The Ugly Truth

Who Are Today’s Contact Center Agents?

Contact center agents are the frontline of your company, and they have the greatest potential to affect the customer experience. In order to best make decisions about the frontline, it’s important to understand the DNA of the work they do, how they are compensated, motivated, stressed, and affected by decisions.

ICMI and Five9 recently published a study that indicated that most agents may not be that much different from a historical version of you. Continue reading


If all you have is two cans and a string, how can you create a great customer experience?

By Liz Osborn

It’s all about the tools you have on hand to do the job well.

It’s the same with contact center agents. If they are given complicated screens with incomplete information and outdated technology, how can they be expected to provide an excellent customer experience? Continue reading


4 Easy Ways to Increase Contact Center Agent Performance

Whether your contact center handles inbound calls, outbound calls, or both, managing it is a difficult and hectic job. You can have the most up-to-date CRM system and technology, but if you have agent performance issues, the customer experience will undoubtably suffer — and if agents are unhappy, it can increase customer churn and hurt the bottom line. Fortunately, these issues are correctable. With a little work, you can increase your call center agent performance.

Here are 4 easy ways to get your agents reaching their full potential: Continue reading


3 Reasons Why Customer Satisfaction Starts With The Agent Experience

As a contact center manager, you’re always seeking to balance two separate factors: You want your agents to provide a superior customer experience, and you want them to perform as cost-effectively as possible. With these twin goals in mind, you probably monitor such metrics as first-call resolution and average call handling time. The fact is, however, that the most important basis for both customer satisfaction (CSAT) and agent performance is the general well-being of your contact center agents. A recent ICMI study shows: Continue reading


Increasing Call Center Agent Performance for Telemarketing and Inside Sales

You can’t argue with Michael Jordan. The man knows a thing or two about winning. In discussing his role in the Bulls’ phenomenal success, Jordan remarked, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” When you talk about improving call center agent performance, you are really talking about three interrelated areas: call centers, agents, and performance.

To improve the first takes a focus on work culture. The second requires more intelligent hiring and development practices. The third demands technology that simplifies the process for more reliable performance. None of these areas alone can drive the kind of increase in revenues it takes to move into a leadership position based on profitability. Continue reading


Agent Apathy: Your Company’s Achilles Heel?

By Liz Osborn

Companies with a reputation for excellent customer service become the gold standard that everyone measures themselves against, for example, and Virgin America. Their excellent service and the low effort required for customers to get answers sets them apart from their competitors and builds raving fans out of their customer base. Yet the needs of contact center agents in any industry — the very people responsible for nurturing the customer experience — are often overlooked. Continue reading


Customer Loyalty in the Age of Social Media

Guest Post by Joanna Jones of Impact Learning Systems

Over the years exasperated customers have aired their frustrating interactions with contact center agents on social media. Some of these have gone viral creating public relation nightmares for the companies involved and giving other frustrated consumers a platform to pile on. Often when a company finds itself facing one of these viral campaigns it issues a public mea culpa and quickly makes an honest effort to revamp its policies so as to avoid such misfortune again. Your company doesn’t need to be holding the short-end of a public shaming stick Continue reading

Solar panels with technician

What the Solar Industry Can Teach You About Social Selling

This article was originally published on SocialTimes.

Marketers have heard the gospel and slurped the Kool-Aid when it comes to the virtues of word-of-mouth marketing. It’s become a well-established fact that consumers believe and trust recommendations from their friends and family over other forms of advertising, and that people are more likely to buy when referred by a friend.

But while many businesses struggle to turn recommendations into sales, the solar industry seems to have mastered the art of word-of-mouth marketing.

Demand for residential solar systems is skyrocketing, with 2014 marking the first year that more capacity was installed by homeowners than by non-residential customers.

Continue reading

Businesswoman using smart phone at desk

Seven Trends Shaping the Future of The Contact Center [WEBINAR]

There is no doubt that we’re in the midst of a huge sea change when it comes to consumer behavior. New technologies have completely transformed consumer expectations and buying behavior.

Contact centers are at the forefront of the shifting battleground when it comes to competitive differentiation; the Deloitte 2013 survey of contact centers found that 62% of organizations view customer experience provided through contact centers as a competitive differentiator. This has put a lot of pressure on contact centers around the world, as they struggle to adapt to the rapidly changing technology landscape and consumer expectations.

Continue reading


Addressing Contact Center Surges Starts By Preparing in Advance

This article was originally published by ICMI, here.

By Liz Osborn

Imagine the chaos during peak times for customer service: florists on Valentine’s Day, retailers during the holidays, tax planners around April 15th and the application period for online schooling. One of the biggest challenges contact centers face is being able to quickly address staffing surges and peaks in activities in a short amount of time. Today, cloud technology and at-home agents are helping mitigate some of that chaos. Continue reading