Stress Test Your Contact Center

Contact centers are the heart of a business. And when the rhythms of a contact or call center are even slightly off, it can be an early sign of upcoming trouble. Diagnosing your contact center’s health is easy with ongoing report monitoring. Dozens of real-time and historical reports in ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center show what’s working and what needs to be improved. Start digging into the stats and analysis in these reports and take the guesswork out of understanding what your customers are saying, how well campaigns are performing and which agents know their stuff.

ShoreTel reports cover a gamut of information about callers, trunks, groups and agent activities. Real-time information about call-abandon rates or low traffic reveals current, in-the-moment happenings in the contact center.

Real-time reports show:

  • Visual and audible threshold alerts on critical conditions, such as an unacceptably high rate of abandoned calls
  • Updates on every campaign, regardless of the channel. From one consolidated view, the report shows current activity for voice, email and chat interactions
  • How a campaign that is underway compares to a prior campaign
  • Queue activity for every agent logged into the platform

Historical reports provide a view of past activities and define a baseline for comparisons. These reports are stacked with valuable data and statistics that inform an organization of its contact center’s health.

Historical reports show:

  • Activity by date or by interval
  • Number of dialer attempts to reach destination
  • How a queue or group is performing compared to typical key performance indicators
  • Agent activity from employment date to now, during the campaign time period, or during any specific timeframe
  • Reasons for incoming calls
  • Campaign performance stats

Six Steps to Strengthen Your Contact Center Health

Now that the reports have revealed an accurate measure of the contact center, what’s next? Take these proactive steps to strengthen your contact center’s overall health to drive greater levels of customer satisfaction and sales.

  1. Add training classes. If a subset of agents are underperforming or consistently making the same mistakes, schedule mandatory refresher courses that focus on specific skills, features or any aspect that will improve how they interact with customers.
  2. Rework schedules. Reports show when call traffic volumes spike and when all you can hear are the crickets. Change the agents’ schedules to best accommodate busy times and reduce hours for non-busy times to save costs and ensure agent productivity.
  3. Update the campaign. Test results from a split campaign or early results can show that the effort isn’t performing as expected. Know when to stop a campaign and go back to the drawing board to tweak the effort so the team can reach performance expectations.
  4. Evaluate agent performance. Before performance reviews, check the individual agent’s activities to understand how he or she is completing required tasks. Reports show agent response times, number of interactions completed, inactive times, comparisons to peers and more.
  5. Identify major concerns and confusion from callers. I What questions do agents field most often? Realizing where the confusion exists can help the organization add clearer, straightforward information. Changing a process or adding more explanations can minimize incoming support calls so agents can work on other revenue-generating projects.
  6. Create reports for executives or board members. These reports are huge assets for upcoming meetings about call center activity. They can show that trouble tickets have decreased, wait times are shorter, incoming calls are steadily increasing, sales are higher and much more. Showing business leaders real data and analysis builds a strong case for justifying call center costs, gaining additional funds and showcasing performance results.

Learn more about ShoreTel’s contact center solutions.

Cloud UC Rains Down Big Returns for Businesses

Business models in today’s fast-paced markets rely on quick turnarounds, prompt workarounds and speedy customer responses. Many companies, in both the early stages and with long histories, are turning to cloud-based UC services to give them the speed—and the cost savings—they need to respond ultra-fast.

Cargo Airport Services USA has built a highly successful business around setting up critical services at airports with super-short deadlines. When an airline awards a contract to CAS, the phone system with call routing and other programmable features needs to be up and ready based on the contract’s dates. Rather than hiring staff and putting them on speed dial to manage new contracts, CAS turned to ShoreTel Sky to host its phone solutions.

“I have a small infrastructure staff that often doesn’t have time for a rapid install or to program phones at each site,” explains Vida Shaver, IT manager at Cargo Airport Services. “Because we have ShoreTel Sky, all I have to do is call ShoreTel to order the new phones and use the online portal to send them programming requests that they complete off-site. That’s a huge time and cost saver for our IT staff, and ensures that phones are customized and working quickly.”

Getting the phone system up and running reliably is a non-negotiable requirement for customer-centric businesses. Protégé Partners, a hedge fund that manages more than $2.2 billion assets, wanted reliable phone service so it could fulfill direct trades with customers over the phone. “For us, telecom is a critical, integral part of our business. Not having phone service even for an hour can translate into significant issues,” says Alex Zagajewski, IT manager at Protégé Partners.

The firm’s previous phone platform was unreliable and the cause of lost business, and Zagajewski wanted to replace it with a cloud-based, managed service that passes on big cost savings. “The ShoreTel Sky cloud architecture and phones require no heavy upfront investment, are feature-rich, and can be installed quickly. Even better, I don’t have to maintain them anymore.”

When Cargo Airport Services compared costs for hosted vs. on-premise platforms, ShoreTel’s cloud option was a clear winner as the monthly fees for a hosted ShoreTel Sky solution are less than the capital costs incurred when purchasing an in-house phone system that lacks scalability and robustness. “You save money on what you would have spent on upgrades and changes to the old phones, let alone the time invested in staff to support an antiquated system,” says Shaver.

Another feature that has been a huge benefit for companies is the built-in disaster recovery that is standard in cloud-based, managed services. When other VoIP platforms experience failures, the business is unable to respond to incoming customer calls, but cloud-based services promise constant availability, which is especially important for young companies carving out a niche.

Bonobos, an online clothing retailer, launched its business in 2008 with basic, analog cordless phones. The company’s line of men’s pants were so popular with customers who wanted better fitting clothes that sales rose fast, and at a pace that the phone system could not match.

Bonobos tossed out its old phone system and moved to ShoreTel Sky-hosted VoIP and gained a closet full of new features and a disaster recovery solution. In one instance, when electricity was cut to its building, the customer service team picked up and moved to a local coffee shop, accessed the Wi-Fi network, plugged in their headsets and worked as if nothing had happened.

Customers never experienced any service interruption, and that attention to service keeps all these businesses ahead of their competition. “We needed a phone that worked, a phone that would enable us to do our jobs better. When so much of your business relies on personal communication, phones are everything. You don’t realize how important it is until you don’t have good ones. The difference in our level of service to our customers is remarkable,” says Protégé’s Zagajewski.

Answer these eight questions to see if onsite, cloud or hybrid UC is right for you.