NACC

Volume 4, Issue 1 - January 9, 2009

Our Contact Info:

David Butler
Executive Director

National Association of Call Centers
100 South 22nd Avenue
Hattiesburg MS 39401
Tel: 601.447.8300

David.Butler@nationalcallcenters.org
http://www.nationalcallcenters.org

Circulation

In Queue circulation 55,858

Underwriters

All leading call center companies and suppliers should examine the NACC Underwriting opportunity in 2009 as evidence of their dedication to the growth of call center industry. See the 2008 Media/Advertising Guide link below for more information.

Share the Knowledge

Send this newsletter to colleagues by clicking "Forward this email" at the very bottom and end of this newsletter or sign up for this newsletter by clicking here.

NACC Investment Portfolio

Original Value start 11/6/2007
=US$90.00 or US$10.00 per stock.

Total Portfolio Value Now= $44.06 which is up in the past three or so weeks since we ran the numbers in December 2008.

We hope that with the start of the new year that the NACC Investment Portfolio will start to build back from its losses in 2008. Even though the outlook for early 2009 is reported as bleak we believe that there are still ample opportunities in the market that the companies of the portfolio can take advantage of and build back stock value throughout 2009. We will keep you updated on these events as they occur.

NACC Composite Index

The NACC Composite Index was up  the past several weeks to 42.75. Even though the markets are oscillating on a daily basis, the trend for the portfolio has been up since December 2008. The chart above highlights the first of each month reporting period for the composite index since its inception in November 2007.

The NACC Composite Index outperformed all other indices for the past three or more weeks. The Dow was down and the S&P 500 and NASDAQ were up, but not as much as the NACC Composite which was up 4.92%. Not a bad start for 2009.  

Quotes

"Organization doesn't really accomplish anything. Plans don't accomplish anything, either. Theories of management don't much matter. Endeavors succeed or fail because of the people involved. Only by attracting the best people will you accomplish great deeds."
-General Colin Powell

Picture of the Week

The top picture is one of the frames of the door in the lower picture. This wooden door, from Hallstatt, Austria, was carved with 11 panels on each door. Each panel was unique and had a different theme. The panel in the top picture I believe is to represent transportation given the cart, cars, trucks, and stop light. However, I also see the man in the truck has his fist in the air. I would guess that the arm arching upward is to illustrate progress and upward movement, but I cannot help but see someone in traffic in a major city in the US making a sign of frustration with his arm to the rest of the vehicles around him.

Advertise with Us

Our 2009 Media Guide will be out soon with some new and exciting ways to advertise with the NACC.

To advertise with the NACC, please contact the NACC at:
Tel: 601.447.8300
Fax: 601.266.5087
E-mail:
David.Butler@nationalcallcenters.org

News and Views

Paul Stockford, Research Director, National Association of Call Centers and Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research, Paul.Stockford@nationalcallcenters.org

NEWS AND VIEWS

With this first issue of "In Queue" in 2009 we are launching a new feature that will provide you with an occasional summary of, and an opinion about, activities and occurrences in the contact center industry throughout the year. The news, and accompanying NACC views, will provide you with industry information that we think is important to the successful management and operation of the contemporary contact center from both a strategic and tactical point of view.

If the information you read is of interest to you more details can be obtained by NACC members in good standing by contacting the author of the analysis or by contacting the NACC Executive Director, David Butler, at David.Butler@nationalcallcenters.com. NACC members can be assured of receiving the additional objective information required from NACC personnel. For more information about becoming an NACC member please visit www.nationalcallcenters.org.

As always, we’d like your opinion about the usefulness of this new In Queue feature. Comments can be directed to Executive Director, Dr. David Butler, or the author of any particular analysis that you read.

NEWS

On January 7, 2009, Aspect Software of Chelmsford, MA, acquired the assets of Applied Information Management Limited and its wholly owned subsidiary, AIM Technology, Inc. AIM Technology was one of the first providers of performance management and analytics software to the global contact center market.

Aspect plans to fully integrate the AIM Technology analytics product into its PerformanceEdge Performance Optimization solutions suite as PerformanceEdge Performance Management, replacing the current original equipment manufacturer (OEM) agreement Aspect currently has with Merced Systems. Customers with an Aspect/Merced performance management analytics solution currently installed will continue to be supported by Aspect in the future.

All of AIM Technology’s employees will join Aspect. Financial terms of the transaction between these two privately held companies were not disclosed.

VIEWS

The NACC views this acquisition as positive for the contact center industry on several levels. For current Aspect customers there is no downside to this acquisition. For those with Merced solutions in place, there is no interruption of supply and service. For those Aspect customers considering adding a performance management solution to their workforce optimization suite, the common Microsoft technology base between the current Aspect PerformanceEdge suite and the newly-integrated AIM Technology analytics system, combined with Aspect’s Microsoft unified communications solution, add up to exciting possibilities for future contact center products.

Beyond the potential product capabilities presented by the AIM Technology acquisition is the timing of this purchase and what it says about the character and confidence of Aspect. The reader may recall an essay published in the December 5, 2008, issue of this newsletter regarding the U.S. economy and the contact center industry (see http://www.nationalcallcenters.org/pubs/In_Queue/vol3no24.html ). In that article I wrote about how history has demonstrated that the companies with the confidence to continue to pursue their business objectives during recessionary periods have emerged from those periods with gains in market share and market profile. With this acquisition during the first week of 2009, in the midst of a crisis of confidence among businesses and consumers alike, Aspect has given notice to the industry that it has no intention of backing down. This should, in turn, inspire confidence in those considering the acquisition of an Aspect solution.

Continuing to pursue a “business as usual” strategy during uncertain economic times, as Aspect has done with this acquisition, demonstrates the type of market vision and industry leadership that will bring the contact center industry out of the economic mire that has been created by sensationalistic media bent on ensuring uncertainty among us all. I remain firm in my belief, as published in the above referenced issue of In Queue, that the U.S. economy will be in recovery mode by the end of the second quarter of this year.


60 Ideas in 60 Minutes-Round V

David L. Butler, Executive Director, National Association of Call Centers, David.Butler@nationalcallcenters.org

David L. Butler- I’m going to move this idea onto more the personal piece. I think people should read books. What I mean by that is those things that they publish, they’re about this thick, come in paperback, and hardback. I am not talking reports, not websites, and not email-books. The most successful people out there, if you deduce what they do, books are a part of their life. I don’t care if you’re reading trash novels that are produced in mass production or if you’re reading fiction or nonfiction, read books. It changes the way your mind thinks, it makes you look for parallels and examples that you can use in your everyday life. Stuff will come back from places that you don’t even know. It’s an important process of training your mind and broadening your horizons and actually not only makes you a better person individually, in terms of interaction socially, but also helps within business as well. Once again, I don’t care what you read, J. K. Rowling has done a great job in bringing books to people again, but the reality is just read. Give yourself 30 minutes, an hour a day, read something other than emails and reports and you know all that sort of stuff that absorbs mind-numbing stuff. Give yourself the time and enjoying reading.

Samantha Kane- I’d like to talk about different generations and how they affect the call center and who your customers are. I’m a generation of the boomers, but we have X generation that was born between 75 and 85, and then we have a Y generation that was anybody born after 1981. But of the Y generation, 97% of them own a computer, 94% of them own a cell phone, 76% of them do IMing (instant messaging), 34% of them use websites as their primary source of news, and not reading a newspaper, 28% of them are either an author of a blog or read blogs, 49% download music. So we have to make sure that when we’re servicing customers, if we’re serving both the same old same old generation X but we want to change the demographics, we need to understand how the demographics are going to change. And how we can serve those new generations better and how they want to be served.

Barb Bleiler- I’m going to jump on a little bit about what Bill was saying about quality and share an experience. One thing we stumbled on is that our quality scores were looking awesome, and but we took a different perspective and we said what does that really mean to the customer’s eyes. The example I have for you is we had a situation where we looked at what statistical accuracy was versus our financial accuracy and we were scoring really high. We looked at the results of what the errors were. For example, let’s say I got the address wrong for my customer. So I made one statistical error. I still hit my 99% score. But we actually added a new proponent into our quality scoring to say “what’s my customer impact score?” And when I looked at that customer impact score, if I get that address wrong, yeah its is only one point off my accuracy, but I had a zero on a customer impact. I now went from 100% to zero because without that correct address I’m not going to get my mailings, my premiums, my billings, my explanation of benefit information, any information sent to me is going to the wrong place. And we’ve now instituted what we call a customer impact performance score on every single audit.  What’s really interesting is that we found high performers that we had were the people that were getting the high quality scores but they were getting zeros on our customer impact scores because although they were doing a lot of work fast and efficiently, they were making that one mistake that was always critical to our customers. It was really eye-opening for us.

Beel Yaqub-So since we are on the quality theme, I want to actually share with you some of the things you may want to consider in order to challenge the thinking around what quality means to your client versus organization. The traditional quality management practice is very static, you dedicate resources which hold a sheet of paper which has 10 or 20 static questions to evaluate the frontline employees' ability to service your client. The questions being scored may not be relevant to the actual call (client), this is specifically true in a complex queue with multiple call types. So how do we make quality management more relevant and impactful to the way we serve our clients? The answer lies with real-time coaching. You can take resources that would normally or typically score pre recorded calls which are days or in some cases weeks old and deploy them on the floor. Real-time monitoring allows your quality champions to provide real-time feedback specific to areas which are targeted to the conversation. Now coaching feedback can be much more focused on empowering the employees which will translate into an enhanced client experience.

Vicki Herrell- SWPP – vicki.herrell@swpp.org – I want to talk about having fun. During the winter, sprits can get low, so some call centers play games like call center bingo. You create a bingo card, which can be done online for free -- there are lots of websites out there that let you put in your own words to make your own customized bingo card. You can have the words on the cards include the types of calls that they take, some words that they might say during a call or anything you can think of. And you can have them fill out their whole card, or you can do all those variations that they teach you on cruise ships -- around the edges, an "X" across the card, or whatever you want to do. The timing of the game can be a few hours, a day, or a week. The prizes can be small or large. The other type of bingo that I've heard about was bingo that helps promote attendance. Every day an agent comes to work, they draw a number and if that number is on their bingo card they get to mark it off and then when they get a bingo they get prizes. So let's play bingo in the call center!

William (Bill) Durr- B - I - N - G - O (singing). Everybody in the contact industry is interested in benchmarks. If you really want benchmarks but you are with a company that does not have the budget for it, I have a low cost approach to find out what your competitors are doing in terms of average speed of answer and so on. Call your competitors' call center and time it with a stop watch until you get to an agent. When the agent says "hello" you say "thank you" and hang up. You do that a couple of times a day, at random times during the day. Don't worry about how the agent feels. They will be thrilled, they received a really short call; their stats are going to go through the roof. You laugh but did you ever wonder about all of those 1 second conversations in your center? That is your competitor calling you.


Call Center Comics

In the next issue we will be introducing New comics from Ozzie that have never been seen before. Their coming out party here with "In Queue." Ozzie would also like to know if there are some ideas you are interested in seeing within a cartoon as well. If so, email me and I will get the information to Ozzie for a future cartoon. Who knows, I might send you a "thank you" NACC gift as well.

If you like this comic and would like to see more write Ozzie at callcentercomics@yahoo.com and visit his website at http://callcentercomics.com/cartoon_categories.htm or just click on the comic to take you to his page. The NACC appreciates Ozzie letting us use some of his comics in our newsletter.


Sponsors

Your company logo here. To find out more, contact David Butler at David.Butler@nationalcallcenters.org.


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.

Copyright 2009 National Association of Call Centers

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