Friday, December 19, 2014

Monet Workforce Optimization Honored Twice in 2014

Monet Software picked up a little hardware during 2014, with two contact center awards from TMC.

Back in March, Monet WFO Live: Workforce Optimization in the Cloud was selected as a 2014 Product of the Year for exceptional innovation, by TMC’s CUSTOMER magazine.

And last month, WFO Live was designated as a finalist for the 2014 Customer Experience Innovation Award, presented by the same publication.

In this season of good will, we would like to express our appreciation to all of those that helped make this happen. Thank you to our customers that trusted in Monet, and thank you to all of the managers, supervisors and agents that use Monet software on a daily basis.

We would also like to thank all of our employees for their hard work and dedication. As we look back on the achievements of 2014, they inspire us to work even harder in 2015 and beyond to continue providing the best contact center solutions to meet the needs of our clients.

Monday, December 15, 2014

What are your Contact Center Resolutions for 2015?

Even if New Year’s Resolutions aren’t always kept, they should be attempted. At the very least, they focus our attention on the areas of our lives that require the most improvement.

That same philosophy can be applied to your contact center as well. As 2015 approaches, where could your business get better? And what will be required to bring about a positive change?

If we were to survey a number of contact centers of all sizes and types, these are the resolutions we’d be most likely to hear.

1. Improve the accuracy of forecasts and schedules
Is it time for a change from spreadsheets to an automated workforce management (WFM) solution?

2. Improve adherence tracking
Tracking adherence at the end of a shift or a day is a missed opportunity to correct any issues more quickly. Such improved tracking is practically impossible with just a spreadsheet.

3. Improve quality monitoring
A call recording system is invaluable. But call recording software without integrated quality monitoring is not helping contact centers make the most of the technology.

4. Getting data in real-time
Spot-checking schedule adherence can be beneficial, but without the real-time tracking provided by WFM there is a much higher risk of over/under staffing, shrinkage and missed service levels.

5. Key metric alerts

Through real-time alerts of call center metrics such as average handle time, abandoned calls and first call resolution, agents and managers gain the data necessary to address the most important customer service issues.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Best of Performance Management 2014

The primary objective of performance management is to improve overall business efficiency in the contact center. Of course, this is easier said than done, but Monet has been proud to provide tips on improving your performance management efforts throughout 2014. Here are 5 of the most popular posts on this important

1. Finding the Optimum Metrics and Reports
Do you have the right performance reports and metrics in your contact center?

2. Performance Metrics and Agent Incentives
Incentives for call center agents are great – every employee likes to feel appreciated – but do you have the metrics to determine which agents are most deserving of special recognition?

3. It’s 11am – Do you Know What your Customer Service Agents are Doing?
Proactive performance management takes the guesswork out of knowing what your agents are doing, and how well they are doing it. Monet Metrics takes the guesswork out of performance management.

4. 12 Tips to Ramp Up Contact Center Performance
A good contact center manager is always looking for new and innovative ways to improve customer service and performance. Here are 12 tips that might be helpful. 

5. Planning Contact Center PTO (Paid Time Off) Made Easy
It’s the manager’s job to make every minute count in the contact center, and that’s a challenge when dealing with different schedules and constantly evolving exceptions. That makes PTO requests even more difficult, even if they are presented a week or more in advance.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Best of Call Recording 2014

Call centers may be contact centers now, but surveys show that the majority of customer first-contacts with any company are still via telephone. How those calls are handled is critical to a company’s success.
Call recording is one of the best ways to make certain that your agents are handling calls quickly, efficiently, politely, and within the guidelines of your business. This is software that should play a key role in how a contact center meets its customer service goals and how well agents perform their duties.

We have discussed the finer points of call recording throughout 2014. Here are some of our more popular posts on the subject.

1. Is Your Contact Center PCI Compliant?
Call recording security measures must be made in accordance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). These rules encompass privacy, access control and network security.

2. Why Record Customer Calls?
An OrecX blog post details the many ways in which contact centers use recorded calls, and how it improves both customer service and agent performance.

3. Does your Call Recording System Provide Quality Monitoring?
Call recording software without integrated quality monitoring is like buying a Ferrari and never going faster than 30 mph – you’re not making the most of the technology at your disposal.

4. Cost Comparison of Call Center Recording Software
While there are a number of ways to compare and contrast how call recording solutions perform, the one that may be a determining factor for most businesses is cost.

5. Call Recording Health Check for your Call Center
There may be ways to augment your call recording capabilities to provide even more benefits to your agents and your customers. These questions should help you determine if your call recording solution is being used to its fullest potential.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Best of Quality Monitoring in 2014

Call recording with integrated quality monitoring offers a valuable reference tool for determining which agents are doing well, which are missing key components of their customer interaction, and which need additional training.

If you missed any of these 2014 posts about quality monitoring, here’s another chance to review them.

1. Five Reasons (Plus one) to use Screen Recording

Screen recording, which captures both audio and video of each agent’s desktop, isn’t as widely used as call recording alone – but more contact centers are discovering the efficiency improvements and quality monitoring benefits that can be derived from this technology.

2. Five Tips for More Effective Quality Monitoring
Contact center quality monitoring begins with establishing goals, then creating a plan for achieving them.

3. Five Tips to Boost Quality and Performance in your Contact Center
The objective of boosting contact center performance is an ongoing one. While you may have weekly or monthly meetings with agents and managers to explore what is working and what needs attention, these are issues that should be part of your focus every working day.

4. Quality Scorecards for Call Centers: How Do They Work?

Find out more about what makes an effective quality monitoring scorecard.

5. What is Quality Monitoring for Call Centers?
There are plenty of blogs and whitepapers delving into the benefits of quality monitoring and its challenges, but few seem interested in clarifying the term before diving into their talking points.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Quality Management in 2014: Success, or Time to Start Over?

“Quality,” that elusive attribute for which a contact center strives, can sometimes be as hard to achieve as it is to define.

But maintaining quality is critical in every aspect of a company’s operation, and especially in the contact center where thousands of people have their first experience with how a company treats its customers. A positive impression can lead to a long and profitable relationship; a bad one can end it before it has a chance to start.

If you have a quality management program, the end of the year is a good time to review the results, and assess whether it has achieved its goals, or if changes are necessary. If you don’t yet have a quality management program, this is also the right time to think about putting one in place.

Whether the objective is to start a program or refine an existing one, here are a few questions that will help achieve better results.

What are the goals of the program?
Clearly define your contact center quality monitoring goals, which should be based largely on what your customers deem as necessary to excellent service delivery. You can discover the specifics of what your customers want through feedback from agents and operations teams, as well as customer satisfaction surveys.

Is everyone on the same page?
Sometimes contact center performance metrics and quality guidelines get in each other’s way. Clear expectations should be set based on customer experience. If a metric like average handle time has to occasionally be set aside so an agent can spend a few more moments and keep a customer, such actions should not only be allowed, but encouraged. Also, check that your quality associates are scoring employees the same way, so the program remains consistent and repeatable.

Are you working with sufficient data?
It’s important to monitor a large enough sample to ensure quality for individuals and the group as a whole. And make sure your quality management efforts extend beyond the telephone and encompass the work that agents to on their computers as well. Agents must be accurate with their after-call work in order to avoid a repeat call with an angry customer.

Have you set performance goals and rewarded achievement?

Institute specific performance goals – and make sure they are the right goals – then hold agents accountable for their achievement. Reward outstanding employees for their performance, so they know their work is appreciated. A financial bonus is always welcome, but make sure their work is also recognized within the company, so it serves as a positive example for other agents to follow.

Are you starting with agents from day one?
Contact centers experience a lot of employee turnover. Because of that, managers sometimes have to play catch-up just to maintain adequate staffing. But quality management relies on agents that are qualified and well trained from day one, and are familiar with the role they must play in the business. It’s not just about answering phones – it’s engaging with each customer, empathizing with their situation, and having the knowledge to answer questions and the right temperament to work through difficult situations.

Who monitors the monitors?
Quality audits will provide accountability and a standard of performance management for your quality team. But this will only happen if your quality monitoring team, those responsible for call analysis and agent coaching and feedback, are also being audited regularly.

Are you testing before implementation?
When launching a quality management program, or making changes to an existing program, a “pilot phase” is recommended before rolling out these efforts to the entire organization. This will help identify potential issues, and allow you to make adjustments before the full launch of your program.

Do you have the right technology in place?

Of all the questions that should be asked about establishing or maintaining a quality management program, this could be the most important. Measuring quality manually is long and arduous process, that is made much more efficient when relevant data is accurately compiled and analyzed automatically.

The most effective way to measure contact center quality is call monitoring. By listening to a statistically valid sample of customer telephone interactions and scoring them against various criteria, companies can learn if their agents are performing effectively, and ensure that the agents most in need of coaching actually get it.

And yet, many contact centers have still not implemented an automated call monitoring solution, and are thus not gathering the measurable metrics that can only be garnered through effective call monitoring and evaluation.

Before selecting a technology solution, or launching any quality assurance effort, three additional questions should be asked:

1. Will it improve agent performance?

2. Will the data we collect improve efficiency?

3. Will our call center monitoring solution protect us from a legal challenge?

Choose the Right Call Monitoring Software

Without the right software, a quality assurance program is going to struggle. Monitoring of customer interactions should be simple for agents, and the intelligence gathered through the system should be easy to analyze for managers. Also, consider future growth – the software you select should be able to grow with your company, and meet your needs not only today but tomorrow.

Establish and Follow Best Practices

Call monitoring software is a tool that can provide great benefits to a call center, but will only pay dividends when used consistently to help that call center follow the proper procedures and meet the standards set for agents and managers. Every capability of the software, from call assessment and playback to evaluation questionnaires and reporting, should be utilized toward this goal. 

Secure Storage

Calls are saved so they can be recalled later, either for training purposes or to help settle a customer concern or legal matter. Use call monitoring software to automatically capture and secure all audio transactions. Monitoring software should also be used in a way that is consistent with federal government and respective industry guidelines on call recording.

Strategic planning is the key to success in quality management.  These questions will allow you to take a closer look at your program and make changes based on the needs of your business in 2015 and beyond.

Monday, November 24, 2014

What You’re Missing Without Speech Analytics

Speech Analytics Dashboard
Call monitoring is essential for a number of customer service initiatives, from quality assurance and script compliance to measuring an agent’s performance vs. KPIs.

However, call monitoring without speech analytics provides only part of the data necessary to get the most from your agents. And if recent industry surveys are to be believed, there’s still work to be done in this area. Just seven percent of consumers reported that their experience dealing with companies exceeded their expectations. And more than 1 out of every 4 on average reported being transferred between agents, and still not having their issue resolved.

How can speech analytics improve these disappointing numbers? By providing additional insight into how agents do their jobs, call after call, day after day. Without that insight, developing effective training programs based on prioritized needs becomes more difficult.

Merging call recording with speech analytics can significantly boost lead conversion rates, as well as increase customer retention levels. At the same time, it’s a way to be 100% assured that agents are always in compliance with federal and industry regulations.

Studies show that a 10% increase in customer retention levels equates to a 30% increase in company value. Any opportunity to add or keep customers that is not acknowledged is one that, in effect, ignores potential sales and profits. With speech analytics, contact centers are assured of gathering all of the valuable data contained in every incoming call.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Do You Really Know What Customers are Saying?

Your contact center agents spend the majority of their time every day speaking with your customers. Sure, that means they hear what is being said, but does your business have the tools in place to analyze their comments and questions, and use this data to improve customer interaction and agent performance?

Call recording and monitoring is a good place to start. But with speech analytics, you’re adding another dimension to your call recording solution. Speech analytics digs a little deeper into content, identifying patterns and key words and phrases that can help to further refine customer service efforts.

Once the data generated is reviewed, managers can adjust agent scripts accordingly, and provide better answers to handle questions and concerns that are occurring more frequently.

Yes, this is something that might be addressed through call recording alone. Attentive agents can make note of recurring themes in calls, or provide a description of the caller’s demeanor during the call. But with this method, changes can only be made after the fact.

Today’s speech analytics software automates the search process for important words and phrases, and provides automated alerts when certain issues or opportunities arise. The faster these issues are addressed, the better the customer service.

It’s also fair to say that even the most qualified, experienced agents cannot mine each call for relevant data in real time. It’s simply more efficient to automate this practice so calls are instantly categorized by purpose and/or outcome, while the agent is clear to focus only on delivering a positive engagement. 

By combining the more precise capabilities of speech analytics, such as keyword spotting, with a more general review of how customers and agents speak with each other, a contact center is better equipped to proactively solve issues before they can impact the company.

Friday, November 14, 2014

What Traits are Most Important in a Contact Center Agent?

The hiring of new contact center agents is a critical task that can make a profound impact on the efficiency of your business, and the level of service your customers receive.

Chances are you already have a system in place for interviewing prospective agents. But are you sure you are looking for the qualities that are most important? If you find a candidate with these five skills, odds are he or she will become an asset to your contact center.

1. Quick Thinking
The agent will have a script to work from, but prepared statements will not cover every caller’s question or complaint. The best agents are those that react quickly and decisively to solve problems.

2. Clear Communication
When managers assess communication skills, the focus is usually on the speaking voice. Can this potential agent communicate clearly? Does he or she speak with intelligence in a pleasing voice, without a lot of hesitations and “ums” and “ahs”? But as call centers have evolved into contact centers, and agents may be required to engage customers on other channels, managers should also test a candidate’s written skills – particularly spelling and communicating ideas in complete but concise sentences.

3. Technology
How familiar is the potential agent with various technology platforms? How quickly will he or she become acclimated to the programs and software in your contact center?

4. Product Knowledge
There will always be a learning curve for new agents as they become educated on the products or services your company offers. But it is important that an agent grasp the essentials quickly. That may require homework – is your candidate willing to put in the time?

5. Personality
Agents don’t have to be happy or outgoing all the time to be successful. But the job interview is the time to assess an applicant’s manners, temperament and ability to empathize with the customers he or she may be assisting every day – these qualities are essential. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Monet WFO Live Receives Customer Experience Innovation Honor

Monet WFO Live - Workforce Optimization in the Cloud has been named a finalist for the 2014 Customer Experience Innovation Award presented by TMC’s CUSTOMER magazine. The award recognizes best-in-class companies setting the standard in delivering exceptional customer experiences.

It’s always rewarding to be recognized, especially when it comes from such a prestigious source. The TMC website is read by more than 1.5 million business and contact center professionals every month, and their publications, such as CUSTOMER, are as close to an official publication as this industry has.

CUSTOMER has been around since 1982. The contact center industry was much different back then and, today more than at any other time, it is technology that drives efficiency and customer service. So it’s especially gratifying to have our technology singled out for the contribution it makes at contact centers of all sizes and types.

Monet WFO Live  is a complete suite for call centers to automate workforce management, call recording, quality assurance and agent analytics. Call centers can quickly and easily optimize all aspects of their workforce with one affordable solution, resulting in better utilization of resources, better cost management and improved service levels.

Awards are great, but it’s the feedback from our customers that means the most. We know the difference that WFO Live is making in contact center efficiency because you have told us with your calls and emails.

If you haven’t discovered the benefits of WFO Live, find out more here.