| National Association of Call Centers
The fun, informative, and unique newsletter for the call center industry
|Welcome to the September 2016 issue of the NACC In Queue newsletter!
Engaging With Verint At Engage 2016
Paul Stockford, Research Director, NACC & Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research,
this year I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak at, and attend,
the Verint customer conference, Engage 2016, in Chicago. Joining
over 1,200 other customer service professionals at the venerable
Chicago Hilton in the downtown area, the event kicked off as it always
does with early evening introductory and keynote sessions leading into
an opening reception in the Verint Solutions Lounge.
The Chicago Hilton was the ideal venue for Engage 2016. Built in
1927 and recently the beneficiary of a total refurbishment and remodel,
the hotel still featured many remnants of its storied past, including
extensive ornamentation in public areas and a general air of class that
isn’t often found in the sterile environs of modern business hotels.
It all added to the Engage 2016 experience and was the ideal
launch point for the customer appreciation party at one of the hippest
venues in Chicago, Morgan Manufacturing, which was transformed into a
Chicago-style “speakeasy” for the event.
In between the fun, there was plenty of opportunity to learn. The
conference featured eight separate track themes ranging from
Customer-Centric Engagement to Improving Operational Efficiency to
Understanding the Technology and everything in between. I counted
more than 120 different sessions between the eight conference tracks as
well as general sessions and user group meetings. There were
plenty of networking opportunities at mealtimes, which were usually
held in the Solutions Lounge, as well as during coffee breaks.
The highlight of the conference for me was the general session that
featured Verint executives talking about the future of smarter
engagement. Verint’s five senior executives, including CEO Dan
Bodner, spoke about how Verint built its business around Actionable
Intelligence® and, more importantly, what it means for Verint
customers. One of the speakers, Nancy Treaster, who is the
General Manager, Strategic Operations for Verint’s Enterprise
Intelligence Solutions division inspired me to write about gender
equality in the contact center industry in my column for the August
issue of Contact Center Pipeline magazine. I encourage you to
give it a read. You can find it here
Believe it or not, the most fun I had at Engage 2016 wasn’t at the
Morgan Manufacturing party, it was in the session I co-presented with
Verint consulting expert Andrew Studee, who joined the company as part
of its acquisition of Major Oak a few years ago. Entitled “The
Contact Center of Today, 2020, and Beyond,” Andrew and I took advantage
of the opportunity to gaze into the future and talk about the role of
innovations such as gamification, biometrics, artificial intelligence,
and others in terms of the impact they could have on the contact center
of the future. The attendees seemed to sense that we were having
fun with the topic and were onboard with us from the beginning.
It made for a memorable morning.
Overall, Verint Engage 2016 was a well-run, interesting, informative,
and entertaining conference. It was a first-class event from beginning
to end. Then again, I wouldn’t expect anything less from Verint.
The Future Of Work
Michele Rowan, President, Customer Contact Strategies, [email protected]
in many parts of the world are changing how and where they want to
work, and it is nowhere more evident than in the United States.
Flexible working is the #1 new benefit being offered by
employers, according to a recent survey conducted by the Society for
Human Resource Management.
continues to drive the pace, but growing in prominence, employees are
raising their expectations for workplace-specific technology. Workers
value cutting edge technology above most other perks, per the Work in
Progress 2016 survey facilitated by Adobe.
While "working from anywhere " creates its own set of challenges, it is
here to stay, led by specific segments and job functions where work is
transactional in nature populations are large. So where are the big
impacts, the high volume payoffs in virtual working? What are the
pitfalls and challenges companies are facing?
Mobile, social, video, web conferencing and chat have all influenced
the way that we get work done. While we still use email and we
still use instant messaging, we are seeing many modes of interactions
blending together, such as Slack, Yammer and Socialcast. Some
business communication experts believe that we'll reduce the number of
channels or modes we use to communicate, and automate more along the
way (i.e. automations to manual monthly reports, expense reports,
Highly transactional, densely populated work groups like contact
centers have had exceptional results utilizing the remote working
environment, both full-time and part-time. Companies maintain the
exact same visibility of output of home workers as their in-house
counterparts. For the most part, they use the exact same the same
technologies. The only significant change is in digital tools
that employees use to learn, and share knowledge/experiences, and these
tools are being implemented in office anyway, because they're more
There are a number of incremental benefits that highly transactional
groups are seeing from expanded use of the work at home model:
• Staffing and overall labor cost
improvements (staggered start times, shorter shifts, and split shifts),
reduce overall labor cost reduction by 15-25% (2014-2016 CCS Remote
Working Benchmarking Survey).
• Disaster recovery and on demand
staffing are both significantly more effective in managing volume due
to inclement weather staffing shortages, and unplanned spikes in
• Employee satisfaction is 10-20%
higher, leading to better attendance (25% improvement in unplanned
absenteeism) and employee retention (trends of 30% improvement
2011-2016, CCS Remote Working Benchmarking Survey).
On the downside, companies that invite workers in more traditional jobs to
work remotely for some or all of their work schedule sometimes struggle
to gain visibility of output, and find that collaboration can suffer.
Both can be overcome, but it requires investments in technology,
management muscle and cultural shift that a lot of companies fail to
think through or plan for before the launch their remote working
Customer Contact Strategies is holding a Work at Home Conference in Laguna Beach, CA, November 16-17
It's two days of deep dive discussions on remote work, a number
of great speakers/case studies, and really meaningful benchmarking.
Introducing The Saddletree Research Kachina Award (And Why You Should Care!)
Paul Stockford, Research Director, NACC & Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research,
year my company, Saddletree Research, is introducing the Kachina Award
for innovation in the North American contact center industry.
Before you start rolling your eyes at yet another award program
in the contact center industry, let me explain a little about this
award and why you should care about who wins one.
awards in the contact center industry today are more like “Participant”
trophies. In other words, everyone who submits an entry and pays
the fee gets the award. That’s why you will often see press
releases from dozens of different companies that have all won the same
There are other industry
award programs that do recognize the achievements of a single vendor
company over others, but there’s usually a catch. Once such
program offers a prestigious award for technology solutions vendors but
the only way the winning company can publicize their win is to
“license” the award from the conferring company at a substantial,
typically five-figure, fee. In other words, if you wanna play,
you gotta pay.
I’m explaining this to you because I’ve seen dozens of RFPs and RFQs
over the years and just about every one of them asks the responding
vendor company to list any industry awards they have won. This is
why you should care about the Kachina Awards. There won’t be a
lot of them out there and you can be assured that those companies that
win a Kachina Award have truly earned it.
The Kachina Awards recognize a single technology vendor for innovation
in a single technology category. For this inaugural year, we have
chosen six award categories:
- Innovation in Workforce Optimization (workforce management, quality management)
- Innovation in Analytics (Speech analytics, text analytics, desktop analytics)
- Innovation in Customer Self-Service solutions
- Innovation in Cloud Contact Center solutions
- Innovation in Voice of the Customer solutions
- Innovation in emerging technologies and/or new industry solutions
We tried to keep the categories manageable, along with the application
fee. Every company in the industry, from the smallest startup to
the biggest of the behemoths, can afford the application fee and that
was the point. We want to make sure that everyone in the industry
has a fair shot at a Kachina Award.
Kachina Awards submissions will be evaluated by a panel of five
independent judges, including one who is an NACC member, with the
winner in each category determined by consensus. Besides me, the other
four judges are:
- David Butler, PhD, Professor, University of
Southern Mississippi and Executive Director, National Association of
Call Centers (NACC)
- Renee Maler, Principal, Philosophy PR + Marketing
- Jim Lavery, Vice President, Contact Centers and Credit Services, Desert Schools Federal Credit Union and longtime NACC member
- Linda Harden, Publisher, Contact Center Pipeline Magazine
For more details on the 2016 Saddletree Research Kachina Awards, please
read my current Contact Center Pipeline magazine column which you can
find on the Saddletree Research website here
The Kachina Award will not be an easy award to win. It has to be
earned, but those who do win will have the satisfaction of knowing that
they have achieved something special.
Call Center Comics
If you like this comic and would like to see more, write Ozzie at [email protected] and visit his website at http://callcentercomics.com
or just click on the comic to tak you to his page. The NACC appreciates
Ozzie letting us use some of his comics in our newsletter.
In This Issue...
- Verint Engage 2016 From The NACC Perspective
- The Future Of Work
- Saddletree Research Kachina Awards (And Why You Should Care!)
- Call Center Comics!
Pearls Of Wisdom
for a reason that can only be described as divine, have the ability to
forgive, let go of the past, and live each day joyously. It's
something the rest of us strive for.”
~ Jennifer Skiff, Author, The Divinity Of Dogs
Reports From NACC
NACC has been burning the midnight oil and typing until our fingers are
sore to bring out reports to our members. Each is listed below. If you
are interested to see what we are writing about, click on the links
below and download the executive summary of each. If you like what you
see, join the NACC so that you can view these reports and others that
will be coming out soon on our website. These reports will ensure that
you know the latest trends in the industry.
|Did You Know That NACC...
To advertise with the NACC, please contact the NACC at: Tel:
601.447.8300 | Fax: 601.266.5087 | Email: Click Here
To view past issues of In Queue, please click here.
If you would like to contribute to In Queue, please reply to this email with "Contribute" in the subject line.
© 2016 National Association of Call Centers