Talkdesk - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
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
It’s a brand new year, and with it comes promises for achieving great things in the months ahead. As you start setting goals for the year, we encourage you to pause and reflect a bit. Are you tracking the right metrics for your business? Do you understand what these metrics mean to your business so that you can intelligently respond? Do you understand how you are performing compared to industry peers?
At the end of 2015, we surveyed our top customers to learn which metrics they most commonly tracked, as well as how they performed. We’re now happy to present the findings of this study in our newest report, the 2016 Talkdesk Call Center KPI Benchmarking Report. In this report, you will learn:
- 4 of the most common inbound call center KPIs
- How to create a KPI measurement system
- Why you should be benchmarking your data
- How to use data to improve call center performance
Download the report today to get started on your 2016 call center resolutions!
Publish Date: January 11, 2016 5:00 AM