Monet Software - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog Page 2
Christmas in July gets bigger every year, as more retailers and companies take time out from another scorching summer to think about Santa and winter wonderlands.
You might wish to consider a Christmas in July party at your call center. Have everyone wear their favorite reindeer sweater, serve some eggnog and sing a few holiday carols.
But here is one other way to mark the occasion that could pay significant dividends as the actual holiday gets closer – start planning now for the year-end rush.
For many call centers, November and December are the busiest time of year. So July is a better time to be sure you are prepared to handle the oncoming tidal wave of customer orders, returns and questions.
Too early? Perhaps. But the days have a way of going by faster than you might think – we can’t believe it’s July already! So why not start on your forecasting, which is easy to do with a workforce management solution. You can review the call patterns from last year’s holiday season, and those before, so you’ll know what to expect in the months ahead. Run simulations based on this data and review the results so they can be as fine-tuned as necessary.
How is your agent stand-by list? It’s probably been more than six months since it has been updated. Start contacting those agents now to check their availability. Some might have other jobs and will not be available in a few months. And if you don’t have a stand-by list, start putting one together.
How did the training sessions go on your holiday season hires last year? This is a good time to refine those efforts. If you’re handling this well, there’s a good chance that some of those temp agents are now engaged full-time with your call center.
We don’t want to rush the season either – but some stores will be putting up their Christmas tree displays in less than two months. If they can get ready early, you can as well.
Publish Date: July 18, 2017 5:00 AM
If you want to know about what’s new with Salesforce and help desk software, we know where you’ll be on July 18 – because we’ll be there as well.
The Salesforce Basecamp for Service event will be held on that day at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla. If you’re planning to be there, please stop by and spend some time with us.
Salesforce Basecamp is the place service desk professionals go if they want to deliver a faster and more personalized service experience. If that is one of your goals, we invite you to take a closer look at Monet WFM, Workforce Management for Service Cloud™.
Why? Because better service experiences begin with better scheduling processes and a more optimized internal organization. When Monet WFM for Service Cloud™ is integrated to the Salesforce™ Service Cloud™ case management system, help desks can create accurate forecasts and schedules, which boost customer satisfaction, customer experience and service levels.
Salesforce Basecamp also offers informative customer panels and presentations with thought leaders in the industry. The San Diego event features author Kerry Bodine, who is helping businesses understand the financial benefits of great customer experiences — and how their organizations must change in order to deliver them.
If you haven’t made plans to attend, it’s not too late. Just head over to the Salesforce website to register. We hope to see you there!
Publish Date: July 13, 2017 5:00 AM
The script an agent uses to interact with customers plays a pivotal role in every engagement.
It should serve as a base from which to build a conversation that results in resolving any situation. But if a script is getting in the way of efficiency, by taking too long to move the discussion forward, it will have a negative effect on performance no matter how qualified the agent.
Perhaps it’s time to take a fresh look at your script. If so, here are three tips that will help you make positive changes.
1. Read it Out Loud
Sometimes you can write a line that sounds great on paper, but when it is read aloud it may sound clichéd or confusing. By “rehearsing” the dialogue, you’ll be better able to imagine how it will sound when read by agents and heard by customers. You’ll also be able to identify and remove any long sentences that might be difficult to deliver, and experiment with different greetings and closings to find the one that sounds best.
2. Build In Enough Flexibility
Conversations can be guided but they cannot (or should not) be forced. Flexibility and guiding prompts should be built into a script so agents can react to different situations and provide the most appropriate responses. When a customer is trying to express their confusion or frustration and continue to receive only pre-written expressions of empathy, it will just add to their irritation. This is an even more common issue in webchat; customers know every time copy appear on the screen that expresses a genuine response, as opposed to lines that were written months or years ago.
3. Listen To Your Agents
Agent input is essential to developing a better script. These are the folks on the front lines of customer interaction, and after only a couple of weeks on the job they will know which responses work and which do not. Along the way they may come up with better ways to express the same idea.
Publish Date: July 11, 2017 5:00 AM
No long introductions here because we know you’re busy. Here are the four reasons your call center should be looking into speech analytics.
1. It Delivers Data
Every call that comes in is a valuable source of data. Call centers have long understood this and try to mine the elements from each conversation deemed most relevant to company performance and customer service. Speech analytics allows this analysis to go deeper than ever before. Managers will gain more insight into the effectiveness of agent scripts, by the reactions customers provide with their words and the emotional nuances that sometimes suggest more than what they’re actually saying.
2. It Saves Money
Technology upgrade investments don’t get any smarter than this one. By at least one estimate, call center speech analytics achieves ROI in as little as three months. After that, it just keeps delivering data that offers insight into new product creation, product promotion and positive branding, while also boosting customer loyalty.
3. It Improves Customer Service
More information available to your agents means a stronger likelihood of first call resolution and a satisfied customer. When callers don’t have to call back, that lowers the volume for everyone, which at peak times can cause a significant improvement in how quickly other calls can be taken and resolved.
4. It Boosts Profits
Cross selling and upselling are opportunities too often missed in the course of a call center shift. Perhaps your agents have a standard offer that closes specific kinds of calls, but what type of response does it receive? With speech analytics, those rates can be reviewed, and customer responses can be analyzed to achieve greater results. Perhaps some upsells work better with older customers, or with males. Others are perfect for first-time buyers. Now you can customize upsells and cross-sells based on each customer’s response.
At Monet, our speech analytics and desktop analytics are incorporated into our WFO Live solution to help maximize agent productivity and performance. For basic call centers or contact centers that offer omnichannel interactions between agents and customers, this powerful alliance of WFO and analytics can better meet your customer needs, help you to better utilize your resources, and improve service levels
Publish Date: June 20, 2017 5:00 AM
What’s your lucky number? If you’re going to be in Las Vegas next month for Call Center Week, may we suggest 1320? That’s the booth where you’ll find us in the Mirage Resort, June 26-30.
Make sure you stop by. We look forward to this annual get-together and the chance to meet and talk shop with fellow call center industry professionals. Discussing your challenges inspires us to work even harder to find new answers.
At this year’s event we’ll be focusing how Monet’s award-winning workforce management solution seamlessly integrates with Salesforce™ Service Cloud™ to deliver:
- Improved case and chat management
- Better forecasts
- Real-time workforce visibility
- Greater customer satisfaction
For businesses with helpdesks, this is a real breakthrough. And members of the Monet team will also be there to talk quality monitoring, performance management, speech analytics, and how our award-winning solutions have helped so many companies deliver more efficiency to their call centers.
If you’ve never been to Call Center Week before, make sure you budget enough time to see as much as possible. This year’s itinerary includes workshops with such titles as “Create a Culture of Engagement,” “Empower Your Team to Deliver Personalized Service Across Channels” and “Differentiating Customer Experience in the Age of the Mobile Consumer.”
In addition, CCW 2017 features master classes on “Hiring for Retention: Building Blocks for Staffing your Contact Center for the Next Generation,” as well as sessions on networking and digital transformation.
You’ll also have a chance to tour the Zappos headquarters, and find out how their unique customer service philosophy has inspired consistently strong sales.
We look forward to seeing you at booth #1320!
Publish Date: June 15, 2017 5:00 AM
There is a delicate balancing act taking place almost every day at almost every call center.
On one side of the scale there are KPIs that measure how long a customer waits to reach an agent, how long the call takes, and how often the issue described is resolved without the need for further calls. On the other side is the quest to provide caring, quality customer service, which is not so easily measured on a graph or a pie chart.
Did we say it was a delicate balancing act? Sometimes it’s more like a tug of war.
But with workforce management it doesn’t have to be.
If you have well-trained agents in place who know how to speak to customers with different concerns and personalities, you’re halfway home. It is their job to make callers feel valued, to calm angry emotions and to represent the company in a positive way, so that caller will stay a customer even if they had a problem.
That takes time – more time, perhaps, than the number crunchers among your management team would care to allocate. Workforce management, especially when combined with speech analytics, allows agents to quickly access customer records so they don’t have to ask for information that might be helpful. It may also prevent having to transfer to the call to other representatives, always a frustrating experience for the caller.
The right technology can also spot trends among customers faster and easier, which moves the call forward to the successful resolution stage.
If you are still using spreadsheets and are considering a workforce management system, we encourage you to read one of the following whitepapers:
- How to select a Workforce management solution: This document provides a list of key questions you need to ask and evaluate when selecting a solution.
- What is cloud-based workforce management: This paper compares the new cloud-based solutions with the traditional on-premise software solutions.
Publish Date: June 13, 2017 5:00 AM
The cases never stop coming at a busy helpdesk, posing a challenge for even the most dedicated teams.
Part of meeting that challenge is staying ahead of the technology curve. Solutions are available that can boost agent visibility while also providing consistent customer service. Is your helpdesk taking advantage of them?
One may already be familiar to you: Salesforce™ Service Cloud™. But you may not be aware that Salesforce™ Service Cloud™ can be integrated with Monet’s award-winning workforce management solution, WFM Live.
When that happens, you’ll instantly achieve greater visibility into the day-to-day operations of the service desk, resulting in:
- Improved case and chat management
- Better forecasts
- Real-time insight that corrects service issues quickly
- Greater customer satisfaction
The best part? With one solution you’ll have the confidence of knowing you are on the cutting edge of business software. And once you’re there, you’ll stay there. Any new updates, versions or changes are automatically installed at no additional cost.
Find out more about integrating Monet Workforce Management and Salesforce™ Service Cloud™
Publish Date: June 1, 2017 5:00 AM
Helpdesks know that the best customer service happens when the right number of agents are doing the right job at the right time.
But without workforce management (WFM), it can be difficult for managers to maintain service levels given their limited visibility into what agents are doing, and how they are doing it.
Thousands of companies have already discovered how Salesforce™ Service Cloud™ delivers faster service at a lower cost, while streamlining communication between customers, employees and partners. But for all of its outstanding features, it can’t deliver the WFM that eliminates guesswork and time-consuming processes.
The Solution: combining Monet’s award-winning workforce management solution with Salesforce™ Service Cloud™.
Seamless integration between the two efficiency solutions is easily achieved with no required hardware. Data passes to Monet Live, WFM for Salesforce™ Service Cloud™ through a widget atop a console via a streaming API.
Now, with data that clearly shows what is working what is not, new methods can be implemented (such as matching employee skills to specific tasks) to optimize agent productivity.
If you’re a Salesforce™ Service Cloud™ customer, isn’t it time you find out what you’ve been missing?
Learn more about integrating Monet WFM Live with Salesforce™ Service Cloud™
Publish Date: June 1, 2017 5:00 AM
The best thing about adding workforce management (WFM) to a call center is not how efficiently it solves one workplace issue – it’s how it solves several challenges simultaneously.
We’ve selected five of the most common call center problems that WFM can help resolve – but there is plenty more where that came from.
Forecasting is all about having the right number of agents with the right combination of skill sets in place every shift, every day. When that happens, call centers eliminate wasteful situations that result from overstaffing, and customer service issues that result from understaffing. Workforce management automatically collects, reviews and processes the data that delivers accurate forecasts, both in the short term and long-term.
Scheduling should take both calls and non-call activities into consideration. Some scheduling methods fall short here, but a WFM solution considers all of the variables throughout the forecasting and scheduling process.
Creating schedules is one thing – making sure agents adhere to those schedules is something else entirely. Usually you can figure out what happened after the shift is over, but what good does that information do when it’s too late to act on it? With workforce management, a call center can monitor and record the schedule adherence status of all agents in real-time – that includes log in time, log out time, lunches and breaks. If a problem is discovered it can be handled quickly.
4. Intraday Forecast/Schedule Management
Intraday management is always a challenge due to particularly complex resource considerations. An integrated WFM solution should be able to monitor intraday workload information (planning, controls, deployment strategies) that will produce pre-emptive rather than reactive actions for managers.
5. Exception Handling
Workforce management will manage and process exceptions in a way that communicates all necessary information to all parties concerned. It accepts or rejects each exception instance based on company criteria, and makes certain everyone is on the same page so there is no confusion on the part of the agent or management.
Publish Date: April 13, 2017 5:00 AM
It’s expensive running a COST Center. But it’s possible to convert your business back into a quality call center by cutting costs that don’t impact customer service.
How? Here are a few tips:
Ditch the Spreadsheets
When spreadsheets are replaced by a workforce management solution, a cost savings will immediately result from improved schedule adherence and optimization of daily agent rituals like breaks and lunches. Savings? As much as 10-20%.
Speech analytics delivers better marketing intelligence in other areas at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods. It also recognizes trends in what customers are asking about – that could influence new product development or changes to existing products and ultimately boost sales.
Switch to the Cloud
No upfront investment for hardware and software is required for workforce management or workforce optimization in the cloud. Instead, call centers pay a monthly subscription fee that, in many cases, will also cover training, support, maintenance and upgrades. Operating costs are lower as well, as there is no need for backups or hardware replacement.
Monet has created a more detailed explanation of how to save money through workforce management in the cloud. The numbers don’t lie – here you’ll find a formula that will let you calculate the specific cost savings that can be achieved when WFM makes schedules more efficient, automates the forecasting and scheduling process, and reduces shrinkage.
Click here to read How to Calculate WFM Savings – it may be the first step toward converting your COST Center back to an efficient call center.
Publish Date: March 23, 2017 5:00 AM
There is an anecdote in Steven Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People that would apply to many call center managers.
It’s about two lumberjacks working side by side, both trying to cut down massive trees with dull saws. Finally, one of them decides to stop and get his saw sharpened, and returns an hour later to finish the job. Now that he has discovered how much easier the work has become, he encourages his coworker to follow his example. But the other lumberjack replies that his job is taking so long that he doesn’t have time to stop and sharpen his saw.
The takeaways here are obvious: It’s always better when work can be completed faster, and those who never change their work regimen will never see improved results.
This is, sadly, a common occurrence at busy call centers, where managers spend so much time calculating daily forecasts and schedules, dealing with staffing issues and trying to track agent adherence that there are not enough hours in the day to explore how these inefficient systems can be upgraded.
The WFM Difference
Sooner or later, however, most managers realize at last that changes are necessary. And when they do they can look to workforce management to sharpen their collective call center saw, so all of their work can be completed faster and with more accuracy.
In the area of management discipline, WFM addresses:
- Intraday Reviews, Adherence and Exception Management
- Forecasting and Scheduling Best Practices
- Quality management and Performance Management Coaching, Training and Role Playing
In the area of process design and improvement, WFM helps with:
- Call Handling Analysis
- Benchmark Analysis
- Activity Summaries and Details
- Work Standards
- Quality Form Review and Feedback
- Evaluation of Coaching Techniques and Calibration
- Staff Flexibility
That’s a lot of change from just one solution. And when WFM is delivered in the cloud, it can be implemented without a large upfront cost. That makes efficiency more cost-effective as well.
Tired of sawing with a dull saw? Find out more about Monet WFM Live
Publish Date: March 23, 2017 5:00 AM
This year more than 20 states will be required by law to raise their minimum wage. From Florida to Alaska, Massachusetts to Arizona, call centers that hire entry-level agents at a minimum wage will have to pay anywhere from ten cents to two dollars more per hour, every day.
While agents will certainly be delighted with the raise, call center managers will need to budget for these payroll hikes.
One way to do so is with a switch to workforce management software.
Several Monet WFM clients have been able to reduce the number of agents required per shift, without sacrificing customer service. The achievement of more accurate forecasting and scheduling allowed one insurance call center to go from 119 agents to 87 agents. A financial services call center reduced agent headcount fro 550 to 510, while also reducing costly overtime by 25%. That equates to an annual savings of more than $350,000.
Yes, workforce management does require an additional investment. But with WFM Live, Workforce Management in the Cloud, there is no need to buy servers or other IT equipment, or IT resources required to set up and operate the system. There is also no large upfront cost for the software – call centers pay an affordable per user license.
And in addition to cost savings, WFM delivers more accurate skill-based scheduling, the ability to track adherence in real time, and improve agent productivity.
So if minimum wage is not as minimum as it used to be in your state, workforce management provides a way to reduce escalating labor costs – and improve service at the same time.
Find out more about Monet WFM Live
Publish Date: March 21, 2017 5:00 AM
Many small and midsized contact centers still rely on Excel for daily forecasting and scheduling instead of workforce management software.
The question is why? Do they really just love spreadsheets that much? Or have they grown so accustomed to this system that they no longer realize there is a better way?
Excel was a time-saver – once. Today, it’s an imperfect system that is likely costing your call center money. How?
Two of the key drivers for cost savings are schedule adherence and optimization of daily agent rituals like breaks and lunches. Excel spreadsheets are extremely limited in the impact they can have on these crucial challenges.
With spreadsheets only limited spot-checking is possible. Without real-time adherence, shrinking will increase, and shifts are more likely to be over-staffed or under-staffed. When that happens resources are wasted and service levels are missed. But where Excel falls short, workforce management delivers real time adherence and monitoring. Result? Consistent, accurate service levels, and shrinkage cut by as much as 15 minutes per agent day.
The scheduling of lunches and breaks, and how well agents adhere to these schedules, can have a tremendous impact on ROI. At most call centers shrinkage rates can be greatly reduced with an effective WFM solution, depending on the size of the business. And when shrinkage rates fall, productivity and profits increase.
The More Agents You Have, the More You Save
While Excel is more commonly found in smaller call centers, we’ve also discovered that many of those with 100 agents or more are also using spreadsheets. Here, the inefficiencies of the system are multiplied, resulting in much lower customer service and higher costs.
When an increase as low as 1% in productivity can significantly impact the call center budget, it is imperative to identify areas where efficiency can be improved.
One of these areas is flexibility – the limitations of Excel result in fixed schedules that can produce higher shrinkage and overstaffing. But with WFM it is easier to manage start times, end times and breaks with an ease of flexibility that dramatically improves service levels.
Managers can also consult more detailed and accurate call histories with WFM, resulting in better forecasts.
Scheduling? Also much faster. Some managers can save as much as 25% of the time once devoted to filling in spreadsheets – time that can now be used for additional agent training or to attend to other matters.
Still love Excel? Perhaps it’s time to look for a new relationship.
Publish Date: March 21, 2017 5:00 AM
For decades, “analytics” at a call center consisted of reviewing recorded calls to assess outcome and agent performance. But the ascent of speech analytics solutions has taken that process to another level.
The recordings are still the same – the difference is how much information each one can reveal.
For example, what words do callers use to describe their issue? What is the tone of their voice when they explain why they are calling? By analyzing vocabulary and emotion, a speech analytics solution can improve the routing of calls to agents best suited to handle them, and provide additional insight into how products and marketing campaigns are being received.
This affects agent training as well, as once certain repeated speech patterns and word choices are identified, agents can be prepared in advance for them, and be ready to respond in a way that improves the odds of a successful outcome.
There is also a predictive quality to speech analytics that can detect where a conversation is going before it gets there. By combining data mined from previous calls from the same customer, specific word choices and tone of voice, it may be possible to mitigate an angry tirade before it starts – or detect an attempt at a fraudulent transaction before any damage is done.
And while analytics has traditionally focused on calls, the same strategy can be used for social media (now the first choice for millennials), as well as self-service and digital channels. You may not be able to sense mood from a customer’s voice this way, but contact patterns and word choice can be analyzed to determine the most appropriate next step.
Today, however, more than half of call centers lack any social media capabilities, much less the analytics that make these channels important sources of customer data.
Is it time for your call center to discover the benefits of analytics?
Publish Date: February 28, 2017 5:00 AM
Average handle time (AHT) is a call center metric for the average duration of one transaction, typically measured from the customer's initiation of the call and including any hold time, talk time and related tasks that follow the transaction.
If AHT is a persistent problem at your call center, here are five questions to ask. The answers might result in positive change.
1. Have you streamlined your script?
Too many questions and too much verbiage can add precious seconds to calls, while accomplishing little in the way of customer satisfaction. Review your call scripts for any ways to trim the fat.
2. Are you routing calls effectively?
A workforce management solution can route specific types of calls to the agents most qualified to handle them efficiently.
3. Are your agents receiving the best training?
Ongoing coaching and training is essential, but if AHT is still a problem then more of these sessions should be geared toward solving this specific problem.
4. Do you have an ‘anti-babble’ strategy?
Sometimes callers just won’t get to the point. Have you come up with ideas on how agents can politely but firmly take charge of the call and keep them on track?
5. Have you asked agents for their input?
Your agents are on the front line of any AHT initiative. They may have ideas on where too much time is being spent, and how to handle some types of calls more efficiently.
Publish Date: February 28, 2017 5:00 AM