What Do You Want Out of Your Call Center?

We often think that what agents want does not coincide with what the management expects but try to have an open mind and ask your agents what they want. You might be surprised with their answers.

Learn how to give your agents what they want and increase their overall performance…

 

ClearView doesn’t just improve visibility, it changes the way agents behave!

Stay on top of the game, click here and schedule a demo!

The Formula to Change Agent’s Behavior

We can look at metrics until we are blue in the face. We can use every measurement tool out there to get in-depth insight, but if it isn’t driving change in the behavior our agents then it is all for naught. It is just expensive data! So you may be asking, how do you change agent’s behavior and what does ClearView know about it? We know because we have done it! ClearView was created on the call room floor and we have seen it be successful time and time again in empowering and changing agent behavior and creating a more profitable call center. Below are the 4 points every business needs in order to change behavior and drive performance.

1. Create and Focus on the Core Goals!

  • Focus on only the very most important goals that will make a difference, don’t overload your agents with too many, 1 or 2 is plenty. These may include things like increasing revenue or expansion.
  • Allow the goal setting to be a team effort with guidance from management
  • Each goal must be time bound and measurable.

2. Focus on the ancillary goals that will help you achieve your core goals.

  • Keep the ancillary goals simple and fundamental. Some good ancillary goals could be lowering AHT or increasing first call resolution.
  • Create a score card, Keep it updated and visible to all showing both Core goals and ancillary Goals and how they are effecting each other.
  • Make sure the team can tell quickly if they are achieving their goals or not

4. Keep them accountable

  • Encourage reaching their goals by celebrating accomplishments and through gamification
  • Show respect for your agents and their ability
  • Review their progress and provide training in areas where they can improve

ClearView is the tool that will help your call center achieve these 4 principles. We understand the agent better than anyone and we know how to make them successful, it is the reason we built ClearView. Let us show you how you can improve your bottom line. Call us for a Demo!

3 Strategies for Turning an Angry Customer into a Happy One

When looking at an artistic and creative tree drawing on paper, have you ever thought of how ironic it is that a tree can be drawn on the very thing from which the paper itself is constructed? Doesn’t it seem more logical to minimize the use of paper so more trees can be produced in real life rather than on paper?

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That same tree saving concept applies to customer service. Customer service departments are set up and designed with one purpose, to assist and make customers happy. However, 68% of consumers report that they are dissatisfied with recent customer service dialogue, which is 8% higher than the previous survey.

Recent statistics have proven that the concept of customer satisfaction can be tricky. Just as we as people have different tastes in music, food and clothes, one way of making a customer happy is probably not the same approach that should be taken with another. Take for example, one customer may be delighted that you provide for them a step by step process on how to use their product, yet the more savvy customers view this process as a waste of time. So what is the difference between customer happiness, and customer satisfaction? Customer satisfaction is achieved when expectations are met. Customer happiness is achieved when service exceeds expectations. Customer churn, or turnover, happens when service falls short of expectations. Right now, contact centers are continually falling short when it comes to meeting customer expectations, according to the customers themselves. It should not be this way. Especially now with the availability of technological advancements which allow call centers to use and develop software which provides solutions to these issues.

What causes customers/clients to be angry or dissatisfied? The most common triggers of customer dissatisfaction are:

  • 60%- speaking to a rude representative

  • 52%- speaking to an incompetent customer service representative

  • 48%- not being able to speak to a live person

  • 38%- being put on hold for too long

Turning an unsatisfied customer into a happy one requires three easy steps which are described below:

  1. Make your call center agents or customer service representatives your assets instead of frustrated robots.

Customer service representatives become rude to a client or customer for a myriad of reasons. Constantly being nagged by a supervisor to reach an unrealistic average handling time is demoralizing and shows in performance. Agents who are forced to read scripted lines even after customers have complained that they sound scripted and robotic is frustrating. Also, not being properly trained and/or given enough information about the product to satisfy a customer can make an agent/customer interaction difficult and awkward.

Give your agents some leeway to use their own knowledge based on their experience and their interaction with your customers. Trust that they can handle them. Train them properly, and completely. Providing them the up-to-date and correct information they need will be a confidence booster as they receive calls. Recognize and acknowledge their hard-work and make them believe that their efforts are appreciated. Provide room for errors but teach them to be accountable for their mistakes. Engage your customer service representatives and they will be your brand advocates who rally for you, your brand, and your company.

Customers who experienced difficulty with your product or service are calling because they want to talk to real people, not to automated machines or robots. They want a one-on-one human interaction, and to feel like your company genuinely cares about their service experience.

  1. Grab every opportunity to become a Customer Service Hero!

We’ve all heard stories of happy customer experiences. Like customers who were given free meals when they least expected it, or a customer who tweeted that he got a discounted room on a hotel after another hotel turned him down. Probably you’ve read stories like this online because they usually become viral. I remember last month when I was shocked to see emails from different sites I subscribed to greeting me a happy birthday. I re-tweeted those brands even if I wasn’t following them because I felt like they had made an effort to reach me on a more personal level, even though I am fully aware that it was just a machine sending me an email because my file is saved in their system. That simple gesture made me happy as a customer. Give discounts, free gift certificates on holidays, an additional trial period on their subscription. Simple gestures make your customers happy, and customers are more likely to remember you when posting on a social media site which then becomes free advertising for you.

Not with every customer interaction are you given the opportunity to be your customer’s hero. Yet even in service failures like late refunds or defective products, you can create hero moments. Just resolve the issue right away and apologize. Make up for the inconvenience and a failure evolves into a success story.

  1. Invest in call center software

Contact centers need modern, up-to-date technology. Technology which provides real-time data, enables you to see and predict call volume, provides information on which agents need assistance right away, and allows you to make an impact even if you’re not on the premise? This software needs to have the ability to enable you to make better decisions concerning workforce numbers so you don’t have to waste customer time by waiting on hold… “for the next available representative.”

ClearView is a revolutionary work force optimization solution engineered by call centers for call centers. ClearView drives successful execution, by aggregating performance data from disparate systems, and acting on the data with proven business improvement processes. By delivering real-time performance dashboards from the executive level down to the agent level, ClearView increases accountability and creates a culture of continuous development essential to reaching business objectives.

Every company wants to leave a strong and lasting positive impression with each customer/client. Turn your customer service department into a positive environment and remove the feeling that your customer service department is simply just a branch of your business where customers can vent out their problems. Make customer service a philosophy, an attitude which will differentiate you from your competitors. Turn your contact centers into cost-effective centers which advocate and embody customer engagement.

Happy

Note:

No trees were sacrificed during the production or completion of this article. However, a lot of electrons we’re inconvenienced.

How to Get More Clients for your Call Center

The third party call center business is dog eat dog. There are several players, rising aurlbove the noise is very difficult. Believe me I know, having been on the marketing side of third party call centers for several years I have had to address these challenges head on.  As I have advanced in my career I learned what it takes to rise above that noise. There is a distinct and definite difference between the call centers that apply sound marketing strategies and the ones that don’t.

Push value, not Price.
This is a simple marketing strategy that has been used time and time again. Now how do you apply it to your call floor?  I see countless posts on Linkedin offering their services and shouting about the details of the campaign and cost among the crowd. They immediately become white noise. The chances of obtaining your next client by posting about your call center in every single group on Linked in are slim to none. Your chances with cold calls and cold messaging are not much better. You can start building warm leads by promoting your value proposition. I see hundreds of call floor marketing attempts each day, but rarely do I see a value proposition. What makes your call floor stand out? You don’t want your answer to be price, because there is always someone willing to beat you on price. Not to mention good call centers that champion your brand are not on the cheap end, but these are also the ones that boost your bottom line and justify the cost.

What is the value proposition of your call floor? What makes you stand out? If you don’t know, then you need to find out quickly, otherwise you are just going to be another rat in the race trying to be heard above all the noise.

Your value can come from both inside and outside your call floor. There is software out there that can set you apart from everyone else. This is why Focus Services is in high demand in the BPO industry, we created ClearView, it is one of our value propositions. This is a tool we use to give insight on every level of the company both in-house and to our clients. The businesses that hire Focus Services to handle their call center needs have unparalleled insight into their campaigns. The control is in their hands and they love it.

Don’t Sell, Story tell!
Yep, it sounds a little corny and cliché, but it is tried and true! Forget about the details of what you have to offer. Details will be lost in the mix of all the others offering the same thing. The details can be worked out later; the thing that will help turn cold contacts to warm ones is telling a compelling story. What is your story? Have you been a part of the growth of a business that has used your call floor? Do you have a customer that loves you enough to do a written or better yet a video testimonial? What is your story? Be creative, there is a story there somewhere.  Studies show that stories stick with consumers far longer than details and data does.

Focus Services for Instance has the story of their SAAS, ClearView. The story behind why it was invented and how it has become its own business has been a great story for us.  It’s compelling and has provided us with great marketing material. We can share the stories of how our customers have been able to make game changing decisions based on the insight ClearView has given them.

Find your value proposition and frame it in a story. If you do this you will be on your way to establishing a killer marketing strategy.

Three tips to Improve Attrition Rates in 2014

Sometimes the obvious answer to a problem or issue isn’t always the correct resolution. Some years ago I had a conversation with some employees from our call floors during a focus group to improve our attrition rates, I discovered a few insights into why, as a company, we were struggling with attrition. I suppose that as I began the conversation I expected to hear the obvious and textbook answers as to why employees were not satisfied with their current employment. I assumed that pay grade, quality training, and scheduling would be brought up in conversation. I was surprised to learn that although those are prominent issues that need to be resolved, there were three other reasons affecting employee attrition that can easily be remedied, and ones that should be focused on in 2014. In compiling my notes, I discovered those three issues to be; employee engagement, gamification, and visibility.

 

Employee Engagement
Employees for the most part felt no emotional connection to the company, or their co-workers. In order to improve employee engagement, managers and coaches need to recognize that
engaged workforceemployees need social interaction and a rewarding work environment. They need respect and recognition, as well as a challenging position with room to learn and move up. We started a few programs that you might be interested in implementing on your call floor.

-Tuition reimbursement program. We have found that when we invest in our employee’s education we not only get better agents, but we find these agents sticking with us throughout their entire schooling and often stay with us after and move up to higher management positions. While it may seem like just another cost, in the long run it has actually saved us huge amounts of money and reduced attrition rates by leaps and bounds.

-Lunch with the President of the Company. This has been a great program where the best performing agents have lunch with the President of the company. This does two things:
1. it helps the agent know that we value them on every level of the company.
2. they get free lunch.

Gamification
When the word “gamification” is mentioned, usually what comes to mind are the cheesy, unrewarding games played by coaches simply because they’re supposed to. Managers gamificationoften overlook how important a positive work environment is for staffers, and how far meaningful recognition and praise from managers can go to achieve that. Awards, recognition and praise might just be the single most cost-effective way to maintain a happy, productive work force. Here are few tips to improve your gamification.

-Have small rewards. They don’t all have to big. Some can be just daily or weekly prizes for a free lunch or movie tickets. Let more than one agent have a chance to win something in different categories. This way the same people are not always winning. Some of the ones we have done are: most positive reviews, lowest AHT, and going the extra mile, just to name a few.

-Have a monthly big reward. Put the award where they agents can see it daily. Let them vote on what they would like it to be. Even the agents not in the running are motivated by it knowing that the company cares a enough about a job well done to give away an iPod or tickets to the big game.

-Team Rewards. We simply did a two hour catered lunch for the team with the highest Net Promoter Score. They loved it. It created healthy competition and a sense of camaraderie. Our numbers shot through the roof with this competition.

Visibility
By visibility, the employees in our focus group mentioned that having access to real-time stats and up-to-date technology, they felt as though they were making a visible 08-18-10-career-makeover-strategy-increase-your-visibility-at-work1contribution to the company they could see clearly and consistently. By having real-time stats and access to how they were performing at any given moment, employees felt a connection with the current direction of the company as a whole. This is why Focus Services created the ClearView performance dashboards. By delivering real-time performance dashboards from the executive level down to the agent level, ClearView increases accountability and creates a culture of continuous development essential to reaching business objectives. This is the area that has been the biggest contributor to ouramazingly low attrition rates. If your agents don’t have visibility, how will you are they ever measure real progress?

It has been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over with the expectation of different results. In order to improve our attrition rates this year, perhaps we need to dig more deeply and focus our attention on the less obvious answers, such as employee engagement, gamification, and visibility. For more information about ClearView’s performance dashboards and to learn about our revolutionary workforce management solutions, click here and schedule a demo.

6 Things That Will Kill Your Call Center in 2014

dreamstime_s_11198702-310x233Okay it’s 2014 and it’s time to up your game! Every year the technology and tools for call centers get better and better. We have compiled a list of 6 things that have no business on your call floor anymore. We recommend finding ways to effectively eliminate these problems AS FAST AS YOU CAN!

 

Inconsistent performance data throughout your organization will kill your call center!
We have heard it time and time again, in fact is one of the most common problems we are called upon to solve. Many organizations do not have a standardized why of extracting, analyzing and disseminating performance data (i.e. someone pulling phone data daily and making their conclusions on company performance while another is pulling and analyzing CRM data and making different assumptions on the company’s performance) . Different positions and levels throughout the org commonly pull data sporadically and consequentially many are not viewing the same data and making business decisions based on the true overall performance. ClearView allows all levels of the organization to extract and view data across all systems being used in real time, standardizing the process for pulling data and giving all individuals the same visibility of true company performance.

 

Manually pulling data daily or weekly from the multiple systems being used and then manually aggregating that data in an excel file will kill your call center.
StompingComputerWe have actually have a client, that was having a huge problem with turnover for one position in their company. Want to guess what this person’s duty entailed? Yep, you guessed it, manually pulling and aggregating data. As you can image, this process is extremely manually intensive, time consuming and creates a large opportunity for error every time this process is performed. Many individuals we talk to who are over this role express their frustration for wasting much of their time trying to extract, aggregate and correlate data and by the time they communicate or take action their performance conclusions or actionable takeaways are out of date and antiquated. ClearView aggregates and correlates data systematically and in real-time, allowing these individuals the ability to quickly identify agent weak points and breakdowns and focus on addressing the issues.

 

Providing no visibility at an agent level will kill your call center!
This is another huge call center killer. Our studies echo what the industry experts have been saying for a while now, agent visibility increased the bottom line in so many ways that investing in agent visibility could be the most profitable thing you do in 2014! Many express the complications and frustrations that arise from limited agent communication and that agent attrition has an enormous impact on their bottom line (some have thrown out numbers like “it costs us $30,000 every time we lose an agent within the first 90 days and this number only goes up the longer the agent is employed with us).  ClearView not only allows the agent to clearly see precisely what the companies expectations are for each particular metric, but its allows the agent to see how they are performing to that each goal in real time.

 

Not knowing what metrics really drive your companies performance or what is a realistic and effective goal to manage your company to will kill your call center. This practice must go!
We consistently hear “I don’t know what “good” is”, and “we don’t know what we don’t know”. There is no reason these concerns should be exist with tools like ClearView out there. It is vital that your have software that shows correlations between multiple metrics from multiple systems (Phone, CRM, ERP, etc).  This allows organizations the ability to see what their key drivers really are in delivering the greatest customer experience. ClearView empowers a company to not only identify the optimal key metric thresholds that deliver the overall best customer experience but it also enables them to manage their organization to those identified metrics goals.

 

Trying to manage your business through stale data must go! 
Many companies do not have the ability or the resources to pull and view data in real time. While this may not kill your call center, it’s going to maim it. Consistently playing catch up and managing their business reactively makes it nearly impossibly to identify current breakdowns and ever get ahead of the issues impeding their organization’s success.  ClearView extracts and aggregates data in real time allowing the organization to identify breakdowns as they occur and manage proactively.

 

Not being able to view data at various levels of the organizations must go!
So many of the current reporting tools available on the market today not only do not have the ability to pull in data from multiple systems, they lack the ability to view the data they do pull at various levels through an organizations. Typically, these reporting tools offer a high-level look at overall company statistics OR only allow the user to see the data across all agents. ClearView allows the user to extract and view data at any level of the organization such as at a regional, team and agent level along with the ability to view the data by particular accounts, campaigns, skills and point of contact.

 

I know this article sounds like one giant commercial for ClearView, but regardless of whether you use ClearView or not, find something to solve these problems before they weigh you down and make you fall behind your competition!

3 Ways to Improve Employee Engagement in 2014

 “There was once an important job to be done and everybody was asked to do it.

Everybody was sure somebody would do it.

Anybody could have done it, but nobody did it.

Somebody got angry about that because it was everybody’s job.

Everybody thought anybody could do it, but nobody realized that everybody wouldn’t do it.

It ended up that everybody blamed somebody when actually nobody asked anybody.”

In our busy world it is easy and convenient to expect other people to simply understand what it is we expect of them without giving them a reason “why” we have asked them to perform a particular task. Often we find ourselves in a situation like when we were children and mom or dad would say, “I expect you to do this because I said so!” This strategy does not fare well in the workplace because employees want to feel like they are part of the bigger picture and want to know how their personal contribution is helping the company. The need to feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves is a natural human desire.

Employee Engagement

The term “employee engagement” has become a popular enough buzz term that we often overlook it because of its overuse. However, employee engagement is essential in providing the right workplace for each individual employee in order to improve metrics and drive performance. It is well proven that organizations with an engaged workforce are more successful than those without. Market research from organizations like Gallup and Hay Group, as well as various academic studies, shows a strong correlation between good employee engagement ratios and organizational performance.

I recently read a story about Peter Bregman, a writer for the Harvard business blog, and his personal experience with an unengaged employee. The story read something like this…

Peter was walking home to his apartment on a rainy afternoon and saw an elderly gentleman with a walker almost slip and fall. Peter and a few others rushed to the aid of the struggling gentleman.

There was an Access-A-Ride van (a Metropolitan Transit Authority vehicle for people with disabilities) waiting for him. The driver was inside, warm and dry, as he watched Peter and the other men strain to help his passenger cross the sidewalk in the pouring rain.

The driver opened the window and yelled over the sound of the rain coming down, “He might not be able to make it today.”

Hold on,” they yelled as they helped the man move around the back of the van, “he can make it.”

They caught the man from falling a few times, hoisted him back up, and finally got him to the van door, which the driver then opened from the inside to reveal a set of stairs. They knew the man with the walker would never make it.

They questioned the driver why he hadn’t opened the other door which had an electric lift.

Oh yeah,” the driver answered, “hold on.” He put his coat over his head, came out in the rain with the rest of the men, and operated the lift.

So, here’s the question: Why would five strangers volunteer to help a man they don’t know in the pouring rain — and think about the electric lift themselves — while the paid driver sat inside and waited?

So why didn’t the driver help? Part of the answer is probably that for him, an old man struggling with a walker isn’t a one-time thing, it’s every day every stop, and the sight doesn’t compel him to act.

But that answer isn’t good enough. After all, it’s his job to help. Then Peter came to the realization that the reason the driver didn’t help might have been precisely because he was paid to. The driver was not emotionally invested in his company or the customers and was clearly not engaged in the tasks he was supposed to be performing.

Employee engagement can’t be mass produced. Genuine engagement is an individual decision and is thus influenced by the unique personality of each employee and by the work environment of that particular individual. Therefore, it has to begin ‘independently’ for each employee. It is possible to create a culture of engagement with a group or groups of employees. However, the ‘real action’ happens in small teams, one-on-one interactions and “human moments” at work. Since even large organizations can be managed as small teams, employee engagement is possible even in larger organizations.

Here are a few strategies that will aid in the engagement of all employees on a personal and group level.

  1. Embrace game incentives to drive agent performance. Many contact centers already reward harder-working agents with better shift patterns and monetary bonuses, but creative and fun challenges will elevate performance and morale.
  2. Provide a visible social and mobile strategy for agents and for customers. Embracing up-to-date social strategies will give employees a chance to feel a personal connection to the company and thus improve performance.
  3. Provide employees a way through appropriate technology investments that will allow them to instantly assess their performance and adjust accordingly and effectively.

First off, by embracing and promoting fun game incentives, you are providing your contact center employees fun experience in what could easily become a bland and boring environment. Fun games promote healthy competition and a way to create a culture of excitement on your call floor that will ultimately end up only helping drive desired metrics.

Secondly, by allowing your employees to be part of your company through social media and mobile applications you are providing them with a way to feel as though they are members of your “company family” by interacting socially with other employees and promoting your company at the same time.

Lastly, if a contact center has the right technology which allows agents to see their performance in real time, they are instantly engaged in their performance metrics because they can visibly see how they are performing at any given moment. A workforce performance solution such as the ClearView performance dashboard can provide just that. ClearView is a revolutionary workforce optimization solution that delivers real-time performance data from the executive level to the agent level. ClearView increases accountability and creates a culture of continuous development essential to reaching business objectives.

Integrating these three simple strategies into your employees daily work environment will quickly and effectively improve agent performance as well as drive employee engagement to new levels. By feeling as though they are a member of a “family” rather than just another seat filled, employees are much more likely to perform at higher levels and do so with a positive attitude. They won’t have to ask “why” they’ve been asked to perform tasks; they will simply do what has been asked of them because they know how important their individual contributions are in the big picture of an entire company!

Focus run for a cause

Do You Know What Metrics are Driving Your Performance??

At ClearView we talk to many organizations that do not know what metrics really drive their companies performance or what is a realistic and effective goal to manage their company to. We consistently hear “I don’t know what “good” is”, and “we don’t know what we don’t know”.

AHT vs. Sales

ClearView does a fantastic job of showing correlations between multiple metrics from multiple systems (Phone, CRM, ERP, etc).  This allows organizations the ability to see what their key drivers really are in delivering the greatest customer experience.

Call Center Metrics

ClearView empowers a company to not only identify the optimal key metric thresholds that deliver the overall best customer experience but it also enables them to manage their organization to those identified metrics goals.

KPI's

What are you waiting for? Take your business to the next level!

ClearView

Chances Are: Your Attrition Rates Are Affected by Lack of Agent Visibility

 

It has been our experience that most companies do not give their agents adequate visibility to their performance. 

AHT Comparison

Many express the complications and frustrations that arise from limited agent communication and that agent attrition rate has an enormous impact on their bottom line..

AHT Comparison

Agents having one expectation and leadership has another is a recipe for attrition.

COMIC 2

Some companies have reported costs as much as $30,000 every time an agent quits within the first 90 days and this number only goes up the longer the agent is employed with the company..

Agent attrition, killer!

Agent attrition, what to do?

ClearView not only allows the agent to clearly see precisely what the companies expectations are for each particular metric, but its allows the agent to see how they are performing to each goal in real-time.

ClearView Demo

If you have any other questions about Focus Services or our Call Floor Metric Software, ClearView™ Just click on the hyper links.