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Article : The Contact Center Audit – The Only Effective Benchmarking Tool

One of the most common questions posed to me by companies who have constructed and are operating a Contact Center is "How do I know if the Contact Center is operating effectively?" This can, of course, be easily changed to question efficiency and cost effectiveness as easily as effectiveness. Contact Center Managers are always asking themselves how they can manage more effectively.

This is the same question that Contact Center operators must ask … and answer each day in their business. There has not been a great deal of options open to the Contact Center operator to identify the tools against which to measure their Center. Magazine articles always feature only the Centers using the most current and latest and greatest technologies.

These facilities held up a reasonable measure perhaps, but only as long as you were operating with similar currency to the latest magazine issue.

Watts and many of our clients have long relied upon a very effective tool to measure and understand the Contact Center ... the Contact Center Audit. The purpose of an audit, whether focusing upon financial transactions or Contact Center transactions, is to identify what has (or is) going on and where the enterprise is headed. This article shall deal with what an audit is (from the perspective of the 60+ audits Watts has conducted) and how one should be conducted. We shall focus on what one should look for and expect to see. What processes and procedures you may encounter and how to decipher seemingly contradictory data. In short, this article will provide you with a recipe for conducting your own Contact Center Audit.

So what is a Contact Center Audit?
It is a short "snapshot" of your Contact Center. It should capture all the processes, procedures, protocols and practices that are employed in the facility. It should yield a number of "I didn't think we were doing that …l" comments from both the managers as well as line staff. The audit will tell you what is going on, which can be quite enlightening when compared to what you thought was going on. By identifying the "disconnects" between expectations of how things are done and how they actually are will allow each process to be addressed individually and challenged, accepted, changed or discarded. The Audit process allows you to more fully understand the dynamics in the Contact Center and it will allow you to manage and measure what you are doing more effectively. You can't manage what you can't identify.

The audit is generally a two or three day exercise in order to cover all the bases. The individual who will be executing the Audit should be knowledgeable about Contact Centers and your industry in general. The Auditor should not be someone who presently works in the Center. It is difficult for someone who works closely in that environment to be completely unbiased about what it is they are seeing. As well, they will often be too familiar about the processes and actions within the Center to truly appreciate or even notice them. In short, they often cannot see the forest for the trees.

The following will provide a template for you as you look at executing an Audit:

Audit Objective
The purpose of almost every audit Watts has ever completed has been two-fold. First, to identify the service and efficiency levels relating to workflow and contact handling. Second, to identify the cost incurred in managing in this fashion. In order to identify each of the components present in the Contact Center, Watts would breakdown the process as follows:

Process and Operations
This is essentially benchmarking the known elements about the Contact Center … its hours of operation and shifts, the ratio between CSRs and Supervisors, Supervisors and Managers, Agents to Trainers, etc. The split of inbound and outbound calling, emails and web-chats. The specific job types in the Contact Center. By reviewing the job descriptions for all of the functions in the Contact Center, we identify the roles and responsibilities for staff. Assess the contact volumes, by year, season, month, and week. At this point, you would identify any of the work that requires specific skills such as language, certification, etc.

Contact Details
The contact types should be broken down to encompass all of the possible known types. For example, inbound, outbound and bilingual. For each of these, you must define and detail the complete process flow. This will give you a sense of the logical relationship between the functions that you are undertaking. These process flows are then related to contact volumes, contact lengths, the presence of a backlog in contacts to be serviced and analyze the key drivers, which will influence the volume and type of contacts received. Often the existing Contact Center Management is too busy on a daily, weekly and even monthly basis to be able to ask the fundamental questions, such as why are we handling contacts in the way that we are? Why are many contacts initiated a second or third time? Or what will the impact be of offering an extended service package on this product. By assessing how the Contact Center manages the process and how the agent processes the contact against the known drivers which influence the Contact Center traffic, it is possible to answer many of these questions.

Post Contact Processes
The Auditor must understand the complete process, which involves the reasons for the contact as well as the Contact Center. The Auditor must know what will happen to the order or request following the end of the contact. How will the order be fulfilled and by whom? What process or channel will be used to deliver the product or information? Does this channel match or fit with the real or perceived urgency of the request? What percentage of contacts are processed and how? Can they be traced or tracked, if so by whom and where?

The area of training is also important to the Auditor, even though most, if not all of their time will be spent in dealing with results of training (the trained staff). What the type of training is, the format in which it is delivered, its duration and measurement methods, all will be strong influences as to how well the Center, staffed by graduates of this training, will perform. For example, if the training focuses on empowerment and problem solving, then it would not be surprising to see CSRs identify and solve their own problems independently. To fully understand the processes and the results of the training program, the Auditor should review the training manual, backup, support, tests and evaluation tools.

Center Staffing
The staff selected for any project will tell you a great deal about the Contact Center and its functionality. To better understand the dynamics at play in the Contact Center, Watts studies the mix of full and part time staff, the job description for each job, the roles and responsibilities, both according to the job descriptions as well as according to the CSRs themselves and their Supervisors. The hiring criteria and any pre-screening or pre-selection processes will also serve to stream certain types of staff into the Contact Center. The performance evaluation tools will determine the types of CSRs who stay with the Contact Center. By understanding the personality types desired, attracted and motivated to remain, the Auditor can gain an in-site into the Contact Center culture.

Marketing Considerations
The final area in which the Auditor must study and understand the dynamics of the process flow is the marketing area. How will contact traffic be driven? What are the marketing expectations when a contact is received, upselling, cross selling? What are the after contact or aftermarket expectations to the Contact Center, it is easier to identify means of streamlining the processes being actioned.

About the Company
Watts Communications Inc. is a Customer Care and Contact Centre services company. It's been in business since 1965. All members, from the CEO to the Customer Service Representatives, are committed to making each program a success. They are committed to assisting with clients plan, implement and measure their Customer Care Solutions.

Today's Tip of the Day - Maintaining Customer Notes

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Tuesday, December 17, 2002

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2021 Buyers Guide Computer Telephony Integration

AMC Technology

DaVinci provides Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) to a library of pre-built applications + UXiPaaS (User Experience Integration Platform as a Service) built specifically for contact centers. As contact center needs evolve, organizations need to have access to extend or create new functionality, without waiting to be a part of a software roadmap. Get the benefits of CTI within your CRM like screen pop, click-to-dial, screen transfer, speed dial and more, but future-proof your contact center so you can expand and integrate how and when you want.

Call Center Studio

Call Center Studio
Call Center Studio is the world’s first call center built on Google and is one of the most secure and stable systems with some of the industry’s best reporting. It is one of the most full-featured enterprise grade systems (with the most calling features, one of the best call distribution, outbound dialing features and integrations—including IVR, AI Speech Recognition, blended inbound/outbound calling and includes Google’s new Dialogflow and Speech API. Call Center Studio is the absolute easiest to use (with a 10 minute setup), and is the price performance leader with lower equipment cost and less setup time.

ComSys S.A.

CLink for CRM and Call Center Integration
CLink by Comsys is a middleware that connects in real-time the CRM and the contact center applications. CLink enhances the CRM with interaction management capabilities from the contact center that allow agents to work more productively across all communication channels.
Comsys is a provider of οmnichannel customer engagement solutions that assist companies around the world in delivering unique customer experiences. For the last 15 years, Comsys designs and implements complex projects for clients from the outsourcing, financial services, telecommunications, and retail sectors. Comsys enjoys strategic partnerships with technology vendors like Cisco®, Aspect Software®, and Microsoft® for the delivery of innovative interaction management and contact center optimization solutions.

Consilium Software

Consilium UniAgent™
Today’s call centers need their agents to work more naturally, and respond better and faster. Here, we talk about the innovations Consilium has made with the latest desktop and mobile agent releases of the UniAgent™ CRM connector. From small enterprises to Fortune 500 companies and governments across 110 countries, UniAgent™ comes into action right at the moment of reckoning, making every contact center experience engaging and personalized, powered by simplified customer identification and anticipating customer needs.
UniAgent™ provides CRM integrations between all the Cisco contact center solutions (UCCX, PCCE, UCCE and HCS-CC) and over 20 CRMs, such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics 365...
(read more)

IntraNext Systems

IntraNext Systems develops agent efficiency tools and data security software solutions for medium-to-large contact centers. Our Event Intelligence® Platform solutions include SmartCTI™, iGuard®, and SmartSIP™. SmartSIP is based on our patented SIP layer technology and provides a DTMF masking solution for VoIP environments.


CRM integration
We know how important it is for a business to obtain data from its customers and to manage them effectively, so we help small to large companies by integrating their CRM with the Virtual Switchboard.

This type of integration will simplify the work of your team and improve the management performance of the contact list and its information.


NovelVox CTI Connector
NextGen Cisco Finesse, Genesys & Avaya Embedded CTI Connectors for Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, ServiceNow, Zendesk & more.


What is PhoneIQ?
PhoneIQ is the modern cloud phone system and contact center platform built exclusively for companies on Salesforce. Our all-in-one cloud communications platform brings together power dialing, local presence, voicemail drop, Salesforce call routing, call recording and a complete PBX replacement that lives within your CRM. With support for desktop, mobile, and desk phones, PhoneIQ works seamlessly at the office or remote, logging all interactions in Salesforce and generating reports in real-time.

Best For
Companies using Salesforce and looking for a phone system, dialer, or contact center software that provides deep integration capabilities with their CRM and expert Salesforce support.

Teckinfo Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

InterDialog UCCS
InterDialog UCCS - a robust contact/ call center software that helps organizations provide a seamless customer experience across all channels in the customer service journey. All interactions from various channels come to a single unified queue on the InterDialog platform. With unified view agents get to see all historical interactions , enabling him to give a resolution quickly. InterDialog UCCS is a comprehensive Contact/Call Center Software with robust CTI, Unified Q ( ACD), Reporting, Unified Agent Management, Administrator, Supervisor - Monitoring (Pmonitor)

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