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.

 

 

Legal and Compliance – A Driving Force Behind High Quality

In the Call Center industry, some very complicated regulations and laws have been established at both state and national levels, in attempt to protect the consumer.  InfoCision employs expert legal counsel to ensure we stay apprised of new and updated regulations.  InfoCision is regulated by many entities – from individual Secretary of State offices to the FEC, and we strive to accommodate all regulations. We work directly with our IT, Governance, and Business Analytics teams to ensure we meet compliance standards, while continuing to make and take the highest quality calls in the world.

Our Legal and Compliance team represents 3 main areas of focus: contracts, compliance with telemarketing laws, and nonprofit/fundraising registration.

    • Contracts –  

      Any organization we do business with is required to have a contract.  We review all contracts to be sure that legal requirements are met and that InfoCision and client interests are protected.

    • Compliance with Telemarketing Laws –

      When it comes to compliance with telemarketing laws, we employ expert attorneys to ensure we stay up-to-date on any new regulations. We have many IT processes and procedures in place to ensure we are calling who we are allowed to call, at the appropriate times, and with the correct disclosures.

    • Nonprofit/Fundraising Registration –

      The third main essential piece of the department is nonprofit/fundraising registration.  Each state has its own set of regulations and requirements it demands from nonprofit organizations.  We are required to register as a professional fundraiser in 44 states.  This license gives us the ability to fundraise in the corresponding state but also comes with a series of requirements that we have to abide by in order to remain in good standing with the states.  This process typically requires us to submit any contract we sign with a nonprofit organization to the state and, in turn, report financials on the campaign.  This way, the state is aware of how much was raised and, of those funds, how much InfoCision and the charity received.

InfoCision has never aimed to be the biggest call center company in the world, just the best. Quality comes first to us in every facet of our business, and our Legal and Compliance practices are certainly a driving force in our ability to handle all calls in the best manner possible, achieving stellar performance and ROI for our clients.

Legal and Compliance – Drives High Quality; Legal and Compliance – Drives High Quality

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.

Work at Home – Flexibility in the Contact Center Space

Providing flexibility for a workforce is paramount to the long-term satisfaction of many employees in today’s job market. At InfoCision, we have an entire program that offers our contact center staff the option to work from the convenience of their home in a virtual call center environment.

Our staff involved in this unique program receive their initial training in a web-based environment and learn to make the same calls as our traditional agents, just from the comfort of their own homes. This provides an opportunity for people who may not be able to work outside the home otherwise. It also delivers other benefits, like not wasting time commuting back and forth to work, not having a dress code to follow, and saving money on gas and vehicle maintenance. 

Having a work at home program not only encourages employee satisfaction, but also ensures that we have the flexibility and capacity to meet staffing requirements, enabling us to provide excellent customer service and unparalleled 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! 

 

Team Empowerment in the Contact Center

Everyone can agree that it’s important to empower your workforce but developing best practices to boost retention and morale in the contact center space is critical. At InfoCision, we have decades of experience, which equates to a plethora of time-tested, valuable ideas.

With the holiday season in full swing, it’s a time like no other to evaluate how your management team offers appreciation and encouragement to everyone on your workforce, especially including your team on the phone. From gamification and e-cards built-in our screens each day, to holiday-themed grand prize giveaways, we motivate our agents to provide excellent customer service in every call. However, empowerment is more than just the stuff money can buy. It’s:

    • Building an environment where people genuinely want to come to work – a place that fosters self-esteem, builds confidence, and feels like family
    • Believing in the values of the organizations and brands we’re asking others to support
    • Having supervisors and managers who practice empathy and active-listening, remembering birthdays and asking about sick grandkids
    • Visiting the call center floor regularly with senior management who are invested in acquiring feedback from agents, in person, themselves
    • Focusing on finding solutions within an atmosphere of remarkable teamwork, not just debriefings venting about common challenges
    • Ensuring your team has the tools they need to offer an unmatched customer experience

     

  • Genuine job satisfaction comes from more than appreciative Christmas cards, offering team lunches, and coordinating cheesy holiday festivities. True empowerment is generated through a culture of operational excellence, in a commitment to the continual and sincere encouragement and inspiration of your workforce – not just during the holidays, but throughout the entire year.

It’s Time to Start Planning New Strategies For 2016

Believe it or not, the final months of the year are upon us and before you know it, we’ll be consumed by the holiday season. Before you and your employees get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s important to start planning new strategies to improve the quality of customer care and drive contact center ROI.

Though it’s only October it’s important to start planning for 2016 now as successful strategy takes dedicated time and effort. Review over the past year’s details (i.e. contact center metrics such as average handle time, call resolution, and call abandonment) to set goals and build strategies that will ensure the upcoming year is a success.

So what are some ideas for driving contact center ROI in 2016? Below are just a few strategies we suggest putting on your radar for the coming year:

  • Integrate support channels: Not every consumer is the same. Some like to speak directly to a Communicator via telephone, while others prefer live chat. To make sure that you cater to all consumers, make integrating customer care support channels (automated, digital and live Communicator) a priority in 2016.
  • Utilize more technology: There is an abundance of cost effective technology available that can greatly improve customer care and drive contact center ROI. Ramp up your use of these intuitive technologies, such as predictive analysis, to ensure you remain on the cutting-edge as the new year unfolds.
  • Consider integrated marketing solutions: Contact center leaders must lend more attention to integrated marketing solutions to raise more awareness. For instance, becoming more familiar with social media channels will be integral come next year.

Start off the new year on the right foot by planning strategies that are going to take your contact center to new heights in 2016.

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.

Customer Care Industry More Optimistic Than Ever Before

There’s no denying the fact that the customer care industry has gotten a bad rap over the years, as today’s consumers have higher expectations than ever before. In fact, a recent survey from Parature, found that 53 percent of consumers have higher expectations for customer care than they had a year ago.

Fortunately, the customer care industry has turned over a completely new leaf. According to the aforementioned survey, 67 percent of people surveyed feel that customer care is getting better rather than worse.

That’s because savvy organizations are finally recognizing and responding to consumers’ needs. What’s more, organizations are leveraging sophisticated technology that allows them to better understand these needs.

With more resources available, there is a world of opportunity for businesses to improve their customer care, improve contact center ROI, and outpace their competitors. Below are several ways in which organizations can do just that:

  • Personalize customer care: Buyers crave personalized brand experiences. In fact, the majority of consumers would allow companies to collect personal data in exchange for a more personalized customer experience. Using a person’s name is just one small step you can take to improve customer care. Other small steps include, providing custom content and personalizing feedback requests.
  • Leverage available data: Believe it or not, you’re sitting on mounds of valuable information that can help you improve customer care. For example, data derived from remote call monitoring technology can help you evaluate Communicators performance, and make any adjustments necessary to the script. Don’t let all this available data go to waste, use it to improve each and every interaction.

The customer care industry is finally on the path to positivity and prosperity. Get an edge on competitors by taking advantage of the resources available to deliver superior customer care.

You can learn even more about how technology can take your customer care to the next level by joining me at the upcoming IT Expo in Anaheim, California! I’ll be co-presenting a session called “Designing Your Technology Strategy to Take Customer Care to the Next Level” from 2:30 to 3:15 on October 6th. Click here to see the full agenda and to learn more about my presentation. I hope to see your face in the crowd!

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.

Do Your Agents Pass the Stress Test?

Imagine for a moment you’re on the line with a taxing customer; at the same time you’re in the midst of searching for an answer for another caller all while your call queue is steadily building. There are so many tasks at hand you simply don’t know where to begin or how to prioritize. Sound stressful? This is a day in the life of the average contact center agent—it’s not exactly a piece of cake.

In fact, according to ICMI research 87 percent of contact center leaders acknowledge that their agents experience a moderate to high level of stress during the work day. As such, supervisors must make a priority of coaching their employees on how to handle daily stress. After all, when anyone is put under excessive pressure without escape they’re bound to fly off the handle. But, for contact center agents, bundling up their anxiety until they burst can result in serious repercussions and damage your organization’s quality of customer care.

For example, 65 percent of 1,000 consumers surveyed in a recent Parature report said they have cut ties with a business due to just one poor customer care interaction. So imagine the consequences that a strained and frustrated agent could produce for your contact center—increased customer churn, decreased ROI or detrimental reviews.

In order to sidestep stress straight from the beginning supervisors should train their agents how to manage a stressful phone call in the moment. Here are a few tips managers can pass on to their agents:

  • Make more connections: If you want to have a pleasant customer interaction, put forth a pleasant attitude. Express your understanding for the customer’s complaint or concern and then go the extra mile to initiate a real conversation, whether it’s about the weather or last night’s ball game. All too often, consumers forget the agent on the other end of the line is a human being—remind them of this and you may see a change in their attitude. And as a result, you can turn what started out as an anxiety-ridden phone call into an agreeable conversation, at the very least.
  • Do your homework: Ensure that you are extensively educated about the brands you’ll be representing on the phone. A difficult request will only become that much more impossible to handle if you aren’t well-informed on even the most niche facts about the business you’re handling. Simply put, a well prepared agent is a content agent.

Supervisors must ensure agents can pass the “stress test” before they go live on the phones, because even when stress levels mount it’s your quality of customer care will that will shine through and ultimately set your brand apart.

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.

Exploring the Multichannel Marketing Ecosystem

As of late, the preferred method of customer service isn’t necessarily through the telephone. Consider the consumer habits of millennials—a generation highly reliant on Internet and mobile-based communications. In fact, a survey from the customer service tech analysis company Software Advice revealed that 56 percent of respondents aged 18-34 prefer communicating via live chat rather than phone.

These generational insights mean businesses should explore the benefits of multichannel marketing services. Nevertheless, opening up business across multiple channels does not mean immediate bolstered profit. It takes time and nurturing to provide best-in-class customer service over several platforms.

A recent report from Forrester suggests that today’s consumer takes “many paths as they solve problems, activating business capabilities in unpredictable ways.” As such, it is important that when activating these different paths, businesses are able to harmoniously maintain the volume of new inquires generated from additional channels along with those that are already set in place.

In order to provide effective multichannel customer service you must ask the same questions as you would in telecom services. Is this service reliable? Are consumers engaged? Will the chosen channel reap the expected ROI for my business?

You can guarantee the answers to the above three questions are ‘yes’ by ensuring your multichannel marketing solutions includes these three important components:

Integration: The integration of a new customer service channel should be seamless if it’s going to be effective. Solutions such as rapid response routing allow for such flawless implementation. When a customer’s information is entered through an online service, an automated phone call is prompted. While the customer is entering information a representative is already working to further handle the specific details of the process, order or move. As a result, two customer service channels are married in order to produce an even stronger customer support system.

Personalization: Consumers seek immediate engagement with Communicators as soon as the phone is picked up. In other words, the last thing they want is to be put on hold. In the same sense, when a customer sends an email a response is anticipated; it won’t benefit your brand to provide an email address with poor responsiveness.  Build your brand loyalty while assuring customers that an email service, for example, really works by providing real results. Aggregate the customer’s specific information and include this in your emails. Make your customers aware of your business’s attentiveness through personalized response.

Time Sensitivity: What truly gives a company a competitive advantage in the customer service industry is timeliness.  It’s a real brand differentiator when a company not only follows up, but follows through in a timely manner. If your brand is going to offer a live chat or email solution, make sure you have the workforce to support these channels. If a customer sends a message to a live chat service only to be left hanging, the likelihood of that customer’s return is slim to none. Combat poor customer retention by offering up speedy responses.

Multichannel marketing services are a great idea for any business’s customer service support. Options in addition to the telephone make way for increased customer engagement. Just remember: extra channels require extra attention in order to succeed.

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, formerly known as the ATA. 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.