DSC Tech Library
This section of our technical library presents information and documentation relating to Call Center technology and Best Practices plus software and products.
Since the Company's inception in 1978, DSC has specialized in the development of communications software and systems. Beginning with our CRM and call center applications, DSC has developed computer telephony integration software and PC based phone systems. These products have been developed to run on a wide variety of telecom computer systems and environments.
The following article presents product or service information relating to call centers and customer service help desks.
Call Center Customer Service and CRM Software
The following is an extract from the article "Service On Steroids" written by David Myron from CRM Magazine:
"Gary Kirkham is laughing. And on matters of CRM he has every right to, thanks to the shots of adrenaline his CRM system regularly gets from performance-optimization tools.
"While there's been a lot of press on why CRM has failed, we had to explain a couple of times why we haven't," boasts the vice president and director of the planning and support divisions at American National Insurance Company (ANICO), in Galveston, TX.
Kirkham is referring to the long-standing success the $2.2 billion insurance and financial services company has enjoyed in its call center since the implementation of a Pegasystems Inc. workflow automation solution in 1998--the precursor for what is today PegaHEALTH Member Services. Since the Pegasystems implementation five years ago, ANICO has been consistently seeing significant drops (as much as 71 percent) in caller abandonment rates within the IVR system. The poorest performing year saw a 37 percent drop. As for average-speed-to-answer, the best year saw a 61 percent improvement, while the worst year saw a
38 percent improvement. "That's just off the charts," Kirkham says.
With numbers like these it is no wonder performance-enhancing solutions are steadily finding their way into contact centers. Yet, workflow automation is only part of a group of performance-optimization tools, including workforce optimization, workforce management, and training solutions, that are driving innovative strategies for saving time and money, as well as maximizing agents' efficiency and productivity.
Prior to the PegaSystems implementation, ANICO was suffering from integration nightmares. Simple customer inquiries would often send agents stumbling through a maze of windows before finding the right information. Some customer service tasks would require agents to fetch hard copy documents buried deep in a file cabinet. All the while these service bottlenecks added costly seconds to support calls. With increasing pressure from ANICO's top brass to cut support costs and improve customer service, ANICO had to find a way to decrease its agents' average call handling time.
ANICO found the answer with a Pegasystems workflow automation solution that pulls data from many sources, including the caller, the agent, and the account history, says Earle Tutunjian, manager of strategic alliances at Pegasystems. PegaHEALTH Member Services provides customer services representatives (CSRs) with various interconnected capabilities, including contact management, claims inquiry, contract and policy maintenance, and member eligibility benefits--all on a single, composite screen. The information is built in an XML structure, so all of it can be shared and evaluated to help drive an agent's interaction.
"The product is so highly configurable that we've never been in a situation where we couldn't get the data we needed," Kirkham says.
Today call volumes at the five ANICO call centers are higher than ever. And the size of the staff is not increasing. Yet, thanks to PegaHEALTH Member Services and the guidance of an internally developed ANICO team overseeing CRM efforts, Kirkham can proudly guarantee his third-party insurance agents will have their questions answered in 10 seconds or fewer. Kirkham considers this a key competitive differentiator over other insurance companies vying for his insurance agents' business.
The ability to help agents quickly get the right information to the customer in a shorter amount of time is exactly what ANICO was looking for, but after regularly using the workflow automation solution Kirkham noticed another benefit. Agent training times were significantly reduced. "Training time with Pegasystems is shorter, because agents don't have to learn five different systems. Instead, they learn one system," Kirkham says.
Like power lifters and weight belts, performance-optimization and training solutions go together. In fact, so integral are training tools to performance-optimization solutions that companies like Blue Pumpkin Software and Witness Systems that identify agent skills gaps are partnering with developers of training applications like Knowlagent and Sivox to seamlessly marry the two efforts. Witness is one vendor that has already incorporated training capabilities into its eQuality performance-optimization suite.
All of the investments in technology are important, but the point of implementing these tools is to support the agents. "This is a people-intensive business. You can optimize the calls and you can optimize the data, but you can't optimize the workforce without optimizing the agent," says Matt McConnell, founder and cochairman of Knowlagent and coauthor of Customer Service at a Crossroads. "Customer service reps are the most responsible for customer interaction, yet are often the most neglected assets."
There are various methods used to train employees, including training CDs, Web-based e-learning, instructor-led courses, computer-based training, and simulation training. All have their strengths, but simulation software gets closest to a real-world environment, and unlike role-playing requires only one person. This is one reason simulation tools like Sivox Technologies' RealCall are increasing in popularity for contact center training. Sivox's RealCall, for example, uses a speech-recognition engine that listens and reacts to what trainees say, providing instant feedback and enabling agents to immediately retry segments. The solution addresses issues like time-to-performance by getting agents to quickly understand the real feel of working the phones, says Jeff Carpenter, vice president of client services at Sivox. It also addresses customer satisfaction by not using the floor as a training ground for agents.
Carpenter says early adopters are discovering innovative uses for training solutions as well. One customer, he says, uses the Sivox simulation-training tool as a means to prescreen job applicants. "It serves as a two-way validation that enables the employer to determine the candidates' cognitive baseline skills and their ability to type and talk clearly. Then, employers can ask if this is something the candidates really want to do," Carpenter says. The alternative, he maintains, might be to spend $6,000 to $15,000 training a new hire only to have that person quit six weeks into the job, because it's not what the disgruntled agent expected, he says.
Once the agents are trained and working the phones, there are some other performance-optimization issues to be mindful of, such as mapping agent schedules to call volumes and identifying skills gaps......."
To review the entire article, visit www.destinationcrm.com and locate the article entitled "Service On Steroids" or
contact Senior Editor David Myron at dmyron@destinationCRM.com
CRM Call Center Software
Database Systems Corp. (DSC) has been providing CRM Customer Relationship Management solutions to businesses and organizations for 2 decades.
TELEMATION is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application employed in a wide variety of organizations including contact centers, help desks, customer service centers, service bureaus, reservation centers and corporate call centers. The package has extensive CTI features and is fully integrated with our PACER phone system. TELEMATION operates on Linux, Unix or Windows servers. Software programmers can develop call center applications quickly using the robost features found in the Telemation toolkit.
Call Center Phone System
The PACER is a call center phone system that handles inbound and outbound calls for a wide range of contact centers. Calls are either initiated by the phone system or accepted from the outside and distributed in an intelligent fashion to your service agents. The PACER includes ACD and IVR components, plus call recording capability. Using industry standard components, the PACER phone system has features and functions that can only be found in large scale PBX’s, but at a fraction of the cost. And the PACER has predictive dialing capability that cannot be found in most of these larger phone systems. The PACER phone system can connect calls to your employees working at home or in a local or remote office. The PACER communicates with applications written on Unix, Linux, or PC servers over a LAN. For a complete product presentation, download our PACER demo.