Top 10 Contact Center Blog Posts for 2016
Illustration by Jules Duarte

As we approach the close of another year on the Pipeline blog, we wanted to take a quick look back to see which posts were most popular among contact center professionals. The topics ranged from a debate on the value of NPS in the contact center, to how to proactively welcome callers, to omnichannel strategies to… well, read them for yourself! The following are the top 10 most-read posts in 2016.

To NPS or Not NPS
If, by chance, you are unfamiliar with the phrase Net Promoter Score (NPS), it is a way of scoring customer loyalty based on the customer’s zero-to-10 rating on the question: “How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?” The concept was presented in a “Harvard Business Review” article in 2003, and continues to spark debate across the business world. In many organizations, it has worked its way deep into the contact center scoreboard.

The Welcome Call
In my last post, I looked at a few Do’s and Don’ts of Proactive Contacts. Not sure how to get started with proactive work? Most organizations start with cross-sell or upsell initiatives added to inbound calls. That might be OK, but the added handle time can cause some real turmoil, especially if no extra staff has been provided. For my money, a welcome call program (in which new customers are contacted during their first 30 days as a customer) is a great way to get started with a proactive initiative. You can limit the calling to times when inbound is slow, thereby ensuring little disruption to your main service channel.

Inside View: CARiD
When you think of brands that deliver service that “wows” customers, an automotive aftermarket parts and accessories business may not be the first thing that springs to mind. CARiD is working to change that. The online retailer is focused on providing an engaging customer experience similar to the type of personal attention offered by a VIP in-store concierge. That can be a tall order for a global operation with a presence that is strictly online. We recently spoke with CARiD’s Director of Customer Experience Gerald Major about the company’s vision for revolutionizing the online shopping experience for its customers.

Top Challenges When Evolving from Multi- to Omnichannel
While many organizations are currently providing multichannel customer service, few as yet have evolved their strategy and systems to deliver a true omnichannel customer experience—one that is seamless and personalized, even when switching channels. What are the top challenges that contact centers face when transitioning to an omnichannel strategy? The following are key insights from industry solutions providers.

The Ugly Truth About Agent Occupancy (Or Why 85% May Be Too Low)
All my talk about Occupancy makes me realize two things: First, many people may not know what exactly it is. Second, they may not know how to calculate its effects. Because of this, people make generalizations about what a good occupancy should be. For most of my career, I have heard that you never want to run much higher than 85% Occupancy, because that makes employees get back-to-back calls and work too hard. Of course, being a math guy, I had to see if this was true. And, in turn, this led me to understand how the definition of Occupancy can play a big factor in what would be acceptable.

Being Your Personal Best as a Contact Center Leader
Being a contact center leader is a demanding job. You have a large number of people to lead. You have an overwhelming array of statistical performance measurements to track and analyze, such as average handle time, schedule adherence, personnel budgets, workforce management, voice of the customer tracking, etc. You also need to keep your department informed regarding new products, systems and company changes.

15 Ideas for Showing Agents Appreciation: Ideas 1-5
August is a good time of the year to think about ways to recognize your frontline staff for the important role that they play in the organization’s success. National Customer Service Week (Oct. 3-7) is right around the corner, so many contact centers are already planning activities and events to show agents some extra love for their hard work and commitment.

Key Metrics to Include in Your Omnichannel Strategy
Our omnichannel series has offered key insights from industry experts on the top challenges that contact centers face when transitioning their strategy from multichannel to omnichannel, the important first steps to take on your journey, how to prioritize customer channels, and how to track the customer’s experience through multiple channels. In this post, our experts offer their thoughts on which metrics will ensure that all channels are aligned with the omnichannel strategy.

WFM Excel Trick for Counting Days
I am a workforce manager, which means I need to count days for many reasons: payroll days for my staffing models; working days, so that I don’t apply shrinkage to people on vacation or FMLA; and index days, so I don’t treat a month with 10 weekend days the same way I would treat a month with eight weekend days. When it’s time to count weekdays only, I use the NETWORKDAYS function in Excel. It’s super easy and only needs three entries: start date, end date, and the holidays in that period.

Management 101: Flying by the Seat of Your Pants
“Flying by the seat of your pants” is an expression coined by World War II fliers. It was used to describe flying when instruments were not working or when weather interfered with visibility. This expression also applies to a particular “management style” engaged in by many contact center leaders. However, let’s not limit this style to only one business unit or industry since it appears to be quite popular.