What's New in In Queue
Paul Stockford, Research Director, NACC and Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research, [email protected]
Real-Time Analytics! We’ve
been researching real-time analytics solutions in the contact center
since last year. This year real-time analytics has shown up in
the list of the top 5 industry mega-trends for 2013 (see my article
below). If you’re not familiar with the impact that real-time
analytics is having in the customer service world take a listen to a
podcast I just recorded on the topic. In this podcast, which you
can hear in its entirety in about the time you’re drinking a cup of
coffee at your desk, you’ll hear how real-time analytics are applied in
such areas as collections, agent coaching, communications and the
management of at-home agents. You can access this podcast,
entitled “Real-Time Analytics: Redefining Contact Center
Efficiency” here. Take 10 minutes and give it a listen.
Send ‘Em Home! You’ve probably noticed that
the at-home agent movement is gaining real traction this year. It
is a topic of many articles, blogs, tweets and now webinars. I
know because I participated in this particular at-home agent webinar
with Vicki Steere of major outsourcer TeleTech. Vicki is the
Director of Talent Acquisition at TeleTech and is responsible for
recruiting and hiring thousands of agents who work at home. If
you have or are thinking about supporting home agents, this webinar is
a must and lucky for you the recording is available! Go here to download and learn about best practices in hiring and managing home agents.
Volunteer Membership Recruitment Continues.
Apparently agents aren’t the only ones involved in contact center
turnover and personnel churn. Several of our 2012 volunteer
members have left their employers, creating vacancies in our volunteer
membership ranks. If you’d like to be come a part of our
community and interact with your peers as well as have access to our
reports, such as the recently published “The At-Home Agent Movement: A
Benchmark Quantitative Analysis,” in addition to accessing our job
board and the business opportunities that come our way, you should
consider becoming a volunteer member.
Volunteer memberships are provided at no cost in exchange for 30
minutes of your time during the one year membership period. All
we ask of our volunteer members is to participate in our surveys, which
typically take four minutes or less to complete. In 2012, we ran
a total of three surveys. In 2013, we’ll probably run one per
quarter but we still promise to ask for no more than 30 minutes of your
time during the year.
Mobility in the News. Mobility in the
contact center continues to get the attention of the industry as the
number of contact centers currently supporting both iPhone and Android
smart phones approaches 40 percent of all contact centers. Our
guest author this month, Art Rosenberg, is a well-known industry writer
and consultant and is a longtime business colleague of mine. In
his feature article he addresses mobile customer services in the
feature article below. For more information, Art can be reached
at [email protected] or by phone at 310-395-2360.
Moving To Mobile Customer Services
Art Rosenberg, The Unified View / UC Strategies Expert, [email protected]
Customer service is
changing dramatically as consumers become more mobile and have greater
direct access to online information and services. Organizations, both
large enterprises and small businesses, will all be affected by the
impact of multi-modal smartphones and tablets on traditional
As confirmed in many recent market studies, mobile customers are now expecting:
contact center of yesterday must start planning now to accommodate the
new technologies that support such interactions for both mobile
customers and customer assistance staff, wherever they may be located.
Migrating contact center applications for mobile customers will be most
cost-efficiently facilitated by moving to “cloud” based hosted and
managed services, but “Customer BYOD” needs will also require
self-service applications to be designed for device-independence and
offer more flexible choices for user interaction interfaces.
More access to mobile online self-services
Pro-active mobile notifications and alerts, rather than calling in or checking online
Greater flexibility in choice of user interfaces (voice, visual)
Options for multiple forms of “smart” access to live assistance when needed
Telephone calls are not going to disappear, but voice conversations are
being subsumed by other forms of inbound and outbound contacts,
including social network postings, text chat, and video calls. As
reflected in a recent market study, customers prefer interacting with
online applications first, before requiring access to live assistance.
Providing good customer experiences will be key to customer
satisfaction and operational support efficiencies, so providing a
unified analytics view of all customer contact activities will be
critical in designing both personalized self- service applications and
live assistance on demand.
Stay tuned as your call center of yesterday evolves into a mobile interaction center.
Art Rosenberg is an industry analyst and thought leader
and has been involved with pioneering contact center technologies since
the first automated answering services were developed. He sees customer
services and the contact center as being one of most important areas of
business communications that can benefit from Mobile UC and the cloud.
A Reverse On The Work At Home Trend?
David Butler, Executive Director, NACC, [email protected]
This week an internal memo
was leaked to the media that shows the new Yahoo! CEO recalling all of
the employees who are currently working from home. This leaked memo has
people from all walks of life pondering if this is an industry reverse
from at home workers or if this is something unique to Yahoo!
It appears that Yahoo! is learning what the contact center industry has
experimented with and learned over the past decade and that is that
work-at-home employees can be successful if the process is executed
correctly. People must be trained to work at home – it is not
something that most people instinctively know how to do.
Home means family, friends, TV, meals, pets, etc. For many, home does
not equate to work productivity. Not all people or people of all
generations are disciplined enough to work from home without
distractions. However, once these items are ironed out, working from
home offers great benefits which include more productivity, less
commute time, more family time and access to a larger workforce than
the company could access with a brick and mortar establishment and a
finite commuter radius. This story demonstrates what I have been saying
for years; specifically, the contact center is filled with great
lessons learned that should be shared the entire enterprise.
Top Five Contact Center Mega-Trends For 2013
Paul Stockford, Research Director, NACC and Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research, [email protected]
Predicting industry trends is a practice about as old as the contact
center industry itself. Conventional wisdom tells us that the
best way to spot or predict trends is to talk to a bunch of different
solutions providers and see what’s flying off the shelves, then
extrapolate that trend into the future. We take a decidedly
different approach. Instead of asking vendors what they’re making
or what they think will sell, we ask you, the buyers, what you’re
We consider our demand-based forecasting to be superior to supply-based
forecasting and a more accurate means of gaining insight into the
mindset of the industry. With that qualification in mind, here
are the five mega-trends that we believe will have a significant impact
on the industry this year:
trend toward Big Data speaks for itself. With so much structured
and unstructured data residing in the contact center combined with the
advent of reasonable analytics solutions there is no doubt in my mind
that Big Data will be a big trend this year. This was further
verified by the demand for analytics solutions, which heads the list of
the top contact center solutions that will be evaluated for purchase
Human Capital Management
Shifting Purchase Influencers
Mobility is another intuitive trend given the fact that there are 330
million mobile devices in use in our country of 315 million people, and
over half of these devices are smart phones or tablets. Our user
surveys revealed that mobility is a customer service issue that is
worthy of investment in 2013. Our year-end research verified that
over 40 percent of contact centers in the U.S. are now supporting both
iPhone and Android mobile devices.
Real-time analytics will be driven by a combination of customer
experience, regulatory compliance and remote agent management
objectives. 2012 research revealed that the majority of
performance analytics users are dissatisfied to some degree with the
time it takes to get performance metrics to supervisors and
agents. Real-time analytics addresses this shortcoming.
In addition, real-time analytics enables the management of remote
agents as the at-home agent movement gains industry momentum in
2013. 2012 research showed that 53 percent of U.S. contact
centers have some percentage of their workforce working from
home. About 70 percent of these contact centers intend to
increase their at-home agent population in 2013. Real-time
analytics offers the only timely means of managing this remote
Human Capital Management will also be driven by the at-home agent
movement as companies attempt to recruit and hire agents with the
appropriate attitudes and attributes that will make them successful
remote workers. Specialized needs of large outsourcers, who have
to hire large numbers of employees in a short period of time and at a
reasonable cost in order to compete with offshore outsourcers, will
also contribute to this trend. Year-end survey results show that
33 percent of the market will be evaluating hiring software for
purchase during 2013.
Shifting purchase influencers speak to the fact that price is not as
influential in the purchase process as it used to be. Every year
since 2008 we’ve asked participants in our year-end user survey to
choose the two top factors that influence their technology purchase
decisions. Return on Investment (ROI) and Price always top the
list and they did this year too, but nipping on the heels of Price are
such factors as company reputation, prior relationship with the vendor
and trust in the brand name. This indicates the return of
intangible purchase influencers in the post-recession contact center
industry. It also means that the lowest price won’t always win
It is clear that analytics will be an important industry growth driver
in 2013, but it will not be dominant. This year’s mega-trends
indicate an overall focus on efficiency, most likely driven by
conservative management in the post-recession era.
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/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.
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Copyright 2013 National Association of Call Centers