Inbound 11-12 2010


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Inbound 11-12 2010

  1. 1. PROFILE OF CONFIDENCE AT T. ROWE PRICE | WEB CHAT | THE TRENDS THAT MUST EMERGE NOV. DEC . 2010 A Brand NEW World for CCA Contact Center Professionals
  3. 3. VI LLEFROMX P E R I E N C E T O C E N T E R S TA G E Contact Center Association recognizes the value and importance of your role as a contact center professional to the organization you serve. Plan now to attend the conference packed with educational sessions that will not only help you advance your career as a leader in your industry but will also give you the tools you need to perform your daily responsibilities the most efficient and effective way possible. The Contact Center Conference & Expo 2011 tracks include: Strategic Planning Quality & Customer Experience Management Workforce Management Agent Hiring, Development & Retention Contact Center Technology Virtual Workforce Multi-Channel Management To learn more about the Contact Center Conference & Expo 2011:
  4. 4. 06 10 12 22 25 20 30 T.O.CONTENTS ISSUE 01 2010 05 | Letter from the Editor 16 | Web Chat 25 | Who is Piloting Your Plane? It is a great pleasure to introduce the industry’s Many centers today now offer chat support Would I get on this plane if the airline hired newest magazine, Inbound, published by the to everybody... its pilots the same way I hire my contact Contact Center Association. center representatives? 18 | Associations vs. Social 06 | Are You Missing The Point Networking 28 | Baseline, Benchmark, Data, About Customer Care? Are they the same, are they somewhat similar, and Information... Oh my... Design customer centric services that improve or are they completely different? Baselining, benchmarking, data, and information all service deliver. play a crucial role in running a healthy call center... 20 | “Brand” New 10 | The Trends That Must Emerge The association is a place where contact 30 | Beyond the Buzz: 5 trends that will turn the industy around. center professionals can share, network, Maturing your at-home agent model… learn and get involved. 12 | Teamwork in the Contact 32 | T. Rowe Price: A Strategic Center-What a Team Leader 22 | Commonsense Disaster Contact Center Should Know Preparation for the Contact Center An extensive discussion on the strategic Discussing some of characteristics that team Disaster recovery and business continuity alignment of the contact center with the business leaders should strive to develop and some of planners think morbid thoughts so you don’t the pitfalls of the team environment. have to; you should listen to them. CONTRIBUTORS TimDEWEY BobLAST GregLEVIN PeggyLIBBEY CharlesM cCANN PeteM cGARAHAN JayMINNUCCI CEO – B Virtual Director of Research Founder and Principal – CEO, President – Director of Technology Founder and President – Founder and President – and Content – Redwood Off Center, LLC Software Test Support – Oklahoma McGarahan & Associates Service Agility Collaborative Professionals State University4 I N B O U N D . N O V. D E C . 2 0 1 0
  5. 5. LETTER FROM EDITOR @QueueGuru QueueGuru Contact Center AssociationW E LC O M E I t is a great pleasure to introduce the industry’s newest magazine, Inbound, published by the Contact Center Association. The intent of the magazine is to bring fresh, new perspectives authored by industry practitioners, consultants, analysts, and vendors on the latest trends in our industry. Our first edition will be digital but we plan to deliver printed editions by Q2, 2011 to contact centers across the country. It is our belief that there is still a place for print in this online world we live in. The reduction of so many printed publications has made those publications a rare treat for readers that are still not convinced the iPad and Kindle are for them. There is still something special about being published inEditor-in Chief: Rich Hand print. Maybe it’s a generational perspective but seeing your article in a printed magazine still like a greater accomplishment than any other media format. The explosion of digital publicationsEditor: Yvonne Hamilton has made them so common they have lost a bit of luster. It seems that only a handful of organizations are investing in the print medium. We believe it is a good investment.Creative Director: Scott Hanson The social wave of technologies such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter have improved sharing of information and have improved our ability to connect via the web. It has also givenMedia Sales: Cheri Bruno every industry professional a platform to opine, share, and deliver content to the It has become an avalanche of data for those that wish to consume the information. Within this new wave of information the role of the professional association is to create credible forums where this information can be discussed in relation to the industry. Professional communities like CCA are no longer gate keepers, but rather provide a place where openness, discussion, and debateHow to reach INBOUND validate the information being circulated within the community.Letters to the editor may be sent It is our intention to publish as many industry professionals as we possibly can to ensure many points of view are represented in this magazine and within the overall community. There seemsAbout Contact Center Association (CCA) to be a million places to get an opinion on customer service, customer experience, CRM, metrics,CCA provides professionals with information,education, training and professional process, and technology for the contact center. Our vision is to be a collaborative community thatnetworking opportunities. brings together great resources into one professional community. If the information is created as a724 S Tejon Suite C • Colorado Springs benefit to the community we will share and promote it.Colorado, 80903 • 719.476.0289 It has been our experience that the best information often comes from the people who are on theAbout INBOUND front lines managing the customer experience. We would like the opportunity to publish yourINBOUND is digitally published by CCA.It is a bi-monthly magazine which focuses work here at Inbound. There is no greater source of valuable information than you as you reflecton contact center operations and topics and share your experiences and lessons learned. We do not expect everyone to be a polishedimpacting the contact center industryand practitioner. writer, which is why we have editors. What we need are great ideas and stories from the people living the experience. We need the latest technology trends from the vendors on the cutting edgeBack Issues of INBOUND as well as the case studies and research from the analysts and consultants in the trenches. WeYou may access electronicback issues at encourage and welcome feedback. It is how we learn. We have a talented crew that has lived within the contact center community and understands the challenges. Send an e-mail, write aEditorial SubmissionsVisit to learn letter, stop by the website and post a thought. We are a very nimble organization that will takemore about submitting editorial to INBOUND. every serious idea to heart and change accordingly. RICHHAND Director of Membership & Publications CONTACTCENTERASSOCIATION.COM 5
  6. 6. E LCW Are You Missing The CUSTOMER6 I N B O U N D . N O V. D E C . 2 0 1 0
  7. 7. ME CUSTOMER CARECO“As customer diversity and expectations continue to broaden and differ, organizations will need to increase their efforts to “listen I by PeteMcGARAHAN enjoy staying tuned to the ever-changing and challenging customer care market. Organizations are struggling today to adopt and adapt their service strategy from one-size- fits-all to something more dynamic, relevant, anticipatory and personal. As customer diversity and expectations continue to broaden and differ, organizations will need to increase their efforts to “listen and talk” or engage themselves in the customer conversation. Customers are experiencing a sense of emptiness as they seek service, answers to their questions, fulfillment to their order and resolution to their issues. As organizations continue to enjoy the profits created by cost-cutting, the longer-term impact will be customers not willing to extend or expand the relationship – stagnant revenue growth. It’s not too late for these service organizations to find value in the customer relationship and conversation to: and talk” or engage • Take the time to listen – for we may not know it all themselves in the customer conversation.” • Be open to learning – for there is always something that we can do differently • Challenge the team to always improve – for there are always continuous improvement opportunities around service quality, cost efficiencies or the effectiveness of our customer care programs. What does your invisible “WELCOME” mat say to your customers? • Don’t contact us, we send you an invoice!Point About • You may have something to say to us, CARE? but we have nothing to say to you! • We have lots of customers – take a number! • We had to reduce our service levels to fund our executive perks! CONTACTCENTERASSOCIATION.COM 7
  8. 8. Ready or Not? and organized manner, identifying the broader customer How important am I as a customer and do you want to conversation, taking a holistic approach to confidently provide service to me? Are you willing to commit your knowing that you are servicing your customers based on organization to a service strategy that has the customer their preferences / profiles / priorities. The service design top-of-mind? Are you ready to route me to your best, most should identify measures to understand why a customer available person for timely, hassle-free resolution? My perception of the current service perspective is that my perspective was not the main priority or even considered “The customer perspective when designing a customer service strategy. Today’s customer-centric service strategy is not as obvious as the I propose to you is policies and procedures sometimes thrown in the face of the customer. In my time on the front-line, we used to pride rewarding through retained ourselves with a no excuses, just solutions motto. Now it services (revenue), seems more like excuses trump solutions on any given day. I am reminded of the great Apollo 13 survival story where expanded services (profit) the NASA engineers are gathered and a box of spare parts is dumped on their table. The leader says, “This is what you and customer referrals have to work with, figure it out”. Is this the typical approach that service organizations deploy when designing their (revenue / profit). Is that customer service strategy? Service organizations reactively will look around and assemble the best of what they have not a valued perspective?” to offer in terms of people, process and tools. It’s a service strategy that is internally designed and central to what works best for the organization given the “box of parts” it has to work with, integrate and deliver at that moment is calling and give customers assurance that they are getting in time. It requires the customer to continually adapt and their problems solved. Are you sitting on the customer side adopt and therefore we learn nothing from the customer of the table or at the head of the table where you normally voice because we are not set up to always ASK-LISTEN- sit? From a matter of customer perspective: LEARN-DO-TELL. • Do you manage calls or customer relationships? • Do your customers represent opportunities or problems?1) ASK the customer what you can do better • Explore the Possibilities / Uncover the Opportunities?2) LISTEN to what they tell you • Do you focus on talk time or resolution / results?3) LEARN from what they do • Are you reactive (commodity) or strategic (value-add)?4) DO what they tell / teach you • What’s your MTTK (Mean Time to Know)? The customer perspective I propose to you is rewarding5) TELL them what you did and why through retained services (revenue), expanded services (profit) and customer referrals (revenue / profit). Is that not Do It Right a valued perspective? A better, more proactive approach would be to design a customer service strategy from scratch with a “clean white Now that I have you thinking, differently hopefully, let’s board” – with no preconditioned “what we can and can’t lay out a plan for designing customer-centric services that do” limitations. The end resulting service design should improve service delivery, enhance the customer experience deliver transparent, easy-to-do business with services that and lower ongoing support costs. Remember these ten action keep the customer in-mind all the time. Let’s intelligently items when looking to transform your service strategy and route the customer to their ultimate resolver sooner rather organization with the customer in mind, front and center and than later. Either your time will be consumed with the with the opportunity to create a lasting relationship based on “groundhog day” approach to fighting fires or in a structured a willingness to engage in constant customer conversations.8 I N B O U N D . N O V. D E C . 2 0 1 0
  9. 9. CUSTOMER CARE1. KNOW: Position yourself to always know who is contacting you, why they are contacting you and historically, the best route to resolution.2. RESOLUTION: Provide resolution closest to the customer keeping the law of continuous momentum in mind at all times! “ Design a customer3. CONVERSATIONS: Utilize those customer conversations in your systems performing real-time analysis gaining service strategy from insights into customer preferences, profiles and priorities scratch with a ‘clean and take resulting action accordingly. white board’ – with no4. ANTICIPATE: Work proactively and intelligently; anticipate the customer’s needs; and determine the most preconditioned ‘what appropriate next step in delivering faster resolution. we can and can’t do’5. EASY: Create a seamless, transparent and WOW limitations.” customer experience (BE EZ2DOBIZ).6. FLEXIBLE: Ensure your service strategy, structure, process and people can adapt and respond quickly to changing customer preferences / market conditions / competitive threats.7. DIFFERENTIATION: Provide service differential though innovative integrated solutions (tools, process & people).8. WIN-LOSE-WHY: Know why you win customers (attraction), why you lose them (defection) and what can you do to prevent losing them (loyalty, retention & profitability).9. CULTURE: Create a service culture that values engaged and empowered employees / customers.10. ALIGNMENT: Always align service strategy to business objectives and always deliver objectives based on measurable business results. Peter J. McGarahan is the founder and president of McGarahan & Associates.Peter offers 27 years of IT and Business experience in optimizing and aligningthe service and support organizations of the Fortune 1000 to deliver value againstbusiness objectives. His thought leadership has influenced the maturity and imageof the service and support industry. His passion for customer service led the TacoBell support organization to achieve the Help Desk Institute Team ExcellenceAward in 1995. IT Support News named him one of the “Top 25 Professionals inthe Service and Support Industry” in 1999. Support professionals voted McGarahan“The Legend of the Year” in 2002 and again in 2004 at the Help Desk Professionalsconference for his endless energy, mentoring and leadership coaching. As apractitioner, product manager and support industry analyst and expert, McGarahanhas left his service signature on the support industry / community. CONTACTCENTERASSOCIATION.COM 9
  10. 10. TRENDS TRENDS THAT THE MUST EMER “ I am hoping that the Contact n 1 MAKE CUSTOMER ACCESS VIA THE PHONE EASIER AND QUICKER FOR CUSTOMERS. Center Association becomes the A website ( exists now that provides information on shortcuts around lengthy menus at hundreds organization that helps to lift of contact centers. New consumer services are being introduced that will do the work of navigation through a the stature of our profession.” menu to an agent and then bring the customer into the call once an agent is on line. Mainstream press articles that blast contact center service nearly always focus on poorly designed menus and long wait time as critical problems. These are all by JayMINNUCCI hints that we need to significantly improve access simplicity and speed. A ny successful profession has a powerful 2 membership association behind it. EMBRACE PROACTIVE CONTACT. The contact center industry has had a number We have enough data to anticipate when people might call of them through the years, yet most seem to lack us. When those calls are for simple updates (“has my claim the strength or the staying power of those serving been processed yet?” “Did you get my check”, etc.), why colleagues in other areas such as Human Resources, Legal, are we waiting for customers to call? We could instead have Accounting, etc. It is great to see a new one emerge, and I them opt-in for updates via email, SMS, automated outbound am hoping that the Contact Center Association becomes the calls, etc. It can save us a significant amount of money and organization that helps to lift the stature of our profession. keeps customers better informed, and nearly every contact center has a host of these opportunities sitting in front of Besides providing visibility, a membership organization can them today. Why wait? be a platform to create standards and bring about needed change. The development of standards is a huge opportunity for us. Done right, it will allow for customers to finally enjoy n 3 ALLOW CONSISTENT AND PERSONAL TO COEXIST. some level of consistent expectation across industries. More Some of us do little training, offer no desktop knowledge pressing, though, and in many ways related to standards, management system, and rarely monitor or calibrate calls. are some changes that need to take place to make the terms Consistency in these centers is almost non-existent. Others “call center” and “contact center” more synonymous with the provide a script for everything and do not allow any deviation positive environment that many are today. whatsoever. The customer with a slightly unique request is left stranded and helpless in these operations. The nirvana To help turn around our image in the minds of the general (for both customers and agents) lies in the middle, where well public, we need to address those issues that receive regular trained agents can easily access pertinent content, but are criticism. Here are five items that must become emerging encouraged to customize delivery to meet the diverse needs of trends for the future: the individual on the other end of the phone or chat.10 I N B O U N D . N O V. D E C . 2 0 1 0
  11. 11. Meet the CCA Team THAT’S WANTEDE 4 EASIER (AND STILL COMPLIANT) AUTHENTICATION.Yes, regulations and laws have made authentication a nightmare, Peggy Libbey CEO, President Over 30 years of experience in finance and executive management. She is the leader and respected arbiter of all conflicts between team members. She is the pivot point of our organization and enjoys being behind the scenes instead of on the “stage”, although she is great when she needs to be front and center.especially for those of you in highly monitored industries like healthcare and financial services. The lawyers are setting the rules now, but thelawyers do not listen to calls or understand how difficult this can be forsome of our customers. Push the envelope where interpretation of theregulations has led to very rigid authentication guidelines (we can onlyaccept x and y). Identify the flaws in your current approach and offeroptions. (Note to my phone company: I only know my account numberand the amount of my last check if I happen to have an old bill and mycheckbook nearby. It really is possible to come up with an authenticationprocedure that is more customer-friendly than that.) 5 ADOPT THE PHRASE “CAREER AGENT”. Katie Lutze Director of Finance klutze@ccapro.comWe employ millions across the globe - why is this term not part ofour vernacular? The few times I have heard it uttered it was done so As talented as a director at Circ De Soleil, Katie can make an Xcel spreadsheet perform in some of the mostderisively: “She’s not going anywhere. She’s a career agent”. The job of an interesting calculations. She is a brilliant financial analystagent is both challenging and important. If we want it to be viewed as a which has made her a valued business analyst when wecareer, the change has to begin with leadership. Let’s set some targets and are developing strategy.objectives around an experienced, capable, and engaged workforce, andthen we can spend less time managing the ill effects of attrition.The items above are my “big five” to help improve our industry’s image,and that certainly does not mean they are the only five or the right five.Consider them discussion starters. With a new membership organization,social media outlets galore, and in-person conferences available to us, wehave all the tools to keep the conversation moving...and better yet, turn thetalk into action. The time is right, and the payoff is well worth the effort. Abbie Caracostas Director of Training acaracostas@ccapro.comJay Minnucci is the President and Founder of Service Agility, a consulting company dedicated The most outgoing member of the team, Abbie wasto improving customer service and call center operations. His client list ranges from small start- responsible for training at HDI for 3 years and held manyup operations to large Fortune 500 corporations, and he has completed assignments in contact roles over her 8 years at HDI. She is the epitome of greatcenters around the globe. Jay contributes articles to a number of contact center journals, leadsseminars on call center management, and is a featured speaker at many industry conferences. customer service. Our upcoming training courses will be guided by her experience in working with members to create the types of offerings our community needs. CONTACTCENTERASSOCIATION.COM 11
  12. 12. by BobLAST TEAMWORK I t is in school and at work, however, where teams and teamwork move from reverential adoration to the often painful reality of everyday work. A school project team in the Contact is where most of us first learn how to function in team- based groups. This environment tends to be unstructured and Center – What it is rare to receive any formal training in teamwork, group dynamics and communication skills. a Team Leader Oh No, Not a Team Project! Working on a team in a business or non-governmental Should Know organization tends to be somewhat better because new team members in this environment are often exposed to mentors and senior colleagues, formal training through courses in customer Our society reveres teams; service and leadership and occasionally, an organization-wide sports teams, in particular occupy program in productivity. This being said, almost everyone can share a story about being on a team where semi-strangers were a unique place in our society. arbitrarily formed into a team and directed to complete a task In this article we’ll discuss some with little or no direction, training or resources. The ensuing frustration and conflicts (remember the arguments about when of characteristics that team and where the group was going to meet that seemed to go on leaders should strive to develop forever?) becomes indelibly burned into one’s brain. and some of the pitfalls of the Seldom are such stories retold around the campfire with team environment. fondness. Still, groups of people have been banding together to accomplish goals since Moses took that trip across the Sinai and the United States Army has maintained the operational integrity and unit cohesion of its units for a decade under the most intense pressure that the human mind can create. There must be something to this teamwork thing!12 I N B O U N D . N O V. D E C . 2 0 1 0
  13. 13. TEAMWORKSome of the most complex, dynamic and rewarding • Approachable-a team leader must adopt a countenanceteamwork experiences occur in the contact center. For many that makes them approachable on even the busiest dayspeople, the position of team leader or supervisor is the firstleadership position that they have ever held and it is not • Empathetic –understanding the emotions of othersan easy one. Consider the world of the contact center team is a skill that can earn loyalty and respectleader from the picture below. • Good trainer-team leaders should understand the theories of adult learning and how to apply them to the training of new and existing employees • Physical Strength-overseeing the work of others is time consuming, stressful & frequently physically challenging. Being physically fit is good business and sets a good example for one’s team members • Humor-anyone that cannot laugh at themselves and have an appreciation for the amusing aspects of contact center life is simply in the wrong line of work. See Greg Levin’s book, Call Center Humor, Volume 4-The Best of Greg Levin’s “In Your Ear” Satire Columns, 2007. Also entertaining is the site Call Center Comics ( Finally, this abbreviated list of characteristics should include an excellent understanding of teamwork and groupThe Team Leader’s Job dynamics. The literature on teams, teamwork and groupThe world of the team leader is centered on the people in dynamics began in earnest after World War II as research bythe cubicles with a supervisor’s desk at the head of each existing and new scholars sought to understand why somerow. In these seats dwell the people who talk to a business’s combat units were successful and others were not. Overcustomers or a non-governmental organization’s members the years this type of research has expanded to include alland supporters. It is the job of the team leader to harness manner of research on teams, teamwork, team leadership,the personalities and the intellects of these people and and small group dynamics. One of the more interestingmold them into a cohesive unit. It is the team leader’s job aspects of this research is a list, hazards of collaborationto achieve synergy (it sounds like a disease that needs to be – an interesting list in this hyper-connected world wheretreated at the Cleveland Clinic, but in this case it applies) collaboration is frequently seen as a competitive advantage.from this disparate group of people. The Hazards of CollaborationThe team leader should work to develop these characteristics: • Sameness. Overly collaborative teams adopt rigid • Decisive-there are few things more frustrating to standards and impose them on themselves, foreclosing an employee than having to wait for an answer from creative deviation their boss • Groupthink. This leads to purges of perceived outsiders, • Well organized-a contact center is a complex place to and stultification of the ideas of insiders work with often competing interests, plans and projects that have to be juggled, sifted and weighed and only • Blurriness. Too much democracy leads to mush. When individuals with good organizational skills can survive everyone has full and equal input into a process, you can the onslaught of meetings, memos and minutia bet that process will lack focus • Good communicator-the ability to communicate • Slowness. Consensus doesn’t “snap to” the way verbally and in writing is critical to success in any intimidated agreement does. It is a slow ooze, and teams modern organization lose momentum waiting for the ooze to arrive CONTACTCENTERASSOCIATION.COM 13
  14. 14. TEAMWORK • Leaderlessness. When everyone is encouraged to lead, d. Managing Teams, Lawrence Holpp, 1999. the end result often is that no one does. This book is part of the “Briefcase Books” series that is • Defenselessness. When everyone knows everything, designed for leaders that need to learn a lot about a topic because sharing is so important, there is no quickly. It’s one of those fun books that covers everything confidentiality, and there are no firewalls. Some teams from starting a team, to building a teamwork culture and become so intimate and sensitive with one another that defining team dynamics, and finally to evaluating the they can’t function among outsiders. team. Like the other books in the series, the book is full of sidebar stories, checklists and quizzes. The chapters are • Interiority. Teams who work too long together have well organized and easy to read without any loss of content. a way of becoming cross-eyed over time, focusing on subjects of interest exclusively to the group. e. The New Why Teams Don’t Work, Harvey Robbins and Michael Finley, 2000 • Mercilessness. “The many are stronger than the one,” is the motto of super collaboration. It is also the motto of fascism. 1 Despite its title, this is the best of the books on the list; it takes an uncompromising and realistic look at why teams Finally, every team leader should design a professional reading do not work and why they fail. The HR and appreciative program for themselves. The armed services have had such inquiry folks will hate it! For example, the authors state, lists for years; they are used to communicate the values and the elements of the organizations’ corporate culture. Some of In the rush to bestow the manifold blessings of teams upon our favorite books in this area are listed below. our organizations, lots of groups get called teams that probably should not be. The resulting groups are too big, too The Team Leaders Reading List lumpy, quite mismatched, and more than a little confused. a. Successful Team Building, Thomas L. Quick, 1992. We call these assemblages “mobs.” 2 In 96 pages, you get a very good introduction to teamwork If you sense that the authors are irreverent in their opinions and how teams work. This is one of those books that is full about teams and teamwork, you would be correct, but don’t of checklists, quizzes and assessments as well as superbly let that scare you away from the book. It is well written and organized chapters. Don’t let the year it was published be assumes that its reader is an adult capable of handling bad a deal breaker, everything in it is still relevant. news and using it to make an operation better. b. Inside Teams-How 20 World-class Organizations are There are few tasks more challenging than leading a team and Winning Through Teamwork, Richard S. Wellins, managing its work. When the team leader’s chair is filled, the William C. Byham & George R. Dixon, 1994. team leader has to juggle the expectations and needs of the individual employee and the requirements and restraints of This is a book of case studies that explore different aspects the organization. The phrase, “herding cats” comes to mind! of team and group performance. The case studies are The nice thing about cats is that although you can’t herd excellent, well-organized and explore teams in a start- them, they always come when you open a new can of food! up, through early stages of development to teams that have matured in the organization. Don’t underestimate Translation: Leadership matters, creativity matters, professional the value of a case study that has a good summary and preparation matters, and organizational culture matters! concludes with a “key lessons” section. c. Team Leader’s Problem Solver, Clay Carr, 1996. No one likes to admit that problems will inevitably be a part of a team’s growth, but if humans are involved, 1. Harvey Robbins & Michael Finley, The New Why Teams Don’t Work-What Goes Wrong and How to Make it Right, (San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc, 2000), 132-133. problems will sneak onto your desk sooner or later. The book is organized into twelve chapters that cover such 2. Harvey Robbins & Michael Finley, The New Why Teams Don’t Work-What Goes Wrong and How to Make it Right, (San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc, 2000), 123. topics as individual and team interpersonal problems, behavior and performance of individuals and problems caused by higher management (oh my!), to name a few. As with the other books, this one is well organized and Bob Last is the Director of Research & Content for Redwood Collaborative. easy to read without being simplistic. This is a serious He has over 20 years experience in the contact center and technical support book that is well worth the time and effort! industry as a manager, trainer, consultant and analyst.14 I N B O U N D . N O V. D E C . 2 0 1 0
  15. 15. Executive Online Forum…Join Today!Join the Executive Online Forum andcollaborate with other influential contactcenter executives both in-person andvia webinar meetings.The forum offers an annual in-personmeeting for members to share challenges,best practices and other sensitive topics.In addition, as a member you have accessto the concierge service which will assistyou in researching information to supportyour operations. If you’re preparing for anupcoming meeting or giving a presentation,the concierge service is truly invaluable.For more information:1.877.535.0707 or email
  16. 16. WEBWEBWEB Once considered a fancy-schmancy contact optionWEB offered by only a few contact centers and often reserved for only their elite customers, many centers today nowCHAT offer chat support to everybody.CHAT C hat is a relatively affordable way for contact centers to offer real-time – or at least near real-time support to online customers. Where several hours usually pass before a customer-agent email interaction is completed, chat sessions start almost immediately after a customer initiates one, and generally end justCHAT a few minutes after they begin. The drawback of chat is that the rapid typing involved often causes moderate to severe hand cramps in agents, thus hindering their ability to squeeze their rubber ball during stressful times or fetch coffee for their supervisor. Many of the “best practices” for managing chat are the same as, or at least similarCHAT to, those for managing email – a channel that most contact centers currently already handle. Such practices include: • Taking the time to recruit/assess agent candidates who have solid writing skillsCHAT and web savvy, and training those who don’t to fake it • Implementing a chat/email management system designed to help route chat requests, handle chat sessions and capture/report on key dataCHAT • Developing WFM processes that include chat contacts • Utilizing text templates in moderation to increase chat productivity and consistencyCHAT • Directing chat customers to the company’s online FAQs to promote future self- service • Extending the center’s quality assurance processes to the chat channel – evaluating chat session transcripts and surveying customers following a chat interaction to by GregLEVIN ensure optimal agent performance and positive customer experiences.Greg offers a diverse range of publications Nevertheless, chat’s real-time nature makes it a different animal than email.and resources – including his much-anticipated ebook, Full Contact – all aimed Consequently, there are several best practices that are unique to chat, and that anyat informing, empowering and entertaining contact center currently offering or planning to offer chat needs to embrace to truly tapcontact center professionals worldwide. the potential power of this channel.To learn more about what Greg bringsto the table, visit: Understand that chat is a service level oriented – not a response time oriented – support option. Unlike an email inquiry, which is typically first responded to (by a live agent) hours after the customer sends it, chat inquiries must be handled in real-time, just as phone calls are. Whenever an online customer initiates a chat session, they expect an initial response from an agent within a few seconds; some may be willing to wait up to a minute or so for a response, but after that, most customers will become frustrated – losing faith not only in the company’s chat capabilities, but also in the company itself.16 I N B O U N D . N O V. D E C. 2 0 1 0
  17. 17. WEB CHATThe best contact centers fully understand this and thus yet to achieve black-belt chat status – focus on one chattreat chat as a service level oriented – not a response time session at a time, with the main emphasis on accuracy,oriented – activity. Just as they do with the phone channel, personalization and issue resolution, not handle time.these centers select a feasible service level objective for chat(e.g., 80% of chats answered within 40 seconds), and base Use web collaboration tools with chat to enhance onlinetheir forecasting and scheduling processes on that objective. support and foster customer autonomy. Chat, when managed(In addition to measuring how long it takes for an agent to well, is an effective and affordable customer contact channel.respond to the initial chat request, many centers also gauge Where chat becomes a truly powerful support mechanism is“average session handle time” – how long it takes to complete when it joins forces with real-time web collaboration tools,a typical chat interaction between an agent and customer.) which enable agents to show rather than just tell customers how to find key information and to complete transactions.While effective staffing for both chat and email is important,having the right number of agents in place to handle chat is The most common types of web collaboration applicationsparticularly crucial, as customers who contact your center used by leading contact centers include:via chat typically have a pressing issue or a concern that,if ignored or handled poorly, could lead to an abandoned • Co-browsing – the agent and the customershopping cart and lost revenue. Customers often have simultaneously view the same web browser screensquestions before completing an online purchase; having during a chat session, making it easy for the agent toagents on hand to quickly respond to those questions direct the customer to relevant areas on a web site.enables centers to convert a high percentage of browsers intoactual buyers, and a high percentage of raving executives • Page-pushing – the agent sends specific web pages and/orinto peaceful people. other relevant documents directly to the customer’s screen. Many contact centers have found this to be not only anDon’t push agents to handle multiple chat sessions indispensable customer service tool, but also a way tosimultaneously. If you ever attend a party with a large enhance up-selling and cross-selling during chat sessions.number of managers whose contact centers handle chat, youwill invariably meet several who will begin to brag about • Application/form-sharing – the agent and customerhow many chat sessions their agents can tackle at once. In work through complex web-based forms andsuch cases, you must do two things: 1) Ask yourself what applications together, which often entails the agenthappened to your social life that has you attending parties moving the customer’s cursor to specific areas of aand talking about chat; and 2) laugh in the face of any document to help gain efficiencies.manager who claims his agents can effectively handle anymore than two chats simultaneously. All of these web collaboration applications not only greatly enhance the customer experience and enable agents toTrue, laughing in one’s face is cruel, but not as cruel as develop a strong rapport with customers; they help to increasemaking agents try to engage in text-based dialogue with customer confidence with online resources. This, in turn,four or five different people – each with different issues – fosters more customer autonomy and helps the center convertall at the same time. more chatters into self-service aficionados, which is where real savings are realized without sacrificing – in fact, oftenWhen chat first emerged in contact centers back in the improving – customer satisfaction and loyalty. Give a man1990s, everybody talked about the potential for agents an answer, he’s served for a day; teach a man to find answers,to handle three or more sessions at once, causing many he’s served for a lifetime. In addition, your agents won’t havemanagers to drool with anticipation. However, they soon to handle as many chat interactions, leading to less handfound that pushing such productivity goals caused agents cramping and fewer crippling Worker’s Comp drool from disorientation.Expert contact center consultants and practitioners agree:Two chats sessions – or, on rare occasions, three (if each of the inquiries are highly routine ones) – are the most Greg Levin is one of the most unique and refreshing voices in the customerthat even a highly experienced agent can handle without care industry. He has been researching, reporting on and satirizing contact centers and customer care since 1994. Known for his sharp wit, bold opinionssacrificing quality and the customer experience. In the best and penchant for challenging the status quo, Greg is still usually allowedcontact centers, most agents – especially those who have entrance into industry events. CONTACTCENTERASSOCIATION.COM 17
  18. 18. VS ASSOCIATIONS vs. SOCIAL NETWORKING Associations and Social Networking— AN ASSOCIATION is a formal organization of people or groups of people. It are they the same, are they somewhat can also be an act of consorting or similar, or are they completely different? joining with others; the state of being To answer that question, consider the connected together or the process of definitions for each according to Google bringing ideas or events together in web definitions: memory or imagination. by PeggyLIBBEY C ertainly the definitions would indicate that they organization which means there is more structure and are at least similar. The advent of social media the foundation on which it is formed is more specific and sites has made virtual networking much easier for targeted. An association may provide the opportunity to individuals with similar interests; but are these network virtually, but it will also provide opportunities social networks a replacement for the professional association? to network in person through local meetings and annual Social networking tools are an inexpensive way for conferences. It will also focus specifically on improving the individuals to connect with others of similar interests. careers of individuals, the efficiencies of organizations, and A web search will reveal thousands of groups with provide validation to ideas and practices within an industry. thousands of members seemingly “networking.” Keep in All of this serves to improve the reputation of the profession mind the difference between social networking for purely served by the association. social reasons and social Professional associations focus on enabling networking the members of the for professional community to create, reasons where validate, and publish the goal may be the results of the to find the answer activities conducted to a problem or within the association information about a framework. specific topic. A closer Associations are look at the networking a place where taking place will probably professionals gather reveal that much of the to share, learn, activity is generated by build relationships, vendors, recruiters, and contribute knowledge, individuals interested in self and validate the industry’s promotion. There is definitely direction with the goal of activity that could be described improving the careers of the individuals. as valuable. The availability of targeted information that is “free” on the web is at an all time high. One simply has Associations are about creating an environment of trust to have the time to find it if in fact, it does exist in a form between the members of the community. A member of that is available. an association demonstrates a commitment to not only their own career, but also that of the industry in whole. Now consider how an association functions. An association An association provides the platform to build trust and can also provide information and the opportunity to network reputation through not only online mediums but also with others. However, remember an association is a formal networking events, educational offerings, conferences,18 I N B O U N D . N O V. D E C . 2 0 1 0
  19. 19. Meet the CCA Team THAT’S WANTEDSOCIAL NETWORKING is the interaction betweenpeople who share a common interest. Morespecifically, it is using internet networkgroups (such as Facebook and Twitter)to network and communicate using sharedinterests, related skills or geographical Rick Baucomlocation between consumers and businesses. Director of Interactive Communications Social media is a key communications platform and Rick is the guy who gets the communications to you. He is passionate about utilizing social networks and the latest e-mail practices to provide the community the information they need, the way they want it!and more. The knowledge base of the industry as offered by theassociation is continually changing. The changes are validated as theknowledge is debated and vetted by the community to help createthe accepted practices, methodologies, training courses, certificationstandards, and terminology used within an industry.Associations reinvest in the membership and industry they serve.They go beyond providing a technology platform and a place togather; they take the information and knowledge that is shared andturn it into documentation that becomes the body of knowledge foran industry. Associations become an archive of work, a “genealogy”of ideas that trace the development of a function into a leading edgeprofession that can and does change the course of entire industries. Cheri BrunoEach association is unique in that it responds to the needs of its Director of Sales cbruno@ccapro.commembers. What may be appropriate for one industry or profession Cheri has been creating the most effective campaigns formay not necessarily adapt well to a different association. The vendors that highlight thought leadership and value forassociation is ultimately defined by its members. the communities they serve. A dedicated professional bringing customers and vendors together in ways that benefit both the vendor and the customer. Often seenAs we embark on the launch of an association focused on contact running through the streets of Boston, she has beencenter professionals, we are making a commitment to providing creating value for 20 years.the opportunities outlined above. We look forward to a mutuallybeneficial relationship as we encourage commitment from ourprofessionals—commitment at whatever level is right for you. Withyour help, we intend to build an association that will not only offeryou the professional development and support you need, but willalso offer many opportunities for you to participate in a communityof your peers in a profession that continues to grow in importance. Janette Rovansek Director of IT Peggy Libbey is the President and CEO of Redwood Collaborative Media with 10 years Janette has been in IT for 15 years and was responsibleexperience in professional association management. Prior to that, she was a certified for the systems at HDI for 8 years. Currently she headspublic accountant with 18 years experience in audit, tax preparation and various aspects up the team here at CCA and is the CRM and one personof business management consulting. Help Desk. She is often found smiling next to Abbie at conference registration and training events. CONTACTCENTERASSOCIATION.COM 19
  20. 20. A Brand World for C ontact Center Association, which launched October 1, 2010, is led by professionals who have over 100 years of combined experience in association management. We understand the challenges and what it takes for contact centers to be successful at providing exceptional customer experiences. It is our desire to provide that same exceptional experience to you. The association is a place where contact center professionals can share, network, learn and get involved. Our association is dependent on the community trusting us to offer the latest and greatest in content through our website, magazine, training, conferences and newsletters. The website offers podcasts, webcasts, white papers, a community blog and Knowledge Exchange Groups (KEGs). KEGs are peer-driven contact center opinion and research groups where you can ask questions, share information and collaborate with other professionals. Visit the site, join or start a KEG and make sure you peruse the wealth of knowledge in our other resources. Inbound magazine focuses on contact center operations and topics impacting the industry and practitioner. Editorial will address topics such as operational excellence, customer service, managing customer service data, best practices, career development, workforce management, ROI, budgeting, strategy and protecting brand reputation. The association also offers two primary newsletters: Queued In and CCA Insider. Both publications deliver content rich feature articles and CCA Insider also delivers community news. Visit our home page to subscribe to your publications of choice as well as to share the website with a friend, become a Facebook fan, join us on LinkedIn and follow us on Twitter. Often times, you will find special offers and discounts only available to those who join us on social media. There are many ways to receive the latest information and we encourage you to choose the method that works best for you. In addition to publication resources, we offer learning and networking opportunities through conferences and training. The first conference will be held on March 21-24, 2011 at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. Plan now to attend the conference packed with educational sessions thatI N B O U N D . N O V. D E C . 2 0 1 0
  21. 21. Meet the CCA Team THAT’S WANTEDContact Center Professionals by RichHAND will give you the tools you need to perform your daily responsibilities efficiently and effectively thereby enhancing your career. The in-depth training courses will officially kick-off in Spring 2011. Visit our site Rich Hand to view a current description of the courses and set your training Director of Membership & Publications budgets accordingly. Rich has 30 years of business experience and is most The most rewarding aspect of managing an association is that it is often found evangelizing the benefits of membership. always evolving. It evolves because we as people are always evolving, He spent 7 years at HDI and spends most of his day writing articles, creating webinars, and preparing and the profession is also continually evolving. Whether it is new content for the membership. methods and practices, or improved technology, we need to stay in tune with the changes in our industry. We serve as the one-stop resource for keeping up-to-date with industry changes and you will see our association add and change offerings to accommodate the demands. As a new organization, we understand that we will need to gain your trust, respect, and confidence. We will continue to reach out and invite you to participate on an advisory board, be a presenter at a conference or webinar, and we will provide you with a multitude of opportunities to showcase your expertise to the industry. We are here to improve your professional career which, in turn, improves the association’s reputation. It is a symbiotic relationship built on mutual trust, and vendor neutrality. Scott Hanson We do not endorse products but we engage all vendors to be thought Creative Director leaders and to sponsor activities within the community. We provide The most creative member of the CCA team, Scott spent 8 years creating for HDI. Every visual you encounter at CCA a resource about all of the pertinent information and available in our newsletters, magazine, and conferences was created technology to help the individual professional reach the best decision by this man. Most often can be found riding his Harley for their contact center. No one product or methodology is right for around the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. every organization, and we are here to serve the entire industry, not just a particular segment. We have found neutrality to be the best way to build trust and credibility. We acknowledge that there are many choices in the contact center industry. Our association believes that you are the reason we are in business. Therefore, we strive to build quality content that you will find helpful to your daily life. Whether you are looking for a white paper topic or a webcast to share with your organization, you can find it on our site. What makes our association unique is we collaborate with board members selected from the community who provide strategic advice regarding the changing shifts in the industry needs. The board members are practitioners who practice in contact Yvonne Hamilton centers worldwide and experience the successes and challenges Marketing Manager first-hand. With their input, every resource we provide is truly Yvonne is the newest member of the team but comes the latest and greatest in the industry. When you make the decision with a large repository of professional service marketing to download a webcast, podcast, attend our conferences or access experience. She can mostly be found combing through any other resource we offer, you can rest assured that it will be content and editing Rich’s writing to make sure he actually sounds like he knows what he’s talking about. a valuable resource. CONTACTCENTERASSOCIATION.COM 21
  22. 22. COMMONSENSE DISASTER PREPARATION for the Contact Center If ever there were a profession that needed to embrace Disaster recovery and business disaster planning, disaster recovery and business continuity planners think morbid continuity planning, it is those of us in the contact center/customer service world. No matter what thoughts so you don’t have to; specific business the contact center serves, it is likely that even the smallest contact centers (“small” is somewhat you should listen to them! arbitrary, but it is generally considered to be 50 seats or less) have to concern themselves with moving dozens of people in one or more directions, in a hurry and then rally them by BobLAST and transport them to a new facility with little disruption. In this article, we will explore some of the basics of disaster recovery and how contact center leaders can work with the DR/BCP staff. The United States Federal Government Legal Requirement Although many people do not know it, in the United States, there is a legal requirement dictated by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) called the OSHA General Duty Clause that states, “Each employer shall furnish to each of its employees a place of employment which is free from recognized hazards that are causing, or likely to cause, death or serious physical harm to its employees.” Programs and measures taken in Emergency Planning and Response must be “reasonable and prudent” which reflect compliance to standard practices; and demonstrate a “best- effort attempt” to protect employees and organizational interests. An ongoing implementation of generally accepted safety and emergency response principles and practices normally validates due diligence efforts. Organizational leaders must fulfill a mission of preparedness and response to protect the safety and health of its employees and its community. The organization’s program should also reflect a commitment to:22 I N B O U N D . N O V. D E C . 2 0 1 0
  23. 23. PREPARATION The outline of the response plan is: • Front cover-map or drawing of escape route and rally point; Emergency Hot Line number • Quick Reference Card for the following situations • Fire-Initial Discovery • Fire Alarm • Medical Emergencies • Unauthorized Personnel in the Area • Facilitate compliance with regulatory & safety requirements of United States federal, state & community agencies • Power Failure • Enhance the abilities of your organization to recover from potential losses, • Tornado/Severe Storm/ damages and business interruptions Hurricane/Earthquake • Enhance the organization’s image and credibility with employees, customers, suppliers and the community • Evacuation Procedures • Reduce the potential exposure to civil and criminal liability in the event • Severe Illness of an incident. • Bomb ThreatWhat OSHA Requires an Organization’s Employees to Know • Bomb Threat ChecklistWhen an emergency event occurs, there is no time to take a refresher course • Workplace Violence Responseon the proper procedures to follow. An employee’s response to an emergencycondition should be automatic and based on clear communication and thorough • Responsibilitiestraining (hence, the reason for those monthly fire drills, role plays or rehearsals).The main requirements for a DR/BCP plan must communicate the following • Building Incident Commanderinformation to employees: • Building Management/Security1. How to report an emergency situation, accident or incident • Floor Warden2. What to do when an alarm or emergency notification is issued • Assistant Floor Warden3. The employees responsibilities for shutting down operations or systems in order to avoid making a bad situation worse • Departmental Managers4. Where to find fire extinguishers and first-aid equipment • Protection Manager5. How to alert others to evacuate the area • Important Telephone Numbers6. The location of emergency exits, and how to reach them quickly and in an orderly fashion • Local Police7. The assigned point for assembling after evacuating the hazard area(the rally • Local Fire Department point), so that the whereabouts and safety of all employees can be properly accounted for (a designated person must perform this function).1 • Local Power Company • Local FBI OfficeUser’s Guide to the Emergency Response PlanHow this information is communicated varies, of course, but a very common • Meeting Point for Lawapproach is to distribute to all employees a user’s guide to the emergency plan Enforcement or Emergencyfor the organization. This user’s guide should be short, six pages in a tri-fold Respondersconfiguration (21cm x 12cm or 8.5 .in x It is usually printed on yellow • Alternate Meeting Placecardstock and should be visible at all times in the employee’s office or cubicle. • Nearest Exit From My Desk1. Adapted from the Cleveland State University Division of Continuing Education course, “Organizational Recovery,” Carolyn Carlson, February 22, 2006, page 8. CONTACTCENTERASSOCIATION.COM 23