Volume 3, Issue 8 - April 25, 2008

Our Contact Info:

David Butler
Executive Director

National Association of Call Centers
100 South 22nd Avenue
Hattiesburg MS 39401
Tel: 601.447.8300


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In Queue circulation 66,591


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Sam Weatherby 214.414.9707

All leading call center companies and suppliers should examine the new NACC Underwriting opportunity in 2008 as evidence of their dedication to the growth of call center industry. See the 2008 Media/Advertising Guide link below for more information.

In This Issue

Call Center Comics-Winner
No Hope for Coaching
60 Ideas in 60 Minutes Round X-The Final Round

Share the Knowledge

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NACC Investment Portfolio


Original Value start 11/6/2007
=US$90.00 or US$10.00 per stock

Total Portfolio Value Now= $70.18

The NACC Investment Portfolio  continues to make strides gaining a few more dollars in value over the past two weeks. It is now over $70.00, down only 23% from the original starting point in November 2008. This upward trend in the past six weeks or so is a positive indicator of faith in the industry.

NACC Composite Index


The NACC Composite Index was up a whopping 7.00%, or $5.19, over the past two weeks. This is a large and significant gain which is a strong sign for the call center industry and associated sub sectors.

The NACC Composite Index outperformed all of the other major indices again by more than double than the other leading index. This suggests that investment in the call center industry has more apparent perceived strength than the make up of the other composite indexes. We will watch the next few months and quarters to see if our industry does in fact outpace the general economy overall.

Real Estate

If you are looking for a new call center location you should check out the NACC Real Estate page by clicking on this link to see some of the available existing sites.


"Estimated amount of glucose used by an adult human brain each day, expressed in M&Ms: 250"
-Harper's Index, October 1989

Picture of the Week


This is a photo from the far end of the Piazza San Marco (St Mark's Square) looking at the Basilica di San Marco a Venezia (Saint Mark's Basilica) through the rain in Venice, Italy. This is the current picture on our family calendar ("April showers") so I see it and admire it everyday. If you look to the top of the archway, you can see three lights hanging down. These are Venetian glass, for which the island of Murano is well known. Though many people laude the architecture of St. Mark's Basilica, it takes an American writer to truly put it in context. Mark Twain, having visited the site, called it a "a vast and warty bug taking a meditative walk"

Advertise with Us

Our 2008 Media/Advertising Guide is available for downloading and viewing. Did you know we are one of the least expensive avenues of advertising in the industry? Click on the image below to download a copy. Read it over and see the great opportunities that await your company by advertising with the NACC.

To advertise with the NACC, please contact the NACC at:
Tel: 601.447.8300
Fax: 601.266.5087




Call Center Comics-Winner

At the end of 2007 and into 2008 we ran a contest for people to submit their call center cartoon ideas. We have chosen the top two winners. The first winner was featured last issue (Volume 3, Issue 7).  Ozzie drew the cartoons from the inspiration of the submissions. Each winner has received a big box of goodies from the NACC for being a top winner. Thank you to all who submitted ideas.

This cartoon winner was submitted by Grace from New Mexico at the Bank of America call center. Great job Grace.


If you like this comic and would like to see more write Ozzie at  callcentercomics@yahoo.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.

No Hope for Coaching

Dennis Adsit, VP Business Development, KomBea Corporation. dennis.adsit@kombea.com

I have argued elsewhere and used mathematical modeling to demonstrate that coaching in even modest turnover environments cannot improve overall call center output measures. If there is no improvement, there is no return for the call center and certainly no return on investment (ROI). And this is where it can leave you scratchin’ your head because billions of dollars are being spent across the industry on call recording technology and call monitoring personnel. Why do we continue to do this if there is no return? Where are the CFOs who should be accounting for such returns?

The reason why coaching continues to be invested in may be that call center leaders really don’t know what else to do to lift the performance of the system. In a previous issue of In Queue (Volume 2, Issue 21), I explained that my colleague and friend asked several outsourcers what they were doing to improve the calls he was preparing contract to them. All of the outsourcers had one and only one answer: “We record, monitor and coach our agents.” It appears that the even the experts don’t have anything else up their sleeve to raise call center performance.

Maybe call center leaders continue to invest in coaching for cultural reasons--buying into the mythical coach that can change a team. We see it work all the time in sports at all levels from Squirts to Pros. We are always reading about some coach and the difference he or she is making with the players.

There are many reasons coaching works for sports teams. First, the athletes are crazy motivated to make and stay on most teams. Second, teams practice and work out for hours each day, more than they perform in games. Third, in general, unplanned turnover is not as much of a factor. A coach of a college basketball team may have a kid for 5 years before s/he leaves. Finally, Ed Deming the quality guru argued that in companies the system--material quality, process design, machine calibration, and scheduling which is at the heart of call centers at present--is more important to performance than the individuals in that system. But in sports, there is no system that is more important to performance than the competition between individuals of teams on the field.

Does this describe the environment in your call center? Are your employees crazy motivated to get in and stay in your center like an athlete? Do you coach them for hours each day? Do call center agents handle the same kinds of calls for many years to become expert? Is the biggest variable on your team individual performance or is it the “system” in the form of the process, the tools, and the pace?

Last, at the end of the day, coaching relies on hope. You coach the agents and then you hope that they want to, hope they remember to, and hope they actually do the right thing. Should hope be the cornerstone that your improvement strategy is based upon?

60 Ideas in 60 Minutes Round X-The Final Round

For an introduction to the "60 Ideas in 60 Minutes" essays, or to read previously published rounds, please visit our archives and start with Volume 2, Issue 22 of In Queue.

I want to personally thank Paul Stockford of Saddletree Research for creating and hosting this session of 60 Ideas in 60 Minutes and likewise thank each of the participants for their willingness to share their great ideas with you, our readers. Thanks Paul, Bill, Penny (aka Peggy), Garry, Chris, and Kevin.

David L. Butler-Stand in front of your main entrance to your contact center. Be there before the rest of your reps. Welcome each one by name in person before each shift. If one of them is having family problems and they brought it to your attention, ask how they are doing. Ask about their children, or their family, or their dog, or their car that keeps breaking down. Personalize it. They will appreciate it and it will also open a channel for them to come and contact you so they are not absent without notification. It will also let you know of some of the problems before they become an issue. It is also great for turnover reduction.

William (Bill) Durr-A couple of them packaged up since this is my last opportunity. Contact centers ought to own the website. Contact centers ought to own the IVR. They out to phone down the IVR going down every branch at least once a week because things end up in dead zones. Your callers are ending up in dead zones. And finally, somebody is going to crack the code. Not only we have to worry about the new generation entering the workforce, the new generation is becoming our customers and they are going to want to interact with us in a whole different way via Facebook and MySpace. Some company is going to figure out to put up a MySpace for their customers and they are just going to rocket.

Penny Reynolds-There is a quote by Christopher Morley which says “Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity. “ So take 15 minutes of your day just for your own professional development. Just 15 minutes a day if you don’t have time to go and get that MBA. You have got to keep yourself abreast of all of the industry changes. Almost all of the call center professional publications are free subscriptions. There is a ton of online stuff. So be sure you are taking at least 15 minutes a day. At the end of the week, what you learn, write it down, and share it with somebody else. And by the way, my favorite thing to read each month is Bill Durr’s newsletter. You should sign up for it if you don’t get it.

Garry Schultz-I want to reinforce one of the points about measuring the right thing. We had a similar situation. Our top seller actually had the highest AHT. So from one criterion, this agent was failing absolutely miserably. From another criterion, raw sales, he was the top performer in the entire operation, it was pretty amazing. We created a process where we did a multivariate chart of agent performance so we took all of the factors that we thought contributed to the best agent behavior and got it down to one plot. So AHT, ASA, handle time, wrap up time and sales and get that down to one point on a chart and you will be able to see your agent’s performance far easier than looking at tables upon tables of numerical data.

Chris Crosby-Be a Sherlock Holmes and ask questions. So don’t make assumptions when you look at your contact center. Don’t assume that service level means the same thing to you as it does to somebody else. There are half a dozen calculations for service level. Also dive into things like why is this agent’s AHT off the chart. So, don’t make assumptions and don’t just look at the numbers dive into what is behind it. Ask questions like what is TARP, if you don’t know, don’t be afraid to ask, that is how to learn.

Kevin Hegebarth-To get back to Bill’s point of the holistic view of the customer for just a minute. Be a strategic partner with other customer facing organizations or other organizations that touch the customer as well. One of the things that one of our clients does which I find to be very effective is a job swap between departments. They will have a back office associate for claims processing come work in the call center or at least observe call center operations for a period of time. They will have a call center agent or call center supervisor go observe back office operations or go out to a retail bank branch and see the myriad ways that customers interact with that enterprise. This gives everybody a much broader perspective of what the customer’s needs are. It also gives you a much better opportunity to positively impact customer satisfaction.

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Copyright 2008 National Association of Call Centers


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