Monthly Archives: January 2019

The Top 10 Contact Center Reports that Supervisors and Managers use most

When contact centers initially started moving from legacy systems to the cloud, not all of them understood how powerful data could be. Cloud contact center solutions such as ours generate 70+ reports. Businesses switching from legacy to cloud for other reasons such as to reduce infrastructure costs, or to connect remote offices— found this a big bonus. Happy reviews started pouring in. Managers were able to use reports to monitor and draw insights from every call their support or sales departments received or made. But I still feel that contact center reports are an underused tool. How can you make best use of this powerful feature? No matter what contact center solution you use, this article should introduce you to many ways of optimally utilizing the reports they generate. Broadly speaking, there are two user groups who use contact center reports: Supervisor Groups / Team Leads. This group needs real-time metrics and monitoring to prevent escalations and manage their agent workforce efficiently. They also need historical reports (management reports) to measure and report to their managers. Head of Customer Support / Customer Experience / Customer Success. These users need reports for a top-level view of performance metrics (daily /weekly/monthly/quarterly). They also need reports/ metrics which will correlate to other activities done in other departments. Understanding these reports can help contact center managers achieve better workforce management, productivity and customer satisfaction levels. They can even give insights to marketing managers on campaign performance, even product performance issues. Let's start by understanding the 3 main reasons/ use cases for reports, and then categorize each report under these heads. After that, we will explore the top 10 contact center reports used by managers, supervisors, and team leads across various outbound and inbound contact centers. The 3 contact center report categories The traditional way of categorizing reports is by user group, that is, agents, team lead and management reports. But I find that a more practical way to categorize them is by intent, that is, based on what these reports are used for. Category 1: Reports that measure CX. Some reports measure use customer service/experience as the key indicator to measure contact center performance. You measure these against industry benchmarks or predefined SLA’s (Service Level Agreements) or your organization guidelines. The key intent behind these metrics is to measure how customers feel about your service.   Category 2: Reports that monitor performance These are reports which give you metrics about your teams, agents or various skills. Skills can also be defined as teams or departments. (While skills can be teams, a single skill can also have multiple teams with each team reporting to a supervisor/team lead. To know more, also read Skill Hunting)   These reports help you in understanding your agents/ teams adherence to log in times, SLA, AHT’s(Average Handle times  Abandon rates, Productivity, Schedule adherence to rosters and other productivity metrics. Category 3: Reports to manage the big picture Supervisor or admin reports tend to focus on real-time metrics. The aim is [...]

The Top 10 Contact Center Reports that Supervisors and Managers use most 2019-01-31T20:44:49+00:00

8 things people hate most about your customer care. And how to fix it.

When your customer contacts your support center via call or chat here are the top 9 pain points they face*: Long Wait Times (Before reaching an agent) Slow Service (When an agent is reached) Self Service is difficult to use Rude agents Agents aren’t knowledgeable Repeating info when a call is transferred Cannot get service in the preferred channel Service isn’t personalized Support centers are high-stress environments. Most incoming calls are complaints, and so understandably, the people calling aren’t in the best of moods. It isn’t easy to motivate agents to thrive in this environment. And since many customer support centers are still treated as cost centers, budgets are tight. Calls often exceed the number of agents available, leading to high call volumes. Often agents handle calls back to back. And sometimes even managing calls and chats simultaneously. Yet all the problems listed above are solve-able. Over the past decade of working with contact centers, we’ve learned some of the best practices for dealing with these problems. And of course, we have worked hard to provide technology to help. Let's delve into each problem and see how it can be solved in efficient, cost-effective ways: COMPLAINT #1 Long Wait Times (Before Reaching an agent) What’s the issue? When customers call in with complaints, most likely they’re already facing a problem. What they want, more than anything else at that moment, is for the problem to disappear fast. This should be—and probably is— your support center’s most important focus. Reducing the time taken to reach your contact center is the best place to begin. Why does it happen? There are two main reasons why your customer cannot reach a live agent fast: Agents are unavailable to take calls or chats leading to long queue times IVR is too long. How to measure it? Average time in Queue. And Average Time to reach a Live Agent. In 2018, customers spent an average of 75 seconds in the queue (Read the research here). On phone calls, a long IVR menu may further delay a customer. On chats, your chatbot may waste their time. A measure of around 10 seconds to reach a live agent is far more ideal. And it’s do-able too. How to fix it? Plan staff/ Forecast regularly. Your data is a gold mine. Use it to plan your staff more efficiently. If you go into your call reports regularly, you can see what time of day or day of week call traffics are high, and when they aren’t. Use this to plan your agent rosters accordingly. If the metrics show a need for increased staff, you can use the data to quantify exactly what your increased budget requirements are. (Also Read: Call Queue Management: Plan Staffing) Create Fallbacks. Take your metrics seriously. If calls do not connect with a live agent within the stipulated time, you should provide fallbacks. Another skill Group : Your fallback could be another department or support center, a support crew you keep on a work-from-home [...]

8 things people hate most about your customer care. And how to fix it. 2019-02-11T03:20:06+00:00

6 features your voice bot needs for smooth conversations

A chatbot or voice bot, as the name suggests is a virtual ‘Bot’ or computer program that conducts a conversation. Powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP), these Bots are designed to simulate human conversational patterns. These bots are used in a variety of practical scenarios such as customer service. As mentioned, some chat/voice bots use sophisticated underlying technology such as AI and NLP. Some simpler ones scan for keywords from within a pre-defined database to extract a reply with the most matching keywords or wording pattern. Depending on how they are configured, bots can be highly differentiated with respect to their functionality and conversational quality. Here’s a blow by blow of what differentiates one voice/chatbot platform from another. In other words, what voice bot features ensure smooth conversation? 1. The ability to understand meaning: Intent Analysis This is perhaps the most essential criteria. Meaning and comprehension is everything during a conversation. Sadly, as human beings, we aren’t always literal or to the point when we speak. Given this inherent human irony, a bot should be able to use its ‘Intent Analysis’ (super)power to extract the meaning behind our words. For example, the intent behind a “sure” or “why not” is most likely a “yes”. Conversely, “I’m good”, “later” and “not really”, likely translates to a “no”. These simple examples show that a chat bot’s job is rather nuanced. Today, as companies rely more and more on technology to ease the burden on human labor, chatbots or voice bots are common. As a result, these bots need to ensure that nothing is lost in translation! To enable a successful transition to automation, voice bots need to be smart to carry out convincing conversations. They need to understand if they’ve reached the right person, they need to understand the sentiment of the person and act accordingly (e.g. schedule a later call or transfer the call to another department or agent, etc.). Here are some scenarios to provide more context: Scenario 1: The customer who receives a call is unable to speak and hangs up very quickly after a few words. Bot: “Hello, this call is regarding your credit card payment for January 2019. Am I speaking with Mr. X?” The answer to this seemingly simple question isn’t as straightforward as we may think. Answers may have a range:      Curse word(s)      “I’m busy.”       “I’m driving. Call me later.”      “That’s my dad. He’s not home.”      “Call later.”        Or hopefully, “Yes, speaking.” In all the above responses (except for the last one), the bot’s task is tricky. It needs to discern that the caller is unavailable for some reason and that the call needs to be rescheduled. A smart bot would politely thank the person on the other line and ends the call. The bot is mindful of the customer’s time, and in the back-end, it will schedule a call a few hours later to follow up. Scenario 2: The customer’s answer has multiple steps Bot: “Hello, this call is regarding [...]

6 features your voice bot needs for smooth conversations 2019-01-24T09:37:07+00:00

How to make customers feel like a VIP

How to ensure premium customer care for high-value customers. Because exceptional customers should be made to feel special on every call (or chat)   Platinum, gold, silver. It sounds great when you award these titles to customers. But if they still have a tough time getting through your customer service helplines, these feel-good distinctions will seem pointless. We all know that certain customers are very valuable. But consider this: How does a loyal promoter feel when s/he calls customer support and has to wait endlessly in a queue? Or what experience are you giving a regular customer when you connect them to a newbie agent? Or what happens when a high average order value (AOV) customer connects to a trainee agent and gets poor service? These snafus can cost you customer loyalty. So what can we do to ensure prevent mismanagement of our loyal or premium customers? How can we give them the VIP treatment they deserve when they call? Here are 3 foolproof ways: Don't ask, deliver. Does your customer need to state whether they are platinum, gold or silver customers? If they do, then you’ve already started on the wrong footing. Your system should recognize your important customers the instant they call. How? Any good CRM integration can ensure this.  Your telephone system can dip into your CRM data to draw out caller information. Then according to the caller category, they should prioritize queuing, offer self-service or connect to an agent. For example, consider our solution for a Top Rated Budget Hotel Chain. Their customer support gets calls from customers with prior bookings, as well as casual inquiries into their hotel policies and locations.  Do they want customers with bookings to wait on hold while an agent is busy reciting hotel policies to a casual inquiry? Definitely not. That's why they implemented a self-service system for all causal inquiries. If a customer with an existing booking calls, the system instantly recognizes the customer and routes them to a live agent. All unrecognized numbers get routed to self service IVR. (Read case study details here) Answer the call, do it quick Nobody wants to hear “All our agents are busy…” or that on-hold music that says “Keep waiting, we don’t know when we’ll find the time to answer your call”. Never be too busy for a premium customer. Dynamic Queue Reprioritization can be used to bump certain callers up in the queue, whenever they call. For example, let's say you decide that calls from premium subscriptions and customers with prior complaints should be given priority. Then your telephony system can use Dynamic Queue Reprioritisation to recognize these callers and move them to the top of the call queue. (Read the case study to find out about how an e-commerce company used Dynamic Queue Reprioritization to ensure their important customers never had to wait more than 10 seconds in the queue) Skillfully connect Categorizing customers into various buckets can help you manage your agent workforce too. For example, one of [...]

How to make customers feel like a VIP 2019-01-31T13:28:52+00:00

Experiencing Contact Centers in 2019

This year, UX design in contact centers will be the deliberate process of shaping how your customers, agents, and managers interact with the brand new technologies on offer. Bots that can have near-human conversations. Digital assistants calling contact centers for their owners. Artificial intelligence predicting customer behavior. We’ve covered the expected contact center technology trends for 2019 in our blog and been quoted in other media. But what will these trends mean for UX design? If 2018 was the year for giving UX or user experience design its due, 2019 will be the year to take this experience to a new level. And it will all be done with the customer at the center of it. Let us look at some of some  UX design trends that promise to make the New Year an exciting time for businesses: The omnichannel experience will need to be seamless New channels will allow you to carpet bomb cyberspace and the customer’s psyche with your presence. Businesses will make sure customers can get in touch with them through multiple channels – social media, apps, websites, digital assistants. A customer can simply ask his or her digital assistant to order for grocery from an online store and follow up on the order using the app. UX design will have to ensure that this cross-channel communication is seamless and the experience consistent. No speed bumps when moving from the app to the website. A customer should be able to start interacting with one channel and effortlessly port to another when needed. To enable this, you may decide to have a dedicated customer service team to monitor communication across channels. You may need to ensure auto logging of complaints against a single ticket, irrespective of whether they are lodged via phone or chat or social media. You may think of combining channels, for example making voice interactions available on your chat window. Or allowing your Facebook or WhatsApp messaging to seamlessly escalate to a voice conversation. Voice bot interactions will need to be customer-centric Voice bot interactions will be a reality in 2019. They will answer the need for improving self-service, scaling customer support, reducing agent load and improving efficiency in both sales and support functions. Intelligent voice bots that can mimic human conversations will be very useful. They will speak to multiple customers at a time, yet make each customer feel like they are talking only to them. They will pause when a customer interrupts them. They will use their Natural Language Processing capabilities to speak the customer’s language. They will listen and talk at the same time. Basically, they can closely mimic human speech capabilities. Designing voice interactions for improving the speed of transactions and overall Csat will be a huge focus in 2019. AI will define and improve agents’ access to information As we’ve mentioned previously, UX design in the contact center affects three stakeholders: customers, agents, and managers. How will agents benefit from the new technologies? Artificial Intelligence will be able to sift [...]

Experiencing Contact Centers in 2019 2019-02-11T03:13:46+00:00