March 2019 In QueueMarch 2019 NACC In Queue

Welcome to the March 2019 issue of the NACC In Queue newsletter!

How To Tackle The Top 5 Contact Center Challenges

Erica Marois, Content Manager, ICMI 


There’s never been a more exciting time to work as a contact center professional. According to 2018 ICMI research, 87% of our community members are inspired to meet their goals at work, and 85% are somewhat or very satisfied with their jobs. That’s not to say the work isn’t challenging. In fact, our research indicates that most leaders agree customer service management is only becoming more complex. So, what’s keeping contact center leaders up at night? Our study revealed the top five challenges facing contact center leaders in 2019.

Challenge 1: Hiring, Training, Recruiting

Tight budgets, a strong economy, and fast-paced work all making hiring, recruiting, and onboarding new agents difficult for many contact centers. If you’re looking for ways to speed up the process and make it more effective, consider how automation or knowledge management might help agents ramp up more efficiently. Also, read up on trends in accelerated learning. For an even deeper dive, join Noreen Sendelbach, HR Director at TELUS, for session 702 at ICMI Contact Center Expo.

Challenge 2: Implementing New Technology

AI, chatbots, omnichannel, knowledge centered support, machine learning, digital transformation. The buzzwords and trends are plentiful, and often difficult to decipher. Where should you invest your technology budget?  Christa Heibel, Founder of CH Consulting, offers this advice. “A thorough assessment of your current state business needs and future state vision will help you define and fine-tune your customer processes, which will help you select a technology platform that best supports your needs.”

Are you planning to implement new technology this year? Need support? Join Lori Bocklund for a half-day workshop at Contact Center Expo: Contact Center Technology 101: What Every Professional Needs to Know.

Challenge 3: Boosting Employee Engagement and Morale

According to Gallup, only 13% of employees are engaged at work. Why do so many companies struggle with engagement? During a recent #ICMIchat, Jeff Toister shared his theory.

“Most organizations ‘working on engagement’ haven't stopped to define it. It’s tough to improve that way.”

So, how do you define engagement? If you have trouble answering that question, or you’re looking for expert guidance, join Jeff for Contact Center Expo session 205: The Journey to a Customer-Focused Culture.

Challenge 4: Increasing Productivity & Efficiency

Regardless of industry, every business leader is looking for ways to boost productivity and improve efficiency. This is easier said than done in a fast paced contact center, but Karin Hurt offered up some sound advice in a recent ICMI article. To identify areas for refinement, ask team members to answer these questions during team huddles:

1.    What are we underestimating?
2.    What’s gotta go?
3.    What are we losing?
4.    Where are we missing the “yes?”

If boosting efficiency is a priority for you, join ICMI’s Wendy Fowler for session 206 at Contact Center Expo. You’ll leave with a roadmap for operational improvement.

Challenge 5: Doing More with Less

As Dave Dyson said during a recent #ICMIchat, “You can ask staff to give more, but only for a short time. Meanwhile: set customer expectations, look for questions that can be answered by FAQs or eliminated by product improvements, try to streamline processes, and advocate for more staff.”

Yes, we’re often expected to “do more with less,” but it’s not viable in the long-term. Could innovative forecasting and scheduling models help you better manage your workload? Join members of the Hulu team for ICMI Contact Center Expo session 606: Faster Than the Speed of Math! High-Growth Capacity Planning at Hulu .

Bringing it All Together

Contact center work is often overwhelming and challenging, but you don’t have to face your challenges alone! Whether you struggle with culture and engagement, metrics, or technology, Contact Center Expo will help you navigate the tides of transformation. Join your peers this May 13-16 in Ft. Lauderdale. Register using the code NACC to save 10%.


The NACC Could Use Your Help.  Are You In?

Paul Stockford, Research Director, NACC and Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research

As you know, the National Association of Call Centers (NACC) is a 503(c)(6) not-for-profit organization, university-based and dedicated to research in, and the advancement of, the North American contact center industry.  We count on our volunteer members to play a big part in our research, but we could use some additional help as well.

We are currently running a brief survey in order to gain a better understanding of some of the attitudes and opinions of customer service professionals.  SurveyMonkey estimates that the survey will take four minutes to complete, but I think if you’re a customer service professional, you can do it in three minutes or less.

All the questions are closed-ended and just require an opinion.  The time it will take you to complete will be negligible but the value the NACC will get from your input is immeasurable.  If you’ll take three minutes to help us, you’ll have our gratitude.

To participate in this very brief survey, just click here and we’ll take you right to it.  Your support of our efforts allows us to share data with you like that data you’ll find in the next article.

Thank you in advance.


As Digital Channels Grow, Voice Traffic Not Going Away 

Paul Stockford, Research Director, NACC and Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research

Changing global demographics means that operations in the contact center industry will have to change along with them in order to meet the expectations and requirements of the next generation of customers.  I have written about this phenomenon extensively, including in this recent guest blog on the Verint website.  It is no longer “business as usual” for the customer care industry.

As part of our 2018 survey of customer service professionals, we asked our participants if they saw any change in the volume of voice traffic they handled in 2018 as compared to 2017.  The responses are summarized in the graph below.


Given the focus on the digital contact center and omnichannel customer service, we were surprised to see that over 41 percent of our survey respondents saw an increase in voice-assisted customer contacts.  The survey is statistically valid and representative of the industry as a whole at a 95 percent confidence level and a margin of error of four percent.

Less than 20 percent of the industry saw a decrease in voice traffic while an additional 40 percent saw no change in voice traffic in 2018 when compared to 2017.

This data tells us that voice-assisted customer service is still critically important in the contact center industry.  Perhaps generational changes in channel preference will impact the volume of voice-based customer traffic in the decade ahead but for the time being, don’t cut the phone lines yet!

In This Issue...
  • Top 5 Contact Center Challenges
  • NACC Could Use Your Help
  • Voice Traffic Not Going Away
  • Call Center Comics


Pearls Of Wisdom

"Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune, but great minds rise above them."

~ Washington Irving


Reports From 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.

If you like this comic and would like to see more, write Ozzie at  The NACC appreciates Ozzie letting us use some of his comics in our newsletter.
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2019 National Association of Call Centers

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