Controlling Contact Center Costs the Right Way 

With the current economic challenges, many organizations are likely looking for ways to control costs as they serve customers. Done right, these efforts can succeed. But the wrong approach can backfire and result in new and/or hidden costs, frustrated employees and dissatisfied customers. One thing is certain: reducing costs across the board does not work well. Insufficient staff, network or …

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Real-time Management: Level 2 and Beyond

These extraordinary times have impacted our lives in unimaginable ways. They have also impacted customer service in ways we might have never thought possible. For those struggling to manage unexpected volumes of customer contacts, the following real-time management discussion from the latest edition of Contact Center Management on Fast Forward may be helpful. Level 2 and Beyond In omnichannel environments with …

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Building a Cohesive Virtual Team

Information and communications technologies have created organizations that span geography and time. Multi-site environments, cross-functional teams, and extended-hour or 24/7 operations are common contact center examples. If you are a manager or director, you may have the responsibility of getting results from those who work in different locations, who don’t report to you, or who don’t work the same hours. …

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The Contact Center’s Role in Building Self-Service

Many organizations are learning firsthand that contact centers play a central role in encouraging and supporting low-cost access channels. For example, the contact center can provide a wealth of information about which contacts can be automated or handled in customer communities, and what can be done to improve customer acceptance of this type of handling. While it may seem paradoxical, …

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Time-Tested Tips for Handling Tough Contacts

How equipped are your agents for those situations when something is going wrong? When customers are clearly upset? Here are some time-tested tips: If your organization messed up, acknowledge it in a sincere way—and in plain language. (How often as a customer do you see or hear the scripted words, “We regret any inconvenience this may have caused”?) As writing …

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Hands-on Leadership

One of the keys to high levels of employee engagement in contact centers – and the strong performance that follows – is hands-on involvement from the top. For example: Among other endeavors, Dan Gilbert is the founder and chairman of Quicken Loans, the giant Detroit-based mortgage lender. Gilbert speaks often of Quicken’s core values, saying that they “drive every decision, …

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Contact Center Management on Fast Forward – Fourth Edition Now Available

It’s hard to believe that Contact Center Management on Fast Forward is in its fourth edition. It is a testimony to the strategic importance of contact centers to organizations of virtually any type. It has been a privilege to be a part of an industry that is dedicated to connecting with customers and helping organizations succeed. If you’ve read any …

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Adherence to Schedule Tips

Adherence to schedule is an important performance objective for agents. It is within their control (when implemented appropriately) and measures if agents are available to handle contacts as scheduled. However, to ensure your approach is supporting the culture you want to establish, consider these suggestions for getting the best results: 1. Educate each person on how much impact he or …

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The Best Managed Contact Centers: #8 — They Leverage Technology to Support and Further Their Mission

New technologies are not passive — they are changing customer expectations, causing reallocations of resources, creating power shifts in organizations, and changing the responsibilities of agents and managers. The best contact centers identify the technologies that further the mission of the organization, and they implement them with the necessary foresight, planning and training. They also recognize that an important (according …

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The Best Managed Contact Centers: #7 – They View the Contact Center as a Total Process 


Contact centers that consistently get the best results view the operation as a total process. This viewpoint takes many forms: Ensure that everyone in the contact center, and those with key supporting roles outside the center, have a basic understanding of how contact centers operate. Recognize the process to be where most quality problems occur — and also where the opportunities …

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