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Call Routing: the logical way to manage your workforce

You might have a contact center with 500 agents. But if you do not recognize their skills and put them to good use, you are not making the most of your workforce. All your agents are making and receiving calls — some more than the others, some better than the others. Your contact center’s efficiency depends substantially on whether the right agents are on the right calls. How do you ensure this? You set up a system that directs these calls to agents based on certain parameters. This is where you set up your skill-based, time-based, priority-based or campaign-based call routing. Route calls based on agent capabilities The skill-based method of call routing involves identifying an agent’s skills and assigning calls from a particular group to him or her based on those skills. For example, if you have an agent that speaks fluent German in addition to English, you route calls from German-speaking callers to this agent. So, just like you sort your callers into categories such as VIPs, complainants, first-time callers, you also group your agents based on their areas of specialization and map them to the right group. One agent might be exceptionally patient and able to handle a frustrated caller while the other might be an old hand and knows how to keep your VIP callers happy. How this helps: Superior customer satisfaction: The caller gets connected to the right agent in the first attempt, the issue is resolved fast, and everybody is happy. Your caller is the happiest because s/he hasn’t spent several minutes getting transferred from one agent to another. Helps with your metrics: Skill-based call routing is a logical step towards ensuring your metrics such as Average Speed of Answer and Average Handle Time are at their optimum. Agents can get to calls faster, queue time is short and calls get resolved faster. Better workforce management: Calls are mapped to agents based on what they are good at. There is little scope for under or over-utilization of manpower. Agents are clued in: Every agent knows the kinds of calls they are going to have to handle so they are better prepared and are not left fumbling for answers. High FCR rate: We have seen that skill-based routing results increase the chances of first call resolutions Place the most skilled agent first Create skill groups: Calls get routed only to agents who have been mapped to a particular skill. The first step is to identify the skill of an agent and to map them to a particular group. For example, sales or support. Agents can be mapped to two skills. For example, Nina may be mapped to “German” skill group and to “sales” skill group. Use your IVR: The IVR will give the caller options that have been listed according to skill groups: for sales queries, dial 1, for complaints, dial 2…and so on. For example, if you are in the hospitality business, you can give callers options such as ‘Reservations and Cancellations’, ‘Accounts’, ‘Memberships’ [...]

Call Routing: the logical way to manage your workforce 2018-12-08T22:43:17+00:00

Setting call retry rules for your dialer: best practices

Retry rules, if formulated intelligently, can make an agent’s life easier and reduce unwanted calls for your customers. There is a fine line between being pesky and being persistent. And when you are telemarketing or cold calling, that line becomes even finer. Often, contact center agents need to call leads more than once to be able to speak to them. Sometimes their phones will be busy, and at other times, they will simply be unavailable. Often, people just won’t answer. But the business demands that you keep trying. However, you don’t want to put off your prospects by constantly calling at the wrong time. So How best to set up your call retry rules on your dialer? Let’s explore. Why have retry rules? When you are using a retrying system, whether it is on your power dialer or predictive dialer, the idea is to save your agents’ time. When you have a system in place for call retrying, it can only better agent productivity because the system is lining up calls for them, making their work that much faster and easier. Retry rules basically mean that you program your dialer to retry calls within a specified framework. So the dialer does the initial work of sorting the numbers and deciding which ones to call and in what sequence. What are the best practices for setting up your dialer retry rules? If a number is busy at the first try, retry immediately. Set this up on your dialer’s rules engine. So that, every time you get a busy tone or message on a prospect’s number, the system redials it automatically. When a call goes unanswered. Do not retry a prospect at the same time of the day as the previous retry. For example, if a prospect hasn’t answered your call at 1 pm on one day then the chances of them answering at the same time the next day are even lower. So ensure that the number is dialed at another time. When a number is invalid. Don’t waste time on retrying a number that is invalid. Ensure your dialer detects an invalid number and does not retry them. Clear these numbers from your database immediately. Prioritize based on the number of tries. It makes more sense to place new data,(new phone numbers), at the top of the list, followed by those you have already tried calling once and then twice and so on. This way, you can target multiple phone numbers, almost simultaneously. Watch out for certain time slots. It has been seen that 11.00 and 13.00 hours and 15.00 and 17.00 hours are usually the busiest hours for any working people. If your target market is someone who doesn't keep regular office hours, then the rules reverse, and these become the best times to dial. Having retry rules in place gives you the flexibility of dialing prospects at the times they are most likely to answer. It, thus, increases the chance of pick-ups. Studies say your data is exhausted [...]

Setting call retry rules for your dialer: best practices 2018-12-04T14:05:38+00:00

Average Speed of Answer: Using ASA to measure and improve your CX.

Answer that phone and do it quick! When the success of your business depends on your customer’s experience with your contact center, this should be your number one mantra. We have all been on the other side of that phone line, waiting for the IVR to stop repeating itself and for a human being to ask, “Hello, how may I help you?” And we know there is nothing more frustrating than waiting endlessly for this to happen. Little wonder then that the Average Speed of Answer which, simply put, is how soon an agent answers a customer’s call, is probably the most important contact center metric. What is Average Speed of Answer or ASA? ASA or Average Speed of Answer is the average time an agent takes to answer an incoming call. How do you calculate it? You divide the total wait time for all calls by the total number of calls in a day. So, ASA (in seconds) = Total call wait time for calls answered daily Total number of calls answered in a day So if the total time callers have waited for in a day is two hours or 120 minutes or 7,200 seconds, and the total number of calls answered in the day is 200 then the ASA would be: ASA = 7,200/200 = 36 seconds Which means each customer calling your contact center has to wait for at least 36 seconds before he or she can speak to a customer service agent. That can be a long time for a customer in a hurry or an irate customer with a complaint. This means the aim of a contact center should be to keep the ASA to a minimum. The faster your contact agent answers a call from a customer, the better it is for your business in many ways. How can a low ASA help your business? Higher customer satisfaction – It gives a customer immense relief to hear a human voice at the other end because they feel they are a step closer to a solution to their problem. And the faster they hear that voice, the better they appreciate your service. Better agent productivity: If an agent answers a call quickly, the call queue moves that much faster, and agents are able to handle a higher number of calls. Also, the chances of resolving the issues that the customer has called with are better with a low ASA. This improves agent productivity and keeps the contact center’s operating costs low. Higher customer loyalty: Often, customers hang up because the waiting time is too long. They not only abandon the call but, in the long term, may end up abandoning your product or service. A low ASA is a good way to hold on to customers. Better brand image: When you answer calls quickly, it shows customers that their time is important to you. This helps build your brand image as a business that puts its customers above all else. How can you reduce [...]

Average Speed of Answer: Using ASA to measure and improve your CX. 2018-12-01T14:07:12+00:00

Using VOIP to call international prospects? A guide to ensure high voice quality.

Do you support your international customers from a global headquarter, or local customers from multiple remote offices? Or does your business need to call prospects across the globe? In both cases, VOIP calls can really slash those international phone bills. But if there are basic voice quality issues, it isn't worth it. Disruptions, echoes, jitter or long silences can ruin the customer experience. How do you ensure high call quality on VOIP calls? Do you need to fix things in your own infrastructure? Or watch out for something when choosing your cloud telephony partner? Turns out, call quality issues can crop up in cloud telephony infrastructure or your own office infrastructure. That's why we’ve divided this guide into two helpful sections: Cloud telephony infrastructure issues: 2 ways to ensure your cloud telephony infrastructure ensure high call quality Issues in your office infrastructure: 4 office infrastructure fixes to ensure high call quality. 2 ways your cloud telephony infrastructure can ensure high call quality on international calls. Distributed Points of Presence (POPs). If you know that a substantial number of your calls will be international ones, it is critical you ask your telephony partner to list out their points of presence or POP’s. (We’ve mentioned this before in our guide to selecting a cloud telephony partner )   Why is this important?  If your solution provider doesn't have multiple points of presence, they will have to resort to providing media(voice) and signaling (logic) from a single location. To put it simply, let's say their application is hosted in Location A, and your application site is in a distant site B and C, then when your partner provides all services from Location A itself, you will face voice issues like jitter, blank calls or one-way voice in site B and C. And, if your provider hosts multiple instances for each location, then each location will become like an independent entity, and you will not be able to run a central ACD (automatic call distribution), and will also face issues while scaling.   When you have multiple POPs, the Media (Voice) and Signalling (Logic) can be separated. This means that all agents/ admin login to the same application from anywhere across the globe. The ACD is centralized and voice is separated from this application logic. Global voice gateways can be deployed. So wherever you or your customer is located, a nearby voice gateway ensures there is zero voice latency issues (no jitter, one-way voice or blank calls). KOOKOO’s global presence ensures high voice quality during VOIP calls. Change the telecom provider without changing your cloud solution. Even though they are on the cloud, it is better to know how your telecom partner is aggregating the infrastructure for you. Your contact center software provider need not be your telecom operator. Usually, it is best if you use your own telecom operator (choose the leading telecom operator in your country). If you are facing issues like jitter or blank calls, it could be a problem with your [...]

Using VOIP to call international prospects? A guide to ensure high voice quality. 2018-11-22T16:55:00+00:00

Why your live chat needs voice support for better CX

What a story of a failed burger order tells us about good customer service. Building a great customer experience is a never-ending quest. You just finish deploying one new technology, and a user story pops up to show how it was simply not enough. Your live chat window is one such technology: Customers and or web visitors use chat very effectively on websites or apps as the fastest way to contact a customer service or sales team. But a recent customer story I stumbled upon on Twitter, illustrates its shortcomings. Can a "click to call" functionality combine with your chat window to make it doubly effective? We think it can. Picture this. It’s a Saturday night and four teenaged kids (Aargh, sleepovers!) are hungrier than usual. You order from a nearby burger chain using a popular app. And wait for the food to arrive. Two hours later, you’re still waiting. You tried chatting with the customer service using the app, wanting to know your order status but you’re only getting conflicting responses and requests to wait a little longer. You want to speak to a customer service executive. But you don’t have that option. And at the end of a long wait, no burgers either :( I watched this story unfold on Twitter. The frustrated customer (let's call him Mr.X) never received his order and ended up cooking for the kids that night. I couldn’t help thinking about how frustrating his situation was and how it could have been handled better. When should chat be escalated to voice? For a customer, there is nothing more annoying than having a problem with a product or service and not being able to speak to someone who can solve it. Here is when we think chat works, and when it should escalate to voice: Using chat: When its a one or two-sentence query, we think a chat window works better: Hey, my order is delayed, what happened? In this case, chat is so much faster—the customer skips dialing a number, listening to an IVR, waiting in the queue, greeting someone, and then explaining their problem. Since they're not on hold, they don't even mind when you take a minute or two to respond to their query: Really sorry for the delay, let me just call the restaurant and find out. Sure, no problem. Escalating to voice: But when things go wrong, chat loses its advantage fast. In the case illustrated above, the customer’s frustration increased, so did his average sentence length. This would have been the ideal time to switch to voice. It isn't surprising that at one point he even asked the agent if its possible to call him. But the agent couldn't. In most live chats, it’s a long drawn out process to switch from chat to calls. In complex scenarios, the customer just wants to ensure someone is listening, often literally. We’ve designed the KIA widget for cases just like this. Here are 4 ways we think you can use it [...]

Why your live chat needs voice support for better CX 2018-11-22T16:43:30+00:00