Last year I carried out research to discover how companies manage their workforces in handling customer interactions; I investigated their best practices, technologies being used and priorities for the future. The findings led me to define agent performance management (APM) as an extension of what other observers call workforce optimization; APM includes call routing, call recording, quality monitoring, workforce management, training and coaching, agent compensation management and agent-focused analytics. The results showed that many companies want to expand their call-recording capabilities to include all calls, that optimizing the utilization of agents is high on their agenda and that they want to take advantage of new technologies such as analytics for the agent’s desktop, speech and text to get a fuller picture of agent performance.
Earlier this year I used created a Value Index for APM which compared more than a dozen vendors in the APM space. One I did not include as it was not part of the process and research coverage was CallCopy, a vendor with roots in call recording. The company’s primary product, cc: Voice, can record calls that use time-division multiplexing (TDM), voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or a mixture of both. It comes with prebuilt interfaces to most common computer/telephony integration (CTI) products and can scale affordably to record 100 percent of calls; calls can be set to record based on customizable rules that allow priority-based, random, on-demand or event-driven recording. And cc: Voice comes with rules-driven archiving capabilities and extensive search capabilities that allow users to quickly find specific recordings. It is packaged with cc: Quality, a quality monitoring product that allows users to build a variety of forms that can be used to evaluate how agents handle different types of interactions. It helps supervisors identify training and coaching needs and produce dashboards, reports and analyses that show how agents are performing. A third product that is also part of the package, cc: Agent, manages all aspects of agent training, including course assignment, course development in multiple formats (such as video, audio, documents, presentations or quizzes), tracking and reporting. These core products have been built in-house and are tightly integrated so, for example, users can tag quality reports with the recordings they are based on.
CallCopy also offers optional modules that expand its capabilities into other key APM areas. One, cc: Screen, allows companies to make a video recording of how agents us their desktops as they try to resolve customer interactions (including calls, e-mail and chat sessions). This tool helps them spot best practices for handling different types of calls and thus improve interaction-handling processes, create training and monitor what remote and at-home agents are doing. The video recordings can be tagged to the call recording and the quality-monitoring form; in this way, for example, agents can listen to parts of calls in which they did not perform well and compare their actions with other recordings in which the agent does better. A relatively new option, cc: Analytics, is a phonetics-based speech analysis product that allows companies to analyze the content of recorded calls. Analytics can help companies make their quality monitoring much more rigorous, assessing the content of up to 100 percent of calls, while identifying what the customers are really calling about. This product ties in with another that enables creation of customer surveys through interactive voice response (IVR) systems. This is hosted software that captures feedback from customers, which users can tie back to calls. The final major component is cc: Insight, which brings all this information together in an extensive contact center performance management package that can be customized to show different forms and amounts of performance information on large-screen TVs or supervisors’ or agents’ desktops, or send it to smart mobile devices.
With all these capabilities CallCopy has grown into a vendor of nearly all aspects of APM. Its growth has been rapid, and users I have spoken to say they are well satisfied with the products but have found that some of the supporting services, such as product training, need to catch up with the more mature modules. The users say they have gained significant business benefits, one of which is the surprising idea that the customer is not always right.
Agents are the most expensive part of running a contact center and handling customer interactions. What are you doing to optimize the performance of this extremely important resource? I believe an integrated APM solution is a key component of achieving success here and recommend that companies look at how CallCopy can help with their efforts.
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Richard Snow – Global VP & Research Director