Volume 6



Volume 8, Issue 5 - May 32013      

Our Contact Info:

Paul Stockford
Research Director
National Association of Call Centers
100 South 22nd Avenue
Hattiesburg MS 39401
Tel: 480.922.5949



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"Never make forecasts, especially about the future."

- Samuel Goldwyn

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 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.

The At-Home Agent Movement - A Benchmark Quantitative Analysis: January 2013
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 2nd Quarter 2012 Data
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 1st Quarter 2012 Data
Contact Center Mobility Study:  May 2012
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 4th Quarter 2011 Data
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 3rd Quarter 2011 Data
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 2nd Quarter 2011 Data
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 1st Quarter 2011 Data
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 4th Quarter 2010 Data
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 3rd Quarter 2010 Data
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 2nd Quarter 2010 Data
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 1st Quarter 2010 Data
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 4th Quarter 2009 Data
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 3rd Quarter 2009 Data
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 2nd Quarter 2009 Data
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 1st Quarter 2009 Data
North American Contact Center Industry 2008-2009: The Year in Review and a Look Ahead
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 4th Quarter 2008 Data
60 Ideas in 60 Minutes: 2008 Session
60 Ideas in 60 Minutes: 2007 Session

What's New in In Queue

Paul Stockford, Research Director, NACC and Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research, Paul.Stockford@nationalcallcenters.org

I Love Podcasts!  Why do I love podcasts?  Because I can learn something in about the time it takes me to drink a cup of coffee at my desk.  Podcasts can be downloaded at my convenience and I don’t have to commit to a certain time and day to listen in.  Podcasts are quick, easy and present an opportunity to learn something that has the potential to positively impact my career.
All of the above reasons are why I like to record podcasts as much as I enjoy listening to them.  There are more than a dozen podcasts I’ve recorded that can be found behind the “Podcasts” tab at www.saddletreeresearch.com.  We’re also about to launch podcasts on the NACC website, www.nationalcallcenters.org.
For those of you interested in contact center mobility and customer care for the mobile customer, give a listen to my latest podcast entitled, “The Evolving Challenge of Mobile Customer Service.”  Lots of survey data is shared along with insights from Cisco’s John Hernandez.  You can find this podcast here.
If analytics is on your list of interests, or if you’re just intellectually curious about the application of analytics in the enterprise, don’t miss this podcast I recorded with John Bowden of Time Warner Cable.  Entitled “Applied Analytics at Time Warner Cable,” this podcast will give you a quick but thorough look at the role of analytics at one of the nation’s largest providers of video, high-speed data and voice services.  All podcasts can be accessed here.
Robocalls and FTC Incompetence.  Longtime colleague and NACC supporter Walt Tetschner has written a hard-hitting blog that addresses the problem of illegal “robocalls” and the collateral damage that they are causing the contact center industry as a whole.  Walt is also the author of the monthly “ASR News” and has developed a reputation over the years as an analyst that definitely “calls it as he sees it.” 
Walt believes the ultimate responsibility for addressing the illegal robocall industry lies with the FTC but the FTC refuses to adequately address the problem, suggesting instead that the solution must lie with the consumer.  As Walt pointedly states, that would be like “shutting down the FDA food inspectors and requiring each consumer to figure out whether the meat that they are purchasing is safe to be eaten.”
Walt’s current blog as well as previous entries can be found here.  Walt can be contact by e-mail at tetschner@aol.com or by phone at 978-266-1966.
For VPI, One View is Worth a Thousand Words.  Longtime subscribers and NACC members know that VPI has been a strong supporter of the NACC for the past couple of years.  Continuing with their strategy of creating market leadership and gaining market mindshare by pursuing the path less traveled, VPI has introduced a groundbreaking toolset in the latest version 5.4 release of VPI EMPOWER.  Instant Analyzer enables contact center managers of all levels to assess the status, trends and root causes of their operational and customer experience issues and opportunities with unprecedented ease and speed.
Rather than try to further describe Instant Analyzer in words, I suggest you take a look at the succinct video that VPI has put together in support of this announcement.  In less than four minutes, you’ll gain a full understanding of the power of this breakthrough solution.  To view this informative video, go here.
The Predictive Value of Social Media.  I recently came across an interesting blog entry that takes a look at the value of social media as a predictive tool.  Written by Larry Skowronek of Nexidia, he makes the argument that the contact center is the link that provides context, and the connection to action, that is needed for social media mining to have predictive value.  In this highly informative blog, Larry details how the contact center can leverage its unique abilities in order to provide value that extends across the enterprise.  You can find this blog and read it in its entirety here

Go Ahead, Send The Invitation

Dee Kohler, Consultant, Strategic Contact, Inc., dee@strategiccontact.com

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got.” Henry Ford may have used these famous words to inspire his leadership team to step out of their comfort zones for the sake of improving results. Maybe it’s time to challenge ourselves to do something different.
Organizations spend a lot of time, energy, and money developing leadership skills to provide professional, objective feedback to staff to elevate performance. Oftentimes, we do not deploy those same skills at the department level. Your support teams (e.g., IT, HR) and in-house customers (e.g., Marketing, Product Management) can be powerful resources to provide 360-evaluations and basic observations.
Does soliciting feedback make you a little nervous? Dare to set those fears aside and be open to the process. The insights you’ll gain will be worth the effort. The following steps will help you get started.


An insider “field trip” creates the space for improving your operation while building awareness for the highs and lows of running a modern day customer contact center. Before you send your invitation:
  • Define your goals. Help your guests understand the standards of excellence to which you aspire to give them a framework for their observations.
  • Develop an agenda that includes introductions, a brief operational overview, agent shadowing, and time for follow up discussion
  • Inform your staff about the pending visit and objectives
  • Prepare the agent(s) for shadowing
  • Choose a date and time for the visit; remember, busy days might be the best days!


Get creative. Include your objective to challenge the status quo. Let them know you would appreciate another set of eyes to visit the center, observe, and provide thoughts and ideas. Be sure to include specific requests. For example:
  • An IT/IS leader may focus on desktop use, applications, and speed
  • A legal leader may help you focus on language for disclaimers
  • A marketing or communications leader may help with the phrasing/scripting, or gain awareness of the impact of marketing initiatives on the interactions

The Visit

When the big day comes, make sure you prepare your guest for a successful event. Provide a quick tour if they haven’t been to the center before. Point out support areas such as QA, WFM, and training. Talk about daily volumes and total number of staff. Show them your posted statistics and recognition boards. Provide a QA form as well as a list of desktop applications that the agent accesses. Review specific areas of interest (e.g., scripting flow, slow application, disclaimers used).
Have them shadow agents for 90 minutes or more. Ideally, your visitors will get to see different agents in action. Conduct a brief follow up discussion to capture thoughts and ideas while they are fresh. And don’t forget to snap a picture of your visitors to include in an upcoming newsletter to reinforce the concept!

Follow up and Thank You

Document the observations and create an action plan. Prioritize action items that will improve quality, productivity, employee morale, and overall customer experience. Provide follow-up to your visitors on actions that your team has implemented and the corresponding results as well as actions you identified in the debrief that may now be on their “to do” list!

Make “Being Different” Routine

Consistent feedback for individual contributors is a proven methodology to improve performance. The same holds true for developing strong departmental relationships. Don’t let the interchange of valuable feedback turn into a one-time event. Invite departments (IT/IS, Marketing, Sales, etc.) on a frequent (e.g., quarterly) basis. You will demonstrate to your team and your company that you are open and receptive to ideas and encourage continuous process improvement.

Call Center Comics!
May 2013

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.

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