Businesses are always looking for the competitive edge. Finding and working that edge involves staying current and top-of-mind with clients and potential customers. It’s also about pushing the businesses to the forefront of innovation and agility, in both product and service development. It really is all about innovation. Processes often are repetitive for good reasons.
First, a short language lesson - the word ‘monotone’ which means a continuous, droning, and unchanging tone comes from the Greek word monotonia – meaning "one tone". That word is also the root from which we get the word ‘monotonous’ - meaning dull and tedious. And that’s no coincidence.
A weekly soft skill tip for improving personal communication for you and your team. Emailed to you each week.
The holidays are here! Effective communication shouldn’t disappear just because family is near. Turn to these tips to survive the days, when your loved ones may tweak you in so many ways:
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the millions of American families impacted by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma over the last several weeks. We know that this is just the beginning of the recovery and restoration effort.
Everybody has experienced a conference call.
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Managing a customer call or service center is a lot about managing the numbers. Both the macro ones – how many calls, how many agents. And the micro ones - how many calls can one agent take on, how many calls can one agent take on happily.
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“You will never reach your destination if you throw stones at every dog that barks.”
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.” – Sun Tzu One of the most effective ways to determine how your contact center’s performance stacks up against other providers in your industry is to benchmark. Many enterprises are satisfied when their contact center meets goals that are set internally, and that works to a point. But, the picture can get less than rosy when goals achieved in a vacuum are compared to companies who benchmark against contact center industry standards.
How a 10-Point Improvement Tool Can Reshape Your Contact Center
"The easier it is to get fast, convenient customer service, the more consumers will engage with customer service. That higher level of engagement will remain essential to building the long-term loyalty that businesses depend on for stability and continued growth."
"A great outsourcer should deliver positive outcomes for your KPIs. But, our experience shows there’s much more to demonstrating proof of outcomes than simply meeting KPIs."
"Selecting the right center outsourcer will have numerous positive consequences on your business."
"We’ve picked 16 of the tougher questions and ROI-proven approaches that a worthy consultant should be able to tackle."
"When your vendor is interacting directly with your customers on behalf of your company, questions you ask before hiring them need to be deeper, more pointed and increasingly challenging."
This is the week when we honor the work of our favorite super heroes. We know them by many names: professional problem solvers; queens of the queue; princes of patience; masters of making things right; bearers of the brand; champions of connection. As they answer even the most roundabout, complicated questions (or the same simple question asked 35 times each day) their legends travel far and wide, blanketing every channel.
"Overseeing a complex internal “rip and replace” of a contact center can drain human and financial resources while risking failure."
"A strong vendor management program can properly locate & manage the right vendor partner in a crowded and chaotic competitive field."
“There will always be people who are ahead of the curve, and people who are behind the curve. But knowledge moves the curve.” -- Bill James
“Social skills are important in the modern labor market because computers are still very poor at simulating human interaction."
What makes soft skills so hard to master ? For contact center managers and supervisors, teaching adults in the workplace to relate more effectively and consistently to their customers and colleagues can feel like herding cats. Of course, it just feels that way -- soft skills can be learned, reinforced, and continually refined. As customer service experts, the development of soft skills is central to our ability to consistently meet our client’s service levels. That is why soft skills training is emphasized at GCS. Today we’re going to look into why teaching interpersonal skills can be so challenging, and offer some practical advice for managers on how to train your trainers and staff.
"For good workers to be consistently productive, a sense of worth and organizational mobility is essential."
How GCS Turned an Ailing Paratransit Call Center into a Platform for P3 Best Practices
"The best workforce optimization goes beyond the numbers & cultivates an understanding about how the numbers impact workforce management."
"Measuring the Right KPIs can Get & Keep Your Call Center Operating at a High Efficiency"
"11 Innovations Your Call Center Needs Right Now"
Did you know that in the 1940s the American Auto Industry did not make any cars for almost three years? During World War II the auto makers turned their assembly lines into wartime producers of military equipment. Over 40,000 tanks, 100,000 planes and dozens of ships were created in the name of freedom. The auto makers turned their talents from cars in January of 1942 to producing military equipment in April of that year. It was a transformation that changed the world.
"9 Ways To Fix Your Call Center"
I will have the pleasure of attending the 2012 DMA (Direct Marketer’s Association) convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 15th and 16th. This is a huge event with over 10,000 marketers attending across all industries. The event also has hundreds of exhibitors as well spanning from ad agencies to email marketing agencies and fulfillment services.
A contact center serves as the front line for business during many interactions with the client base. An excellent call center will convey warm, caring, positive feelings, along with the information the consumer needs. An ineffective call center leads to customer dissatisfaction, cancelations, poor reviews, and lost revenues.
Hiring for Effective Customer Service in the Contact Center Good customer service begins with the people providing it. For many businesses, this means the call center employees tasked with handling daily call volumes. But recruiting and retaining the best contact center professionals can be difficult, especially with so many businesses and government agencies competing for the best workers. There are several things hiring managers are doing today that can be put to use to improve service in your organization.
The pros and cons of the Direct Delivery Training Model versus the Train-the-Trainer and determining which one will work for you.
Sit too long and stress takes off The usual thinking is when under stress of a deadline the best choice is to just knuckle down and get it done. That could be the very thing to send your stress levels skyrocketing. Nathan Kleitman is a sleep researcher who discovered the 90 minute cycle all people need to move through the five stages of sleep. His study of brain cycles while awake let to his discovery of how there is a related 90 minute cycle for activity. After 90 minutes of concentrated focus, the human brain needs to recharge itself or it will rely on cortisol to begin to combat stress. Just getting up and moving for five minutes can reduce your stress levels, allow your brain to recover, and prepare you to be just as focused for the next 90 minutes of work.
Moreover, the world has become a very small and well-connected place with the rise of the internet, making it realistic that all size organizations will deal with people from around the globe. As a result, multilingual call centers are no longer a luxury for the best funded organizations, but a necessity for public and private sector groups of any size.
The simple way to understand the difference between the two approaches is to know begin with the prefixes, “multi” means many, and “omni” means all. Multi channel environments utilize many different communication devices and platforms to allow for customer interaction. For instance, a company allowing consumers to call, email, write and chat is taking a multi channel approach. The focus is on the many ways the customer can communicate with the company.
About Call Centers Having an effective call center is essential for any business, charity, or government organization. Unfortunately, many of these organizations are slow to embrace the changes of the last 20 years, and confront their customers with long hold times, confusing and frustrating automated scripts, and impersonal communications. Because your call center is the front line of communication with your customers, it is important y agents be as effective and personable as possible.
Why you need more than a phone number and email address While having a regular postal address, phone, fax and email has been the standard for multi channel communications for years – it isn't enough. Most customers don't have the time to phone, don't own a fax machine, want a faster response than a letter and don't want to wait for an email. Sites that are effectively engaging their consumers are providing them with multiple options for immediate contact that can be accessed on a range of devices. These options include live chat, SMS messaging, and social media.
Because businesses rely so heavily on their contact centers for key support, it’s imperative they maintain a constant awareness of how the call center and individual agents are performing. By giving customers the chance to voice their own satisfaction levels with each interaction, businesses can gain valuable insight into how their call centers are performing and where there agents need additional coaching and support. Here are some of the most common ways businesses measure customer satisfaction.
I often get calls from new, growing companies trying to figure out how to grow their agent pool. They typically have started with a handful of people on the phone and are seeing success, but trying to figure out how to go from 5 to 50 with the same success. Do they continue to hire fully commissioned agents, contract with a Pay-for-Performance center or find an hourly center to handle it all for them. The risk and the reward varies with each approach and the path to success for each option is different in many ways. One of our strengths is in scaling an existing program to reach or service a large target audience in a short period of time. It allows a company to stay ahead of the competition before their idea can be copied in the marketplace or allow them flexibility during peak times or promotions. Our scalability success requires a defined process that will work with a large group of agents, regardless of scale. A room of several independent agents can each have their own unique approach and be very successful, but they do not have the scale to cover a large target market or handle a surge of volume.
Sometimes you need help to develop the right plan or process for reaching the goals of your Contact Center. Consider working with a contact center consulting services that will develop result-oriented solutions for the various challenges you face. A consulting team will focus on finding the root cause of your frustration and present the information, ideas and resources necessary to improve results. Consultants are an investment in the future. They provide insight and process changes that will save your center time, money and frustration on an ongoing basis. Many will not just explain what to do, but can be used to help with various phases of the implementation and make sure the ideas are transferred to the call center management team.
It’s no secret that starting with good people makes a huge difference. Finding the best contact center staff for the job can be a big challenge. Mistakes here can really set back an operation. Defining the right skill sets to recruit will vary based on the needs of a center.
Fulfillment of Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream One needs just to look at the last 7 years in America to see a major fulfillment of Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream. The election of Barack Obama, an African-American—a black man to the nation’s highest office, President of the United States, 40 years after Dr. King’s death. His words ring so prophetically from the speech the night before his assassination: “And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.” In addition to the election of President Obama, Dr. King’s dream can be seen in all aspects of society. The hiring of qualified minorities and women as workers and CEO's in Fortune 500 companies, as coaches and managers of major American sports teams, as chancellors and superintendents in higher and lower education, as well as the election of qualified minorities as mayors and governors, and the appointments of qualified minorities in other high government and military positions as well as state and local government and law enforcement positions.
In the call center environment every job is critical. The call center is a team of people committed to providing consistent service, one caller at a time. At GCS we like to say the Agent is the most important person, because they have the direct contact with the customer. Their Supervisor is the most influential person because they directly impact the performance of the Agent on a daily basis. Being a Supervisor for 10 or more people is a challenging and rewarding experience. Call center management is complicated. However, it can be simplified with the proper tools. Today there is a wide range of option, including web-based dashboards designed to give managers real time facts and data to work with, allowing them to make more effective decisions and adjust their plans quickly as different situations arise. Potential problems can be avoided with the right call center management tool and process.
Emotion Plays a Key Role in the Customer Experience You know that moment in the movie where the unexpected emotional moment occurs and tears of joy flow in the audience. The scene tugs at your heart string. Why, because everything came together in the production. Acting, directing, writing…. Everything reaches that climactic point through lots of coordination and coaching. No, the director didn’t just tell the actors, “go out there and make ‘em cry. Same with customer satisfaction.
Here’s an update on our sales and marketing activities. Over three months, we are attending five major conferences that have connections with call center services. At these conferences we have a booth for attendees to drop by, we advertise in their programs and we even presented at one conference. Here are the conferences: Utility Call Center Conference, International Bridge, Tunnel and Toll Association, American Public Transportation Association (APTA), Society of Customer Service Professionals and Association of State Highway Officials.
…and so do adults. Back in the 1960’s, Art Linkletter had a variety show that included interviews with children. When a child said something unexpected, Linkletter would say his then famous line – Kids say the darndest things. We’re not sure if “darndest” was or is a word, but everybody understood.
One of the main principles at GCS is to provide opportunities to those who want them. It is our goal for all associates to enjoy working at GCS and to find it makes their lives better. That’s where our Management Candidate Program comes in. This program was started over twenty years ago and includes dozens of learning modules designed to develop and hone the skills necessary to become a manager in the contact center advisory services field.
Every year, the Puerto Rican Day parade and celebration causes many streets and pathways leading to our GCS offices to close. To avoid problems in today’s routine, it is important to look out for those past disturbances caused by an annual event. Often in the first year of a contract, GCS has to rely on the results and schedules left by our predecessor. The challenges from working off someone else’s results are numerous. Since we often have to rectify issues like high wait times and low staffing, the old data is not always helpful. Often there are new employees, different schedules or simply the data was not completely accurate, on point or even recorded at all.
In today’s society, safety and effective communication in emergency situations is proving to be more and more important. Intercede Services, a software company owned by a father of a GCS employee, has recently launched a new emergency incident reporting technology called iAlert. The product was launched in response to growing concerns regarding the safety of school children, teachers, hospital employees, construction workers and many more individuals who are exposed to dangerous situations and elements due to the nature or location of their work. iAlert was designed to promote effective communication for 3 common types of safety incidents: crisis events, emergency events, and urgent events. iAlert allows users to instantly notify multiple responders of an emergency incident allowing for fast and efficient communication to mitigate critical situations and promote safety and compliance. Pre-determined responders are able to react immediately based on the unique geo-location technology used by iAlert.
The other day, I read an article that claimed “omni-channel” is just a buzzword word that means the same thing as “multi-channel.” I couldn’t disagree more. Omni-channel contact centers represent a major step in the evolution of customer service.
Global Contact Services (GCS) is staying very aggressive in putting themselves top of mind and seeking new opportunities in the contact center solutions marketplace.
On April 27-30, Global Contact Services (GCS) attended the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals (SOCAP) 2014 Symposium in Charlotte, North Carolina. The event featured keynote speakers, best practices discussions and workshops geared towards customer care professionals in the Consumer Packaged Goods, Retail and Direct Sale, Healthcare, Hospitality, Travel & Tourism and Automotive industries. As a first time exhibitor, GCS’ was able to meet and converse with many customer-driven organization made up of vice presidents, directors, managers and supervisors of customer care and customer affairs professionals. Their mission is to develop successful business strategies in the customer care arena through the use of various educational tools and networking opportunities the organization offers.
Starting next month, GCS will be deploying resources (that’s a fancy word for people) to go to Chicago for a three month call center consulting engagement. Our client awarded GCS the consulting project to assess their multiple call center locations to see if there are ways to improve their performance.
We’ll be seeing the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 before we know it.
So, you’ve completed the process of determining you need a new contact center, and have the buy-in from upper management to proceed with the project. Now it is time to select a vendor to help you get there, but selecting the right one is an important decision not to be taken lightly since they are an extension of your brand. How do you find a capable partner who will keep your long-term goals in mind? After you do your initial vendor research, one of the first steps in the selection process is typically to issue a request for proposal or Contact Center RFP.
You’re not alone if your most recent audit shows that you are on the verge of not meeting your budget. Where do you start your analysis? Why are your costs over budget?
Because of our background in owning and managing centers, we often get a consulting contract to help a client improve or revamp their contact center process. We’ve engaged in consulting projects all over the world. Recently we submitted a proposal for a city college system in a major metro area to help them consolidate seven centers from multiple campuses into one center.
Expectations for social customer care are growing as more consumers are getting comfortable with online tools and technologies. It has been reported that number of social media customer service requests will increase by 37% this year.
When asked “Who was the most influential person in your life growing up?” the most common answers (after “my mom” or “my dad”) are usually a teacher or a coach. At GCS, we refer to the most influential people in our CMRs’ business lives as Supervisors but, aren’t they really teachers or coaches? They work daily with CMRs on presentation skills, right? At GCS, we are changing the titles for “the most influential people in our company.
As the old saying goes, “One thing that is always constant is change.” We all know that our industry is rapidly changing. From the technology we use to the clients we service, the needs of those in the business world continue to morph.
Our clients need a hug. That’s the feeling I got at the conference in Phoenix this week. The ABIA is the industry association for insurance carriers that market through banks. Over the last two years, marketing to bank customers has gone from sky high to ground zero with almost all marketing being suspended. So, with this suspension in marketing, the conference networking was around two main subjects: a disdain for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and where we go from here. A couple of weeks ago we wrote about the CFPB and their interest in reducing fraud and deceptive marketing to bank customers. We continue to get requests from our clients to verify sales and document our procedures. To date, we can celebrate our A+, top grade response from our clients and their clients.
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You cannot do it all. In almost every client presentation we are asked to provide a service that is NOT our core competency. GCS provides outsourced teleservices for customer sales, service and support (CSSS). Oftentimes there are fringe services that bolt on to CSSS and it makes sense to subcontract those activities through us. In these cases, we take on the role of Trusted Advisor.
The newest member of our sales team, Jason Sterns, recently attended the 2012 American Bankers and Insurance Association Annual Convention with President and CEO Greg Alcorn. Jason was kind enough to tell us his first impressions of GCS while attending this event and meeting some of our valued past and present clients.
Billie Jean Calvert is a shift manager in our Mt. Hope facility. She recently shared with us what the past several days have been like after West Virginia was pounded with snow earlier this week due to Hurricane Sandy. Some of it has been good, some has been less than ideal but in every situation, there is a silver lining.
We are excited to introduce you to Jason Sterns. As vice president of new business development, Jason will be instrumental in making valuable contacts for GCS, generating new clients and helping GCS to secure an ever larger presence in the marketplace.
We’re told by our clients that we communicate better and more than anyone else in the industry. That’s a nice compliment and hopefully it results in longer, more fruitful relationships. Our clients like the GCS Express and really like our documentation of process, results, action items and compliance. We try to stay current with our clients and offer value with every contact. The same approach applies internally at GCS. We strive to communicate and be as transparent as possible. There are no secrets at GCS, but there is confidentiality, so we can’t communicate everything all the time.
Halloween is the second-most popular holiday in America behind Christmas. This time of the year is fun and frightful but you don’t want it to turn into a real-life nightmare.
Minimize damage to your call center operations in the face of disaster With Hurricane Sandy on everyone's mind we would like to take a moment to provide some helpful information on disaster preparation from a contact center standpoint. Safety is everyone's first concern, both for employees and customers, and an abundance of resources exist to reference in the face of a natural disaster. See the CDC's Hurricane Readiness Tips
In his famous one-hit-wonder “Ice, Ice, Baby,” Vanilla Ice tells us to “Stop, collaborate and listen.” It’s catchy and there’s also some truth to what he’s saying. Collaboration is an important workplace practice. Whether you’re giving a supervisor your input on a new program or you’re building out a proposal for a potential new client, collaboration is key.
Sales is the oldest profession in the world. I guess that makes marketing the oldest process.
I heard a college professor say the three things you need to have coming out of college are:
We know customers.
The communication preferences of consumers continue to shift in America. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, Americans are digitally connected now more than ever.
Photo of successful female standing by whiteboard and pointing at diagram on it at seminar
Afro-american businesswoman using headset in the office
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Building a Relationship to Spur Long-Term Success in Credit Card Sales Over the years, we have had the opportunity to service our clients and exceed their expectations, even beyond what they originally anticipated. One example comes from a large US bank, seeking assistance with credit card acquisition and fulfillment. Several years ago the client sought an outsource provider to help fulfill credit card acquisitions in a way both cost-effective and revenue-generating. The organization’s goal was to develop a substantial number of new client relationships using both inbound and outbound voice services.
I will have the pleasure of attending the 2012 DMA (Direct Marketer’s Association) convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 15th and 16th. This is a huge event with over 10,000 marketers attending across all industries. The event also has hundreds of exhibitors as well spanning from ad agencies to email marketing agencies and fulfillment services. Attendees include: American Express, Nissan, Coca Cola, DirecTV, Spring, Staples and HP.
We hear the words “willing” and “eager” a lot when it comes to work and other tasks needing to be accomplished.
I’ve been spending some time over the past few weeks looking at the call quality monitoring feedback our clients provide. Most of the GCS team is “intimately” familiar with the amount of call quality monitoring our clients do on a monthly basis. In some cases we monitor directly with our client, in others they have designated monitoring firms that will monitor with us. In addition to the “live” monitoring we do for most clients these days, we also provide recorded calls of sales and in many cases presentations too. The call quality monitoring can sometimes seem like it’s an awful lot for us, but it serves many purposes for our clients:
Some things in this business you can’t control, like a customer having a bad day or the weather causing a power outage. But there are many things we can control, or at least influence, including our clients’ evaluation of our performance.
I like August for 134 reasons. Not because it feels like 134 degrees in Yuma, but because we hired 134 associates in the first week of August. Business is growing again and we can help our clients and help our communities by being able to provide good, steady employment.
When you think of outsourcing, you probably conjure up images of corporations, contact centers and business people. But the truth is, everyone outsources tasks, every day.
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In our last employee survey we asked for ideas from our employees about how they increase our level of business performance in their daily routines. We got some great tips! Here they are:
If you search the term "right-sourcing" in Google, you get nearly 46 million results. Margaret Rouse from searchcio.com helps define right-sourcing as "a way to get the best results by using specialists to complete parts of a larger project." It reminds me of the Express. Our objective for this publication is to provide employees with useful and interesting content about our company, our people and our industry – along with a few fun things. Doing that requires content sourcing from many places.
The term “outsourcing” has become a scapegoat this political season. But beyond the political hype, it is important to understand the long term benefits of outsourcing. Just about every company outsources. From trash collection, to cleaning crews, to entire contact centers, no one does it all. In fact, outsourcing helps most companies remain competitive and in business. The U.S. is, for the most part, a service economy. We are a nation working for each other. So let’s understand what these “sourcing” terms mean:
To put it in simple terms, Campaign Director is a dialing platform. It is a technology solution that allows us to do what our business model sells, to make customer contacts and help our clients manage business relationships. Primarily we make outbound contact calls to customers for our clients and take inbound calls from customers for our clients. Different platforms have different strengths and weaknesses. Some are great at outbound predictive dialing while lacking robust inbound capabilities. Other platforms are great at receiving and handling inbound calls but lack good outbound predictive dialing capabilities.
Businesses wanting to outsource interaction center and BPO processes face a complex set of decisions as they design an approach to customer care and communication. Once a business has decided to outsource portions of their business, they must choose whether to use a domestic, near-shore or off-shore BPO provider. Each of these options has there own pros and cons and ultimately each business will require a unique solution suited to its industry, character, and clientele. Even political pressure and social opinions can influence the decision. While this choice may seem daunting, you can determine the optimal model for your business by working with outsource providers like GCS, who can provide guidance, options and expertise in finding the best solution for your situation.
It Pays to Be Compliant What can you do with $210 million? Yes, it is a lot of money and there are probably 210 million ways you imagine spending it. Are regulatory fees and shelling out refunds on that list? Probably not. But that’s exactly what the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is making Capital One Banking do for its marketing practices. The CFPB alleges Capital One tricked its credit card customers into purchasing add-on services.
About two years ago our company had Dr. Gerald Bell come to speak on leadership and management strategies. I was unable to attend his event myself, but I am consistently reminded of some of his principles (which I find very useful!). This morning, our Vice President of Human Resources, Bucky Cline, saw fit to remind us, of some of the strategies that can help us be the best leaders and employees we can be. If you would like to learn more from Dr. Bell, check out one of his numerous books or sign up for a seminar!
When companies review their customer service levels, they typically rely on data from traditional telephone channels. However, as the Internet Generation reaches maturity and preceding generations adopt the technologies that the Internet Generation grew up using, consumers are expecting companies to offer methods of support other than standard contact center numbers. Competitive companies are adapting to these expanded expectations while maintaining their service level targets. Let’s review some of the alternative contact methods that companies are employing, and a few tips for using them successfully.
People often confuse Goals & Objectives. But both are needed in business and personal endeavors in order to grow and be successful. Here are some tips to the difference between Goals & Objectives, the best ways to use them and setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals.
The word teamwork has been thrown around the business world for ages. But in the last 10 years, some (very successful) companies have been implementing a teamwork strategy with ______. I'm talking about utilizing a crossfunctional team.
That's the question everyone is asking.
Kids everywhere are rejoicing, moms are running around like crazy and the rest of us are just trying to figure out how to beat the heat. A lot goes on in the summer and you have to make sure you’re prepared and poised for a safe season.
Are you having trouble deciding what your company should outsource? Here's one really quick way to decide.
Information from Openforum.com, originally posted on June 13, 2012
I always look for a reason to pass along principles from Dr. Jerry Bell. In his book, The Achievers, he outlines the traits of being a good person. Not just a good leader, but a good person. One of his chapters talks about the Five Horsemen of Death. It’s a pretty morbid name for five categories of managing your life but it certainly sends the right message. Do them right and your chances of living longer are better. Do them wrong and your chances are reduced.
Water is better for hydration than sugary sweet tea.
In the virtual conference this week, Greg Alcorn touched on many topics relating to the how’s and why’s of coaching and communication in the contact center.
We certainly did not know exactly what to expect with the CMRxchange webinar. Holly Czuba, George Simons and I accepted the offer to present a live session on coaching, communication and collaboration to an online audience of contact center professionals.
Greg Alcorn, Coaching with Style Webinar during CRMXchange virtual conference.
The tension and excitement in the air are palpable this morning after the supreme court's decision to uphold what many call "Obamacare". President Obama's landmark health care reform bill has a number of stipulations. Among the most discussed:
As a kid, we had a dinner time ritual where my dad asked us what we learned in school that day. At the time I found answering that question the hardest part of my day....and the most irritating. [I could have taught a class in eye rolling.] As a kid it was hard for me to grasp that what I was learning in school was 'new & exciting' information (to anyone). I was just going through the motions, and paid little attention to the big picture. But I've always been very fascinated with the world around me and how it works. And becoming an adult, I have recognized the value of this dinner time ritual. I became aware of the different ways a person can learn something new about the world around them. It was one of those AHA moments when I realized that learning something new didn't have to be something I read in a book in a classroom.
Dr. Hale's recent video guides us through some of the components of voice control and tone. This is a short excerpt from a training video we use with our associates. Because the audio channels are such a large part of the quality of service we provide to our client and their customers, we have an on-going emphasis on all elements of the audio presentation and use many tools to coach and improve the customer experience. >>>
We've been changing our language here at GCS to better reflect our profession and skill sets. A while ago I was tasked with finding a video to sum up the advantages of changing our language. I came across a video done by Purple Feather (http://www.purplefeather.co.uk/), a UK company specializing in online content. The video itself will need no explanation. Please take a moment to watch!
Long held sales advice was, "Know the FEATURES, but sell the BENEFIT." The thought was while good selling skills require strong product knowledge of features, what people buy is the benefit the product or service brings to them. That is a good start, but don't forget the ADVANTAGE provided by the benefit. The advantage is the emotional edge provided by ownership of the item being sold.
I like classic things. There is something comfortable and predictable about a classic. You can settle back and enjoy the experience because you know what you are getting. No need for extra energy or focus, just observe and enjoy the experience. Classics are normal, functional and serve their purpose well. What better way to spend a rainy day than watching a classic movie, listening to a classic song or reading a favorite book - again.
A sentence bookend is a word or phrase at the beginning and/or end of a sentence often used to fill space, is often not necessary and is even distracting when used frequently. I once worked with a guy who seemed to end every sentence with the word "right." It quickly became annoying and pompous.
Say This, Not That Changing Language in Your Contact Center Can Make You More Professional and Accurate How do you feel when someone says the phrase “telemarketing?” Personally, myself and many of my co-workers cringe a little inside. Why? Because it sounds negative.
One might think that the world of sports has little to nothing in common with the contact center industry but that is not true.
Oftentimes we’re told to avoid clichés: in speeches, in letters and especially when speaking to clients/customers. But why?
When I was in college, I worked for a local radio station. As a 20 year old kid, it was exciting but probably the most stressful job I’ll ever have. The thought of having possibly thousands of people listen to my voice was daunting. I had no idea how I sounded. I wasn’t even sure if I was loud enough over the air for people to hear me because I was so nervous. Lucky me, my roommate recorded me one night and wow! I was shocked. I couldn’t believe how Southern I sounded and moreso than that, how unenthusiastic I came across. Instead of reporting baseball scores it sounded like I was reading out obituaries. Hearing the inflection, the volume and tone of my voice gave me a wake up call. That’s why audio coaching definitely has its place in contact center training. Without hearing what they sound like, associates and agents have no idea what the customer is hearing on the other end.
If you break it down, every decision you make every day is guided by the question "What's in it for me?" The answer is not always about what you will get, but about how you will feel. This is one reason sales people talk about selling benefits and advantages as opposed to features. Benefits and advantages get closer to answering the question, What's in it for me? Often by appealing directly to an emotion.
We all know that listening is a important skill. Both personally and professionally, being a good listener can make or break your success. Here are 4 tips, originally described by Dr. Jerry Bell (http://www.bellleadership.com/) to amp up your listening skills and become an active listener.
Ian Gowdie did this great (!) and creative mind map.
Pardon Us! Over the next several days GCS will be posting a number of blogs in preparation for a webinar that Greg will be participating in on Wednesday.
We use a lot of jargon in this industry. Most of the terms have been floating around for years. Sometimes, though, certain words develop a negative connotation.
The American Teleservices Association, is a non-profit trade organization dedicated exclusively to helping with the advancement of companies who utilize contact centers as an integral channel of operations. Recently they have adopted a new name, more reflective of the service its members provide.
Here are some tips in effectively engaging with potential customers in today's marketing environment. Initial dialogue and delivery techniques are crucial when engaging with a potential customer for the first time.
A Suggestion Box is a Great Way to Get Ideas from Employees
I’m worried about the next generation of managers. Of course, that’s what my parents said thirty years ago. Thirty years ago, leadership programs and management principles were centered around case studies and round table discussions. Today, we Google it.
When you see someone visiting your site, it is human nature to question their motive: are they a client or prospect? are they an auditor? is something important happening?
Our VP of Organizational Development, Bucky Cline, walked into my office a few minutes ago because we had to collaborate on a meeting I'll be 'tech-support' for tomorrow afternoon.
GCS is branching out - by applying for work in the Executive branch and other areas of federal, state and local government. "When GCS first started, we spent a lot of time responding to government proposals.” recalls Greg Alcorn. “As business grew in other areas we focused less attention into that area. Beginning last year, we began reintroducing GCS to the public sector.” Getting started with public sector work can take some time. To help with the process, GCS attended the OSDBU Procurement Conference last week in Washington, DC. It was hosted by the Department of the Interior, but attended by many Federal agencies and major government contractors looking for new partners. GCS set up a booth showcasing our contact center and back office services. Greg Alcorn and George Simons, vice-president of marketing, represented GCS.
Learning something new means more than just picking up a new skill or trade. It actually enriches your life and in many ways, makes you a better person. It doesn't have to be a monumental laborious effort either. It's relatively easy to pick up something new every day. Here are 10 ways to do it, brought to you by pickthebrain.com.
Did you have a Johnny Stratton in your high school? Johnny went to my high school. He could do everything. He played four sports and was a star in all of them. He played the trumpet in the band, was class president and dated the prettiest girl. To top it all off, he was, and still is, a really nice guy.
by guest writer Donna VanHorn
Got a problem? Give Pepa a call. :) Very handsome silver toy poodle wearing headset.
Our friends at Blue Cross Blue Shield told us about National Walk at Lunch Day and we are encouraging YOU to get moving.
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” -Henry Ford
Leaving your comfort zone and changing your behavior is never easy.
via D'Arcy Norman on Flickr
For businesses spanning all ranges of products and services, outsourcing works. A major area in which it works quite effectively is the two-way communication between your business and your customer contacts. Although there are other reasons for this type of outsourcing, here are five major reasons why contact center outsourcing works so effectively:
Sometimes when we offer real suggestions to others, they take it personally. They might not understand that you’re coming from a positive place. That is why you need to make sure the advice is part of a critique to make them better and not criticism to make them feel bad.
We are all aware of scams and phony emails, but can you really recognize the difference between a bogus email and a real one?
Yogi Berra said lots of funny, mixed up quotes. “You can’t think and hit a baseball at the same time” was one of my favorites. It sounds strange, but makes sense when you put it in the context of learning. Professional baseball players practice and drill so that instincts take over in the millisecond they have for deciding whether to swing the bat.
I check my side mirrors before I back up. Sounds routine. Something you learn in driver’s education. But, one time I didn’t and paid for it.
GCS is ramping up hiring efforts and needs additional help fulfilling our clients’ needs. Roger Akers, vice president of operations explains:
In our industry, we’re taught you should do everything you can to make sure we do everything the client wishes to treat the customer well. The same can and should be said for the way you interact with your co-workers, too.
Here at GCS this month we're focusing on Security Awareness. IT departments have a great responsibility at any company, but in a Contact Center they are responsible for all Telephony hardware and software along with company-wide hardware, software and security.