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Amazon Connect – Set Up and First Call

When I last wrote about Amazon Connect (here), I said that, on paper at least, it looked like it could be a practical option for at least some contact centers.

But, on paper is not the same as in practice. So, it’s time to get my hands dirty. Amazon makes this easy by allowing anyone to spin up an Amazon Connect instance to play with at no cost.

I met with my buddy Igal at a coffee […]

By | 2018-06-01T19:03:01+00:00 August 10th, 2017|Call Center, Customer Care|Comments Off on Amazon Connect – Set Up and First Call

Home Based Agents – Should You Staff Differently?

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m recycling some questions I answered after a recent webinar.   There were some questions about home based agents, which is a hot topic these days.

Question 2:  For a work from home company, how do you suggest we best project staffing needs? What data should we track? Should we over staff based on any past attendance trends?

When You Can Staff At Home Agents the Same

Hiring at-home agents gains you access to a labor […]

By | 2018-06-01T19:03:02+00:00 June 16th, 2017|Call Center, Customer Care|Comments Off on Home Based Agents – Should You Staff Differently?

Agent Empathy

Recently, I did a webinar titled “Top 7 Things You Need To Know to Improve Contact Center Operations and Customer Experience “.  It was hosted by the good folks at CallMiner, who provide voice analytics software for the call center and compliance markets.  You can find the recording of the presentation here:  Presentation.

I took questions after the official presentation, and I wrote up the answers afterwards.  In the interest of being ecologically sound, I’ll recycle some […]

By | 2018-06-01T19:03:02+00:00 June 14th, 2017|Call Center, Customer Care|Comments Off on Agent Empathy

Call Center Queues Part 4 – Managing Call Traffic

As promised, enough with the fear, and time to start helping to manage your call traffic.

Way back in the first article in this series, I mentioned that I made a few simple tweaks to a customer’s existing queue setup, and the center went from apocalyptic to Walden serene.

Think about what happens on your favorite highway as rush hour approaches.  It only takes a few extra cars to turn a smoothly running thoroughfare into a snarled hell.  The same thing happens […]

By | 2018-06-01T19:03:02+00:00 May 17th, 2017|Call Center|Comments Off on Call Center Queues Part 4 – Managing Call Traffic

Call Center Queues Part 3 – Skills Based Routing

Time for Skills Based Routing.  This post is going to take some, uh, skill.

Since it’s been a while between posts on this topic, I’d suggest you reread Part 1 and Part 2 first. I’ll wait…

I intentionally avoided the word “skill” up to now, because vendors toss this word around recklessly when discussing their skills based routing feature, and that’s where the plot can get lost. One vendor’s user guide describes skills as “a customer-definable label assigned to agents”. Huh?  […]

By | 2018-06-01T19:03:02+00:00 April 17th, 2017|Call Center, Customer Care|Comments Off on Call Center Queues Part 3 – Skills Based Routing

Amazon Connect – A Call Center Earthquake?

Yesterday, Amazon launched Amazon Connect, a cloud based contact center offering. Voice only, initially available in the northeastern US.  Here’s the press release.

The gap between the vendor’s offerings and effective customer service is in no way closed by Amazon Connect. Saying (and I’m quoting from the main Amazon Connect web page), “the self-service graphical interface in Amazon Connect makes it easy for non-technical users to design contact flows…” And we’ve all heard that promise, from, oh, every call center vendor.

The […]

By | 2018-06-01T19:03:02+00:00 March 30th, 2017|Business, Call Center, Customer Care|Comments Off on Amazon Connect – A Call Center Earthquake?

When Does Outsourcing Make Sense?

On any public call center forum, you’ll see a lot of questions about outsourcing. Not surprising, given the constant sales pressure from the outsourcing industry.  Since far too many CFOs view the call center solely as a cost center, they are understandably open to such a pitch.  Of course call center = cost center rubs me the wrong way.  But there are places where outsourcing can make sense.

Look, outsourcing gets a (somewhat deservedly) bad rap, but that’s due to solely going […]

By | 2018-06-01T19:03:03+00:00 February 14th, 2017|Call Center, Customer Care|Comments Off on When Does Outsourcing Make Sense?

Call Center Queues Part 2 – Agent Classification

In my last post, we talked about why we need queues and call classification.  Call classification is needed because all agents are not equally good on all types of calls.  This time, we’ll flip it around and look at agent classification.  I’m being careful to avoid certain words (such as “skill”) because their dictionary definition has been twisted by our industry.

Agent Classification

The main agent classification is the ability to handle the customer issue.  This usually means that they’ve received the necessary […]

By | 2017-09-11T17:30:20+00:00 February 1st, 2017|Call Center, Customer Care|Comments Off on Call Center Queues Part 2 – Agent Classification

Call Center Queues Part 1 – Call Classification

What I really wanted the headline to be is “Call Center Queues – You’re Probably Doing Them Wrong (and It’s Not Your Fault).”

There’s no place where a call center can hang itself as with queue configuration. In fairness, I have to lay most of the blame on the vendors, as most of them make it opaque, to say the least. All their queues work similarly, but you’d never know it by reading about them. They’ll talk about vectors, MRDs, Exempt Held […]

By | 2019-04-02T14:07:53+00:00 January 29th, 2017|Call Center, Customer Care|Comments Off on Call Center Queues Part 1 – Call Classification

Avaya Bankruptcy – What Does It Mean?

On Thursday, Avaya filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, in an attempt to reduce their $6.3 billion debt load.  They will continue to operate during the reorganization, with the intention of reorganizing the business backed by a one year $725 million loan from a Citigroup affiliate.

Taking even more debt on was necessary as suppliers, fearful of Avaya’s ability to pay them, were tightening up payment terms.  When you make hardware, you need your suppliers to deliver.

Call Center is the Problem Child

The major […]

By | 2017-03-31T21:12:40+00:00 January 23rd, 2017|Business, Call Center, Customer Care|Comments Off on Avaya Bankruptcy – What Does It Mean?