A plan for real time reporting


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A white paper on how to plan for a real time reporting system for a call center.

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A plan for real time reporting

  1. 1. A Plan for RealTime Reporting
  2. 2. This paper examines the six steps to implement a successful real time reporting solution. Following these steps will help ensure the reporting solution will get approval, acceptance and will benefit the call center and organization. A real time reporting solution interfaces with call center software applications and extracts real time and historical data from these applications. The reporting solution manipulates the data to summarize it in a manner that is most beneficial to the call center and the people viewing the reports. The real time reporting solution then reports the data to the call center, in real time, using different methods that are appropriate for the call center. The reasons companies select a real time reporting system are to improve efficiencies and effective behavior in the call center. These companies have tried to use the reporting tools from their ACD provider but found the reporting to be lacking in many areas. Third party reporting tools can access competitive ACD platforms, third party applications such as WFM or CRM and can “mash up” the data to create summary reports. Reporting solutions also provide the reports to multiple levels of the organization and not just management. The flexibility to create reports and segregate the data based on position within the company makes real time reporting tools very valuable to the call center.SPECTRUM CORPORATION www.specorp.com
  3. 3. Executive Summary Contact centers require real time information to be able to do the job that is required. Too often the real time information that is available in the applications the call center uses is not in a format that is useful or actionable for the agents and managers. Or if the information is available it is stored deep within application data silos and requires time consuming work to pull the data out. Managers are aware of the data that is available to them but lack a detailed plan on how to implement a reporting solution that will benefit the call center and provide an ROI for the company. There are six steps that a manager should follow to build a clear argument for a real time reporting solution. Following these six steps will help get approval for the project and help it from being derailed during implementation of the project. When followed through properly real time call center reporting will benefit the company with reduced call center operating costs, more efficient agents and better communications within the call center. The six steps to implement a successful real time reporting system 1. Determine the goals for the call center and understand the weaknesses in the call center. 2. Determine who will benefit from the solution and it’s not just the agents. 3. What are the data sources that the reporting solution should tap into? What data is required? Is historical, trending and analytics required on this data? 4. How would you prefer to provide the reports to the people that will be receiving them? 5. Which departments need to be involved to launch the reporting system? 6. What will the ROI be for the solution?SPECTRUM CORPORATION www.specorp.com
  4. 4. Determine Your Goals And Understand Your Weaknesses The goal for the contact center should be something that contributes to the bottom line of the organization and not just the contact center. For example: • Improve the overall productivity of the contact center by providing valuable information that agents, team leaders and managers can use and make real time informed decisions. • Reduce agent attrition through coaching, training and using reporting tools to help the agents make informed real time decisions. Do not stop with a single goal add other minor goals including soft goals to the list for approval of the solution. Minor goals could include: • Improved communications with the agents, team leaders and remote managers; • Provide a communications tool to HR for employee and customer communications; • Improvement of metrics through awareness of status and goals for the KPI’s; • Improved customer satisfaction by improved metrics on KPI. Many projects are never approved or fail to get properly implemented because the goal is weak or a minor goal is used as the sole reason for budgeting for a reporting solution. Goals that are about getting agents to do the job they are already paid to do probably will not go over well. For example improve the answer time by alerting the agents to calls waiting. This goal is not acceptable because the agent is being paid to do this duty, why does the company have to purchase software to get the agent to do their job? The goal(s) should be something that is obtainable in the same time frame (or less) than the ROI for the solution. If the goals and the ROI timing do not match be prepared to explain the case. If the ROI is 16 months and the goal is reached in 8 months it would be prudent to add another major goal for the project. If you are having troubles defining a goal begin by asking yourself these questions: 1. Do I have agents or groups that never meet the goals we agreed to? 2. Does it seem like my agents are never aware of what is going on in their skill group? 3. Are my team leaders always busy taking overflow calls? 4. Do I manually create reports by pulling data from an excel spreadsheet or printed database report and put that information on another spreadsheet? 5. Do I pull numbers from another applications web app and put enter them into a spreadsheet? 6. Am I constantly refreshing reports to get a glimpse of what my agents are currently doing? 7. Do I open multiple applications and jot down information from these apps for my weekly management meetings? 8. Does senior management ask about status or want numbers from a call center app?SPECTRUM CORPORATION www.specorp.com
  5. 5. With a goal defined look at your weaknesses and where you need to improve your productivity. For example: • Low schedule adherence rates for agents in certain skill groups • Low agent occupancy and high abandonment rates in these same groups • Low customer satisfaction scores on Monday’s and Friday’s • KPI’s appear to be in threshold too often The goals and weaknesses help determine which data needs to be captured and how it is reported. If the goal is to improve agent efficiency and the call center has agent occupancy and adherence rate problems we know that we should be capturing agent states data from the ACD and agent data from the WFM. In this example the reporting solution could display to the agent on their desktop how long they have been in different states throughout the day. • On ACD Calls • In After Call Works (Wrap) • Break • Lunch • Logged Out (Show the reason code) If the goal is to improve then we need to know how we are performing so that we can do a better job. Who Will Benefit By Having Real Time Information The entire contact center will benefit by a having real time reporting solution in place. However, certain agents, team leaders and managers will benefit more from the solution. Some questions to ask to determine who will benefit or improve the most from this solution: • Which agents or groups struggle to meet their goals? • Which agents or groups can react more appropriately when alerted to a threshold condition? • Which groups traditionally have a higher agent attrition rate? • Which team leaders have the most difficult groups to manage? • As a manager do you scramble to pull data together to create a call center status report for management meetings? • Which managers (senior managers) require reports while working remotely? • Do I have work-at-home agents? • Does senior management come to me for detailed information on a regular basis? • Which groups will benefit from corporate communications from HR or Marketing? • When writing the goals which agent(s) or groups came to mind?SPECTRUM CORPORATION www.specorp.com
  6. 6. By knowing who will benefit from the solution the type of report that is needed, the data that is required and how the information will be presented to call center can be determined. The advantage to a real time reporting system is the information that people need is automatically extracted, accumulated, sorted, manipulated and then delivered when and where you need it. The people and groups that need information to make decisions are the ones that will benefit most from a reporting solution. What Data Do I Need? A real time reporting solution is capable of helping the call center improve by extracting vital data out of the many call center software applications and summarizing this data for the center. The summary data is then assembled and presented to each level of the call center so decisions can be made and behavior can be changed. Figure 1 is an architectural diagram showing the process of moving data through the reporting solution. Going back to the goals and the weaknesses is the method to track down the data that is needed. If the goal is to improve agent adherence this defines what data is needed. If the goal is broader such as improve overall performance then look to the weaknesses of the contact center. The weaknesses will point to the type of data that needs to be captured and to whom the reports needs to be sent.SPECTRUM CORPORATION www.specorp.com
  7. 7. ™ Architecture Diagram Client Layer • Desktops • Plasma Screens • Wireless • IP Phone • Web Page • Wallboards • Printed Reports Data Presentation Layer Thresholds Calculations Messaging Scheduling Queries Formatting Dynamic KPI’s Conditions Data Manipulation Layer MERGE Multiple applications EXTRACT CONSOLIDATE COMBINE into an Enterprise view Site specific data Multiple sites, varying Voice, Email, Chat application specific data applications IM, Web Stats, etc. Data Collection Layer ODBC XML Socket: Avaya, Nortel, Screen Scrape Genesys, XML, Delimited Delimited File Read Web Page Security / User Roles Active Create Directory View Edit Add Delete Data Source Layer ACD’s • Aspect • Avaya • Cisco Help Desk/Trouble CRM/ PDS IVR / WFM • Nortel • Genesys • Etc. Ticketing Network Management VoIP Web Pages Email/Fax Software M082-0509SPECTRUM CORPORATION www.specorp.com
  8. 8. Step 1: Data Source Layer: The data is extracted from multiple data sources and placed in the neXorce SQL database. Step 2: Security / User Roles: Using user rights and security roles access to the data is defined. The roles allow the reports to capture and display only that data which the user has the rights to. This layer comes before collection because of the rights to actually go out and capture the data has to be established. Step 3: Data Collection Layer: The data is captured from the sources using multiple collection methods: Sockets, ODBC and XML Queries, etc. Step 4: Data Manipulation Layer: This step is critical as it summarizes the data in the manner in which the customer requires. Most applications including ACD’s do not have the ability to summaries data across groups, platforms or across applications. Step 5: Presentation Layer: Prepare the data for reporting by adding thresholds, messages, schedules, etc. Step 6: Client Layer: Reporting tools which display the information the customer wants to see and on the device they want to see it on. The data that is displayed comes from applications within the call center. The data that is extracted will be determined by the goals for the reporting solution. If occupancy, open tickets, and average handle time are three areas that need improvement then the data required will be WFM, Help Desk and ACD. If the problem area is more granular such as agent adherence then data for the agent is required. To determine the data that is required for the reporting solution look at the goals and weaknesses and determine what data will address these goals and weaknesses.SPECTRUM CORPORATION www.specorp.com
  9. 9. Real time reporting involves much more than the metrics from the ACD. An effective reporting tool will extract data from many data sources including these listed below. • ACD • Multimedia ACD which might include Email, Chat, IM and Social • Workforce Management (WFM) • CRM • IVR • Dialer • In house data Key metrics can be extracted from each of these data sources and a summary report can be created that allows the call center to improve and become more effective. The data from these software applications can be reported on and when shared with the call center can improve the performance. Multimedia ACD: This could be Chat, IM, Email, or Social. Knowing the metrics for other customer contact methods is just as important as the traditional voice metrics. If 30% of your contact is from something other than voice than you are missing a huge opportunity to improve your center. WFM: Adherence, Shrinkage, absenteeism are the top three metrics that are improved. Showing the agent and team what their scores are has a dramatic affect on the performance. CRM: Revenue, quotes, close ratio and lost revenue are typically displayed to management and senior management. IVR: Dropped calls, abandoned calls, completed calls, “zero out” are very expensive missed opportunities for the center. By reporting to the manager what is happening in the IVR the manager can improve the IVR so fewer calls are abandoned or go to an agent. IVR is one of the most over looked areas of improvement when using a reporting solution. Tremendous savings can occur through real time reporting on the IVR. Dialer: Right Party Contacts, Total connected calls, Closure calls, talk time are important to the manager to determine the effectiveness of the campaign and list. In House data: Over 80% of real time reporting solutions include some type of home grown data source. These databases or spreadsheets contain data that was developed because the call center could not live without it. Making that data available to everyone in real time will improve the value of the data.SPECTRUM CORPORATION www.specorp.com
  10. 10. ™ Unified Contact Center Reporting (continued) ACD Help Desk / Trouble Tickets Calls Waiting ACD Calls Tickets Opened-Group/Agent Service Level Service Level Calls Offered Tickets Closed-Group/Agent Answer Time Oldest Call Waiting Abandoned Calls Unresolved Tickets-Group/Agent Average Answer Time Average Speed of Answer Answer Time Ticket Types (Gold, Silver, Bronze) Resolution Time Agents Available ACD Talk Time E-Tickets Agents Staffed Abandoned Time Email Chat Emails in Queue-Group/Agent Chats in Queue Average Response Time-Group/Agent Service Level Service Level-Group/Agent Longest Wait Time Failed Response Average Wait Time Emails by Interval Average Handle Time Time in Queue Chats Abandoned Emails Offered IVR PDS Calls Abandoned Voice Detects Calls Answered Answering Machine Detects Calls Completed No Answer Calls Answered Delay Abandon Detects Calls Not Responded to Campaign Name Calls not Responded to Delay Calls Attempted-Group/Agent Calls Waiting Contacts Made Sales Force ODBC CRM Sales Revenue by Group/Agent Orders by Agent Messages Received Sales Revenue by Territory Orders by Day/Week/Month Single Replies Number of Quotes Orders YTD Average CSR Reply Quotes Open Appointments Made Average Total Reply Time Quotes Closed Inside Service Level Unanswered Other Sources WFM MS CRM Salesforce.com Agent Adherence Sales Revenue by Agent Sales Revenue Absenteeism Sales Revenue by Group Opportunities quoted SAP Blackberry Enterprise Server Network Management Software First Call Resolution / Customer Satisfaction Surveys / Agent Adherence M082-0910SPECTRUM CORPORATION www.specorp.com
  11. 11. Getting the most out of the solution is to extract the right data that will help meet the goals, manipulate and summarize the data so it is appropriate for the person or groups receiving the data and reporting on it properly. Summarizing the data is something that the reporting solution is capable of doing. Real time reporting solutions are able to take data from any source and put it on the same report. This view of different metrics that affect the same group(s) or agent(s) is part of the tremendous value behind real time reporting. This web based summary is reporting on data from the ACD, Multimedia ACD, and the IVR. The data is going to be extracted using different methods based on the data. Any one of the following may be used to capture the data. • Socket Interface • ODBC Connection • Custom API • XML • Screen Scrape (Data Emulation) • RSS FeedSPECTRUM CORPORATION www.specorp.com
  12. 12. In fact the most challenging part of a real time reporting system is the data capture. Getting access to the data is not always easy. Many data sources encrypt the data and require a custom API to get at the data. If the reporting vendor has not already done development work against that API it could become a road block to getting at that data. Other obstacles include locked database, no access to the data, don’t know where the data is located (Imagine a database with 5000 tables and 50,000 KPI’s with no schema, and security restrictions. When working with a real time reporting vendor investigate the data capture capabilities. Investigate the how the data is being extracted and make certain it is the most efficient way possible. Old and antiquated tools should not be used when better methods are available. For example, data emulation (screen scrape) should not be used unless there is no other way to capture the data.SPECTRUM CORPORATION www.specorp.com
  13. 13. Visual Reporting Options Reporting or displaying the data that has been captured is based upon the person or group that needs to receive the information. Reporting methods should not be based solely on budget considerations. If the reporting method is not effective the cost of the solution does not matter. The goals and weaknesses that were uncovered for the reporting solution will also be used to determine how the real time reporting solution will display the information. Some examples: 1. If agent adherence, apathy and occupancy are an issue information that is sent to the agents desktop would be most effective; 2. Groups that are under performing should have information sent to the team leader and managers dashboard, desktop or web report; 3. Group and agent summary information is best sent to team leaders and managers. Although occasionally senior management wants to see these details. This information is best sent as a dashboard or web report. This report can also be set up to have drill down features to go from a summary report to a granular agent specific report. 4. Proactive alerting based on threshold violations and threshold variances can depend on the threshold and variance. If the alert is for the agents then is should be reported on the desktop, wallboards and dashboards. If the alert is a threshold variance then it should be sent to the manager and possibly senior management as an email message or to the desktop or dashboard. 5. Remote agents and managers that are unaware of current status or want to know the status need a flexible reporting method such as a desktop, dashboard or a web based report.SPECTRUM CORPORATION www.specorp.com
  14. 14. LCD Screens – The information to these screens is group data. The summary data can be from WFM, CRM, ACD, Help Desk, in house data source or any other source that is meant for a group of agents to review. These screens show information not only in data grids but also in charts and graphs. Data that is best represented in a chart or graph should be displayed (reported) on and LCD screen. (Agents, Team Leaders, Managers, Senior Management) Traditional LED Wallboard – These boards are meant to display pure text and numbers so data for the group from the WFM, CRM, ACD, Help Desk and in house data source is ideal. (Agents, Team Leaders, Managers, Senior Management) Desktops – To get the agent’s attention to meet their goals specific information about their targets should be reported to the agents desktop. Group information also has value so the agent feels a part of the overall group. Desktops are used by work-at-home agents as well. (Agents, Team Leaders, Managers) Messaging can also be sent to agents desktops. Dashboards – Managers have a need for a considerable amount of summary and specific data. A dashboard with multiple tabs of information will provide the right type and amount of details the manager requires. (Managers, Senior Management) Web Reports – For the remote managers web reports can provide summary data with drill down and drill across details. These reports can be viewed using a browser and are typically spreadsheets or charts and graphs. (Managers, Senior Management) Email – This reporting tool is a proactive alerting tool. Alerting through email should be used when a threshold variance has occurred or for end of day reporting only. Getting an email to your smartphone when a call has gone into queue is not good use of a manager’s time. Alerting is not only for negative thresholds, some companies will use it for alerting senior management to large sales, daily sale figures, trouble ticket service levels, CSat scores and FCR ratings.SPECTRUM CORPORATION www.specorp.com
  15. 15. PERSon oR GRoUP REPoRTInG METHoD Senior Manager Web Report, Dashboard, Email, Smartphone, LCD Screen Call Center Manager Dashboard, Desktop, Web Report, Email, Smartphone Team Leader, Supervisor Dashboard, Desktop, LCD screen, Web Report, Email, LCD Screen Agent (Office) Desktop, LED Wallboard, LCD Screen Agent (At home) Desktop, Web Report Involving Other Departments Two extremely important internal tasks for successful deployment of a real time reporting solution: 1. Involve other departments in the process 2. Do not circumvent corporate policies regarding new software applications. Involving other departments in this process may slow down the decision making and implementation of the solution but it will also provide other benefits. Other departments can provide access to data that is not currently available, they can provide content to be reported on, they can use the solution and spread the cost of the solution across the organization and they may have other uses for the solution that has not been considered. If you have corporate policies regarding new software applications it is best to follow them. Imple- mentations that circumvented corporate policies result in installations / implementations that are exceedingly long or never getting implemented. Be sure to check these policies: • Vendor agreements and contracts • Non disclosure agreements • Software SIT and UAT testing • Server approval • Data connectivity approval • Security approvals Your organization may have other policies it is best to contact legal and IT prior to purchasing the real time reporting solution.SPECTRUM CORPORATION www.specorp.com
  16. 16. During the initial stages of planning for the real time reporting solution include your team leaders in the discussions. Team leaders are closer to the daily action and can provide valuable feedback and insight to the operations of the call center. Team leaders and some agents can offer information that will help determine goals and weaknesses for the solution. These same people will help communicate the benefits of the concept to the rest of the call center team when the solution is ready to be rolled out. ROI A real time reporting solution will provide soft and hard ROI to the call center. Hard ROI is actual savings that can be quantified while soft ROI is something that instinctively you know is helping but are not able to easily put a number on the savings. Hard RoI examples: • Schedule adherence improvement • Average Handle time reductions • Abandon rate reduction • FCR rate improvements Soft RoI examples: • CSat score improvements • Reporting on revenue to increase competition • Open ticket ratio improve visibility and closure • Agent motivation and attitude Work with your reporting vendor on your specific ROI. The ROI calculations should use your numbers and allow you to modify any of the vendor’s numbers to determine your ROI. On average a Real Time Reporting Solution has a 12 month ROI. Larger contact centers see an ROI in 8 months while smaller call centers see ROI up to 17 months. If the ROI calculations show an ROI of less than 10 months review the data again and begin asking questions. Look for percentages and multipliers that the vendor has used to show a favorable ROI. Only count those people that are affected by the reporting solution. When the ROI comes back showing something greater than 15 months begin looking at the people affected by the solution, look at total costs, review the goals and see if something has been missed.SPECTRUM CORPORATION www.specorp.com
  17. 17. Total cost is a good place to start. Many ROI calculations use only the agent hourly rate; this is not accurate and should include the agent total cost. If an agent is earning $10/hour their real cost is going to be closer to $20/hour because of taxes, benefits, real estate, administration, etc. ROI Calculators are available on the internet but your real time reporting vendor should have one as well. If your vendor does not have a calculator, consider another vendor. Once the reporting solution is in place and providing benefits to the call center take the time to review how to expand the reporting solution. The additional investment of adding on to the reporting solution is typically minimal and the returns can be great. Expansion ideas: • More data from previously untapped data; • More clients • Different reporting types • High availability • Updated reports • Additional departments or business units • Upgrade the software to an enterprise version The benefits of a real time reporting solution are a more efficient call center, more effective agents, improved customer satisfaction and reduced operating expenses. To gain the benefits of a reporting solution a plan must be put in place to get approval and how to use the solution. Many call centers do not have a plan when implementing a real time reporting solution. Or those that have a plan lack a clear vision or direction for the reporting solution. This lack of planning and direction will quickly get the project canceled or put on hold. Having a detailed plan will ensure the project is approved and ROI will be realized for the call center. Following the six steps for a reporting solution will enable you to create an effective plan for the solution and will also provide clear talking points with the call center. One of the challenges in the call center is a lack of focus and communications with the agents. Due diligence in building a case for real time reporting will uncover many of the weaknesses of the call center and give the manager things to think about and work on over the course of time. • M134-0711SPECTRUM CORPORATION www.specorp.com
  18. 18. 10048 Easthaven Blvd • Houson, TX USA 77075Office +1-713-944-6200 • Fax +1-713-944-1290 info@specorp.com • www.specorp.com