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Virtual Assistant Technology and the Contact Center

Virtual Assistant Technology and the Contact Center

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Virtual Assistant
Technology and the
Contact Center
Published by IntelliResponse
How Next Generation “Answer” Management
Can Increase Agent Performance and Maximize
Cost Advantages
IR KNOWLEDGE SERIES
The Paradox:
What’s Good for the Organization Can Cripple
the Contact Center
Virtual Assistant Technology and the Contact Center 2
How Next Generation “Answer” Management Can Increase
Agent Performance and Maximize Cost Advantages
The modern contact center exists in a paradox.
While the organization expends efforts to grow,
either via customer/member acquisition efforts
or promotions targeting existing customers, it’s
the contact center that must absorb the ensuing
increases in contact volume.
The more successful the growth efforts, the more
volume the contact center often must manage.
In cases where volume increases are accurately
forecasted, the contact center braces for the
impact. This usually involves “ramping up” by
adding agents and perhaps additional training to
meet service demands. This ramping process can
certainly help achieve desired service level and
customer experience outcomes, but often at a
significant financial cost.
Unexpected volume spikes, on the other hand,
can cause service levels to drop below acceptable
standards and can quickly damage the customer
experience.
After some time spent suffering these conditions,
most organizations eventually set off on a quest
to improve costs and performance in the contact
center. This usually begins a cost-reduction
effort with the focus on achieving new levels of
operational efficiency, and “doing more with less”.
Thankfully, technology can play a big role in allowing
contact center executives to achieve these desired
results; in particular, organizations can go beyond
operational efficiency in the contact center by
leveraging virtual assistant/self service technology to
facilitate two major competitive advantages:
► Increased Agent Efficiency
► Economies of Scale
1. Increasing Efficiency of
Contact Center Agents
Any director or executive close to the workings of
the modern contact center will likely agree with
Desmmarais’ statement that first call resolution is
the lynchpin of contact center efficiency. FCR is
widely viewed as the holy grail of contact center
effectiveness.
Factors that typically jeopardize first call resolution
often have their roots in pervasive, but solvable,
impediments to agent performance. Some of the
more common impeding circumstances we’ve
observed include:
These conditions create a lack of confidence in an
agent’s own ability to find and provide accurate
responses to customer inquiries.
► an ever-expanding volume of data for
reps to navigate and “keep current” on
► inconsistencies, ambiguity or
inaccuracies in supporting
documentation
► sluggish or hard-to-navigate
documentation database
“First Call Resolution (FCR) is
the most important metric for
measuring customer service
and cost performance.”
Mike Desmmarais, World Class Call Center
Virtual Assistant Technology and the Contact Center 3
How Next Generation “Answer” Management Can Increase
Agent Performance and Maximize Cost Advantages
Since agents are essentially “at the mercy” of the
tools they use, performance shortcomings tend to be
pervasive and additional agent training rarely helps.
In these situations, it’s common for widespread
“confidence downturns” to permeate the agent
group. When this happens, escalation is often the
result and FCR rate plummets.
Overcoming these issues is a matter of empowering
agents to be better informed, with supporting
technologies for contact agents that are proven
superior in terms of consistently returning accurate
and reliable information required for resolution:
Agent Answers from
IntelliResponse
is a contact center tool that has proven effective in
this area, with a track record of reducing first-level call
escalations by 20% to 33%. , as well as contributing
to significant improvements to key performance
measures such as AHT and CSAT scores.
2. Maxim
Virtual Assistant
Technology and the
Contact Center
Published by IntelliResponse
How Next Generation “Answer” Management
Can Increase Agent Performance and Maximize
Cost Advantages
IR KNOWLEDGE SERIES
The Paradox:
What’s Good for the Organization Can Cripple
the Contact Center
Virtual Assistant Technology and the Contact Center 2
How Next Generation “Answer” Management Can Increase
Agent Performance and Maximize Cost Advantages
The modern contact center exists in a paradox.
While the organization expends efforts to grow,
either via customer/member acquisition efforts
or promotions targeting existing customers, it’s
the contact center that must absorb the ensuing
increases in contact volume.
The more successful the growth efforts, the more
volume the contact center often must manage.
In cases where volume increases are accurately
forecasted, the contact center braces for the
impact. This usually involves “ramping up” by
adding agents and perhaps additional training to
meet service demands. This ramping process can
certainly help achieve desired service level and
customer experience outcomes, but often at a
significant financial cost.
Unexpected volume spikes, on the other hand,
can cause service levels to drop below acceptable
standards and can quickly damage the customer
experience.
After some time spent suffering these conditions,
most organizations eventually set off on a quest
to improve costs and performance in the contact
center. This usually begins a cost-reduction
effort with the focus on achieving new levels of
operational efficiency, and “doing more with less”.
Thankfully, technology can play a big role in allowing
contact center executives to achieve these desired
results; in particular, organizations can go beyond
operational efficiency in the contact center by
leveraging virtual assistant/self service technology to
facilitate two major competitive advantages:
► Increased Agent Efficiency
► Economies of Scale
1. Increasing Efficiency of
Contact Center Agents
Any director or executive close to the workings of
the modern contact center will likely agree with
Desmmarais’ statement that first call resolution is
the lynchpin of contact center efficiency. FCR is
widely viewed as the holy grail of contact center
effectiveness.
Factors that typically jeopardize first call resolution
often have their roots in pervasive, but solvable,
impediments to agent performance. Some of the
more common impeding circumstances we’ve
observed include:
These conditions create a lack of confidence in an
agent’s own ability to find and provide accurate
responses to customer inquiries.
► an ever-expanding volume of data for
reps to navigate and “keep current” on
► inconsistencies, ambiguity or
inaccuracies in supporting
documentation
► sluggish or hard-to-navigate
documentation database
“First Call Resolution (FCR) is
the most important metric for
measuring customer service
and cost performance.”
Mike Desmmarais, World Class Call Center
Virtual Assistant Technology and the Contact Center 3
How Next Generation “Answer” Management Can Increase
Agent Performance and Maximize Cost Advantages
Since agents are essentially “at the mercy” of the
tools they use, performance shortcomings tend to be
pervasive and additional agent training rarely helps.
In these situations, it’s common for widespread
“confidence downturns” to permeate the agent
group. When this happens, escalation is often the
result and FCR rate plummets.
Overcoming these issues is a matter of empowering
agents to be better informed, with supporting
technologies for contact agents that are proven
superior in terms of consistently returning accurate
and reliable information required for resolution:
Agent Answers from
IntelliResponse
is a contact center tool that has proven effective in
this area, with a track record of reducing first-level call
escalations by 20% to 33%. , as well as contributing
to significant improvements to key performance
measures such as AHT and CSAT scores.
2. Maxim

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Published by: IntelliResponse Systems Inc. on Sep 15, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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Virtual AssistantTechnology and theContact Center
Published by IntelliResponse
How Next Generation “Answer” ManagementCan Increase Agent Performance and MaximizeCost Advantages
IR KNOWLEDGE SERIES
The Paradox:
 What’s Good or the Organization Can Cripplethe Contact Center
 
2
Virtual Assistant Technology and the Contact Center
How Next Generation “Answer” Management Can IncreaseAgent Performance and Maximize Cost Advantages
The modern contact center exists in a paradox. While the organization expends eorts to grow,either via customer/member acquisition eortsor promotions targeting existing customers, it’sthe contact center that must absorb the ensuingincreases in contact volume.The more successul the growth eorts, the more volume the contact center oten must manage.In cases where volume increases are accurately orecasted, the contact center braces or theimpact. This usually involves “ramping up” by adding agents and perhaps additional training tomeet service demands. This ramping process cancertainly help achieve desired service level andcustomer experience outcomes, but oten at asignicant nancial cost.Unexpected volume spikes, on the other hand,can cause service levels to drop below acceptablestandards and can quickly damage the customerexperience. Ater some time spent suering these conditions,most organizations eventually set o on a quest to improve costs and perormance in the contact center. This usually begins a cost-reductioneort with the ocus on achieving new levels o operational eciency, and “doing more with less”.Thankully, technology can play a big role in allowingcontact center executives to achieve these desiredresults; in particular, organizations can go beyondoperational eciency in the contact center by leveraging virtual assistant/sel service technology toacilitate two major competitive advantages: 
 
Increased Agent Eciency 
 
Economies o Scale
1. Increasing Efciency o Contact Center Agents
 Any director or executive close to the workings o the modern contact center will likely agree withDesmmarais’ statement that rst call resolution isthe lynchpin o contact center eciency. FCR is widely viewed as the holy grail o contact centereectiveness.Factors that typically jeopardize rst call resolutionoten have their roots in pervasive, but solvable,impediments to agent perormance. Some o themore common impeding circumstances we’veobserved include:These conditions create a lack o condence in anagent’s own ability to nd and provide accurateresponses to customer inquiries.
an ever-expanding volume of data forreps to navigate and “keep current” on
 
inconsistencies, ambiguity orinaccuracies in supporting documentation
 
sluggish or hard-to-navigatedocumentation database
“First Call Resolution (FCR) is the most important metric formeasuring customer serviceand cost performance.”
Mike Desmmarais, World Class Call Center
 
3
Virtual Assistant Technology and the Contact Center
How Next Generation “Answer” Management Can IncreaseAgent Performance and Maximize Cost Advantages
Since agents are essentially “at the mercy” o thetools they use, perormance shortcomings tend to bepervasive and additional agent training rarely helps.In these situations, it’s common or widespread“condence downturns” to permeate the agent group. When this happens, escalation is oten theresult and FCR rate plummets.Overcoming these issues is a matter o empoweringagents to be better inormed, with supportingtechnologies or contact agents that are provensuperior in terms o consistently returning accurateand reliable inormation required or resolution:
Agent Answers romIntelliResponse
is a contact center tool that has proven eective inthis area, with a track record o reducing rst-level callescalations by 20% to 33%. , as well as contributingto signicant improvements to key perormancemeasures such as AHT and CSAT scores.
2. Maximizing Cost Advantageswith Economies o Scale
 When it comes to maximizing cost advantagesin the contact center, there are two parts tothe discussion:These are dierent eorts that produce dierent cost reduction outcomes. An organization that successully reduces contact center costs will achieve a degree o operationaleciency. Upon achieving this new level o eciency,many organizations are content to stop there. By also ocusing on reducing contact center volumes,however, urther costs savings become available, asdoes an additional cost advantage: economies o scale.This brings up an important truth which issometimes misunderstood, and thereore worthexplaining clearly:
Achieving operationalefciencies does notautomatically achieveeconomies o scale.
 While one might assume that substantial costsreductions automatically bring with themscalability, this is actually a misnomer. Theollowing scenario helps illustrate this.
 
The rst part involves focusing on
reducing contact center costs
 
The second part involves focusing onreducing contact center volumes

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