April 18, 2013

Announcing The 2013 Top 100 Call Centers Contest Winners

BenchmarkPortal, a leading call center consulting services group, recently announced the winners of its 2013 Top 100 Call Center Contest. Participants submitted performance data on key operating metrics. The three winners in each of three categories had the highest statistical values for efficiency and effectiveness, as computed by BenchmarkPortal's expert formula, using the world’s largest database of call center metrics.
The highest ranking centers in the large center (250+ agents) category are:
1. Florida Power and Light Company (first place)
2. Alliance Data (second place)
3. American Electric Power (third place)
The highest ranking centers in the Medium-size center (100 to 249 agents) category are:
1. United Concordia Companies (first place)
2. Regional Transit Authority- Chicago (second place)
3. Desjardins (third place)
The highest ranking centers in the Small-size center winners (5 to 99 agents) category are:
1. Delta Dental of Wisconsin (first place)
2. City of Fort Wayne (second place)
3. Unicom Teleservices (third place)
*BenchmarkPortal salutes the winners – they are leaders in the call center industry,” said Bruce Belfiore, BenchmarkPortal CEO. “Our Top 100 Award places a contact center among the best in the industry in terms of quality of service and cost efficiency. Their key metrics were benchmarked against our database – the largest in the world of contact center metrics. This is a great accomplishment.”
The contest participants were judged on their key performance indicators – including average speed of answer, calls per agent per hour, agent turnover and caller satisfaction. Each participant received a complimentary customized report benchmarking their company against their peers, as well as a confidential web-based readout of the report with a certified BenchmarkPortal expert.
“The award process is based on actual performance,” stated Belfiore. “Recipients of the Top 100 Award have demonstrated, on a very objective basis, that they provide superior service and financial performance as compared with our database overall. We congratulate them.”

April 16, 2013

Lincoln Financial Group Achieves Certification as a BenchmarkPortal Center of Excellence

The Lincoln Financial Group’s Life Insurance Customer Care Center has been certified as a Center of Excellence by BenchmarkPortal, a leading contact center research and consulting organization. “Only the top 10 percent of those benchmarked annually achieve this distinction,” said BenchmarkPortal CEO Bruce Belfiore. “Achieving Center of Excellence certification is an acknowledgement of strong management and leadership in the call center industry.”    
To achieve certification as a Center of Excellence, a company must undergo a rigorous benchmarking process, which compares the organization’s operational metrics to those of its peers, using the world's largest database of contact center metrics. During this process, BenchmarkPortal experts audit and verify key data from the contact center applying for certification.
Factors (called key performance indicators) such as first call resolution, cost per call, call waiting time, customer satisfaction, agent satisfaction and utilization of human resources are taken into account. BenchmarkPortal is able to scientifically gauge how the contact center being studied compares to other centers in the same industry, and if the performance of the contact center is superior. Customer satisfaction, which relates to customer loyalty and business growth, is the goal, balanced by financial metrics which show that the center is being operated efficiently.
“Center of Excellence certification indicates that the contact center delivers superior customer service within a responsible cost structure,” said Belfiore. "A great contact center operation reflects its management's passion for balancing the demands of high quality and low costs. Lincoln has shown its ability to achieve that balance through its objective performance metrics. We have validated its metrics and have certified that Lincoln is, indeed, among the best in its industry. I congratulate Lincoln on a job well done.”
“Benchmarking delivers a crackerjack profile of a contact center’s operations that can inspire management to move forward aggressively, even in a less-than-robust economy,” added Belfiore, who has been with the company since 2000.
About Lincoln Financial Group
Lincoln Financial Group is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation and its affiliates. With headquarters in the Philadelphia region, the companies of Lincoln Financial Group had assets under management of $178 billion as of December 31, 2012. Through its affiliated companies, Lincoln Financial Group offers: annuities; life, group life, disability and dental insurance; employer­ sponsored retirement plans; savings plans; and comprehensive financial planning and advisory services. For more information, including a copy of our most recent SEC reports containing our balance sheets, please visit http://www.lincolnfinancial.com.

April 12, 2013

Government Sector Performance Solutions Initiative

BenchmarkPortal is embarking on a new government sector initiative that will help government contact centers optimize their operations in terms of efficiency and effectiveness, utilizing statistically validated analysis and best practices. 
Our government performance solutions include the following activities, which can be tailored to meet the specific needs of individual agencies:
  • Benchmarking.  Benchmark your operations against the world’s largest database of contact center metrics.  Compare your performance to other government centers as well as to centers in the private sector.  We will work with you to turn your benchmarked metrics into actionable management information.
  • Assessment Services.  Our on-site assessments provide managers with findings, recommendations and improvement roadmap within four to six weeks, thanks to our automated benchmarking systems and our staff of top-rated experts.
  • Audit and validation services.   BenchmarkPortal can be your neutral third party to validate the operating results of your internal operations. If you need oversight, validation or audit of your outsourced operations, BenchmarkPortal is your ideal partner.  You can engage us directly or have us engaged through a prime vendor.  In either case, we will put our analytical knowledge, industry experience and benchmarking database to work to achieve your objectives.
  • Executive Order compliance.  BenchmarkPortal knows federal contact centers are obliged to comply with EO 12862, which requires centers to benchmark against private sector centers, and EO 13571, which requires centers to improve performance in a measurable way by implementing new technology.  BenchmarkPortal can provide the metrics and the expertise you need through its innovative Fed S.I.R.V (Federal Service Improvement and Results Validation) offering.  This offering provides exceptional value andqualifies for simplified acquisition due to its modest price point. 
  • Training.  Our College of Call Center Excellence provides training to all levels of contact center personnel. 
  • Custom Consulting and Other Assistance.  Whether you want a close look at your IVR or quality management systems, or if you need to outsource an entire operation, we welcome the opportunity to talk with you.
To date, BenchmarkPortal has assisted numerous government call center operations, such as the IRS, VA, DHS, USPS, SSA, FBI, Federal Reserve, Treasury Department, and the military, as well as the State of North Carolina and many other state, provincial and municipal operations. These public sector operations join over half of the Fortune 500 companies in leveraging BenchmarkPortal offerings to increase quality and lower costs, which in today’s economy is something both our government and industry partners strive to achieve.

BenchmarkPortal has been benchmarking and analyzing government sector contact center data for over a decade, and is committed to helping improve the performance of government contact centers at the federal, state and local levels.  We are confident that this program will allow government contact centers to save money that can be spent on other important and necessary unfunded requirements. 

BenchmarkPortal is a small business entity, is registered on SAMS and has a GSA contract through the GSA IT 70 Schedule (GSA Contract # GS-35F-0401Y). 

To spearhead our new government sector initiative, BenchmarkPortal is collaborating with Ms. Caylee A. Drucker, a Business to Government Subject Matter Expert.  She brings over 27 years of government experience and understanding of the culture through her time in the military, as a federal employee and as a government contractor.  Ms. Drucker was a member of the BenchmarkPortal team over 13 years ago. We are excited to have her back to lead this new initiative.

April 10, 2013

New Show on CallTalk Discussing Whether You Are a Lemming or a Leader…You Decide!

BenchmarkPortal will air a new online radio show on CallTalk, discussing whether you are a lemming or a leader. Contact Centers pretty much operate the same way and most call center managers are guilty of taking a “lemming” approach to management, process and growth. Lemmings plod along doing the same things in the same way, following the same path others follow. If you have been around this industry for any length of time, there’s really not that much that comes along that that is ground breaking, earth shaking and record shattering. If you want to change your course and have “Break-Out” results in short time durations then this is the session for you. Mr. Riddell will show you step by step how he “re-engineered” a small call center with Blinds.com and achieved award winning results.

 The host for this show is Bruce Belfiore, CEO at BenchmarkPortal. The guest speaker is Steve Riddell, from Blinds.com The free online radio show will air Wednesday, April 17th, 2013, at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET. Click here to listen to CallTalk, (http://www.benchmarkportal.com/call-center-newsresources/calltalk-online-radio-show)

About CallTalk
 A fun and exciting online program for education and learning, for the customer service industry. Once a month, broadcast directly over the Internet to your desktop, covers informative and educational topics that impact the contact center and customer service today.

April 1, 2013

BenchmarkPortal Announces a New Workshop- Call Center Coaching for Performance

To help supervisors and managers successfully coach their agents, BenchmarkPortal has developed a Coaching for Performance workshop that provides them with the necessary skills and strategic plans to help manage their call center’s overall productivity.
BenchmarkPortal and The College of Call Center Excellence introduces the Call Center Coaching for Performance workshop. The Coaching for Performance course has been designed to provide the tools required for call center coaches to sustain and improve agent performance. The first part of this workshop will help those in charge of coaching agents to identify their role, responsibilities and characteristics they should have. It will equip them with performance metrics they can use to define and understand agent performance, comparing and contrasting them with performance management. It will also help them create a gap analysis that will help them determine the steps needed to reach desired performance levels for each specific call center.
This course will also focus on communication techniques and how to create a strategic plan for all levels of performers. http:// Call center coaches will learn all the subtle communication techniques, visual words and phrases that can be used to replace body language to create a successful experience with the customer on the other end. They also have to learn what phrases they must avoid saying, as every word spoken has the potential to be just as detrimental as it can be helpful. Finally, the course focuses on agent retention and the impact of team building, motivation, reinforcement, rewards, and recognition.
Course Agenda: 
  • Review the role, responsibilities, and characteristics of an “ideal” coach.
  • Match management expectations of using call center metrics and the impact on agent performance.
  • Perform a gap analysis to identify what you have versus what you want in terms of agent performance.
  • Examine successful verbal communication techniques.
  • Compare and contrast the needs of new stars, rising stars, super stars, and falling stars.
  • Create a strategic plan for all levels of performers to include team building, retention, and motivation.
  • Practice and Application: Review the performance for five agents.
  • Practice and Application: Create a coaching plan to sustain and/or improve performance for each agent.
Call centers – whether they have been in business for years or are just opening – can make a long-term investment with the coaching workshop as it has the potential to create an impact that could increase profit and productivity in the future.
Small class size allows for one-on-one interaction with the instructors, as well as networking opportunities with colleagues and industry peers. Participants also leave with “take aways” that are meant to enable them to make a real difference in their centers.
View the Calendar here for Call Center Training - Coaching for Performance >>
  • May 15-17, 2013 - Live Online
  • Aug. 21-23, 2013 - Live Online
  • Nov. 6-8, 2013 - Live Online