Volume 4, Issue 22 - October 30, 2009

Our Contact Info:

David Butler
Executive Director

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


In Queue circulation 53,650


All leading call center companies and suppliers should examine the NACC Underwriting opportunity in 2009 as evidence of their dedication to the growth of call center industry. See the NACC Advertising Page for more information.

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Send this newsletter to colleagues by clicking "Forward this email" at the very bottom and end of this newsletter or sign up for this newsletter by clicking here.

NACC Investment Portfolio

Original Value start 11/6/2007
=US$90.00 or US$10.00 per stock.  Then Nortel went bankrupt so we have adjusted the investment portfolio and now the new start value would be $80.00 or $10.00 per stock.

Total Portfolio Value Now= $96.39, down a few bucks from the past two weeks. The markets have advanced much in the past 6 months and people are pausing to take their breath and to see if this recovery is real or might their be another dip.

NACC Composite Index

The NACC Composite Index was down this week by 3.55%. Not great, but not horrible either. We had eight weeks of solid gains, so this small dip is not a trend of any kind. I still think we are headed to 100 in the next few months then we can pop open a bottle of champagne.

The NACC Composite Index was down 3.55% this past two weeks while the other indices were down between 2.5% and 5.5%. So even though we lost, we did not do too poorly.


"Nothing on Earth so beautiful as the final haul on Halloween night."
-Steve Almond

Picture of the Week

Jeff Birkenstein (actually Dr. Jeff Birkenstein) a friend, a fellow professor, and a photographer has kindly agreed to become the NACC's Picture Editor for the In Queue Newsletter. Jeff is a professor of English and lives in Lacey, Washington. I appreciate him sharing his great photos with us.

A rare shot of the Northwest Fall colors in bright sunlight. This picture was taken at the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge, just north of Olympia, WA (about 45 miles south of Seattle). This path is part of a great birdwatching trail, 5 miles in circumference.

Happy Halloween!

Reports from the NACC


The 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 images below and download the executive summary of each. If you like what you see, join the NACC so that we can send you these reports and others that will be coming out soon to ensure you know the latest trends in the industry.

Advertise with Us

Click on the image below to view the NACC Advertising Page where you can view our channels and prices.

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

Good for America...Good for Canada...Good for the  NACC. Volunteer!

Paul Stockford, Research Director, National Association of Call Centers and Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research,

Once again we are looking to build our ranks of volunteers who will participate in NACC surveys over the coming year. The only requirements are that you currently work in a contact center, so we can tap into your practical knowledge, and that you participate in our annual survey and a few other short surveys during the year.

We welcome the participation of all NACC members and readers of In Queue in our surveys, but for those of you who are willing to commit to participating with us over the next year, we are offering something in return. No, it's not an “opportunity” to possibly win some sort of electronic gadget in a drawing or a discount coupon for something you probably wouldn't want to buy anyway. This will bring you tangible benefits over the course of your volunteer commitment. We are offering each volunteer an individual membership in the NACC, valued at $500. For more information on the benefits of NACC membership, please visit

As an NACC volunteer, we will always respect your time and will not inundate you with pointless surveys. Our annual survey typically takes less than five minutes to complete and the follow-up surveys that we sometimes undertake can usually be completed in a minute or two – literally. We know you are bombarded with survey requests on a regular basis, which is why we try our best to keep our surveys reasonable in both number and length. The results of your input in our surveys are also reported to your industry peers via articles and essays in the NACC's biweekly newsletter In Queue, so at the same time you are helping yourself to an NACC membership at no charge, you are also helping your professional peers and those of us who study the industry at the NACC better understand the nuances of the contact center market.

If you are interested in joining us as a survey volunteer over the next year in exchange for a full individual membership at no charge, please send an e-mail to NACC's executive director David Butler at If you have previously responded to this volunteer opportunity there's no need to respond again – you're on the list. Otherwise, we look forward to hearing from you.

New NACC Report

David Butler, Executive Director, National Association of Call Centers,

The NACC released this week the State of the Industry Report: 2nd Quarter 2009. The Executive Summary of the report is listed below.  These reports are made available to NACC members as part of the membership benefit. For a mere $500 a year, you can get access to this report, the other six reports we published this year and the several additional reports that will come out in the next few months. A whole treasure trove of knowledge at your fingertips. To join the NACC, just click here.

State of the Call Center Industry Report: 2nd Quarter 2009 Data

Executive Summary

In the second quarter of 2009 more call center jobs were added in the United States than were lost suggesting a continued recovery from the recession low of fourth (4th) quarter 2008. The number of call centers opening versus closing was a net positive as well, another sign of a solid ongoing recovery for the call center industry. The call center job losses were most pronounced in the Fulfillment/Distribution/Reservations sector with the largest growth coming from the Third Party Provider sector. These sector trends are closer to that of the pre-recession numbers collected. All this suggests that an economic recovery is near and a level of predictable growth in the industry is forthcoming. Some states had a strong growth in call center jobs such as Florida, Georgia, and Arizona while other states such as Delaware, Connecticut, and Alabama showed a loss of call center jobs this quarter.

From the Trenches

Becoming the Best: Assessing your Front-line Operations Organization Structure

Brian Hinton, Principal Consultant – Strategic Contact,

In our last installment in this series, we talked about front-line operational assessments. That story would be incomplete without due consideration of your most expensive and valuable resource – labor. Therefore, this article provides a framework for assessing your front-line organizational structure to ensure you strike the right balance between efficiency and effectiveness.

Defining the Scope of the Assessment

An organizational assessment takes a thorough look at your work team structure and sizing, and the staffing of those teams. The structural component looks at the grouping of employees across teams, the definition of the job roles and responsibilities within the teams, and the supervisory span of control. Sizing looks at the resources allocated to the workload across those various roles and responsibilities, and whether the organization is properly staffed.

The staffing component looks at where centers secure employees and ensures that the hiring/recruiting approach is consistent with the sourcing strategy. Sourcing can include use of outsourcing, home agents, temps, full time and part time staff, and remote sites to meet daily, peak and seasonal needs. Staff assessment also includes review of compensation, performance management and feedback, rewards/recognition and incentives, and career paths available to staff. These considerations have a direct impact on quality, motivation, satisfaction, and attrition.

Front-line Organization Issues and Opportunities

When looking for opportunities to improve the front-line organization, some common themes emerge. We often discover unnecessarily small, inefficient work groups. The typical motivation for these small groups is supervisor span of control or reporting. While there may be legitimate motivation for smaller work groups, you should be wary of inefficient organizational practices that spark a degree of segmentation that you don't really need. Whatever segmentation is required, ensure you remain as efficient as possible by creating an overflow/backup routing process so available and qualified resources can help busy groups.

A second theme in our assessments is inconsistently achieving service levels due to lack of scheduling flexibility. Most organizations that use workforce management tools effectively analyze staff required in 15 or 30 minute segments. In order to be able to schedule to react to staff requirements at that level of detail, you must have flexibility to alter overall staff numbers. A staff structure with all full-time and fixed shifts does not provide sufficient flexibility.

Another typical issue is excessive attrition. It's a common problem, but your goal should be to maximize retention. One culprit is inadequate coaching and feedback due to overtaxed supervisors. The other “usual suspects” are having the wrong person in the wrong job due to misaligned sourcing, hiring, and recruiting, and job descriptions that are out of date and don't reflect the true nature of the role. The lack of career path can also cause staff to move elsewhere for growth. Other sources of agent dissatisfaction include lower than market pay and unachievable incentives.

Problems with organizational issues lead to not enough people to handle the workload and meet targets. Remember, the overall goal is to organize and staff as efficiently as possible to meet service level and other performance targets.

Apply Best Practices to you Front-line Organization Structure

Best practices can help focus your assessment and the action plan to improve. Our best practice mantra for the front-line organization structure: Your organizational structure provides the appropriate numbers and types of resources to achieve goals. Include the following best practices as part of your assessment.
-Roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities within the center are clearly defined.
-The organizational design enables strategic planning and execution while also addressing the day-to-day demands of the operation.
-The organization offers appropriate opportunities for growth and development, and incentives, rewards, and recognition that motivate appropriate behavior and employee satisfaction.
-Sourcing and hiring approaches are effective and aligned with business goals, deliver appropriate staff levels with the proper skills, and optimize retention.
-Established and proven feedback processes and procedures are applied consistently and fairly across the organization.
-Strategy, goals, and outcomes are clearly communicated across all levels of the organization.

Getting Ready for 2010

David Butler, Executive Director, National Association of Call Centers,

In preparation for 2010, the National Association of call centers has outlined our In Queue Newsletter calendar and has established a new Media/Advertising Guide which reflects the best of 2009 with some new and interesting items for 2010. If you have a product or service that you desire to put in front of the great professionals in the call center industry the click on the image below to view our 2010 Guide. I know that many of you are finalizing your budgets for 2010 this quarter, so this is the ideal time to take a peak at the channels we offer and see if you like what you see.


Call Center Comics!

If you like this comic and would like to see more write Ozzie at and visit his website at 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.


Your company logo here. To find out more, contact David Butler at

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Copyright 2009 National Association of Call Centers

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