Talkdesk - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog Page 16
The future of customer service is already at your doorstep. Today’s customers are nothing like those before them, more impatient, picky and demanding due to the advent of online experiences that allow for speedy deliveries, on-demand viewing and instant communication. For this reason, the competition to retain and engage your customers gets hotter every year. How will you set your brand apart from the pack in 2016?
Here are just a few ways you can start to provide even better customer support and experiences for the modern customer this year:
If you’re not offering some combination of phone, email and live chat support, then you’re missing out on a huge market. Not all customers are the same, and you shouldn’t expect them to all want to reach out to you in the same way. Make yourself available to your customers through the channels they use most by offering omnichannel support. In order to figure this out, identify your customer journey and test drive what it feels like to contact your own customer support. This should give you insight into what channels make the most sense for your product and audience.
It’s no longer enough to simply offer voicemail with the typical line we’ve all heard too many times, “Leave your message after the beep.” When your customers contact support it’s because they want and need their issues to be resolved immediately. If that wasn’t the case then they would have let the issue slide or tried to troubleshoot it themselves. Being available for your customers isn’t about your convenience, it’s about theirs. Modern customer support tools help you monitor times of high and low ticket volumes so you can more easily ramp up your staff as needed. Leverage support agents in different timezones to sustain 24/7 availability without missing out on catching z’s.
Your sales and marketing teams are already making data-driven decisions with their CRMs and marketing automation tools, so why shouldn’t you? Use the reporting and metrics dashboards in your helpdesk or cloud-based call center software to keep track of your KPIs such as average wait times, backlog volume and service level. Instead of making drastic changes without any insight into what’s performing and what’s not, use your reporting dashboard to find out which changes to make in your customer service team that will have an impact.
Your 2016 goal to provide better customer support is achievable! Remember: you’re not in this alone; your customer support team is there to help you. Start the new year on the right foot and give your customers the service they deserve.
Publish Date: January 29, 2016 5:00 AM
We are pleased to announce that we have been named the Cloud CRM Solution of 2015-16. Our cloud-based call center software is industry-leading and ever-improving. We are grateful that the Cloud Awards program has recognized of our pursuit of excellence.
The Cloud Awards celebrate innovation and achievement in cloud computing. This year, over 300 organizations from around the world were considered for awards. These companies run the gamut from large to small, established to startups. Categories of awards include Best Cloud Infrastructure, Data Innovation of the Year and B2B Customer Excellence.
“We have striven to single out innovative organizations which we feel will continue to impress not only into 2016 but well beyond,” said Cloud Awards organizer Larry Johnson. “The stories of our winners – and our shortlisted organizations – are not even half-told.”
Talkdesk competed against JobDiva, ClearSlide, NewVoiceMedia, SugarCRM, Workbooks Online Ltd and Five9 in the Cloud CRM Solution category. We are proud to be listed at the top of this outstanding group of companies.
Since our product’s inception in 2011, Talkdesk team members have worked towards one aim: providing a better call center software solution to our customers. The call center market is a $22 billion industry filled with legacy players. Our innovation has been to move the call center of the future to the cloud.
“By creating our solution in the cloud, we have enabled our customers to leverage modern, easy-to-use and powerful call center software from anywhere on earth,” said Talkdesk CEO Tiago Paiva. “Further, creating our platform in the cloud has allowed us to seamlessly integrate with other cloud technologies, such as Salesforce, Zendesk and Desk.com.”
Our cloud-based call center software grew at pace with our company this year, which is to say, by leaps and bounds. As we scaled from 28 team members to 146, our product took on new features and functionalities faster than ever before. 2015 was the year Talkdesk really made a splash. It is fitting, then, that we were given the Cloud CRM Solution of 2015-16 Award.
“We are honored to have received the Cloud CRM Solution of the Year Award. This achievement comes on the heels of a transformative year of incredible growth for our company. Recognition from the Cloud Awards program is a good reflection of the appreciation we have already recieved from our customers old and new,” said Paiva.
We would like to thank the Cloud Awards for this honor. We look forward to impressing the judges again next year!
Interested in testing out our award-winning call center software solution? Request a live demo today.
Publish Date: January 28, 2016 5:00 AM
Voicemail is a common feature in telecommunications. You’ve likely dealt with voicemail at some point through your landline phones or mobile devices. Voicemails are a way for callers to leave a spoken message when the intended recipient is not there to pick up the phone.
Most people think of voicemail in a personal context, but they are professionally important as well, particularly as applied to call centers. Unconvinced? This post will hopefully change your mind.
What is call center voicemail?
Voicemails are messages that callers can leave for businesses when no call center agents are available to take calls. These messages can then later be reviewed and assigned to agents for follow-up. For call centers that would like to find a balance between being available for callers and efficiently handling customer inquiries, voicemail can be a great option.
Talkdesk call center software allows you to configure voicemail across the entire call center, for specific phone numbers or for individuals with an extension or dedicated line. This allows teams and individuals to customize how and when they would like to interact with callers. Currently, the available voicemail options are:
- Enabled at all times
- Enabled only during business hours
You can also give callers the option of leaving a voicemail from the call queue (queue to voicemail). This is particularly convenient for callers as it allows them to exit a queue while still relaying their message to agents. For call centers with a waiting time limit or maximum queue size enabled, callers will automatically be sent to voicemail once the threshold is reached.
What’s voicemail transcription?
If activated, Talkdesk’s voicemail transcription feature automatically creates a speech-to-text file of all newly received voicemails. Once a voicemail has been transcribed, it will be available for viewing from the “Voicemails” tab in Talkdesk. Managers can also configure an email notification to be sent with the transcription attached for quick viewing.
Voicemail transcription can be particularly handy for moments when you are unable to listen to a voicemail, but still would like to know what information was relayed. With transcriptions, you’ll be able stay on top of voicemails, even when you’re not available for calls.
What can I do with a voicemail once it’s been received?
Once a voicemail has been received, call center managers can assign it to the team or agent best equipped to handle the inquiry. To set up email notifications for voicemail assignees, simply configure the appropriate automated workflow. This will ensure all voicemails are reviewed and handled in a timely manner.
After agents have followed up with a voicemail, they will be able to update the voicemail message’s status as either open or closed. Encouraging agents to regularly update voicemail statuses will give teams the visibility needed to stay current with calls.
How can I keep track of all my voicemails?
The “Voicemails” tab in Talkdesk will display all the voicemails your call center has received. You’ll be able to filter these voicemails by their read/unread status with our new voicemail filter. By default, Talkdesk automatically saves all voicemails received, but managers have the option of setting a voicemail expiration time of one, three or six months as well.
For call center managers who would like a more granular look at voicemails, Talkdesk provides several relevant metrics for phone numbers and ring groups from the Reporting tab. These metrics can be used to make educated decisions on staffing and call center configuration. The voicemail metrics currently available include:
- Voicemails Left During Business Hours
- Voicemails Left Outside of Business Hours
- Voicemails Left from the IVR
- Voicemails Left from the Waiting Queue
Why should I enable voicemail?
As mentioned above, voicemail is a useful call center software feature for teams who would like to maintain availability for callers while increasing efficiency. Here are the top three reasons your call center should have voicemail enabled:
1. Personalized Service
When callers are able to leave a voicemail with the details of their inquiry, agents will be able to follow up with crucial information already in mind. This allows agents to tailor conversations to the caller and the inquiry, ultimately driving customers satisfaction and loyalty.
2. Prompt Service
When agents already have the details they need before following up with a caller, they’re more likely to resolve the issue before even having to call the customer back. Back-and-forth between agents and customers will be minimized for a speedy resolution.
3. Enhanced Caller Experience
Simply put, voicemail is a convenient option for callers. Long queue times can be frustrating, and giving callers the option of leaving a voicemail instead can be a welcomed alternative. Customers can then rest assured knowing their call will be returned as soon as possible.
What are some best practices for voicemail?
To ensure all your customers have the best phone support experience possible, here are three voicemail optimizations you can make in just a few minutes:
1. Record a Customized Voicemail Prompt
While Talkdesk’s default voicemail prompt works in a pinch, we highly encourage you to record your own customized prompt. No need to hire a professional voice actor; anything other than the typical robotic voice will do just fine. Customized prompts add a personal touch to your call center, while also humanizing your company.
2. Enable Voicemail Notifications
Email notifications are an easy way for agents to be alerted of new voicemails. The emails can be customized to include various data points and go out to specific ring groups or agents. Setting them up is simple and fast; there’s no reason not to have them in place!
3. Configure Voicemail Triggered Automated Workflows
With over 25 business tool integrations, it’s easy to fit Talkdesk into your routine. Our automated workflows can even help agents perform various tasks based on a number of voicemail triggers. Play around to find the workflows best suited for your team.
Voicemail is a powerful tool in your call center software toolbox. It can be leveraged to increase agent efficiency and promote customer satisfaction. With Talkdesk’s out-of-the-box advanced voicemail functionality, your call center will have everything it needs for optimal performance.
Interested in exploring the utility of call center voicemail? Request a live demo of Talkdesk today.
Publish Date: January 27, 2016 5:00 AM
Another week, another step in the direction of customer service excellence. Welcome to Customer Service Excellence Review #13.
Loyal readers will know that Talkdesk rounds up customer service insights from around the web each week. The idea behind the Customer Service Excellence Review is to provide food for thought. Take a nibble of what we’re serving on this week’s platter and see if it suits your fancy.
We hope you enjoy what we’ve cooked up this week. Bon appetit!
Measuring Customer Satisfaction Shouldn’t Be Complicated
Help Scout || January 21, 2016
Help Scout provides a simple guide this week to gauging customer happiness. Instead of seeing customer satisfaction as a large, ominous entity haunting your steps, break the process down into three easily handled parts. Central to Help Scout’s advice is asking customers in a systematic way about their experiences and then calculating your Net Promoter Score (NPS). Collecting both quantitative and qualitative feedback is essential to improving customer satisfaction.
6 Tips to Make Customer Service Managers Lives’ a Breeze
GetResponse || January 25, 2016
The job of a customer service manager is not easy. They juggle the demands of their agents as well as those of their customers. This post lists out a few ideas for improving the employee experience of customer service managers. These employees are essential to the health of your business, so it’s worth giving GetResponse’s ideas more than a passing thought.
Highlights From 2015 National Customer Rage Study
CustomerThink || January 23, 2016
CustomerThink blogger Jeff Toister examines the salient points in the 2015 National Customer Rage Study. From our perspective as a call center software company, we’re particularly interested in the fact that the phrase that participants found most annoying was, “Your call is important to us. Please continue to hold.” Following closely behind at 45% was, “We are currently assisting other customers. Your call will be answered in the order in which it was received.”
Publish Date: January 26, 2016 5:00 AM
It’s the end of January and your resolve in your New Year’s resolutions is still going strong. You’re exercising daily, boning up on your Spanish language skills and doing your very best to call your mother. While starting new habits can be daunting, it’s changing the old ones that’s a real challenge.
Many New Year’s resolutions are related to giving up crutches. Activities like smoking, drinking and consuming your weight in chocolate pudding every day are no-brainers for change. But what about the subtle stuff, the things that you don’t even realize you’re relying on too heavily?
What if your call center software provider is a crutch?
As a call center manager, you know that your call center is the heart of your company’s customer service strategy. If your call center doesn’t do its job, everyone else is going to be out of theirs. And what (or who) runs your call center? Yes, your agents. But at the core of it all is the call center software itself.
Your current call center software solution is working, but what happens when it doesn’t? How can settings be managed and changed when your business needs something new? Herein lies the rub: The software you’re using now requires handholding.
Look, I like to hold hands just as much as the next girl, but I don’t want to be forced to do it every time I cross the street!
It’s time to get real about breaking the habit of having to reach out to your call center software provider each time you need to make a change. Here’s why:
1. Ain’t nobody got time for that
It takes time to get someone’s help; time you could otherwise be using to serve your customers. When your call center software settings are customizable without external help, you don’t have to waste a single moment seeking assistance.
2. Rooftop yoga
Don’t be a stuffy old fuddy duddy in a suit. Slap on some yoga pants and work on your flexibility. When you free yourself of a cumbersome call center software solution that requires a thousand steps to change one thing, you’ll find that all of a sudden touching your toes doesn’t seem so unreasonable after all. Adapt to changing conditions rather than standing stiffly.
3. Like stealing candy from a baby
A user-friendly call center software solution reduces effort. With one-click customization, changing your call center settings is a breeze, a walk in the park and a cakewalk combined.
4. Be a big fish
Ever heard of indeterminate growth? It’s this crazy phenomenon where certain animals, including most fish, just don’t stop growing. This as opposed to, say, bears, who only get so big and then they stop (thank heavens). Don’t be a bear. Be a fish. Grow and grow and then grow some more. When your call center software settings are customizable, you can grow unencumbered. Don’t get stuck in the fishbowl of rigid call center software. Use a solution that scales with you (pun intended).
5. Who better than you?
The expert on what your call center needs is staring at you in the mirror. The representatives of your call center software solution might be lovely people, but they don’t know what it’s like to walk in your shoes. Cut out the middleman; adjust your settings yourself.
The solution is clear. Your late-January New Year’s resolution is to stop relying on your call center software provider when you need settings changed. Don’t be held back!
It’s a new year; why not a make a new strategy?
Publish Date: January 25, 2016 5:00 AM
Being a call center manager can be a challenging job because it requires both juggling the increasing demands of customers and coordinating the logistics a naturally chaotic and fast-paced environment. The lives of call center managers are made much easier when they are able to identify inefficiencies and areas for improving productivity in their call centers. Acting on this information in turn can have a positive impact on customer service quality.
For this reason, we’ve put together a slideshow outlining the top call center Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will help call center managers improve the performance of their team. In this slideshow you will learn:
- The six call center KPIs every call center manager should be measuring.
- Actionable tips for improving your KPIs.
- The average values Talkdesk users had for their call center KPIs in 2015.
View the slideshow here to run a more data-driven call center.
Publish Date: January 22, 2016 5:00 AM
This post is written by Talkdesk’s Director of Customer Support, Scott Allison.
Have you had a bad experience with IP telephony or are you too hesitant to even try it? You’re not alone. Many professionals don’t believe this new technology (also known as VoIP) is reliable enough to be used in business.
Much of this sentiment stems from the fact that most people first experience VoIP technology using consumer services like Skype or FaceTime. While these services can be great, they are also free, and the old adage that you get what you pay can sometimes ring true.
But, given a more sophisticated technology, can VoIP be reliable enough for business communications? Yes, absolutely, with the proviso that you need to have the right expectations.
A VoIP system is not a landline telephone. The two share some traits but are notably different in a few ways. With the exception of cables that are physically damaged by external forces (trees, rain, squirrels, etc.), your traditional home or office phone connection is completely reliable; it works every time you pick it up, with uninterrupted connectivity. That’s a tall order for a VoIP system.
Then again, the copper wires needed for a landline are pretty expensive. If VoIP hadn’t come along we’d all still be paying for these old-school circuit-switched connections.
VoIP has brought flexibility, cost-effectiveness and competition to the telephony marketplace. Nearly all of us are benefiting from these new services and lower costs.
But still, some have had poor experiences with VoIP. We’ve all experienced that robotic voice on Skype, or audio cutting in and out on FaceTime.
In order to understand why this can happen, we need to look at how data is transmitted via VoIP.
Analog landline phones are a technology that is largely unchanged since its invention in the late 1800s by Scotsman, Alexander Graham Bell. Telephones are connected to each other via two wires. Think back to those black and white photos of switchboard operators. Their job was to manually connect callers. They way they did this was to connect a jack plug at the end of your pair of wires, to another subscriber’s pair of wires, also terminated in a jack-plug. It was that simple.
Long distance calls just included more telephone operators and more jack-plugs, but still it was a direct connection of two wires, all along the route. Over time, all that really happened to improve this signal system was more automation, and digitization at certain points, to increase voice quality over long distances. But even though the voice call was converted to a stream of 1’s and 0’s, there was still a dedicated physical path for each call.
Once the internet became ubiquitous, software engineers wasted no time in trying to transmit analog voice over internet protocols (VoIP).
A quick lesson in how data is sent and received over the internet is required here:
The internet is a loosely connected network, and in between you and the web server, there could be thousands of miles, and many routes, none of which you have any control over. You don’t need a dedicated channel open in order to view pages from a particular web site. You press a hyperlink, the request is sent, and you get a response. You can sit there for a minute reading the page until you click a link to go elsewhere, but during that minute, you didn’t take up any resources on the internet.
Let me explain using an analogy with a highway. In the circuit-switched world of telephony that Bell dreamed up, every call requires a dedicated lane. In the world of the internet, highways are like the ones in the real-world: anyone can access the road, change lanes, and there are often multiple routes to the destination. It’s pretty efficient, for the most part. It’s certainly a lot more efficient than a dedicated lane for each driver!
Now, the thing that makes internet work brilliantly is something known as “transmission control protocol” or TCP. TCP ensures that no matter where you’re downloading a file from, all of the data gets to you. If there’s a pothole on the road, or an accident in the right lane, retransmission of data will occur.
Here’s the challenge when it comes to using the internet to place calls: In order to transmit analog sound on the internet, the audio first needs to be converted to a digital stream, you first have to convert the audio to a digital stream, which is then chopped up into packets of data. Those packets then head out on to the “information superhighway” (as we called it back in the 90s!).
Unfortunately if there’s a bump in the road and that data is lost, or retransmitted, it’s a big problem. Remember, VoIP is supposed to be transmitting a live conversation you’re having with someone. VoIP doesn’t use TCP because there simply isn’t time to retransmit data when it’s live. When you download a normal file, it might be annoying to see that file download buffering, but a few seconds delay in the completed download will be unnoticeable. Conversely, if a part of your phone call disappears or is late in arriving, you’re going to notice, and you’re going to be unhappy. This is the heart of why some people don’t like VoIP.
Happily, networks and bandwidth have improved so much over time that the problems we see nowadays are not often related to potholes in the highway of your Internet Service Provider (ISP). The most common cause of poor audio quality is at the end of connection. In other words, it’s the user’s Local Area Network (LAN). Assuming you have a decent ISP, if you’re having problems with VoIP you’re going to need to look in your own backyard for the solution.
So where does this leave us? We’ve proven the efficacy of VoIP, but pointed out the flaws in LAN. The answer, my friends, is blowing in the WiFi. Or rather, the ethernet.
Want to learn more? Stay tuned for the second part of this three part series: “Ethernet Killed the WiFi Star.”
Publish Date: January 21, 2016 5:00 AM
2016 is the year of the data-driven decision. The health of your company depends on how informed you are when making changes. This applies to all aspects of your business but is especially important in your call center.
In order to implement strategies that will improve your call center, call center managers must first be aware of the numbers. Measuring the right call center KPIs is step one. Step two is putting the figures from step one into context with benchmarking. Step three is evaluating your call center’s performance and making the necessary changes. We’ll leave step three up to you for now.
This winter, for the first time ever, Talkdesk surveyed our top customers to find out what call center KPIs and metrics mattered most to them. We aggregated their call center KPIs into a report to provide you with benchmarks from your peers. We then turned this report into an easily digestible slideshow that includes information such as:
- The four most popular call center KPIs our customers are tracking to measure the success of their call centers.
- Best practices for measuring these KPIs with your call center software tools and data.
- Tips on how to improve your call center KPIs.
View the slideshow here to start running a more data-driven call center in 2016.
Publish Date: January 20, 2016 5:00 AM
At Talkdesk, we value self-service. We believe that you should be able to make changes to your call center software settings on your own, whenever your want. If you have a question , we know self-service is the fastest and most convenient way to provide customer support. That’s why we created the Talkdesk Knowledge Base. There, you can find FAQs, guides, product news and more. It’s your one-stop-shop for everything Talkdesk.
In an effort to further increase the Knowledge Base’s accessibility, we’re excited to announce a new initiative, the Talkdesk Video Academy. All video tutorials on Talkdesk will be housed in this new portion of the Knowledge Base. Excited? Here’s everything you need to know:
What is the Talkdesk Video Academy?
People process information differently. Some prefer to learn by reading, while others want a more visual approach. The Talkdesk Video Academy is our way of making sure all users have access to Talkdesk information in the format that works best for them. It acts as a supplement to our Knowledge Base and provides tips and tricks on how to get the most out of Talkdesk call center software.
Do I need to pay to watch the videos?
Nope! Like our Knowledge Base, the Video Academy is completely free and available to anyone on the web. You don’t need to be a current Talkdesk user to access any of our support documentation.
How do I navigate it?
All our videos are organized by main topics (ex: Agent Dashboard, Agent Settings). Once you click into a topic, you’ll be able to find a playlist of all videos that belong in that particular topic (ex: Status & Availability). Our playlists are designed to be watched from beginning to end if you need an in-depth look at a topic, or on an individual-basis if you’re just interested in only one aspect. For those short on time, you’ll be happy to know all our videos are under three minutes long! We want you to be able to get the answers you need as fast as possible.
Why should I use the Talkdesk Video Academy?
The Talkdesk Video Academy is a great resource for anyone looking for some visual guidance. Through a video tutorial, you’ll be able to see exactly what you need to do to produce the desired outcome. Our videos can also serve as a great refresher course on Talkdesk. You might even learn something new!
For teams that would like to get up and running quickly, the Talkdesk Video Academy is a great way to train agents. This is because creating a training course relying on videos can often be more time effective than relying on support articles alone. Managers can tailor training playlists based on the needs and abilities of their teams or have agents watch topics from beginning to end. With the videos available online, agents can even complete training from the comfort of their own home.
How often is the Video Academy updated?
We have a team of talented videographers and writers actively working on creating videos for the Talkdesk Video Academy. There is no set cadence for the release of videos, but you can expect to see a few videos added every month. Be sure to check the Talkdesk blog often, as we will be updating you whenever new videos are added!
So what are you waiting for? Head on over to our Video Academy to begin honing your Talkdesk skills.
Publish Date: January 20, 2016 5:00 AM
Happy Tuesday, pursuers of excellence! For this week’s Customer Service Excellence Review, I decided to play a game of Follow the Leader.
It’s important when you’re examining a concept to look at broad ideas as well as specific examples. For the most part, this series takes a look at the big picture. Occasionally I’ll highlight a particularly good or bad example company.
This week is different; every insight is taken directly from the experience of an industry leader. Let’s see what they have to say about customer service excellence.
Zulily had a great response after a customer tried to return a coat
Business Insider || January 14, 2016
Zulily customer Kelly Blue Kinkel took to Facebook to cheer about her amazing customer service experience. Kinkel had ordered a coat online, but when it arrived, she decided she’d like to return it. She phoned in to customer support and inquired about returns. The customer service representative told her that she would receive a full refund, but that she should keep the coat and give it to someone in need. Kinkel was blown away by this act of kindness. She ended her Facebook post saying, “I thought Zulily was pretty incredible before, but after today, I’m a customer for LIFE. The world needs more LOVE like that. Honest business. Honest ethics. How refreshing!”
Walt Disney’s Wisdom: 10 Customer Service Lessons
Forbes || January 16, 2016
The name “Walt Disney” is associated worldwide with magical experiences. Even the biggest, bulkiest football player might be heard to say he’s going to Disney World. This reputation is earned every day by the conscious effort put into Disney branding. In this article, Forbes contributor Shep Hyken runs through a number of Walt Disney quotes as they relate to customer service excellence. My favorite? “Just because it’s what’s done, doesn’t mean it’s what should be done.” – Cinderella.
MindTouch Scores $12 Million To Help Customers Find Answers Online
TechCrunch || January 14, 2016
Startup MindTouch was just given a hefty sum to continue developing their product. MindTouch is designed to help both companies and customers. Their software processes existing information on other companies websites so that their customers are able to access the information easier and more quickly. By connecting customers with available but not readily accessed resources, MindTouch improves the customer experience and can lead to more sales.
Publish Date: January 19, 2016 5:00 AM
Call center managers, particularly new ones, may sometimes find themselves staring blankly at the real-time and historical reporting function in their call center software. The data can be overwhelming – particularly if you are operating an advanced call center software solution that tracks a range of metrics.
The first step you took to resolve this situation was to do your research on call center acronyms. You’ve made your flashcards and memorized them all. Next, you learned about call center KPIs – what they mean, why they matter. But what next? How can you make all of this information actionable?
Congratulations! You’ve arrived at the call center benchmarking step. Time to figure out what benchmarking means for you and your call center. We’re so glad you made it.
Welcome to our cheat sheet on call center benchmarking.
Call center benchmarking is the process of comparing one call center’s practices and metrics to those of similar companies.
What is the purpose of call center benchmarking?
Successful call center benchmarking enables companies to analyze and learn from the experience of other companies so as to improve their own practices.
What are the two types of call center benchmarking?
1. Competitive benchmarking measures one call center’s performance against its direct competitors.
2. Process benchmarking measures the performance of one call center’s business practices across industries.
What are the steps to call center benchmarking?
1. Identify the process, practice or service to be benchmarked
2. Choose the companies against which you will benchmark
3. Collect and archive data about these companies
4. Analyze the data
5. Project future performance
6. Communicate the results to your organization
7. Establish objectives
8. Develop an action plan for each objective
9. Monitor the results and implement the action plans
10. Restart the process
What are some common call center performance benchmarks?
1. Abandonment Rate
The percentage of callers that hang up before an agent answers.
Global metric: 5-8%
2. Adherence to Schedule
The degree to which call center agents comply with their assigned schedules.
Global metric: 95%
3. First Call Resolution
The percentage of calls where the caller’s issues were resolved on the first attempt without the agent needing to escalate the call, transfer the call or call the customer back.
Global metric: 70-75%
4. Occupancy Rate
The amount of times agents are on live calls or completing work associated with calls.
Global metric: 60-80%
5. Call Duration
The amount of time agents speak with customers.
Global metric: 4 minutes
6. Accuracy of Call Forecasting
The difference between the number of calls predicted to arrive during a specific timeframe and the actual number of calls received.
Global metric: 5% variance
7. Service Level
The percentage of calls answered within a predefined timeframe.
Global metric: 80% of calls answered within 20 seconds
8. Agent Attrition
The percentage of annual agent turnover.
Global metric: 15%
9. Agent Absenteeism
The number of days lost per year due to agents being absent as a percentage of the total number of contracted days.
Global metric: 5%
10. Call Wrap-Up Time
The time an agent takes after the call to complete associated after call work.
Global metric: 6 minutes.
11. Average Speed of Answer
The amount of time for calls to be answered by an agent during a specific time period. Does not include the time that the caller is in the IVR.
Global metric: 28 seconds
12. Customer Satisfaction
Must be acquired via customer surveys and quality assurance measurements.
Global metric: 90%
Why do companies engage in call center benchmarking?
1. Identify areas of improvement
2. Discover areas for cost reduction
3. Assess call center agent performance quantitatively
4. Test effectiveness of improvement initiatives
5. Motivate employees
6. Optimize use of call center software and business tools
7. Streamline call center processes and workflow
Good job! You’re now versed in the basics of call center benchmarking. It’s a start, but now you need to put this information into action to improve your call center. Why not start today? No time like the present!
Publish Date: January 18, 2016 5:00 AM
Like any well-oiled machine, a call center requires regular check-ups. This includes obvious evaluations like reviewing the performance of call center agents, as well as more subtle tests like reworking call center software settings. Taking regular stock of the many aspects of your call center’s operations is essential to the health of your business.
Call center agent performance is easily diagnosed by using historical and real-time reporting functionality. Leverage these call center software features to evaluate agent efficiency, effectiveness and many other individual performance metrics.
Checking your call center settings, on the other hand, can be a little trickier, particularly if your call center software solution is not user-friendly. But, let’s assume the best case scenario: You’re operating with a call center software that allows for one-click customization of a variety of settings.
Successful implementation of a call center software solution includes customizing every setting from business hours to a call abandon threshold. These settings are likely optimized from the get-go, but the vast majority should not fall in the category of “set it and forget it.” Failing to update your call center software settings to reflect the changing needs of your business can spell disaster for your call center.
The worst possible settings to neglect are those that wreak havoc on your efficiency behind the scenes and undermine customer loyalty up front. One such accident waiting to happen? Your Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System’s configuration.
Your IVR is the first interaction customers have with your company and, according to one study, it constitutes up to 27% of the total call experience. This is a system that packs a wallop, so it’s imperative that you check it’s impact regularly.
A conservative recommendation would be to check your IVR‘s configuration every six months, regardless of whether there have been customer complaints. Given the ease with which you can look into your IVR’s effectiveness, however, you might be better advised to check in even more frequently.
Testing your IVR is a similar process to retail chains sending mystery shoppers into their stores. The idea is for you to experience what your callers are experiencing. To do this, simply dial in to your call center during business hours and follow the IVR prompts as a customer would. Have a customer persona in mind rather than just giving random responses. This should be repeated until you have satisfactorily gone through every branch of the IVR tree.
While you’re mystery shopping your IVR, here are a few questions you should be asking yourself:
Are my IVR greetings effective?
Is the voice grating?
Is the text grammatically correct?
Do the IVR greetings convey the right message?
Is the information outdated?
Are the greetings too long? Or too short?
Are the greetings confusing?
Are my IVR prompts effective?
Are the menus overly long? Or overly short?
Are the menus overly general? Or overly specific?
Are customers being routed to the correct IVR level?
Is it clear which choice customers should make in every scenario?
Is the wording of prompts grammatically correct?
Is my IVR hold music appropriate?
Is the music annoying? (Keep in mind the average time in queue for your call center.)
If there are lyrics, are they professional?
Is the music interrupted too often with messages or marketing from your company?
Does the music match the tone of your company?
If you are using speech-recognition software: Is it effectively deployed?
Does the system reliably understand voice commands?
Is it clear what voice response should be supplied in every scenario?
Is it accessible to all segments of your customer base (international callers, etc.)?
Does the system understand variants of important commands?
Are calls being appropriately routed?
Are there enough call center agents in each ring group?
Is the IVR synced well with the skills-based routing feature?
When callers seek to leave a voicemail or hear a recorded message, are they reliably connected?
Are certain agents or ring groups being favored by the system?
Does the IVR fulfill its intended purpose: routing callers efficiently to resources?
Above all else, when you’re mystery shopping, you should be asking yourself the Golden Rule of the IVR:
If I was the customer, would I find this experience effortless?
Are you interested in exploring a call center software solution with advanced IVR functionality and easily customizable settings? Request a demo of Talkdesk’s cloud-based call center software today.
Publish Date: January 15, 2016 5:00 AM
With a wealth of cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions available in the modern marketplace, business leaders have their choice of the top tools for improving their businesses. At the same time, the task of finding, evaluating and choosing the right SaaS tool can be daunting.
During our webinar, Grow Your Business with SaaS Tips for 2016, SaaS expert and Founder of SaaS consulting firm Simplegration Founder, Keegan Sard shared his insights into the changing landscape of cloud-based business tools and offered tips on how to select the right solutions for your growing business.
For those of you who may have missed the webinar, here are three things Keegan mentioned to consider before buying SaaS:
When evaluating a solution, picture how your team’s workflow and processes would need to change if you implemented it. Would it make team members more efficient, frustrated, collaborative or confused? Strike a balance between trying to find the perfect tool that adapts to your needs and a tool that requires that you adapt to it. The reason being that the more customization you get into, the harder it will be for you to change settings as your business scales and iterates. Keegan recommends keeping your configuration as generic as possible and taking your time when changing over to a new tool.
2. Good Fit
Shopping around for a great SaaS solution is not just about looking for a great product fit, but a great culture fit. Does the UI seem well thought-out or sloppy? Is your sales rep knowledgeable and helpful or eager to close quick and be done with you? Is the solution the right amount of novelty for you, or is it just too far out-of-the-box that it requires too much effort to work through? Be on the lookout for these subtletie. It’s equally important to keep your team involved throughout the process so that you are able to assess their day-to-day needs to help determine fit. Have them sit in on demos; their input will be invaluable.
It’s extremely important to look for a tool that can grow with you. While it’s useful that many SaaS products now offer enterprise pricing to accommodate the needs of growing teams, the jump to enterprise is often simply too expensive for many businesses. Look at tools that are scalable at an enterprise pricing point of view, but also give you the opportunity to export all your data and go somewhere else if the need arises. In fact, SaaS tools that make it easy for you to take your data with you tend to be honest companies that empathize with the customer experience. These are the kind of SaaS brands you want to grow with your company.
SaaS can make your life easier by keeping your team organized and efficient, aiding project management, and solving critical business needs like sales and customer service. Listen to the full webinar to hear more SaaS tips from Keegan.
Publish Date: January 14, 2016 5:00 AM
With the holiday rush coming to an end, your call center is likely getting back to business as usual. This could mean returning to regular operation hours or scaling back staffing. If your call center happens to fall in the latter category, then we’ve got a treat for you!
In our January Product Release, we announced a brand new agent deactivation feature. This call center software feature is designed to make life easier for call center managers who frequently adjust staffing. Here is everything you need to know about this new feature:
What is agent deactivation?
Agent deactivation is a call center software feature that enables call center managers to remove call center agents from their rosters, without deleting related data. The alternative to agent deactivation is agent deletion, which involves complete removal of an agent’s account. Agent deactivation can be performed individually for a specific agent or in bulk for multiple agents of your choosing.
Note: Only agents without a dedicated line or direct call routing can be deactivated.
What are the advantages of agent deactivation?
This new feature is particularly useful for call centers with seasonal or fluctuating staffing. Once an agent’s tenure has finished, deactivation can oftentimes be more preferable than deletion. Here’s why:
1. Historical reports remain accurate
Even after agents have been deactivated, Talkdesk saves all of their call data. This ensures that any historical call report you run in the future remains accurate. If an agent is deleted, on the other hand, their associated call data will not be reflected in reports. Call center metrics are then heavily skewed, which could lead to flawed decision-making.
2. Onboarding efficiency increases
If a call center often sees the same seasonal agents returning time and time again, reconfiguring ring groups and other settings for these agents can be a time-consuming process. Supervisors can eliminate this arduous task by simply deactivating seasonal agents. Deactivated agents have all their call center settings preserved in the event they ever return again. This enables a quick and efficient ramp up.
3. Save time scaling down
Deleting agents can be a tedious process as it requires each agent to be deleted one-by-one. Instead of carrying out this task manually, call center supervisors can save a lot of time by bulk deactivating agents. Simply check off which agents need to be deactivated and Talkdesk will do the rest!
What exactly happens when an agent is deactivated?
After an agent has been deactivated, they will have their routing settings automatically set to “Never.” This ensures that calls will be routed properly, even if the agent is no longer active. Call center managers will still be able to view and edit deactivated agents’ settings as they normally would, but their status will read “Deactivated” and they will not count towards licenses for billing purposes.
If you’d like to run a historical call report, deactivated agents’ call histories and voicemail assignments are available for reference. This allows supervisors to compare performance across teams, even if the teams are no longer working.
How does reactivation work?
The beauty of this new call center software feature is that you are able to activate and deactivate agents whenever you want with a single click. Upon reactivation, agents can begin using Talkdesk right away. With the exception of routing settings, which will be reset to your account default, all other settings will be preserved. This ensures that supervisors won’t need to waste time reconfiguring agents each time they return. Using our new agent deactivation feature, call centers will be able to scale up and down with more efficiency than ever before.
We hope you’ll find this new Talkdesk feature useful as the holiday madness dies down. Enjoy!
Is post-holiday call center scaling giving you a headache? Request a live demo of Talkdesk today to see how easy it is to scale with agent deactivation.
Publish Date: January 13, 2016 5:00 AM
It’s a new year for your company and it’s time to think about a new customer service excellence strategy. January is a great time to take stock of the successes and shortcomings in your business. This is a month for information-gathering and goal-setting.
Talkdesk’s Customer Service Excellence Review is a weekly blog post that highlights recent and significant articles about customer service. It’s purpose all year round is provide food for thought on customer service practices, but during the first month of the year, it takes on the special function of helping you shape your strategy for the year.
Instead of just taking a nibble, bite down hard on these nuggets of customer service wisdom. Your goal in the new year should be to achieve customer service excellence. The first step in that direction is defining what that means for your company. What better way to craft a definition than by learning more about the space?
Here’s hoping you find a few savory morsels in the mix this week.
Forrester’s Top Trends for Customer Service in 2016
MyCustomer || January 7, 2016
The field of customer service is not only vitally important, it’s also ever-changing. Forrester predicts where the trends are headed in the new year. Among their predictions is the idea of facilitating an effortless customer experience by empowering customers to use self-service technologies. We live in the age of the customer and it’s the customer who decides what service s/he gets, not the other way around.
Customer Service Best Practices: The Ritz-Carlton’s Powerful System For Making Sure They Spread
Forbes || January 10, 2016
Employees benefit from shared information and insight. It is not enough for one employee to come up with an effective way of dealing with a certain problem; every team member needs to be on the same page and equipped with the same tools. The Ritz-Carlton is a global brand known for the quality of its customer service. This is in part due to a system in place called the “innovation database,” which encourages (and requires) employees to share their tips and tricks on improving customer service.
5 Ways Businesses Lose the Customer
Customer Think || January 8, 2016
Customer churn is a serious problem for any company, not only because of the initial loss but also because of ripples due to an increase in negative word of mouth and difficulty acquiring new customers. This article from CustomerThink explores some of the most common reasons behind the loss of customers. Number four on their list is “Neglecting to Invest in Customer Service.” Customer service leads to customer loyalty; customer loyalty leads to brand evangelists; brand evangelists lead to customer retention and growth.
Publish Date: January 12, 2016 5:00 AM