Creating a winning performance.

Author:Read, Brendan
Position:OPERATIONS and management

Contact centers need to work even harder to create winning performances. A slow-growth economy, financial pressures and rightfully demanding customers are forcing the bar upwards. To coach the centers Customer Interaction Solutions interviewed several leading experts and firms, asking questions on:

* Emerging trends and drivers, including on metrics

* Issues faced, among them back office impacts

* Best practice methods

Here are the highlights of these interviews. A complete view of them can be found on TMCnet (

Envision (

Rodney Kuhn, CEO

The contact center is being asked to do more and being stretched in many areas. While technologies, such as the Web and self service, have provided outlets to customers for simple customer service inquiries, the contact center is being asked to handle more complex transactions. This places significant focus on the agents' performance and capability to handle customer issues arising in a number of different mediums including calls, e-mail, chat and now social media.

The importance of having well coached, effective and agile agents capable of handling the most complex of customer interactions will be the differentiator that successful companies and contact centers will realize.

Clearly many performance measures, such as first call resolution, are still in place and make sense. However, additional measures of how agents are driving performance around measures such as customer satisfaction, cross selling and customer retention are now in play. And more frequently, companies also begin to directly connect contact center performance to sales, recognizing the strategic importance of the contact center.

A solid coaching program that provides agents with the information they need to perform optimally is critical. Incorporating topnotch coaching during idle time, utilizing social media and other methods need to be embraced by organizations if they are to achieve their objectives. Contact centers should continue to utilize workforce management (WFM) to forecast scheduling and also have technology in place to allow for identifying changes in the assumptions that drove the original forecast to ensure adequate staffing after the forecast. Technologies such as speech analytics and business intelligence (BI) provide the metrics contact centers need to be agile and to provide the best customer service while staffing correctly.


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