Following the Rules with Governance

Analytics-based governance keeps our contact centers running in full compliance with internal best practices, legal regulations, and more.

Our Governance Team defines goals, guidelines and terms across the organization; communicates with internal departments on these specifics so that everyone is on the same page; uses data to measure adherence to goals, guidelines and terms; and implements useful monitoring and auditing strategies. As part of Analytics Services, our Governance Team offers real-time visual presentations of data with calculated results and dashboards. This type of analysis measures adherence of results to set goals, guidelines and contractual terms.

Most simply, our Governance solutions provide another set of eyes helping to check all the important details that make a difference to our clients. The team develops reporting to check for conditions to be met and establishes notifications when they are not. For instance, in the case of natural disasters, we might shut-down certain area codes so we’re not calling those affected. Governance reports provide a safety-net to ensure that we don’t accidently make any calls into those locations, providing immediate alerts if there are discrepancies. Another example of our governance solutions includes ensuring that we’re adhering to contractual terms and obligations, then informing stakeholders if there is anything amiss.

Overall, Governance can be used in a contact center to ensure that your organization is one following all the rules.

 

 

Analytics – Real Time and Relevant

Our Business Analytics solutions have helped many organizations mine and analyze their existing data and turn it into interactive visualizations and easy-to-use analysis tools, focused on improving results and providing vital insight. Most importantly, we turn large amounts of data into something useful for our clients by doing things like determining pockets of your most callable records, figuring out the best times to call your campaigns, discovering who is most likely to buy your product or donate to your organization, proactively predicting the best Communicator to handle each phone call, or targeting businesses within a given area.

Most recently, we have been able to provide our call centers with the capability to see key KPIs that would help them manage their center more efficiently. These dashboards give them the ability to see a quick snapshot of such metrics as retention, hours tracking, management ratio, program results, and other important factors that are crucial in the day-to-day management of Communicators and programs.  They also have the ability to drill down into reporting connected to the dashboard to get a more detailed view and help pinpoint opportunities for improvement in a more timely fashion.

Tools like these are just an example of how we have been able to successfully build analytical solutions that are both real-time and usable, equating to smarter spending of your investment with us, achieving the best results possible and maximizing your ROI.

Gamification: Enhancing Employee Engagement in the Contact Center Space

Keeping employees engaged is a goal for every contact center. In a world filled with social media, where myriads of people are involved in habitually playing games and using fun apps to send pictures and messages to their friends, why not apply the same logic to their work environment? Gamification leverages employee’s natural desires – for socializing, learning, mastery, competition, success, status, and expression – as play.  Whether incentivizing employees to compete with their colleagues to score points individually or motivating them to work together as a team to achieve an overall goal, gamification in the call center space changes the game.

 At InfoCision, we use gamification across the organization – from our Communicators on the phones to salary staff at Corporate.   Our proven gamification techniques align company, division and client goals with fun incentivizes and friendly competition.    Employees receive real-time feedback when their achievements contribute to the goal.  Those employees are instantly recognized and rewarded with their choice from thousands of different incentives, including merchandise, gift cards and work perks!  When personalized achievement, job satisfaction, and meaningful rewards merge to produce best in-class performance and quality – the result for our clients is truly a WIN-WIN! 

 

Keep The Creativity Coming!

In business, especially in the contact center space, it’s easy for teams to keep doing business as usual once they learn what works.  A good contact center knows their customers, all the ins and outs of their proprietary technology, and has developed an array of standardized strategies for handling challenges. However, when the ultimate desire is for a business to grow, the flow of creative ideas in every realm of the business must not only continue, but flourish.

At InfoCision, our team of marketers constantly tests new ideas, in a way that can be measured and replicated. This includes considering all aspects of the customer experience, examining and testing at all levels within the myriad of multi-channel solutions available: scripts, letter packages, call routing strategies, training materials, reporting techniques, hiring and retention, quality measurements, even ancillary services. Creativity involves utilizing our Business Analytics department to provide demographic and transactional data modeling or run a variety of scenarios to generate alternate probabilities and outcomes.  All our insights and findings are used to develop best practices, which are constantly examined for relevancy and adjusted with fine-tuning.

Having a culture of operational excellence, combined with the ingenuity and aptitude for continual testing across departments, enables us to provide excellent customer service and unmatched ROI.

 

 

Gain Contact Center Efficiency With Desktop Automation and Analytics

Your Communicators all possess different skill levels. So, how can you best identify who can do what, as well as where training is indicated, to improve the quality of customer care and maximize profitability? As you embrace omnichannel and seek to improve the customer experience, how can you ensure that frontline staff become more productive problem solvers and relationship builders, rather than process navigators and tool users?

To address these concerns, contact center leaders are adopting next-generation unified desktop technology. The solution includes not only dynamic scripting to help Communicators articulate a cohesive brand message but also call recording and analytical features that generate performance metrics for supervisors. The technology also works to eliminate time-draining manual tasks for employees.

A recent ContactBabel study, “The US Contact Center Decision Makers’ Guide 2016,” as a matter of fact, finds that 10 percent of the 221 contact center managers and leaders surveyed rank back-office automation as the most important technology, from a list of 25, over the next two years—second only to omnichannel.

Unfortunately, most of today’s contact center processes and systems are only loosely integrated, leading to flawed views of performance and issues. For example, ContactBabel reports that voice of the customer projects often run into difficulty when attempting to track the customer journey across departments, processes and channels.

This situation has been exacerbated by the high level of resource required to ensure that disparate solutions can leverage data into a cohesive whole. The addition of new communication channels (e.g., live chat, email and text) only makes integration more urgent.

Unification of various workforce optimization tools gives businesses the chance to break down information silos that are preventing the optimization of the customer experience, as well as reduce user complexity. Today, for example, even after successful call completion, systems—from customer accounts to warehouse stock systems to CRM to credit/debit card applications—may require input from Communicators to initiate necessary back-office processes. Often times, such complications put accuracy and maximization of revenues at risk.

A simple change of address, for example, in a non-unified environment can be a time drain, requiring alterations to several databases. ContactBabel reports that Communicators spend an average of 10 percent of their time each hour in after-call work, which costs the industry $20 billion each year.

A unified desktop automation and analytics solution addresses this challenge by allowing faster processing of calls, as well as reducing training times and improving customer satisfaction. Communicators work with a single desktop application tailored to their specific needs, which pulls in only the right data and applications from disparate systems and presents them on a single screen. In the background, business rules and workflow make sure that the right back-office processes happen without agent intervention.

In 2017, eliminate manual, error-prone tasks required of Communicators by deploying next-generation workforce optimization solutions that automate their duties. This will help you gain contact center efficiency and free up staff to focus on the customer.

How to Maximize Analytics to Optimize Customer Relationships

Analytics has taken the identification of contact center issues from gut instinct—or random sampling as managers walk the floor—to a science. It can help contact center leaders get to the root cause of problems, better enabling their resolution. In concert with the right applications, analytics can be used to ensure the optimal duration and profitability of a customer relationship.

As the application of analytics advances, it will be used to predict customer needs and behaviors to the point where contact center managers will be able to proactively deliver appropriate services—even before customers realize they need them!

Using data inputs—such as product use behavior, purchase history, Web and mobile clicks—contact center analytics will become a strategic tool for businesses. Managers will be enabled to provide white-glove service to their most valuable customers, as well as identify which customers have the potential to become majorly profitable—and serve them equally well.

To realize the full potential of contact center analytics, it must be combined with sales and marketing analytics. These business units have traditionally used analytics to better segment prospects for marketing purposes. The new opportunity is to use the data inputs from across the organization to better inform business decisions. With insights gained in this more holistic manner, contact center managers will understand how to engage and support customers throughout the relationship life cycle.

So, where do you begin the process of maximizing analytics for your contact center?

First of all, your company must be completely digitalized—to the point where nearly every customer touch point is accessible for analysis. Otherwise, missing data can skew analytics and set you up for a fall. Second, the contact center must put customer experience—not reducing handling times or reducing costs—at the center of its strategy. After all, you don’t want to let a customer slip through your fingers while you tally interaction expenses. Finally, the entire organization must be onboard with creating a culture where customer engagement is its main purpose and function. This last point is necessary to reduce organizational boundaries that might limit the sharing of meaningful data.

Once your organization is set up to optimize customer satisfaction, contact center analytics will be a far more strategic tool. You’ll gain a deep knowledge of customer drivers, and know how to best address them to strengthen relationships.

Gearing Up Your Contact Center for the Holiday Rush

From early October through December, the contact center reflects both the uptick in holiday shopping and the push to hit the year’s projected numbers.  When you’re standing in a line waiting for the doors to open on some retailer’s one-day only seasonal sale, just imagine the hold queues forming in contact centers that didn’t prepare for the onslaught! Due to the rise of mobile shopping, and the phenomenon that is Cyber Monday, the holidays now represent one of the busiest times of the year for contact centers.

Most contact centers bring on extra Communicators for peak holiday business. Here at InfoCision, we bring on about 500 new employees, which represents one-eighth of our normal Communicator workforce.

To be a prepared contact center that continues to satisfy customers during holiday shopping periods, here are a few additional suggestions:

Use data to forecast the rush: Review historical data, industry projections and other intelligence to estimate how many extra hands you’ll need to meet customer demand at this time of the year. Beyond hiring Communicators, consider adding staff to handle monitoring of social media channels and other contact center functions. Consider whether extending service to 24/7 availability or enlisting an outsourced contact center would enhance the customer experience over the holidays.

Acclimate existing and new staff: Even experienced Communicators hired for the season need some time to acclimate to new surroundings, so don’t wait until the last minute. It’s also a good idea to team new hires with expert Communicators to teach them the ropes.  Also, prepare all staff to handle seasonal promotions by giving them written materials detailing how to upsell and cross-sell products, and provide additional training and scripts to help Communicators maximize revenue.

Support Communicators: Some contact centers have gone to extremes to keep their Communicators happy during the holiday rush—offering chair massages, for example. Others provide free coffee and cookies delivered to workstations and bring in complementary lunches. Still, others hold drawings for merchandise and gifts. To build team support, try an ugly Christmas sweater contest or offer a prize for best decorated cubicles.

Make sure your holiday shoppers—who may contact your business only at this time of year—have a great experience with your brand. When you’re well-prepared for the rush, you can build stronger relationships that will last all year.

 

How to Move From Data to Insights to Action

As a business leader, you are told often enough to harness the data in your organization to drive more-effective decision making. And maybe you’re thinking “easier said than done”—and you’d be correct.

It’s a struggle in today’s business environment to rein in data when more and more of it arrives every day. Yet the amount of data doesn’t change the fundamental executive decision-making premise: Understand the market to determine how and where to best compete.

So, how do you get from vast compilations of data to pertinent insights that can grow your business?

To win customers, you need data and analytics to show what they want at the times when they are bent on going somewhere, or learning, doing or buying something. You must be able to identify those instances and act on them wisely. Companies that excel go beyond analytics; they build insights they can use to develop truly relevant customer experiences.

Take the following recommendations into consideration:

Integrate data: First, you need to achieve a single view of your customer base. Only then can you ensure optimal product offerings and the most effective communication strategies. Mix together multiple sources of customer and marketing data—from email response rates to data from in-person meetings—with a strong focus on demand generation, to enhance the customer experience. Continually use data and analytics to test your effectiveness. According to a recent study by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, some companies that have captured the full customer journey by integrating multiple sources of data are generating up to 8.5X higher shareholder value.

Stay ahead of the curve: Second, use analytics to generate new value for customers whenever they reach out to your brand, not just to strengthen marketing effectiveness. Continually develop more-sophisticated analytics capabilities and applications, as the ability to gain competitive leverage from analytics is declining as more organizations develop capabilities.

Leverage tools: Sophisticated technology tools allow you to drive customer satisfaction in diverse ways—from your website’s ease of use, to on-time delivery, to actual product performance. This is where analyzing social media and direct customer feedback is especially beneficial.

Broaden marketing scope: Eliminate enterprise market­ing divisions and vertically integrate their roles within each line of business to break down organizational barriers to improving customer experience. This will entrench marketers into a par­ticular customer experience and concentrate their attention on each phase of the customer journey. This includes moving from a product-centric to a customer-centric focus. In today’s market—full of smart and demanding consumers, as well as product commoditization—trying to compete by managing costs won’t do the job. Instead, apply formal customer value measurements to drive and evaluate changes.

Build a team: Create a team of analytics professionals who understand not only data but the technologies that help to amalgamate data into a cohesive whole. Beyond that, place more emphasis on the data than the analytics team, meaning determine the questions the data should answer before setting your analysts free. Otherwise, you could end up with massive amounts of data that actually cloud business implications instead of offering clarity.

A disciplined approach to analytics will garner you an improved customer experience. Just as with any decision-making process, optimize analytics to obtain the desired results.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.

The Time is Now For Predictive Analytics

There’s no denying the fact that technology has transformed the contact center, allowing businesses to better care for customers, improve business processes and boost revenue. One such technology that’s affecting positive change within many organizations is predictive analytics.

In fact, the  analytics market is booming. Valued at roughly $694.6 million in 2013, the predictive analytics market is expected to triple by 2019, reaching more than $2.3 billion, according to market research firm Micromarket Monitor.

Predictive analytics is the process of extracting information from existing data sets to determine common patterns and predict future outcomes and trends. For contact centers analytics can help greatly improve customer satisfaction, reduce employee churn, and much more.

For example, by using this technology businesses can identify the behaviors consistent with customers who have stopped doing business with the company to understand whether those behaviors represent a potential risk of churn from current customers. This process can also be applied to reduce employee churn.

Besides improving customer and employee churn, analytics can help businesses make better, more informed business decisions. The New York Times, for example, used analytics to see the processes in which people become subscribers and used that data to influence more people to subscribe.

What’s more, the newspaper used the technology to determine what content topics generate the most engagement, and then shared that data with the marketing team so that they could create and promote content that would resonate best with customers.

As you can see, analytics has many uses within organizations from sales to customer service to marketing. If you want to keep agents informed, gain a more well-rounded view of consumers, and gain valuable insight to reap better contact center services ROI, then consider choosing a partner that has invested in business analytics technology.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.

Why Providing Agents with Analytics is Essential to Your Success

In The Art of War, Sun Tzu writes that “Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought,” referring to the immense preparation that is necessary to be su

ccessful in war, and the need to arm soldiers with all the tools they might need. The world of customer care is no different.

While having skilled and personable call center agents is of course vital to providing a high quality of customer care, arming those agents with as much information as possible is also a necessity. Today, contact center technology is more sophisticated than ever, and the use of big data analytics is critical for providing agents with the information they need in order to provide better assist customers.

Big data analytics will play an ever-increasing role in the world of contact center services. In fact, a recent report by Gartner concluded that by 2018 half of all agent interactions will be influenced in some way by real-time analytics. Giving agents access to all of this information will dramatically improve quality of customer care, as agents will be able to have a greater understanding of both the problem and the customer.

Big data analytics like predictive analysis will allow agents to solve customers’ problems more quickly, more efficiently, and with greater accuracy—the ultimate goal of all contact centers. By using information from prior customer interactions, predictive analytics can give agents a good idea of what a customer is calling about before even answering the phone. This allows them to begin compiling solutions in a timelier manner, providing rapid assistance to the client.

In order to keep up with the abundance of big data available within customer care space, businesses must understand how to use it to their advantage. As such, contact center leaders need to look into improving the back end of their centers—the engine that drives their customer interactions—with Business Intelligence tools to make better use of the enormous pool of big data of which businesses are receiving ever-increasing access.

Knowing how to access, analyze, and apply big data to contact center services will allow business to provide the highest possible quality of customer care, increasing customer satisfaction as well as company reputation. Effectively using big data analytics will help make contact center services one of the most valuable resources of a business.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.