What's New in In Queue
Paul Stockford, Research Director, NACC and Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research, [email protected]
recently had the opportunity to spend time a various customer group and
analyst meetings including such companies as Interactive Intelligence,
Aspect, Cisco and Genesys. After a few years of many of these
gatherings disappearing due to the recession, slashed travel budgets,
etc., these events are back with a vengeance.
I’ve been routinely blogging about these gatherings on either the
company’s website or on our own NACC blog, which can be found at www.nationalcallcenters.org.
If you have attended any of these customer events, I’d like to share
notes with you, perhaps comparing your impressions with mine.
Please drop me a line at the e-mail above and let’s exchange
ideas. In the meantime, be sure to check out the NACC blog.
Call Center Week Las Vegas. I will be attending Call Center Week in Las Vegas on the 12th
of June. If any NACC members are planning to attend, please let
me know so I can keep an eye out for you on the exhibit floor, where
I’ll be spending my time.
The NACC hasn’t attended an industry trade show since 2008, when the
recession hit. For us, it was a question of whether or not these
events were still a worthwhile use of time and most reports we heard
from the field were that they were not. The simple fact that
these trade shows are still around having survived the Great Recession
tells us that people are finding value in them, so it’s time we see for
ourselves what these shows have to offer.
What we have to offer you is a free pass to the Contact Center Week
exhibit hall on June 12 and 13. If you’re on the fence about
attending Call Center Week, perhaps the free pass will be enough to tip
the scale. There’s no catch, the show organizers just gave us a
bunch of free exhibit hall passes and we’re passing them on to
you. Members and non-members alike are welcome to these
passes. If you’re in the Las Vegas area, this is a great way for
you to sniff around the show floor at a minimal cost. If you
would like some of these free passes, drop me a line at [email protected].
New Cloud Contact Center Report Available.
You may recall the research that the NACC conducted a few months ago
regarding cloud-based contact centers. Given the amount of hype
in the industry around anything cloud-based, we assumed all of you
would be scrambling to move all your customer service solutions to the
cloud. To test our assumption, we conducted a survey among NACC
members and the results were not what we expected. There seems to
be a large gap between vendor-hype and buyer intentions when it comes
to the cloud. The numerical data as well as anecdotal data from
members are included in this surprising report.
The introduction to the report is reprinted below. This report is
available to NACC members by logging in to the website, www.nationalcallcenters.org.
Enter your member information in order to download a pdf of the
report. If you are not an NACC member but would like to get your
hands on this report, keep reading. As always, member questions
and comments regarding the report are welcomed.
Volunteer Membership Drive. Due to some
recent changes in employment that has led to member turnover, we’re
shoring up our volunteer member corps with a summer membership
drive. Becoming a volunteer NACC member is easy.
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 have yet to run a single
one! That will likely change during the summer as we gear up our
research efforts, but we still promise to ask for no more than 30
minutes of your time during the year.
NACC membership gives you access to reports, our Job Board, business
opportunities as they come to us, and the opportunity to tap into the
membership network for inquiries, advice and review. We promise
to ask for no more than 30 minutes of your time in total to participate
in our brief surveys during the course of the year. It’s a great
deal. If you’d like to join us, send me an e-mail with the word
“Volunteer” in the subject line and I’ll set up your membership.
If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.
How to Champion Your Next Great Idea! This
month’s guest author, Lori Fraser of Strategic Contact, provides
step-by-step instructions for unlocking the potential of your contact
center and implementing your ideas, or those of your agents. When
your suggestions fall on deaf ears, how do you make the leap from
insight to action? Read for yourself in Lori’s article below.
How To Champion Your Next Great Idea
Lori Fraser, Senior Consultant, Strategic Contact, Inc., [email protected]
feel like you could unlock the potential of your center, but no one
will let you turn the key? Maybe the ideas you – and your agents –
create fall on deaf ears when you sound the call for more staff or
technology, or a change in organizational structure? Unless you are
able to say “the experts tell us…” or “best practices dictate…” it’s
hard to muster a receptive audience. So how do you make the leap from
insider insight to action and successful implementation?
Frame the idea in the context of strategy
frame your need in terms of how it will support your contact center and
corporate goals. Making this link is critical for executives to see
that goal achievement is at risk without the right resources. Adding
external validation such as industry best practices, expert articles,
white papers, or industry analyst reports adds more credibility to your
idea and lets management know your idea is rooted in proven strategies.
Wherever possible, identify quantifiable gains to expect. External
reference points may provide hard data to support the benefits that a
center might realize when making a change to enable greater efficiency
As you frame your idea, be clear on what you are driving for and any
implications that may affect results. Is it cost saving, revenue
growth, improvement in customer experience or something else? We may
want it all, but conflicting priorities can hinder your success. For
example, if excellence in customer experience is your key driver, you
may experience initial additional costs before you realize increased
excellence and possibly greater efficiencies. Clarity on goals and
drivers helps prioritize decision making and define phased plans.
adages such as “persistence pays” and “if at first you don’t succeed;
try, try again” still ring true. An initial “no” may mean someone needs
more information or the idea needs more explanation to strengthen the
case. More often than not, leaders are caught in a no win situation
with limited budget and unending requests. You have to help solve their
problems in order to solve your problem. Be persistent in lobbying for
your need while showing you are a team player; help them first with
their problem and if your need can support and address their problem
make the connection clear.
Persistence also involves taking the time to educate and build a
support base for the idea, with a consistent drum beat of your idea in
the context of strategy, as outlined above. Building support is key in
getting the decision made and in successful idea implementation.
a support base means building allies. It doesn’t happen overnight, but
takes persistence as noted above. A simple example shows how seeking
internal allies to help support an initiative can change the outcome.
Several years ago an insurance company reorganized their operation.
With the re-organization, they sought an integrated quality monitoring
(QM) tool to improve the QM process for analysts. Each year the answer
to their QM budget request was a resounding “NO”.
While the QM team originally wanted a tool to support their small
staff, the more compelling business case focused on the customer
experience. The QM team enrolled the front line in their cause, showing
how QM would help agents improve their customer interactions, give
supervisors tools for coaching, and enable the center leadership to
hold agents, supervisors, and quality analysts
accountable for customer satisfaction. Management bought in to the idea
and funded QM. The difference between the first “no” and a successful
answer, implementation and outcome involved building allies. With an
alliance such as this, everybody wins.
Include change management
your idea from inception to approval requires strategy, persistence,
and allies…and that’s just the beginning. Implementing requires robust
planning, whether organizational change, process changes, a new
technology, or moving to a new location. Every time you gain approval
for an idea, think about the impact on people and include a change
management plan. A proven methodology will minimize agent resistance,
mitigate union concerns, and reduce technology hiccups, all of which
can derail a project or compromise results. Every great idea needs
buy-in at all levels of the organization and at all phases of
Public Sector Contact Center Changes
David Butler, PhD., Executive Director, NACC, [email protected]
stereotype of the public sector (government) is that it does not change
or is resistant to change and is likely wasting money due the resulting
lack of efficiency. Compared to the private sector, where change
has become common and technology adoption for efficiency is expected,
the public sector often lags behind. While this is true in many
areas of government, it is especially true in public sector contact
centers. This, however, is beginning to change.
Since 2009, unusual pressures on government funding in terms of tax
receipts at the local, state and federal level have forced government
agencies and departments to lower costs and increase efficiency.
As a result, government agencies are seeking out private sector
solutions to their particular challenges. Add in the recent
federal sequestration budget issue and the challenges are
exacerbated. Government contact centers are now intensely
scrutinizing their service operations for ways to save taxpayer money.
No doubt these public sector contact centers will walk down the same
paths as their private sector counterparts. In the near future,
we expect to see loss of head count, more temporary workers, more
automation and self-service, and outsourcing. It won’t be quite as
simple as making those changes in the private sector since union
contracts, workplace rules, outsourcing jobs out of the country, data
privacy and protection issues will have to be considered with every
decision. At the NACC, we’ll be watching with interest as various
government sectors respond to the cost cutting challenges that lie
ahead. We believe government adoption of private industry
strategies will be significant drivers behind the way the government
will do business in the future.
Looking For The Silver Lining In The Contact Center Cloud
Paul Stockford, Research Director, NACC and Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research, [email protected]
following is excerpted from the recently published report covering the
state of cloud-based contact centers. Members may download the
entire report from the NACC website at www.nationalcallcenters.org.
The idea of providing contact center technology solutions in the cloud
as opposed to on-premise solutions is a topic of great interest in the
industry today. It has been the subject of numerous webinars and
is continually highlighted in trade publications, trade shows and
Delivering services via the cloud, or network, is not a new
concept. In the 1980s it was not uncommon to find companies using
telecommunications services that were delivered through the cloud,
which in this case was the public switched telephone network
(PSTN). Called Centrex, the service offered subscribers all the
capabilities of an on-premise telecommunications solution without the
capital outlay required to acquire the equipment. Instead
subscribers paid on a usage bases, adding or removing lines as easily
as making a phone call to their Centrex provider. As new
technologies, such as voice mail and interactive voice response (IVR)
became available, these solutions were also offered on a subscription
basis by the Centrex providers.
Today, the cloud typically refers to the Internet rather than the PSTN
and the term is used most often when referencing cloud computing, or
computing resources that are delivered as a service via the
Internet. Cloud computing subscribers access applications through
a web browser on the desktop or on a mobile device. The
applications and the user’s data are typically stored on servers at a
remote location. This same type of configuration applies to a
contact center in the cloud.
The contact center in the cloud provides contact center applications
through the Internet, allowing subscribers to access software on
demand, as business conditions warrant. The software as a service
(SaaS) aspect of the cloud contact center provides for hardware and
software maintenance and management by the service provider while the
shared resources aspect of the cloud contact center offers economies of
scale for subscribers. Subscribers don’t need to worry about
installing new software when new releases become available as
applications are hosted centrally and shared among subscribers.
Download the entire report at www.nationalcallcenters.org
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.
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 2013 National Association of Call Centers