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Woven - Blog

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Contact Centre Decor

Working somewhere with funky décor is something we would all like (you’ve seen Google’s offices right?!), but how can we keep the functionality of a Contact Centre whilst providing a fun, interesting environment for our Customer Care Advisors?

From the window to the wall…

Whilst white walls give the illusion of space and airiness, they can be a little boring and of course, hard to keep looking fresh. One way to brighten up your white walls is to paint them with whiteboard paint. Supply coloured pens for Advisors to decorate in their break time. You could even hold art competitions judged by the other advisors!

Colour me beautiful

Not keen on giving your staff free reign with a pen on the walls? Why not paint them bright colours? Company colours are always a good idea, or ask your different teams to suggest their favourite colours. They could have a wall each with their own staff notice board and weekly stats.

Cosy club

A break room shouldn’t just be a room away from the contact centre floor. It should be somewhere that staff can really relax and make the most of their often short breaks. Having a staff room as far away from the sights and sounds of their busy working environment will enable them to relax more and filling it with comfy chairs, a radio, TV or books will allow them to take their mind out of the ‘work zone’ for a few minutes.

Keep it clean

There is nothing worse than a dirty workspace. This will immediately make employees feel glum and undervalued. Toilets and kitchens especially should be kept spic and span with regular deep cleans. Assess the volume of people using the facilities and ensure your cleaners are keeping on top of it. Encourage your staff to respect their work place cleanliness too by providing plenty of waste bins, washing up facilities etc.

Croquet on the lawn?

Outside spaces at Contact Centres are often limited, but make the most of what you have by providing picnic benches, bins, paddling pools and plants to create an outside break area. Stretching the legs and getting some fresh air will give staff an energy boost to help them through the afternoon.

You go girl!

Use the space around the building to inspire and empower your staff. Framed photos of Employee of the Month winners or motivational quotes and brighten up the area and give Advisors something to focus on after a bad call.


Publish Date: November 17, 2017

Human touch an essential tool for call centres

As the world becomes increasingly digital, many call centres are optimising their offerings by providing self-service options and automating processes to make life a little easier. This can be a great way to streamline operations and let customers help themselves. However, there is still a vital need for the human touch, so telephone answering services must not be too quick to eradicate agent interactions completely.

There are three key reasons that the human touch is still required in business: people solve problems, agents can empathise, and humans want to have choices. After all, there is only so much problem-solving an autonomous tool can do. Agents, however, can listen, understand and seek out the information they require to fix an issue. Machines can be great, but they come with downsides, too. Supermarkets, for example, utilise self-service checkouts increasingly. However, when these go wrong, they require human help to restart the process.

Meanwhile, the ability to empathise with customers is an extremely important feature of human agents. By understanding and caring about people’s queries, a call centre can provide outstanding services. Automation might be quick, but it certainly cannot provide a personal touch.

Finally, humans want choices, so funnelling people into a mandatory automation process could significantly compromise customer satisfaction. Many people do prefer self-service options and will happily use them when given a chance. However, others want to talk to an agent or find self-service features to be too much of a challenge.


Publish Date: June 28, 2017

Improve call centre performance by eliminating avoidable calls

Many methods exist to optimise call centre processes, including streamlining software, training agents and focussing on providing high-quality consumer care. Another option is to place a priority on eliminating available calls, thereby freeing up agents and other telephone answering services staff to concentrate on other work.

If you choose this method, it is best to start by implementing a call-avoidance system. This can be used to highlight not only why people are calling, but also the root problem. It is these root problems that can offer many answers to call centres, allowing executives to pinpoint common call causes. As a result, action can be taken to correct these, reducing call volume and enabling agents to get on with their work instead of repeatedly answering the same queries.

The most effective way to discover root causes is by harnessing the power of speech analytics. This can gather data on the most notable concerns of call centre customers. Analysis of this information can then reveal the most common queries, which executives can take steps to correct.

For example, a poorly curated FAQ page could lead to an influx of calls because answers are either missing or incomplete. Simply updating the company’s website could answer many people’s questions before they need to ring, thereby eliminating unneeded calls and optimising the call centre process.

Acting to eliminate the need for certain calls is something that all businesses should aspire to do. In addition to reducing call volume, it can boost consumer satisfaction by giving customers the ability to help themselves.


Publish Date: June 27, 2017

Call centres advised to stop AHT obsession

Average Handling Time (AHT) has been a commonly used call centre metric for many years because it can be good indicator of just how much time agents are spending on the phone with each consumer. However, although it can be worthwhile to try to reduce AHT, focusing too much on this goal can compromise customer service quality and bring about negative effects within any telephone answering services.

To this end, many companies are trying to eradicate AHT. However, there seems to be some difficulty getting rid of the metric despite increased evidence it can damage call centre performance.

Industry expert Christine Stubbs said: “The agent’s responsibility is to give good first contact resolution to the customer. The scheduling pressure doesn’t belong to them, it belongs to the real-time analyst. If the forecast team has got the forecast wrong and there are huge queues, why would you want to disturb the customer experience by letting agents know? It’s not their fault, and they’re in control of that.”

Despite the warning, many call centres are still hanging on to AHT, with a poll showing that 47 per cent of companies still use the metric to target agents. In many cases, contact centres are still seen as a call handling facility rather than a business that provides customer services. In an effort to change this, companies need to adapt from simply handling complaints to leading the fore of consumer care. By doing this, outdated metrics like AHT that have the potential to bring negative effects will be more easily ousted and replaced with better practices.


Publish Date: June 23, 2017

How call centre software can boost business

Many call centres are predominantly focused on developing optimised consumer care to prolong loyalty and offer increased customer value. However, next-gen software also offers way to significantly boost business beyond simply having telephone answering services rectify people’s problems. This was noted by the largest wedding retailer in the US, who used Enghouse Interactive to grow its bottom line.

Speaking about the situation, Mandy Holmes revealed that by using Enghouse Interactive’s software, the wedding superstore has been able to better care for brides and grow its business as a result. Since rolling out the software, the firm has noted growth rates of 70 per cent.

One important feature has been the online chat option, which enables agents to drive sales without affecting call centre traffic. In addition, agents have been given the tools to book customer appointments at the stores of their choice, thereby reducing the workload on in-store agents, who can use the extra time to attend to brides and make sales.

With sales on the rise, an additional 25 agents had to be hired, which shaved 30 seconds off average handling time (AHT) whilst boosting agent performance and satisfaction.

This case study goes to show that new software is not always about simply attending to consumer problems and queries; it can also be used to grow a business as a whole. By taking all the potential benefits under consideration, turning to software such as that offered by Enghouse can be a great step forward and can reap multiple positive returns.


Publish Date: June 20, 2017

The customer journey should become the experience

For companies across the country, tapping into their customers’ wants and need is crucial to success. All too often, call centres focus on reducing queue times, providing a wide array of self-service options and bringing average handling time (AHT) down to an absolute minimum. However, some companies have found an edge by focusing on making the journey part of the experience.

Expert Craig Pumfrey explains that Walt Disney World has managed to harness the power of modern gadgets to offer an end-to-end experience. At the Orlando theme park, a downloadable app does not try to hide queue times; instead, it tells people exactly how long they can expect to wait. There are also tickets on the go, GPS-enabled maps and digital experiences to help pass the queuing times. This shows that telephone answering services do not always need to hide facts, such as wait time. Including them in the experience instead can be beneficial.

It is no surprise to hear that Disney works to reduce consumer effort and make the entire journey as frictionless as possible. However, they do not only achieve this by speeding up the process. They also utilise technology to increase engagement and satisfaction during the experience. This is on the back of research that found that people enjoy the periods between rides and attractions. Similarly, IKEA has found that more value is placed on furniture after people have spent time building it.

For call centres that want to optimise their service, it is not all about minimising the journey time. Instead, it is making sure that every moment offers value.


Publish Date: June 19, 2017

Optimise customer services in six weeks with FAN strategy

Call centres across the country face the daunting task of achieving customer service levels that fulfil the modern demands and expectations of consumers. This is not always easy, especially when customers are now more empowered than ever before. For telephone answering services that wish to bring about real change in just six weeks, a good acronym to live by is FAN.
FAN stands for Find, Action, Nice Touch, and call centres and businesses can use this simple formula when engaging with consumers. When conducting a conversation, agents should attempt to “Find” and understand the root of the problem. This often means going deeper than a consumer’s initial question to discover the original cause of an issue.

After this, the “Action” part of the equation should take place, with call centres identifying the proper course of action, agreeing upon it with the customer, and making sure the business delivers on its promise.

Finally, a “Nice touch” should be added. This can be as simple as a follow-up call that is personalised to the caller. However, companies should always be on the lookout for new ways to wow their audience.

Turning around poor customer services or even taking care to the next level is not always easy, and it is rarely quick. It can take a lot of time and effort to develop a consistently high level of care. However, by putting the FAN strategy in place, businesses can start to deliver what their consumers expect and enjoy rising levels of service quality in the process.


Publish Date: June 16, 2017

Online shoppers need personal services

For many call centres, dealing with incoming contacts is only one challenge; proactively engaging with shoppers, some of whom may be on company websites, is another big part of the job. Many of these people might need help with their transactions and will leave their shopping baskets if they do not get the answers they need. In such cases, it is essential that people receive personal service to make them feel valued.

New research shows that 80 per cent of people place a high value on receiving personal service when shopping online. This goes to show that telephone answering services must be ready to offer human interactions in real time, whether this is via webchat or social media channels.

The iAdvize research also showed that 40 per cent of people only give retailers ten minutes to reply to their questions before abandoning their purchase. Furthermore, 22 per cent give only five minutes for companies to respond with an adequate answer.

iAdvize Chief Executive Julien Hervouët said: “As e-commerce growth continues at a rapid rate, we are witnessing more demand than ever before for retailers to instantly engage with the customer wherever and whenever they need information. As a result we have seen growing popularity for channels such as messaging apps and social media.”

This research clearly shows the importance for call centres to integrate real-time digital channels into their strategy if they want to provide consumers with the service that is expected. By doing so, more people could potentially complete their transactions, thereby increasing the company’s bottom line.


Publish Date: June 15, 2017

Achieve better care by targeting negative emotion

Over the past few years, the depth and analysis of customer services have gained tremendous ground. This is largely due to call centres and businesses realising that service quality is crucial in this competitive era if they want to be successful. Now it has been suggested that targeting negative emotion could be a key factor in improving service quality levels.

Research has shown that the emotional state of a consumer can have a big effect on customer satisfaction, even more so than effort and success factors. Therefore, telephone answering services should target negative emotion so they can quickly address it. One way to do this is using speech analytics, with software identifying language like “outrageous”, “not acceptable” and “frustrated”. Agents can then quickly attend to the potentially upset consumer and attempt to rectify the issue.

In addition, call centres can gain an increasing wealth of data regarding negative emotion using speech analytics. Each time a word crops up, the conversation can be placed into a context area. For example, if an email for new customers contained an offer, complaints might be received from long-term customers. In this scenario, a targeted mailing can then be sent in the future to long-standing clients with a similar offer, ultimately limiting the amount of negative emotion received.

An individual’s emotional state can greatly alter how a business interaction was perceived. By targeting and then trying to reduce negative emotions, call centres can improve service levels.


Publish Date: June 14, 2017

Boost consumer care with vulnerable customer scheme

One of the most important ideas when it comes to customer services is that firms should not just meet consumer expectations; they should aim to exceed them. This is why many call centres are looking for innovative ideas to help them connect with callers on an emotional level. For telephone answering services that want to go above and beyond, setting up a vulnerable customer programme is worthwhile.

A vulnerable customer scheme is used to identify people who are facing difficult times, whether it is with their health, finances or another reason. When call agents believe a contact falls into this category, they can speak with a “Customer First” manager and take special measures. Potentially vulnerable consumers can also be identified using speech analytics, with software picking up language relating to living and health conditions.

One example of such a scheme in action can be seen with energy firm Homeserve. In this case, a call centre agent named Omar spoke with an elderly gentleman suffering from cancer whose boiler had broken down. His repair policy only provided £200, and if he could not fix the boiler, he would have to move into a care home. By utilising their vulnerable care scheme, Homeserve was able to cover the expenses through their hardship fund.

Not every firm will interact with vulnerable people, but many consumers are struggling with finances or enduring health problems. By looking out for these people, call centres can develop a programme to help the needy and surpass consumer expectations.


Publish Date: June 13, 2017

Service quality falls for UK insurance industry

A new report has found that customers are receiving increasingly worse levels of care from UK’s insurance sector. The situation is something that all call centres need to rectify, especially those that are looking to increase the quality of service their consumers receive.

Research from Eptica found that 91 per cent of people say they would be more loyal to insurance firms that offer good digital consumer services. However, firms in this sector fail to answer 68 per cent of the queries they are sent via Facebook, Twitter, email and the web. Just one year earlier, this figure was 47 per cent, which shows the insurance sector is failing to provide optimised care by an even greater extent than before.

Other results were also discovered, including the fact that 78 per cent of customers want to be able to contact their insurance firms on different channels. However, none of the companies questioned had omnichannel platforms in place that allowed communication across email, Twitter, chat and Facebook. There is also a high level of inconsistency across channels, with just 5 per cent having matching answers on three platforms. In fact, 70 per cent of firms did not have a single matching answer.

Eptica co-founder Olivier Njamfa said: “Consumers want to have high-quality conversations with insurers and 72% said that their expectations are continually rising – yet in the majority of cases they are simply not receiving the experience they demand. Performance seems to be polarising, with some companies and channels pulling away from the rest – meaning that the laggards risk losing customers to their rivals unless they change how they operate.”

Telephone answering services that wish to optimise their care should take heed of the insurance industry’s failings and ensure their customer care is prioritised.


Publish Date: June 12, 2017

Mould webchat into messaging app for increased success

Webchat has become extremely popular with call centres as a way to improve engagement with customers. However, with the modern generation being more visually-led than previous cohorts, moulding webchat into a messaging app that allows photos and videos to be included can be a good move.

For telephone answering services, the emphasis on webchat should be serving consumers and providing a reliable and high-quality tool that allows people to get help immediately. Offering the chance to live chat with agents is well received in many cases, but it does have its limitations. This is why the best webchats have been developed to act like an instant email with the ability to include attachments.

By adopting this approach, call centres can offer an extremely responsive customer service without individuals having to share their phone numbers. However, with the ability to upload images and videos in addition to participating in live chat, consumers can get the help they need quickly and efficiently. In addition, although the business may not have someone’s contact details, they can keep a log of the chat history. This can be saved and stored, which is particularly useful if the consumer gets in touch again.

Webchat is one tool that is likely to see increased use over the coming months and years. Businesses and call centres that master its correct utilisation could gain many benefits, including an increased quality of consumer care, better loyalty from customers, and a higher level of satisfaction from those using the service.


Publish Date: June 9, 2017

Optimise webchat by reducing pop-ups

Webchat has become a new and essential tool for call centres, with many businesses turning to this solution as a way to enhance engagement with consumers. However, this is one case where getting the balance right is important. In fact, limiting the use of proactive chat pop-ups can actually optimise the service and ensure customers are not inadvertently deterred from remaining on websites.

For many consumers, browsing websites can be improved with the help of some agent advice. This is the reason that many companies choose to proactively engage people with a pop-up chat to ask if help is required and lead customers toward the sales or services funnel. Whilst this can be useful under the right circumstances, there are times when unwanted chat pop-ups can be too much.

If telephone answering services want to use chat pop-ups, it is worth taking the time to identify key parts of the consumer journey in which to implement them. For example, if consumers are showing behaviour akin to abandoning their shopping cart, proactively using chat can be a good idea. However, contacting people within 10 seconds of arriving on a website could deter them from sticking around. There is a fine line between positive and negative engagement.

In general, call centres should use rule-based triggers, such as the number of pages viewed or the fact that someone has visited the FAQ page, to generate the chat function. Otherwise, firms should be wary of using chat too much.


Publish Date: June 8, 2017

Ensure correct staffing by altering AHT expectations

AHTAverage Handling Time (AHT) is a crucial metric that is used in many call centres. However, this indicator must be used correctly, especially when using it to determine staff levels. When working with scheduling teams, telephone answering services managers must consider changing their AHT expectations throughout the day and altering staffing levels as a result.

The call centre environment is a very changeable place, with the number of calls and contacts coming in often fluctuating wildly by the hour. Some sense of these variations can be made, however, by analysing calls on an hourly, daily, weekly or even seasonal level. In many cases, the required agent numbers are based on AHT by assuming one agent can get through a certain number of calls and expanding this to take in an entire business’s needs. However, AHT can change depending on the time of day.

For example, inbound sales calls may rise dramatically in the evenings, when consumers are finished with their working day. Successful sales calls will often take longer than other communications and tend to push up AHT. The average evening AHT will therefore be higher, and that may mean that more agents are required.

Call centre expert Nathan Winstanley said: “If you run your staging in 15- or 30-minute intervals, change your AHT expectations throughout the day. An example would be in an inbound sales environment you may see a spike in sales in an evening, more sales = more calls, meaning your AHT in that period is higher. This means that if you run on a set day AHT, you may understaff your evening.”


Publish Date: June 7, 2017

Optimise agent scheduling by understanding call behaviour

Call centre scheduling can be a complicated business. Having too few agents can put consumer care quality at risk, whilst having too many can create unnecessary expenses. By looking at call behaviour, such as when people typically make contact, telephone answering services can put themselves in a better position to optimise efficiency.

Expert David Appleby has one piece of advice: “It is human nature to look at the clock and ring after it strikes the house.” This is also the time that television shows and meetings often end, creating a moment of availability for consumers to call. In Appleby’s research, there was often a spike in call traffic at the hour mark.

When the figures are further analysed, 40 per cent of calls fall within the first 15 minutes of an hour, whilst 30 per cent are within the final 15 minutes. The remaining 30 per cent is split evenly between the other two 15-minute segments. For call centres, the data suggests it is a good idea to reduce resource planning periods to 15 minutes instead of a traditional half-hour period.

When making this switch, is it important to consider overhang. For example, moving to a 15-minute reporting period should only be conducted if Average Handling Time (AHT) is below 7.5 minutes. This ensures that calls running over from a previous period are kept to a minimum.

Ensuring there are enough agents working is crucial for call centres that want to provide the best service. Understanding caller behaviour can provide a better notion of when and why calls are coming in.


Publish Date: June 6, 2017

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