Monet Software - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog Page 3
Many contact centers now use WFO or speech analytics to route customer calls to the agent best suited to deal with each caller’s issue. It’s a strategy that ensures calls will be handled faster, and customers will be happier.
Often calls are simply routed based on the length of wait time for customers in the queue; sometimes a company’s best customers receive greater priority. But the most common strategy is a skill-based system, connecting angry customers with agents who can calm them down, buyers with agents who know how to upsell, and calls with technical questions to agents with product expertise.
However, there are other options available that may also pay dividends. Here are three suggestions:
The Door Closers
The contact center may be the first to discover that a customer is “halfway out the door” already. But if you have an agent that specializes in addressing these customers’ concerns and keeping them in the fold, it can make a huge difference in customer retention. With a WFO system such calls can be routed more quickly as well, so these customers will get the attention they need.
In businesses where one account can equal thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, such prospects should receive preferential attention throughout the engagement. When calls from a specific company name or company rep come in, they should be identified immediately and routed to someone familiar with their needs.
What Happened to Mary?
For a contact center customer there is nothing more frustrating than connecting with an agent, answering all their account questions and providing all the requested information, explaining the reason for the call, and then being put on hold or having to call back, and being transferred to someone else who asks all the same questions again. With WFO it’s easy to route these calls back to the first agent who handled them.
What’s better than workforce optimization? Workforce optimization in the cloud! Find out more
Watch a demo of Monet Workforce Optimization in action
Publish Date: March 28, 2018 5:00 AM
Over the years we’ve created several blogs about the importance of recognizing the top performers at your contact center.
There are several ways to do this – but we’re about to introduce one more, and we think it’s pretty special.
Why? Because this is recognition that not just benefits the individual employee, but also offers a way to share knowledge about Monet solutions that could help other contact centers across the country achieve better customer service results.
We’ll announce the details soon. In the meantime, start thinking about the agents, managers, coaches and trainers that make your contact center a better place.
In the meantime, if you’re looking for some other ideas on how to motivate and reward your top performers, this blog might be of interest to you.
Publish Date: December 28, 2017 5:00 AM
Ask any consumer why they choose one business over another and their first answer is likely to reference quality – of the product or service provided, of how they were treated, of the convenience and ease of the buying process.
If you’re not delivering quality, you’re not going to have customers for long.
At the contact center, Quality Monitoring is the term applied for steps taken to make sure quality goals are achieved.
Why Do It?
Change is a constant at a contact center. Agents leave and new agents are hired; the company grows and more agents are added; new products are introduced and new promotions launched, both of which will generate more customer calls. Quality monitoring offers a way to measure how customers are being treated amidst all these variables. In particular, it encompasses the business processes in place before and after each customer experience, which can be just as important as what happens during a call.
The objective is consistency from agent to agent, shift to shift, day to day.
When it’s executed correctly, quality monitoring can correct problems, improve contact center efficiency, boost customer service and lower costs.
How To Do It
There are several components to a quality monitoring program.
Call Recording: For most contact centers, call recording is one of the most basic tools employed in the improvement of customer service, as well as the establishment of industry regulation compliance and protection against potential legal disputes.
Screen Recording: This helps managers gain insight into how well agents navigate and interact with screens and applications, which impacts customer service. It also provides a way to learn what customers want most from the contact center or the company itself, while also improving the overall processes of application use and service delivery.
Agent Training: Review the processes used and the data collected from monitoring agent performance.
Scorecards: Scoring calls – grading them on a number of criteria – provides the raw data that illustrates each agent’s virtues and faults. Quality monitoring scorecards can be a valuable reference tool for determining which agents are doing well, which are missing key components of their customer interaction, and which need additional training.
Using call recording and quality monitoring tools such as those included in Monet Quality, it is possible to capture not only the call itself but the activity that took place on the agent’s screen and score 100% of interactions, giving an accurate and comprehensive view of agent, team, and overall contact center performance.
To find out more, download our free whitepaper Seven Strategies for Effective Quality Assurance in Your Call Center.
You can find out more about Monet’s Quality Monitoring solution here
Publish Date: December 28, 2017 5:00 AM
Wildfires have dominated the headlines here in Southern California over the past few weeks. Many homes and businesses have been claimed by their destruction.
These disasters are a reminder of how unpredictable life can be, and how companies need to be prepared for the worst at all times.
Businesses that run on information, such as contact centers, may face severe consequences if that data is lost or compromised. Whether it’s a hurricane or an earthquake, a fire or anything that cripples your infrastructure, every precaution must be taken to ensure the security of data and a seamless business continuity.
The best way to achieve this is by moving your contact center to the cloud.
In addition to the many other benefits of the cloud, from flexibility and scalability to easier implementation, automatic upgrades and lower costs, the cloud also offers the best protection against natural and man-made disasters.
Even if the entire building that houses your contact center is destroyed, your data will be saved. That’s because it had already been uploaded to a one or more data centers located miles away from where the destruction is happening. These centers also employ multiple security perimeters, including electronic surveillance, 24/7 security staff and multi-factor access to keep physical intruders away.
Is it time you experienced the peace of mind that comes from knowing your customers’ information will always be safe and secure, regardless of the weather outside?
Discover more of the differences between hosted, on-premise and cloud solutions in our free whitepaper.
There are also significant cost and convenience benefits to implementing a workforce management solution in the cloud. Get the details here
Publish Date: December 28, 2017 5:00 AM
The quest for new customers is never-ending at all types of businesses, but those efforts should never obscure the fact that your best customers are the ones you already have.
Contact centers can play a key role in encouraging customer loyalty, by delivering the level of service those customers have come to expect from a company they like. That means calls answered quickly, a minimum of hold time (if necessary at all), agents that can answer questions and take corrective action if needed, and an effort to make each customer feel valued and appreciated.
It’s an important goal and there are two ways to achieve it: consistent agent training, and workforce management software.
Training should begin with learning the contact center script and understanding contact center procedures – but it shouldn’t stop there. Agents should also be encouraged to show patience, understanding, and empathy. Role-play scenarios can test how well they respond to different situations.
Workforce Management Software
All of the burden for customer service should not fall on the agent’s shoulders. The contact center must provide the tools necessary for an agent to do his or her job, as well as provide forecasting and scheduling that assures the presence of enough agents to efficiently handle incoming calls.
That used to be handled with spreadsheets but can now be covered with a workforce management (WFM) solution. With the advanced functionality and the more accurate forecasting and scheduling made possible by WFM, as well as the data it delivers on agent performance, schedule adherence and KPIs, contact center managers can always be assured the contact center’s resources are being utilized in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.
The benefits of the Monet WFM solution include:
- Real-Time Adherence: Helps avoid overstaffing, understaffing and shrinkage
- Skill-Based Routing: So customers connect with the agent best suited to help them
If it’s time for your contact center to consider WFM, we invite you to find out more about what Monet has to offer.
Get the facts about Monet WFM
Take a free online demo of our WFM solution
Publish Date: December 28, 2017 5:00 AM
During peak hours, or when forecasts and schedules prove inaccurate (an occurrence that can be reduced with workforce management), many call centers have introduced a call-back feature. This is a system in which callers are told that an agent will contact them at some future time based on their place in the queue.
Is this an effective solution to long hold times? Let’s take a closer look from the perspective of both the call center and the customer.
On the plus side, call-backs eliminate the annoying practice of sitting on hold for several minutes, listening to repetitive music and pre-recorded messages about how that customer’s call is important to the company, and how a representative will be with them shortly.
The longer customers are forced to wait, the more likely some of them are to hang up, and take their business elsewhere. With call-back, that customer can go back to watching TV or doing some work at the computer, until being contacted by an agent.
However, some customers might view the call-back as a rebuff: “Why are they taking other people’s calls and not mine?” Everyone is more impatient these days, and for some the offer to call a customer back just represents another unwelcome delay.
The Call Center
For the call center, a call-back option provides a way to level out spikes in call volume that can increase the abandoned call rate. And when callers finally get to speak to someone after a long wait on hold, many will devote the first few moments of the conversation to complaining about the poor service, which also increases average handle time.
However, the call-back still carries the inherent risk of losing that customer. As long as someone is on hold, they are still in contact with the company, and likely to follow through on whatever business inspired the call. When that connection is broken, there is no guarantee the customer will be around to answer the phone when the agent calls back.
Publish Date: November 2, 2017 5:00 AM
As the value of data continues to rise, more and more companies are recognizing the importance of their call centers, and are increasing their investments in technology and infrastructure so these call centers can continue to learn more about their customers.
At the same time, it has become obvious that as much as we rely on technology to collect and analyze data, it’s still the agent that is on the front line of customer communication, and plays a critical role in that data gathering process. Great technology without great agents is not an effective recipe for success – and neither are great agents without great technology.
How can you make sure your workforce management solution is getting the job done, while also making sure your agents are delivering the type of service your customers expect?
The answer is call monitoring.
The primary function of call monitoring software is to capture and store every (or selected) call center transaction, and to provide insights based on the information compiled in these calls (on such topics as length of call and outcome of customer engagement). Data should be organized and stored in a manner that makes it easy for management to retrieve and review individual calls based on specific criteria, including phone number, agent, date and time of day.
There are several features call centers should expect from a call center recording system, including on-demand recording, selective recording, filtering and auto-delete. Affordability, ease of set-up and training, and security should also be factors in product selection. Some means of call recording is also now essential to demonstrate adherence to industry regulations and policies.
With call monitoring you will always be able to track agent performance, and use that knowledge to improve productivity through coaching and training opportunities.
Publish Date: October 12, 2017 5:00 AM
It’s yet another sign of how the world has changed. For years, getting caught sleeping on the job would lead to immediate dismissal. Now, some call centers are actually encouraging agent catnaps.
What has changed? Start with the fact that this is no longer a 9 to 5 world. When the internet evolved into what it is now, the traditional business day became a product of the past, and customers think nothing of contacting some companies at midnight to ask a question or place an order.
Another change – people are more stressed now, and that includes both customers and agents. Life moves faster, business moves faster, and when something doesn’t happen as quickly as we like, we tend to get frustrated. Agents are on the front lines of that frustration.
Together these factors result in a demanding workplace, and agents that are more subject to fatigue and stress. And that’s why some call centers recommend that agents use their breaks to decompress with a quick nap.
It might be 15 minutes, or perhaps a half-hour or more, but the effects can be positive. When an agent is more relaxed he or she will also be more mentally sharp and more engaged in the conversation.
If you’d like to try this at your call center, you may need to set up a space separate from the usual break room that would make it easier to sleep on the job. Dimmed lights, comfortable couches, and a location far enough away from the noise of the main work area would be a good place to start.
Publish Date: October 10, 2017 5:00 AM
Good news – humans are still good for something.
One of the more provocative call center discussions going around these days is whether chatbots will one day take the place of real agents. You would think companies would be in favor of this since chatbots don’t collect a salary, call in sick or request vacation days.
This debate has been made possible by advancement in chatbot technology. When they first arrived, they were only capable of providing basic answers to basic questions, like an online chat version of an FAQ page. That would suffice for callers asking about a return policy, but these bots weren’t much for conversation.
Fortunately, the next generation could hold up its end of a longer discussion, and there are now even more advanced models based on adaptive unsupervised learning.
We’re getting into the artificial intelligence neighborhood now, and proponents believe these top of the line bots can provide a customer experience that is comparable to that of an experienced agent. This movement has been accelerated by Facebook’s announcement that it would allow businesses to use them for online customer care.
But before you start the mass layoffs, you may want to reconsider what role you want chatbots to play in your business. As an add-on to customer service, they can be a tremendous benefit. As a replacement for real people? Probably not, and here are three reasons why.
1. 85% accuracy
Would you keep an agent that only provided customers with accurate, helpful information 85% of the time? Then forget about chatbots – that’s the batting average even for the best of them, and that is too high a risk of customer loss.
Chatbots don’t always meld seamlessly into current call center technology. Most businesses would likely prefer to hold on to their customer support software and all the data it delivers than switch over to a system that will still require agents to work alongside the bots.
3. Happy Customers
That’s still the goal, isn’t it? And customers are more sophisticated these days. Most can discern the difference between live online chat that is actually live, and the too-formal, marketing-speak responses provided by chatbots. And when they really want answers, they want a person on the other end of the phone to provide them. Chatbots just won’t do.
Publish Date: October 5, 2017 5:00 AM
Just a few months after receiving an award as one of the industry’s most innovative call center solutions, we’re pleased to announce that Monet WFO Live has been named a Communications Solutions Product of the Year by TMC, the publisher of Cloud Computing magazine.
“Congratulations to Monet Software for being honored with this award,” said Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC. “Monet WFO Live is truly an innovative product and is amongst the best solutions brought to market that facilitates business-transforming voice, data and video communications. I look forward to continued excellence from Monet in 2018 and beyond.”
Those who have tried Monet WFO Live already know how it earned this reputation for excellence. It delivers a unified workforce optimization suite that transforms call center management from a reactive to a pro-active approach. Customers can create accurate forecasts, efficient schedules, record and monitor calls for quality, training and compliance purpose, and track cross-functional performance metrics, all with one integrated cloud-based platform.
It’s not surprising that a company that focuses on cloud computing would recognize the benefits of WFO Live. As with all of our cloud solutions WFO Live is more flexible and more scalable, there are no large upfront costs, customers pay only for what they need, and software upgrades are installed automatically as soon as they come available.
Cloud solutions are also more reliable than hardware-based technology because of their built-in fail-safes and redundancies. When all of your equipment is in one place and something goes wrong, you are out of luck. With the decentralized nature of the cloud, even a power outage won’t shut you down.
Publish Date: October 4, 2017 5:00 AM
What separates great call centers from those that just manage to get the job done?
The answer may be insight. The more data call center managers have to review, the easier it is to create procedures that achieve better results. You can’t fix – or improve – what you can’t see.
When Monet Live Workforce Management is added to Evolve IP’s award winning contact center solution, the result is the kind of insight that boosts efficiency, lowers costs, and improves customer service.
Better Customer Service
WFM generates accurate call volume forecasting from historical data and ACD integration. It also creates flexible schedules that incorporate foreseen and unforeseen variables, agent exceptions, intra-day changes to both forecasting and scheduling, and performance management reports. When forecasting and scheduling are done right, customer service improves. Another WFM benefit is call routing, so agents with specific skills are available to take the calls they are most qualified to receive.
By creating optimized employee schedules, WFM improves productivity while reducing call center costs triggered by over-staffing or under-staffing. And in addition to forecasting and scheduling, WFM also creates data on call answer times, first call resolutions, transfer rates and other key metrics that are the key to consistent productivity.
With WFM, staff satisfaction will increase, as the system eliminates the uncertainty of manual scheduling, allowing agents to manage their own schedules and set their own schedule preferences as a reward for outstanding performance. When agents are more engaged in their jobs, improved efficiency is the result.
Integrating these benefits into Evolve IP’s unified desktop management solution, which also expands insight while maintaining security and control of company data, delivers unparalleled support that just might inspire unparalleled productivity.
Publish Date: October 4, 2017 5:00 AM
Helpdesks, like call centers, are undergoing a significant change in response to the array of communication channels now available to the public.
Typically, the reasons for contacting a service desk are more complex than for a call center, which explains why in this era of self-serve online options, the helpdesk telephone is still the most oft-used channel.
Will this change as other channels become more sophisticated? That’s open for debate. What we know for sure is that service desk customers have become used to faster responses and easy interactions when they use online channels for everything from ordering a book on amazon to booking a hotel reservation. When they contact a helpdesk, they expect that same level of service.
Workforce management can help service desks meet these expectations. In fact, Monet’s Workforce Management for Salesforce™ Service Cloud™ was specifically designed for more efficient case management and faster case resolution, through more accurate forecasts and schedules.
Equip Agents to Do More
At many helpdesks, agents log customer requests and schedule them for the next available specialist to either contact the customer or visit that customer’s location. Sometimes, that results in service delays and angry customers.
While agents will never (or should never) be trained technicians, there are likely some common issues that can be resolved if agents can access real time information while speaking with a customer. WFM can deliver that information, and reviews of recorded calls can help service desk agents recognize these issues and be better prepared with answers.
Faster, better service – and fewer service calls? WFM makes it possible.
And because it’s cloud-based and delivered as a service, helpdesks using Salesforce™ Service Cloud™ can access secure web-based applications at a competitive cost with no large upfront investment.
Publish Date: October 3, 2017 5:00 AM
Quality monitoring starts with call monitoring. You can’t assess how well your call center is doing without knowing how agents are relating to your customers.
To gather this information call centers opt for one of two methods. Either they utilize call recording software, or they evaluate performance by sitting next to the agent as he or she handles a call. Of course, with the latter method they are more likely to encounter agents on their best behavior, without knowing for certain that calls would be handled the same way if the manager were out to lunch.
However, that is not the only drawback of in-person monitoring. An automated solution is more efficient, more effective, and offers additional dividends beyond the measurement and improvement of agent performance.
If you haven’t switched yet, here are three reasons why you probably should.
Speed and Volume
Which method sounds like it will deliver more comprehensive results: monitoring one call center agent for a shift, or setting up call recording for the entire call center, and accessing every customer encounter from every agent? Plus, if you wish to review a specific call from yesterday or two weeks ago, a recording is preferable to relying on your notes or your memory.
While customer encounters that result in legal action are rare, if one emerges you’ll be grateful to have a recording of that call. Without that record, liability protection becomes much more difficult. While a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of a business transaction is still possible, a recording eliminates nearly all disputes that arise from the contents of a verbal exchange.
Both forms of monitoring are helpful in training. But recorded calls offer the additional benefit of moving agents toward self-assessment and self-improvement. In most call centers, an agent won’t be hired without demonstrating the basic job skills required to deal with customers. That means they should be qualified to judge their job performance. By listening back to customer encounters, these agents may discover that they have drifted away from best practices.
Publish Date: October 3, 2017 5:00 AM
In the beginning, there was the telephone. Customers used it to speak to companies about questions or complaints or to place an order. To better serve those customers, call centers installed workforce management (WFM) software to track service levels and agent performance.
And then everything changed. Customers now have multiple options for communication – web, chat, email, and social media. Does workforce management still have a role to play in an era when non-voice channels may eventually surpass phone calls?
The answer is yes. Because whether there is one channel or five, customer service will continue to be determined by two criteria: information and process. Workforce management plays a key role in both of these functions, and can help call centers move the customer forward regardless of how they choose to communicate.
The data gathered by a WFM solution encompasses everything from historic call volume, which can impact forecasts and schedules, and KPI measurements that let you know how efficiently agents are responding to each customer contact. As call centers become contact centers, WFM can provide information on the frequency with which customers call a company after trying email or webchat, which can help measure the effectiveness of these other channels. It can also let managers know how often agents are able to ‘close the deal’ with these channel-surfing customers.
Also, since call volume is likely to drop as more customers pursue self-service options and other channels, WFM can help call centers properly re-allocate available resources so service levels can be maintained, possibly with fewer scheduled agents.
Whatever processes are in place at a call center, they rely on agents having the right tools to do their jobs. WFM provides agents with the information they need, when they need it, to deliver service that results in satisfied customers.
In addition, the call recording component of WFM offers a means to review agent performance, and is a valuable tool in agent training.
Publish Date: October 3, 2017 5:00 AM
What do you look for when it’s time to hire a call center manager? Experience is great but that doesn’t automatically the applicant was effective at their previous position. Promoting from within can be advantageous, as you’ll get someone who already knows the ropes at your company – but not every agent is management material.
Wherever you look for your next manager, try to find someone with these four qualities.
Cracking the whip is not a helpful approach with agents who are already feeling stress through handling angry callers all day. The best managers are friendly, stay calm in times of stress, and can relate to the challenges of agents whether they ever answered a phone or not. Everyone wants to feel that their boss has their best interests at heart.
When plans change, an effective manager is prepared to call an audible, and make the right adjustments to schedules and personnel.
When agents or other company personnel have questions about software, scripts, schedules, shift changes or any other call center issue, managers should have the answers. They need to know (or learn quickly at a new company) how everything works.
Managers that possess the previous three qualities will almost always have confidence as well. That’s a trait that comes naturally with feeling comfortable in one’s position and eager to help others make the most of their day. Managers that project confidence create a healthy, positive environment throughout the entire call center.
Now here’s one more question – when you find a manager with all of these traits, how do you make sure they don’t leave? One idea is to make sure they know they are appreciated. Monet’s Power User of the Month program is one way to achieve this – find out more here
Publish Date: September 7, 2017 5:00 AM