Business Systems UK Ltd - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog Page 2
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
Dave Evans, Workforce Management Consultant at Business Systems (UK) Ltd, discusses 3 emerging trends to watch out for in workforce management technology.
1. Continue to see advances in web-based portals – These will be available for employees as well as schedulers, to give true mobile workforce optimisation.
2. Improvements in integrations for bespoke applications and for third party applications. This is going to enable users to take data from workforce management and create weighted score cards.
3. Increase in the use of Gamification – Agents want to know exactly how they are performing without having to wait two or three weeks for feedback.
Publish Date: December 2, 2016 5:00 AM
With the average annual attrition rate in contact centres amounting to 24% and with 37% of attrition rates occurring within the first six months (callcentre.co.uk), we thought it timely to look at one of the technological stepping stones (workforce management) that goes a long way in trying to take away the pain in this area.
Reduce attrition rates through: Empowering employees
It’s simple – implementing the right workforce management system which comes equipped with self-service functionalities can reduce absenteeism and attrition offering your workforce a greater interest in what they do and a more flexible life style to meet their schedules. Some of the self-service functionalities which are available within WFM include:
This functionality automates the time off request process, with an instant notification of request acceptance or denial. Agents are also able to easily view their remaining leave allowance, and request holidays. In line with service level targets, requests are instantly and automatically acknowledged, denied or placed on a waiting list for team leader acceptance.
This functionality allows agents to trade shifts with or without team leader intervention, all whilst maintaining staffing level requirements. Agents are able to view their current schedule via a portal (as well as that of other team members) where they can make shift trades and enter over time availability. Through this portal, agents can also view their performance report with metrics available to view such as number of calls answered and average call duration.
This functionality automates overtime management allowing agents to enter their overtime availability (usually through a user-friendly portal), at the start or end of their shift – or even on a day off, allowing the agent to earn a little more money depending on their availability.
Reduce attrition rates through: Schedule Optimisation
Scheduling and optimisation are two key capabilities within WFM systems. These capabilities are the core components behind balancing operational efficiency and employee satisfaction, and thus in reducing attrition rates.
Scheduling and Optimisation can be achieved through the following WFM features including:
‘What-if’ scenario testing
What-if’ scenario testing and analysis is another feature of WFM systems which can be used to identify how many agents you need on a particular day as well as a focus on what skills they should have. Based on accurate forecasting, the scheduler can assign individual agent shifts instantly, helping ensure that with additional resources, your highest peak periods will be adequately covered.
Eliminating the unwanted ‘element of surprise’ in a contact centre when an unexpected event occurs, intraday management rebalances each day’s workload with available human resources in order to maintain a good service level. As well as this, intraday management also keeps track of workloads across all channels (such as web, email, phone etc.) and manages the allocation of agents to each.
Real-time agent adherence is another feature of WFM systems which compares planned agent activity to the actual activities taking place throughout the day. This feature can also provide real-time views of forecasted v’s actual call volumes, handle times and other key performance indicators providing managers with a breakdown of adherence by activity.
As Scott Budding, Workforce Optimisation consultant comments: “WFM systems are designed to improve service levels and with the right planning and implementation the contact centre can revel in a happier management team, happier customers and ultimately happier agents”. In summary – a good result!
For more information on workforce management technology check out our WFM Advice Hub >
*What does the contact centre look like in 2016? – callcentre.co.uk
Publish Date: November 14, 2016 5:00 AM
If your organisation has invested in a call recording solution, it is important to ensure that it is properly functioning at all times, especially when you use it for compliance or mission critical communications.
With 27 years of experience delivering and supporting a wide range of call recording solutions, we outline the 6 common mistakes made that can result in system failure.
1 – Rebooting the system at the wrong time or there is a power cut
If the system is rebooted, either manually or due to an unexpected power cut and you only have a single site solution and no data recovery options, your call recording system will stop working. Without a UPS to manage a controlled shutdown process, the reboot or shutdown can cause major data loss.
2 – Antivirus not configured properly
Adding an incorrectly configured Antivirus can cause the recording to stop, as such it is important to ensure it is configured properly by following your call recording vendor’s instructions. Most recording systems can support Antiviruses of some type but there are certain folders or files that must be excluded; like the ones where the audio recording would normally reside. Additional files might also need to be excluded but this will vary depending on the solution.
Moreover, make sure to reinstate those parameters and exclusions when the Antivirus is upgraded to a newer version, as occasionally an upgrade will reset the Antivirus to the default settings.
3 – Wrong or faulty software patches to either the OS or recording system are applied
The system might be unable to run properly or even start if the changes are not compatible with the system. It is recommended to consult your support provider prior to applying any software patches, as they will be able to inform you on what are the approved patches or service packs to be used.
4 – Incorrectly configured changes in configuration
Sometimes a simple finger slippage can take hours to discover and resolve. For example, a simple yet frequent mistake is often made when adding users to the system, which, if done incorrectly, will prevent the system from recording. Likewise, if changes are made to server IP addresses and not updated properly in the system, a loss of communication between components can occur and cause faults including a complete stop of recording.
5 – Customer upgrades PBX or CTI version without informing the call recording vendor
There is a common assumption that upgrades to one system will not necessarily impact another, however, occasionally, the call recording system might not support PBX or CTI upgrades as there can be subtle differences between versions that cause errors and stop the system working properly.
As such, make sure you inform your call recording vendor of any upgrades taking place so that they can advise and support if needed.
6. Failing to plan for a solution’s end of life
When a call recording solution reached end of life, there are a number of milestones that you need to keep in mind in order to ensure there is no negative impact on your data and business operations. Check out our infographic on 4 End of Life and Legacy milestones you need to be aware of and how to deal with them in the best way possible.
These are just 6 common human errors that can result in your call recording system not performing as it should.
If you fear your call recording infrastructure may be exposed to human error or technology failure, Business Systems can implement an end-to-end vulnerability check and help you plan for continuity.
For any additional information on call recording implementation and maintenance, get in touch with our team of experts.
Publish Date: October 24, 2016 5:00 AM
Business Systems’ Will Davenport explains how award-winning Vocal Wordwatch can provide a viable, secure solution for legacy and live call replay from a single point of access.
One of the reoccurring hot topics our clients are coming to talk to us about is Vocal Wordwatch; a legacy replay solution which helps organisations access old call recording data as well as replay live calls all from one portal, making the data mining process easier and more effective.
Vocal Wordwarch is a modular high performance portal that offers the possibility of adding additional technologies such as Speech Analytics and Quality monitoring for a more complete view of what is happening in the business. With advanced reporting capabilities, it extracts more extensive insight from the data.
From a legacy perspective, Wordwatch allows you to get rid of your old end of life call recording systems and easily access all of your stored call recordings, old and live, from one place. Having one point of access ensures data integrity is maintained as well as data accessibility after systems are no longer functioning due to end of life.
Publish Date: October 12, 2016 5:00 AM
Business Systems customers named Finalists for the European Contact Centre and Customer Service Awards
- Equiniti and Dekra secured their spot within two hotly contested award categories
- Winners will be announced during the Awards Dinner in London on November 21, 2016
Business Systems (UK) Ltd today announced that two of its customers, leading business process services provider Equiniti, and business performance optimisation specialist Dekra, have been selected as finalists in the European Contact Centre and Customer Service Awards (ECCCSA) competition. Equiniti and Dekra were awarded finalist positions in the ‘Best Deployment of Customer Insight’ and ‘Most Effective Learning and Development Programme’ categories respectively.
Equiniti (www.equiniti.com), has been named a finalist in the category of ‘Best Deployment of Customer Insight’ for its use of Business Systems’ Speech Analytics solution to obtain better customer insight and optimise their processes. With speech analytics they were able to turn the centre’s 2.6 million spoken interactions that take place between customers and advisers annually, into searchable content that can be analysed to identify trends more quickly than ever before. This increased visibility to the entirety of the calls, helping them identify and resolve both operational inefficiencies and causes of dissatisfaction.
Dekra (www.dekra-automotive.co.uk), was named a finalist in the category ‘Most Effective Learning and Development Programme’ for its use of Business Systems’ hosted Call Recording solution around which it developed its winning learning, development and performance optimisation programme. Being able to listen back to calls, gives them unique insight into the actual strengths and weaknesses of each employee, and allows them to provide individualised training courses and coaching sessions, improving exponentially performance and results on behalf of their customers.
“We are very proud that two of our customers have made it to the final round of this prestigious competition,” said Stephen Thurston, Founding Director, Business Systems. “These awards are a testament to the success of Dekra and Equiniti, as well as our commitment at Business Systems to serve the needs of our customers.”
The European Contact Centre and Customer Service Awards are the longest running and most respected awards in the customer contact industry. They use a robust judging process overseen by an unrivalled panel of industry experts, to recognise organisations that are leading the way in delivering exceptional customer service. These organisations value their people, continually innovate to improve the customer journey, and operate efficiently and effectively.
Publish Date: October 11, 2016 5:00 AM
Call recording solutions have been well adopted by contact centres to help improve quality and subsequently customer satisfaction. However, its benefits go far beyond the contact centre and can be applied to a number of different departments across an organisation. Call recording can not only increase customer satisfaction and reduce customer attrition, it can also help create customer centric sales and marketing strategies as well as manage workforce effectively.
Here is how you can increase the return on your investment in call recording, whilst empowering your Sales, Marketing and HR functions.
Call Recording for Sales
Tailored training: Just like with contact centre agents, call recording can also be used for sales training purposes and call evaluation. By listening to a selection of calls by each sales representative, sales managers can get better insight into their team’s performance. For example, are they overcoming objections in the best way possible? Are they covering key talking points and putting their offering across accurately? Call recording can help managers identify a sales rep’s weaknesses and ensure the necessary training is provided.
Likewise, sales reps can also utilise their own call recordings to listen back to their calls and identify areas they may need additional support in, whether that be tone of voice, content or chosen approach to any given situation. Offering employees the power to self-evaluate can be extremely beneficial in boosting sense of ownership and desire to develop.
Tailored sales strategies: By listening to calls, sales managers can tailor sales strategies and blueprints based on real-life scenarios. For example, call recording can help answer questions like:
- What are the most commonly asked questions?
- Which objections are continuously being raised?
- How are reps successfully overcoming obstacles?
- What are common road blocks for reaching decision makers?
Call Recording for Marketing
Better messaging and more targeted content: In a similar manner to Sales, Marketing can also listen back to call recordings and pick key issues being reported by customers and address these in their marketing planning. Understanding what the customer thinks and wants is extremely valuable in creating targeted, captive messaging.
Marketers often create content based on what they think will resonate with potential leads without ever hearing an actual customer call or directly interacting with a customer or prospect. By listening to call recordings, marketers can start identifying pain points, misconceptions or uncover hidden strengths, and craft more relevant and targeted collateral and campaigns.
Uncover hidden insight: When talking on the phone, people often reveal valuable information that may go unutilised if not heard by the right person. For example, a customer might mention a competitor’s product or offering being superior to yours, or their dissatisfaction with your service delivery. These calls are the perfect source for hidden insights that can significantly improve your offering. Once this information has been identified, it can feed into Marketing’s 4 Ps strategy to help keep the competitive edge.
Product development: Listening to customer calls can unveil useful information on your product or service offering. Customer enquiries, complaints or comparisons to other offerings, can help you identify ways to gain competitive advantage as well as improve your product or service offering based on tangible customer wants and needs.
Tailored Marketing Strategies: Just as with sales, marketing can also utilise call recordings to help create and tailor a strategy that fits their target audience. Call recordings can be used to identify what common questions are being asked by prospectors and consequently address these within the marketing strategy. For example, if a particular audience is struggling to understand how a product could benefit them, relevant collateral can be included within the marketing strategy to ensure this issue is resolved.
Training effectiveness: Not only does call recording help improve training effectiveness and as such reduce supervision time, it also reduces attrition and therefore the cost of employing new employees. Listening to call recordings allows to uncover and assess individual weaknesses and help employees improve where they need it the most with tailored training sessions.
Protecting employees and the organisation: Help identify areas where employees might be stepping over the line and take preventive measures where and when necessary to reduce liability. Are they making inappropriate comments to customers or with suppliers? Is any deal being approached in a manner that could be deemed inflammatory?
Interviews: Review phone interviews calmly once the call has ended in order to clearly assess a candidate and ensure they are the right fit for the company. Doing so will allow the organisation to save valuable time and money on recruitment efforts.
Publish Date: September 8, 2016 5:00 AM
Workforce Management (WFM) self-service and engagement capabilities are key functionalities within Workforce Management technology. It allows employees to view schedules, request absences, view their own performance and self-schedule through preference and availability options.
A WFM employee portal provides an organisation with a fantastic opportunity, not only to engage their employees but to also help reduce the management overhead of dealing with requests and reporting. As part of the engagement toolkit, the employee portal enables the employee to take control and accountability for all elements relating to their work patterns.
So if you’re considering deploying an employee portal via WFM, here are 5 top tips you should consider to ensure a successful outcome:
1. Involve employees from the outset
This is perhaps the most critical element in a successful rollout. At the earliest opportunity make sure employees are included in any scoping, communication and rollout plans. This will require support from across the board including human resources for example who can ensure all employee forums and staff associations are kept up to date with the latest news. Failure to involve employees at the earliest opportunity will lead to disengagement and lack of support.
2. Slow and steady wins the race
The deployment of a WFM employee portal can be a considerable cultural change for employees to come to grips with, particularly with suddenly having access to their work patterns, requests and performance. The “go live” period is therefore a critical time to ensure employees are on board and do not feel overwhelmed by the sudden change and onset of responsibility which may ensue. As a result, it may be worth considering testing out the implementation with a sample team of WFM ambassadors first, to ensure feedback on the system is gathered before rolling out to the wider organisation.
3. Be selective
With a new system, the temptation will be to deploy each and every functionality within the portal from the get go. This however, may be overwhelming for the organisation particularly key departments who will be directly affected by the implementation. It may also be the case that some capabilities of the system are not relevant for the organisation, wasting key resources and time on incorporating new skills which will not be utilised. On this basis, it’s worth considering an approach which thrives in stages – this includes taking the time to roll out the key functionalities which have been recognised and making sure each element is delivering the original benefits which were first agreed upon.
4. Ensure the technical infrastructure is ready to go
Resist the urge to go live without all of the required technical integrations in place. Technical hiccups and inconsistencies are found to take the most time to rectify. Ensure all measures are in place to prevent these. For example, if you need to allow access to the portal from outside of the organisation make sure the technical team are aware of this and are working on any firewall restrictions which may be in place beforehand. If you are connecting to third party performance data to provide a more rounded view of performance then at the earliest opportunity, ensure the integration between the two is possible and robust.
5. Measure the benefits
They say what gets measured gets done. It’s easy however, with a new technology in place and exciting functionalities to use, to forget to measure the impact on the business not only from an efficiency perspective but also from an engagement perspective. Each organisation will have different methods of measuring engagement and performance, however the foundation to all of this is to baseline the data at the point of deployment and measure any benefits.
There is no doubt employee portals should be at the forefront of any WFM deployment. To find out more about self-service WFM and the benefits it can bring to your organisation, check out our article and video with our resident expert David Evans – Self-Service Workforce Management explained.
Publish Date: August 4, 2016 5:00 AM
To set the scene on the Brexit stage, on the 24th June, the FCA issued a “Statement on European Union referendum result” stating that:
“Firms must continue to abide by their obligations under UK law, including those derived from EU law and continue with implementation plans for legislation that is still to come into effect”.
MiFID II therefore still represents a colossal change – Brexit or no Brexit. As regulatory framework for the financial industry tightens, financial institutions are being called upon to record “all communications that are intended to lead to a transaction”.
So what does this really mean for mobile call recording?
MiFID II – the trials and tribulations continue
Let’s go briefly back in time. The original MiFID gave EU member states the discretion to decide which telephone conversations were to be recorded. In 2011, the UK’s financial regulator (the FSA now called the FCA) put a spanner in the works by enforcing that all relevant mobile communications between traders had to be recorded – including both SMS and voice.
Let’s bring it back to the present day – as a result, MiFID II now makes the recording of mobile conversations mandatory, regardless of whether a conversation is on a personal or company-owned device. For many businesses worldwide this means change. Thousands of firms will have to begin recording all forms of communications that are related to a trade; and hundreds of thousands of additional users will now have to have their mobile interactions recorded.
Compliant Mobile Call Recording Solutions
When the need for mobile call recording was introduced, most of the solutions on offer relied on applications being installed on the mobile handset to route the call via a call recording system. These applications were considered highly unstable and were not trusted by the financial industry. Elements of risk of failure, as well as risk of being tampered meant they could not be put forth as ‘truly’ compliant solutions.
Today, mobile recording technologies have matured and the ‘In Network’ SIM-based recording solutions no longer rely on application-based recording. These solutions utilise the call routing being carried out by the mobile network provider, with a duplicate stream of the call being sent to the recording solution. The advantage to this is a more reliable and seamless user experience, as well as the ability of some network-based solution providers to tailor the recording solution according to the customers’ requirements. This for example, may include working with the financial institution’s existing infrastructure to dual stream recordings into different call recording platforms.
What are some of the main considerations to keep in mind?
MiFID II is approaching and even if adoption of the specific directive does not happen, the FCA may well incorporate similar requirements to the UK’s regulatory framework for financial institutions. If you do not already have a mobile call recording system, here are some main considerations to keep in mind when sourcing one:
- Hosted or on-premise – Hosted solutions can provide the same level of functionality and robustness as an on-premise solution, and could also be equally secure, however due to the culture of control which Financial organisations cultivate, on-premise is normally the preferred option. Another consideration due to MiFiD II enforcing a five-year retention period for all forms of communication is storage costs which may vary depending on whether you are considering hosted or on-premise solution. Some hosted providers for example will charge a premium for storage; with the approaching deadline of MiFID II this may present them with a perfect opportunity to elevate their storage charges.
- Roaming whilst abroad – Do you require calls to be recorded whilst roaming? Typically, there is a roaming restriction around the CAMEL network (Customised Applications for Mobile network Enhanced Logic). If a call does indeed need to be recorded while abroad, the user will need to be in one of the countries that is within the CAMEL network (for inbound recorded calls there are only a very select few countries who are not on the CAMEL network).
- Recording resilience – With MiFID regulations firmly stating that organisations must be aware of periods that do not comply with record-keeping requirements (such as component failure within the voice recording system), it is worth considering solutions which allow recording failover. In the event of a component failure, these systems will allow the solution to either failover to a secondary recording system or would consist of two separate recording systems recording the same audio.
Our advice on MiFID II continues – in order to stay one step ahead of the game, firms should look at how technology can help them to efficiently achieve and adhere to compliance regulations. So just how prepared are you for MiFID II? If you have any questions contact our team to find out how we can help with your compliance obligations.
For more information on mobile call recording you may be interested in the following articles:
Answering the compliance call
The evolution of mobile call recording
Publish Date: July 21, 2016 5:00 AM
Workforce Management technology has come a long way from the niche, single channel scheduling tool it once was, to the hosted and cohesive solution offering we have today.
The technology has developed in parallel with the evolution of the contact centre and is still seen as one of the driving tools to utilise in this environment. It has unfailingly enabled organisations to plan and schedule efficiently to improve customer service as well as better meet the needs of the very people it helps manage, by providing functionalities tailored to nurture employee engagement.
A recent report on ‘The State of Workforce Management in Contact Centres – 2016’ however has shown us that 83% of respondents were experiencing challenges with their current WFM system.
WFM has been around for many years, and as a result many systems have simply become incompatible with the demands now placed on the modern contact centre. The majority of challenges reported by our respondents, (including speed, performance reporting and scheduling time off requests) are no longer encountered in the enterprise systems of today which are quicker, cannier and more user intuitive.
To name a few, some of today’s modern functionalities of WFM includes:
Self-service and engagement for employees
Offers employees the opportunity to login and effectively schedule their preferred working patterns (entailing shifts, holidays and breaks) based on organisational requirements.
Multi-channel for all interactions
As technology gets smarter and faster, customers of today get used to instant service – with no exception. WFM takes into consideration all agent skill sets in order to identify those that could possibly cover multiple contact types such as emails, web chat, social media and SMS.
Integration with technologies
WFM provides the ability to connect with your payroll, time and attendance systems proving instrumental in reducing admin time and manual tasks. It is also possible to integrate WFM data with third party applications such as performance management to provide a 360 degree view of employee performance.
Modern workforce management solutions are without a doubt a transformative proposal for contact centre managers today, looking for a system to reflect the ever-changing dynamics of the modern contact centre. As workforce management technology has evolved, so has the needs of the contact centre which has unfortunately meant not all organisations necessarily have access to the latest features or may be using them to the best of their advantage.
David Evans, Workforce Optimisation Consultant at Business Systems puts things into perspective “Organisations today are looking for WFM that provides flexible deployment options, and true multi-channel capabilities. The key is agility and flexibility to cater for the increasingly complex customer expectations. This should be matched with an employee engagement functionality that provides self service and self scheduling options.”
Publish Date: July 7, 2016 5:00 AM
On the 21st-22nd of June we attended the Compliance and Conduct Risk in Financial Services Forum where we held a workshop session with our partners O2, showcasing how technology can help meet the ever changing regulatory and stakeholder demands without compromising compliance.
We caught up with our guest speakers Garry White (Business Systems) and Mark Baggs (O2) who gave us an overview on what they discussed in their leading session “Evidencing the journey – Managing change without compromising compliance”.
Garry White, Business Systems (UK)
Many of you may be familiar with the Donald Rumsfield speech:
“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know.
There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know.
But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know”.
This speech has never been more relevant as the regulatory framework for the financial industry tightens. Financial Institutions are called upon not only to perform telephone transactions in a specified manner, but also to record and provide evidence of compliant conduct under strict time constraints. For organisations with thousands and millions of phone transactions, it is impossible to be certain that each and every one of those transactions follow procedure –whether this relates to code of conduct, process or technology.
Regulatory guidance as well as experience provide some direction in provisioning for and controlling events that are not currently known (such as the revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive aka MiFID II). It is however the vast majority of unknown parameters surrounding the life-cycle of a transaction that pose the highest risk. Whereas verbal noncompliance might be spotted only if placed into context, there is also the technologically induced risk to consider. How can you say for example, with all certainty that every single one of the calls is accurately recorded? Or the vast depot of historic recordings is 100% intact and accessible?
This is where technology can help with a number of different solutions including a call retrieval and replay portal enabling organisations to easily retrieve and replay recordings from their entire repository – often dating many years back. In addition to this, technology can also help with the automated testing of the entire voice domain to spot real time call recording failures. Finally, utilising speech analytics to pick up on compliance breaches triggered through phrases and pre-defined alerts is also proving a valuable tool.
There is no way we can avoid the unknown unknowns. The only way is to place the right safeguards (with technology the prime enabler) that will help you prepare for any eventualities and in turn spot potential risks faster.
Mark Baggs, O2
In today’s world mobility in the workplace is common practice accompanied with a 37% rise in flexible working. Workers have become increasingly mobile with the majority of organisations supporting the growing number of employees who use mobile devices (such as tablets or smartphones) to complete their work either at the office, at home or whilst travelling.
The changing work practice represents a known unknown. Organisations are well aware of the changing practice and are trying to prepare for the unexpected, but if your employees are not present in the business environment, how will you ensure they are staying compliant throughout their communications?
Another question to ask yourself is how secure your mobile infrastructure actually is. With an ever tightening regulatory framework that aims, among other things to establish transparency in market conduct and crack down on rogue trading, the need to consider what it means to have a robust mobile call recording solution in place is now more important than ever.
With the introduction of several recording solutions throughout the years, technology has led us towards a solution that will provide a reliable and seamless user experience at home as well as abroad, embracing the known unknown of flexible working rather than shying away from this changing work practice.
Publish Date: June 29, 2016 5:00 AM
When most contact centres invest in call recording technology they typically have a list of requirements that have to be met. Usually these requirements include Quality Monitoring (the ability to evaluate agents and report on their performance), Screen Recording (the ability to see what is being done on screen by the agent) and PCI Compliance (the ability to stop the capture of credit card details to meet PCI DSS regulations). But what other less known features does a call recorder have that could substantially improve your business?
There are many ways customer interactions take place. Customers can email, chat or even use social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, to get in touch with a business. All these different interactions should be recorded as they all offer a wealth of information that can be used to shape the business. Recorded data can help you understand competition, quickly resolve issues with customer complaints and provide a better overall level of service, which in turn strengthens customer satisfaction and loyalty. Most importantly, it can provide you with the ability to see your customers’ engagement in its entirety.
Do all the agents know how to respond to different scenarios? As a call progresses, do they need real time guidance on how to respond to a customer? You can now utilise Process Optimisation solutions, such as real time interaction analytics, which take information from various sources to assist agents in dealing with customer enquiries in the most efficient and appropriate way. Real-time interaction analytics technology increases first call resolution through intuitive guidance and reduces customer churn by empowering agents to resolve issues in real time. It also improves operational efficiency by optimising workflow.
Dashboard Views and Reports
Reporting is a vital assessment and planning tool. The right report can highlight areas for improvement and help the organisation decide on the necessary steps for ensuring SLAs are constantly met. Moreover, recording solutions can generate statistical reports using the data stored, thus providing an all in one high level view of call statistics, Quality Monitoring indicators and sales figures. These statistics can help different areas of the business understand how the contact centre is performing and provide Managers with the possibility of drilling down where more information is required. Finally, creating a dashboard view that takes information from various sources and presents it in one easy to use dashboard, increases visibility on staff performance and highlights areas that require further attention.
Publish Date: June 22, 2016 5:00 AM