Overview

A Closer Look at Three Models Used for Contact Center Analysis

In my last post, “The Importance of Model Validation in Contact Center Staffing“, I briefly discussed three types of computer/mathematical models that are commonly used in contact center what-if analyses. Let’s expand on these a bit.

Predictive modeling is probably the most common model discussed in contact centers—this is the model that forecasts call volumes, handle times, agent shrinkage (i.e. sick time), and agent attrition. There are a variety of modeling methods available, like Holt-Winters. The call volume forecast is a fairly high profile result of these models.

Here are three tips to help with your forecasting:

Forecast everything. It is [...]

Why I’ll Never Buy Another Piece of Business Software Again.

“Why I’ll never buy another piece of business software again.” Those are pretty bold words coming from any seasoned, time-tested, I-grew-up-in-a-server-room CIO or line of business owner. However, I’d propose that with the benefits and maturity of the cloud improving with every tick of my virtual atomic clock, that those are words we’ll be hearing more and more.

The cloud just makes so much sense for so many reasons:

Important business applications have all moved to the cloud and some of the best new ones are only available in the cloud. Flexibility is a “trade-up” for reduced control. Come on [...]

Strong Passwords Aren’t Really More Secure

In my previous post about password security, I looked at the setting commonly found on password-protected systems, namely the number of incorrect login attempts. In this post, I will look at password complexity.

Most of us, at some point, have had an intended password rejected by the system for not meeting password complexity requirements. But, are so called “strong” passwords really more secure?

Security is, at the end of the day, a function of time. How long would it take to perform a brute-force (keep guessing until you get it right) attack. The more passwords we have to go through, the [...]

How to Put Serve Back into Customer Service

Two of my passions outside of work are baseball and ministry. Nine years ago these two worlds collided as a youth baseball ministry formed to train young athletes to lead and play differently than the example set for them in the media.  Serving at the annual leadership and skills training camp has been one of the greatest joys in my life. Camp is one week away and I can’t wait!

I was just reading Joe Staples’ call to empower agents to deliver a great customer experience and it really struck a chord. Common sense but so uncommon in practice.

Reflecting, [...]

Want to deliver a great customer experience? Empower your agents.

An experience last week at an airport “golden arches” emphasized the need to give employees (in contact center speak, those are the agents) the power to deliver a great customer experience.

While I waited for my food, a woman came up to the young man working the register and complained that her order was wrong. She would explain the mix up and the worker would explain which sandwich comes with which combo. This went back and forth several times, with neither of the two of them budging on the point. As an observer, I could see the frustration in both [...]

The Importance of Model Validation in Contact Center Staffing

Mathematical models are powerful tools that are used to make clear the repercussions of business decisions. In the contact center industry there are really three types of mathematical models that get wide use. As a call center analyst, you are probably familiar with all of these.

1. Predictive models – used to forecast volume, handle times, agent shrinkage, customer experience scores, etc.

2. Descriptive models – used to simulate a call center environment to determine the expected service provided given alternative staffing scenarios

3. Prescriptive models- used to determine the best capacity plans (hiring, overtime, training, etc.) or agent schedules.

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When it’s OK to Give Less Than 100%

We are always being told to give 110% or pushed to always strive for 100%. Sometimes that just isn’t possible. Take schedule adherence in the contact center, for example.

Schedule adherence = are my agents doing what they are scheduled to do?

Typically your contact center has a percentage goal that the employees strive to reach. If your center is anything like the one I used to work in, management may decide to be a little lenient at first and let something like 97% be the goal. You are able to marry-up the idea that you need agents to be there [...]

Racing into the New Year, What Trends will 2014 Hold for the Contact Center and UC?

Christmas will be over in just a few days. Vacations will be behind us. Family members will travel back home. And we’ll all be launching into a new year. For contact centers and unified communications, what trends can we expect to see and what surprises might lay in store?

Art Schoeller, vice president, principal analyst at Forrester Research and I (with added help from Sheila McGee-Smith, founder and principal analyst at McGee-Smith Analytics, and Don Van Doren, principal of UniComm Consulting) will be broadcasting a complimentary webinar, “Key 2014 Contact Center Trends and Priorities: How you can be ready,” where we’ll try and [...]

It’s Impossible to Make Anything Foolproof, Because Fools are so Ingenious

Security is a key component of many modern computer systems and our Customer Interaction Center (CIC) solution is no exception. Sadly, too often we in the IT world don’t really understand the entire security issue, and as a result, produce a system that is easily compromised. There are two components to consider for good security – the technology and the people. If we don’t consider the latter and make their lives easier, they will take steps to work around the technical measures we put in place.

In this post, I want to focus on a single security setting, the number [...]

Self-Service and Customer Satisfaction – Do They Need to be Opposing Forces?

For years (and I suppose still for many a CFO), moving customers to self-service options was a cost savings measure, not a way to improve customer satisfaction scores. But it doesn’t have to be that way… if you do it correctly!

Let me start with a couple tips from the writers at www.softwareadvice.com in an article they published on the subject important features your self-service portals should include.

Couple their ideas about reducing customer effort and making the search bar the centerpiece of your self-service support, with a multichannel view of customer interactions and you’re off to a good start.

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