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Call Center Solutions

Should Outbound Call Centers Stay Remote or Return to the Office? Both?

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Resources to help you decide on the best options for your outbound call center, and when it’s time to return to the office after the coronavirus shutdown restrictions are lifted.

 

Many businesses that have been shut down during the coronavirus pandemic are re-opening. For call centers, you may wonder, is it time for your agents to return to the office?  What are the considerations for making the best decision? What plans should you have in place?

When the COVID-19 crisis hit, many office-based call centers scrambled to transfer their operations to remote, and to get their agents working from home.

Many of our dialer software customers were already running virtual call centers. We helped others to quickly and smoothly transition to a work from home operation. Several newly remote customers told us they were surprised to see an increase in productivity. In fact, some have decided to stay remote, or have decided to adapt a hybrid operation upon return. 

 

POLL About Returning to the Office

In a recent poll of participants at our WFH Webinar series, we asked about plans for their call centers when the shut down orders were lifted.  Here’s the how they responded. 

Communications and Clarity with Employees

If you decide to resume operations from your call center office, be sure to address potential employee concerns upfront by clearly communicating your policies and planned safety measures. You may want to offer objective information resources to educate employees. If possible, consider offering the remote option to employees who don’t feel safe returning to a staffed workplace environment. Our Work From Home page offers a helpful guide for managing the performance of at-home agents, and supporting a highly productive remote workforce.

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidelines

You’ll find many resources with detailed guidelines for employers of businesses and workplaces regarding COVID-19 on the CDC’s web page.

The CDC also offers the helpful workplace tool below to help you decide whether to re-open your business, in this case, your lead generation or outbound sales call center office. 

The purpose of this tool is to assist employers in making (re)opening decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially to protect vulnerable workers. It is important to check with state and local health officials and other partners to determine the most appropriate actions while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community.

 

OSHA Guidelines for Workplaces

The U.S. Department of Labor: Occupational Safety and Health Administration has put out a 35-page guidebook called  “Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19.” Among topics covered, of key interest to call center operators may be the chapter, “Steps All Employers Can Take to Reduce Workers’ Risk of Exposure to SARS-CoV-2.”

 

Keeping Your Call Center in Legal Compliance

Whether you intend to continue as a remote call center operation or move back to the office, there are numerous legal considerations. In our second Work From Home webinar, compliance experts and attorneys Michele Shuster and Lisa Messner [Mac Murray and Shuster LLP] shared valuable tips for keeping your call center in compliance, and guidelines for developing a remote work plan for your business, as well as points to bear in mind when returning to the office. 

Read the summary and watch the webinar video for Keeping It Compliant: Legal Aspects of Running a Virtual Outbound Call Center

In addition to call center office safety measures, they suggest the following:

  • Implement some sort of screening method
  • Keep in mind the privacy rights of employees
  • Avoid discriminatory practices
  • Document policies and procedures
  • Keep records

Employees who get sick should obviously be sent home. This should be clearly stated in your policies, including criteria for returning to the office. 

 

The Choice to Stay Remote 

If you plan for your outbound call center to stay remote, have a look at the our free guidebook to improve your productivity:  Running a Profitable Remote Call Center: An Indispensable Guide

You’ll learn about:

  • Resources That Drive Remote ROI – Tech Recommendations, Productivity Tools, Essential KPI Reports
  • Tips for Managing Your Virtual Team for Optimal Performance
  • Compliance Guidelines for WFH
  • Future Trends in Virtual Call Center Operations
  • Remote Call Center Checklist

 With the right tools and support you can optimize your cloud-based dialer, and manage your at-home team so they are focused, motivated, and productive.

 

Stay Up-to-date with COVID-19 Developments

The pandemic has thrown the international scientific community for a loop. They’re working diligently along with government and health organizations to stay abreast of the most current statistics and their implications, testing and possible vaccinations, and strategies for balancing economic health. Keep up with changes by consulting trusted news resources: e.g., The New York Times is offering free access to their special coverage of the coronavirus with an FAQ section that may be helpful for your agents. 

Whether your outbound call center plans to head back to an office environment, continue with remote, or move forward with a hybrid, be sure to keep updated on the latest developments so you can protect the health of your employees and the continuity of your business.

 

Remote Call Center Increases Contact Rate by 300% and Doubles Agents After Switching to Convoso

By | Call Center Solutions, Customer Experience, Work From Home Agents | No Comments

Convoso Customer StoryDigital Market Media log

Digital Market Media [DMM] is a successful inbound call generation company serving clients in multiple industries by providing their sales teams with a steady stream of qualified prospects. Their call center is a remote operation, so their agents work from home.

 

Challenges Before Convoso

Delivering high quality leads in a volume that meets Digital Market Media’s client expectations requires a level of efficiency and tools that were lacking in DMM’s previous dialer. “Our redial capability greatly hindered performance and ROI – we were dialing through too many leads inefficiently ,” said Director of Operations, Kyle Andersson. The company’s goals were to increase:

  • Volume of calls
  • Remote agent productivity
  • Number of qualified leads transferred to clients

Our Solution

  • Advanced Caller ID Management
  • Omnichannel features
  • Automated workflows
  • Support of dedicated product expert
  • Optimization of DMM dialer configuration
  • Real time in-depth automated reporting
  • Comprehensive historical data analytics of lists and leads
  • Streamlined processes with productivity tools for WFH agents
  • Reduce agent wait time with Quick Disposition Tool

Customer Results

DMM grew quickly with Convoso’s more robust dialer, new capabilities, and tools:

  • Contact rate surged from 7% to 20-30%
  • Critical DMM KPI, lead to transfer rate, steadily increased from 2% to 8% for significant ROI impact
  • Doubled agents from 15 to 30 in two months
  • Previously unavailable automated management reports with real time analytics saves an hour a day

 

DRAMATIC IMPROVEMENTS — HOW THEY DID IT

Digital Market Media’s commitment to growth and improvement caused them to seek a more extensive solution with deeper analytic capabilities for their cloud-based call center operations. When the company switched to Convoso in January 2020, they jumped in with both feet to take full advantage of the suite of tools the web-based software has to offer. But they did it with help.

 

“Convoso was instrumental to our being able to scale up our agents so quickly. Now we’re able to talk to more prospects.” — Tom Carolan, Founder and Owner, Digital Market Media

 

As part of our onboarding experience, we teamed DMM up with a Convoso Customer Success Manager to review their goals, help optimize their dialer configuration, and introduce the management team at DMM to Convoso’s real time in-depth reporting and agent productivity tools to drive more efficiency to their virtual call center and boost profitability. Reflecting on the transition, Digital Market Media Director of Operations Kyle Andersson remarked, “Our Customer Success Manager, Dan, has been very resourceful in tweaking the configuration of our system to achieve the best ROI for our data.”

 

Robust Dialer Capabilities Yield Immediate Improvements In KPI’s

As DMM began employing features previously unavailable to their operations, they achieved results that confirmed the value of making the switch to Convoso. They were ready for a new phase of growth. Convoso’s advanced caller ID management, omnichannel features, and automated workflows helped to improve DMM’s call center experience very quickly.

 

INCREASED CONTACT RATE
After experiencing unsatisfactory results and frustrations with their dialer, Convoso’s advanced dialer provided a welcome solution. From onboarding in January 2020 to mid March, they saw their productivity and connection rates soar from a daily average of 7% in December 2019 to 20-30%.

 

“Previously, our redial capability greatly hindered performance and ROI – we were dialing through too many leads inefficiently. We optimized the disposition-based redial workflow, and attached automated remarket strategies within Convoso such as email drip automation. The robust caller ID management has made a big difference. We get clean, local Caller IDs for our campaigns, so we’re improving our contact rate while maintaining a positive reputation.”  —Kyle Andersson

 

INCREASED TRANSFER RATE
The company’s primary service is inbound lead generation. When an agent has gone through the process of qualifying a lead, they transfer that call to the appropriate source. This is the equivalent of closing a sale. And as a metric, the rate of transfers is the truth-telling number about a call’s success, about an agent’s performance.“The most important statistic,” Tom said of their improved KPIs, “has been the lead to transfer rate.”

“Our lead to transfer rate has increased steadily since starting with Convoso in January from 2% to 8%. When you’re talking about hundreds of thousands of leads, that’s a huge increase.” —Tom Carolan

 

Remarkable Growth of Remote Team

Kyle noted the growth they achieved in a short period of time that has allowed the company to project continued growth for the remainder of the year. They had 15 agents at the end of 2019, and expanded to 30 within two months after working with Convoso. They anticipate adding 10 agents/month moving forward to meet their goal of 100 agents by the end of 2020. In the midst of nationwide layoffs and job losses, Digital Market Media is tweeting “Job Opportunities.”

 

Effective Management with Powerful Real Time Reporting

Digital Market Media’s diligent use of Convoso’s comprehensive and automated reporting tools helped the company to progress quickly by using specific metrics for day to day call center management decisions. As Director of Operations, Kyle Andersson sees how the data is trending over the day using the List Conversion Report.

 

“The List Conversion Report shows me the number of transfers per list. I can view the number of sales per week per list. It’s right there to see what’s trending up and down. Then with the Lead Status Penetration Report, I know where the disposition of the leads are in the list.”  —Kyle Andersson

 

Access to new in-depth reporting features with an easier layout has saved management time and helped to increase agent productivity for the company. With reports automatically emailed to key managers, they view how agent time is spent on a granular level. To manage at-home agents, the company uses the Agent Monitor Screen, which shows vital campaign information, including the number of dialable leads, agent status, dial level, drop rating, and more. Admins can listen in on calls, whisper to agents, and jump in on conversations if needed.

 

Empowered Call Center Agents

“Our agents are experiencing a boost in productivity and enjoyment of the dialer. They like the dashboard and the more efficient processes. Supervisors and Managers are happier as well for the same reasons.” — Tom Carolan

 

Call center agents are able to be more productive when the dialing system they are using is efficient. In addition to the customizable agent dashboard, DMM agents use tools like Quick Dispo to eliminate steps and streamline the transfer process. With dynamic scripting, training is simplified as agents and managers trust the script to adapt for each new scenario. The smart scripts update lead info in real time and adapt to each individual caller allowing a more personalized sale. This helps DMM agents to do remarketing and cross selling, and to help prospects across different verticals, for an optimized ROI on a lead.

 

“We’ve tapped 50% of what Convoso can do. I can’t wait to see what happens six months from now.” — Kyle Andersson

 

Get dramatic results for YOUR virtual call center.  Schedule a demo.

 

5 Reasons Why Call Center AI Will Enhance, Not Replace Agents

By | Call Center Solutions, Contact Center Software, AI | No Comments

As technology advances, we all have that utopian dream of having all our problems answered at a click of a button. No matter the difficulty. No matter the medium…instant solutions and quality experiences. Many believe that for customer service, Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is the future of customer service and maybe the disruption of the entire call center industry.

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