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Cool Tools to manage and boost remote call center agent productivity

Cool Tools to Boost Agent Productivity for Remote Call Centers

By | Work From Home Agents, Remote Call Centers | No Comments

14 top call center management tools that drive engagement and productivity of at-home agents.

 

You’re running a remote call center, and everyone, from agents to managers, is working from home. Whether this virtual setup is new to you, or you’ve been at it since before COVID-19 hit, you need to know how to effectively manage the productivity of your remote agents.

We’ve put together these 14 “cool” tools that will help you to monitor productivity and improve performance of your remote workforce. By driving agent efficiency, you’ll elevate your agents’ job satisfaction which ultimately reduces turnover and boosts the productivity of your entire virtual team. We’ve divided them into Communication Tools, Accountability Tools, and Agent Support Tools.  See our infographic below following the blog post or download here.

 

Get the Cool Tools infographic for quick reference

Infographic: Cool Tools to Boost Agent Productivity for Remote Call Centers

 

Communication Tools

 

Your agents need more than just computers and headsets to be successful. They require communication tools to stay aligned with business goals and connected with team leaders. Here are four that are well worth having in place: 

  • Video Chat and Meeting Tool – Provide direction and guidance to help keep your agents motivated and engaged. Video communication platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, MS Teams, and Skype, are ideal for team meetings, training sessions, one-on-one discussions, and more. 
  • Broadcast Messaging – Enable managers to quickly and easily send out motivational or educational messages to all or select agents. Broadcast messaging is a great way to promote a positive, connected virtual culture. 
  • Listen and Whisper – Give admins the ability to listen in on calls, whisper to agents, and jump in on conversations when needed. With this behind-the-scenes guidance, agents can be effectively coached and guided as they improve their performance. 
  • Break Time Request – Increase productivity and promote accountability by giving admins the ability to approve or deny break time requests from agents. Auto-approval of breaks, including frequency and duration of breaks, can be preset for convenience. 

"There’s so much great technology out there. It can alert us and catch bad behavior. It can tell us who our top performers are. However, it’s even more powerful to remind ourselves that as leaders, as managers, for ultimately all people, employee engagement is key to a successful remote call center." — Heather Griffin, SVP of Inside Sales, Momentum Solar

 

Accountability Tools

 

Your call center success hinges on maintaining consistent agent productivity. Gain valuable insights into the performance of each agent—by the hour and over time—by tracking metrics in real time with these four accountability tools. 

An agent who’s normally a good performer could be having a bad week for some reason. We’d see those results in the data within 4 hours and we’d be able to address it. Sometimes they just need time off. They need a break. Sometimes the agents burn out.” —John Gallagher, CFO at a solar outbound call center

 

  • Agent Monitor Screen – Keep track of critical campaign data, such as dial level, drop rating, number of dialable leads, and total number of agents that are currently logged in. From a single unified screen, admins gain the capability to monitor every agent’s status and listen to their live calls. 
  • Agent Productivity Logs – Maintain tabs on agent log in and log out time stamps, as well as their availability status with reason codes. Agent productivity logs can be used like a timeclock to keep track of agent hours. 
  • Wrap Up Time Limit – Set the amount of time agents are permitted after a call (wrap up time) before they are timed out with a forced pause and a preset, automatic popup message.
  • Auto Logout – Use logic rules to auto log out agents if they’re on a dead call for too long or are spending too much time on a pause code. Reports can be created from auto logout data to improve agent productivity.

 

Want to learn more about how to effectively manage remote agents? Check out our guide: "Running a Profitable Remote Call Center"

 

Agent Support Tools

 

Streamline agent workflow and build their momentum by automating and minimizing repetitive tasks. Efficient management of dialing strategies and leads will help drive success for your agents by increasing contact rates and guiding conversations to conversions.

You have to find ways that you can automate. When you add up those seconds amongst hundreds of calls, you start seeing a big difference. If the agent’s experience is smooth, then the consumer’s experience is smoother, and they have a better experience across the board. The agent converts more, now the morale goes up, the turnover goes down.” —Nima Hakimi, Co-Founder & CEO of Convoso [speaking on a panel on “The Three Efficiencies That Drive Call Center Performance”

 

  • Customizable Agent Dashboard – Improve agent experience by providing a user-friendly dashboard with customizable colors and layouts. 
  • Lead Follow-up Automation – Create a schedule to automatically decide when to place outbound calls or send non-voice communications, like text, email, or smart voicemail drops. Add personalized details to drive more inbound calls and continue outreach over select channels until conversion or for a set amount of days. 
  • State/Skill Routing – Automatically route leads, using your predictive dialer, to agents using specific criteria, such as state, language, or demographics. 
  • Quick Dispositions – Streamline tasks to one click and cut wrap up time by taking action during the call rather than waiting until the call has ended. Flexible transfer options also save time.
  • Dynamic Scripting– Simplify calls and train agents in record time and enable them to deliver a better experience with increased cross-sell and upsell opportunities. With dynamic scripting, agents follow a natural conversational flow that automatically fills in relevant details to address prospects personally and guide them towards a sale. 
  • Workflow Dialing – Optimize calls for maximum connection rate by staggering them at different times of the day. Schedule a cadence by staggering calls to reach leads at different times of the day for maximum connection rate.

 

It's all about agent happiness. If you are setting up your dialer correctly, and their contact rates are through the roof and they're getting to talk to more people per day and make more sales, they're going to be stoked. The bottom line is you're going to want to [optimize your dialing strategy]. Not only for cost, but for agent efficiency. —Kyle Andersson, Director of Operations at Digital Market Media, on the importance of good dialing strategy [from LeadsCouncil webinar "The 2.0 Call Center"]

 

The Cool Tools for Productive Remote Agents INFOGRAPHIC

 

Cool Tools for Productive Call Center Agents

Make Informed Decisions to Guide Your Success

 

Keeping your remote call center operation on track for growth and profitability requires monitoring the right KPIs with real time reporting. Check out our list of the 16 essential KPIs that are used by the most successful outbound call centers.

When you make decisions based on the right KPIs, you’ll be able to better optimize your predictive dialer software. And that will definitely improve remote agent productivity. 

 

The 2.0 Lead Generation Call Center Keys to Efficiency and Profitability

By | Call Center Solutions, Lead Generation, AI, Work From Home Agents, TCPA and Compliance, KPIs and Measuring Performance, Webinars & Events | No Comments

The 2.0 Lead Generation Call Center

 

LeadsCouncil logoA LeadsCouncil Leadership Series web discussion on how forward-thinking lead generation call center operations increase key efficiencies.

 

Convoso CEO Nima Hakimi joined two lead gen call center ops experts to share insights about “The 2.0 Lead Generation Call Center.”

Kyle Andersson, Director of Operations at Digital Market Media, and Michael Velardi, SVP at Resource Marketing Corp have both really pushed the envelope in managing their remote call centers for efficiency and profitability.

Watch the video, hosted by LeadsCouncil Executive Director Rob Seaver, to pick up experience-driven advice on how to maximize your Agent Efficiency, Lead Efficiency, and Manager Efficiency while staying compliant. Be a next gen call center.

The experts discuss managing remote call center agents, staying in compliance, the impact of AI, automation and dialing strategies for lead efficiency, understanding the profitability of your lists and list sources by digging into the right set of KPIs and reports to get the biggest ROI.

 

Discussion Highlight Quotes from “The 2.0 Lead Gen Call Center”

 

Jump to any discussion topic from here:

 

STIR/SHAKEN and TCPA Compliance*

 

LeadsCouncil's Rob Seaver hosts 2.0 Call Center webinar

Rob Seaver

Rob Seaver 
There’s a lot of activity right now that impacts the quality of leads from a compliance standpoint…In the STIR/SHAKEN side of things, we’re now seeing the telco companies being forced by the FCC to block some of these calls.

There are a couple of other things impacting the industry. As it relates to call center fraudulent submissions and forms, there are people who you get on the phone and you hear that dreaded, ‘I did not sign up,’ which is impacting TCPA because if they did not fill out the form, or they were not the owner of the phone number that they submitted the form with, you possibly could be looking at a TCPA violation.

 

Nima Hakimi

With STIR/SHAKEN, Telco carriers are being mandated to implement it by June of 2021. It’s basically Caller ID authentication, which helps the telecom carriers detect the legitimacy of a caller through a token. So you cannot spoof through Caller ID.

When your caller IDs are getting flagged, that will decrease your contact rates. Calling excessively is just a recipe for disaster.

In the big picture, that is actually a good thing, right? Because the bad actors are the ones typically spoofing the Caller IDs and using Caller ID’s that are not valid. So you cannot get back to them. My prediction is that once it goes into place, call volumes will go down considerably, but the businesses that are doing it legitimately will thrive.

There’s a lot of pressure that’s being put on, and the FCC is really going to start regulating these things.

 

Kyle Andersson

A lot of it starts pre-call – we are hyper focused on compliance with data before it even hits the dialer. The ideal lead…has intent for the product or industry that you’re selling…So, for us, it’s all about having high intent users, not just pure volume.

We scrub our leads vigorously. And then within Convoso, there’s a lot of great things such as automatic DID reputation checks. So you’re not having to worry about if your DID is becoming potential spam.

And then regulating your redials, not hammering one number 30 times in a day, maybe eight times back over a course of three weeks…There’s little things that you can do to continuously armor yourself to make sure that you’re of the highest quality.

 

Michael Velardi
I never want to call somebody who goes, ‘Who are you? Why are you calling? Where did you get my number?’ Because that’s the worst thing you ever hear in our business [which is why] my data is source-reliable, opt-in-only, Jornaya lead ID.

 

[*Views expressed for educational purposes and should not be taken as legal advice. Please consult your attorney regarding matters of compliance with current laws.]

 

AI + Quality Monitoring and Coaching

 

Nima
AI in terms of quality control is really going to play a huge role in that regard for better conversations, more compliant conversations, and just ultimately, increased results in the agent performance… For example, there’s an integration we have that will coach and listen to your agents in real time, and let them know if they’re off script or not, or if they’re using the right rebuttals or not… Are they talking too fast?

You need to have AI incorporated in one way or another if you want to go remote and grow it and scale it, in full compliance.

 

Kyle
When you talk about quality assurance—the traditional listening to calls, scoring calls and making sure that they’re compliant, they’re quality, they’re getting through the qualification questions that you need from your clients—this is all streamlined with AI because it’s not a person or managers listening to calls, it’s the systems listening to every call.

And you have statistics on every single call, all of the details, everything that you want to see in calls or don’t want to see. It’s very scalable. So, that’s one huge thing that AI will play into remote or in-house call centers.

It’s all about being proactive instead of reactive, which is what [AI and streamlining] will help with.

 

Lead Efficiency

 

Nima

Convoso CEO NIma Hakimi at 2.0 Call Center webinar

Nima Hakimi

The biggest thing about lead efficiency is you need to look at your reporting to really understand what percentage of those leads pick up. How many of them are transferred, and what is the revenue out of those leads? You need to have real-time reporting that gives you that data, so you can see on an hourly basis, which agents are producing how much revenue? What is the actual ROI on it? Meaning what was the cost to convert those leads?

The agent’s time is a hard cost,… the cost of the dial is a hard cost. And so you need to be able to break that down on a lead source level to tell you specifically what the ROI is on an hourly basis by agent and by lead source. And if you do that, you’ll be able to quickly optimize your call center.

 

READ NIma's blog on Improving Lead Efficiency

 

Dialing Strategies & Effective Lead Management

 

Nima

Sometimes it’s not your quality of leads that will have an impact. What is the dialing strategy? How are they working those leads? How are they recycling those leads?

Most people’s dialers are not set up effectively to convert their leads.

You’ll find that the contact rate does not improve after a certain [number of] call attempts. Now that doesn’t mean that you should stop calling it altogether, but you need to have automation in place that will move that lead into another list and maybe call it back again in 30 days from now, and try it again at that point. And maybe then again, in 60 days from now.

Customers need the understanding, the mentality to stop buying so many leads. [Some call centers] are always thinking, ‘We want to buy more and more and more leads.’ Guess what? You’d hit the wall, you can’t catch up with the new leads. Now those get stuck and you’re just dialing the old ones. I mean, it’s just a big mess….

You really have to shift your mindset if you want to do things right. And leads cost… it’s one of your biggest expenses at the end of the day.

 

Kyle

Redialing strategy is huge, we spend a lot of time finding out the correct redial strategy schedule. By making sure that you have good lead providers as you continue to do these optimizations, you can actually scale back your lead buying because your contact rates are going up so much that you’re able to convert just as many, if not more sales with fewer leads…You can actually spend less money and make more money.

 

Reporting Capabilities

 

Digital Market Media Dir of Ops Kyle Andersson at 2.0 Call Center Webinar

Kyle Andersson

Kyle 
We use a lot of Convoso reports for data. And as long as you organize and separate your lists and your providers, and real time and all that inbound, you have all the reporting that you need. You have the contact rate by list. You can do it by date. You have the conversion and transfer of sale, you have the average duration of the call, abandoned… All of that stuff by list, by date.

We have so many different lead sources coming in everyday. So it’s imperative that we have it set up, or organized, and we use those reports to ensure that we’re not spending money on data that’s not working, or [for example, finding out] we’re re-allocating to one for the past month, and they’re absolutely killing contact rates and conversions.

 

Remote Outbound Call Centers

 

Nima

For companies that don’t consider the value of remote] you’re missing out on a huge opportunity, a huge talent pool to take your call center to the next level.

This pandemic has really forced call centers to look at the metrics, the numbers, the data. You really have to look at all the pieces of your call center in order to optimize it, and manage it in a profitable manner…

When we look at these efficiencies of lead efficiency, agent efficiency, management efficiency, it’s really the combination of all three of them that will make your call center more profitable in a compliant manner. Because, especially now, if you want to go remote, if you don’t have those processes in place across all three efficiencies, it won’t work.

You have to have good accountability in place for the agents [especially as you grow and scale]…Having systems in place that will automatically have checks and balances in terms of productivity is absolutely key. Otherwise, there’s just no way you can manage that process manually.

 

Call Center 1.0 vs 2.0

 

Michael

Michael Velardi at 2.0 Call Center Webinar

Michael Velardi

The 1.0 model was literally to shovel weeds in, beat them to death, call the new leads 12 times. And then give me more. Just, I killed them. They’re dead. Give me more. And it never valued longevity.

Where 2.0 is, you’re measuring the data and your agent’s rest time, your live contact rates. And it’s really allowing you to do more with less because your contact rates increased so much that it becomes a detriment if you buy too much new [data].

The days of too much new data is just as bad as, ‘Oh no. All we have is old data.’ Because, you have to use both, you can’t have one without the other. And I’ve learned a much more manageable approach for the company based on data usage, data costs, and modeling. And we’ve reduced our outbound cost on data by 25%.

What most of these 2.0 things sum up is quick, actionable information…[with] movements such as agent efficiency, manager efficiency, dialer efficiency. I think what the focus and the shift has become is the data is so readily available [with real time metrics] that now I’m able to make a move—where I’m not post-Tuesday looking at what Monday’s results were. So there’s no, ‘Good morning, I couldn’t save the game.’

 

 

Are you using strategies that maximize efficiencies for your lead generation call center?  Find out how you can improve your call center’s profitability with Convoso.

 

Schedule a Demo

[Convoso works best for call centers with 10+ seats]

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Keeping It Compliant: Legal Aspects of Running a Virtual Outbound Call Center

By | Work From Home Agents, WFH Webinar Series, TCPA and Compliance, Webinars & Events | No Comments
Work From Home Webinar Series.

Convoso teamed up with attorneys Michele Shuster and Lisa Messner of Mac Murray & Shuster for a 30 minute presentation in this second of our popular Work From Home [WFH] webinar series. Over 100 people tuned in to learn about legal considerations of operating a remote call center.* 

Here you’ll find some of the essential points covered in the presentation, hosted by Convoso CEO Nima Hakimi, to help keep your virtual call center operation legally compliant. Check out the webinar in the video below for details not covered in this summary.

[If you missed our first webinar on setting up a WFH call center and managing the productivity of remote agents, you can read the summary and watch the video in our blog.]

Develop a Remote Work Plan

 

Remote work is here to stay.

The work from home model represents cost-savings and flexibility in the hiring pool. For many call centers, a remote operation may be the new normal. It’s time now, if you weren’t doing it before, to give thought and consideration to a comprehensive set of policies and procedures. 

Know key points of new legislation. Tax credits for two weeks paid sick leave.

One of the first things employers need to do is familiarize themselves with the newly-passed Families First Coronavirus Act, an amendment to the existing Family Medical Leave Act [FMLA]. Employers with fewer than 50 employees must provide two weeks’ worth of paid sick leave if employees are unable to work because they’re subject to quarantine or isolation, are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, are caring for someone who is in quarantine or isolation, and/or have children in schools that have closed. Some hardship exemptions exist for companies with fewer than 30 employees.

Employers also receive tax credits to offset the costs of providing this paid leave. 

Increases in unemployment benefits.

Extending the unemployment benefits can be very helpful when companies want to keep their employees, but need to temporarily cut staff by layoffs or furlough. 

Record Hours Worked. Track via dialer, keep records 3 years.

It’s the employer’s legal obligation to track the time and the hours employees are working. In some states, meal periods are mandatory. For a remote call center, your employees may track time through a dialer system. Training is essential to make sure they understand how to track their time accurately, so they’re not working off the clock, or logging hours for work when they’re not working. Keep time records a minimum of three years.

“In terms of policies, procedures, privacy, all those things, what you need to do from an employment standpoint is training, training, training. And make sure your employees understand what their guidelines are and what that obligation looks like.” —Lisa Messner

 

When Employees Return to the Office

Communicate On-site Safety Measures

Implement precautions with masks, handwashing stations, hand sanitizing for employees so they feel safe. 

Screenings and Privacy

You need to implement some type of screening method. Keep in mind that the employees have privacy protections covered by  The Americans with Disabilities Act [ADA] and/or state disability discrimination statutes.

Handling Sick Employees

Employees who get sick should be sent home, and instructed not to return until they’re symptom-free for at least 24 hours. Privacy issues apply in terms of identity disclosure. Should the returning employee need some kind of accommodation, for example more frequent breaks for oxygen due to post respiratory illness, the employer is under obligation to provide that accommodation in accordance with the ADA. 

Downsizing

If you should need to downsize employees as your operation returns to the office, make sure you document the decisions through measurable and objective standards, such as seniority or quantifiable performance issues.

 

Risk Assessment – Privacy & Compliance

A risk assessment is critical. It reveals privacy concerns you should have about your remote call center operation. Take a look at the different regulations imposing privacy restrictions (e.g., GDPR, HIPAA, GLBA, other consumer protection laws) and what security measures are considered adequate to protect the privacy of sensitive consumer information.  

“You have to look at what the risk type is. Is it that we’d be violating the law? Is it that if we had some type of privacy breach that it would damage our reputation? Are we concerned about identity theft? Is it trade secrets? You have to analyze.” —Lisa Messner, Parter, MacMurray & Shuster

Collecting Information

What are your business objectives for collecting information? Ask strategic questions about what information you collect and why. And then review what controls you have in place, which are still needed based on the requirements of the laws, and document your conclusions. 

Tech Concerns

Assess what kind of controls or lack of controls are in the home. Consider internet connection/WiFi, firewalls, data encryption, and use of personal computers/devices, which can pose an increased risk of ransomware, malware and other security vulnerabilities. 

Home Environment

Protect data from inadvertent access of others in the home environment, including overheard phone conversations by people and personal assistant devices such as Alexa, Google Home & Siri. Documents left out in public areas of the home or put on unsecured removable media (e.g., flash drives, CDs, DVDs), as well as not adhering to systems such as a Clean Desk policy can also be an issue. Training will be critical here.

Mitigation Steps

Determine what can be done to mitigate the risks identified by your risk assessment, and develop a comprehensive set of policies and procedures. Establish minimum security requirements like prohibiting the use of public WiFi, encrypting whole drives, using work-issued devices instead of personal devices, and maintaining robust IT assistance so employees don’t self help. 

Be sure to document the solutions, policies, and procedures you establish.

“Your best line of defense to prevent data breaches and other privacy breaches that can be very costly both in terms of reputation and statutory fines is to make sure you’re training your agents so that they understand where the vulnerabilities are.” — Michele Shuster

TCPA Violations

You need to do the same level of risk analysis and mitigation for TCPA compliance as you do for privacy, with documented and defendable positions for all of your campaigns.

Affidavits for WFH Agents  

You’ll need to have written agreements with agents you’re allowing to work at home. Those agreements should specify what type of things can and cannot be done in the work at home environment. You need to document everything from IT controls to the types of action that can be taken on the computer. Agents working from home need to sign that they have read and understood the policies, and that the work at home situation is a privilege and not a right and can be revoked at any time.

 

Compliance Safeguards Your Dialer Should Be Providing

Never has it been more important to have technological support to make sure you’re compliant. Whether it’s scrubbing against Do Not Call lists, conforming to individual  state laws, applying tools to avoid over-dialing, or protecting your caller ID reputation.

State-by-State Compliance

Every state has different requirements. There are state-specific disclosures and restricted call times, days of the week, and specific holidays. For example, your dialer should not be making a call to anyone in Alabama on the first Monday in June because it’s Jefferson Davis Day. In some states, the agent needs to give their full name, or their address, while in others, they can’t rebuttal. 

You want to be sure your dialer is up-to-date with all the rules. As an example, in response to Covid-19, New York now has rules restricting calls if you don’t have an existing business relationship. 

“I can’t imagine how an agent can remember which disclosures to use, especially with changes going on all the time. At Convoso we implement smart scripting capability which, based on recognizing the state that the call is either coming from or going out to, displays the appropriate disclosures into the script.” —Nima Hakimi, CEO

Download our STATE BY STATE CALLING RESTRICTIONS quick reference chart, courtesy of MacMurray & Shuster.

 

Contact Center Compliance Solutions

Convoso offers a contact center solution that’s proactive around helping you to stay compliant with a number of compliance-focused features, such as scrubbing against an internal Do Not Call list, more advanced lead redial/recycle logic to maximize contact rates while making sure that you’re not overdialing your leads, and integration with third-party compliance solutions such as ActiveProspect, TrustedForm, or Jornaya. 

 

Q&A

The question and answer period continued for another 15 minutes following the 30-minute webinar presentation. Be sure to listen to the whole webinar to hear even more information on this topic as the attorneys answer participant questions.

 

Watch the webinar presentation in this video

About Our Speakers

Michele Shuster is a founding partner of Mac Murray & Shuster and former Chief of the Ohio Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section. 

  • Advises highly regulated businesses on a wide range of privacy, advertising, and other consumer protection issues. 
  • Deep background in the teleservices industry
  • Represents clients in matters before federal / state regulatory agencies, issues legal opinions on outbound dialing solutions, and conducts telemarketing compliance audits.   

Lisa Messner is a partner at Mac Murray & Shuster, where she leads the firm’s litigation practice area. 

  • Focus on consumer protection and privacy laws and regulations.
  • Has successfully defended highly-regulated businesses of all sizes in class actions, complex commercial litigation, and government enforcement actions.
*Nothing in this webinar or summary is meant to convey legal advice. You should consult an attorney for legal guidance on compliance matters.

 

At Convoso, we’ve supported remote call centers for many years. To learn more about transitioning traditional call centers of 10 seats of more to remote operations, request a demo or call 888-456-5454.

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

By | Call Center Solutions, Customer Experience, Work From Home Agents, Case Studies | 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.

 

DOWNLOAD THE DIGITAL MARKET MEDIA CUSTOMER SUCCESS STORY PDF

 

 

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.

 

How to Effectively Operate A Work From Home Call Center

By | Work From Home Agents, WFH Webinar Series, Webinars & Events | No Comments
Work From Home Webinar Series.

In this popular webinar, participants learned about best practices, technology, and tools for managing productivity of remote agents from call center expert Heather Griffin, SVP Inside Sales at Momentum Solar, and Chief Product Officer at Convoso, Bobby Hakimi.

You’ll find the essential points covered in the Work from Home (WFH) webinar in the summary below. Your call center team can thrive with a remote operation that supports a productive at-home workforce.

Watch the video to get the most from the info-packed 30-minute presentation dedicated to lead generation virtual call centers. 

 

 

“Over the last few weeks we’ve been busy working with call center owners on their transition to work from home agents. The good news is, it’s simpler than you think.” —Bobby Hakimi

 

Technical Requirements for a Work from Home Call Center

The most basic requirements to get your agents set up with a virtual dialer are a computer, a headset, and a stable internet connection.

Work From Home Call Center Hardware

WFH COMPUTER

Recommended: Provide at-home agents with laptops or Chromebooks with built-in webcams, that are dedicated to work and dialing. 

Not recommended: Personal devices, due to potential security concerns, as well as the inability to confirm technical specs and capacity to complete work-related tasks.

WFH HEADSET

Recommended: Remote agents need a headset compatible with your dialer system, preferably with echo-cancellation built into the microphone for the best possible call quality.

Not recommended: Earbuds, hand held phone, speaker phone.

Virtual Call Center Software

Recommended: A remote call center operation definitely needs a web-supported SaaS dialer platform. Choose a browser-based dialer with multiple outbound dialing modes, prioritization for inbound dialing, and built-in dynamic scripting. This will get your agents up and running more quickly and help improve quality. Convoso has these capabilities and more, and was built with remote call centers in mind—don’t hesitate to ask us if you have questions. 

Not recommended: Your agents shouldn’t have to worry about installing or updating software on their computers.

Connectivity for At-Home Call Center Employees

Recommended: A wired ethernet connection. Few things are more important to the remote call center than a reliable internet connection. Be sure to provide clear instructions to remote agents on how to connect their computer to an ethernet cable.

Less recommended: WiFi connection. 

 

Best Practices for Managing Productivity of a Work from Home Call Center

Managing at-home call center agents effectively means providing support that keeps them connected with good communication, accountable to productivity goals, and positively motivated with employee engagement. 

Communication best practices for your remote team

Hearing the voice of leadership give clear direction and guidance, and seeing familiar faces makes a big difference in keeping your WFH agents motivated.

  • Hold a brief daily company and/or team meeting led by a member of leadership. Use this opportunity to communicate essential company updates, events, goals, and shoutouts through video conference technology [eg, Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Team, Slack] to connect the call center team with leadership and with one another.
  • Instant messaging/chat is your go-to tool for individual and small group communication throughout the day. Broadcast chat helps leadership get out quick messages to the remote team. 
  • One-on-one meetings, preferably via webcam, give supervisors and employees the opportunity to communicate clearly about goals, historical performance, and career growth and progression. “You should make it a 360 and really hear back from the employee and what they want to see in the business. This should happen at least once a month, if not twice a month, or weekly if possible.”
  • Email is best for high-level communication, especially as a follow-up to your daily team meeting. When agents are dialing, they’re typically not checking their email—nor do you want them to. So reserve email for communication that isn’t time sensitive.
  • Have a remote communication plan for handling call escalations. Is an escalation now going to be taken as a call back? Or are you going to transfer the call to a supervisor? What if the supervisor’s not available?

“Make sure you have a really clear path for all of your workflows when you move to remote.”
—Heather Griffin

 

Accountability tools when managing work from home agents

Your agents are now working from home. So the question is, how are you going to monitor their time and productivity? You need tools that provide real time reporting and historical analytics.

“Right now, we’ve got about 400 agents working remotely from home, and we are able to see what they’re doing at any time.” —Heather Griffin

 

Real Time Reporting Tools

You want a dialer system that shows in real time what’s happening with your at-home agents, with a clear dashboard to monitor every employee and their status. Who’s on a dead call, on not-ready or pause, how many calls are active, and how many agents are available. Also, important to watch in real time are your abandonment rates, if you’re dropping calls, your dial speed, and if you’re running out of data. A good system will also automatically email production reports at regular intervals.

Quality Assurance Monitoring and Scoring Software

With real time reporting you may be able to see when remote agents are on calls. What you can’t see is the quality of the call. How do you ensure that agents stay on script, follow compliance regulations for the state they’re dialing, and aren’t losing their temper with customers? New software technology offers automated QA on 100% of calls. 

Dynamic Scripting and State Filters

When calling different states, it’s critical to have customizable filters so you can comply with various state, and even city, regulations. The same business may also have a different sales approach in one region over another and use different scripts to reflect that. 

 

Historical Reporting of Remote Agent Performance

In contrast to real time reporting, historical reports are metrics to analyze the next day or for whatever period you want to track trends. Understand how at-home employee paid time is spent, agent performance, and how your lists are converting [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

[or not!]

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Time Clock Monitoring

Tracking productive agent time becomes particularly critical when operating a remote call center, in order to ensure that agents are on-task during their scheduled hours. In some cases, agents might clock in to get paid, and go on to other activities before they actually clock into the dialer. By checking daily, managers also see if this happens on breaks and lunch.

Disposition and Pause Time Reporting

Virtual call center managers should be tracking employee utilization, which is the percentage of the time you’re paying an employee that they’re on a workable status. Work from home agents should aim for a utilization of 80% talk time (waiting for a call or talking on a call), and a pause and dispo time of 20%. Heather says, “This is a standard report that’s incredibly imperative and I don’t see it happen at every call center.”

Agent Performance Reporting

A standard report showing number of calls taken, number of sales, some conversions like percentage of sales to data. and so on.

List Conversion Report 

“You need this report more than you probably know. Having a system capable of doing this kind of reporting is so incredibly important. It’s going to show you who you’re talking to, and is it working.” —Heather Griffin

The List Conversion Report gives you a quick Profit-Loss statement for your call center lists. It combines revenue and billable hours, and gives an overall profit-loss for the report period you run. Heather says, “I can see if a list is burnt because our contact rates are super low. I can see a list that’s converting. And more importantly, I can turn off lists where we talked to a lot of people and it didn’t result in sales.”

Some key information available in the List Conversion Report:

  • Highly customizable to how you’d like to see the metrics. Edit by a 15 minute period, by 30 minute, by an hour, by last month, by the whole year.
  • How many leads dialed and how many leads actually got on the phone
  • Contact rate 
  • Number of sales
  • Transfer rate 

Heather sums up the importance of knowing your remote call center’s profitability. “Opportunity costs are our biggest costs as call center owners. We’ve got payroll, we’ve got overhead, we’ve got telephony. So if I’m spending a long time talking to a lot of people and it’s not resulting in sales, then I’m wasting a lot of payroll.”

 

Employee Engagement for the at-home call center agent

“There’s so much great technology out there. It can alert us and catch bad behavior. It can tell us who our top performers are. However, especially in this moment of uncertainty and fear, it’s even more powerful to remind yourselves that as leaders, as managers, for ultimately all people, employee engagement is key to a successful remote call center.” —Heather Griffin

When you operate a physical call center, there’s an audible bustle and energy that comes from having many agents in one place, working together toward the same goal. While working from home is different, there are many ways to create positive connections with shared activities that continue to build a relationship.

Besides the daily meetings mentioned earlier, make sure there’s a way to recognize people. Show leaderboards, provide spiffs, and offer loads of public praise and acknowledgement whenever you get the opportunity.

You can use webcam meeting tools to encourage recreational interaction for your team with games, virtual happy hour, trivia night, celebrating birthdays, and so much more.

“Finding ways to have games and virtual meetups is a really fun thing to do and the employees really like it…I can’t emphasize enough how much the cameras make a big difference.” —Heather Griffin

 

Training of new at-home agents

Onboarding for the remote call center operation means taking advantage of eLearning programs, sharing of slide presentations over Zoom or other platforms, roleplaying over webcam, and other methods. 

Career Progression – the path to retention

Make sure your call center agents know specifically what the steps are to progress in their jobs. This gives them incentive to focus on achieving their goals. Heather says, “If you don’t have a formalized career progression program, you need one for remote working. It’s monotonous, repetitive, you never get out of your pajamas, you’re always in the same cycle. In my career progression programs, it’s very clear. If you’re here for six months and you meet these expectations, you’re eligible for a lead training program. And that gives people hope, and it helps with retention.”

Compensation plans should offer incentive rewards targeting behaviors where you’re seeking improvement, based not only on productivity metrics, but also QA and utilization scores.

 

A Future Vision for Call Centers

In response to a question at the end of the webinar about what might happen to call center remote operations when things are back to normal, Heather says:

“I’ve always thought this is where we’d be going. We’ve been building technology around remote call centers for a long time. Now that we’re seeing how effectively it can be done, I certainly think that this will change the landscape. I genuinely think that a lot of call centers won’t go back into the office.”

The uncertainty and difficulty caused by the COVID-19 outbreak has forced all industries to get creative in order to remain competitive. Call centers are no exception. We admire the commitment of our call center customers to maintain business continuity and keep their agents employed. 

Work from home call center operations are discovering new ways of managing productivity and driving profits. Hiring remote agents expands the talent pool and geographic options. And, working at home offers flexibility and opportunity for modern employees, especially Millennials and Gen Z. 

At Convoso, we’ve supported remote call centers for many years. To learn more about transitioning traditional call centers of 10 seats of more to remote operations, request a demo or call 888-456-5454. 

 

Watch the webinar presentation in the video below.

 

 

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work from home call center agent

Easily Transition Call Center Agents to Work From Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By | Work From Home Agents | No Comments

Despite plenty of uncertainty in today’s world, you can rely on this: Convoso is experienced in helping call centers stay productive as they switch to remote agents.  

We know how it works. We have been doing it for a while. Even before the Coronavirus pandemic, 50% of our customers operated with remote agents.

Our browser-based solution is based on flexible, advanced technology that allows you to smoothly transition your agents to work from home. Your team could be in operation right away with as little as a Chromebook, a headset, and a stable internet connection.

Our customer at NextGen Leads, George Mueller (VP Sales & Operations), has 80 agents who work from home with Convoso’s omnichannel contact center software. Here’s what he had to say this week, “We’ve even seen an increase in our productivity since transitioning to remote agents.”  

 

Setting up your team for success

One of Convoso’s core values is to be positive. While acknowledging that this is an incredibly challenging time for everyone, we are committed to making lemonade from lemons. That’s why we’re here to help you maintain productivity for your call center operation, so you can stay competitive. [Join our webinar series to hear call center, technology and legal experts speak on a variety of topics related to virtual call centers].

Our solution gives you an advantage in the current marketplace, because many of the dialers used by your competition lack the capabilities to quickly and easily transition their employees to at-home workers.

  • Effortless Start up.  Our solution is completely web-based, so unlike other dialers, there is no need for every agent to have software installed. We suggest buying agents low cost Chromebooks. Agents can access the Convoso dialer as long as they have a reliable internet connection.
  • Tools to Manage and Monitor Productivity.  Numerous features such as the Agent Monitor, Agent Productivity Report, Wrap-up Time Limit and more help manage agent efficiency.
  • Listen and whisper.  Admins can listen in on calls, whisper to agents, and jump in on conversations if needed.
  • Automations and workflows help you to keep an active workforce that continues to meet your goals.
  • Broadcast text messages to one or more agents in real time through the Agent Monitor and get visibility on who has acknowledged the message. With this feature you can quickly update agents or motivate the team.
  • Real time analytics, such as the List Conversion Report and Status Lead Penetration Report, enable you to follow the data trends of the day and maximize the efficiency of your leads and WFH agents.

 

All you need to support work from home agents

  • Stable internet connection
  • Chromebook
  • Headset

 

Let’s be creative in thinking of new ways of accomplishing our goals. Most of us learn by adaptive problem solving and embracing solutions we may never have considered otherwise. Keep in mind that WFH agents also give employers access to a bigger pool of talent, who can live in a variety of locations.

How are you adapting to the current situation?   Please know that Team Convoso is here to support you in your efforts.

LEARN MORE in our April 22 webinar on “Keeping It Compliant: Legal Ramifications of Operating a Virtual Call Center”

 

Contact us about how we can help you convert your agents and admins to effective at-home workers.

 

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