February 27, 2014

Leveraging Your International “Sibling Centers” for Fun and Profit

More and more contact centers are part of multi-national enterprises.  Either as a result of organic growth, or as a result of trans-border mergers, contact center managers are increasingly part of a polyglot corporate community.  However, most managers live in their own cocoons, and don’t take advantage of the benefits their sibling centers can offer.  In my experience, the links among contact centers in different countries and on different continents are not optimized by a long shot.  A concerted effort to share best practices and adopt common technologies can save boatloads of money while making life more interesting for contact center managers.

If you are among those not leveraging your international sibling centers, consider the following actions: Click here to continue reading this article: http://www.benchmarkportal.com/call-center-newsresources/news-articles/2014/02/contact-center-economics-101-leveraging-your-interna

February 26, 2014

Understanding Contact Center Dashboards

CallTalk Caramels - Call Center Advice
Empower your agents and increase productivity through good dashboards. Studies show that while over 60% of call centers have management dashboards, only 40% have agent dashboards. Research also indicates that when agents are properly trained, properly incentivized based on performance, and can see a dashboard with their key metrics, they tend to feel empowered and will self-promote positive corrective actions. Here are some key points to remember that can help make your dashboard initiative a success:


February 21, 2014

Managing Gen Y in the Contact Center

Join host BenchmarkPortal CEO Bruce Belfiore and guest host Greg Van Zandt, as they discuss millennials.
  • Who are they? What drives them? What are their significant attributes?
  • Considerations when managing this generation: Implications on scheduling, work diversity, training/coaching, contact center and corporate culture; leveraging technology; leveraging millennials’ unique characteristics
  • Revving up for Gen Y: dynamic scheduling, acknowledgement and motivational feedback and coaching, tinkering, and incentives.

February 20, 2014

Contact Center Workforce Management Certification Workshops 2014 Schedule Announcement

The BenchmarkPortal Contact Center Workforce Management workshop will tackle issues like schedule adherence, shrinkage and volume forecasting. Topics will also include gathering data, forecast production, schedules and budgets.

Workforce Management Training. The new schedule includes more in-person locations and new live online workshops.
BenchmarkPortal is announcing their contact center training schedule for
The BenchmarkPortal contact center Workforce Management Certification training course covers the entire workforce management process- from the gathering of data to the production of forecasts, schedules and budgets. We include lessons that benefit attendees from any size organization, large and small, with real-world examples of solutions that work in practice - not just theory.
Participants will come to understand the processes that make up the foundation of an effective workforce management practice. They will learn the best ways to gather the right data at the right time to maximize call center scheduling and staffing. They will also learn results reporting for effective decisions and actions.

The course includes information on how to build forecasting models that work; how to use Excel to do time series modeling; and how to build an Erlang C-based staffing model. Among the course topics are options for building staff plans to meet budget and scheduling needs and results reporting that drives effective decisions and actions. Also covered in this course is a change management approach to overcome the “Big Brother” syndrome.

View the in-depth WFM Training Workshop Curriculum »

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.

Participants in these workshops typically include Contact Center Managers, Workforce Managers, Supervisors, Directors and Vice Presidents. BenchmarkPortal courses are designed to enable these leaders to better manage their call centers and strengthen relationships with other departments. Every attendee receives complete course documentation and a comprehensive workbook.

View the Calendar Here: Contact Center Workforce Management Certification Workshop
Live Online - February 26-28, 2014
Live Online - April 23-25, 2014
Call Center Campus Week, Las Vegas, NV, Nov. 11-14, 2014

February 13, 2014

Understanding E-mail Best Practices - CallTalk Caramels: Sweet Snippets from BenchmarkPortal’s Best CallTalk Episodes

In e-mail centers, where voice communications take a second seat to written communications, the soft-skills requirements to “smile as you dial” or “keep a smile in your voice” have little importance. However, in those centers where asynchronous communications such as email is the dominant method of communication with its customers, good writing skills accompanied by above average keyboarding skills are a must, and thus extra training and monitoring is important. Also, response time metrics vary widely among industry sectors.  Here are some interesting Best Practice discoveries:
  1. Companies that maintain an average response time of under 4 hours achieve an average Top Box customer satisfaction rating of greater than 75%.
  2. Those centers that achieved First Contact Resolution of 80% or greater, received Top Box satisfaction ratings of up to 90%.
  3. The average cost per e-mail is $2.62 per transaction, compared with an average live agent phone call cost of $4.59.  Thus, email communications are cost-efficient.

    Click the following link to continue reading this article and to play CallTalk episode with John Chatterley, entitled “Unlocking The Mysteries of E-mail Metrics: What Are Best Practices Standards?


February 10, 2014

BenchmarkPortal Announces their Contact Center Quality Assurance Certification Training Schedule for 2014

Participants in these workshops typically include Call Center Managers, Supervisors, Directors and Vice Presidents. The courses are designed to enable these leaders to better manage their call centers and strengthen relationships with other departments. Every attendee receives complete course documentation and a comprehensive workbook. Managers report that they really appreciate the combination of interactive classroom work along with personalized focus on individual needs and challenges. This approach is considered to be unique to BenchmarkPortal's College of Call Center Excellence training.

True quality call centers exist as a result of quality training. BenchmarkPortal helps your employees get the training they need, so that your call center will perform at the levels you and your superiors expect. "This is a very good course for beginners and experienced quality assurance professionals. It reinforces and re-orients individuals to the basic fundamentals that must be in place as well as additional options, ideas, tools and methods to consider employing. Thanks again for a very informative and interactive training session,” said Mindy Lamb, Call Quality Director, Cigna. “I Really enjoyed it and found it very helpful with some of the changes we are in the midst of making in our program."

View the Calendar here: Call Center Quality Assurance Certification Training
Live Online - Mar. 12-14, 2014
Live Online - Apr. 23-25, 2014
Live Online - June 25-27, 2014
Live Online - Aug. 27-29, 2014
Call Center Campus Week, Las Vegas, NV, Planet Hollywood, Nov. 11-14, 2014

February 6, 2014

BenchmarkPortal's Center of Excellence Certification

100% Overall Customer Satisfaction With The Way We Handled Their Engagement!
100% Of Our Clients Would Recommend BenchmarkPortal To Others!

100% Of Our Clients Would Use BenchmarkPortal Again For A Similar Engagement!

-- Based on the 2013 Client Engagement Satisfaction Study

Call center managers who wish to implement best practices and attain world-class performance in their industry can call upon us to assess and certify their call centers. Our rigorous certification process has the advantage of referencing all performance goals to our best practice database of thousands of call centers. Thus, you will be compared against performance levels that will show your competitive position, not just force you to adhere to an arbitrary standard.

The certification process is management's best path to a world-class quality call center. Our certification program is unique in the world as it sets performance standards according to industry metrics. The statistics are determined through continuous processing of metrics stored in our data warehouse of thousands of call centers, which is the largest of its kind in the world.

Steps in The Certification Process

Benchmarking Survey
We compare your performance with a statistically valid sample of call centers in your industry segment. This discovery process focuses on 40-Key Performance Indicators (KPI's).

Independent Caller Satisfactions Survey Click here for an example »

Independent Agent Satisfaction Survey Click here for an example »

Process Discovery and Technology Inventory
We review relevant processes and the center's enabling technology

Onsite Visit
Our carefully structured agenda allows our experts to provide maximum benefit

Executive Presentation and Road Map
Complete findings and recommendations for improvement

BenchmarkPortal's Unique
Call Center Certification Process

  • The process is based strictly on a quantitative approach, as compared to a qualitative approach where most performance issues depend upon the judgment of an auditor. 
  • It begins with a thorough statistical comparison between the call center striving to be certified and a group of similar call centers in the same industry sector.
  • We use a "balanced score-card" approach that balances cost-related metrics against metrics which correlate with quality.
  • Our analysis relies completely on statistical methods of performance benchmarking that pinpoint areas of high performance, and quantify gaps in areas of low performance.
  • Ours is the only certification, which is academically based, and which uses established scientific methods to measure the attainment of certifiable best practices standards.

"In 2006, the University of Ottawa Computing Help Centre was distinguished Center of Excellence. Benchmarking with BenchmarkPortal was instrumental in providing us with important indicators of our performance and providing us with a portrait of the challenge before us; our scorecard could not have been more credible. This process can influence change positively.

Receiving this certification meant recognition for our commitment especially for the team’s remarkable work and dedication to service excellence as well as recognition to our partners who actively supported us in delivering customer support."

Chantal St-Onge, Assistant Director, Student Accounts, Financial Services, University of Ottawa

February 5, 2014

Service Level Best Practices

CallTalk Caramels - Call Center Advice
Service Level is the granddaddy of call center metrics. Traditionally, answering 80% of calls in 20 seconds was considered a best practices goal.  While some remain attached to this metric, experts increasingly see this as a metric that needs to be put into context with other metrics, i.e. Caller Satisfaction, Average Handle Time, Rate of Call Abandonment, etc.  When evaluating Service Level goals, you should understand the real impact it has on overall customer satisfaction. This allows for balanced management of KPI’s in relation to Service Level expectations, and managing the overall caller experience. Here are three points to consider:

Click here to continue reading this CallTalk Caramel: http://www.benchmarkportal.com/call-center-newsresources/news-articles/2014/02/service-level-best-practices-calltalk-caramels

CallTalk 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 key points from these interviews into practical, bite-sized nuggets to inform and assist you as a contact center professional.

February 4, 2014

United Concordia Dental’s Commercial Call Center Achieves Its Second Certification as a BenchmarkPortal Center of Excellence

contact center research and consulting organization. “Only the top 10 percent of those benchmarked annually achieve this distinction,” said BenchmarkPortal CEO Bruce Belfiore. “A contact center that seeks and achieves the Center of Excellence Certification from BenchmarkPortal demonstrates a noteworthy commitment to service excellence. The obvious beneficiaries of this commitment are the center’s customers, employees, and shareholders.”
United Concordia Dental’s Commercial Call center has been certified as a Center of Excellence by BenchmarkPortal, a leading

“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. United Concordia has shown its ability to achieve that balance through its objective performance metrics. We have validated its metrics and have certified that United Concordia is, indeed, among the best in its industry. I congratulate United Concordia on a job well done.”

Click here to read this news article: http://www.benchmarkportal.com/call-center-newsresources/press-release/2014/02/united-concordia-dental-second-call-center-certification

February 3, 2014

Wolters Kluwer Financial Services Contact Center Achieves Certification as a BenchmarkPortal Center of Excellence

BenchmarkPortal recognizes the exceptional efficiency and effectiveness of the Wolters Kluwer Financial Services Contact Center by awarding it Certification as a Center of Excellence. The granting of certification is based on a company’s operational metrics, customer satisfaction and agent satisfaction.

The Wolters Kluwer Financial Services customer contact 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.”   

Click here to continue reading this news announcement: http://www.benchmarkportal.com/call-center-newsresources/press-release/2014/02/wolters-kluwer-financial-services-contact-center-excellence