January 30, 2014

2014 Call Center Management Certification Training Schedule


Call center training for managers is an important focus for any customer service call center if they want to be able to achieve a competitive advantage in the marketplace. These certification courses will help call center managers build on best practice skills needed to manage an effective and efficient call center.

BenchmarkPortal and The College of Call Center Excellence introduce the 2014 Call Center Manager Certification Training schedule. This workshop is composed of information-rich modules that offer lectures, discussions and learning activities in the form of case studies that examine practical problem solving and current best practices. Originally developed by Dr. Jon Anton of Purdue University, the curriculum has been expanded and updated by Bruce Belfiore, Chancellor of the College and Jose Perez, Dean of the college.

Feb. 18-20, 2014 - San Diego, CA at the Hotel Palomar
Mar. 18-20, 2014 - Greensboro, NC at Lincoln Financial Group
Apr. 15-17, 2014 - Atlanta, GA at AutoTrader
May 13-15, 2014 - Newark, NJ at XEROX, E-ZPass Customer Service Center
June 10-12, 2014 - Mason, OH at Eyemed Vision Center
July 8-10, 2014 - To be determined...
Aug. 5-7, 2014 - Santa Clara, CA at Santa Clara Health
Sept. 9-11, 2014 - Dallas, TX at Edmentum
Oct. 7-9, 2014 - Annandale, VA at Northern Virginia Community College
Nov. 10-14, 2014 - Las Vegas, NV at Planet Hollywood (Call Center Campus Week)

January 29, 2014

Everything You Wanted to Know About First Call Resolution

CallTalk™ Caramels: Sweet Snippets from BenchmarkPortal’s Best CallTalk Episodes

CallTalk is a monthly internet radio program featuring innovative managers and thought leaders in the customer contact field, interviewed by BenchmarkPortal CEO, Bruce Belfiore.  “Caramels” distills “ key moments from these interviews into practical, bite-sized nuggets to inform and assist you as a contact center professional.
 
First call resolution (FCR) is best defined as the percentage of calls coming into your center that were satisfied completely on the first call, whether by IVR or by an agent. The goals of FCR include better agent performance, increased customer satisfaction, and lower operational costs. Also, in today’s call center environment that includes e-mail, web chat and other non-phone customer touch points, First Contact Resolution is becoming a popular metric.

First Contact Resolution is measured in different ways, which include post-contact customer surveys, quality review determinations, agent-entered codes, and “ANI/email-scans” that search reports  for multiple contacts from the same customer.  Not all methodologies are equally accurate.  When agents punch in FCR, for example, they usually indicate a higher resolution rate than when callers are asked their input.  Most experts agree that a post-contact survey of the caller, if possible, is the “best practice” way to gather this information.  Measuring FCR via post-contact surveys across all channels indicates which channels are performing best and those that need improvement.

Click here to continue reading this article on First Call Resolution. http://www.benchmarkportal.com/call-center-newsresources/news-articles/2014/01/first-call-resolution

January 28, 2014

Sauder Woodworking Co.’s Customer Support Contact Center Achieves Its Ninth Certification as a Center of Excellence


Sauder Woodworking, Center of Excellence by BenchmarkPortalBenchmarkPortal recognizes the exceptional efficiency and effectiveness of the Sauder customer support contact center by awarding it certification as a Center of Excellence for the ninth year in a row. The granting of certification is based on a company’s operational metrics, customer satisfaction and agent satisfaction.

The Sauder Woodworking Co. customer support contact center has been certified as a Center of Excellence by BenchmarkPortal, a leading contact center research and consulting organization.
“A contact center that seeks and achieves the Center of Excellence certification from BenchmarkPortal demonstrates a noteworthy commitment to service excellence,” 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 call center 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 with 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.

Continue reading this news article here: http://www.benchmarkportal.com/call-center-newsresources/press-release/2014/01/sauder-woodworking-co-customer-support-contact-center

January 24, 2014

Contact Center Economics 101: Balancing Information Security and Customer Needs

Security breaches in the contact center environment can be enormously expensive and damaging, so it is worth real money to approach these matters the right way. It is important to foster a strong security culture that is supported by well-designed processes - - rather than to rely on a patchwork of technologies that simply give a warm, fuzzy feeling of security.  Security is a journey - - not a destination. Corporate culture and business process must mesh with the technologies that support them, not the other way around.
As a contact center manager, you should be concerned about these issues because there is a natural tension between the needs of security and the needs of the business and customer interaction.  Customer-centric managers want to facilitate easy, effortless customer access to information, while security experts seek to keep information safe.  It takes an “eyes-open” culture to balance the objectives of both sides.  Un fortunately, many companies today do not have the culture or processes that support the appropriate use of defensive technologies, while at the same time facilitating the conduct of business with customers.
You have an opportunity to be a catalyst of change for your contact center’s information security culture.  However, you may need to open your mind a bit. Start by considering your own experiences:
  • Have you ever felt that your security colleagues have placed unnecessary obstacles in your way?
  • Have you felt misunderstood by the very people who say they are trying to protect you? 

January 23, 2014

At-Home Agents: How to Recruit, Train, Monitor and Motivate


There is a growing trend by call centers to transition, in whole or in part, to using home-based agents (HBA). The management of home-based agents, however, requires skills not commonly used in the traditional center. Understanding these skills can lead to increased agent productivity and an ROI to the center. When using home-based agents, give special consideration to the following key points:
  • Recruiting (internal) – When offering the opportunity to work at home to your in-house agents, pick from those agents that are in the meat of your productivity bell curve; use top agents as the role model.
  • Agents will become incentivized as they are empowered to work within an environment they control – their home - and thus perform better.
  • Recruiting (external) – When advertising for agents, do your best to dispel preconceived notions. In general, the terms “home-based” are associated with get rich quick scams and therefore most people distrust the ads – even when from reputable companies.
Click Here To Continue Reading This Article: http://www.benchmarkportal.com/call-center-newsresources/news-articles/2014/01/home-agents-how-recruit-train-monitor-and-motivate

January 21, 2014

Are You Parenting or Managing Your Staff?

Do you want to improve your performance and the performance of your staff? Of course, the answer is yes. We all do. But first we need distinctions between managing and parenting--as well as managing and leading--so managers (and everyone else) can develop both professionally and personally. Listen Now -- On Demand To This CallTalk Online Radio Show!

http://www.benchmarkportal.com/call-center-newsresources/calltalk-online-radio-show/5/1/are-you-parenting-or-managing-your-staff

January 17, 2014

Corporate Reimbursement Services, Inc. Contact Center Achieves Its Second Certification as a Center of Excellence

The Corporate Reimbursement Services, Inc. Contact Center has been certified as a Center of Excellence by BenchmarkPortal, a leading contact center research and consulting organization. “Certification is an important distinction because it is based on best-practice metrics drawn from BenchmarkPortal’s database of contact center metrics, which was founded at Purdue University and is the largest in the world,” said BenchmarkPortal CEO Bruce Belfiore. “Achieving Center of Excellence certification is an acknowledgement of strong management and leadership in the call center industry. This achievement confirms the call center’s ability to deliver service that is both efficient and effective.”

http://www.benchmarkportal.com/call-center-newsresources/press-release/2014/01/corporate-reimbursement-services-inc-contact-center-

January 15, 2014

Balancing Life and Work: Managing and Motivating Agents in a Healthy Way


CallTalk Caramels - Call Center Tips
A healthy approach toward work-life balance is crucial for both productivity and motivation. Instead, we often see dysfunctions in the contact center workplace. At one end of the spectrum, some cultures require and reward consistent presence and continual connectivity. This often leads to agents developing a sense of “presenteeism”, a condition whereby people feel they must show up for work – no matter what, even if they are sick. This can actually impair productivity and cause others to get sick as well. On the other end of the spectrum are those who are chronically disengaged, who some studies indicate are an increasing percentage of workers. These include “retired in place” individuals who sap motivation and efficiency from the center and its culture. Both of these conditions are highly detrimental to the center as they decrease both productivity and morale. Following these simple Best Practices will help reduce these dysfunctions:
  • Encourage employees to take breaks, holidays and vacations, and avoid taking work home unnecessarily – everyone needs a break from work in order to be productive when they are at work.
  • Track presenteeism just as you do absenteeism– avoid letting employees become obsessed with work and “coming in” even when sick. Establish a sense of wellbeing in the workplace. This can actually increase productivity, dedication and loyalty long term.
  • Due to technology, the lines that delineate between work times and leisure times often become blurred as people become “always available” due to text, email, smart phones, and web communications. Let employees know that it’s okay to not be at work during leisure times.
  • Set the right expectations – walk what you talk. Avoid sending mixed messages.
  • Motivate people by acknowledging with sincere, specific, positive, public recognition. Tell people what they did right, and use ‘muscle words’ to praise them.
  • Pizza, extra money, gift cards and their likes work only as band-aids; research shows that public praise and recognition works best in motivating employees. It doesn’t take money - it takes commitment!
  • Listen to what people say about what motivates them. Don’t jump to conclusions about what you think they will say, offering solutions based upon your preconceived notions.
  • LEARN: Lead by example; Energize others with your enthusiasm; Adopt a positive attitude; take Responsibility for reaching goals; and, Never give up on your dream.
Tip of the week: Motivate people by acknowledging with sincere, specific, positive, public recognition!

This CallTalk Caramel was compiled and edited by Bruce Belfiore and Kamal Webb. It was drawn from a CallTalk episode with Dr. Rosanne D'Ausilio, entitled “Tips On How To Motivate/Manage Your Supervisors and Agents”. To listen to the entire episode click here: http://www.benchmarkportal.com/call-center-newsresources/news-articles/2014/01/manage-and-motivate-agents

Quality Assurance Certification Live Online January 29-31, 2014

Call Center Quality Assurance Certification
 "I was especially excited for our Company to invest in the Quality Assurance Specialists to become certified in the area that is very important to our Customer Care Center. The price was affordable and the timing was accommodating. After the first session, we sat together with our manager and talked about our first day experience and what we learned. The information provided was organized and flowed well and the feeling was unanimous that this course was well worth the resources spent for us to attend. All three of us took ideas and examples from the course that we will use in our monitoring and providing feedback for our customer service reps." Live Online Attendee - 2012

Call Center Quality Assurance
$599: 
Includes live online workshop, printable slide presentation, certificate of completion, and an opportunity to complete a call center benchmarking survey/report with a follow-up web-ex style presentation of your benchmarking results. 
Outline:
View Detailed Workshop Outline

Location: 
Live Online
Dates &Time: 
3-Day Course, Jan. 29-31, 2014
2.5-Hour Sessions Each Day

During your time zone listed below
11am - 1:30pm PT
12pm - 2:30pm MT
1pm - 3:30pm CT
2pm - 4:30pm ET

January 10, 2014

Wolters Kluwer Health Contact Center Achieves Its Fourth Certification as a BenchmarkPortal Center of Excellence


Wolters Kluwer Health BenchmarkPortal Call Center of ExcellenceBenchmarkPortal recognizes the exceptional efficiency and effectiveness of the Wolters Kluwer Contact Center by awarding it Certification as a Center of Excellence for the fourth year in a row. The granting of certification is based on a company’s operational metrics, customer satisfaction and agent satisfaction.

“We certified Wolters Kluwer Health’s customer care operations as a Center of Excellence after evaluating the company’s effectiveness and efficiency in interacting with their customers. We applaud their commitment to superior customer service,” said Belfiore. "A great contact center operation reflects its management's passion for balancing the demands of high quality and low costs. These Wolters Kluwer Health’s business lines have shown its ability to achieve that balance through its objective performance metrics. We have validated its metrics and have certified that Wolters Kluwer is, indeed, among the best in its industry. I congratulate Wolters Kluwer on a job well done.”

http://www.benchmarkportal.com/call-center-newsresources/press-release/2014/01/wolters-kluwer-health-contact-center-achieves-its-fo

 

January 9, 2014

GE Capital Retail Bank Achieves Certification as a BenchmarkPortal Center of Excellence

GE Capital Retail Bank Center of Excellence by BenchmarkPortalThe GE Capital Retail Bank customer contact centers have been certified as a Center of Excellence by BenchmarkPortal, a leading contact center research and consulting organization. “This certification attests to the fact that call center leaders have successfully balanced efficiency and effectiveness in their operations,” said BenchmarkPortal CEO Bruce Belfiore.

“Achieving Center of Excellence certification is an acknowledgement of strong management and leadership in the call center industry. By optimizing their cost components and their ability to satisfy customers, they exemplify best practices in a very important consumer finance sector.”
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.

http://www.benchmarkportal.com/call-center-certification/certified-call-centers-excellence/ge-capital-retail-bank

January 8, 2014

Beyond Benchmarking


CallTalk Caramels - Call Center AdviceCallTalk is a monthly internet radio program featuring the most innovative managers and thought leaders in the customer contact field, interviewed by BenchmarkPortal CEO, Bruce Belfiore. “Caramels” distills “Aha!” moments from these interviews into practical, bite-sized nuggets to inform and assist you as a contact center professional.

While benchmarking your metrics is essential for good call center management, executives must embed benchmarking into a larger process focused on three “D’s”: data, diagnostics, and decisions:
  1. Data – Don’t get lost in the weeds. Determine what three metrics are the most critical to measure and guide my business currently - - and improve my competitive position.
  2. Diagnostics – What initiatives will have a real impact on my critical metrics? Which of those initiatives will give me a positive return on my investment (ROI)?
  3. Decision – What is the best opportunity for positive change? What gives me the most movement in my metrics for the investment? What do we need to do in order to get immediate results?
Research conducted by BenchmarkPortal and its experts suggest the following:
  • Do spring cleaning of your reports for validity in terms of useful information and assisting in making decisions. Useless reports clutter and confuse things.
  • Use Dashboards. These save time, money, and resources while providing managers valuable information at their fingertips, especially for agent utilization issues.
  • Set business rules that are meaningful and realistic for your business. Why do 80/20, if an 80/35 Service Level is acceptable to your customers and allows you to use fewer agents? You need to continuously sample caller satisfaction to implement this properly.
  • When looking at Quality metrics and surveys, use the ASK system:
    • Do they measure the Attitude of the agent?
    • Do they measure the Skills of the Agent?; and,
    • Do they measure agent Knowledge and the ability to drive first call resolution?
  • Hire agents that have the competencies to do the work expected.
Using benchmarked data to drive a focused analysis of your operations, then making decisions that will optimize your efficiency and your effectiveness, are the essence of good management . Save money and improve quality by looking beyond the metrics to optimal solutions.

Tip of the Month: When reviewing benchmarking results, if you find a value that is out of the norm, don’t be hasty in your decisions on how to correct it; i.e. if Talk Time is too long, don’t tell the Supervisor to have Agents simply talk less. Do some research; look at all of the processes that have an impact on the metric. A broken process (for example inadequate training in call closure) may be the cause for a sub-optimal value.

This CallTalk Caramel was compiled and edited by Bruce Belfiore and Kam├íl Webb. It was drawn from a CallTalk episode with Dru Phelps, entitled “Beyond Benchmarking”. To listen to the archived episode click on the following link: http://www.benchmarkportal.com/call-center-newsresources/news-articles/2013/12/beyond-benchmarking-calltalk-caramels-sweet-snippets

January 7, 2014

Management Certification in Downtown San Diego, CA. Hosted at the Hotel Palomar in the Gaslamp District, February 18-20, 2014

BenchmarkPortal's World Class Professional Certification courses are among the industry's highest rated programs for call center management and employees. Our courses have increased effectiveness and efficiency while at the same time reducing cost at organizations such as Verizon, Mercedes-Benz, Motorola, Hewlett Packard and GE.
The Management Certification workshop is composed of ten information-rich modules that include lecture, discussion and learning activity case studies that focus on practical problem solving and current best practices.
Our program is led by the industry's top-rated instructors, with over 150 years' combined experience. Be part of a true high-intensity learning experience which will bring out the best in you and your fellow attendees. You will return to your center with new best practice ideas...and the skills to turn them into reality!

Course:
Management Certification Course
Location:
Downtown San Diego, CA at The Hotel Palomar
View Map

Dates & Time:
Tues. Feb. 18: 8:30am - 5pm
Wed. Feb. 19:  8:30am - 5pm
Thur. Feb. 20:  8:30am - 5pm

Price: $1995.00

Discounts:
Group & Preferred Partner Discounts
View Discounts

Videos:
About The Management Certification Course  »
Early Bird $150 OFF
Promo code: EARLYFEB
Expires:1/18/14
 Register Now


January 6, 2014

26 Days Left To Enter The 2014 Top 100 Call Centers Contest Entry Deadline: January 31, 2014

26 Days Left To Enter
The 2014 Top 100 Call Centers Contest

Entry Deadline: January 31, 2014



Enter By Completing One Of The Following Surveys:
(Please note that we will notify winners via the email provided along with the data submission.)

16-KPI Benchmarking Survey:
Click Here To Download and Complete the Complimentary 16-KPI Benchmarking Survey

40-KPI Benchmarking Survey:  
40-KPI Benchmarking Survey: $999. The 40-KPI in-depth survey will provide your organization with an even deeper dive into the current state of your contact center. All certification and assessment clients will automatically be entered. 
Submit Your Entry To The Top 100 Call Centers Contest. It's Complimentary and Easy, All You Need Are Some Metrics From Your Center. Gain Global Recognition, Retain and Entice New Customers, Earn Respect From Industry Peers, Boost Employee Confidence and Increase Customer Satisfaction!


To pay for success celebrations for the winners, nine cash awards ranging from $500 to $2000 will be given to the highest-ranking entrants in three categories of call centers: small, medium and large.
 
Entry in the Top 100 Call Center Contest is free and will close on January 31, 2014. Winners will be determined by the comparison and ranking of key performance indicator data. Centers are benchmarked against other industry peers first, and then are ranked against other centers of a similar size.
As part of the contest, BenchmarkPortal offers a complimentary expert review of the data to show each center the performance gaps and associated costs.
As a Participant In The Contest You Will Receive The Following:
  • A complete copy of your 16-KPI Benchmarking Survey - RealityCheck™ report and a full readout with a certified expert ($650 Value). During the readout, the expert will explain how the report works and review performance gaps compared with your industry. This will indicate what you are doing well and will identify areas to improve. It will also provide an idea of the money you could save by eliminating your negative performance gaps.
  • Entry into contest for Most Improved Call Center (2014)
  • BenchmarkPortal will announce the top 3 winners from each category in a press release sent to national media outlets
  • Cash prizes are awarded to the top 3 winners in each category
  • All Top 100 companies from each group can purchase a trophy to commemorate the achievement.
  • All Top 100 companies from each group will be able to use the Top 100 Seal on all marketing pieces including: Web site, social media, advertisements, print ads and press releases
  • BenchmarkPortal will be celebrating the Top 100 participants and Top 3 winners in each category at the annual Call Center Campus in Las Vegas. Organizations that placed in the Top 100 will receive a certificate and trophy announcing their accomplishment.
Winner Announcement: The results for The Top 100 contest will be announced by March 31st, 2014.

January 3, 2014

Kick-Start 2014 With Quality Assurance & Management Training Workshops

January Call Center Training
Happy New Year! Kick-start 2014 with workshops that help attendees Increase Customer Service & Performance at their center.


Quality Assurance Certification: Live Online
JQuality Assurance Live Online Traininganuary 29-31, 2014
2 1/2 Hours Each Day
11am PT / 2pm ET
Register Now
The quality assurance workshop will provide participants with an understanding of the crucial elements in building an effective and efficient program that meets the strategic needs of the organization. Those needs may be focused on Cost, Service, Sales or Marketing.
Participants will gain an understanding of the specific requirements necessary to build a "best-in-class" quality monitoring and assessment process. Participants will identify those agent behaviors that provide an excellent customer experience, i.e., reduce the customer effort to resolve issues and drive loyalty. From this knowledge comes the development of the assessment processes, form for assessment and the scoring metrics that will measure the result.
Participants will explore the issues relating to calibration of the assessment and scoring processes, and how to deliver appropriate recognition and rewards for those involved in the process. This workshop will provide real-life examples and exercises that will allow participants to assess their current programs, make adjustments, or develop an entirely new program that meets the needs of all stakeholders.
  • Creating a Quality Assurance Strategy
  • Positive Culture, Behaviors and Definitions
  • Quality Assessment Forms
  • Service vs. Compliance
  • Call Monitoring Process
  • Evaluation Frequency
  • Art of Coaching
  • Time Management
  • Reward & Recognition Methods
  • Technology

January 21-23, 2014
Only 1 Seat Left -- Register Today!
Register Now
In today’s highly competitive marketing world, the reasons for a call center to be “customer-centric” are compelling. It is critical for a call center to have the competitive advantage of delivering what their customers want and require. Your call center needs to be better than that of your competition. This is especially true when it comes to “satisfying” your customers. Not having the best practices or proper procedures in place can be the differentiator between you and your competitors from your customers’ perspective.
Management Certification at McKessonBenchmarkPortal offers one of the most highly regarded call center management certification programs in the country. The program is led by the industry's top-rated instructors, who have over 150 years combined experience. In this workshop, they will equip you with the tools and skill set you need to improve your center's performance.
The curriculum, which was originally developed by Dr. Jon Anton of Purdue University, has been expanded and updated by Bruce Belfiore, Chancellor of the College, Jose Perez, Dean of the College, and BenchmarkPortal’s staff of industry experts. Participants typically include Call Center Managers, Directors and Vice Presidents.
Ten modules include: Organizational Leadership, Human Resource Management, Call Quality Monitoring and Coaching, Caller Satisfaction Measurement, Workforce Management, Technology, Tech Enabled Processes, Caller Self-Service, Analytics and Reporting, Performance Benchmarking.
  • 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.