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Books Every Call Center Manager Should Read

Managing a busy call center can be an incredibly challenging job, and it often might seem like, with all of the non-stop changes and innovations coming to the industry, it’s impossible to find the right guide for a manager who needs some tips or just a little help.

But as it turns out, there’s a healthy market of call center-related books for a manager or supervisor to choose from, and even the ones that might have been published before the recent trend towards automation might have something to offer.

Here’s a list of books that every call center manager can benefit from.

The Call Center Handbook: The Complete Guide to Starting, Running and Improving Your Call Center (5th Edition), by Keith Dawson.

Dawson’s seminal book was published back in 1996, but if you’re a new call center manager or an experienced member of the industry, it’s indispensable. It takes a basic but helpful approach, talking about important strategies for creating a successful call center, keep the everyday operations of the call center as efficient as it can be and focusing on key chances to improve performance in various areas.

In other words, it might be older than most of the other books on this list, but it might also be the best one for any call center manager  to read.

Managing and Motivating Contact Center Employees: Tools and Techniques for Inspiring Outstanding Performance from Your Frontline Staff, by by Kurt Friedmann, Malcolm Carlaw, Peggy Carlaw, and Vasudha Deming

As a manager, you know better than anyone that a satisfied employee is a productive one. And yet, employee satisfaction is an oft-overlooked factor when it comes to creating a successful call center. This book was created to help you remedy that; the authors have made a helpful guide aimed at keeping your workers happy and making them as productive as a possible.

Call Center Recruiting and New-Hire Training: The Best of Call Center Management Review (2nd Edition), by Brad Cleveland and Susan Hash

As we alluded to with the previous entry, your employees are the most important ingredient for success. And that success begins in the training process. Any good manager should know how to recruit and prepare the best workforce possible, which leads to less turnover and more production goals being met.

Call Center Recruiting […]

All content provided on this blog are mostly opinions of the author and is only intended for informational purposes. KOVA Corporation makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. This blog may contain external links to other sites. KOVA Corporation does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information of other websites, blogs, or these other links. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended, and do not necessarily imply an endorsement or recommendation of any views expressed, products or services offered within them.

June 22nd, 2017|Workforce Management|0 Comments

5 Ways to Help Your Contact Center Employees Relieve Stress

The general public doesn’t often think of contact center work as particularly stressful.

However, customer service can be an extremely stressful profession. Contact center employees have to deal with any number of possible stressors, from angry customers, to ineffective training, to staying on top of new policies or procedures that may have just been put into place.

Add to that the focus on meeting quotas and ever-evolving technology and training, and it’s easy to see why your employees might need to blow off some steam. But how can you relieve your employees’ tension while making sure they remain focused on their work?

Here are a few tips for helping your contact center workers deal with on-the-job stress.

Effective evaluation

Feedback and conversation are essential for the health of any staff, but in a contact center situation, they might be even more vital.

Talk to your employees to gauge the stress-level among them. Take a look around the center to see if you can pick up any signs of what might be causing frustration or burnout among the employees.

The first step in solving any problem is understanding it, and speaking to or observing your workers can help create that understanding. And speaking of understanding…

Figure out where the stress is coming from

Are there confusing policies or procedures that are causing headaches for your staff? Are they spread too thin? Is there an issue with the workspace itself or with specific employees towards each other? Is your schedule too taxing, or are your quotas unrealistic?

Often, the biggest cause of stress can cause more stress in other areas. Figuring out what your main problems are and creating a plan to fix, or at least modify, those factors depends on diagnosing the problem correctly.

Making your plan

A plan, even in a rough draft form, is a concrete way to begin relieving stress on your employees. Even if it takes revision or time to implement, the fact that you’re attempting to make changes will likely resonate strongly with the people working for you.

Goals and expectations

Do you have specific outcomes in mind for the various phases of your stress-relief plan? The more a workforce knows about where you’re headed, the more comfortable they will be with the process.

Are you looking at less turnover or higher job satisfaction? They aren’t […]

All content provided on this blog are mostly opinions of the author and is only intended for informational purposes. KOVA Corporation makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. This blog may contain external links to other sites. KOVA Corporation does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information of other websites, blogs, or these other links. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended, and do not necessarily imply an endorsement or recommendation of any views expressed, products or services offered within them.

June 20th, 2017|Workforce Management|0 Comments

Our Top Picks of the Best Public Safety Blogs on the Web

Public safety is an ever-changing subject with so many different iterations that it’s hard to keep up. It’s important that all of these different elements work in concert with one another, so we offer a range of topics that stand alone but are interconnected at the same time.

But we’re by no means the only place to go for blogs that educate and inform those in public safety about new developments in the field.

There are other sites out there that provide excellent blogs on various public safety topics, and we’ve created a list of the some of the ones we think are the best below. Happy reading!

Police – The Law Enforcement Magazine

If you’re a police officer, particularly one who heads a department, this is one of the best resources available. Policemag.com is one of the most regularly-updated blogs around, and the topics cover just about anything you can think of.

You’ll find entries on new technology, diversity, new weapons, patrol tips, SWAT team-related innovations, potential career paths, general training and developments in police vehicles.

There’s also a “Breaking News” section, a list of public-safety podcasts and photo galleries of various police forces around the country. It’s a must-read for anyone in the law-enforcement community.

Chicago Communications

Despite their regional focus, ChiComm consistently posts highly relevant blogs for all of us in the business, covering everything from new communication products, to the latest cutting-edge equipment, to adapting your agency to those fresh innovations while remaining effective and efficient. They even have a large selection of eBooks for catching up on relevant topics and training.

LexisNexis Public Safety Briefing Room

For decader, LexisNexis has been one of the most trusted sources of legal and journalistic documents, keeping an unmatched database of public records and information.

Their Public Safety Briefing Room provides a similar treasure trove of resources that will aid public safety workers in keeping current on industry trends, new policies and practices and analysis that can help the decision-making process for agencies all over the country.

In addition to data-heavy blogs written by members of their staff, LexisNexis also offer material from current and retired public safety professionals. In terms of sheer volume and breadth of material, their blogs are hard to beat.

Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) Blogs

One of the best and most direct […]

All content provided on this blog are mostly opinions of the author and is only intended for informational purposes. KOVA Corporation makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. This blog may contain external links to other sites. KOVA Corporation does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information of other websites, blogs, or these other links. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended, and do not necessarily imply an endorsement or recommendation of any views expressed, products or services offered within them.

June 16th, 2017|Workforce Management|0 Comments

How To Determine Which KPIs Are Most Useful For Your Contact Center

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are a great way to focus your contact center on improvement by using the data that you generate every day. The idea is that you use several KPIs to measure different parts of your performance—call time, agent turnover rate, or first contact resolution, for example. By monitoring and measuring these KPIs, you can see exactly where you need to improve, and chart a course to do so.

But how do you know which KPIs to focus on? The problem is that if you spread yourself too thin when it comes to KPIs—if you’re evaluating too many at once—then you’re not going to see much change in any of them. Deciding that you’re going to measure and aim to improve every aspect of your contact center at once isn’t realistic, but how do you know which KPIs

will be most useful for your contact center?

The answer to this question really involves knowing your contact center well, and having a firm view of where you want to improve things. Let’s say your contact center is being overwhelmed by calls, and you want to not only reduce the amount of time that your agents spend on the phone, but you also want to reduce the number of calls entirely. In this case, you could focus on KPIs like average time on hold and percentage of calls blocked when there isn’t an agent available. But you could also monitor the nature of the event that led to the call, or the web page that was visited directly before the call. With those KPIs, you can get a better sense of why customers give up on solving the issue themselves and instead make a call. You could potentially find a flaw in your FAQ or Help pages, as well.

If your goal is to improve the service that your agents are giving customers, then you may want to focus on KPIs like abandoned calls, call resolution, customer satisfaction, and the amount of time spent speaking with customers. Once you begin measuring your agents’ performance in these metrics, you may come to a better understanding of what causes problems with customer service. You’ll also be able to see whether certain agents are causing a problem, or whether the entire […]

All content provided on this blog are mostly opinions of the author and is only intended for informational purposes. KOVA Corporation makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. This blog may contain external links to other sites. KOVA Corporation does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information of other websites, blogs, or these other links. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended, and do not necessarily imply an endorsement or recommendation of any views expressed, products or services offered within them.

June 3rd, 2017|Workforce Management|0 Comments

How Emotional Intelligence Training Can Improve Your Call Center’s Customer Service

Think for a moment about how important it is to see the person you’re talking to in order to understand what they’re trying to say. The look on their face or their body language can clue you into what they really mean, even if their words are telling you something different.

Now imagine sitting at a desk and listening to someone’s voice. What tools do you have to judge their emotional state other than their words and their tone of voice?

Understanding customers is a vital part of a successful call center, and sometimes it takes a little extra training to make sure an agent is able to gain that understanding.

That’s where Emotional Intelligence comes in. The textbook definition of Emotional Intelligence, or EI, is this: “The ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others.”

And it’s immediately obvious why a concept like that could be vital to the success of a call center agent. The more you know about how to read or perceive a customer’s emotions, the better you’re going to be able to provide great customer service, thus satisfying the caller and the company your call center works for.

Good customer service at a call center is not just about dealing with calls in a timely manner and keeping up with documentation of the calls. It’s about making sure the customer’s issue was resolved. And to do that, an agent must consider the customer’s emotional state when speaking with them.

One of the typical first steps in EI training is to have agents think not about the customer’s voice, but how they themselves sound during a call. Does the agent have a harsh or ambivalent tone? Do they sound unsympathetic? That could be a turn-off immediately for anyone calling in with an issue.

Oftentimes in EI training, the next step is to have the employee go through some call simulations to examine their reactions, or even to speak into a mirror and take note of their tone, expression and body language. Keeping these things in mind when speaking with a customer can help the agent seem more sympathetic and lead to a greater level of understanding for the caller.

Another important part of EI training is teaching agents how to deal with stress or […]

All content provided on this blog are mostly opinions of the author and is only intended for informational purposes. KOVA Corporation makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. This blog may contain external links to other sites. KOVA Corporation does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information of other websites, blogs, or these other links. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended, and do not necessarily imply an endorsement or recommendation of any views expressed, products or services offered within them.

June 2nd, 2017|Workforce Management|0 Comments

How Better 911 Call Data Can Improve Emergency Outcomes

It’s virtually impossible to overstate how precious time can be in an emergency situation, especially the time between when an emergency is called in and when public safety workers arrive. Be it a fire, a search and rescue mission or a hunt for a fugitive, every second is precious.

But time isn’t the only thing that can change the outcome of an emergency. Data is important, too. Every public safety worker needs as much information as a 911 dispatcher can give them about an emergency situation.

That data can be culled  from many different sources by PSAP workers. There’s geographic information systems, wireless communications, global positioning systems, and a full range of public safety software solutions, among others. These can be used in many ways.

Here are just a few of the ways that better call data can improve the outcome of any emergency.

Reducing the potential for emergency vehicle crashes

According to a 2015 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over the 20 years between 1994 and 2014, there were an average of 4,500 ambulance crashes per year across the United States.

Many of them were due to traffic congestion, an unavoidable part of driving on city roads or highways. However, for public safety workers and the PSAP personnel supporting them, this problem doesn’t have to be unavoidable. A dispatcher can guide an ambulance driver through or around areas of heavy traffic if they have accurate traffic data compiled through GPS.

The best thing for any emergency victim is if the people dispatched to help them get there quickly and safely. Knowing the best, safest route to an emergency is one big way to make sure both of those things happen.

Better response time

A couple of years ago in Jersey City, NJ, a concentrated effort was made to bring better data analytics to the city’s emergency dispatch call centers.

After doing so, the average emergency response time in the city dropped from almost nine minutes to under six. Imagine how many lives that might have saved? A similar experiment was done shortly afterwards in San Francisco with similar results.

It’s a common-sense equation: The more data a PSAP can analyze and disseminate to emergency service providers, the more quickly and efficiently they can do their jobs, and thus lives are saved.

Cost reduction

Yes, there might be […]

All content provided on this blog are mostly opinions of the author and is only intended for informational purposes. KOVA Corporation makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. This blog may contain external links to other sites. KOVA Corporation does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information of other websites, blogs, or these other links. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended, and do not necessarily imply an endorsement or recommendation of any views expressed, products or services offered within them.

May 18th, 2017|Workforce Management|0 Comments

So You Want to Be an Emergency Dispatcher/telecommunicator or Telecommunicator

Every important job has standards, and that’s certainly true of the positions of emergency dispatcher/telecommunicator and emergency telecommunicator. It’s a critical occupation in which an employee has to work quickly and efficiently with decisive action, because lives are quite literally on the line.

In short, it’s not a job for everyone. But when a public safety organization needs a new emergency dispatcher/telecommunicator/telecommunicator, what do they look for? What are some of the key factors they take into account before hiring?

One good way to find out is simply to look at the employment ads for dispatcher/telecommunicators. In a brief job description, you can generally figure out what it takes to do this job right. Here are some tips from real-life emergency-dispatcher/telecommunicator-wanted ads.

The basic skills

In virtually all cases, an emergency dispatcher/telecommunicator will need a high school diploma or GED. They will need to be proficient in Windows-based computer systems and have effective written and verbal communication skills.

They must be able to use maps and other geographical reference materials to make sure the police or EMS services are getting where they need to go.

The appropriate responses

There are certain situations where an emergency telecommunicator doesn’t just answer urgent calls; they answer non-emergency and administrative calls, as well. In situations like this, a good telecommunicator will know how to respond to each call based on its importance.

Prioritizing calls is a vital skill for someone in this field, and it has to be a skill that one can learn quickly. The training will be provided, obviously, but instinct and common sense play their roles, as well.

Coordination

A good emergency dispatcher/telecommunicator will become skilled in working with other agencies, citizens or businesses to gather the important information needed or to give the necessary instructions. Teamwork in emergency situations is a must for any dispatcher/telecommunicator.

Training and certification

The diploma or GED you’re required to have is just the beginning of the process. In an emergency dispatcher/telecommunicator position there will be constant training and further education that are required to stay up to date on all the new protocols and technologies that come along. Media and call recorders, Next Generation 911, FirstNet – these are all important public safety technologies that emergency dispatcher/telecommunicators have to be knowledgeable about and comfortable with.

Given the rate at which technology can […]

All content provided on this blog are mostly opinions of the author and is only intended for informational purposes. KOVA Corporation makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. This blog may contain external links to other sites. KOVA Corporation does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information of other websites, blogs, or these other links. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended, and do not necessarily imply an endorsement or recommendation of any views expressed, products or services offered within them.

May 12th, 2017|Workforce Management|0 Comments

How Technology is Helping Keep Public Safety Workers and Citizens Safe

Risk is part of the job for many, if not all, public safety workers – but unnecessary risk should never be. Keeping those workers safe in the event of a natural disaster so that they can then keep the public safe is crucial, and agencies should seek the best possible ways to do so. Luckily, we live in an era when technology can be a big help to all those in the public safety field.

There are new programs, services and apps being developed every day to help in the cause of public safety, and the innovations seem to be endless. Here are just a few of the ways that new technology can keep you, and the public, safe during a natural disaster, mass casualty event, or other major catastrophe.

The KOVA Emergency Alert Notification System (KEANS)

KEANS can communicate with multiple agencies in multiple locations, as well as business partners and public address systems like loudspeakers and bullhorns all at the same time. This can save time, resources and lives.

In the KEANS system, dedicated circuits, fixed endpoints, and even public address systems are constantly monitored. The easy-to-read dashboard displays all available endpoints with green indicators, which allows operators to see the condition of the fixed components and know that the system is operating properly.

The Facebook “I’m Safe” app

This app is automatically activated if a large amount of people in an affected area post about a natural disaster or other event. Once the feature is activated, it prompts the user to go to a Safety Check area that will let friends and loved ones know that you’re safe.

Even better, you have the option with the app to invite other friends to join, helping people stay connected should a natural disaster occur.

American Red Cross mobile apps

The Red Cross offers a comprehensive collection of apps that can be invaluable during a natural disaster, including first aid instructions (for humans and pets), an emergency app that allows you to monitor 35 different Severe Weather Alert systems, and individual apps that track hurricane, tornado, flood, earthquake and wildfire watches and warnings.

The Natural Disaster Monitor for Android

This app, available from the Google Play store, monitors the latest natural disasters, including volcanoes, earthquakes, cyclones, floods and tsunamis and displays them as color coded icons […]

All content provided on this blog are mostly opinions of the author and is only intended for informational purposes. KOVA Corporation makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. This blog may contain external links to other sites. KOVA Corporation does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information of other websites, blogs, or these other links. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended, and do not necessarily imply an endorsement or recommendation of any views expressed, products or services offered within them.

May 4th, 2017|Workforce Management|0 Comments

6 Ways to Help New Contact Center Employees Succeed

Contact center work can be rewarding because it’s such a great test of quick-thinking, multi-tasking and customer service. Finding an employee who excels at all of those things can be challenging, however, and contact center work can often be the first job of a young person who’s just entered the workforce.

So the challenge is to create a training program that helps these new workers learn the ins and outs of contact center work without becoming overwhelmed or discouraged during the training process.

Here are some tips for creating a training program that will both prepare and encourage your new employees to excel at your contact center.

Introductions Are Key

It might seem obvious, but often, with such a large amount of information, policies and procedures to get through in training, the act of simply introducing the existing team to your new employees can get lost by the wayside.

The more familiar a new employee is with your contact center team, the more comfortable he or she will be communicating with them.

And it’s also helpful to establish a more family-like atmosphere, which can make a new employee feel a lot less unsure or out of place at their new job.

Keeping To The Schedule

We’re not necessarily talking about a training schedule in this case. We’re talking about teaching your new employees that following a schedule once they’re working in the contact center is vital.

Part of what a high-functioning center does is handle calls quickly and efficiently. Customer service is important, but so is getting the right amount of calls taken care of.

Often, the technical aspects of a contact center job, along with the customer service requirements, take precedence, but leaving out the part of the job that concerns keeping to a tight schedule could add more pressure to an employee’s average day later on.

Bringing In The Best Performers

Every contact center has employees that perform above and beyond their job requirements, and they can serve as the best possible example for new employees.

Bringing in those high-level performers will not only give your new hires a chance to learn what these employees do to stay ahead of the curve, but it can also give them a chance to ask questions in a less time-sensitive environment.

Wouldn’t you prefer having an employee ask about how to […]

All content provided on this blog are mostly opinions of the author and is only intended for informational purposes. KOVA Corporation makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. This blog may contain external links to other sites. KOVA Corporation does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information of other websites, blogs, or these other links. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended, and do not necessarily imply an endorsement or recommendation of any views expressed, products or services offered within them.

May 3rd, 2017|Workforce Management|0 Comments

7 Invaluable Tips for Tech Support Contact Centers

Technical support is possibly one of the most difficult areas a contact center agent can work in. As part of an off-site company, it can be challenging to get the information you need from your callers – much more  so than as part of an on-site service that can simply take a look at the device and diagnose the problem in person.

So what is it that makes a good tech support contact center worker? What advice or strategies can an agent use to make sure they’re doing their job to the best of their ability? Here are a few tips.

Be an excellent listener

We’ll start with the most obvious one. The best way to help a caller with any problem, particularly a complex one, is by listening to them describe their issue carefully. Keep your ears open for minor details that could lead to a solution, and ask as many relevant questions as you need to – without annoying your customer, that is.

Quite simply, the more information you can glean from the caller, the better equipped you’ll be to resolve their problem on the first call.

Manage your time well

Contact center agents work on a tight schedule, and they’re often required to manage that schedule on their own. It’s up to the agent to be efficient and concise while still providing excellent customer service.

Remember, time is valuable to both you and your caller.

Use your discretion when it comes to technological details

This might not be an area that you think about too much when it comes to being a tech support contact agent, but it’s important to remember that the technology you’re working with belongs to a company that’s selling it.

There are bound to be some trade secrets involved in whatever tech you’re providing support for, so you shouldn’t give more details than necessary, either to the caller or to friends and family in your off-time.

Stay flexible

Remember, you’re going to be experiencing all sorts of situations and issues that you’re not expecting; that’s part of the job when you’re providing technical support. An effective agent learns to expect the unexpected and deal with unpredictability.

When dealing with callers, it’s simply impossible to anticipate all the potential problems they might have, so be ready to change course and adjust your […]

All content provided on this blog are mostly opinions of the author and is only intended for informational purposes. KOVA Corporation makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. This blog may contain external links to other sites. KOVA Corporation does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information of other websites, blogs, or these other links. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended, and do not necessarily imply an endorsement or recommendation of any views expressed, products or services offered within them.

April 27th, 2017|Workforce Management|0 Comments
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