving tape recording to a digital space removes the stress factor of having to find a secure location that is inaccessible to unauthorised individuals as well as present the best possible storage conditions.
- Costs: Aside from the obvious physical storage costs, a storage medium should also be evaluated in terms of the potential repercussion of losing the recorded information. When this cost is considered, it may become economically smart to invest more in a medium/system that offers reliability in the long term. This is particularly relevant in the financial industry, were recordings need to be available for longer periods of time in order to meet compliance.
So what does the process of moving recordings from tape to a digital environment entail?
- Security: When moving call recordings from tape to a digital environment, the process should be carried out in a secure environment where tapes can be safely stored with access only to those involved in the process to avoid tampering or loss of data.
- Time planning:
- Retrieval: The tapes are inserted in the retrieval server/logger and the retrieval process is commenced, which can take anything from one to twelve hours depending on the tape type and size, the number of recordings on it and any damage to the data.
- Administration: A note of the date, time, folder name and tape number are accurately kept in order to correctly match the data and find recordings once the migration is completed. The administration of each tape can take anything from one to two hours.
Note: If the tape is in poor conditions, there is a high probability that retrieving calls will not be possible. Tapes are prone to fast deterioration, so if you have any tape recordings that have been stored for longer than five years, it is important to start thinking about retrieving the data stored within them as soon as possible.
Additionally, you need to consider your call recorder manufacturer as calls may have been stored in different formats and potentially have encryption. At Business Systems we partner with a number of manufacturers, including NICE, Verint and Red Box Recorders, and can help extract calls from current and discontinued recorders, so to homogenise the data and provide you with a single point of access.
Do you still store your call recordings on tape?
Publish Date: December 20, 2016 5:00 AM