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Reports from the NACC
NACC has been burning the midnight oil and typing until our fingers are
sore to bring out reports to our members. Each is listed below. If you
are interested to see what we are writing about, click on the links
below and download the executive summary of each. If you like what you
see, join the NACC so that you can view these reports and others that
will be coming out soon on our website. These reports will ensure
that you know the latest trends in the industry.
Happy New Year From The National Association Of Call Centers!
Paul Stockford, Research Director, NACC and Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research, Paul.Stockford@nationalcallcenters.org
If anyone has seen where the year 2014 went, please let me know. I can’t believe it’s 2015 already!
2014 was a good year for the NACC. We grew our membership while
also growing our community of customer service professionals.
Members were interacting with each other more last year than in any of
the years I can recall since beginning my work with the NACC at the end
of 2008. If you’re not yet a member, please consider joining our
volunteer member corps at no cost other than 30 minutes of your time
each year, plus whatever time you wish to contribute to helping other
members as need be throughout the year. E-mail me directly with the word “Volunteer” in the subject line and I’ll provide you the details of a no-cost volunteer membership.
Our biggest project of the year is always our year-end survey of
contact center professionals. The results of this survey form the
foundation of the research we conduct for the rest of the year so we
need a good response rate. My sincerest gratitude to those of you
who have already participated and, if you haven’t yet taken the four
minutes or so that it takes to complete our survey, please do so
now. You can find the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NACC2015
Survey results will be shared in this newsletter throughout 2015, so please make sure your voice is heard by going to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NACC2015 and completing the survey.
By the way, we ask for no identifying information from respondents so
you are guaranteed that no salesperson or anyone else will bother you
as a result of your participation. We only ask for demographic
information so we can categorize and cross-tabulate results. Your
confidentiality is absolutely guaranteed.
The NACC is a not-for-profit, University-based research and membership
organization and we work on a shoestring budget. We don’t have
the funds that the media marketing companies have so we rely on the
kindness and cooperation of our readers to help with our
research. Please help us help the industry by participating in
our survey and we’ll continue to do our best to provide you with
relevant strategic information that we hope will enhance your
professional development and industry knowledge.
Best wishes for a Happy and Prosperous New Year!
month, we’ll chat with Cortney Jonas-Burnos, Workforce Management
Director at CareCentrix in Overland Park, KS. Cortney is an
active NACC volunteer member and avid supporter of our research
efforts. As a customer service professional in the health care
industry, Cortney also offers a keen understanding of change management.
NACC: How and when did you begin your career in customer service?
worked second shift taking after-hours calls for businesses and some
medical practices at an answering service. We had a specialized
greeting for over 100 clients. To this day, when I answer the phone, I
almost say, “Thank you for calling Dr. Ken’s answering service and
Smiles for Life tooth Whitening campaign to benefit St. Jude’s
Hospital. This is Cortney, how may I help you?” I used to hate it when
the caller said a “wrong number!”
NACC: What is your role at CareCentrix?
am the Workforce Management Director at CareCentrix. I think of myself
as a leader in the company, who specializes in Workforce Management, as
opposed to the other way around. I’m the company’s call center expert.
I lead a team of analysts that create forecasts and schedules for our
Looking at the website I see that CareCentrix is a leader in home
health care. Has the Affordable Care Act affected your business
and, more specifically, your role in the customer care center?
programs drive cost savings and improved clinical outcomes. Our contact
centers are a key contributor to our company’s success.
How has workforce management, as a process and as a solution, evolved
since you’ve taken on the role of Workforce Management Director?
team launched forecasting, scheduling and adherence reporting with
workforce management software in 2012. Since then, we’ve expanded to
provide WFM support to multiple call center departments across the
company. We launched new quality metric initiatives and combined
several workgroups. We now provide daily reporting, facilitate strategy
and judgmental forecast meetings, and assist on company projects.
CareCentrix Workforce Management supports on-site workers across four
cities, five buildings and three time zones - not to mention our remote
NACC: What sparked your interest in the NACC?
a huge believer in research – and not reinventing the wheel every time
we run into a new business challenge. The NACC gives access to both
research, and a network of people who are solving the same problems I
NACC: What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
a wife, and a mom of three very busy boys. My hobbies include feeding
them, cleaning up after them, chasing them around the house and
watching them play basketball and baseball. I enjoy reading, writing
NACC: Since it’s the beginning of a new year I have to ask, what’s the most interesting New Year’s Resolution you’ve ever made?
CJB: On New Year’s Eve in 2011, I pledged to stop watching television altogether. It worked so well, I stuck to it for two years!
NACC: If you could create your own dream job, what would it be?
a contact center staffed by military veterans that saves whales,
delivers meals to the elderly and finds homes for foster children – oh,
and has a giant budget for employee relations.
NACC: Any advice for someone considering or just starting a customer service career?
CJB: I have two pieces of advice:
- Listen. If you are not sure how to solve your customer’s problem, listen more closely. He’s already telling you.
- Find Out. Any business problem you run into has already
been solved somewhere by someone. Find out how they did it and
customize it for your company.
Mobile Business Customers Need "UBI" Not Just "UC"
Art Rosenberg, The Unified-View / UC Strategies Expert, email@example.com
and more consumers are adopting multimodal smartphones as their
primary, personal means of interacting with online business
applications and live assistance, changing the old definition of
customer service. What used to be a dependency on phone calls to a
“call center,” had moved through the “contact center” that also handled
email and fax, to what I now describe as a cloud-based “Unified
Business Interaction” (UBI) center. That description also helps shift
the old, heavy focus on live, voice-only customer assistance to
multimodal self-service applications, enhanced with live assistance as
a flexible option on demand (screen share, email, text chat, voice,
This perspective will be
reinforced as legacy contact center providers shift towards Internet
connectivity with cloud applications and multimodal, and mobile
endpoint devices. As a recent announcement from Avaya about its
partnering with Google indicates, they are quickly moving to support
this disruptive change for customer support staffs with a combination
of Google Chromebook laptops and Avaya Agent software connected over
the Internet and exploiting WebRTC for real-time connections.
What’s Different About “UBI” From “UC?”
While UC has generally meant different ways person-to-person
communications can be dynamically performed, UBI means integrating many
different “User Experiences” (UX) involved with a customer business
interaction. This can range from (self-service) online information
searches to online transactions to flexible contacts with live
assistance, using both voice and visual user interfaces as dynamically
required by a customer. This will be particularly important when
consumers/customers are mobile.
The net impact of mobile customer service flexibility provided by UBI includes the following:
wireless carriers (MSPs) like AT&T and Verizon are already getting
ready to service mobile multimodal consumer needs with VoLTE network
connection services, so it is important for business organizations to
plan their migrations from legacy premise-based call and contact center
technologies to the coming era of “cloud” base Unified Business
- Increased customer satisfaction and control over how and when they can get information or perform business transactions
opportunity for timelier, personalized, automated proactive customer
service notifications and alerts to mobile customers anywhere, anytime.
Such notifications will also include options for efficient customer
responses to the notification issue.
costs for customer support staffing as customers exploit more
self-service options and notifications are generated automatically by
Communication Enabled Business Processes (CEBP)
- Access to live assistance has to be more flexible and selective for an individual mobile customer’s situation or preference
customers will increasingly access live assistance contextually from
within a “mobile app” via a less expensive wireless Internet connection
rather than a PSTN phone call
service agents will have to be more skilled, not only in the more
complex needs of customers who have first tried using self-service
applications, but also being able to interact with customers using
different modes of mobile communication and information exchange.
(Note: This perspective has been recently termed by a Frost & Sullivan white paper as “Support Interaction Optimization” or SIO.)
- The UBI approach will also work well with business partners, such as suppliers, and field service staff
customer service information and apps into a “cloud” will also
facilitate the use of agents who can work and be managed from home,
rather than from a contact center location. This will increase staffing
flexibility and also reduce the location-based overhead of a contact
Where Do You Start?
Since there will be an increasing emphasis on mobile self-services, the
logical starting points well be any existing customer “use case”
applications that exploit online self-service. Such applications need
to be “mobilized” to support new consumer BYOD mobile devices,
including different form-factors (screen sizes), voice and visual
interfaces, different mobile operating systems, and integration with
“cloud” based resources (online business process applications, data,
storage, user interfaces, etc.).
Once existing online customer self-service applications have been
converted to multimodal, mobile use, new self-service opportunities
should then be developed for the expanded range of mobile customer
needs. There are new software development tools available that can
facilitate this migration to mobile self-service applications that also
provide more flexible and efficient access to live assistance on demand.
The expertise for designing, developing, and integrating the next
generation of mobile business self-service applications is,
unfortunately not within the skill levels of today’s IT organizations,
but must come from expertise that will be offered from third –party
resources that specialize in various vertical market “use cases” that
can be implemented and managed in various types of “cloud”
A recent study by IDC reports that responsibility for budgeting
technology needs in customer service areas, including social
networking, is already shifting from IT to Line of Business (LoB)
management. So, step one will really be about selecting experienced
third-party resources (consulting, channel partners) that can do the
heavy lifting involved in the initial planning, implementation, and
ongoing change management that will be required.
Copyright © 2014 The Unified-View, All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Reprinted with permission.
What To Think About When Considering Outsourcing
Paul Stockford, Research Director, NACC and Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research, Paul.Stockford@nationalcallcenters.org
recently received an inquiry from an NACC member asking for advice
about outsourcing some of their calls to an offshore contact
center. This member wanted to know how performance of her contact
center might be affected by sending calls to an offshore center as well
as which countries might be best suited to handle inbound customer
calls. Naturally, we went out to the NACC membership and asked if
those members with experience outsourcing to an offshore contact center
would be willing to share what they have discovered. Here’s what
In terms of the countries best suited
to take inbound U.S. customer calls, the Philippines emerged as the top
choice. According to NACC members with experience in this part of
the world, Filipino agents are naturally very polite, friendly, speak
slowly, and listen to the customers. Agents in Filipino BPOs are
best suited to handle simple to mildly-complex service queries.
More complex calls, such as explanation of bills or additional charges,
should be left to the in-house contact center.
The member was also curious to know if experience showed that there is
an increase in customer escalations when the calls are outsourced
offshore. The consensus answer was affirmative with estimates of
anywhere between a five to eight percent increase in escalations.
It was pointed out however, that initial training and close supervision
of agents in the early days of the contract can go a long way toward
There is always a learning curve when customer service calls are
offshored and this often leads to a negative impact on performance
scores. The member was advised to expect an initial dip in
customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores until time and investment in
training fills the experience gap created when calls are sent to an
The experiences of NACC members who have used offshore contact center
BPOs were generally positive. This is an outstanding example of
how NACC members pool resources and experiences in order to
collectively serve our membership community. If you are
interested in joining our community, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll reply with details.
If you like this comic and would like to see more, write Ozzie at email@example.com 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 2015 National Association of Call Centers