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Michael Velardi

Dialer Admin Improves Results with Switch to Convoso

How One Dialer Admin Reduced Stress While Hitting Targets – Part 2

By | Call Center Solutions, Contact Center Software, Guest Blog, Solar Energy Call Centers, Call Center Admins, Call Center Managers | No Comments

Part Two – How a Dialer Manager’s Life Changed When the Dialer Changed

 

In Part One of this post, Michael Velardi shared the challenges, and the concurrent stress, he faced as an outbound dialing manager trying to meet daily goals handed down from upper management. When he was informed by the executive team that they decided to change dialers, he had a crisis of confidence and a bout of anxiety. How was he going to deliver the expected results on a completely new system?

When he realized he had a proactive support team helping him onboard and optimize the Convoso dialer, the skies began to clear, and rays of possibility began to shine.

 

Michael Velardi is the Senior Vice President of Resource Marketing Corporation. In Part Two of this guest post, Michael describes 5 key areas that have transformed his day-to-day experience as a call center admin, plus how his call center’s new dialer differs from the previous dialer and the new outbound dialing tools he now has to drive dramatic improvements.

In my new “Convoso life” I’m living a bountiful dialing day. I’ve settled in and the stress is lower. When I look back at why I’m far more effective today, I see 5 key areas that made the difference in both our transition from our old dialer to Convoso and my subsequent experience expanding results and managing the hourly and daily operations of our call center.

 

#1  Support team extraordinaire

I was initially dreading the change-over from our previous dialer. But then it morphed into something I looked forward to as Convoso’s support team stepped up to address solutions to my concerns about how I was going to manage productivity and achieve the results I needed. What happened is that I ended up surpassing what I thought was even possible.

When we were first onboarding, rather than scheduling me for some broad topic training on their system, my Customer Support Manager went to work with me on my task list. So it was specific because they listened to what I needed to accomplish and what my issues were. They worked with me to figure out the necessary adjustments and where the areas that needed refining existed (I call them shady corners — the place where efficiency thrives). We reviewed what I was accustomed to using with the previous dialer, and then they showed me the parallel controls with the new system, and pulled them into my dashboard.

We discussed the value of transparency, reporting, and actionable data and how Convoso’s tools worked in real time throughout my day. This new approach is how we set about our plan of automating and systemizing the day-to-day prep that had been absorbing valuable time with the prior dialer.

In my experience, one of the standout offerings that differentiates Convoso from other support channels is their attention to detail at every level. They have an amazing support ecosystem that gives a measurable return on investment. It feels like an accountability partner who is there in the workout with you, and keeps you motivated to get up and move. When we switched from our former predictive dialer I found myself more than ever needing simple guidance and my go-to was Convoso Support—still is. 

 

#2  Predicting and accurately determining costs of acquisition

It has never been more vital for a company to understand their costs to acquire a customer. Convoso gives me the tools via reporting capabilities to measure cost per lead, hourly pay for talent, and cost of goods sold. So now I can maximize the viability of campaigns and strategies by understanding the profitability of my lists. Focusing on cost of leads, cost of sales, and cost of talent has made it much easier to meet with management to review the company’s growth strategies and to properly identify what needs the most attention. These are commonly misdiagnosed because most companies pursue a strategy of adding more data and more people which can significantly alter a company’s profit model.

The ability to accurately determine our cost per acquisition has enabled me to make quicker strategic choices based on seeing the big picture, so I can target the energy where it’s needed.

 

#3  Artificial Intelligence for dialer efficiency while meeting compliance  

The AI of Convoso’s system has made a huge impact on what I can achieve as a dialer admin. It is leading edge. The platform intelligently adjusts the predictive dialing pace to help the call center stay in compliance, which has been a big stress reliever. No longer are the days of managing the drop rates, because the predictive dialing software ensures that the admin is successful without sacrificing quality. With the automations baked in, we’ve saved countless hours of management time and pushed the dialer efficiency beyond what an admin would be able to achieve on their own. 

So now, when a distraction comes up and I need to takes my attention away from the predictive dialer, I don’t get spikes in the dialing rate that would increase the likelihood of dropped calls and put the operation more at risk of blowing compliance. With Convoso I’ve been able to intelligently avoid the pitfalls of compliance audits, because the AI autonomously adjusts in REAL TIME  so I don’t need to absorb a strategy that requires post analysis and applying a correction. 

 

#4  Actionable list performance data for smart decision making

Actionable real time data and list reporting have changed my life. With our previous dialer, if I encountered a lower performing time, I couldn’t tell if it was attributable to my list or to my agents. But Convoso has so many valuable tools to structure a dialing day, that now my day is rectified hourly and I can section the data and solutions into a productive set of systems. I can see how my lists are performing in real time, and because of that I can make effective changes and predictions. The reports for list performance are vital and let me cross section my data, and ensure I’m targeting proper list management techniques to gain the competitive edge.  

Does your current dialer show what list is top performing?  Can you see what list is most profitable? I’m telling you, if you have this actionable real time data, it will has change the way you approach your dialing day and the effectiveness of your strategy and decisions. The new capabilities that I have with the Convoso system have allowed me to solve problems quickly and efficiently because when I see a problem, I can quickly find the source of it. 

 

#5  Agent analytics help with training and management

The hardest data to analyze is agent data. If you’ve ever had a full house of agents and didn’t achieve expected results, you know what I’m talking about. 

So you can imagine what a relief it was to learn about how Convoso has simplified the process. Now I can measure a timeframe of lists and agents to determine the solutions. I can quickly isolate and match up the agents against a timeframe to see who is performing above or below standard. The reporting enables me to save both management time and agent time, which is huge since staffing costs make up a big chunk of the call center’s overall costs.

Now I have access to several live reports and panels that are like a GPS that I manage and use to navigate, rather than just historical post reporting. This has enabled me to achieve a more productive hour, which becomes a more productive day, and…well, you get the picture. 

 

 

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A Call Center admin experience_Michael Velardi guest blog

How One Dialer Admin Transformed His Life: Reducing Stress While Hitting Targets – Part 1

By | Call Center Solutions, Contact Center Software, Guest Blog, Solar Energy Call Centers, Call Center Admins, Call Center Managers | No Comments

A personal snapshot in the life of a successful outbound sales dialing manager. What it was, and why it changed.

 

Michael Velardi is the Senior Vice President of Resource Marketing Corporation. In this guest blog, he talks about the struggles and triumphs of his experience managing an outbound call center’s dialing campaigns.

Running a dialer requires an extensive number of actions that become compounded by added expectations…usually coming from the top. Outbound lead generation and operating a predictive dialer is very tough. Trust me.  I have extensive experience running a predictive dialer on a level that most have not seen. 

 

A day in the life

 

Jump back a few years. 

 

It’s just 60 minutes into the day, which for some people is just one hour. 

 

But when running a predictive dialer, each minute of success ties into another issue and the waves of up and down feel excruciating. I’m continuously worried whether I might be off pace. 

 

So I diligently check the screen, scanning for an indicator to what my gut is telling me. I see that I need to make some minor and some aggressive moves to help solve the seemingly endless problem… 

 

…to maintain acceptable contact rates for agents so we can produce more and more sales.  

 

Each day I manage to solve the immediate issues I encounter which include long wait times, low sales, and low converting data (to name a few).  But as I fix one problem, another one almost simultaneously replaces it. And this goes on throughout each day.  

 

In an outbound dialing company, my score is determined by more than just sales. But at the end of the day, being profitable comes from using the predictive dialer to generate income for the business. Honestly, that’s the only question that really matters: How many sales did we get today?

 

The impact of expectations (or, that predictive dialer prints money, doesn’t it?)

 

Basically the task handed down to me from the top of the company is to get this amount of sales and get that number of sales per day. 

 

Does this sound familiar?  In your boss’s mind, the formula is simple: You have X people and Y leads, multiplied by an amazing tool called a predictive dialer. Go make it rain!  

 

I’ve spoken to dozens of people running a predictive dialer who say the job can be thankless, mundane, and stressful.  But the thankless part is not from disrespect. It’s from a lack of understanding. Most people have no idea how a predictive dialer operates, neither in theory nor logistics.

 

I have been on both sides of the fence, and I can tell you that handing the orders down is waaaaay easier than receiving them. But just know this:  In the times when I’ve done a Q&A about requests, goals, or quotas, the responses make it clear that management is unaware of the compounding actions it takes to achieve what they have requested.  

 

A reluctant solution 

 

So one day my boss comes to me saying, “We’re changing the dialing company we use.”  Stress, anxiety, and a whirlwind of emotions surge through me. My CEO and CFO are excited, because they think this new dialer is going to be cheaper and that it will be better for the company. 

 

I’m incredibly skeptical. I need to transfer everything I do to an entirely new predictive dialer platform.  Then I begin to fathom the depth of what this means: the leads, the statuses, the call count, and the many many factors essential to daily operations all fly through my head.  Where do I start? How do I even begin to plan for something this huge?  

 

You are not alone

 

A phone call changed everything. “Hi, my name is Jen. I’m your Convoso Rep. I’ll be your point person to support your onboarding experience and get you optimized on the dialer.”  

 

This is the day that changed everything for me. 

 

Convoso Support became a household name and relief came fast. I had a resource, a go-to accountability partner. My perspective shifted from doom, gloom, and anxiety to excitement and energized curiosity to learn. My experience transformed to a glorious adventure. 

 

The transition was smooth and I was able to easily take control of processes, automations, and systems, and program them into how we do business.

 

In Part Two, I’ll talk more specifically about how these new solutions transformed both my day-to-day experience and the outbound dialing strategies I use as a call center admin. The results are worth it.

 

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Top 5 Metrics that Improve Agent Efficiency and Call Center Profitability

By | KPIs and Measuring Performance, Guest Blog | No Comments

The top 5 agent areas to focus on intra-day for hourly maximization.

 

Running a successful outbound marketing campaign requires the finesse of a dialer admin, a quality dialing plan, and always a good source for data. But, don’t overlook the significance of a strong team of call center agents.  

 

Putting these pieces together is straightforward on the surface. But to hit or exceed your sales expectations and drive call center profitability, you have to tackle the unique challenge of maximizing your agents’ time and productivity. 

 

My name is Michael Velardi, and I’m the Senior Vice President at Resource Marketing Corporation, a solar marketing company. From my extensive experience as an outbound marketing administrator with both inbound and outbound strategies, I want to share the top 5 key metrics I toggle between and balance to maximize my agents’ productivity, sales, and efficiency. 

 

I think it’s fair to say that in theory most outbound admins focus on a strategy of getting the agents as many calls as possible in their shift and counting the number of sales. But in reality, there are several factors, beyond the number of calls made, that contribute to success or failure. 

 

To achieve and exceed our hourly and daily sales goals, we need to set realistic agent expectations. I’d like to say it’s as simple as putting agents on the phone, but…it’s not that easy. 

 

There are two sides to ensuring agents are performing at top levels:  1. Management of the dialer and outbound strategy, and 2. Management of agent energy and time.  I will break down the Top 5 Agent Metrics so they’re easier to manage individually, and offer tips to maximize agent efficiency and call center profitability. `

 

 

TOP 5 AGENT METRICS

 

#1 Agent Sales

Here’s the basic litmus test:  Do your agents have sales?  I need to know this whether the answer is a good one or bad one. So, I find out where my sales are coming from—which agents and lists—and then can I recreate that within the larger group of agents. That’s being said, I’m always looking at my agents as a group—what sales do they have collectively?  Then I look at a cross section of predictability, which means my top known producers, and I look for the difference in what I expect vs what I’m seeing. I’m constantly looking at all of my agents to try to assess if I can see good and bad patterns at the same time. 

 

Key Takeaway:  When you look at your agent sales metrics, are you only seeing sales by your top agents or are you seeing a healthy mix? Are agents meeting sales expectations?

 

 

#2 Agent Call Time 

Call time measures how productive your agents are on the phone. Now they can’t be productive every single minute they are logged in. But I want them to meet and be on pace for a foundation of agent expectations for acceptable pause, wait, wrap up and expected daily sales.  

 

I’m constantly toggling my views between keeping the agents engaged with data and a good pace of calls. That balance of a good pace of calls and acceptable pause and wrap up time leads to waves of engagement. When I say engagement, I mean that it is a substantive conversation with a customer for 1 minute or more. As I see agents progressing towards 1 minute, I focus on building up to multiple agents at or above 1 minute. 

 

Successful agent call time shows as an increase within a campaign in the number of agents simultaneously on the phone for over 1 minute. That’s a key predictable indicator of future sales.  

 

It’s important to measure more than whether or not your agents are on the phone. What patterns do you see, good and bad? Do they have short call times and long wrap up times? Or do they have long call times and no sales? These are indicators of agents possibly improperly vetting customers and dilly dallying or talking. I look at the length of calls and whether they’re having substantive conversations. If the length of conversations are low, look into other areas such as lead lists that are best called at another time of day, or aren’t suited to the present situation. 

 

Key Takeaway:  Measure your agents’ pause, wait, and wrap up time to determine pace. Measure efficiency by tracking call length. Look for patterns to see what’s working on a campaign, productivity of your agents, and performance of the lists.

 

 

#3 Agent Wrapup / Disposition Time

We need to understand that being courteous and winding down a call has an acceptable range of time to complete the wrapup. But we still need to measure and monitor agent wrapup time.

 

If you’re seeing large swings in any direction it’s a cause to investigate further. Very short wrapup times might mean customers are being hung up on, cut short, or possibly the line is empty because they hung up long before. If agents know you’re watching, they’ll keep their eye on wrapup and disposition and move to the next call. But when managers or admins get lazy and let an agent hang out in dispo for an extra 30 seconds for 50 to 60 times a day over a few days, that adds up to several hours of lost dials for that agent.  

 

It’s so important to keep an acceptable level of how long agents are taking to wrap up their calls. When an agent is having an off day they might hang anywhere up to 60+ seconds on their wrapup time, which could be as much as 25-30% longer than an average day. So in relation, the agent’s productivity will decrease due to the missing time.

 

Key Takeaway:  You need to monitor those seconds it takes to end a call and the time in between calls because they reduce an agent’s overall dials and performance.

 

 

#4 Agent Pause time 

Pause times are acceptable times off the phone, and include lunch, breaks, training, meetings, etc.  These are productivity stealers if not managed properly.  Pause time leaves the agent with less time on the phone to meet their daily goals and can contribute to lower agent performance.

 

This metric tells me if the agents are taking too much unscheduled pausing, or taking longer off the phones than expected, such as excessive bathroom breaks.  

 

Also, consider whether managers training or talking to an agent for too long, giving them less time to accomplish their goals.  

 

Do you have a cell phone policy? Agents will find times to give themselves a break, with 3, 4, 5 minutes here and there. This unscheduled break time adds up and is often due to cell phone access as agents scroll through the web, text, and update social media.

 

Key Takeaway:  Track pause time to look for patterns that might identify a higher than normal break trend.

 

 

#5 Agent Number of Calls Taken

The number of calls an agent takes can be an indication of agent focus. Do they have any distractions? Are they on their cell phone? 

 

This metric can also be impacted by new agents asking questions or when new products are introduced and an agent gives explanations to their peers, which increases pause times.

 

Key TakeawayIs your agent focused? Track the number of calls agents make in relation to their average and your expectations based on team averages.

 

 

Tracking Agent Metrics 

Improving agent performance by tracking key metrics will drive increased agent efficiency and profitability for your call center. 

 

This can be done in real time visually and with data-driven reporting. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to my dialer setup. And, I constantly jog between my setup and the metrics I’ve pulled into my dashboard that tell me whether my agents are efficient. If I’m hoping to hit my daily numbers, I have to take into account the balance between my set up being on point—with nice even waves of calls for my agents—and at same time, whether they’re being efficient with what I’m creating.

 

Look for Balance

Some people think managing agent efficiency is simply serving up a constant wave of calls to your agents and to maximize each agent’s time to get them the most calls.  Results from this strategy can be fleeting in the long run. Trying to provide more and more calls within the same time frame to your agents could increase agent production in the short run, but it might also contribute to fatigue or being overwhelmed, and can lead to waste and reduced productivity.

 

Wrapping it up

To help improve agent performance and efficiency, you need to track the right metrics. When you see those numbers, you can take actions. Tracking metrics helps you understand individual and team performance over time so you can set expectations and measure against those. 

Customize your dashboard to monitor agent performance throughout the day, and balance adjustments between your agent metrics and tweaking your dialer configurations accordingly. 

Here again are the agent metrics I use and suggest you track for your call center:

      1. Agent Sales

      2. Agent Call Time

      3. Agent Wrapup/Disposition Time

      4. Agent Pause Time

      5. Agent Number of Calls Taken

 

About the author

Michael Velardi is the Senior Vice President at Resource Marketing Corporation, a solar marketing company. He has been an outbound dialer administrator for nearly 5 years, progressing on several ViciDial dialer systems. Michael’s expertise in setting up systems within the Convoso dialer and maximizing his call center’s profitability places him amongst the respected administrators in the outbound call industry. Michael’s core experience is embedded in dialing outbound on several different campaigns simultaneously, working with a variety of verticals, and applying both outbound and inbound strategies that use Convoso’s live contact, voice broadcast, and ringless drop.

To learn about more ROI-boosting metrics used by most successful outbound call centers, check out our post “16 Essential KPIs for Lead Gen Call Center Profitability

 

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