Awesome Quotes from Call Center Week

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2017 Conference Recap: ICMI Contact Center Expo

2017 Conference Recap: ICMI Contact Center Expo

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This is what’s happening at Call Center Week

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The theme at this year’s Call Center Week is about building the foundation for future transformation.

Brian Cantor talks about Call Center Week highlights. Click to Tweet

No more innovation

Every year we tend to emphasize the innovative, trendy and the amazing ideas. And a lot of these have experienced traction and adoption. There has been new technology that will be impacting our future.

 But the biggest thing everyone needs to do is really focus on getting the basics right.

You must get the basics right in your contact center. Click to Tweet

You need to make sure that you really understand what it takes technology wise – everything has to be integrated.

You need to know what it takes operationally.

Does your entire organization build around the idea of a great customer experience?

What they want

What at the end of the day does the customer really want that can be replicated from business to business and industry to industry?

What do agents look forward regardless of industry as we’re starting to see new generations enter the workforce?

 The Bottom Line

What it really comes down to is you must understand the core of what needs to happen to make the contact center function and make your customer management function. And make your business function for today’s customers.

Focus on Fundamentals

If you’re unable to focus on the fundamentals it doesn’t matter about all the innovative and trendy technologies and tactics.

You must be able to execute on the day-to-day in order to experience sustainable forward movement.

The Research Says

One of the big areas is the real emphasis that customers have on efficiency and speed.

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We’ve often believed that we need to get away from average handle time and that we need to get away from speed. That we must focus on connecting on the strategic calls.

There is some truth to that. But what it means by connecting with them often is delivering them what they want, when they want it, where they want it, as fast as actually possible.

So what a lot of the research is showing is that businesses and customers are not all that different. They all want to keep things short. They want to get to the point and they want to make it efficient.

So the advantage you have if you’re an organization is that you don’t have to only worry about if you satisfy customers.

You can focus on short term things are causing inefficiencies and that are driving up costs.

Focus on short term things that are causing inefficiencies. Click to Tweet

Those are things you can get out of the way. If you remove those inefficiencies your customers are going to be happy because that’s what they want. They want quick, to the point, accurate, high quality resolutions.

And this is for all organizations regardless if they are business to business or business to consumer.

Make Call Center Week Fall

If you are unable to be here at Call Center Week, we’ll miss you. But you have a chance to make up for it at Call Center Week Fall in a few months. Make sure you focus on you own fundamentals and invest in yourself so you can bring more value to others.


Join me on the Fast Leader Show Podcast

monitor-fast-leader-showListen to the Fast Leader Show now. It’s an energizing docuedutainment (don’t look it up I made it up) podcast released each Wednesday and hosted by Jim Rembach. Each week, Jim introduces you to real folks (from the call center industry and beyond) with real stories of how they were able to get over the hump and lead themselves or others better…faster. You’ll learn how to become a better leader (faster) through their stories by improving your employee and customer engagement through the power of improving your emotional intelligence. Get more human-centric and move onward and upward…faster.


 

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Why your contact center is a massive fraud risk

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Over the past few years there has been a large focus to develop security solutions for mobile and online channels. This has left your contact center vulnerable. To fraudsters, they see your contact center as a huge fraud opportunity. And they love you for it.

“Why your contact center is a massive fraud risk” Click to Tweet

Are you at risk?

You can bet on it.

Thieves from the mobile space, online space and even in-person fraudsters are making their way into the call center as they’re experiencing great success.

In fact, data collected at Pindrop® Labs has shown a significant increase in the call center fraud rate, a jump of 113% from 2015 to 2016.

Fraud in call centers increased by 113% in 2016. Click to Tweet

In 2015, one in every 2,000 calls was fraudulent. In 2016, that number jumped to 1 in 937, an increase of 113%.

The Call Center Journey

For you to think about where you need to detect and trap fraud, you need to best understand your call center journey. How does your caller travel through your call center? Have you mapped out all of the different call paths?

Risk points exist in your IVR and all of your agent touchpoints. Ideally, you want to be able to have early detection of fraud. And you also want to authenticate early and give callers the express pass for their travel.

Triage and transfer

Just like other specialties in your call center, when you have identified a potential fraudulent call, you’ll be most effective when you have agents that are specially trained to take these calls.

Training all of your agents to handle high risk fraud calls is a practice that very few call centers would elect to deploy. It’s a specialty.

Implementing the proper fraud risk model will enable you to keep your focus on call efficiency while reducing fraud.

Educating Contact Centers

Fraud is an area that is affecting more segments of the contact center industry. So I appreciated the opportunity to learn from Matt Raymond of Pindrop at the ICMI Contact Center Expo.

Matt Raymond from Pindrop talks fraud detection in contact centers. Click to Tweet

About Pindrop

Pindrop provides enterprise solutions to secure phone and voice communications. Pindrop solutions reduce fraud losses and authentication expense for some of the largest call centers in the world. Pindrop’s patented Phoneprinting technology can identify, locate and authenticate phone devices uniquely just from the call audio thereby detecting fraudulent calls as well as verifying legitimate callers. Pindrop has been selected by the world’s largest banks, insurers, brokerages and retailers, detecting over 80% of fraud, even for attackers never seen before. Our solutions are allowing our customers to reduce call time and improve their customers experience even while reducing fraud losses. Pindrop is restoring confidence in the security of phone-based transactions. Source: https://www.pindrop.com/about-pindrop-security/

The Honest Customer

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It’s too easy to treat all callers as high risk. We have all experienced poorly designed authentication practices.

Authenticating ourselves multiple times or needing to do it when we have a general question, makes for a bad customer experience.

And know body wants to feel treated like a criminal when they’re not.

As customer experience author and speaker Amas Tenumah wrote:

“Why do organizations put customers through hell before providing service? To protect the customer they say. The thinking is you ask a bunch of questions only the customer knows for security purposes. This was a great idea 20 years ago, after all 20 years ago no one would know the name of your elementary school or best friend, but I surely don’t need to convince you that a low level criminal with a dial up connection and a Facebook account can figure that out.”

Causing a poor customer experience can no longer be an option in our experience-minded marketplace. To do so may cause you to be exposed to more risk than fraud. Go beyond average and standout from everyone else.

A bad customer experience may be more risky than fraud. Click to Tweet

Safely Protect yourself from fraud

Grab a copy of the Call Center Fraud Report and if you need to learn even more contact matt.raymond [at] pindrop.com.


Join me on the Fast Leader Show Podcast

monitor-fast-leader-showListen to the Fast Leader Show now. It’s an energizing docuedutainment (don’t look it up I made it up) podcast released each Wednesday and hosted by Jim Rembach. Each week, Jim introduces you to real folks (from the call center industry and beyond) with real stories of how they were able to get over the hump and lead themselves or others better…faster. You’ll learn how to become a better leader (faster) through their stories by improving your employee and customer engagement through the power of improving your emotional intelligence. Get more human-centric and move onward and upward…faster.


 

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These Two Little Tips are Making Contact Centers Rich

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Travel the world over and you’ll find that contact centers have some similar trials and tribulations attempting to deliver great customer service. So, you can bet that these little tips are certain to make your contact center rich with great customer experiences.

These Two Little Tips are Making Contact Centers Rich Click to Tweet

Leader Rant

As I say, “We all have issues.”

Nobody is immune from struggles. If you live, if you want to get ahead…you have struggles.

So, when I met up with Shep Hyken at ICMI’s Contact Center Expo, I had to ask him about what he hears people say they have issues with. Being a world-traveled professional speaker on customer service, he was sure to have an interesting (and global) perspective.

As usual, Shep delivered.

What’s “their” impression

The most important thing is to recognize that every customer service interaction you have is an opportunity for your customers to form an impression.

“Every customer service interaction forms an impression.” Click to Tweet

Shep references Jan Carlzon’s concept of the moment of truth to help us.

You need to get your people to realize that anytime a customer comes into contact with any aspect of what you do, they form an impression.

Who is Jan Carlzon?

In 1981, Jan Carlzon became CEO of the faltering Scandinavian Airlines. While there he was able to orchestrate a company turnaround around by leading the strategy of the “moments of truth.” He wrote about it in the famous book called Moments of Truth: New Strategies for Today’s Customer-Driven Economy.

The “moments of truth” has become a method to manage the customer experience that has been adopted by various organizations. While the subject of Customer Experience Management was coined much later, Carlzon’s vision was a contributing factor in leading the movement and tactic in the customer-driven economy.

So here’s the key

Chunk it down. Make it small and it becomes a lot easier.

And just try to be better than average. You don’t need to go wild and go overboard with creativity. Don’t overdo or overkill, just try to be a little better to deliver more rich customer experiences.

“Be a little better to deliver more rich customer experiences.” Click to Tweet

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The Awesome Responsibility

No need for it to be a daunting task, but it’s an important reality.

Each person interacting with a customer must be aware (and prepared) to fulfil the awesome responsibility. In contact centers, their ability to deliver maximum agent performance rests on it.

At any given time, the one person with whom your customer is interacting can define the organization as a whole.

“One person with whom your customer is interacting can define the organization.” Click to Tweet

“They” did it

You as a customer go beyond the person and judge the organization. That is what we all do.

“The people at that organization______________.”

  1. They’re so friendly
  2. They’re so knowledgeable
  3. They’re so rude
  4. They’re so difficult

Your people need to know that their customer service delivery is going to fill in the blank.

Everybody needs to recognize they carry an awesome responsibility. It needs to be top of mind. Because at any given time that one person represents the entire brand.

The contact center (the entire organization) gets rich, when you develop your people appropriately and they take ownership of their awesome responsibility.

“The contact center gets rich when your people own their awesome responsibility.” Click to Tweet

Get more from Shep

Just send an email requesting the tips and notes from Shep’s keynote by sending an email to: info[at]hyken.com and in your subject line put please send me the notes form ICMI.

Shep’s story of the 5-Step Process

Shep Hyken shares his story of recovery from a crisis on the Fast Leader Show.

He took over as President of the National Speakers Association, a volunteer position, and he had no clue what was in store. After months of consideration, the association leadership team decided to change the name of the association. After the announcement, within 48 hours Shep received 800 emails and 750 of them threatened to quit the association.

Listen and learn Shep’s 5-step process and how it helped him get over the hump. 


Join me on the Fast Leader Show Podcast

monitor-fast-leader-showListen to the Fast Leader Show now. It’s an energizing docuedutainment (don’t look it up I made it up) podcast released each Wednesday and hosted by Jim Rembach. Each week, Jim introduces you to real folks (from the call center industry and beyond) with real stories of how they were able to get over the hump and lead themselves or others better…faster. You’ll learn how to become a better leader (faster) through their stories by improving your employee and customer engagement through the power of improving your emotional intelligence. Get more human-centric and move onward and upward…faster.


 

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Vital Skills All Corporate Leaders Must Master

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I recently was asked by asked by John Mattone, an executive coach and the world’s top authority on Intelligent Leadership (IL) to  reveal some of the vital skills all corporate leaders must master that I’ve learned from the leaders that have been featured on the Fast Leader Show.

“Vital skills all corporate leaders must master.” Click to Tweet

I shared why I decide to create the podcast. I shard my story about growing up in East Chicago, Indiana and how that impacted me.
So Many Questions
I’ve always had questions. Why do people do the things that they do? How do people find a right fit? How do you engage employees? How do you engage customers? How do you engage with colleagues? How can you make a greater impact? How can you help more people?
All of these questions and my never-ending desire to find answers combined with the joy that I receive by recognizing others are some of the foundational reasons why started the Fast Leader Show podcast.
Some common mistakes
What are some of the most common mistakes?
There have been a few commonly-cited leadership mistakes that the guests on my podcast have admitted to on the show. With the storytelling format of the show, how people discover their mistakes and the circumstances surrounding their mistakes are unique to the individual and make each show unique.
Fear gets in the way
One of the more common mistakes that people cite is allowing fear to rule their decisions. People allow fear to prevent them from exploring opportunities within their existing role or new opportunities, standing up to others, expanding their current role, doing what they know is right, and enjoying themselves.
Ultimately, fear is an internal restriction. Sometimes the fear is purely internally manifested, while sometimes the fear comes from external forces and yet we allow it affect us.

“Fear is an internal restriction.” Click to Tweet

For all of us, fear is something that we must admit exists and learn how to manage it.
Leadership Program Failures
The main reason[s] that over 80 percent of leadership programs fail is that learning is only the beginning. Development takes time. People must practice leadership skills and attitudes. And they must have effective coaching to be led to success.

“People must practice leadership skills and attitudes.” Click to Tweet

The high failure rate of leadership programs has been around for a very long time. Measuring the return on investment (ROI) in leadership training and development is considered to be an important element in human resources and beyond. The ROI of training and development is frequently a topic presented and discussed at conferences, workshops, and professional associations. Journals and media regularly present the subject with more and more emphasis. Yet nothing is changing.
Executives have come to expect ROI projections and estimates in requests for leadership training and development funding. Leadership educators now find that asking for return on investment information is commonplace, but they’re frightened to reveal the true results. And they should be.
Leadership Self-sabbotage
There are three key ways I see people sabotaging their chances to get ahead.
Emotional Intelligence: People are not actively improving their emotional intelligence (EQ) skills. The evidence is very clear: those with higher EQ advance further and make more money over those with higher IQ. By not proactively improving your emotional intelligence, you are literally blocking yourself from moving onward and upward faster. You are costing you and your family a better livelihood. Get the 54 Emotional Intelligence Competencies List
Blending In: People are not amplifying their uniqueness and exploring ways to use their uniqueness to add value to others. They are choosing to fit in, keep their head down, and not make waves to stand out above the rest. Ironically, this behavior increases the chances of you being affected by downsizing and reorganization. Career security resides in being unique. It’s your responsibility to reveal it.
Coaching: Those that do not seek the support of a coach will be passed by those that do. All of the experts and masters of anything in the world have coaches. As individuals, we have blind spots to the things that are blocking us from obtaining what we seek. We all have unintentional blindness. A coach helps you to see what you can’t.
Get to know what you don’t know
You can’t improve what you know nothing about. So there are two things to do. First, learn about the competencies you need to improve to increase your emotional intelligence. The next thing is to assess your emotional intelligence. Unless you know what you need to work on, you are not going to be efficient with your time and effort.

“You can’t improve what you know nothing about.” Click to Tweet

Once you know what you need to work on, you must be willing to put in the practice to improve. Knowledge is not what improves your emotional intelligence. You must practice the new behaviors you’ll need to practice in order to experience any gains.

“Knowledge is not what improves your emotional intelligence.” Click to Tweet

Victims of Poor Morale
The symptoms of poor internal morale are presented in a multitude of different ways. The innocent victim in most of these cases is the customer.

“The innocent victim of poor morale is the customer.” Click to Tweet

Poor morale can impact the customer experience by:
Chronic problems experienced
Poor product/service development
Low levels of feeling valued
Mixed messaging
Cumbersome interaction processes
Higher cost
More time invested
All of these symptoms end up pushing customers to your competition. Causes of these symptoms are most often misdiagnosed as technology or process problems. What people fail to realize is that people design, implement, and support the technology and processes. So it’s people that are the problem. And when poor morale and engagement are present, people don’t work well with one another.
Essential skills that leaders need in the future
Leaders of today have to do these things now to be successful. The future is now.

“Master these four vital skills to accelerate your career.” Click to Tweet

If you want to rapidly accelerate your progression to greater levels of responsibility and compensation, you’ll need to master these four vital skills.
Perspective Taking: To be able to consider various points of view or assumptions about situations and people and to seek alternative options and choices. To view various situations through the eyes of others in order to better understand their behavior, positions, or requests.
Decision Making: You can’t merely gain perspective. With all of your perspective taking, you need to be able to make a decision and set a course of action. Knowing when to convert all of the insight gathered into a plan is key. Make a decision and move forward. And let your perspective taking continue so you can make adjustments when needed.
Persuasion: Nothing in an organization is done solo. You need to be able to persuade others of the merits of your decision so they work in concert to execute the plan. Being able to influence and persuade others to join you in the pursuit contributes to the outcome experienced.
Platform Building: In today’s noisy world, it’s more difficult to stand out from the rest. But for you to receive more opportunities to obtain greater success, you must. Creating a platform enables you to get seen and to be heard. Without it, you are just one of many. If you’re serious about taking yourself to the next level, you can’t succeed without a platform.

Is your chatbot contact center smart?

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If you read the media hype about chatbots, you might get worried thinking that Artificial Intelligence will cause widespread contact center extinction. During this interview with CTO Alex Black of Enghouse Interactive, we share a different perspective. You need to focus on making your chatbot contact center smart.

Is your chatbot contact center smart? Click to Tweet

We have a great opportunity in the contact center industry. We all know that providing an excellent customer experience and serving customers is both noble and financially rewarding for organizations.

Contact center agents are irritated

We also know that contact center agents do not find gratification in their job when they have to answer the same type of request from customers over and again. It’s an even greater irritant when the request is remedial and basic. They want to be challenged, they want to deliver maximum performance so they can achieve greater levels of fulfillment.

When agents feel like their learning and growth has stalled, they begin to look elsewhere. Sometimes they look within the organization, but most times they explore external opportunities.

When contact center agents find no gratification in their job. Click to Tweet 

Higher skill on the rise

Many studies in the industry point to the fact that customers want to self-serve but also want access to live support. As younger generations, that are native to technology, become mainstream participants in society, good self-service can be beneficial for customers and the contact center.

To receive this dual benefit, you should consider making your chatbot contact center smart while improving the skills of agents as they will need to support more demanding customer requests. Look for ways to take all of your institutional knowledge and making it part of your chatbot development.

Making your chatbot contact center smart

Being able to make your chatbot contact center smart was of interest when I met with Roger Jing of Rulai at the Contact Center Expo.

Roger Jin of Rulai on low-code chatbot development in contact centers. Click to Tweet

As he explained their “low-code” chatbot development tool I began to see another opportunity for making a chatbot contact center smart.

If a customer service manager can easily use a drop-down toolkit to write scripts and create action items there is a greater chance for it to perform better. When people are able to use their experience from directly communicating and interacting with customers, the risk failure should be much lower.

About Rulai

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Rulai is a team of proven researchers, engineers and industry professionals with extensive track records in AI development. Our team members have unique expertise, building AI platforms and technologies for Facebook, IBM, Baidu and Alibaba as well as leading award-winning academic research. Collectively, we have made pioneering contributions to natural language processing, deep learning and personalized recommendation systems. Source: http://rul.ai/

Low-code development is coming to you

Forrester defines a low-code development platform as: platforms that enable rapid application delivery with a minimum of hand-coding, and quick setup and deployment, for systems of engagement.

We all know that IT just can’t keep up with the rapid pace of change and the need for agility. In order for businesses to stay in step with customer needs and ward off competitive disruption, the business needs technology faster.

Here’s how IT can keep up with the rapid pace of change. Click to Tweet

In order for contact center leaders to make their own chatbot contact center smart, they need a low-code platform. It’s extremely difficult to manage a contact center, the people in it, and customer relationships. They can’t be expected to add application developer to their skill set.

With low-code tools as part of their toolkit, making a chatbot contact center smart can be a whole lot easier.

Are you ready to play Artificial Intelligence chatbot builder?

If you don’t want to wait for IT and want to get rid of the mundane and repetitive work in your contact center then contact Roger Jin at: roger [at] rul.ai. 


Join me on the Fast Leader Show Podcast

monitor-fast-leader-showListen to the Fast Leader Show now. It’s an energizing docuedutainment (don’t look it up I made it up) podcast released each Wednesday and hosted by Jim Rembach. Each week, Jim introduces you to real folks (from the call center industry and beyond) with real stories of how they were able to get over the hump and lead themselves or others better…faster. You’ll learn how to become a better leader (faster) through their stories by improving your employee and customer engagement through the power of improving your emotional intelligence. Get more human-centric and move onward and upward…faster.


 

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Avoid IVR Jail and Release the Customer Journey

Avoid IVR Jail and Release the Customer Journey

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Last year, roughly 1 in 8 Americans used GetHuman. GetHuman started back on 2006 when, founder of several software companies, Paul English became enraged when he was locked in Verizon’s IVR jail. Now GetHuman tries to create a better customer journey and take care of customer service problems for people.

Avoid IVR Jail and Release the Customer Journey Click to Tweet

I know that I would never want my customers to have to hire GetHuman to receive good service. When I visualize the customer journey, even though I know it can’t always be wonderful, I certainly don’t want to build a reputation for it being so difficult that my customers need to hire an outsourcer to do business with me.

That would set an entirely undesirable standard for pathetic service that I never want to be associated with.

How does IVR jail happen

The question of how does an IVR jail get built started coming into my mind as I met with Evan Jones of VoxGen at ICMI’s Contact Center Expo.

Watch Evan Jones of VoxGen on breaking free of IVR JAIL Click To Tweet

For many of you, when you think about technology, you think about how it can make your life easier. You think about how you can become more effective while gaining efficiencies.

But often when organizations think about purchasing contact center technology, efficiency and cost seem to overshadow or even put handcuffs on effectiveness.

This was part of the discussion I had earlier in the day with Lori Bocklund of Strategic Contact, when we talked about Lassoing the Wild West Contact Center Technology. She shared how contact centers should never conduct due diligence at arm’s length. They need to spend the right amount of time conducting due diligence and not be pressured into a bad decision because of time constraints.

Beyond the Technology

It’s too easy to relegate IVR to a box or port decision or if it’s in the cloud or not. This technology can eliminate a significant cost burden and has the potential to deliver a massive customer experience value.

But the value can only be delivered when you start with the customer experience and then work back towards the technology.

IVR is your brand

All of those companies that are listed on the GetHuman (990 as of today) website for having been known for IVR Jail, are experiencing a brand impact. The IVR is the first line of interaction with your customer. Is your IVR a good first impression or a bad lasting impression?

Is your IVR a good first impression or a bad lasting impression? Click to Tweet

You are probably asking, “How are they still in business?” Each one of those companies has their own unique set of circumstances as to how and why they can survive. All I know is that I do not want to be on the list (I checked, I’m not…thank goodness).

Have a conversation

From the VoxGen perspective they’re trying to understand the customer journey and crafting an experience and a conversation with customers in a way that they want to interact with you. Conversational design is a big key element in designing a better customer experience.

About VoxGen

VoxGen is a company on a mission: to rid the world of bad IVR. We’re an experienced group of design experts and technologists who believe there’s a better way of delivering automated customer experiences. And we’ve successfully accomplished that for a wide range of consumer brands around the world. We help big brands see the customer experience through their customers’ eyes and get their automated and self-serve channels working more effectively and more efficiently. If you’re serious about putting your customer first, while keeping costs down, we can help. Source: http://www.voxgen.com

Beyond the IVR

The IVR must not stand alone. That would be IVR jail.

The IVR must not stand alone. That would be IVR jail. Click to Tweet

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Customers are trying to solve a problem. Are you supporting them in solving it themselves? When their experience AND self-service is top of mind then you’ll consider connecting your IVR to SMS, chat, virtual assistants, mobile web, and your native applications.

And if the customer needs to be served by an agent, are they setup for success? In order for agents to deliver higher value and maximum agent performance for the organization they need visibility into what the experience was in the IVR for the customer. When there is a hand-off from the IVR to your agents, are they handcuffed?

When there’s a hand-off from the IVR to your agents, are they handcuffed? Click to Tweet

Get out of IVR Jail

Are you ready to escape…and take your customers with you? Then maybe you need to have Evan bail you out. Just contact him at ejones [at] voxgen.com. 


Join me on the Fast Leader Show Podcast

monitor-fast-leader-showListen to the Fast Leader Show now. It’s an energizing docuedutainment (don’t look it up I made it up) podcast released each Wednesday and hosted by Jim Rembach. Each week, Jim introduces you to real folks (from the call center industry and beyond) with real stories of how they were able to get over the hump and lead themselves or others better…faster. You’ll learn how to become a better leader (faster) through their stories by improving your employee and customer engagement through the power of improving your emotional intelligence. Get more human-centric and move onward and upward…faster.


 

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How Dumb is it for Your Supervisors to Support Agents?

How Dumb is it for Your Supervisors to Support Agents?

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It’s simple. Your agents need help with a customer, all they have to do is raise their hand. But how dumb is that in today’s omnichannel and remote agent world? Okay, just raise a flag then. That’s not much smarter.

How dumb is it for your supervisors to support agents? Click to Tweet

One of my favorite projects that I worked on during my years in contact center operations was leading the development and design of a mobile help desk. We created the processes and practices that allowed agents to request support and have a senior agent with more experience to come to the agent’s desk and in real-time and support that agent with the customer. Without the hand raising or flag waiving thing.

We used cordless headsets and programmed a special queue with multi-site roll-over coverage so that someone was always available to support an agent in need.

One of main purposes of the senior support team was to transfer their knowledge to the agent. And to guide agent’s in finding answers for themselves. Their primary role was to coach and develop, not to merely answer questions. A core component of their performance measurement was knowledge transfer, versus having knowledge.

Today’s Support Tools are Smarter

Proactively developing and supporting contact center agents in real-time today is a lot easier and smarter. If you’d like it to be.

I got both nostalgic and somewhat envious when Bruce Marler introduced me to CaféX’s Supervisor Assist solution at ICMI’s Contact Center Expo.

Watch Bruce Marler of CaféX on real-time agent development. Click to Tweet

Ding or develop agents?

If the primary goal of quality is not to develop agent skills and performance then it exacerbates the feeling of the me-versus-them feeling for agents. Or as many say, “Big Brother is Watching”. Do you want to ding or develop your agents?

Most all contact center agents want to do a better. And they need to feel supported in their effort to improve. If they do not feel supported then burnout and turnover ensues.

Develop agents in the now

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With the hand raising feature of CaféX’s Supervisor Assist, contact centers can more easily enable live coaching and on-the-job training to elevate agent skillsets. Supervisors can be more proactive in preventing management escalations by callers.

By utilizing mobile and web technologies, supervisors and support staff can sit virtually with any agent in any location and have complete visibility. Now agent’s anywhere can get access to the right support wherever it resides driving maximum agent performance.

CaféX’s Supervisor Assist also has the reporting capabilities to know which agents request help, frequency and the reason for the request. This insight can also guide new and recumbent training and drive process changes to reduce support costs.

About CaféX

CaféX makes it easier for companies to enhance live engagement within web and mobile applications. Trusted by many Global 2000 companies, CaféX’s award-winning collaboration software operates within the context of business workflows to increase customer satisfaction and workforce productivity. Source: https://www.cafex.com/en/

Good versus evil

What’s wrong! Make it right! Where’s your mindset?

For too many years quality monitoring has been primarily used to find what’s wrong with agent performance.

CaféX’s Supervisor Assist can help with either mindset:

  • If you want to uncover poor performers and get rid of them, you can do it faster.
  • If you want to uncover who needs help, you can get them help faster.

The common practice in contact centers is to uncover poor performers and merely terminate them. But this mindset must change.

Contact centers uncover poor performers and terminate them. Click to Tweet

Employee competition

The skillsets possessed by contact center agents are the same skillsets desired by various other parts of an organization. Often those careers don’t carry some of the inherent stress factors of contact centers.

If you were looking for a career, and you knew you were going to monitored and not proactively developed, would you pick the contact center? Would this give you an optimal motivational outlook?

If you knew you knew you were able to be developed faster and gain a wider range of experiences than other parts of the business, would you choose the contact center then?

If you were developed faster, would you choose the contact center? Click to Tweet

Get Smarter and Modernize

It’s time to get rid of the antiquated raising of a flag and give your supervisors and support staff the opportunity to support larger amounts of agents…faster. Get ready to jump start your (leading practice) coaching and mentoring mindset today.

Get smart and contact Bruce Marler at: bmarler [at] cafex.com.


Join me on the Fast Leader Show Podcast

monitor-fast-leader-showListen to the Fast Leader Show now. It’s an energizing docuedutainment (don’t look it up I made it up) podcast released each Wednesday and hosted by Jim Rembach. Each week, Jim introduces you to real folks (from the call center industry and beyond) with real stories of how they were able to get over the hump and lead themselves or others better…faster. You’ll learn how to become a better leader (faster) through their stories by improving your employee and customer engagement through the power of improving your emotional intelligence. Get more human-centric and move onward and upward…faster.


 

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How are you raising customer expectations too high?

How are you raising customer expectations too high?

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Evolving customer expectations present an enormous opportunity for organizations to differentiate service, but at what cost? Economic unpredictability and raising customer demands have put a strain on contact centers everywhere. But are you part of the problem? Are you raising customer expectations too high? Are you the cause for the bar being raised higher?

How are you raising customer expectations too high? Click to Tweet

This is exactly what author and keynote speaker Chip Bell made me think when I met up with him at the Contact Center Expo. It happened when he introduced me to the concept/practice of value-unique. Don’t look it up, Chip made it up. He’s good for inventing new words that cause you to pause.

Raising Customer Expectations – Again

Chip makes an excellent point about trying to differentiate your service by focusing on value-added. Value-added means taking what the customer expects and adding more. While it’s great to be generous, you’re continually raising customer expectations.

And as you continue to raise customer expectations, they continue to expect you to add more. So, what happens is that you run out of room…quickly.

As you continue to raise customer expectations, they expect more. Click to Tweet

The solution: innovative service (value-unique)!

When you create an experience that is surprising and unexpected, it gets people talking. What can you do that will trigger a story? How can you get customers to become advocates that tell people, “Guess what happened to me?”

Value-unique service engages people to become advocates for your business. Value-unique service comes from your core and it evokes an experience of genuineness, a sense that its source is deep, not superficial.

Value-unique service engages people to become advocates for your business. Click to Tweet 

Make a deeper connection

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Make an emotional connection. This is critical. Emotion is the most important thing in customer experience. There’s been a lot of research that has been around proving the importance of emotional connection in customer experience. It’s a vital step on your success path.

Value-unique is about more than service put together with over-the-top imagination; it’s about creating the kind of experience that profoundly touches the emotions of customers, leaving them forever changed by the encounter.

Why organizations lose

When you review organizations that don’t make an emotional connection with customers they tend to stop growing. They lose market share. They become commoditized and are measured merely by price.

Companies will lose money that try to compete on value-add. Emotional connection is an absolutely critical part for you to gain value.

Companies will lose money that try to compete on value-add. Click to Tweet

Gain Emotional Awareness

For organizations to best create a value-unique service, they first need to gain awareness about emotion. They need to improve their emotional intelligence. Many contact centers talk about raising the level of empathy towards customers, but there’s more to it.

Learning about the competencies of emotional intelligence (54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List) is a vital learning step in becoming a better leader in customer experience and designing an experience that results in financial gains. An experience that is value-unique.

Stop raising customer expectation

To continue to raise customer expectations is a negative sum game. It’s a lose-lose for the entire contact center industry. Stop focusing on adding value and instead create value! The kind that’s unique.

Stop focusing on adding value and instead create value! Click to Tweet

Kaleidoscope: Delivering Innovative Service That Sparkles

Value-unique and ideas about what is needed to bring innovative service to life is in Chips’ latest book, Kaleidoscope: Delivering Innovative Service That Sparkles which is the third book in a series on innovative service. The first is The 9½ Principles of Innovative Service and second is Sprinkles: Creating Awesome Experiences Through Innovative Service.

Get access to more of Chip’s wisdom at: http://www.chipbell.com/blog/


Join me on the Fast Leader Show Podcast

monitor-fast-leader-showListen to Chip’s absolutely remarkable story about escaping certain death during the Vietnam War on the Fast Leader Show now. The Fast Leader Show is an energizing docuedutainment (don’t look it up I made it up) podcast released each Wednesday and hosted by Jim Rembach. Each week, Jim introduces you to real folks (from the call center industry and beyond) with real stories of how they were able to get over the hump and lead themselves or others better…faster. You’ll learn how to become a better leader (faster) through their stories by improving your employee and customer engagement through the power of improving your emotional intelligence. Get more human-centric and move onward and upward…faster.


 

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