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Are You the Best? Two Qualities that Every Great Contact Center Manager Must Possess

Managing a busy contact center is never easy. You have so many demands on your time and attention – analytics, goals, and measurements on top of scheduling, personnel, and training. It’s a herculean job on the best of days.

But two distinct priorities separate the good managers from the best. In fact, working on these two areas could make all the difference in your team’s success and in your career’s future. Take a few moments to consider these areas and how you can improve your performance this week.

Understand Your Employees

Bad managers ignore their associates’ needs. Good managers learn proven management strategies to help make the most of their team. But the best managers recognize the unique potential in each individual representative and work to bring it out successfully.

How well do you know each of your employees? Have you identified one or two most important motivators for each one – why they come to work each day? Do you know what each one struggles with in their role and where they want more training and support?

And what about their pride in accomplishment? What makes them feel successful in their job? What goals have they personally set and what is standing in the way? How do they explain their job to others?

The answers to these questions aren’t easy. Take time to coach each associate one-one-one until you get to know them well and understand these internal motivations. When you do, you’ll know what language and methods to use to bring out their very best service.

Understand Your Product

Bad managers don’t care about their role; it’s just a job. Good managers work to meet expectations and make sure the metrics are acceptable. But the best managers strive to become experts on the company’s products and services until they know the company inside and out.

How well do you know your company’s product or service? Do you use it regularly? If it is a business service, have you taken time to forge a relationship with a business using your service so you understand how it meets their needs – or leaves them frustrated? Are you able to anticipate customer concerns because of your intimate understanding of daily use?

Are you enthusiastic about the service your company is providing to the community? Are you […]

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 29th, 2015|Workforce Management|0 Comments

Does Your Team Know How to Handle Difficult Calls?

It’s a fact of life for every contact center – difficult calls will come. As a manager, you are the employee’s first line of defense, offering the information and support the employee needs to handle each stressful situation.

Since you know that into every call cue some difficult calls must fall, be prepared with a plan of defense to ready your team. With some foresight and preparation, you can minimize the harmful effects of these difficult interactions, both to the company and to the call center team.

Anticipate customer difficulties.

When your brand changes message, upgrades a product, or enacts a recall, you know customer service calls will go up. Keep your team informed of major changes coming soon and provide the information they need to meet customer needs in a timely manner. Provide anticipated questions they may receive and sample answer they can use. And as the calls begin coming in, stay in close communication with your team to find if any unanticipated concerns are arising so you can give the entire team support.

Continue role playing.

You likely practiced quite a bit of role playing when you brought new team members on the floor. Don’t stop once they become more experienced. Continue practicing routine and unusual questions, both on the computer and in team huddles. This keeps your team sharp and helps them continue to grow in their customer service skills.

Habitually shadow and support.

Your team members need to see you on the floor every day, listening, patting on the back, and giving help or encouragement. While you walk the floor, you will hear mistakes that may be made or even witness an escalating call and be able to step in with information or even take over a stressful situation. There is no substitute for being there.

Create emergency signals.

During stressful calls, sometimes putting a customer on hold only makes things worse. Give your team an easy way to get your attention. For instance, you could ask them to wave a hand in the air if they need information or have a non-threatening issue. Have your associates take a more obvious move like standing up in their station if they have a critical call or irate customer that needs immediate support.

Developing physical signals for help accomplishes two things. Most obvious, […]

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, 2015|Workforce Management|0 Comments

Don’t Waste Time! Take These 3 Steps to Stop Break Time Abuse

Every busy contact center relies on careful scheduling. As a manager, you make sure you have adequate staffing for peak times, and you’re working hard to minimize attendance issues with a strong work environment, good employee/manager relationships, recognition and motivation, and adherence to disciplinary procedures.

But right in the middle of each day, when your call volume is likely at its peak, you have a problem: lunch breaks. How can you give your employees the break time they need without hurting your call time and the floor morale?

It is easy to allow break time abuse to get out of hand. Busy, distracted managers are attending to personnel and call issues while employees are frustrated by hunger and fatigue. As a floor leader, you set the tone and hold the key to getting the issue back in hand. Here are three suggestions to help you stop break time abuse and get your mid-day breaks running smoothly.
1. It starts with communication.
Good contact center management is about a relationship, and every relationship is built on strong communication. Take time to communicate to your associates what your expectations are – exactly how long is each break, where it should be taken, and how breaks are scheduled.

Don’t forget to explain the ramifications of break time abuse; your employees have likely never considered the effects on not only fellow teammates but also on the company production. Without blaming or making an example of any one individual, share some examples of how break abuse trickles down to hurt subsequent employees, robbing them of the break time they need. Share data on the call cue effects, how much longer wait time grows when staffing is inadequate due to break time abuse.

Finally, tell your team what the individual consequences of break time abuse will be – loss of later break time, warning, write up, or other disciplinary procedure. Be clear yet professional so there are no misunderstandings.
2. Identify individuals with chronic break time abuse.
The majority of break time abuse is simple lack of work habits. New employees may never have developed the discipline of conscientious time management at the work place. For these employees, additional coaching, reminders, and mentoring can go a long way toward developing a stronger work ethic and professionalism that will benefit […]

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, 2015|Workforce Management|0 Comments

Is Your Team Morale Growing? Build a Better Contact Center Team in 6 Easy Steps

Your employee morale, like everything else in your business, is either growing or dying. Make sure the line is going “up and to the right” with careful attention to team building.

Building your contact center team spirit isn’t easy, and it isn’t a one-time event. It takes dedication to each member of the team, meeting their needs and genuinely caring for their success. Your team can sense your sincerity and will respond to honest care and concern.

Are you ready to take your contact center to the next level? Start by implementing these six strategies.
1. Morning huddle.
Make sure each day starts off right for your entire team. Gather together before the phones open for twenty minutes. This is when you will share vital new information, help on recent customer concerns, and even a quick role playing exercise. Be upbeat and positive, sharing goals you recently met and where you would like to see continued improvement. This is your most important time of the day, when you give your team what it takes to be successful.
2. Team competition.
Stimulate their competitive spirit with some team competition. Divide your associates into two teams and let them compete on the metrics you most want to see improved that day, like wait time, sales, or customer satisfaction. Give the winning team a desirable reward like pizza for lunch the next day, first break times, or a traveling “trophy” of sorts. Make it fun and rewarding to be a winner with your team.
3. After-work team builders.
Don’t let your associates think you only care about the work they do for you nine to five. Have drinks on Thursday nights or dinner on Tuesdays together to relax and get to know one another. Celebrate a major achievement or goal you reached with a nicer dinner party.
4. Bring the doughnuts.
Or coffee. But just bring it. A spontaneous display of gratitude for their hard work with lunch “on the boss” or breakfast pastries will put a smile on their face and demonstrate your loyalty to them.
5. Recognize top performers.
Always be recognizing. Recognize great calls in your daily huddle. Recognize the team member of the week. Draw attention to great call handling and above-and-beyond service. Use team members as positive examples of the kind of service and […]

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 7th, 2015|Workforce Management|0 Comments

I Am a Veteran

This November, KOVA is honored to recognize the bravery of the veterans of the United States Military.

I am a veteran.

I sacrifice myself to protect you. To protect your mother, father, brother, sister and your way of life. I live to serve.

I have said goodbye to my family for months at a time, looking into their tear-filled eyes without knowing if I’ll see them again.

I have been the person in uniform at the airport, anxiously waiting to board the most important plane ride of my life.

I have traveled around the world, proudly wearing the uniform of the United States of America.

I am a veteran.

I have seen the looks of devastation, death and suffering on the faces of children and adults alike, as they watch fires burn their homes and flee to refugee shelters.

I have witnessed ambushes, bomb explosions and gunfights.

I have looked the enemy straight in the eye. I have battled him and made it out alive.

I am a veteran.

I have rescued civilians from the terrors that have overcome their communities. Carried children and adults alike to safety in the wake of gunfire and constant bombings.

I know first-hand the devastation of war and fighting. It is physical destruction. It is emotional destruction. It eliminates the feeling of safety and security for the rest of your life.

Through it all, though, I learned how to bond on a human level. No matter the differences that exist, I learned to sympathize and endure alongside the civilians of the region.

Just like them, I didn’t know when I would take my last breath. Would it be today? Would it be tomorrow?

But I endured. I survived.

I am a veteran.

I have heard the prayers of Americans, praying for our well being and safe return home.

But, I know men and women who did not make it home. Their lives were lost in the battle to create a better world for you and me. While I wear the badge of veteran proudly, they gave the ultimate sacrifice.

War is real. It destroys. A fight between two sides turns into a decimation of a way of life for hundreds of thousands of civilians caught in the middle. But it doesn’t only affect civilian’s lives; it changes soldiers as well.

I am a different person since my return from […]

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.

November 11th, 2014|Public Safety|0 Comments

How Smart Is Your Smartphone?

More than 90% of American adults own a cell phone, with two-thirds of those owning a smartphone. With so many smartphones in use around the country, Americans are taking advantages of the tools that smartphones offer them including navigation, text messaging and access to social networks. Have you ever thought of a smartphone being so smart that it can be used as a public safety solution? If not, continue reading to learn more about how KOVA’s cell phone and mobile recording system has brought smartphones to a new level.

This cell phone and call recording software is known as SilentPartner, the only software program that works as an all-in-one tool that can record audio and capture text messages, photos and videos, organize them into case files and transmit them securely. Essentially, it makes a smartphone even smarter than many people thought possible.

Capture Important Data

Not only is the audio from a call recorded, but the SilentPartner app also captures Caller ID, dialed digits and GPS location, among other details. First responders, investigators and law enforcement officials are the personnel who have the ability to utilize this call recording software as a public safety solution. Those in control of the app can configure it to automatically record all calls, record only when the start button is pressed or record all calls with the option to stop recording at any point during the call.

In addition to call recording, SilentPartner works as an all-around recording device, securely capturing crime scene images or on-site interviews, as examples. The app has the potential to revolutionize the way first responders and investigators do their jobs, and capturing important data is just the beginning.

Organize Information

There are many strengths of the SilentPartner app, starting with its capability to record calls, interviews and photos to its ability to instantly organize that data. Data can be immediately filed into its corresponding case number and available to all other investigators on the case. Facilitating processing into the conventional phone logger at headquarters, the data is encrypted to ensure a secure transfer and simplification of its retrieval at a later point in time.

Advanced Features

Among the advanced features of SilentPartner are speech analytics, which allows you to playback the content of the recording that were made on site. The speech […]

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.

October 14th, 2014|Public Safety, Security, Surveillance|0 Comments

4 Mistakes Your Contact Center Should Avoid

We all get frustrated when we call customer service for help only to get a response of, “Can you hold for a moment?” That moment can easily feel like forever. Here are some of the worst mistakes a contact center can make – and how to avoid them.

Putting Callers On Hold

There is nothing more frustrating than being on hold with customer service. Chances are if your contact center agents are putting callers on hold, they are bringing down your customer service.

It is understandable that contact center agents are very busy and probably have multiple calls they are attending to at one time. However, it is important to make each client feel they have the agent’s undivided attention. Although it may be unrealistic to never put a customer on hold, in their mind, it would be ideal.

Being put on hold simply translates to the realization that the call is going to take longer than they expected. To try and avoid the caller from getting upset, have your contact center agent ask themselves, “Can I sufficiently resolve the caller’s issue without having to put them on hold?” If so, instead of pressing the Hold button, have the agent talk to the caller while searching for information.

To also prevent calls from being put on hold, make sure your contact center software is up to date, so your agents have access to comprehensive information about the caller from all of your business tools available in the browser as the phone rings.

Lengthy Call Queues

What is worse than waiting on hold for longer than a few minutes? Waiting in a call queue for a long time! It has been said that one of the most annoying phrases to a caller is, “We’re sorry, but we’re experiencing unusually heavy call volumes.” The other phrase is, “Your call is important to us, please hold.”

If your contact center has been known to have long waiting queues, maybe you should consider hiring more agents or moving around your schedule so that there are more agents on hand during the busier call times. Or, you can hire on-call agents that work only during the high call volume periods.

Shuffling a Caller Around

Another thing that can annoy callers is being unable to find an agent that can help […]

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.

October 9th, 2014|Info Systems, Workforce Management|0 Comments

3 Essential Trick-or-Treating Public Safety Tips

Keeping the children of our community safe is one of the primary responsibilities of a parent and, on holidays such as Halloween, a common responsibility of the entire community. Halloween time is an exciting time of year for many people, especially children. Not only can they collect dozens of pieces of candy; they can dress up like their favorite characters or the celebrity they admire most. While Halloween is the favorite holiday for many people, it is important to keep in mind a few public safety solutions specifically for Halloween, in addition to more general child safety tips. At KOVA, we put safety first, providing you with these three tips to keep your children safe while trick-or-treating this October 31st.

Make Manageable Costumes for Children

Depending on the age of your child, they will be able to handle different styles of costumes. Intricate costumes, with masks, props and long jackets or coats are more suitable for older children. In contrast, younger children should stick to simpler outfits with one piece; perhaps some face paint and a fun hairstyle. Simplifying their costumes will provide them with fewer distractions and make it easier for them to walk around collecting candy for a few hours at a time.

Accompany your Children to the Door

It is a great idea to talk with your children before trick-or-treating to outline a few key safety rules. The most important of these rules should be to never enter a stranger’s house. This rule may be easier to enforce with younger children, since you can personally accompany them to each door and be sure they don’t go inside. For older children who will be trick-or-treating with friends, however, it may be harder to enforce. Since you will not personally be there, be sure they know to only approach well-lit houses and provide you with the streets where they will be trick-or-treating. This way, if their safety was compromised, you will be able to narrow down the area where it occurred.

Use Flashlights When Walking

The most important accessory your kids need with their costume is a flashlight. Since trick-or-treating typically happens around sundown and into nighttime, it is important that you and your kids are visible to other trick-or-treaters as well as cars that may be driving by. Utilizing […]

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.

October 7th, 2014|Public Safety|0 Comments

5 Tips for Top-Notch Customer Service

For a business like a contact center, customer service is one of the keys to success. Striking the right chord between dealing with irritated clients looking for a quick solution and well-intentioned agents trying to provide the best solution can prove troublesome for many contact center employees. The key to providing better overall service, and increasing your contact center metrics, is to train your contact center agents to deliver the best customer service out there. In this post, we provide you with five of the most important tips to get you on your way to providing top-notch customer service.

1. Speak with a Smile

Have you ever noticed that you can hear a smile in someone’s voice? It may sound crazy, but it is true! Physically smiling while assisting a client over the phone emits a friendly and engaging tone, ready to confront whatever problem is about to be thrown your way. With these attributes in your voice, it will be easier to build a trustworthy relationship with each client, improving contact center metrics and the overall satisfaction of each client.

2. Listen First, Speak Second

Spending each day listening to customer complaints may become monotonous and, slowly but surely, each complaint slowly molds itself into the same thing. Instead of jumping to a conclusion of what the customer needs, remember to stop and listen to each, individual customer to be sure that you’re addressing his or her specific problem. Taking a few minutes to understand the problem allows the customer to fully express themselves – and you the ability to solve what they need.

3. Be Knowledgeable

After listening to the customer’s need, each agent needs to be able to suggest solutions based on an in-depth knowledge of the products and services. Agents should be able to answer any customer question or concern instantly and with 100% accurate information, or enable the customer to find the information if it is out of their area of expertise.

4. Offer a Call Back Option

A major customer service solution that is often overlooked by contact centers is to offer customers a call back option. Many customers call in with a complicated issue that takes time to explain and be sure that the agent understands. A classic situation: just as they complete their description, […]

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.

October 2nd, 2014|Workforce Management|0 Comments

How to Limit Employee Turnover at Your Contact Center

One of the unfortunate facts of contact center management is that there is a high employee turnover in the industry. For your business, supporting this turnover can prove costly in terms of the time and money necessary to retrain dozens of people to do the same job. Instead of mastering the art of training new employees, learn how to run a contact center where you maintain more employees than you lose.

Limiting your turnover by creating happy employees is one of the keys to successful contact center management. Read on to learn about three ways you can keep your contact center agents excited and inspired about their jobs.

Require Employees to take 2-4 days off per month

Each and every employee should feel excited about the work they are performing. Sometimes taking time away from your desk is the best way to remember how much you enjoy your job. Setting an official rule stating that each employee needs to take off 2-4 days per month ensures that they stay up to date with family, friends and personal hobbies. Allowing them to create a well-rounded life will contribute to an overall better performance at work, and a lower likelihood that they will quit their jobs in the near future.

Keep Overtime at a Minimum

Along the same lines as the first point, you should outline the maximum amount of overtime that each employee is permitted to work. Allowing overtime gives employees the chance to earn extra money as well as show their motivation in the workplace. However, if too much overtime is performed, employees run the risk of losing a healthy work-life balance that may eventually cause them to quit. Moreover, limiting overtime saves your company money in additional salaries that you would have had to pay.

Implement Incentive Programs

Another contact center management tool is to implement an incentive program for the contact center agents. Practicing contact center performance management can help you to observe each agent’s metrics and customer service skills with each client. By monitoring this information, you can set up a series of incentives that will help motivate the contact center agents to improve their performance. When employees are striving to better themselves, you have mastered one of the most important aspects of how to run a contact center.

Promoting […]

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.

September 30th, 2014|Workforce Management|0 Comments
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