Outsourced Contact Centers Need Monitoring for Customer Care

March 31, 2015

It can be generally agreed upon that raising the quality of a call center business and its dealings with clients can benefit everyone. Yet when it comes down to how to implement such a program, there are as many ways to fail as there are to succeed. That’s why it makes sense to move carefully when undertaking such a step.

Gerald Sinclair, WFO Practice Manager at Uptivity (an inContact company), about just such a program, and laid out some specific steps to follow to assure success.

“The art and science of determining just how good an organization and its front line agents are performing is a process that continues to evolve,” Sinclair wrote. “Today, many organizations have adapted QM [Quality Management] programs for all customer interaction channels.”

Sinclair went on to outline some specific steps a call center can take to assure a higher level of quality in all its dealings:

Decide on What Percentage of Calls Should Be Recorded and Evaluated: “A growing number of companies are using the ‘analytic driven quality’ at 100 percent recording to assist with a needs-based QM program,” Sinclair says. “However, most organizations evaluate less than one percent of an agent’s total monthly calls for quality. That sample size is too small to provide an accurate reflection of how that agent is performing or how your organization is doing.”

Create a Quality Standards Definition Document (QSDD): “A QSDD is a document that outlines and details the necessary information that should be evaluated and focused on when performing an evaluation,” Sinclair notes. “It also should contain the overall guidelines and procedures of the Quality Management program including examples of the positive and negative behaviors to observe during the call-monitoring process.”

Create an Evaluation Form Based on Your QSDD: “Your quality monitoring forms should be in line with the criteria established in the QSDD,” he believes. “Many contact centers have various monitoring forms based off of different lines of business, different customer interaction channels and different objectives such as customer experience, compliance or improving [and] maintaining efficiency.” In short, it’s not one size fits all, but instead what size fits best for your operation.

The basic standards for QM listed above can help provide value to your organization and customers, but consistency is key.

Sinclair sums it up thusly: “Adding these processes to your call center toolbox will ensure better customer experiences, internal integrity and increased accuracy/efficiency with meeting corporate goals.” And isn’t that what everyone should be striving for?

Research Shows Rumbling Among Contact Center Callers

March 25, 2015

It’s a nagging feeling most contact center managers have, but are hesitant to voice: That is, if their people screw up even once, the customer will leave and never come back. Now new survey results show that might in fact be the case.

The research from inContact, a leading provider of cloud contact center software and contact center agent optimization tools, showed that 86 percent of those asked would be very likely to switch to another company in the future after a bad customer service experience.

The study was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of inContact, from January 29 – February 2, among 2,028 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. And the numbers are telling: Asked about online or phone purchases over $25 in the last six months, consumers say they’re still frequently interacting with company service reps. According to the findings, 43 percent of U.S. adults who made at least one purchase online of over $25 during the last six months had interacted directly with a company representative at least once, with an average of two interactions. When purchasing via phone, 84 percent of buyers were in touch with a company rep an average of five times during that time.

“We set out to understand how shoppers interact with companies when they are making purchases online or via phone,” said Paul Jarman, CEO inContact. “Consumers still frequently turn to agent-assisted channels in addition to using self-service options during different stages of the purchase cycle, which makes the contact center a vital link to the customer experience when it matters most — when they are buying.”

The study also found that today’s consumers expect a number of channels to be readily accessible to them. In the order of importance to them, followed by the percentages agreeing, the agent-supported channels include Email (93 percent); 1-800 to live reps (81 percent); Online chat (67 percent); Apps for mobile devices (50 percent); SMS/Text message (46 percent); Social networking sites (39 percent); and Online video chat (32 percent).

“Consumers expect a personalized, omni-channel customer journey that includes agent service continuity and choice of channels for follow-up communications,” inContact said in a statement about the results. “A major goal of the study was to gauge consumer desire for personalized and omni-channel experiences when interacting with service representatives.”

It looks like they hit their target. Now it’s up to call center managers to heed the obvious warning signs.

Stress Reduced as Vacation Planner Takes to the Cloud

March 24, 2015

As excited as everyone gets about actually taking vacation time, the planning and booking of that vacation can be fraught with tension and peril. One of the least-pleasant aspects of it all – making arrangements over the phone – has just taken a giant leap forward.

Vacation Roost, which bills themselves as “Destination Experts” due to their ability to find and book unique lodging and locations, has just signed on with call center leader inContact to make the “calling” part of the process nearly seamless.

inContact reports that the leading travel and hospitality provider has selected its cloud platform to unify customer service operations across more than five contact centers. “With more than 350 agents providing booking services and other key vacation information, inContact will help the company have a more comprehensive and strategic view of their operations,” inContact noted in a statement.

Vacation Roost, based in Salt Lake City, leaves behind a patchwork of legacy systems that kept its operations siloed and lacking key intelligence to enhance the overall service experience. The company reports they will now implement the inContact multi-channel cloud platform, which provides an array of interaction methods including voice, email, SMS and chat. In addition, Vacation Roost will deploy inContact’s patented Personal Connection outbound solution, which will enable agents to more effectively connect with existing travel customers and enhance new sales conversion rates.

“The travel sector is extremely competitive, and providers need to leverage service to distinguish their brands and cut through the noise,” said Paul Jarman, CEO at inContact. “Many travel and hospitality providers are moving to the cloud to unify their operations, address their scalability requirements during high travel seasons and offer more communication choices with their discerning and valued customers.”

The feeling seems to be mutual on the client side as well. Vacation Roost Sales Manager Shaun Sanislo had nothing but high praise for the way inContact handled the switchover, as seen in this . Sanislo was especially effusive about the staffers he interacted with, who he notes made the transition that much easier. And as for the impact of the new technology? “We’ve seen a five percent [closing] rate increase pretty much across the board,” he says.

Trade Organization Provides Call Center Support

March 19, 2015

Cloud contact center software leader inContact has just renewed its commitment to an important trade organization, as a continuing sign of its commitment to the industry and a willingness to help others.

The Call Center Network Group, known throughout the industry by its acronym CCNG, announced that inContact has renewed its partnership for another year.

“CCNG provides a great forum for real-world conversations about contact center challenges and best practices,” said Mariann McDonagh, CMO of inContact, about the contract renewal. “We appreciate working with CCNG, who brings together many customers and leaders in our industry to educate and empower contact center professionals to achieve their goals and to make a difference in their organizations.”

For those in the industry who may be unaware, CCNG partners participate in the ongoing Customer Experience & Engagement event series sponsored by CCNG. These are idea-generating, problem-solving, face-to-face events that include member presentations, town hall discussions, and small group conversations. The events, scheduled at various venues throughout the year, focus on topics including culture, social media, omni-channel, self-service, satisfaction, performance, training, workforce management, solutions, and more.

“The CCNG Member Network continues to grow and expand,” said Michelle Porterfield, Director of Marketing for CCNG. “It is our new partners and returning partners, such as inContact, who continue to add value and perspective to CCNG programs and events. These partners are a great resource for CCNG members as they share client successes, educational webinars, executive whitepapers, and so much more. We are pleased to have these companies as part of our network.”

Coming up in April, inContact will be part of the group’s presentation scheduled for Tampa, Fla. Titled “Customer Experience and Engagement,” the event will feature a Town Hall-type discussion on challenges facing the industry, before breaking down into smaller, more intensive discussions. A full breakdown of nationwide CCNG events can be seen .

Cloud Solution Perfect for Major US Consultancy

March 16, 2015

Proving yet again that the cloud is rapidly becoming the better way for the enterprise to conduct business, inContact — the leading provider of cloud contact center software and contact center agent optimization tools – announced that it has landed yet another client for its award-winning cloud contact center solution.

In a statement, the company said that a nationwide consulting and marketing firm will replace its premise-based system with the inContact’s offering. The company – which was not named due to inContact company protocols – says it is moving 200 agents to the inContact cloud contact center platform to ensure “a more consistent and high quality experience for their customers.”

According to both companies, this new retail customer will leverage inContact’s award-winning Personal Connection Outbound solution, which will be fully integrated with the firm’s existing CRM system.

“inContact’s advanced cloud platform synchronizes data between the ACD (Automatic Call Distributor) and CRM, and delivers customer details directly to the agent who is placing the call so that he or she can create a personalized experience with their customer,” inContact said in a release.

In addition to the above, inContact’s new ‘Personal Connection’ offering eliminates the tell-tale pause of an outbound call, which causes many customers to hang up before the message can even begin. Personal Connection will help the company increase agent efficiency through a higher connect rate and will drive the sales efforts of the retail marketing firm.

“Personal Connection is gaining traction with companies who are looking for ways to differentiate in highly-competitive retail marketplaces,” said Paul Jarman, CEO at inContact. “Our end-to-end cloud solution is flexible and scalable, and can be tailored to fit retail business models and provide opportunities for our new customer to outshine its competition.”

The new customer will also get inContact’s scalable and customizable Automatic Call Distributor and Interactive Voice Response as part of its complete solution, as well as improved contact center efficiency through a robust set of Workforce Optimization and management tools.

Call Centers Need to Embrace Better Ways of Contact

The contact center plays a vital role in meeting extraordinary customer experiences, but it needs to do more.

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Outsourced Services Advised to Look at Digital Options

Several new reports show the latest challenge facing call centers is offering callers a ‘better customer experience’ on a regular basis.

Report: Big Changes Coming to Contact Centers

There’s a revolution afoot in the contact center industry. Those who don’t recognize it as such might well get left behind.

In-House or Outsourced, Call Centers Need to ‘Up’ Their Game

March 04, 2015

In the call center world, customer satisfaction is about the most important thing that exists these days. Call centers used to be all about getting as many customers on the line as possible but those days appear to be long over. Despite most call centers understanding the need to drive up customer satisfaction, they had problems achieving their goals in 2014. A new report by the CFI Group says that those same call centers were able to rebound quite a bit in 2015.

This report, now in its eighth year, not only found that customer satisfaction was going up, advances were also growing and making it that much easier to have a contact center that continued to help as many customers as possible while still making sure they were actually helping. In total, the Contact Center Satisfaction Index (CCSI) got data from more than 1,500 consumers spread across six major industries.

In 2014, the CCSI topped out at 72 out of 100. That is a three point increase from 2013 but is the third lowest score since the index came into existence. When it comes to finding a way to improve customer satisfaction, there are a number of ways people have tried to reach the magic number of perfect satisfaction. That number is likely not only magical but something that is all but unattainable.

Still, finding a way to keep customers is an endeavor nearly every contact center is working hard at, especially in 2015. When it comes to looking for the best numbers in customer satisfaction ratings, contact centers have rolled out all kinds of new technology. Despite these efforts, a majority, 57 percent would rather use the telephone than any other method of contact.

How much an agent at a call center can interact with a caller also matters greatly. People are expecting operators to be able to suggest actions and answer questions even if those answers aren’t on a script. Having operators that care about their job and the people who are calling into their center are two points that reportedly will drive customer satisfaction to its highest level. Savvy managers would be wise to take steps in that direction to make it happen.