Contact Centers Can Easily Justify the Cost of Workforce Optimization

Justify the Cost of Workforce OptimizationCall Recording is a staple in any size contact center today and there are plenty of inexpensive options to choose from. But contact center managers don’t want to just record their agents – they want to record them, evaluate them, and coach them to improve performance. What they want is Workforce Optimization (WFO).

But a complete WFO solution will cost more, right?

Initially, yes. But different from basic call recording, the performance improvements realized from a Workforce Optimization solution will pay for it in just a few months. In addition to call and screen recording, a WFO solution also includes Quality Management tools, such as scorecard evaluations, coaching, eLearning, customer surveys and performance reporting. This combination of tools supported by a Quality Management process will improve your agents’ performance and your customer experience.

Depending on the size of your contact center, a complete Workforce Optimization solution, including recording, may cost $500-1000 per agent. Calculating the payback period for this investment will depend on your industry, product/service and profit margin, but to simplify let’s look at the following example:

In a contact center with as few as 30 sales agents, let’s say that 20% (6) of the agents are “Top Performers” selling $500 per day; 30% (9) are “Average Performers” selling $250 per day; and 50% (15) are either “New” or “Low Performers” selling $100 per day. If utilizing the new tools and processes, this contact center was able to have one (1) Average Performer become a High Performer and two (2) Low Performers become Average Performers this contact center would realize an incremental $550 in sales per day which works out to $11,917 per month or $143,000 per year (not including any slight sales increases realized by the other 27 agents). If the cost of the WFO solution was $30,000, the investment would have a payback period of about 2.5 months using a conservative performance improvement of 10% (3 of the 30 agents).

In a customer support contact center, you should start with a slightly different formula. Instead of looking at the performance improvements in terms of increased sales, we will look at increasing service levels and reducing normal customer attrition. Let’s look at this scenario as an example:

In a contact center with even as few as 15 customer support agents, let’s say that each agent manages 200 accounts with an annual customer value of $2000 and a normal attrition rate of 10%. If utilizing the new WFO tools and processes, the agents could improve their service levels and reduce the attrition rate to 8% (20% improvement), they would retain 60 customers this year. At $2000 per customer, that is a savings of $120,000 for a 1.5 month payback period on a $15,000 WFO investment.

While the financial variables will be slightly different in each situation, the agent performance improvement realized from contact center Workforce Optimization tools is well documented. If you would like assistance calculating an ROI for your contact center, please visit www.dvsAnalytics.com.

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What compliance features should I look for when buying a call recording solution?

dvsAnalytics Encore Workforce OptimizationWhen organizations invest in call recording and quality management systems, it is important that they understand the impact this technology has on their current compliance processes. Most companies are required to be compliant with government or industry regulations and likely have processes in place to protect sensitive data captured in desktop applications.  Sensitive data includes credit card information, patient health information and other personally identifiable information. Recording conversations where this data is being captured creates a new multimedia file that also needs to be protected.  These multimedia files contain both audio (call recording) and video (screen recording) representations of the sensitive data. It is important that your recording solution has the tools to protect the information in these audio and video files, and maintain compliance.

The following elements need to be included in the recording and quality management system:

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) – SSL is a cryptographic protocol used with web-based applications. The ability to use SSL to communicate with the recording application will further enhance a solution’s ability to protect the multimedia data.

Access Control Lists – Access Control Lists are used to establish individual and group rights to the application, features and data in the Call Recording system. The multiple permission layers typically leverage a unique user ID and strong password issued by directory service, such as Microsoft Active Directory.

Scrubbing – Scrubbing is the act of permanently removing information from an audio or video file. Scrubbing tools are an important part of protecting the organization from having to retain and maintain sensitive information.

Pausing – Pausing is very similar to Scrubbing. However, instead of removing the sensitive audio or video segments from the recording, the recording is simply paused during the part of the call where protected information is shared and then resumes the recording when notified.

Encryption – Encryption is another method for protecting recorded data. With full or partial encryption the privileged content is encoded (256-bit, AES) so that only users with the passcode can view and listen to the recorded interaction.

Audit Logs – Audit logs are required by PCI, HIPAA and other regulatory organizations. Audit Logs capture all administrative and user activity within the system including who accessed a file and what actions were taken.

Recording Archival – Retention policies of the recordings may vary in different businesses and industries and these are often changed over time. An optimum solution allows for multiple recording and retention programs. For instance, an agent quality management program may only require a recording be kept for 1 year, while laws requiring retention of “verbal consents” or Telephonic Signatures may need to be kept for up to 7 years.

For more information on recording calls and remaining compliant with dvsAnalytics Encore Workforce Optimization Suite, please visit www.dvsAnalytics.com.

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My new UC Platform comes with basic call recording, why should I consider a Workforce Optimization solution?

dvsAnalytics Encore Workforce OptimizationMany of the VoIP UC platforms now have basic call recording features built-in or available for purchase. Depending on the manufacturer, these inexpensive call recording applications offer varying degrees of functionality. The decision to use the built-in recording capability or a fully-integrated Workforce Optimization (WFO) solution will likely be determined by three primary factors:

  • Number of Users – the more users, the more difficult it is to manage the manual processes inherent with basic call recording
  • Type of Call – general business calls with an occasional need for recording vs. customer support or sales calls where performance can be improved with the right quality management tools
  • Business Improvement Goals – business growth and process improvement is enhanced by applications such as coaching, analytics, post contact surveys, etc. inherent in most WFO solutions

While recording a call is relatively easy to do – managing compliance, agent evaluations, coaching, training and customer feedback to improve the performance of the team and the overall customer experience can be far more difficult.

So, here are some things you should consider when trying to choose between simply recording a call or using the recordings to improve customer satisfaction and employee performance:

  1. Centralized Management – Many of the inexpensive recording applications are installed directly on the client PC, while others email the user a file to play in Windows Media Player. More advanced software WFO solutions are typically web-based for wider availability, system compatibility and centralized management.
  2. Search – Finding a recording that meets specific criteria requires metadata (date, time, extension, agent, team, department, etc.). If you need to quickly and efficiently find, relate, evaluate or escalate calls, your system will need to include a powerful database engine.
  3. Quality Management – Improving customer support or sales performance requires a consistent QA process with scorecards, coaching and training – and a system to track and manage it all.
  4. Call Selection – It is not practical to evaluate every recorded call. WFO solutions with more advanced tools such as dynamic queries, speech analytics and customer surveys will help the QA team narrow their focus to the calls needing the most attention.
  5. Screen Recording – The ability to see the user’s screen while listening to a recorded call gives you “the rest of the story” and can identify opportunities to improve applications, processes or user training.
  6. Integration – The ability to use automation to eliminate user-error and add more functionality is extremely valuable. Integration with desktop applications and phone systems provides better metadata, start/stop control and more complete recordings.
  7. Compliance – WFO solutions provide features to better protect your recordings and organization. This includes automatically encrypting or permanently deleting confidential information; limiting access to recordings based on login; and reporting on user activity for audits.

For more information on recording calls and improving employee performance with dvsAnalytics Encore Workforce Optimization Suite, please visit www.dvsAnalytics.com.

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How will I know I need Workforce Management in my Contact Center?

Encore Community Workforce ManagementMost companies that manage their contact center staffing forecasts and schedules via spreadsheets will eventually outgrow their current process. The question is, “What are the telltale signs it is time to automate this process with Workforce Management software?”

It’s a given that migrating to a Workforce Management (WFM) solution will cost money.  However, delaying the migration will likely cost even more.  A company needs to migrate when they start struggling to manage their staffing forecasts and schedules.  “Overstaffing” lowers agent productivity and increases labor costs; while “understaffing” lowers service levels and increases agent attrition. Since 60-70% of a contact center’s operating budget is personnel-related, both scenarios will lower company profit.  And every month the WFM decision is delayed, the total cost of staying with the status quo increases.

While each company’s “migration point” is specific to their situation (and tolerance level), here are three triggers that you should keep your eye on:

Number of Agents – Contact centers approaching 30 agents managed via spreadsheet will start to feel the pressure.

Hours of Operation – A typical 8 to 9 hours per day, 5 days per week schedule may be manageable manually, but contact centers with multiple shifts covering extended hours and/or weekends will find the manual tasks significantly more challenging.

Multiple Skills – The ability to forecast and schedule multi-skilled agents significantly reduces contact center staffing costs.  Attempting to do this, via spreadsheet, will be unmanageable.

While any one of these triggers may be controllable via a spreadsheet model, the combination of these three variables makes the job impossible without WFM automation. Workforce Management solutions have been proven time and again to improve agent adherence and take the guess work out of meeting service level objectives while controlling costs.

If you would like to learn more about dvsAnalytics Encore Community Workforce Management software, please visit www.dvsanalytics.com.

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Small and Medium-Sized Contact Centers Can Leverage Net Promoter Score, Too

Encore Workforce OptimizationNet Promoter® Score and the Net Promoter SystemSM are commonly found in large organizations such as Delta Airlines, Apple, Best Buy, Verizon and many more. These processes and methodologies are used to measure, track and build customer loyalty. The concept of the Net Promoter Score was first introduced by Fred Reichheld in 2003 in the Harvard Business Review and later became the subject of the 2006 book, The Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits and True Growth. The Ultimate Question is, “How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or a colleague?” In 2011, Fred Reichheld and Rob Markey introduced the Net Promoter System in The Ultimate Question 2.0: How Net Promoter Companies Thrive in a Customer-Driven World.

As small and medium-size contact centers look to Quality Management software to improve their agent performance, measuring Customer Satisfaction or Customer Loyalty is a natural next step. A 360° Quality Management system provides the tools for a supervisor, quality assurance team and customer to provide a score and comment on a specific agent interaction. Typically, the questions on an evaluation completed by a supervisor or quality assurance team are different from the questions found on a customer survey. This delineation allows the customer survey questions to be customized and targeted towards things like the NPS Ultimate Question. While the Net Promoter Score is typically tied to company-wide brand loyalty, measuring the NPS on an interaction basis helps to ensure that employees are measured and focused on their individual performances toward the company goal.

While large companies and contact centers have been improving their profitability by applying the concepts in the Net Promoter System for years, contact centers just beginning the journey to improve agent performance through Call Recording and Quality Management should be planning to leverage the available 360° feedback tools to calculate Customer Loyalty scores—and drive the growth and profitability of their own businesses.

You can learn more about Net Promoter by visiting www.netpromotersystem.com . Additional information on dvsAnalytics Encore Workforce Optimization suite and our 360° Quality Management system can be found at www.dvsAnalytics.com.

Net Promoter® and NPS® are registered trademarks and Net Promoter Score and Net Promoter System are trademarks of Bain & Company, Satmetrix Systems and Fred Reichheld.

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Improve Your Customer Experience

dvsAnalytics EncoreUtilizing the full benefit of the Encore Workforce Optimization Suite is a competitive advantage for many of our customers. You can use Encore to improve your customer experience and raise the service level of your call center agents by implementing recorded call evaluations, automated eCoaching and call-specific customer surveys.

To help you better understand how some of our customers are using Encore, we compiled these Customer Success Story SlideShare presentations. http://bit.ly/14fhQ57

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Paul Fredrick: A Customer Success Story

We recently had the privilege of speaking with Paul Fredrick, a designer, manufacturer and distributor of quality men’s clothing, about how the company uses Encore to improve its business. Paul Fredrick purchased a recording system that did not live up to its expectations and was disappointed to find that it was cumbersome to use, inefficient and provided very little functionality. Jon Fisher, IT Administrator, explains, “Our previous recording solution was incredibly slow and it was painstakingly difficult to gather calls. If we tried to list calls for a certain month, we might sit watching the monitor for a half hour to an hour before we could listen to a single recorded call.” Not only was the system difficult to use, Paul Fredrick experienced trouble when trying to contact customer support for the product, which further diminished its value to the company.

Paul Fredrick’s switch to Encore provided some exciting results with real business advantages. Read more about it in the Paul Fredrick’s Customer Success Story.

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Customer Success at Andrew Wommack Ministries

Reaching out to our customers is a real privilege. A golden opportunity to not only hear all the great stuff that is working for them, but also to learn new features or modifications they would like to see in the Encore solution. Recently, we spoke with one of our customers, Andrew Wommack Ministries (AWM), to learn how Encore helps them solve everyday issues and improve or tweak processes to provide more efficiency.

We had a terrific discussion with AWM’s Andrew Wertz, Phone Center Operations Manager, Walter Williams, Customer Care Mentor Manager, and Judy Awong, Ministry Mentor Supervisor. AWM has found Encore to be a great benefit to the Organization, particularly the screen recording functionality which has been one of the biggest “wins” for AWM. “In fact”, Williams comments, “it is a real blessing to the Organization. We are absolutely delighted with Encore’s screen recording.” With AWM’s varied and complex software programs, desktop activity recording provided the missing link needed to mentor agents. Wertz says, “Now, instead of just surmising (from what we were hearing on a call) what an agent may be struggling with, we can actually see how they are using the software, equipping us to better train.”

Learn more about Encore’s benefits in our latest Customer Success Story.

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Call Recording for Healthcare: Compliance Rules & Regulations

Healthcare businesses are rapidly expanding call recording throughout their organizations to improve patient satisfaction and document patient related communications for compliance. Because of increasingly strict federal, state, and industry regulations aimed at protecting sensitive data, an understanding of the required rules and standards and how they relate to call recording is critical. In fact, did you know:

  • Per HIPAA, Audit Controls are required.
  • Under PCI DSS, no sensitive authentication data can be stored after authorization.
  • Effective September 16, 2011, the NACHA Operating Rules will permit recurring debit transactions over the phone, however they must be recorded.

dvsAnalytics’ latest white paper – Call Recording for Healthcare: Compliance Rules & Regulations for HIPAA, PCI and NACHA – addresses these topics and breaks down the key regulations pertaining to the healthcare industry and how health and financial information are protected. It also assists the reader in determining technology solutions and processes to ensure compliance. To learn more about this topic, download this white paper now.

After reading the white paper, please share your thoughts with us. We’re eager for your feedback!

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Call Recording & Security Technologies are a MUST for Today’s Healthcare Industry

Today’s hospitals and healthcare practices can increase patient satisfaction, manage compliance, minimize miscommunication and reduce liabilities by gaining insight into every interaction. Seeing and hearing what takes place when staff schedules patient appointments, refers physicians or assists with emergency situations helps healthcare firms guarantee proper patient care and maintain compliance with the latest regulations. Call and screen recording solutions also help:

  • Resolve disputes
  • Document electronic and verbal requests and authorizations
  • Ensure accurate billing, debt collection, accounts receivable, etc.
  • Capture customer/business intelligence

Healthcare establishments considering investing in a recording, quality management and analytics solution should make certain the solution contains certain security features, such as:

  • User access controls: Define who can access which data records and what their permissions are, like the ability to evaluate a call or playback an encrypted call.
  • Audit logs: Monitor all user and system activity. See who did what with what information; this helps with compliance auditing.
  • Data encryption: Protect patient data and stay HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant. Under HIPAA, all PHI (protected health information) that is individually identifiable, such as one’s social security number, medical condition, billing information, etc., must transmitted and/or downloaded in an encrypted format.
  • Disaster recovery: Maintains a backup of all files which can be quickly accessed in the event of a system outage, corruption, etc.
  • Off-site electronic data storage: Having an off-site data storage makes certain that your electronic data will be accessible in the event of an emergency.

Couple these security technologies with recording and analytics, and maintain compliance while focusing on your main priority – taking care of patients.

Encore™ for Healthcare incorporates call recording, screen recording, quality management, reporting and analytics in a unified solution, designed to provide healthcare systems, rural hospitals and healthcare practices with a 360 degree view of the patient experience.

Encore for Healthcare also includes defined user access controls, audit logs, data encryption, disaster recovery, off-site electronic storage, etc.

Please share your thoughts with us.

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