What's New in In Queue
Paul Stockford, Research Director, NACC and Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research, Paul.Stockford@nationalcallcenters.org
Volunteer Memberships Available!
Turnover isn’t a phenomenon limited to agents only. Turns out a
lot of managers and directors change jobs too. As a result, we
have several NACC volunteer memberships available for 2013.
Volunteer memberships are provided at no cost in exchange for 30
minutes of your time during the one year membership period. All
we ask of our volunteer members is to participate in our surveys, which
typically take four minutes or less to complete. In 2012 we ran a
total of three surveys. In 2013 we might run one per quarter but
we still promise to ask for no more than 30 minutes of your time during
NACC membership gives you access to reports, our Job Board, business
opportunities as they come to us, and the opportunity to tap into the
membership network for inquiries, advice and review. We promise
to ask for no more than 30 minutes of your time in total to participate
in our brief surveys during the course of the year. It’s a great
deal. If you’d like to join us, send me an e-mail with the word
“Volunteer” in the subject line and I’ll set up your membership.
If you have questions don’t hesitate to contact me.
To sample one of our surveys, and help us out at the same time, please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2012NACCsurvey and
complete this year’s survey. Even if you aren’t interested in
volunteer membership, we’d greatly appreciate it if you would take this
year’s survey. You can get it done in about three minutes.
The results will be reported in this newsletter throughout 2013 and
will provide us a foundation for further research throughout the next
The NACC is a not-for-profit organization so our resources are
limited. We rely on our readers to support our efforts. If
you’ve been wracking your brain wondering what to give David and me for
Christmas, I just made it easy for you. Click on the survey link
above and complete our survey. Thanks for your help.
Heard Any Good Podcasts Lately? If not, let me direct you to www.saddletreeresearch.com
where I’ve just posted a few really good ones. The purpose of the
podcast is to provide you with as much information as possible in about
12 minutes or less – about the time it takes you to drink a cup of
coffee at your desk.
I know you don’t have hours to dedicate to the dozens of webinar
invitations you get each week, but these podcasts cram lots of
information into a very short period of recorded time – typically about
10 to 12 minutes.
If you’ve been confused by “Simplexity” be sure to listen to the podcast on the subject at www.saddletreeresearch.com. Click on the “Podcasts” tab and listen to your heart’s content or just go directly here. I guarantee you’ll learn something. Not a bad investment of about ten minutes.
While you’re there, take a listen to the podcast covering the results
of the real-time performance management survey we conducted a couple of
months ago. Entitled “Real-Time Performance Management –
Benchmark Research Results and Case Study,” the podcast covers the
research highlights and the application of real-time performance
management at 1-800-FLOWERS.com. Go here to listen to this informative podcast.
At-Home Agents are HOT! As far as trends
for 2013 go, the at-home agent trend is hot. This issue of In
Queue offers an article that builds on the data that was provided in
last month’s In Queue newsletter. On top of that, there is a
podcast on the topic that was just posted at www.saddletreeresearch.com.
Give it a listen. You’ll find lots of data and trend discussion
regarding the rapidly growing at-home agent movement in the contact
While doing your at-home agent homework, be sure to download this free publication
courtesy of Plantronics if you haven’t done so already. This past
Tuesday we sent you an e-mail invitation to get this e-book. It’s
called Home Working and the Contact Center: Working Your Way Home.
This publication dovetails nicely with the recently completed home
agent research that we wrote about in last month’s newsletter. If
you have at-home agents, or are thinking about sending a percentage of
your agent population to work from home, be sure to download this
Quality Assurance Buyer’s Guide Now Available.
Next Tuesday we’ll be e-mailing you an invitation to download the
latest quality assurance (QA) buyer’s guide to assist with your
purchase decisions in 2013. If you want to get a jump on the
process you’re invited to download the guide now. Click here to get your copy now.
Follow Us On Twitter! My Twitter handle is
“pauloncc” as in Paul on Contact Centers. I only tweet about
industry issues so you’ll never have to see a picture of what I had for
lunch or have to read a re-tweet of any other equally useless
information. Follow me on Twitter and see what I mean.
Walkin’ in a Wiki Wonderland. This month’s
guest author, Brian Hinton of Strategic Contact, presents an argument
for utilizing wikis in the contact center. Brian’s article can be
found in its entirety directly below. Don’t miss it!
Wikis: A Step Forward In Knowledge-Based Service
Brian Hinton, Principal Consultant, Strategic Contact
Strategic Contact, we continuously “beat the drum” for reducing
complexity at the agent desktop to increase efficiency, increase
revenue, and improve service. One way to reduce complexity is ensuring
agents have access to the right information at the right time to
resolve customer issues during the first contact. Wikis are an
effective tool to address that requirement.
Wiki – What?
one of the best known wikis, defines a wiki as, “a website which allows
its users to add, modify, or delete its content via a web browser…”
Wiki software enables those with knowledge to create content
collaboratively using standard editing tools. It captures and
disseminates “tribal knowledge” with very little training required of
the “publishers” or “consumers.” Topic associations across pages
enhance learning in a constantly changing information environment.
Search capabilities make it easy for users to find the information they
need. A “knowledge” wiki can be an internal intranet for contact center
agents and other employees, or a community website for customers and agents. A wiki becomes a knowledge aid to create, browse, search, and consume information.
Wiki – Why?
knowledge to optimize agent access can be difficult. Some companies are
“stuck” at the hard copy stage. Agents often create “cheat sheets” that
line cube walls. In these scenarios, companies struggle to ensure the
information is consistent, up to date, and comprehensive. Most
companies have progressed at a minimum to creating an intranet or using
SharePoint as a basic document repository. While the “library” approach
enables version control, searches often bring up multiple documents.
The agent digs for the desired information buried in these documents.
Handle times increase while both agents and customers grow increasingly
By contrast, wikis can present more “bite-sized” and specific
information that is quickly accessed through a search function. Subject
matter experts create targeted content focused on contact resolution
based on “typical” questions and problems. Search results lead to
pertinent content with links to further information. Agent performance
improves with familiarity with the tool and expansion of the wiki
content. And customers get a much better experience.
Wiki – How?
There are multiple paths to acquiring wikis, including:
source wiki software is available at no charge but requires development
to build your wiki website. SharePoint 2010 offers a wiki component to
use in developing your internal wiki. For companies wanting a more
robust, user friendly, or specialized application, vendors provide
licensed wiki applications that could be cloud-based or premise based,
and could be standalone or part of a broader application such as a CRM
solution. Whatever your source, you may want to add an advanced search
engine for more refined multi-level searches. Many use Google search
Element within another application (e.g., CRM)
As always, the technology is the enabler. Implementing with structured,
documented processes, training, and reinforcement will ensure success.
Open collaboration does not imply a “free for all.” Appropriate
governance is essential to ensure accurate content. Most wikis allow
control over levels of access to different functions. Use best
practices for knowledge management to establish rules and access for:
appropriate level of control depends on your business, your products or
services, the nature of the information shared, and your compliance or
Authoring (including providing templates for structure)
Reviewing or editing
Implementing a wiki can be a relatively quick and low cost step forward
in empowering your agents with easy access to the knowledge required to
resolve customer issues. Develop a strategy and action plan soon
At-Home Agents: A Qualitative Overview
Paul Stockford, Research Director, NACC and Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research, Paul.Stockford@nationalcallcenters.org
month we provided a quantitative overview of the at-home agent movement
that seems to be gaining momentum in the contact center industry.
This month we’ll broaden that discussion by taking a brief look at
at-home agent trends that aren’t based upon numbers.
Since last month’s newsletter was published I had an opportunity to
chat with Kim Sokol, who works for KellyConnect (www.kellyconnect.com).
KellyConnect is a division of Kelly Services, a name familiar to anyone
who has hired, or has been, a temporary employee. I was
introduced to Kim by John Reynolds, my longtime colleague who runs the
Veterans2Work organization. If you’re not familiar with
Veterans2Work be sure to visit their website, www.veterans2work.org and/or read my column in the July issue of Contact Center Pipeline magazine (www.contactcenterpipeline.com).
KellyConnect is an advocate of putting our veterans back to work and
they walk the walk. They have a Government Solutions Group that
focuses on veterans’ initiatives and are finding considerable value in
having these motivated, self-reliant and disciplined individuals as
part of their work-at-home agent program. KellyConnect has also
created a program that provides at-home agents on demand for their
contact center clients. This unique offering is completely
staffed by at-home agents who are part of KellyConnect’s core program.
It is generally believed that at-home agents are at least as productive
as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, if not more so, and the
assumption is that the at-home agent is generally happier in their
job. This belief was tested by a survey question in which we
asked if the respondent contact center’s turnover rate had changed over
the past 12 months. Of the respondents who stated that they had
some percentage of their workforce working from home, 30% answered that
their turnover rate had improved somewhat or significantly.
Although we didn’t quantify the exact turnover rate of all respondents,
33% of those respondents with at-home agents reported a turnover rate
of between 11 and 20 percent while 28% of respondents with at-home
agents reported a turnover rate of between 0 and 10 percent.
There is no question that the at-home agent trend is becoming a force
in the contact center industry. NACC members are welcome to
contact us for more information on the at-home agent study.
Call Center Comics!
If you like this comic and would like to see more, write Ozzie at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
To view past issues of In Queue, please click here.
If you would like to contribute to In Queue, please reply to this email with "Contribute" in the subject line.
Copyright 2012 National Association of Call Centers