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.
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.
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.
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
This is the question now facing hundreds of companies that interact with customers through a contact center.
Sure, we may be biased because we offer speech analytics. But we’ve also seen the results call centers have achieved once it has been implemented. In a business where data is critical, this is data that delivers more insight into your customers’ wants, needs and preferences than anything on a spreadsheet.
But isn’t everything moving online now? Some of the more basic customer issues are certainly being settled via email or other channels now. But when people really want answers, or have something they need to tell a company, they still want someone from that company to listen – and they are still going to pick up the phone.
So do you really need speech analytics?
Speech analytics can help identify which sales pitches are generating the best return, and which words or phrases are having the greatest impact on callers. It can also identify which methods are doing more harm than good, and target up-sell strategies and efforts that are generating the desired results.
Why are unhappy callers calling? Is it a product failure or a service issue? Was there a billing problem, or did they have trouble getting the information they need to make a buying decision? Speech analytics finds the common threads in thousands of calls. Management can then respond with targeted improvement initiatives based on this intelligence.
With first call resolution (FCR), speech analytics delivers insight into why repeat calls are necessary, by getting to the root of their occurrence. It identifies instances of repeat calls that might not be detected through other means, such as when a customer calls again days or even weeks later on a different matter. When such instances are catalogued, a call center can work on ways to resolve both issues on one call – perhaps even before the caller is aware of the problem.
Call recording and monitoring identifies issues with agents, but speech analytics takes this process one step further, highlighting specific performance components and call content that makes evaluation much more comprehensive. Through such repeated, methodical analysis, managers will know how to adjust scripts and how agents should deliver their content, in ways that will boost customer satisfaction and loyalty.
With speech analytics, call centers can improve the quality of customer service and satisfaction, boost customer loyalty and retention, and reduce time spent on repeat calls and issues related to other KPIs, all while also lowering call center costs.
Publish Date: July 18, 2017 5:00 AM
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.
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