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2016

Gamification is quickly becoming a powerful force throughout the business world. A recent study from MarketsandMarkets, the global gamification market is on pace to reach $11 billion by 2020, which represents a massive compound annual growth rate of 46.3 percent during this period.Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 4.png

 

These tools and strategies can be deployed in a wide variety of ways. One of the most exciting, and potentially powerful, examples of this trend is gamification in the contact center. With gamification, contact centers can see improvements in terms of revenue generation, efficiency and more. However, these results depend entirely on deploying gamification resources and tactics in a well-considered, strategic way.

 

Understanding gamification's benefits

Speaking to ITWeb, industry expert Graeme Gabriel explained that gamification works by taking advantages of the things which genuinely and naturally motivate employees. By incorporating game-like tactics into the workplace, contact center leaders can make their agents' tasks more engaging and fun, leading to better results.

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 4.23.29 PM.pngGabriel pointed out that any sort of reward program, such as an Employee of the Month award, represents a form of gamification.  While gamification can be greatly enhanced with the use of automated scoring solutions or gamification software, you don’t require sophisticated technologies to get started.  Begin simple, posting leader boards or implementing a traveling trophy for teams with the best performance, as Pershing LLC implemented with their Quality Cup.

 

"By using the processes around game mechanics and experience design, and incorporating the right technology, contact centers can now digitally engage and motivate agents to achieve their own, as well as the organization's goals," Gabriel said, according to the source.

 

Another industry expert, Jed Hewson, told ITWeb that gamification is particularly valuable as a means of appealing to millennials' unique sensibilities.

 

"Gamification solutions are designed to appeal to the culture of a younger generation and engage agents in a way that allows them to achieve recognition and rewards whilst achieving company key performance indicators targets," said Hewson, ITWeb reported.

 

He added that these strategies can deliver real-time performance feedback to agents, which helps to make workers feel appreciated and understand their value to the company.

 

Getting gamification right

With all that being said, though, it's important to recognize that gamification's impact will depend entirely on how well or poorly the solutions are implemented in a given contact center.

 

There are a number of factors to consider here. One is whether and how to leverage competition. As is the case with an Employee-of-the-Month system, competition can help to bring out the best in workers. In the contact center, this can take the form of individual rewards and recognition for agents who succeed in many different categories - fastest call resolution completion, most upsells, most satisfied customers and so on.

 

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Gamification can also be used to encourage team-building. Agents in the contact center can be broken into teams, which can then be rewarded if they collectively achieve various metric-defined goals.

 

It's also important to recognize that gamification can be used for training purposes, as Data Informed contributor Scott Buchanan noted. He pointed out that formal training for contact center agents is usually a fairly time-consuming process, using up valuable company hours.

 

What's more, agent turnover is a frequent problem for contact centers, meaning that training has to occur very frequently. That's a serious drain on the contact center's bottom line.

 

Buchanan explained that gamification can make training more efficient and satisfying. For example, the contact center can set up benchmarks for understanding product documentation or achieving customer satisfaction. When a new employee hits these goals - as measured by contact center software - the agent can receive a "badge" or other mark of accomplishment. Striving to hit these goals will effectively motivate the employee to move through the training process more quickly and more independently than would be possible otherwise.

 

How is your company leveraging gamification?

Collections contact centers and Accounts Receivables Management (ARM) firms face a constant challenge: staying compliant and up to date with new rules and regulations.  On top of that, collections agents are under pressure to maximize compliance payments and increase recovery rates, promise to pay ratios, and more.debt-collection.png

 

Fortunately, speech analytics for collections can help by analyzing thousands of hours of recorded calls, resulting in improved compliance, better agent performance, and increased company revenue.  The following is a look at how collection analytics drives improved call center performance overall.

 

[FULL BLOG POST]

 

This post originally appeared on CallMiner.

By this point, it's no longer controversial or even surprising to suggest that the contact center should do more than handle customer phone calls. Instead, companies are starting to use their contact centers to handle client issues across a broad range of channels and focus more on generating revenue through upsells.

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Yet while many companies have seen their contact center capabilities and goals expand, one of the biggest potential sources of value here often goes underutilized: customer intelligence gathering. It's not that businesses aren't using their contact centers for this purpose - it's that they could be doing much more, and gaining far more value from their customer engagement efforts as a result.

 

An emerging trend

First and foremost, it should be noted that leveraging speech analytics in order to gather customer insight is not exactly a new development. As early as 2012, industry expert Daniel Ziv told Data Informed, "[C]ompanies realize that the call center can be a place where customers express their frustration before they speak out on social media. So now, it's evolved to use analytics to look for broader, emerging trends. This is rich data to correlate what our detractors or promoters are telling us."

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 12.04.44 PM.pngNaturally, this trend has only gained steam. But the fact of the matter is that the use of speech analytics in the contact center for these purposes is still underdeveloped. A study from MarketsandMarkets found that the global speech analytics market was worth $456 million in 2014 - a figure that seems truly small when you consider how much value these tools can offer to companies when deployed in both the contact center and beyond. That same study predicted that the speech analytics market would expand quickly and steadily at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 24 percent, reaching $1.3 billion by 2019.

 

This means that the solutions are moving more into the mainstream, but they aren't there yet. And this doesn't speak at all to the way that call center analytics are actually being utilized.

 

Customer insight needed

This leads to the key point: Many contact centers have not yet made the move to utilize speech analytics for customer insight gathering.

 

Instead, many organizations focus on using these tools as a means of cutting costs, improving internal operations and examining agent performance levels. All of these are obviously valuable in their own right, but they shouldn't distract from the potential for customer intelligence that contact center analytics have to offer.

 

With analytics, companies can gain a more in-depth, nuanced understanding of exactly what makes their clients happy or upset than would be possible through any other means. The same is also true when it comes to customers' needs and wants, their responses to the company brand, how they feel about specific promotions and, perhaps most importantly of all, why they leave.

 

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All of this can become much clearer through high-quality speech analytics software. Customers will reveal a tremendous amount of information through their word choices and phrasing, but the best of this insight only becomes apparent through software-empowered analysis. A questionnaire or feedback survey will mine some information about customers' attitudes, but these resources are far less reliable or accurate.

 

With a broad scope, speech analytics in the contact center has the potential to yield customer insight, which in turn impacts company-wide strategic efforts. Marketing and sales tactics will evolve and improve with this new degree of intelligence, as will customer service itself. To experience such benefits, though, organizations need to have the right resources in place, as well as the commitment to maximizing contact center analytics' value.

 

What steps does your company take to gather customer intelligence?

While there is no one-size-fits all speech analytics definition, it’s important to review the key advantages of the technology in order to find the right solution for your company.  Speech analytics solutions monitor and analyze conversations between agents and customers, resulting in – among other benefits – better customer service, reduced customer attrition, and an improved customer experience overall.call-center-agents-on-headsets.png

 

To shed light on the various definitions of speech analytics – and how your company can best leverage the technology to its advantage – we’ve compiled a list of expert opinions from leaders in the call center industry, including Call Centre Helper, Call Center IQ, CRMXchange, and others.

 

What is your organization’s speech analytics definition?  What expert opinions would you add to our list?

 

[FULL BLOG POST]

 

This post originally appeared on CallMiner.

Speech analytics may have been around since 2002, but that doesn’t mean that organizations are leveraging its full potential in today’s increasingly competitive and customer-centric marketplace.pit-bull-customer-service-representative.png

 

The problem is that, for many organizations, speech analytics is still a relatively unknown technology.  Forty-three percent of companies do not yet know what speech analytics really is or how it can benefit their business, according to Smart Customer Service.

 

To clear up questions many companies may have about speech analytics technology, CallMiner compiled a list of speech analytics facts some years ago.  The following is a look at 5 more things companies may not understand about speech analytics, updated based on key trends in the industry as well as predictions for the future:

 

[FULL BLOG POST]

 

This post originally appeared on CallMiner.

NPS® is a routine question used in customer feedback surveys. Nearly everyone has seen it: How likely is it that you would recommend us to a friend?

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This question assumes that customers think in terms of their likelihood to recommend companies—but all too often, it’s not realistic, and it’s not how people think.

 

For instance, say a traveler rents a car. Recommending that car rental company to a friend later on—unless something truly extraordinary happened—just isn’t something most people would do. Furthermore, if a customer has already seen a question many times before, they’re unlikely to engage with the question and give it its due. They may even find your customer feedback survey annoying.

 

If you want powerful insights, don’t use generic stock questions that your customers have seen countless times before. The problem with “me too” questions is that they come across as if you don’t really care and you’re not really listening.

 

Here’s what customer feedback questions should do. They should be engaging, dynamic, and thoughtful. They should invite your customers to voice their true feelings. For example:

 

• “What would have made your experience better?”

• “What words come to mind when you think of our company?”

• “Who do you see as our main competitor? What do they do better?”

 

These questions recognize the contextual nature of experiences, and that your company doesn’t exist in a vacuum. In this way, they are more intellectually honest and therefore encourage customers to pause, think, and give honest answers.

 

Another way to break the NPS® routine is to apply adaptive logic so that your survey uncovers who the customer is, their situation, and the specific touchpoints they interacted with. An Interaction Thinking™ approach recognizes that your survey can and should add value for both you and your customers. Repetitive "me-too" surveys are out. Personalized, relevant interactions are in. Break your usual customer feedback routine. Give value and you’ll get value. Dare to interact. Show your customers you care.

 

Try a Free Net Promoter Mini-Audit. We’ll tell you if the Net Promoter question is right for you.

If you're a contact center decision-maker and you aren't yet familiar with machine learning, then now is the time to dive into the subject. Machine learning isn't exactly a new technology, but its impact is poised to skyrocket in the contact center - not just in 2016, but in the years to come, as well.Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 1.png

 

What makes machine learning so invaluable here? To understand that, you first need to recognize how the technology works and what opportunities that opens up in the contact center.

 

Understanding machine learning

First things first: What is machine learning?

 

Machine learning is, basically, a form of artificial intelligence. Computer programs examine data and use the insights they discover to improve their analytics capabilities. Over time, and with more data exposure, machine learning can deliver increasingly valuable results.

 

Machine learning is already playing a large and growing role in the business landscape. Dharmesh Thakker, a general partner with Battery Ventures, told Xconomy that machine learning has already significantly advanced the field of cybersecurity, helping companies keep their data and other digital assets safe from cyberattacks. Recently, researchers at MIT developed a method of using machine learning to correct errors in buggy code, enabling firms to improve their application offerings, InfoWorld reported. And Susan Athey, a professor in the economics of technology at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, told Forbes that machine learning "will have an enormous impact" on economics in the short run.

 

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     Machine learning is having a wide-ranging impact.

 

Machine learning in the contact center

So how does machine learning fit into the contact center?

 

As Contact Center Analytics Review contributor Michelle Amodio explained, machine learning is related to, but distinct from, data mining. The two technologies have similar methodologies, but different results. Specifically, Amodio noted that machine learning can provide a boost to predictive analytics and real-time decision-making.

 

"Machine learning can help navigate the many channels that customers use to contact the companies they choose to do business with," Amodio wrote. "In terms of social media, customer service and marketing teams can use the knowledge gained from machine learning analytics and respond to customers using the channel of their choice and to structure their brand response and digital customer care strategies at scale."

 

This can have two key impacts on the contact center. First, with the guidance that machine learning provides, contact center personnel will be able to resolve customer issues more quickly and effectively, driving down the attrition rate.

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 1.51.47 PM.pngSecond, machine learning can provide a boost to contact center revenue, as ICMI contributor Richard Craib explained. The writer went on to detail how, in 2014, his organization started to apply machine learning to call center lead lists as a means of identifying new sales opportunities. As a result, call center sales shot up 36 percent. Best of all, Craib noted that leveraging machine learning in this capacity isn't difficult or time-consuming to implement.

 

All of this makes it clear why machine learning is poised to see its popularity grow among businesses in general and in the contact center in particular, in the coming year and beyond.

 

What are your company's plans to leverage machine learning in 2016?

When utilized effectively, call analytics can have a big impact on a company's bottom line.

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If you're reading this blog post, then odds are that you're at least somewhat familiar with call analytics. These solutions are gaining traction in contact centers across the country as decision-makers come to recognize the benefits the technology has to offer. In most cases, businesses are embracing call analytics in order to either enjoy cost savings or achieve and maintain compliance.

 

Those are certainly compelling arguments in favor of call analytics adoption, and it makes sense that so many organization leaders are eager to see those advantages in their own companies.

 

But there's another powerful benefit to call analytics adoption, one which should be driving more deployment efforts than it currently does: the potential to generate revenue. When utilized effectively, call analytics can have a big impact on a company's bottom line.

 

Revenue potential

Call center analytics is all about using contact center data to deliver insights that would otherwise be impossible to detect. This can lead to revenue generation in a number of key ways.

 

Probably the single biggest reason why this technology is so effective for revenue generation is because it allows for a detailed examination of agent success stories.

 

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Analytics identifies successful tactics with confidence.

 

Take, for example, a contact center focused on debt collections. Obviously, some of these calls are bound to be successful while others will not have the desired result. The goal for any manager or decision-maker in this environment will be to develop strategies that help agents thrive in their jobs.

 

In the past, this would require a lot of guess work. With analytics, though, contact center leaders can gain a clear, detailed view of precisely what occurred on the more successful calls - including the exact words and syntax used by the agent in question, the progression of the call and much more. With a detailed analysis of these factors, contact center leaders can identify the granular strategies and steps that prove most effective for their specific business model. There's no need to rely on unreliable observations - the hard data is absolute.

 

The same holds true for successful upsells, as well. Analytics will reveal what tactics worked most effectively, allowing agents throughout the contact center to subsequently mimic this behavior.

 

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Shortcut through training

That gets at one of the other reasons why analytics is such a powerful force for revenue generation in the contact center. Countless contact centers have struggled with high agent attrition rates, as that results in lost agent experience and expertise. Training new employees to reach this same level of salesmanship and/or collection abilities is time-consuming and costly.

 

Analytics identifies the best strategies, without the need for months or years of experience and training. The technology essentially works like a shortcut, enabling workers to utilize the best revenue-generating tactics immediately, rather than learning them the hard way.

 

The advantages here are so great that they should encourage more organizations to embrace analytics specifically for the revenue generation opportunities, with improved cost-efficiency and compliance seen as major additional benefits.

 

How is your company generating revenue in the contact center?

Customers today have increasingly high expectations – in fact, more than half of consumers have higher expectations for customer service now than they did one year ago – and it’s up to companies to provide them with the types of experiences they’re hoping to have.customer-service-metrics.png

 

Not meeting customer expectations can result in customer churn and can impact customer loyalty, in addition to a company’s brand and reputation. Organizations simply can’t afford bad customer experiences, as 76% of customers consider customer service a test of their value to a brand.

 

So how can companies ensure they’re providing the remarkable service that customers are expecting in today’s market? This post provides critical customer service metrics that organizations should implement to ensure they are equipped to offer the best possible service to their customers.

 

[FULL BLOG POST]

 

This post originally appeared on CallMiner.

The value of retaining customers cannot be overstated, and reducing customer churn is an area where analytics shines. Indeed, if necessity is the mother of invention, then analytics is the mother of retention.

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Dave Patchen, my partner at MainTrax, has worked with dozens of clients on closing sales, capitalizing on up-selling opportunities, and analyzing marketing effectiveness, but he says that for many organizations, retention is the holy grail of speech analytics. “It’s rather tedious to reverse-engineer calls to discover predictable indicators of customer frustration and language patterns that identify silent switchers,” he says. “But if you devote the time to review calls that took place upstream, you’ll find that the customer provided clear churn signals early on.”

 

Patchen’s advice for anyone who wants to reduce churn? Take the time to connect the dots, then reach out immediately to callers whom your speech tool identifies as customers at risk before they call you again to say they have already committed themselves to another provider. Every customer you retain may be worth thousands of dollars in future revenue and replacement cost savings.

 

Despite clear evidence that speech analytics can deliver enormous value to marketing, I continue to be surprised at how few contact centers pay attention to “the people across the hall.” Part of the problem lies with speech analytics vendors who focus their demos primarily on improving customer experience and agent performance.  I understand as churn applications can be complex and time consuming. Another factor is simply human nature; operations people tend to be laser-focused on operations and only operations.

 

Foresight, big-picture thinking, and consensus building is required to peel back the layers of potential churn applications to ensure that retention departments—and consequently the entire organization—can benefit from the actionable business intelligence produced by speech analytics.

 

 

 

About MainTrax

MainTrax is a leading provider of speech analytics professional services and managed services to end users and industry partners. Free of allegiance to any one solution or supplier, MainTrax has earned a reputation as an independent, unbiased resource for consulting expertise across a variety of products and providers.

 

About Scott Bakken

Founder and President of MainTrax, is an independent voice of the speech analytics industry.

 

Scott Bakken

scott@maintrax.com

www.maintrax.com

612-817-4090

When applied effectively, journey analytics can provide insight into customer behavior and attitudes across every channel, which in turn can lead to more data-driven decision-making in the contact center and beyond.Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 3.png

 

For any company to thrive in the realm of customer service, it needs to understand its clients. The more extensive and refined the firm's knowledge of its customers, the better the company will be able to address current issues and anticipate potential problems down the road.

 

That much is obvious. What's less clear is how organizations can best go about improving their understanding of their clients.

 

This is what makes journey analytics such a valuable - and underappreciated - tool for customer service. When applied effectively, journey analytics can provide insight into customer behaviors and attitudes across every channel, which in turn can lead to more data-driven decision-making in the contact center and beyond.

 

Cross-channel focus

So what exactly is journey analytics? Essentially, journey analytics is focused on viewing all customer interactions across every channel, and then measuring key performance indicators for customer satisfaction at all of these touch points.

 

This is a marked contrast to many companies' current approaches to customer analytics. Instead of collecting and examining data across every stage of the client journey into a single, coherent view, firms continue to rely on siloed analytics. Firms may have a specific solution focusing on call analytics while separately utilizing social analytics and analytics based on texts, emails or SMS. Without a unified strategy, the value these solutions will provide is limited.

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 3.54.27 PM.pngYet cross-channel analytics remains uncommon. A recent Forrester Research survey of corporate customer experience professionals found that only 18 percent said cross-channel analytics would receive attention at their firms in the near future, 1to1Media reported.

 

To a certain degree, this low figure is due to the fact that many firms have not yet developed omnichannel capabilities whatsoever, as Meme Burn contributor Deon Scheepers pointed out.

 

 

Opportunities ahead

Still, though, there's no denying that journey analytics remains a possibility for countless companies that have yet to embrace this strategy. Fortunately, that presents major opportunities for firms that have indeed launched journey analytics solutions or will do so in the coming year.

 

"Once the organization is equipped to engage across multiple digital channels in a seamless way, it is positioned to start gathering a wealth of data around the customer, their preferences, the customer journey from first engagement to purchase and what makes the customer more or less inclined to buy," Scheepers wrote.

 

Journey analytics has particular value for the contact center space. Scheepers emphasized that cross-channel analytics can offer everything from more accurate agent performance assessments to better call volume forecasting to superior measurements of outbound campaigns' effectiveness.

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Journey analytics has tremendous value in the contact center.

 

Critically, journey analytics can and should account for self-service channels, as well. After all, these measures are becoming increasingly popular across virtually every industry, and insight into customer behavior in this area will prove invaluable to optimizing such efforts.

 

In 2016, omnichannel customer service will move increasingly into the mainstream. To make the most of this trend, companies need insight into customer touchpoints across every medium throughout the life of the customer relationship. And that's exactly what journey analytics has to offer.

 

What are your plans for journey analytics this year?

 

As recent research shows, the U.S. call center industry is alive and well.  According to the data, the industry saw a total of 22,265 new positions added in Q3 2015, minus 5,678 jobs that were cut due to force reductions and closures.best-practices.png

 

What this means is there’s an imperative for call centers to drive operational performance excellence in order to remain competitive in the industry.  Not doing so risks losing valuable customers and call center talent in an industry that’s already known for high agent attrition rates.

 

But the question is: How?

 

The following is a look at 4 call center best practices that can help to retain top talent and provide for an improved experience for customers:

 

Evaluate Agents During the Interview Process

 

Agents are at the heart of any call center, considering they’re on the front lines of customer interaction.  As such, it’s important to hire talent that will represent the company in a positive manner, motivate other agents, and drive performance that will make a difference in business growth.

 

Call Centre Helper recommends instituting a “competency-based approach” to interviewing, which involves running an assessment center for new recruits.  In essence, this structured interview process allows a group of candidates to work through tasks and assessments; it also gives those in charge of hiring the opportunity to select the best performers in the group and train them together to become new call center agents.

 

Leverage Call Monitoring & Scoring

 

Following the agent interview and selection process, managers should be keyed into how best to facilitate ongoing agent support, growth, and training.  Quality monitoring solutions such as speech analytics automatically monitor and score 100% of calls, helping managers deliver objective feedback and improve agent performance. Call scoring evaluation forms can also be helpful for enhancing quality assurance within the call center.

 

Effectively Communicate with Agents

 

In addition to call monitoring and scoring, managers and supervisors should also make it a point to schedule in time for targeted coaching sessions with agents.  The advantages are two-fold: Managers get to share ideas for agent performance improvements and agents get to communicate their thoughts and impressions of their performance.

 

As noted in an inContact blog post on successful agent coaching, “a best practice approach is to have the agent do most of the speaking during a coaching session.  Collaborated communication is beneficial by allowing the agent and supervisor to share their specific observations on strengths and opportunities.”

 

Incorporate Customer Feedback into Performance Improvements

 

It’s not just agents who should be the focus of call center improvements, however.  Sometimes the best resource for feedback on company experiences and interactions is a company’s customers.

 

NewVoiceMedia research shows customers aren’t shy about expressing their opinions of customer service: 57% of those surveyed will give a business feedback to let them know they are performing poorly and 37% will take to social media to air their grievances (or praises) on a company’s customer service.

 

The key takeaway is to use customer feedback (surveys, social media, etc.) to make changes that will help to improve the customer experience in the future.

 

Final Thoughts

 

At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong way to drive call center performance improvements – each call center will need to determine which approaches work best for the organization as a whole.  The above tips are just a few of the ways to empower agents to continually improve their interactions with customers and, in turn, provide for better experiences for customers.

 

What are some of your call center best practices?

By definition, workforce optimization (WFO) is “a program suite that combines recording, quality management, and other call center technologies into one console to oversee call center performance. A WFO suite typically includes tools for workforce management, quality monitoring, liability recording, coaching and eLearning, performance management, surveying and speech analytics.”accomplished-employee.png

 

There’s a lot of information contained in that one description – call monitoring, agent coaching, speech analytics, etc. – so let’s take some time to unpack the definition. 

 

The following is a look at the benefits of WFO in the call center, as well as some of the best ways to use it to see improved results overall (agent performance, customer experiences, etc.):

 

Analyze Customer Interactions

 

With the focus increasingly on the customer experience, it’s becoming more important than ever for companies to prioritize the quality of interactions between agents and customers.  Research, in fact, shows 71% of customers would recommend a business to others following a positive experience.  Twenty-one percent, would, however, seek “revenge” (i.e., posting a negative review online or venting frustration on social media) after an unsatisfactory company interaction.

 

Among other benefits, WFO software monitors and analyzes customer interactions to improve the customer experience.  With this information in hand, call centers have unprecedented visibility into what customers want, which results in actionable insights organizations can use to put themselves ahead of the competition.

 

Discover Root Cause of Customer Behavior

 

In addition to understanding what customers want (e.g., help solving a problem, answers to pressing questions), it’s equally important to discern the reasons for their call.  By understanding customer pain points, priorities, etc., companies can proactively work to prevent customer churn and improve the customer experience overall.

 

WFO software gives companies the opportunity to discover the root cause of repeat customer contacts by analyzing past and current customer activities.  Speech analytics might, for example, uncover the reasons customer calls are being bounced from agent to agent (escalation attempts, insufficient agent training, etc.).

 

Address Agent Performance & Skills

 

While call monitoring and conversational speech analytics are big part of transforming call center performance management, WFO doesn’t begin and end with technology. In fact, a critical component of a WFO solution involves putting agents with the right training in the right places to enable the best customer experience.

 

It makes sense that happy agents would result in happy customers. But how can call centers find ways to elevate agent engagement so that they’re offering a better service experience to the customer? Examples include supporting the team by offering ongoing training opportunities and sharing performance insights and agent satisfaction metrics with staff to make sure agents feel both satisfied with their jobs and committed to their customers.

 

Final Thoughts

 

Workforce optimization in the call center can lead to a whole host of positive outcomes, including improved agent performance and a better customer experience overall.  With WFO, organizations can analyze customer interactions, discover the root cause of customer behavior, and address agent skill sets.

 

How have you implemented WFO in your call center? What tips or recommendations could you share? We’d love to hear insight and perspective in the comments below.

In today’s digital world, maintaining compliance is of critical importance.  Not only can failure to protect consumer privacy result in serious fines and lawsuits for businesses, but it can also lead to a litany of issues on the consumer side (think back a few years to the Target data breach, which compromised the debit and credit card information of more than 70 million Americans).

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For businesses making outbound calls to customers, the stakes are especially high.  Last year’s FCC Declaratory Ruling on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) presented such organizations with a new set of compliance challenges that protect consumer interest on consent to call but that increase the risk of TCPA liability for companies. 

 

The Ruling itself is complex and lengthy, but the long and the short of it is this: Businesses have little choice but to ensure they have a solid understanding of what these new compliance rules mean.  

 

Let’s explore how TCPA safe harbor factors into these new regulations – and how speech analytics can help:

 

What Is the TCPA?

 

Originally enacted in 1991 to protect consumers from growing numbers of unregulated telemarketing calls, the TCPA regulates calls made using an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS), as well as certain artificial or prerecorded voice calls, notes a Bloomberg BNA article on TCPA history. 

 

The 2015 FCC Declaratory Ruling, which introduces several key provisions to the TCPA, including its application to new technologies and modern methods of consumer outreach, has, however, complicated matters.  According to an MPS News summary, the new Ruling “dramatically—and impermissibly—expands the TCPA’s reach by broadening the statutory definition of ATDS and by adopting interpretations that create compliance impossibilities for well-intentioned businesses.”

 

What Does Safe Harbor Have to Do With It?

 

In lawsuits involving TCPA privacy or automated calling allegations, organizations can invoke a “good faith” or “safe harbor” defense to prove they have established and implemented reasonable practices and procedures to effectively prevent telephone solicitations in violation of the TCPA – and that subsequent calls have been sent as a result of an error.

 

But, in order to take such measures, a DMA article notes companies engaged in outbound telemarketing must do the following as part of their normal business practices:

 

    • Have in place written procedures
    • Conduct employee training on written procedures
    • Maintain and record a list of telephone numbers the organization may not contact (Do-Not-Call (DNC) lists)
    • Purchase and use federal DNC lists (i.e., the DNC list must be purchased, downloaded, and scrubbed against every 31 days)

 

How Can Speech Analytics Help Maintain Compliance?

 

One of the primary benefits of speech analytics software is its ability to analyze thousands of hours of calls and identify areas of compliance risk. While manual sampling of recorded calls or contacts provides little to no prevention of non-compliant behavior to protect businesses against litigation, CallMiner Eureka tracks every call for violations and risky language.

 

In addition to fully automating and scoring 100% of calls, speech analytics also helps to boost agent performance by uncovering issue root causes that managers can then use to create coaching and training initiatives (such as employee training initiatives listed above).

 

The end result? Agents who are able to work more effectively while remaining in compliance with TCPA regulations.

 

Final Thoughts

 

Businesses making outbound calls to customers face a new set of compliance challenges in light of an FCC Ruling that protects consumer interest on consent to call. Fortunately, TCPA safe harbor and speech analytics solutions can help to ensure organizations remain in compliance with TCPA regulations and avoid costly fines and litigations.

Now is the time for contact center leaders to embrace predictive modeling.

 

Speech analytics is not exactly a new technology at this point. These solutions have been around for a number of years, and companies are becoming more and more familiar with the value that they can bring to the contact center, and to the realm of customer service as a whole.

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So the real question for 2016 is not whether speech analytics will continue to grow in popularity - they all but certainly will. No, the actual question is what comes next. Analytics as a field is always evolving, and businesses need to adapt to take advantage of the latest developments.

 

With that in mind, now is the time for contact center leaders to embrace predictive modeling. With predictive modeling, companies can leverage their analytics capabilities to accurately determine not just what happened on a call or calls, but also to look ahead to what is likely to happen next. Naturally, that presents a huge opportunity for businesses of all kinds.

 

Predictive is here

To appreciate why predictive modeling is poised to have such a big impact on the contact center in 2016, it's first worth examining what the technology offers more broadly.

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Predictive capabilities = huge value.

 

On the most basic level, predictive modeling is very straightforward: It represents an effort to use analytics data to forecast likely outcomes, both for individual customers and for the customer base as a whole. But what does that mean in practice?

 

There are a lot of possibilities here, all of which help demonstrate the value that the technology will deliver this year. Notably, Harvard Business Review contributor Tom Davenport ran down a few of the most significant benefits of predictive analytics on the company. These include:

 

  • Determining a more accurate customer lifetime value assessment - how much a consumer is likely to spend for the entire customer relationship.
  • Improved product recommendations, based on purchase history.
  • Better ad placement and publisher selection.

 

Screen+Shot+2016-01-21+at+11.05.33+AM.pngThese and other advantages have already had a very real, positive impact on companies' bottom lines. For example, a recent survey of 150 B2B marketing executives conducted by Forrester found that predictive marketers were nearly three times more likely to experience revenue growth rates that beat out their industry averages than firms that did not use these solutions, Marketing Land reported. Similarly, companies using predictive analytics were 1.8 times more likely to consistently surpass their goals in terms of marketing contributing to the business.

 

Predictive in the contact center

That provides a sense of the value that predictive modeling can deliver in general. But what about in the contact center specifically?

 

 

 

Consider these sample use cases:

  • Upsell opportunity: By analyzing customers' past behaviors and speech, a firm can identify a high-value upsell opportunity in advance. Contact center agents can receive a notification at the ideal time to take advantage of this potential.
  • Upcoming cancelation: By foreseeing a likely customer cancelation in advance, agents can address complaints early enough to turn problematic accounts around, improving customer retention rates.
  • Likely complaints: Similarly, predictive modeling can determine if one or more customers are probably going to lodge a complaint in the near future - foresight which can enable the company to solve the problem early. This not only decreases the risk of cancelation, but, by impressing the customer, can provide a major boost to the customer satisfaction rate.
  • Potential lawsuits: Analytics can gauge the possibility that a customer will reach the point of filing a lawsuit, giving the company time to prepare and reduce this risk. Considering the costs associated with lawsuits, that offers tremendous financial benefits.

 

Those are just a few of the most noteworthy examples of the value that predictive modeling can offer in the contact center. Given that, it's easy to see why many firms have already hopped on this bandwagon and so many more are likely to follow suit in 2016.

 

Is predictive modeling in the contact center on your company's 2016 agenda?