Archive for July, 2019

Managing inbound and outbound calls efficiently with VCC Live® – a case study

Posted on: July 31st, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

“Reaching 30% more customers is a real game-changer for us, we definitely managed to revolutionize our outbound campaigns with VCC Live.” – Tamás Nyári, Head of IT CEE, Telemarketing International

As one of the largest teleshop companies in the Central and Eastern European region, sending out an average of around 4000 packages per day, exceptional customer experience and smooth processes are an absolute must for Telemarketing.

This is why they decided to leverage VCC Live’s solution.

The Case

Our latest case study describes how, since leveraging VCC Live®, Telemarketing managed to take their operations to a whole new level. Check out our case study to find out:

  • how we offered Telemarketing a solution that can be easily utilized by their remote agents
  • how VCC Live® provided the company with an advanced wallboard, allowing them to see the whole picture in real-time
  • how VCC Live®’s predictive dialer enabled Telemarketing to reach 30% more customers
  • how we allowed the company to manage its logistics in a timely manner with system integrations

Introducing VCC Live®’s solution has truly revolutionized both Telemarketing’s inbound and outbound campaigns, allowing them to better handle their incoming calls and reach 30% more customers while unifying and monitoring their processes in real-time.

Read our case study and learn more about the benefits of VCC Live®’s advanced inbound and outbound features!

50 Must Know Call Center Terminologies

Posted on: July 17th, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

ACD, ATT, BCP, Robinson list, call blending. Just a few of the call center terminologies, abbreviations, and jargon that dominate our business conversations on a daily basis in the call center.

Are familiar with all of them? Here’s a list of 50 must know call center terminologies to help you out!

1, Abandoned call

In inbound call centers, an abandoned call is a call initiated by a user or customer, but dropped by them before a call center agent has answered it and before an actual conversation has occurred. The user can drop the call due to a too long waiting time caused by agents insufficient availability, or due to technical issues such as Internet coverage problems. In outbound call centers, abandoned calls occur when a Predictive Dialler initiates calls and reaches customers, but there are not enough operators to handle them. 

2, Automatic Call Distributor (ACD)

An Automatic Call Distributor is a system or telephony facility that manages and forwards inbound calls to the appropriate agent based on preset handling instructions.

3, Afterwork

The time an agent uses to finish administration work, such as ticketing, filling in forms, registering calls and call-related information needed, after a call has finished.

4, Average Handle Time (AHT)

Average Handle Time (AHT) shows the average time an operator spends in call-related activities, including a conversation, hold time, and any after-call activities and administration. It is calculated by using the following formula: 

(Talk Time + Hold Time + After-work) / Total number of handled calls = AHT

5, Application Program Interface (API)

The Application Program Interface is a set of procedures, tools and functions that allow the creation of application software. It specifies how software components communicate and interact with each other.

6, Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR)

Automatic Speech Recognition is the capability of a program or machine to identify phrases or words in a particular spoken language or natural speech, and then turn them into a format that can be read by machines. It allows humans to speak to computers and communicate with them in a way that resembles regular human conversation.

7, Auxiliary Time (AUX)

Auxiliary time is the time an agent spends in unavailable status in the call center system, or during which the agent cannot accept new calls because they are on a break, etc.

8, Average Talk Time (ATT)

The average value of time spent by an agent talking with customers in a given period of time. It is calculated by using the following formula: total time spent in call / all handled calls = ATT

9, Business Continuity Plan (BCP)

A Business Continuity Plan is a written document outlining potential threats to a company, and the information and guidelines the company needs to continue operating if an event takes place which negatively impacts operations.

10, Call Blending

A feature that supports the handling of outbound and inbound calls simultaneously, based on predefined combination and priority rules. It is usually used to quickly handle any incoming calls during an ongoing outbound campaign, by monitoring the number of incoming calls, agents availability and other system measures at the same time. Call blending rules prevent a dialer dialing outgoing calls for a specific agent, by excluding them from the algorithm for a specific time.

11, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)

Business Process Outsourcing is a process that involves delegating a specific business process’ operations and responsibilities to a third-party service provider, in order to optimize internal operational costs related to HR, technologies, knowledge base, etc. The main advantage of BPO is to increase company flexibility, as well as optimize cost- and time efficiency.

12, Call Routing

Call Routing is a call management procedure, wherein a call is sent to a specific queue after being qualified by the telephony system. It can refer to both outgoing or incoming calls. Inbound Call Routing refers to the ability to route calls to different people and locations depending on a variety of factors, for example call volume, time of day, language preference of the caller, or specific department requested. It is often used to provide a backup solution for a call center, in case their regular operations are, for example, out of service. In terms of Outbound activities, it means the ability to perform calls via various providers’ networks, for example as a cost-efficiency tool.

13, Callback

A telephone call initiated by a call center agent in order to contact a previously-contacted customer again. Callbacks are used to contact customers who have been promised further information, have requested an appointment, or simply requested contact at another time. Callbacks can only be handled by the agent who handled the original phone call.

14, Call Detail Record (CDR)

A Call Detail Record is a file or document produced by a telecommunications system or equipment used in a call center that contains detailed information about executed calls, such as source and destination numbers, IDs, call duration, completion status, scheduled follow up actions and call transcripts.

15, Customer Experience Management (CEM or CXM)

Customer Experience Management is a set of processes, actions and measurements used to handle and interact with customers in order to meet and exceed their expectations. CEMs help boost customer satisfaction and loyalty.

16, Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Customer Relationship Management is an approach that companies use to interact with their customers. It consists of practices that help companies retain customers, and grow their customer network and sales. In order to achieve this, CRM uses different systems to collect and analyze data regarding communication and relationships with their customers, as well as their preferred communication channels.

17, Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)

Computer Telephony Integration is the technology which allows the use of computers to handle telephone calls.

18, Customer Database

A list of records of existing or potential customers. It usually contains the phone and other channel contact details, private and demographical information, buying patterns, owned products, and other information used by companies to help target their campaigns or handle customer communication.

19, Disposition

A status that describes the outcome of a call, specifying whether it was reached or not, was finished successfully business-wise, is closed or needs a callback, etc.

20, Document Management System (DMS)

A Document Management System is a computer system designed to track, process, manage, and store documents, aiming to reduce paper usage and make document processing faster and easier. It also helps to track changes and version updates of the documents.

21, First Call Resolution (FCR)

First Call Resolution is an important efficiency KPI, measuring whether a customer has received a conclusive answer to their inquiry by the end of the first call, thus eliminating the need for further calls.

22, Handled Call 

A call that has been connected or transferred to an agent who carries out the needed tasks to resolve it.

23, IaaS 

Infrastructure as a Service is a type of online, cloud-based computing service that provides computing resources virtually. 

24, Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)

Integrated Services Digital Network is a technology which allows companies and contact centers to handle up to 30 circuits (in other words 30 simultaneous calls) at the same time, with the ability to link two or more ISDN modules together to handle 60, 90, or even more calls simultaneously.

25, Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

Interactive Voice Response is the technology by which computers can play pre-recorded messages with a list of options for customers to choose the type of service they need by using voice commands or DTMF tones on a telephone keypad.

26, Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

Key Performance Indicators are measures used to determine the quantity and quality of contact and support provided by individual contact center agents, and the Contact Center as a whole.

27, Manual Dialer 

Manual dialers require agents, once they are ready to make a call, to manually choose records and dial phone numbers. This type of dialer gives agents time to prepare for a conversation, and allows them to get acquainted with a customer’s case and details, but provides lower efficiency results, due to subjective time management and the need for agent presence at every stage of a call, from record selection, through dialing, ringing, conversation and afterwork.

28, Omnichannel Customer Service

Customer service providing customer support via multiple communication channels such as phone, email, chat, and social media.

29, PaaS 

Platform as a Service is a cloud computing service in which a third-party provider provides the platform needed to develop and run an application, thus freeing software development companies from the need to build, manage and maintain the infrastructure needed to develop and launch apps.

30, Private Branch Exchange (PBX)

Private Branch Exchange is a telephone system that switches calls between users in a central office line, thus allowing intercommunication between a large number of telephone stations.

31, Power Dialer

A power dialer is an automatic dialer that works on the basis of initiating as many calls as there are free agents in a project. Once an agent closes a call and becomes available, the power dialer automatically dials a new contact for them.

32, Predictive Dialer (PPD)

A predictive dialer is an automatic dialer that works on the basis of dialing more calls than the number of free agents in a project. Dialing starts while agents are still handling other active calls. By the time an agent finishes their call, the predictive dialer has already dialed the next number and has the next call ringing and ready to handle, saving agents time and providing highly-efficient results.

33, Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)

The Public Switched Telephone Network is the collection of telephone lines, optic cables, cellular and microwave transmitters, and other similar devices and technologies, which form the global telecommunications infrastructure and help connect telephone devices with each other.

34, Recurring Payment

Recurring payment refers to the process of making automatic payments on a recurring basis. After an initial successful payment, recurring transactions take place based on a defined schedule.

35, Robinson List 

The Robinson list is an opt-out list of people who do not wish to receive marketing transmissions from companies.

36, Return On Investment (ROI)

Return On Investment measures the generated gain or loss of money in relation to the amount of money that has been invested in the development of a product or service.

37, SaaS 

Software As a Service is a cloud computing service in which a software solution is hosted centrally, but is made available to license or subscription fee-paying clients over the internet.

38, Shared Callback

A shared callback is a type of disposition that means that the dialed number was not reached, or was reached but a conversation did not take place and the number needs to be dialed again later. A shared callback means that the number will be set as a callback for a group of agents, and the first available agent at the scheduled time will receive and process it.

39, Service Level (SL)

Service Level defines expected performance in terms of service availability within a given time period. It is usually specified in %. 

40, Service Level Agreement (SLA) 

Service Level Agreement is the percentage of calls answered by an agent within a previously-agreed Customer Waiting Time. It is usually specified in %

41, SLA Value 

The time allowed for answering calls, calculated as the time between a client reaching a queue and agent picking up the call. This value shows whether calls that require agent support have been answered within a predefined time or not, and is important because of its impact on customer satisfaction. 

42, Talk Time 

Time spent actively communicating with customers within a given time period (usually measured per hour) while logged into a project.

43, Text To Speech (TTS) 

Text To Speech is a type of application or feature that allows computers or other systems to read a written text.

44, Two-factor authentication (2FA) 

Two-factor authentication is a security process that requires user verification on two levels before access to a file or system is allowed. The process usually consists of login and password, and a second additional authentication, such as an SMS or e-mail code. 

45, Uniform Call Distribution (UCD)

Uniform Call Distribution is a system of distributing inbound calls evenly between a group of agents and queues, while also providing waiting time messages and other announcements.

46, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

A methodology and group of technologies for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, such as the Internet. VoIP uses packet-switching rather than circuit switching, meaning that voice transmissions are divided into different packets that are transmitted to the receiving party at the other end of the telephone line using different paths over the internet. All of this happens in a very short time, and even though these packets travel separately, the transmitted voice is assembled again at the receivers end in an intelligible and logical order.

47, Voice Over Long-Term Evolution (VoLTE)

VoLTE (Voice over Long-Term Evolution) is a new standard for high-speed wireless communication, providing HD voice quality, reduced background noise, and many other important features and benefits of interest to those who believe in the importance of voice and data transfer quality.

48, Webhook

Webhook is a way of altering the behavior of an application or webpage by using callbacks. In other words, it is an action-reaction workflow. Callbacks are triggered by other predetermined triggers, and when a specified event takes place, a specified action results, for example, a comment posted to a blog results in a notification being received.

49, Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC)

WebRTC is an open-source project that enables real-time peer-to-peer communication over audio and video, as well as file and screen sharing over the web. It uses Real-time Transport Protocol, and allows its users to instantly start audio and video conferencing, transfer files, and share their screens without the need of any third-party programs or applications.

50, Wrap-up Time

Time an agent uses to finish administration work needed after a call.

Remote Agents in the Call Center: a Trend You Can’t Afford to Ignore

Posted on: July 12th, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

The call center industry is undergoing significant changes at the moment, with the general trend seeing a significant increase in hiring remote agents.

Remote work is gaining popularity in the call center, and for good reason. But is it really worth relying call center activities on remote workforce?

Besides a number of benefits we already talked about in a previous article, recent studies have shown that remote agents are more productive. Also, it seems they enjoy working from home and wouldn’t want to give up on it.

The shift from on-premise to virtual

As these days most customer service departments operate internationally, call center activities often require flexible and multilingual workforce, which is, of course, challenging to hire.

At the same time, the rise of cloud contact center technology enabled for call centers to provide their agents with an easy-to-use solution that requires no IT maintenance and can be accessed anytime from anywhere.

As a result, call centers have slowly started to shift from bricks-and-mortar to virtual premises, leveraging home-based workforce.

Amongst other things, remote agents are cost-effective, as call centers can significantly save on office expenses. Also, employees these days increasingly prefer flexibility at work, and the idea of working remotely from home is very appealing to most of them, helping you reduce burnout in your agent team. And last but definitely not least, as already mentioned, recent studies have shown a significant increase in remote workers’ productivity.

If you’re still not convinced about the benefits of remote agents, then let the numbers speak for themselves!  

Employees prefer remote working

As of 2019, remote workforce is getting more and more popular, with 66% of companies allowing remote work and 16% being fully remote.

According to a recent survey carried out by Talentlms, employees increasingly prefer remote work opportunities. As such, “85% of remote workers say that remote work was their decision because they wanted more flexibility, to make their own hours, and to live a carefree lifestyle.”

These results are not surprising at all, considering that these days flexibility is high on the list of employees’ priorities. Today’s workers increasingly reject traditional working hierarchies, so chances are they will expect to be offered flexible working options once or twice a week, as well as a possibility of remote work.

Furthermore, according to the survey, “60% of respondents have to follow a 9-5, 5-days-a-week work schedule”. So why is it more flexible than an on-site job?

Well, home office creates a more relaxing workplace than ever-more popular open plan offices, allowing your agents to set up their ideal work environment.

And it is not only more flexible but also more cost-effective as employees don’t need to pay for commuting. Speaking of commuting, the majority of workers spend 30 minutes on average commuting. As such, remote work also allows agents to save some time.  

It’s no surprise then that only “20% of those who work from the comfort of their own home would rather go back to working in a company office.”

Productivity is the engine that keeps the call center running. And while working from home might feel lonely, almost no one feels unproductive. In fact, 90% feel they get more work done when working remotely. Quite impressive, isn’t it?

And what will the future bring to the home-based workforce model? The numbers suggest it will gain even more popularity.  

Indeed, “35% of remote workers want to work more days remotely while 6 out of 10 would like their job less if they had to say goodbye to their home office and visit their company every day to do the exact same job.”

Take away

Workplace trends are rapidly changing and it really does seem that both agents and companies can greatly benefit from adopting the home-based business model. By relying on remote agents, you can cut costs, increase productivity and keep your agents satisfied in the long run. So maybe it’s time for your call center to give it a try?  

5 Pro Tips to Retain Your Best Call Center Agents

Posted on: July 5th, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

These days, businesses need to provide their employees with reasons to stay at the company. Offering an outstanding working environment and conditions is essential, but it is increasingly not enough in a business world where most industries face labor shortages. 

From the very beginning, call centers have had a bad reputation for being stressful places to work at. As such, it’s no surprise that agent retention is of utmost importance to most call centers.

In this article, we’ll give you five pro tips that will help you keep your agents in your team in the long run. Read on!

Empower them with the right tools

Technology is advancing at lighting speed, and it’s no different in the call center business. Therefore, instead of pushing your agents too much, make sure to rely on up-to-date technology to help them in their everyday work.

Making agents’ jobs easier by empowering them with smart call center features, such as a predictive dialer, CRM integration or call blending, will definitely encourage them to plan for the long term in your call center. In addition, system integrations will allow your agents to rely on a single all-in-one platform, instead of having to navigate around several systems.

In an ever-changing technological business environment, you need to keep up with technology advancements anyway, don’t you?

Offer valuable feedback

One thing is for sure: in a fast-paced work environment such as a call center, the majority of agents will undoubtedly appreciate feedback in order to able to excel at their job.

Valuable feedback can not only have a great impact on your agents’ performance but also provide them with the professional guidance any employee needs in order for them to plan for the long term in the workplace.

As such, always make sure to allocate enough time for one-to-one sessions with your agents and offer specific and crystal-clear feedback to them. If you need more help with this, check out our article on how to give feedback to your call center agents.  

Provide Systematic Training

When you allow your agents to talk to your customers, you are basically putting your company’s reputation in their hands. In other words, as it is your agents who can keep your customers happy in the long run, make sure to provide them with systematic training sessions so that they can treat customers in a way that is worthy of your company. 

When it comes to training call center agents, there are quite a few best practices. Reviewing recorded calls together with your agents, for example, will allow you to provide them with a crystal-clear example of what is and what is not acceptable during a customer call. 

Also, when training your agents, set your creativity free. You can, for example, create a common knowledge base, and encourage your agents to contribute to it with their own knowledge.

Career Development Opportunities

Call center agents have to work hard to hit their (often unrealistic) target KPIs. Of course, in such a competitive environment, agents crave recognition from management.

Appreciating your agents is a great first step, however, if you really want to retain your agents, make sure to create a workplace environment in which they are encouraged to plan for the long term.

Younger generations put a great emphasis on career opportunities. And as the call center industry is constantly growing, so do the opportunities to fulfill a career at a call center. As such, try and offer internal job promotion opportunities when your best agents reached their maximum potential in their agent team.

Add some fun to work

If you want to retain your best agents, then creating a collaborative atmosphere and better work culture should be high on your list of priorities.

Anyway, who says call center life can’t be enjoyable? There are plenty of ways to make your agents’ everyday work just a little bit more interesting.

For example, you can leverage call center gamification and introduce games into agents’ daily activities, including offering prizes to agents in order to encourage growth in both their engagement and performance.

Another great way to keep agents stay is by allowing them to contribute to social causes. Supporting a charity or organizing fundraising events as part of corporate social responsibility will definitely encourage your agents to feel connected to a larger cause, while also helping your business boost team morale.