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  1. 1. White Paper: Call Center – Your Customer Contact Point A Call Center is an environment to Contents present and handle inbound and outbound traffic in the most effective, Introduction efficient and profitable manner. Call Centers Communication Resources After all, what does a call center do for an ACD and IVR organization? It allows: Integrated Infrastructure Transaction Documentation  a wider customer base to do business with Executive Summaries you. Staff Performance and Competence  you to reach diverse and widely distributed Introduction customer groups economically. Over the past decade, there has been an  you to fine-tune your offerings to specific increase in the number of business transactions customer groups. completed using the telephone as a communications tool rather than visiting local  your customers easy access to your experts. company branches, or writing on paper and  you to do business around the clock, and in mailing it. This has dramatically changed our any geographic area. range of enterprise activities.  you to avoid the overhead of the traditional hierachical and paper-based commercial This trend shifted the duty to document and transactions. administer the customer, the business and the call (or transaction data), from being a joint affair  to ease the way a customer may get into between customer and enterprise - more toward contact with your company. being the responsibility of the enterprise.  to increase the overall effectiveness and Customers want an easy life - they expect the productivity of your employees. enterprises to “know” them when they call. In many businesses, such as retail banking or Technologies such as modern telephony customer care, a typical customer now transacts protocols, Call Centers, Workflow Management more business through call centers than in „real‟ and Document Management Systems - help the company buildings. How many times have you “state of the art “ enterprise to organize its data, used automatic teller machines or bank-by- and ideally, to recognize the customer by his phone services recently, compared to the telephone number (provided by telephony number of times you have entered a bank protocols), or by his customer ID (by letting him branch office? enter his customer ID in a preswitched dialogue with an Interactive Voice Unit (IVR)), or similar In fact, the call center is often the most prevalent unique keys. way that a customer transacts business with an organization. The call center has become your Efficient customer care centers, help desks, or customers window into your company - which is telebanking centers provide a competitive edge often more important than all the organization's for the business of today. It is important that the real life points of contact put together! calls are be answered quickly and concisely by the most competent employees (agents) Organizations spend substantial time and available, and in the shortest time (skill based resources analyzing potential locations and routing). For all of those applications the Call designs for buildings and branches, and Center represents the “front desk”, creating a considerable sums to construct them. How much positive impression for each of its customers. time and what level of resources do you and your management spend on this and on In this document PASS describes the application marketing representation in current media? of voice and data recording to Call Centers and the benefits arising from this integration. We spend time and money on branch offices because we know that customers will not Call Centers patronize a branch that is in an inconvenient Since there are many definitions for a Call location, or whose design/access etc. is Center, PASS will propose and use the following awkward. This same concept carries over to the definition: call center, your „electronic front door‟. But is  PASS-2000/01-ME  Creation Date: 20.09.2000  File: worddokument-ffnen2665.doc Page 1 of 7 © 2000, PASS Consulting Group, Schwalbenrainweg 24, D-63741 Aschaffenburg, Germany  Tel.: +49-6021-3881-0  Fax.: +49-6021-3881-400  WEB: http://www.pass-consulting.com
  2. 2. White Paper: Call Center – Your Customer Contact Point your organization spending the required effort to about peak calling periods? Do you need the evaluate and improve this important asset? equivalent of an ACD to park calls in queue? What do the callers look at while they are parked Let us look at the elements you will need to -- cartoons, advertising? make your call center a really effective and acceptable customers window into your What about Voice Over IP (VOIP)? It is company: telephony, but requires different identification of calls, and customers, as there is no definite  Communication Resources: caller number. It requires also different voice Telephone, Video-Calls, Fax, Email, Web, recording, due to the fact, that information is Voice Over IP (VOIP), Screen Data, transferred in packages and concepts of Radio, Broadcast channels and ports do not apply. Fax is well  Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) and recorded with standard techniques, but reprint Dialling Campaigns: Inbound and Outbound requires an artificial fax training session to follow Interactive Voice Response Units (IVR), the fax protocols. Web integration into your Message Repeater business requires elaborate e-mail and webserver message routing with still  Customer Database and Integrated nonstandard Unified Messaging Systems. Infrastructure E-mail and Web especially influence the  Data and Transaction Documentation: structure of a call center, due to the Agent Desks, Voice Recording Systems asynchronous flow of information, the mixture of (VRS), Document Management Systems media, written notes on the one hand and written (DMS), Mass Storage and/or spoken words (answer back calls) on the  Executive Summaries: other: Call Center Performance, Management Information Services (MIS)  call centers will have to change working hours, since the home based web activity  Competent Staff, Busy Hours and Agent peaks about 9 p.m. Scheduling  inbound only call centers will have to  Quality Measurements, Agent Evaluation introduce outbound calling (to telephone and Training, Knowledge and Time customers who click the “call me” button on In the following chapter we will address each of the web site). the listed subjects, in order to „sketch‟ an image  call centers will have to implement Computer of the current environment in which “Voice Telephone Integration (CTI) in order to be Recording Systems” are acting on the brink to able to use screen pops when speaking to the aera of “Communication Recording web customers. Systems”.  call center managers who employ agents with excellent telephone skills will require Communication Resources agents with strong typing skills or a mixture You need to be aware of all the offerings of your of both. telephone carriers, IP service providers and your  the measurement of service levels will PBX/ACD vendors. Telephone vendors can become much more complex. supply much more than dial tone these days. Telephone calls come with a lot of attached Similar questions arise, and hold true when information, such as ANI and DNIS, and this looking at media such as Radio, Broadcast and information can help give your callers an Radar. Synchronous recording and replay of improved and integrated service. You need to be voice and (screen) data are subject of interest in aware of these capabilities, so you can develop video telephony, Call Center agent evaluation business and workflow scenarios that use them and quality recording, as well as Air Traffic to competitive advantage. Control (ATC) related applications. Telecommunications offerings are also making In all cases the ultimate questions will be: huge leaps beyond dial tone. The broadband capabilities of the "information highway" will  Do you wish to document something, just in stretch our idea of what a "call" really is. If case? customers can make video "calls" to your multimedia catalog database, what will you do  PASS-2000/01-ME  Creation Date: 20.09.2000  File: worddokument-ffnen2665.doc Page 2 of 7 © 2000, PASS Consulting Group, Schwalbenrainweg 24, D-63741 Aschaffenburg, Germany  Tel.: +49-6021-3881-0  Fax.: +49-6021-3881-400  WEB: http://www.pass-consulting.com
  3. 3. White Paper: Call Center – Your Customer Contact Point  How do you remind yourself to call back the without any human intervention on the customer on an agreed date? company side.  connect the call with a „hold‟ message,  How will you get the contract details fast telling the customer, that currently all enough, so that the customer doesn‟t wait? agents are busy and potentially telling  Are archive periods observed, backup the customer the approximate time that procedures followed, authorization and their call will be answered (based on access limits enabled? average call answer times). This gives the customer the choice to call in later, These are not technical questions - they are or, for companies not wanting to loose business questions. Engineers can build video any calls, the customer may be asked to call machinery. But it is the business person who enter their phone number to be called must decide how video calls should be handled. back as soon as possible. What will callers want? What will be most helpful  connect the call to the Call Center and convenient for them? How do the business System for the call routing process to processes follow legal requirements? These are the next available and best skilled agent; questions that you must decide. this may be done simply, using the subject oriented groups the various ACD and IVR agents are assigned to, or by using Modern Call Centers are more than simple or more complex skill based routing sophisticated “Automatic Call Distribution” i.e. algorithms, that choose the agent routing of calls according to preset rules. Terms according to the need the customer has. like “Intelligent” or “Integrated” Call Center, The skills may be those the agent indicate that some or most of the modern should have by company policy, or those concepts of inbound and outbound call the agent volunteers that he has, or in management are being used. These terms fact those skills determined by regular indicate that the hardware/software system agent evaluation screenings. providing the call center solution has been  take back calls from the ACD because the designed as an open system with Application agent found, that the required service will Programmable Interfaces (APIs) for integration best be supplied by the IVR. in complex infrastructures. Inbound call handling is all about guiding the Outbound dialing is all about managing a group calling customer most efficiently for the customer of agents to customer, or potential customer – and most cost effectively for the company – to calls. the best trained agent to service this customer to This task traditionally is one of the marketing and their satisfaction. The inbound call may well be sales department, and was done by looking up handled first by an Interactive Voice Response the customer data, getting the information, Unit (IVR), receiving and welcoming the dialing the number and waiting. In cases where customer. the extension was busy or nobody picked up the The IVR can: phone, the agent would wait and waste his time. If a connection was established, the agent had to  collect data from the customer then collect his thoughts and notes regarding the purpose of the call i.e. inquiring about due  using analysis of the data („D‟), channels payments, questioning the customer about of the telephone trunk protocols. shopping habits, etc. Depending on the reason  using Automatic Speech Recognition for the call, the conversation may become (ASR) techniques. complicated, and notes would have to be taken down on paper. Later on these notes would have  by asking the customer to enter to be evaluated. information through the dialpad of the telephone (sending DTMF tones). Outbound dialing both simplifies and speeds up  using this data the IVR decides how to route the process greatly. Experts define the purpose the call into the system; it can: of the calling campaign, select the customers to be called from the company‟s customer  connect the call to a message repeater database, and set up a conversation script. The with a prerecorded answer to the agents will be trained in the scripts, and targeted customer inquiry, and closes the call  PASS-2000/01-ME  Creation Date: 20.09.2000  File: worddokument-ffnen2665.doc Page 3 of 7 © 2000, PASS Consulting Group, Schwalbenrainweg 24, D-63741 Aschaffenburg, Germany  Tel.: +49-6021-3881-0  Fax.: +49-6021-3881-400  WEB: http://www.pass-consulting.com
  4. 4. White Paper: Call Center – Your Customer Contact Point toward speed and success. When the outbound insurance number, etc. Caller identification calling campaign starts, Call Center dialers will enables an integrated infrastructure to pop perform the dialing of customer numbers. customer data at the agent PC, even before the Several algorithms for outbound dialing (preview, caller is connected to the agent the ACD precision, predictive, automatic, power), tailor selected. the way customers are connected to agents, thus minimizing down-time, and optimizing post Agents are grouped according to departments call processing times. Computer based scripting (Sales, Order Processing, Customer Retention, allows for online evaluation of outbound calling etc.) or subjects (Hot Line, Marketing Campaign campaigns. for Product „X‟), to be handled by the call center on behalf of the company. There may be an Certain agents may swap from outbound to escalation process between groups, from groups inbound and back, depending on their skills, or covering the very first contact to the customer, on current system traffic. trained to cover e.g. 80% of the average calls. Unresolved calls will be escalated to the next Call Centers will not necessarily reside at the group, of trained experts, that will be able to „published‟ location. Technology allows for resolve the rest of the calls, or e.g. may escalate networked and distributed Call Centers, Call some „tricky‟ call directly into the R&D Centers “following the sun”, Virtual Call Centers, department for resolution. etc. The caller will not notice (except for minor call set-up delays), that his call is not treated in Some other way may be chosen when a the city of the dialed destination code. Call Workflow Management System (WMS) has forwarding costs also, will be covered by the been integrated. Notes regarding the unresolved Telephone Infrastructure with the caller not process are taken, and entered into the effected. The question of costs can be heavily workflow. The expert will work according to his influenced by and even tailored to the company workflow task list, and resolve the problem when philosophy (e.g. charge for the help desk service it best fits his time schedule - not as in the first or not). This can be done by choosing and example, when the escalated call reaches him, publishing Contact Numbers, that are provided and disturbs him in the analysis of an equally by Intelligent Network (IN) services, e.g. important customer query. Freephone Service, Premium Rate Service and Shared Cost Service. Documents and calls related to the identified customer can automatically be indexed and Calls may also be transferred to Home Agents retrieved on demand from large archives, nowadays, with all its consequences. Home governed by Document Management Systems agents act as full or part time workers, who may (DMS). Voice Recording Systems (VRS) offering take over during peak hours, or during low traffic interfaces to DMS (e.g. providing the call data as periods. *.wav and *.txt files) rid themselves therefore from the permanent requirement, to also archive With the arrival of WEB connectivity, Call Center the recorded data on media, that again has to be Managers should not plan to eliminate their IVR labeled, handled, stored and archived. VRS of system. As customers want an easy life, they are this type, may turn out to be solely recording willing to spend time in the web e.g. selecting the devices with an interface to the DMS. Storage goods they want to order, but when asking the and replay will be the responsibility of the DMS delivery dates, they still like to use the phone, and use capabilities of the standard PCs of simply for the reason of speedy answer. today. Interactions like this, can easily be accomplished by IVRs. Transaction Documentation Integrated Infrastructure Integration here means, that notes regarding the call with the customer will be transferred Gathering the information from the customer is together with the call from the screen of one one task. More challenging for a company, is to agent to the screen of another agent. The same organise its knowledge, in a way that collected will hold for customer related documents, that information can be compared against the will be available online - if there was an customer data, and a match can be found. integration with a customer care system, contact Identification using the Caller Phone Number – if management system, or a Document available – is commonly know as Automatic Management System (DMS). Number Identification (ANI), and Calling Line Identification (CLI). There are keys, customer ID,  PASS-2000/01-ME  Creation Date: 20.09.2000  File: worddokument-ffnen2665.doc Page 4 of 7 © 2000, PASS Consulting Group, Schwalbenrainweg 24, D-63741 Aschaffenburg, Germany  Tel.: +49-6021-3881-0  Fax.: +49-6021-3881-400  WEB: http://www.pass-consulting.com
  5. 5. White Paper: Call Center – Your Customer Contact Point Handling a lengthy call, transferring calls, notes certain customer, calls received by a certain call related to this call and from previous calls, center agent, calls received for a dedicated bank handing documents and data relevant to this account, customer ID insurance number, etc. customer to the next call center agent taking From that list of calls, the one with the correct over responsibility, and keeping track of the time, or the correct attachment note may be actions required for completing the call - may be selected and requested for replay. The replay well worth the investment in call and screen request locates the correct medium (hard disk, recording devices for certain companies, where DAT tape, MOD disk, DVD disk, etc.) in the these calls are critical for security, money, etc. archive “media” library, retrieves the call audio As reasons for this kind of transaction monitoring data and starts the replay very quickly without are somewhat obvious, another reason for this manual interaction at best - or at worst, after a investment is of equal importance for call center walk to the media room, search for the media, operations: agent evaluation, training, and exchange media, then walk back to the replay promotion, i.e. Quality Monitoring. location. Executive Summaries Located calls of interest can be downloaded to the hard disk of the PC as standard *.wav files Every organization has its legacy systems -- the together with the call indexing data in *.txt files, MIS applications that keep basic business then copied to audio tape, or transferred via e- records. In most companies, these applications mail to some other person of interest. run on mainframes and are maintained by a separate MIS department. They are massive Staff Performance and Competence systems, a crucial part of your business operation, and they are not going to be changed One of the keys to success in any call center is very quickly. As a call center manager, you will people management. With a call center as the probably have to take them as they are. main point of contact for customers and prospects, a company´s reputation is only as But you need not limit your MIS resources to just good as the voices on the telephone those systems. Developments in desktop representing that company. computing and client-server architectures allow you to add capabilities and features without As a call center manager, you have learned the disturbing the older systems. value of service representatives who enjoy helping customers and have an innate sense of The older systems automate corporate good customer service. You look for these bookkeeping, but you need additional systems to qualities when you hire, and you reward and automate customer service. Not the record promote staff who exhibit them. And you keeping part of customer service; but rather the constantly have to monitor their skills and call-handling part. You need a good data attitude. network to let you reach into the legacy systems; you need computing power in your department In an outbound telemarketing campaign, for (probably from desktop systems and shared example, the marketing department develops a servers); and you need modern application detailed script to ensure that agents are creation software that lets you define automated delivering the right messages. Supervisors then call flow applications without spending years need to be able to monitor whole conversations writing old-fashioned code. to see that the script is being adhered to. Having your own system resources, under your In the case of inbound calls, certain levels of control and with better capabilities than the professionalism are set and, again, the legacy systems, becomes even more important supervisor will want to check on the quality of the as you move beyond traditional call centers. If responses across a wide range of customer you want to present a customer's account situations. summary in multimedia graphic format, the raw data will still come from legacy systems. But it is Sitting beside an agent (desk side monitoring) the new systems in your call center that will can be impractical, even hindering and convert this information into multimedia decreasing the agents performance for graphics, and send it on its way to the caller. psychological reasons. Listening in from another extension does not always fit in with a busy An intriguing system component adding on to the supervisors schedule. Voice recording gives the range of MIS is the capability of todays voice supervisor and the agent the opportunity to recording systems to search for calls done by a replay the entire call. The supervisor can then  PASS-2000/01-ME  Creation Date: 20.09.2000  File: worddokument-ffnen2665.doc Page 5 of 7 © 2000, PASS Consulting Group, Schwalbenrainweg 24, D-63741 Aschaffenburg, Germany  Tel.: +49-6021-3881-0  Fax.: +49-6021-3881-400  WEB: http://www.pass-consulting.com
  6. 6. White Paper: Call Center – Your Customer Contact Point coach the agent and help improve their skills. In 4. customize applications based on information some organizations up to 10% of the gathered from monitored data. conversations are replayed to assess the quality 5. ensure integrity of transactions by cross- of customer service. tracking screen transactions versus voice. Special samples of these recorded calls may 6. ensure agents adhere to policies regarding also serve the call center agent as a reference e-mail and internet use. document to help him on into a promotion or a new job (National Vocation Qualification). 7. use the screen monitoring to trigger event- driven voice recording, optimizing recording More and more companies employing call storage and archiving. centers are becoming systematic in their 8. use the recording event trigger as search approach, by evaluating agent performance criteria for quality monitoring and market against set business criteria. Ideally the research. supervisor will be able to electronically generate a questionnaire on any relevant aspect of the 9. compile a database of good calls and proper agent‟s area of expertise. CTI tagged calls of the use of computer applications for agent under evaluation, will be selected training/promotion purposes. according to some random or systematic pattern 10. multi-media and multi-tasking aspects of and drawn from the voice recorder for replay on reviewing make the system time saving and a desktop PC, where the evaluation will take easy for supervisors to work with. The place. The criteria can range from how an initial increase in efficiency and ergonomics of greeting was given, to how well the agent probed improved tools and workflow will reflect in for further customer needs. The evaluations let the positive attitude of the agents. Supervisors compare the skill levels found within their team, and may provide a history for trend Quality evaluation recording activity may either analysis. This will provide an indisputable basis be based on bulk recording, where the desired for promotions and also flag training courses set of calls can be picked from the mass required to support the agent (Integrated Agent storage, or, a dedicated selective recording Evaluation and Training Scheduling Tools). campaign, set up in order to gain selected calls and data so that the evaluation may be done Even greater advantages will be provided by later. While the first case is a standard specific applications to record and review the requirement, CTI based call filtering, using call synchronized voice and screen data (Voice indexing information, such as extension number, Recording and Screen Capturing). This enables or in the case of free seating, Agent ID, will a supervisor to replay screen shots and key and serve the needs of the second scenario. mouse activity, that go with each part of the verbal communication. Supervisors will get a Monitoring technology is a good investment. If complete overview of the transaction, including you give agents regular, fair and timely unspoken but essential elements to later clarify feedback, you motivate them to do a better job. an agreement or dispute. Supervisors will „hear‟, They know how to improve their performance the how agents are verbally interacting with next time around or learn from calls you share customers, and „see‟ how they are using as good examples. The monitoring process also software applications for taking orders or helps agents to feel more appreciated; they providing customer service. know what they are doing has a purpose. This is not only good for the agent, but also good for Let‟s summarize this in ten good reasons for you, your call center and your company´s overall capturing agent screen activities in addition to corporate image. voice: 1. expand quality assessment to include typing, PASS Consulting Group listening, application and reading skills. Business Communication Solutions Schwalbenrainweg 24 2. ensure agents are using customer service D-637841 Aschaffenburg applications effectively. Germany 3. identify areas for improvement in customer Tel: +49-6021-3881-0 service applications, especially those Fax: +49-6021-3881-400 effecting the call length. Web Site: http://www.pass-consulting.com E-mail: bcs@pass-consulting.com  PASS-2000/01-ME  Creation Date: 20.09.2000  File: worddokument-ffnen2665.doc Page 6 of 7 © 2000, PASS Consulting Group, Schwalbenrainweg 24, D-63741 Aschaffenburg, Germany  Tel.: +49-6021-3881-0  Fax.: +49-6021-3881-400  WEB: http://www.pass-consulting.com
  7. 7. White Paper: Call Center – Your Customer Contact Point ASC telecom AG Seibelstr. 4 D-63764 Hösbach Germany Tel: +49-6021-5001-0 Fax: +49-6021-5001-17 Web Site: http://www.asc.de E-mail: contact@asc.de © 2000, PASS Consulting Group, ASC telecom AG  PASS-2000/01-ME  Creation Date: 20.09.2000  File: worddokument-ffnen2665.doc Page 7 of 7 © 2000, PASS Consulting Group, Schwalbenrainweg 24, D-63741 Aschaffenburg, Germany  Tel.: +49-6021-3881-0  Fax.: +49-6021-3881-400  WEB: http://www.pass-consulting.com