About Prashant Kancherla

Prashanth is VP, International Business at Ozonetel Communications. He is focused on delivering impactful business benefits through our contact center solutions.

How to implement GDPR in your Call Center

If customers cannot trust you with their data, they won’t do business with you. GDPR compliance is good for your call center, and not that complicated to implement. This blog breaks it down for you: When GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation came into force May 2018, there may have been a collective groan from administrative staff across the globe. In today’s hyperconnected world, what affects Europe will affect businesses everywhere. But even if you are one hundred percent sure that you’ll never be privy to a European citizen’s data, ensuring GDPR compliance may be good for your call center. Because GDPR compliance allows customers to trust you—and for call centers that’s always a good thing. Besides, it’s not difficult to implement. When we had to get our contact center GDPR compliant, I distilled the complicated document into 8 basic steps. I am sharing them with you here in the hope you’ll find it easier than you expected. What is GDPR? GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation is legislation initiated by the European Union (EU). that includes a list of rules and regulations for the handling of customer data. It replaces the Data Protection Directive (DPD) and the UK Data Protection Act and other similar acts throughout Europe. The GDPR aims to strengthen data protection across the EU and other countries. Quite simply, it gives the citizens control over how organizations may use their personal data. The GDPR is applicable to any company based in any part of the world that processes and st Save ores any personal data of EU citizens. What’s the penalty for failing to comply with GDPR? If a company fails to comply with the GDPR regulations, then they can face fines up to 4% of their annual global turnover or €20 million, whichever is higher. Also, the fine amount will vary based on the severity of the violation. What does this mean for your call center? The GDPR is applicable to all types of information pertaining to a customer including call recordings. This includes: GDPR Is applicable to any personal data of the consumer. Any personal data or information that can be used to identify a person like a name, address, number, date of birth, or social security number is protected under GDPR. Also, web-based data like user location, cookies, or IP address is also protected under the GDPR legislation. GDPR is applicable to all your call recordings. The GDPR also extends to call recordings. In most call centers, the customer consent needs to be recorded before the call commences and cannot be assumed. Now it’s not enough to play the line: ‘this call may be recorded for training purpose’. How to ensure GDPR compliance in your call center? Record Caller Consent Record caller consent as oral acceptance during the call, as a message, or as part of a customer agreement. Justify Call Recordings Ensure that your business can justify the call recording for any of the following purposes: to fulfill a contract to [...]

How to implement GDPR in your Call Center 2019-06-23T11:59:51+00:00

5 things we look forward to at Zoholics 2019

Zoho’s annual global conference, Zoholics descends upon us on April 9, 2019: And we’re really looking forward to it. With the technology advances in AI and automation, this year’s user-conference at Austin, TX promises to be enlightening and exciting at the same time! Last year’s Zoholics gave us an opportunity to present our KIA (Voice + Chat) widget to the world. In fact, that’s where we launched it! We got lucky with a direct interaction with the awe-inspiring Sridhar Vembu (who gave us some great advice).We also got fantastic exposure to the Zoho partner ecosystem. And a wonderful opportunity to meet Zoho customers, and understand their ZOHO phonebridge requirements.  Plus, the presentations were awesome. If you’re attending, here are 5 things you should look forward to this year: Great speakers This goes without saying! The line-up of speakers at Zoholics is usually impressive. This year be prepared to attend talks by the “Godfather of CRM” - Paul Greenberg; Zoho’s top brass, founder Sridhar Vembu and its chief strategist, Vijay Sundaram; along with other longtime industry pundits like Constellation Research’s Ray Wang, Small Business Trends Media’s founder Anita Campbell and ATARA’s Go Sugihara, among others. What an opportunity to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth and engage in an insightful Q&A session with these illustrious speakers themselves! Get the skinny on new features Zoho’s announcement of new features would certainly be a highlight. Get the skinny on Zoho’s soon-to-be-launched apps and capabilities that promise to take cross-platform collaboration and productivity to a whole new level. For conference attendees, this means more “break-out sessions” and unique hands-on experience playing with the latest version of Zia (Zoho’s AI-powered assistant) enhanced Zoho Office Suite.1 All under the expert guidance of the creators and experts themselves! Business networking opportunity Zoholics offers a valuable opportunity for likeminded business owners to connect and network with one other. It’s a chance for participants to interact and mingle with other Zoho users and learn how they are harnessing the power of Zoho to meet their business needs. So, make sure you have your stack of business cards ready. Leverage this time to exchange ideas and generate those business leads!    One-on-one troubleshooting With a bit of advance planning, conference attendees can look forward to getting more out of this 3-day conference. Once registered, participants can receive 25 minutes of one-on-one time with a Zoho product expert to resolve implementation problems, receive support, learn best practices, and get answers to other questions they may have. To make it all even more efficient and streamlined, it’s a good idea for participants to inform the organizing team of their product and provide a brief summary of the issue they would like addressed. And of course, pre-select the date and time of the session they’d like. That way, the team would be prepared to optimally meet their needs in-person at the conference. Get hands-on training with specialists Zoholics also affords attendees a rare opportunity to chat with experts in general about [...]

5 things we look forward to at Zoholics 2019 2019-03-28T04:04:50+00:00

How 10 Latam companies create great customer interactions.

When you are a customer-centric business, it shows. Learn what these 10 South American countries are doing right and explore the tools to make it happen for you. You can’t buy customer loyalty. You need to build it one experience at a time. The best businesses know how to evoke positive emotions on every customer interaction—whether in-store, online, on social media, via your app, email, or during phone calls. Blake Morgan’s article on “The 10 Most Customer-Focused Companies In South America” inspired us to explore what they were getting right: #1. Arcos Dorados - Lesson learned: Empowered employees deliver the best customer experiences A report by Business Wire stated that this Mc Donald's franchise has been on a mission to deliver the best experiences for employees and customers, since both go hand in hand. Recognized as one of the best companies to work for in Brazil for the 19th year in a row, the brand likes to focus on what they call the "service culture". This means that employees are motivated to provide personalized services for the customers. The workforce is trained in unconventional ways and is driven to deliver creative service and experience for the customers. ALSO READ: Read the case study on how one of our biggest Indian clients, created a customer-centric workflow for their customer support. #2. Santander - Lesson learned: Add a fun element A household name in South America and one of the biggest banks, Santander caters to over 44 million customers from over 6000 branches. But that doesn't stop them from striving to create the best experiences for their customers. Always attentive to feedback, the bank in Chile introduced Work Cafes, which are a combination of bank and cafe services. This made something as mundane and stressful as banking just a little fun! It also helps customers save time because they can wrap up their caffeine break and banking work in one stop. It's also a positive motivator since people may find banking stressful with the long queues and what not, a cup of delicious coffee is always a great incentive. #3. Farmacorp - Lesson learned: Data can deliver more than just insights One of Bolivia's largest pharma companies leverages data to create personalized experiences with amazing loyalty programs that win the hearts of customers! While most companies use data to analyze consumer behavior to predict future trends and stay ahead of the competition, Farmacorp studies the customer trends so as to provide the best prices based on these trends, adding immense value to the everyday lives of their customers. ALSO READ: Are you capturing and using the data in your contact centers well enough?  Learn how speech analytics can help. #4. Concentrix - Lesson learned: People can never be replaced Yes, technology is one of the best ways to enhance the lives of people. It's the most efficient way to handle certain tasks and problems, but it will always be in the shadow of the human experience. After working hours, it's best [...]

How 10 Latam companies create great customer interactions. 2019-03-26T04:25:14+00:00

Workforce Management in the Call Center

Call volumes constantly fluctuate. Staff doesn’t always turn up for work. But your customer doesn’t know that: They still want the phone answered fast! You need to keep the show running smoothly. You need to predict and plan—sometimes on the fly—for using your staff efficiently. You don’t want staff idling away time, nor do you want them to be overworked. You juggle shifts, skills, overtimes, and breaks to ensure customer experience never suffers. This is workforce management.What are the basics of call center workforce management?Workforce Management for your call center means four things:Planning how many agents you need per shift. Your call center doesn’t need the same number of agents throughout the day or the week. You need to plan your agents’ shifts based on expected call volumes.Ensuring you meet your service level targets. Your service level is a goal you define for yourself. It states what percentage of calls you will answer within a stipulated time. E.g. 80% calls will be answered within 20 seconds. Meeting this service level means meeting those goals. In other words, it means ensuring you don’t keep your callers waiting.Optimizing your workforce as per adherence. Every day, depending on how many staff actually turn up for work, you need to plan breaks and/or reschedule agents from other skills and shifts—to meet your target service levels. Rescheduling as per actual call volumes. Sometimes call volumes don’t match expectations. You need to reschedule your forecasts based on real-time data and reorganize your workforce accordingly.Your contact center software has many tools to help you manage your workforce better. But when complexity increases, you may need to purchase a workforce management tool. We explore inbuilt contact center tools, customized tools you can build on your contact center platform, and integrations with workforce management software like Calabrio or Monet. 3 call center reports for managing workforce betterUse call volume reports to plan and forecast. When call volumes are high, you need more agents. When call volumes are low, you need fewer agents. Workforce management software uses your contact center data to forecast call volumes and plan shifts accordingly. If you don’t have a workforce management software, use your contact center reports. Go to the reports section, and view your call volumes per day, per week and per month. Use this data to recognize trends of higher call volumes during certain hours, and certain days. And then plan the number of agents per shift accordingly.Use real-time dashboards to ensure roster adherence.Now you have created your agent rosters based on call volume, how will you know about adherence? When agents are absent or late, it can spoil your plans to meet expected call volumes.  Real-time dashboards are the key. These dashboards give you a real-time view of how many agents are logged in, how many are busy with calls or After-Call Work, and how many are on breaks. This doesn’t just help you “mark attendance”, it also gives you a head start on preparing to meet call volumes.Image credits: Monet softwareA [...]

Workforce Management in the Call Center 2019-03-01T05:00:49+00:00

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