Maximizing the Value of your Encore Workforce Optimization Solution

Mine Big Data from your Recorded CallsBig Data can be found throughout an organization — even in your Encore recorded calls. Our clients typically have tens of thousands of recorded customer interactions in their Encore libraries and even more in their Encore archives. These recordings may have been originally captured for quality management, training or compliance purposes, but they also contain valuable customer insight that can help improve your business.

The Encore Workforce Optimization Suite includes a number of tools and features that can help you mine your data to uncover information that you probably didn’t even know that you had. Here are a few examples of what you may find regarding your customers, agents, products or processes:

  • Customer feedback on an interaction with your organization
  • Customer perceptions on products and services
  • Reasons customers cancel services or return products
  • Opportunities to improve agent performance
  • Sales or support process improvement
  • Desktop application usability issues
  • and much more

While some of these concepts may fall within your area of expertise, a few may be the responsibility of other individuals or departments within your organization. With Encore, analyzing, querying or reporting on the data you have captured in your recordings doesn’t require additional user licenses — so sharing your data and ideas with others is encouraged.

If you would like to learn more about the basic Encore tools and features that you already own, sign up today for a dvsAnalytics’ complimentary monthly Encore Training session.  These two-hour sessions held every third Thursday of the month provide a refresher for existing users, train new users, and introduce users to the latest Encore features. If you have questions about additional Encore analytics for mining Big Data, contact your account manager or


What tools do I need to improve the performance of my sales and customer service teams?

Tools to improve your sales and customer service teamsEvery customer interaction directly impacts the future revenue and growth of an organization. Sales and customer service teams are equally concerned about improving the quality of these interactions to increase their contribution to the organization’s success.

Quality management systems are designed to optimize and improve the performance of phone-based agents through the use of call recording, evaluations and coaching. These tools are typically used by a quality assurance team or the agents’ direct supervisor. In addition to these core applications, a quality management system can also include: screen recording, evaluator calibration, customer surveys, e-learning and reporting. Together, these applications create a powerful process for consistently improving the performance of the agents and the satisfaction of the customers they are serving.

Let’s take a look at these applications and some of the key features to consider when choosing a quality management suite:

Call Recording

Call recording is a staple for most new phone systems. Some of the features to look for in a call recording application include:

  • Certified Phone System Integrations [CT/ACD] for 100% recordings; complete metadata for more accurate searching; and agent “hoteling” in a contact center
  • Compliance Features such as access control (i.e. role-based security, LDAP integration); protection of sensitive data (i.e. encryption, scrub or pause); logs for tracking file access or modification; and customizable recording retention policies
  • Comprehensive Search Tools to assist with locating recordings based on metadata, desktop analytics data or speech analytics data

Screen Recording

Screen recording is extremely valuable when investigating agent verbal delays, data entry errors, and application navigation issues that are not perceptible in the recorded audio conversation.


Evaluations are an essential part of a quality management system. The scorecards should be easy to build, maintain and share. The user-interface should be intuitive with categorized questions, flexible options for answers, and automatically tallied scores to speed completion. 360° quality management systems allow supervisors, customers and agents to evaluate an interaction using the same criteria.

Evaluator Calibration

Evaluator calibration tools help to normalize inconsistent scoring practices and variances in the evaluators’ interpretation of the criteria. The ability to identify and adjust scoring anomalies provides a more fair and consistent representation of the agent’s true performance.

Customer Surveys

The Voice of the Customer (VoC) is an extremely valuable component in the quality management process. Understanding the customer’s perceptions and expectations helps to shape the criteria and goals of the entire process. Different from classic customer surveys, quality management surveys are focused on an individual transaction and the customer’s most recent experience.

Coaching / eLearning

In a quality management process, agents with low evaluation scores require coaching. In many cases, follow through on coaching is dependent upon the time allocated for their supervisors. Some quality management systems have the ability to automatically assign, send and track eLearning assignments through completion.  This ensures coaching takes place — even when supervisors are busy with other tasks.


Effective quality management reporting is critical and closes the loop on the effectiveness of the quality management process.  Reports that show trends and measure improvement in performance are the most valuable to the business and provide a basis for determining next steps in process improvement.

Implementing these integrated quality management applications and features with your sales and customer service teams will produce consistent and measurable results that will grow your business and improve your overall customer experience.

For more information on these quality management applications or dvsAnalytics’ Encore Suite, please visit


Case Study: VCU Medical Center is Now Recording the Complete Patient Experience

The Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center (VCU) was searching for a robust call recording system that was able to capture the entire patient experience from beginning to end. Being a large-scale medical facility, VCU receives numerous calls each day to schedule outpatients, order room service, admit patients, transfer patients and so much more. The Encore Recording and Quality Management solution proved to be the best fit. With its ability to seamlessly integrate with VCU’s Avaya Aura© Communication Manager and record four sites with more than 360 seats, the Encore solution met VCU Medical Center’s most critical requirements. As an added bonus, the following software applications were included with Encore to help VCU better analyze and improve the patient experience:

  • Synchronized screen recording
  • Comprehensive tools to review and evaluate patient interactions
  • Automated coaching to consistently and efficiently train agents based on evaluation results

The Encore solution at VCU Medical Center is now recording the complete patient experience in every clinic and department including patient room service, outpatient scheduling, management, patient transfer center, psychology intake, the IT desk and more.  “Encore has met and exceeded our expectations”, said Roberta Gump, Communication Center Director.  “Not only can we retrieve and review recorded interactions with our patients, but also evaluate agents and processes to ensure we continue to provide the best service possible.”

With its commitment to patient confidentiality and its diligent adherence to HIPAA regulations, VCU Medical Center is confident Encore’s proven compliance tools will help them continue to protect patient data, while still providing all the information the center needs to evaluate and improve the performance of its staff.

Read the complete VCU Medical Center case study or view other Encore case studies.


What are the top business goals for Workforce Optimization?

At the heart of an organization’s requirement for workforce optimization is one or more of the following primary business goals:

- Performance Improvement
- Dispute Resolution
- Voice of the Customer
- Regulatory Compliance

While there may be additional objectives, specific to an organization, these drivers are common to most. Each has their own distinct set of benefits. Following is a quick summary on what businesses can expect to gain:

Performance Improvement

Workforce optimization solutions deliver performance improvements in two areas critical to most businesses. The first area of performance improvement leverages recordings with evaluations and analytics to improve the quality of customer interactions and agent performance. The second area of performance improvement comes from being able to better meet service level objectives through automated staff scheduling and real-time optimization tools. Both areas of improvement deliver a compelling return on investment for the solution.

Dispute Resolution

Dispute resolution is often the first objective for a business’ investment in a workforce optimization solution. Spoken words cannot be proven unless recorded. Voice documentation, via call and screen recording, provides the proof necessary to resolve disputes and the insight required to manage complaints. Both of these areas can result in significant savings in both dollars and good will for businesses.

Voice of the Customer

Most successful businesses are searching for any and all ways to truly hear the voice of the customer. Businesses that record communications with their customers have access to volumes of interactions representing the customer perspective on products and services. Additionally, if the recording solution allows for post contact surveys, the organization can also get direct feedback from customers on specific agent/customer interactions. Understanding the customers’ perspective, on both the business (from recorded interactions) and the most recent customer conversation (from post call surveys), delivers a unique, and extremely valuable, understanding of the voice of the customer.

Regulatory Compliance

All organizations are required to comply with various industry and/or government regulations. Failure to comply with mandated regulations can result in lawsuits, fines and negative publicity, with possible devastating, lasting effects on the business. Some regulations mandate that specific processes or standards be followed, while others dictate rules and guidelines for securing confidential information. Both businesses and agencies look for voice documentation as proof that processes are being followed. And, if recorded interactions also include sharing sensitive data such as credit card numbers or personal health information, regulations need to be followed for keeping that data secure. A good workforce optimization solution will deliver the:

  • Ability to record and easily retrieve recordings of client-customer interactions for process adherence review
  • Tools to encrypt, scrub, audit and securely archive recorded interactions with sensitive data

For more information on these workforce optimization business goals or how the Encore Workforce Optimization Suite addresses these business drivers, please visit


How are organizations using Speech Analytics?

Organizations are increasingly adopting speech analytics to help mine the big data trapped within the thousands or tens of thousands of calls recorded and stored in their workforce optimization systems.  They are learning that speech analytics can convert unstructured voice information into structured, searchable data containing valuable insights into customer satisfaction, competitive threats and new product ideas.  Businesses are also using speech analytics to ensure regulatory compliance.  Following are some examples of how speech analytics is improving the quality management process, enhancing customer experience, and providing valuable feedback to the business:

Ensure Regulatory Disclosures are Communicated – For compliance purposes, many organizations are having to document and prove that certain processes are taking place within their contact center. Reviewing every recorded call manually for the existence or accuracy of a regulatory disclosure is practically impossible. Speech analytics can be used to narrow down the calls that need to be manually reviewed. The time savings is immeasurable.

Improve Customer Satisfaction – Customer satisfaction is one of the top priorities for any contact center. While it is difficult to maintain a 100% satisfaction, the question is… do we hear about 100% of the unsatisfied customers. It is likely that we hear about the most unsatisfied customers, but what about those that are moderately unsatisfied, but still decide to leave. With a little extra effort could we have retained their business? We may never know. Speech analytics can help bring visibility to those clients that the sales or customer support representatives don’t escalate on their own accord.

Identify Competitive Threats – Buying decisions are made after a lot of homework. Your prospects have analyzed your product and researched all of your competitors. And when they are ready to make a decision they are ready to share their thought process with whoever will listen. Luckily you are recording every sales call – win or lose. Speech analytics can be used to analyze recordings and flag those discussing competitors.

Identify Threatening Situations – The ability to comb through thousands and thousands of recorded calls, quickly identifying specific words or phrases, can literally save lives.  Using speech analytics to flag calls that indicate a client is potentially a threat to themselves or others can help organizations be proactive in avoiding disastrous situations.

Speech analytics is helping organizations realize the full potential of their recorded transactions. In the past, this insight was often lost – buried in thousands of recordings that were impossible to manually review. Now with the use of speech analytics and the powerful search engines inherent in workforce optimization solutions, organizations can capture and categorize this agent performance data and valuable business information to take action and make important decisions. For more information on how speech analytics can change the way you see your hidden data, please visit


How are organizations using Desktop Analytics?

Desktop AnalyticsIn workforce optimization (WFO), desktop analytics is the ability to capture data from standard desktop applications, such as customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), electronic health record (EHR), customer support and help desk ticketing systems; and integrate that data into the call recording database.  Enhancing the metadata related to recorded customer interactions increases the likelihood of identifying trends, similarities and anomalies within the records.

While you could capture any field from a desktop application, the best fields to capture are ones that can join or unify disparate recordings using a common identifier such as customer number, patient number, closed/won/lost status, support ticket number or case number.

The primary goal of desktop analytics varies per industry and per organization. Within traditional workforce optimization environments the metadata is commonly used to improve service and quality levels of agents in a contact center. However, further analysis of the data can uncover invaluable product, service, security and customer satisfaction developments within the entire organization.

Here are some examples of how desktop analytics can be used to drive incremental value for an organization:

Fraud Alerts: In banking or financial services multiple calls in a short time period on the same account number could flag a fraud alert. Desktop analytics can associate customer numbers, account numbers, order numbers, etc. to the original recorded calls. Further review of the recorded calls could quickly resolve or escalate the concern.

Denial of Service Complaints: In a healthcare environment, recorded communications are constantly happening among doctors, nurses, departments, insurance providers and family members. The ability to use a patient ID or case number, etc. brought in by desktop analytics to rapidly find all recorded conversations relating to a patient or their required services (such as admittance or transfer) can quickly resolve any miscommunication.

Process Audits: Government agencies such as Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) or other insurance providers may require voice documentation for specific recipients or policy holders to verify process adherence. The additional metadata provided by desktop analytics allows a user to create dynamic queries to locate all recorded calls related to a specific policy number, case number, account number, etc.

“He Said/She Said” Disputes: Customer service is a top priority in every industry. However there are times when some guests may try to take advantage of an organization’s generosity and flexibility when, for example, playing the reservations department against the front desk to get a better rate, upgraded room or additional amenities. Desktop analytics allows a customer service agent to quickly and discretely locate all recorded calls related by a reservation number, confirmation number, membership number, or customer number to efficiently resolve disputes to protect the interests of the organization while properly serving the guest.

Improve Business Processes: Desktop analytics can bring any field from a desktop application into the metadata of a recorded call. Opportunity and order status are common fields used to analyze business processes. Further evaluating calls based on cancellations, returns, closed/no sale or closed/lost can uncover a variety of trends in service levels, product quality, pricing or delivery issues. Desktop analytics can also provide data that recognizes agents for a job well done. Opportunities that are won or resolved on the first call can identify positive trends and even capture processes or techniques that need to be shared as best practices.

Desktop analytics plays a valuable role in both traditional quality management and more advanced business intelligence uses. The ability to improve your customer experience, customer satisfaction and internal business processes through the use of additional application metadata is a competitive advantage that should be considered when implementing a workforce optimization solution. For more information on how desktop analytics can enhance your internal processes, please visit


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


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


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


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