Two Best Practices for Improving Speech Recognition

In my last blog, Understanding Speech Recognition Limitations, I shared some inherent limitations of Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR). While these limitations exist, in this blog, I’d like to focus on how companies can maximize the performance of ASR. The following are two best practices that I’ve found to be especially impactful.

Best Practice #1: Include usability testing in your project plan. Once you feel your application is tested and ready for production, work with non-project team members to test it and provide feedback. If possible, and even better, involve your customers. Provide them with scenarios and test data. Solicit their feedback in […]

Understanding Speech Recognition Limitations

“I said mountain biking trails, not mountain biker’s entrails!”

We’ve all experienced poor speech recognition when calling businesses. Probably more than once. Having deployed speech solutions at my last company, and now as a contact center consultant, I believe Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) gets a bad rap. Sure, many ASR challenges are addressable, but there a few inherent challenges that are important to understand in order to set realistic performance expectations. The following are two that are often misunderstood.

Limitation #1: Recognition in a speech application is supported by a grammar file for each collection. While there are a number […]

Is Email a Viable Customer Communication Channel Anymore?

“Is email a viable customer communication channel anymore?” I have been getting this question a lot lately. It is usually followed up with, “I talk to my customers on the phone, and I only use email from my personal box or a group proxy box to send documents back and forth with my customers.”

Is that you? I think we have all grappled with email as a possible channel to communicate with customers, and asked ourselves the same questions about it. How efficient is it? What are my customers’ expectations for email response times? How many email exchanges should I […]

Should You Climb on the Remote Agent Bandwagon?

For those of you who have been in any of my training sessions, you know the conversations can sometimes get a little off topic. This isn’t a bad thing as it allows people to share ideas and learn what’s working for other people and companies in similar circumstances. During one of these conversations, the topic of remote employees came up. It seems that there are a lot of things that need to be taken into consideration if you are going to allow contact center agents to work from home.

Before jumping on the bandwagon and letting everyone work from […]

Six Attributes of a Great Contact Center Plan

My last post, Seven Steps Your Contact Center Strategic Planning Process Needs, discussed tips around how to ensure your contact center planning process develops great plans. But, what about the plan itself? What makes a contact center strategic plan great?

Here are the six hallmarks of a great strategic plan:

The plan is accurate. Most contact center managers look for an accurate volume forecast, and this is important. But it is also vital that other important metrics are forecasted well. For instance, sick time and other shrinkage items are important to forecast. Similar for agent attrition, outbound contact rates, and […]

Contact Center Callbacks – The Whys and Why Nots

In the course of my consulting travels, I always get asked the question, “Do I offer my customers callbacks?”

My answer is typically, “It depends.” It depends on what you are striving to accomplish. You might be striving for truth, justice and customer loyalty, but it is a tool that could derail the customer experience and your contact center just like Kryptonite did Superman!

The best way to see if the callback shoe fits is to understand what a callback is and to answer the question – “why or why not implement?”

A callback is a feature which provides the […]

A Logical Approach to Setting a Schedule Adherence Goal

The dynamic nature of contact centers require us as leaders to have a keen awareness of what our contact center volume and staffing will be at each daily interval. As a contact center matures, a typical growth step includes the addition of resource planning teams and tools to plan workload and resources needed to meet service goals for each of those intervals.

Agents following an assigned schedule, which is known as schedule adherence, have a profound impact on how well a contact center operation can perform. By using a schedule adherence key performance indicator (KPI) your operation team is able […]

Do you Know the Best Ways to Engage Multi-Generational Customers?

Millennials,  Gen X, Gen Y, Baby Boomer. How do these customer groups interact with organizations in today’s technology-driven markets? Are these descriptions accurate? Some attributes are specific to each group, but many cross all generations depending on the level of technical ability they possess, but more importantly the technology channels they prefer to use, as well as the manner in which they process the information they seek.

As customer experience strategies are developed and implemented across all industries, organizations must fully understand all aspects of how customers prefer to interact. There is a critical need to fully understand social technology […]

Voice of the Customer – Are you Getting It?

If you’ve read any of my other posts, you might have noticed that I talk about quality frequently. I’m not afraid to say that I think you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to improve your customers’ experiences if you aren’t listening to those calls, chats, emails, etc.

There’s another side to this listening task. True voice of the customer is more than just the conversation they have with your agents. It’s also something you can catch through a post-call survey.

What is a post-call survey, you ask? This is typically an automated survey with just a few questions that are presented […]

Know and Retain the Next Gen Policyholder

Younger generations including the Millennials and GenY are known as being driven by technology, they want less personalization, and are instant gratification-type generations. They want their information when and how they prefer, and tend to be able to get what they need in a flash. Their communications are based on social, mobile, and instant messaging platforms, and it’s an assumption that personalization isn’t a priority for them. But, is that really the case?

In an effort to better understand these preferences and trends, I pulled together a multi-generational panel that represented various types of policyholders during the insurance track at […]