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Connections Magazine_ Sept 2010


									                                          SEPTEMBER 2010



Branch Out and GROW!

                          Messaging &

 Contact &



                                Get the solutions you need from
                              AMTELCO’s NEW Online Features List:
                                                                      BROKERS                                                            EQUIPMENT

                                                                           Mergers & Acquisitions

                                                  AS AS
AGENT OUTSOURCING                                                     BILLING SOFTWARE brokering
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                                                                                                                                                                                                        PROFESSIONAL Directory
                                                                                         listings available on our web site.
                                                                                      Steve Michaels - TAS Marketing

                                                 T T

                                                                                     406-827-4131 • Fax: 406-827-4554
                                                                                  Mergers & Acquisitions
                                                                                  We offer Telephone Answering Service brokering
                                                                                  We offer Telephone Answering Service brokering
                                                                                  and Private Business hosting. We also sell Call
                                                                                  and Private Business hosting. We also sell Call
   12 Academy Avenue                                                                Centers & Voice Mail Companies. Current
                                                                                    Centers & Voice Mail Companies. Current
 Atkinson, NH 03811, USA
ASSOCIATIONS                                                              BUSINESS BROKERS
                                                                                        listings available on our web site.
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     Charlene Glorieux
                                                                             Steve Michaels - TAS Marketing
                                                                            Steve Michaels - TAS Marketing
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        Dan L’Heureux /Exec Dir.                                                                                        TASECO
                                                                                        telephone answering
                                                                            29 years of203-371-6423 experience
       Charlene Glorieux
       800-718-1712                                                                                                                  888-527-2224

          866-896-ATSI                                                                                                                     AFFORDABLE TAS EQUIPMENT
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        Atlantic StatesTelephone                                      CONSULTING
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            Dan L’Heureux /Exec Dir.                                                                                                      • Search consultants to most of the top ten service
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    We are MORE thanFall ConferenceweChicago IL
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            Dan L’Heureux /Exec Dir. USERS                                    Voice Logging Recorders                                         TASECO
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   Dan L’Heureux Exec DirectorUSERS GROUP
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               DanL’Heureux–ExecDir-763-473-0210                                                                                                        Small companies, too.
                              October 22-24, 2007                                             Record/PlayTek, Inc.                                     ,
                    National Amtelco
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                         Dan L'Heureux                                              
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                   Equipment Owners
 Services Association
                                                                                                                                           Dedicated telesales/customer service searches
  An association of Amtelco users dedicated to education,                                                                                  since 1981—the first and the best!
      networking, and development of best practices
                  Southern Telemessaging                                                                                                         R.L. Bencin & Associates
             Association                                                                                                                         440-526-6726 •
Connections Magazine •                                                                                                             SEPTEMBER
                                                                                                                                               2010 • 3
    We are MORE than just a cruise, we TRAIN!                            Voice Logging Recorders
           Dan L'Heureux Exec Director                                             NOT JUST ONE SOLUTION
       800-475-0857 •
                                                                                  Recording, Monitoring, Bridges
                                                                                                                                         HOSTED SYSTEMS
                                                     2010 v18.7

Cover Stories
                     A Guide to
                     Phone-Append Services .........12
                     By Scott Rice
                     The phone-append process is any procedure
                     that adds a phone number to another type
                     of contact data, typically a name and address.
                     There are many types of phone-append
                     processes and quality grades. Being a
                     well-informed buyer can reduce your
                     unreachable numbers, increase your
                     contact ratio, and improve your
                     conversion rate.

                     Professional Directory....................3
                     From the Publisher .........................7
                     “Contact Center Survey Summary”

                     Industry News ................................9
                     Advertiser Listing.........................27
                     Coming Events.............................30

4 • SEPTEMBER 2010   • Connections Magazine
Features                                                                     22
                             A MultiMillion Dollar Trap: Recording                        Is First Call Resolution
                             Customer Service Calls .................................17   the Top Agenda?............................................26
                             By Perrie Weiner, Edward Totino,                             By Gary Schwartz
                             Joshua Briones, and Ana Tagvoryan                            First Call Resolution (FCR) should be
                             Call monitoring and recording helps                          a top priority for call centers. In general,
                             with agent training, quality assurance,                      pursuing this increases customer satisfaction
                             and quality control. However, it can                         and decreases repeat calls, thereby saving
                             also expose the call center to a legal                       time and money. However, what constitutes
                             liability of hundreds of millions of                         a “resolved” transaction for the call center
                             dollars if it is not implemented                             may not be so for the customer.
                             according to local law.
                                                                                          The Sliding Scale of Power Strategy............27
                             Why Are We So Afraid to                                      By Steve Michaels
                             Standardize Call Center Processes? ............22            In the initial stages of selling a business,
                             By Glenn Pasch                                               the seller has all the power, but as the
                             When there is no standardized structure                      deal progresses power shifts to the buyer.
                             for all trainers to follow, then each one                    Unscrupulous buyers use this to their

                             will promote their own version of how to                     advantage to gain more favorable terms
                             best process calls. This creates confusion                   than they originally offered; this is called
                             and frustration later on when attempting to                  the sliding scale of power strategy.
                             manage and supervise agents.

                             Global Telecommunications
                             Leader Outsources Web Chat ......................24
                             By Jim Iyoob
                             Having an Internet presence for
                             customers to place orders is essential,
                             but many companies find that customers
                             leave prior to checkout. Fortunately,
                             the customer experience can be greatly
                             improved by offering online chat to
                             answer questions, provide information,
                             and resolve customer issues.

Whitepapers                                                                                             24
 Find more information online:
 • The Call Center’s Main Purpose Is to
    Retain Customers, presented by                 Read more articles online at:
    Mike Desmarais of SQM Group                    • Real-Time Performance Reviews, by Jim Whitt
 • Dashboard Design for Real-Time                  • Working with Your Spouse: Navigating the Family-Owned Business,
    Situation Awareness, presented by                by Zelda Greenberg
    Inova Solutions                                • Motivating with More Than Money, by Gregg Gregory
 • SIP-based Notification Systems,                 • Why You Should Create a Business Plan, by Gene Siciliano
    presented by Avaya                             • Should Social Media Replace Cold-Calling? by Mark Hunter
                                                   • Train the Trainer Before Training Others, by Jim Hopkins

Connections Magazine •                                                                      SEPTEMBER 2010 • 5
               Here. olution!
       ure is osted S
  e Fut rue H
Th T
           Center Solution Gives You More Freedom.
   No Call

                We Host The H
      ucing                   ardware, Y
Introd                                  ou Run Your B
                                                      us   iness.

      Connections                             MAGAZINE
                                                                                  FROM THE PUBLISHER
Publisher/Editor                                            Peter DeHaan
   Phone .................................................866-668-6695
Display/Classified Advertising ...............Valerie Port
   Phone .................................................866-668-6694
                                                                               Contact Center Survey                                       Peter DeHaan, Ph.D.
   Fax .....................................................866-668-6698
Designer/Production.......................David Margolis
   Phone .................................................866-668-6696

                                                                                       ontactBabel recently released the third edition of its The US Contact
   Fax .....................................................215-369-0144
                                                                                       Center Operational Review. Last year, in the March 2009 issue of
             48955 Hickory Lane • Mattawan, MI 49071                                   Connections Magazine, I highlighted some data from the “outsourcing”
                                          section of their second edition. This time I want to report on some of the
                                                                               broader findings. Of course, you can study the 251-page report yourself, but
         Upcoming Insertion Deadlines:                                         gleaning the highlights here will be much quicker.
           Article/PR Space
Issue      Deadline Deadline Featuring                                              For the 5 percent of Connections Magazine readers who work outside the
                              Offshore Call Center Listing                     United States, do not dismiss this report. If you serve the US market, this
Oct        Sept 6     Sept 10 Remote Agents/Distributed Call Centers,          information is most applicable to your work, and if you don’t serve the
                              Message Taking System Software
Nov        Oct 4      Oct 8   Annual VoIP Coverage,
                                                                               US market, know that many US contact center trends and realities still have
                              Complete Teleservice Agency Listing              relevance for your center. To include as much information as possible in this
Dec        Nov 8      Nov 12 2011 Buyer's Guide                                short space, I will be concise. Here goes:
Mission: To be the principal clearing house of relevant and
                                                                                    Quality: The majority of respondents said that the most important measure
practical information for the teleservices industry.                           of quality is giving correct information to the customer; second is providing a
                                                                               consistent experience. Interestingly, complying with regulations ranked fifth
Distribution: Connections Magazine is distributed monthly
(with combined Jan/Feb and Jul/Aug issues) to the TeleServices                 out of five. This is not to dismiss compliance, but to indicate that most do not
industry, including outsource call centers, telephone answering                see compliance as a chief quality indicator. The lack of investment in
services, and industry professionals who actively buy and sell                 systems was cited as the biggest challenge to providing quality.
products and provide service to this industry. The distribution list is
continuously monitored and updated via the Connections Website                      Scripting: One third of contact centers do not use scripting; 20 percent use it
(, reader requests, and the change                 only for “new or inexperienced agents”; and almost half use scripting for all agents.
of address service from the U.S. Postal Service. POSTMASTER:                        Quality Assurance Methods: The top QA method is call recording, followed
Send address changes to Connections Magazine, 48955 Hickory Ln,
Mattawan, MI 49071.
                                                                               by call monitoring. The use of performance dashboards was third, followed
                                                                               closely by customer surveys (the only external measurement on the list).
Subscriptions: Connections Magazine is an advertiser
supported magazine. It is sent free to individuals and companies in
                                                                               Interestingly, call scripting did not rate that high as a QA method. This might
the outsourcing and teleservices industry. Subscribe at                        that suggest that the benefit of scripting is primarily for consistency purposes.                                                  Customer Satisfaction: Customer satisfaction (c-sat) is primarily
Notice: Advertisers and their agents assume all liability for content,         tracked by one of three methods: an IVR survey at the end of the call, a post-call
including text, representation, and illustration of any advertisement          mailed survey, or a post-contact outbound survey call (sometimes by a third
included in this magazine as well as for any claims made against the
publisher arising therefrom. The publisher reserves the right to reject any
                                                                               party). Overall, c-sat increased slightly from the prior survey, with 66 percent
advertising that is not in keeping with the standards of the magazine and to   giving it the highest rating. However, c-sat varied greatly by vertical
add the word “advertisement” to any ad herein. The publisher makes no          market, with insurance leading the way (outsourcing was second, but trailing
claims regarding the legality or condition of any goods or services            considerably). Verticals with the lowest c-sat ratings were transportation and
advertised in this magazine. Opinions expressed in this magazine are those
of the authors and not necessarily those of Connections Magazine or any of     travel; healthcare was the second lowest.
its agents. The information contained herein is for informational purposes          Agent Training: The agent training method most often deemed as “very
only and is not intended to provide legal, medical, tax, or any other          useful” was live call taking, followed by mentoring (which was the highest
professional advice or counsel.
                                                                               esteemed when also considering those who also rated it as “useful.”) The buddy
                                                                               system also received good ratings, but e-learning and classroom lectures did not.
           Other Publications and Websites:                                         Becoming Fully Productive: It takes almost seven weeks for an agent to
                                                                               become “fully productive.” The time for inbound agents was slightly longer
                                            at 7.5, whereas outbound was a relatively short 5.3. Interestingly, mixed
                           s                                                   agents (doing both inbound and outbound) become fully productive quicker
                                                 than those doing just inbound, at 6.7 weeks.
                                                                                                                                          (Continued on page 8)

 Connections Magazine •                                                                                       SEPTEMBER 2010 • 7
(Continued from page 7)

      This also varied considerably by vertical                                           at 15.7 percent. (Therefore, staff compensation
market. Insurance was by far the longest at Clearly, the outsourcing is 69 percent of a contact center’s total expenses).
sixteen weeks. (Recall that the insurance                                                 Telephone costs were 8.8 percent; IT, 7.2 percent;
vertical also had the highest c-sat ratings.) vertical has the ability to rent, 4.9 percent; utilities and taxes, 4 percent;
The lowest time to become fully productive                                                “other” expenses, 6.1 percent. Surprisingly,
was healthcare at four weeks. (Likewise,                train quickly and well. there was not a great deal of variation between
note that healthcare had the second lowest                                                centers of different size.
c-sat rating). Interestingly, outsourcing had the second lowest             Multisite and Virtualization: Forty-three percent operated
time for agents to become fully productive at 4.2 weeks, but           multisite contact centers. The degree of virtualization varied by
also enjoyed the second highest c-sat ratings. Clearly, the            contact center size, with small centers most likely to operate
outsourcing vertical has the ability to train quickly and well.        stand-alone (60 percent) and large centers most likely to be virtual
      Ongoing Training: On average, four hours a week is               (62 percent). Overall, 29 percent of multisite operations were
giving to ongoing training, over half of which is coaching,            virtual; 43 percent, stand-alone; and 29 percent used a mix of
with the remainder split between e-learning and classroom.             stand-alone and virtual. Reasons for virtualization include
This training is focused on three areas, with roughly equal            improved ability to handle call spikes, reduced call queues,
emphases: soft skills/behavioral, internal systems/processes,          more equitable agent utilization, increased agent skill sets available
and product/marketplace changes.                                       to callers, and cost savings. The top reason for not going virtual
      Agent Activity: In considering how agents spend their            was concerns over managing multisite teams. This was closely
time, 59 percent is spent on calls, with 15 percent on wrap-up         followed by apprehension over cost and complexity.
activity, 10 percent on administrative and training functions,              Work-at-Home: A related issue to multisite and virtualization
and the remaining 15 percent as being idle. Presumably, paid           is work-at-home, with respondents’ views being significantly
breaks and lunches were excluded from these numbers.                   more positive regarding the option than in the past. Over one third,
      Call Stats: Although the variation is significant between        at 36 percent, are using some home-based agents. Large centers,
verticals, the average call length for customer service calls is       at 53 percent, are more likely to use home-based agents, with
5.6 minutes, with sales calls taking slightly longer at 6.7 minutes.   small centers’ adoption rates at 33 percent. Interestingly,
      Abandonment rates average 6.1 percent, with a median rate        medium-sized centers trail in this trend at only 20 percent.
of 4.0 percent. The mean rate is much higher than the median rate      Noteworthy is that those not using homeworkers cite effective
because of some centers with “very high call abandonment rates.”       agent management concerns (57 percent), whereas those actually
It is noteworthy that call abandonment rates are higher in smaller     employing homeworkers are much less anxious over managing
contact centers and lower in larger centers, proving the “economy      them (23 percent).
of scale” that contact centers enjoy.                                       These are the highlights from the first 100 pages of the
      The average speed to answer was 29.1 seconds, with public        report; look for more next month! ¤
service (thankfully) leading the way at a mere 10 seconds;
healthcare was second at 13.7. The technology, media, and                    As we wrapped up this issue, I was saddened by the
telecommunication verticals, as a group, was at 71.7 seconds.           news of Allen Kalik’s passing. Allen recently retired as
      The first call resolution rate averaged 75.9 percent.             president of Professional Teledata; he passed away peaceably
      Cost per call is a problematic metric to ascertain, with          on August 14, at age 59, after battling cancer. I admired
great variability within and between sectors; however, for              Allen for his business acumen and unique insights that
inbound centers, the mean average cost per call was $6.80               reduced the complex to the comprehensible. I remember his
and $9.10 for outbound.                                                 easy smile, his zest for life, and the ease at which he told
      Contact Center Costs: Not surprisingly, agent compensation        compelling stories. We send our best to his family and
was the highest cost item at 53.3 percent, with non-agent compensation  friends at this time.

                                        Check Out Our Other Call Center Publications:

       the medical call center magazine                 for medical call centers                for telephone answering services

8 • SEPTEMBER 2010                                                         • Connections Magazine
Szeto’s Call Linx Offers                                                                     Call Center Leaders
Automatic Email Encryption                                                                   to Map Out Contact
     Szeto Technologies released their new “auto encryption” service, a security             Center Strategies
feature for delivering email messages in its Linux-based Call Linx TAS system.               for 2011
This feature complies with HIPAA requirements, and the ability to encrypt messages                The International Contact Center
in the email delivery process ensures privacy and confidentiality. The new service           Expo and Conference – being held
increases the level of security in online communications, and it is especially essential     October 25-27, 2010, at the Doral Golf
for call center operations that are involved with medical professions.                       Resort & Spa in Miami – provides an
     Auto encryption in Szeto’s Call Linx TAS software is programmable on a per              opportunity for industry operations, tech-
account basis. All subscribers who have auto encryption enabled will have their              nology, and customer care executives
email messages delivered in a secure fashion. This same security also applies to             from companies around the world to
email messages sent to voice/data mobile devices.                                            meet, exchange ideas, and network.
     Encryption is completely automatic and transparent within Call Linx. When                    Joseph Morrisroe, deputy commissioner
sending email to subscribers who have the auto encryption service enabled, Call Linx         and executive director of the Office
will process the messages just as it normally does but will automatically encrypt the        of the Mayor for the City of New York is
messages before delivering them, without any agent intervention necessary.                   scheduled to deliver the keynote address
     Encryption and the certificate authority are based on industry standard                 on Tuesday morning, October 26. The
specifications widely supported by popular email programs like Thunderbird and               311 Customer Service Center, which
Outlook; service setup is via a user-friendly dialog box.                                    launched in 2003, now serves more than 8
                                                                                             million residents of New York.
Amtelco’s iPhone and iPad Apps                                                               Morrisroe plans to share some critical
Now Available at iTunes                                                                      insights about the continuously evolving
     Amtelco’s miOnCall app is available for Apple’s iPad, iPhone, and iPod                  call center, which receives more than
Touch; it can be downloaded from the iTunes store. These popular Apple products              53,000 calls every day. “This is an
provide great opportunities for new call center revenue. The miOnCall App is an              incredible story of how revolutionizing
essential mobile tool, enabling clients to view and manage their Infinity IS                 the contact center improved the overall
Web-based On-Call Schedules.                                                                 citizen experience of living in New
     Other apps that are available for download at the iTunes store include an               York,” said Ian McRae, director of
iPhone version of miOnCall and a miDash app for iPhone, which enables supervisors            conference production at IQPC.
to view Infinity IS dashboard gauges and charts in order to monitor system traffic                The conference spans three days and
from virtually anywhere. These apps also are compatible with the iPod Touch.                 includes over sixty-five sessions,
     Amtelco president Tom Curtin said, “These iPhone and iPad apps provide not              keynotes, panels, case studies, and
only our customers but also their clients with the convenience of accessing vital            workshops covering customer satisfaction,
information from wherever they need it. We are extremely pleased to offer our call           speech analytics, IVR performance, home
center customers these powerful productivity apps.”                                          agents, outsourcing customer care,
     For more information about Amtelco’s iPhone and iPad applications, call                 efficiency measurement, technology
800-356-9148 or 608-838-4194.                                                                trends, social media, and regulatory
CenturiSoft Joins Sangoma’s                                                                       Conference information is available
Global Partner Program                                                                       at
     CenturiSoft has joined Sangoma’s Global Partner Program as a Certified
Application Partner. Sangoma Technologies Corporation is a supplier of voice
and data communication applications. CenturiSoft will integrate its Centuri
Messenger with Sangoma’s NetBorder Express.
     Centuri Messenger, CenturiSoft’s unified communications system, will support
NetBorder Express by integrating TDM and VoIP networks seamlessly with existing
switch and enterprise customers. NetBorder Express communicates with IP-PBXs,
speech-enabled IVRs, conferencing servers, contact centers, and trunking gateways, using
SIP to reduce deployment time, complexity, and cost. The solution fills a void in the call
center marketplace for VoIP and TDM integration with additional capabilities, such as
Centuri Messenger’s preannounce, logging, and unified communications features.
     As a result, CenturiSoft customers will benefit from cost-effective intelligent
gateway capabilities at a very competitive price point for both TDM and VoIP networks.

Connections Magazine •                                                             SEPTEMBER 2010 • 9
The functionality between Centuri Messenger and NetBorder Express will also                  Taction Clients Win Big
provide customers with the flexibility to add new features and enhancements over                  Three companies that are clients of
traditional trunking gateways that would otherwise not be possible.                          Taction – The Contact Center were
     CenturiSoft can be purchased directly from                         recently awarded medals by Multichannel
                                                                                             Merchant, the industry’s voice on catalog
855 for Toll-Free Services to Be Implemented                                                 and Internet merchandising. The three
     The Wireline Competition Bureau of the Federal Communications                           were among thirty-six 2010 MCM
Commission (FCC) authorized opening the 855 toll-free code on October 1, 2010.               Awards honorees announced at the Retail
The announcement was made on June 25, 2010.                                                  Marketing Conference in Orlando,
     The 866 and 855 NPA (Numbering Plan Areas) codes for toll-free service                  Florida, in May.
were assigned in 1999, supplementing the 800, 888, and 877 NPAs. The 866 NPA                      Vital Choice took a gold medal for
code went into service in July 2000, but implementation of the 855 NPA was                   its glorious “Wild Pure Delicious”
deferred until now. The Database Service Management Inc. forecasted that the                 Holiday 2009 catalog. La Tienda won
current supply of toll free numbers was expected to reach the 90 percent threshold           silver for its mouthwatering “The Best of
in the fourth quarter of 2011, serving as the impetus for this action.                       Spain” Holiday 2009 catalog. Both won
     Earlier this year, the 544 NPA was assigned for personal communication                  their medals in the contest’s print category
services (PCS), and overlays were announced for Western Quebec (873 to overlay               for food and gift companies with sales
819), Oklahoma (539 to overlay 918), New York (929 to overlay 718/347),                      under $20 million. Century Novelty
Quebec (579 to overlay 450), and Arkansas (327 to overlay 870).                              won silver for their Web site,
     An overlay means that a new area code is assigned to the same geographic      , in the consumer
region as existing code(s). With an overlay, no one needs to change area codes;              specialty products division for Web sites
however, ten-digit dialing becomes required for all calls.                                   with sales under $20 million.
                                                                                                  So how does a small contact center
Connie Donohue Joins Total Support Solutions                                                 attract winning catalogers? Karen Long,
      Total Card, Inc. announced the addition of Connie Donohue as vice president of         customer relations manager at Vital
business development for its newly formed division, Total Support Solutions. Connie          Choice, sums it up, saying that her
will be responsible for developing business partnerships and designing customer              company sought “hospitality rather than
support programs for new outsource clients.                                                  mere effective processing; a contact
      Connie is a business development executive with over twenty years of experience,       center, not just a call center.”
specializing in new business acquisition and customized live agent support programs for      Additionally, Taction’s flexibility and
multichannel merchants. For the past thirteen years, Connie held the position of business    lower pricing were the lure. Of the
development executive with Midco Connections in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She               contact centers Century Novelty considered,
assisted numerous companies throughout the United States with the growth of their business   Taction was happy to use their order entry
through the support of Midco’s after-hour, overflow, and disaster recovery customer          system in real time without charging a
contact support. Connie also served as the marketing director for Midcontinent               premium.
Communications, a cable television, Internet, and local/long distance service provider.           Taction continues to seek like-minded
      Greg Ticknor, president of Total Card, Inc., stated, “With Connie’s experience         innovators who care about excellence.
and knowledge in the outsource customer contact business, we are pleased to have the
opportunity to expand our business base, and we look forward to the new opportunities
that will be made available through the establishment of this new division.”

Amtelco Infinity’s Expanded Logins Meet
HIPAA Security Requirements
     Amtelco’s Infinity software version 5.6 meets HIPAA requirements for application
access security with expanded logins. The HIPAA requirements affect any call
center with medical clients. Infinity software version 5.6 features thirty-two-character
login names and passwords for more flexibility. Previous versions of the Infinity
platform allowed up to eight upper case letters for agent login names and up to
seven numbers for agent access codes. With Infinity 5.6, operator login names can
be up to thirty-two upper case letters in length. Access codes have been replaced
with passwords that can be up to thirty-two characters in length and contain both
upper and lower case letters.
     For more information, call 800-356-9148 or 608-838-4194.

10 • SEPTEMBER 2010                                                        • Connections Magazine
Nicor National’s Call Center                                                                    Influent and PCCW
Recognized for Fourth Year                                                                      Teleservices Complete
     Nicor National’s Call Center has been recognized for excellence in customer                Merger
satisfaction for a fourth consecutive year under the J.D. Power and Associates                       Influent, a provider of outsourced
Certified Call Center ProgramSM. The Certified Call Center Program distinction                  customer sales and service solutions,
acknowledges a strong commitment by Nicor National’s call center operations to                  announced that all aspects of its merger
provide “an outstanding customer service experience.” Nicor National is a provider              with PCCW Teleservices have been
of home warranty, energy efficiency, and energy management plans, which are                     completed, with PCCW Teleservices
offered to homeowners and customers of its utility and business partners.                       making a significant investment in
     “In achieving certification for a fourth consecutive year, Nicor National has              Influent. This merger will provide
demonstrated its commitment to delivering high-quality service to its call center customers,”   Infuent’s clients with a low-cost labor
according to J.D. Power and Associates. “Call center customers are particularly                 pool to support non-voice business
pleased with the concern and knowledge displayed by customer service representatives.”          process outsourcing (BPO) work from
     Nicor National annually handles more than one million telephone, email, and                China. It will also provide for market
fax inquiries. To become certified, the call center successfully passed a detailed              entry and growth in the growing Chinese
audit of its recruiting, training, employee incentives, quality assurance capabilities,         market. This merger will allow both
and management roles and responsibilities. As part of its evaluation, J.D. Power                companies to provide a broader contact
and Associates conducted a random survey of Nicor National customers who                        center service offering, increase efficiencies,
recently contacted its Naperville, Illinois, call center.                                       expand language support, and ultimately
     For more information, visit                                         deliver a better experience for all
Convergys Hiring 3,600 New Employees                                                                 Influent has been one of the nation’s
in the Philippines                                                                              largest providers of outsourced customer
     Convergys Corporation, a global leader in relationship management, and the                 contact solutions with contact center sites
largest private employer in the Philippines, announced that it has added additional             in the U.S., the Philippines, and Panama.
capacity to five of its existing facilities in the Philippines and will hire over 3,600         This merger expands capacity in the
new employees. Citing the performance of its 20,000 existing employees in the                   Philippines, while offering clients support
Philippines and high client demand for Philippines-based services, Convergys                    opportunities in Hong Kong and China.
expanded its UP TechnoHub, Nuvali, San Lazaro, Cebu i3, and Bacolod facilities to                    For more information, visit
include 2,300 additional workstations.                                                 and
     “The additional capacity will help us meet the needs of our global customers.
I thank our 20,000-strong workforce, as our continuous expansion in the Philippines
is the result of their hard work and dedication to provide our clients and their
customers with the best possible service experience,” said Philippines country
manager and managing director Marife Zamora.
     In March, Convergys won top honors as “BPO Company of the Year” at the 2010
International ICT awards ceremony in Manila. Convergys agents in the Philippines
handle thousands of inbound calls every day for clients in a wide variety of industries,
including financial services, collections, retail, healthcare, and telecommunications.

TRG to Open New Facility in Elkins, WV
      TRG Customer Solutions, a business process outsourcing (BPO) provider of
customer management solutions and technologies, announced that it secured a contract
for the provision of inbound customer services for a leading telecommunications
company. As part of the agreement, TRG will be opening a new, state-of-the-art
facility in Elkins, West Virginia. TRG Customer Solutions is already one of the
largest private employers in West Virginia.
      In order to fulfill the workforce requirements for its new operations center, TRG
Customer Solutions will be conducting a large-scale recruitment campaign in Elkins and
anticipates hiring up to seventy associates immediately and another 200 in the next few
months. The company is offering attractive compensation packages and employee ben-
efit plans that include hourly or fixed monthly salaries, performance-based incentives,
full health benefits for all employees, retirement benefits, and other advantages.

Connections Magazine •                                                                 SEPTEMBER 2010 • 11
          A Guide to
                      By Scott Rice

12 • SEPTEMBER 2010          • Connections Magazine
                                                                                       Freshness    Field    Geographic Type   Marketing

         friend of mine recently built a new house. My wife                           (in months) Saturation Coverage Coverage Allowed?
         and I always seem to be in the midst of some kind of
                                                                   Whitepage         1-12 months     Medium     National     BRLP    Yes
         remodeling project, so we asked him about his
selection of appliances, cabinets, carpet, fixtures, and           Directory             Daily       Medium     National     BRLP    Yes
windows. We were a bit surprised by his response. He said,         Assistance
“I’m just letting my contractor select them.” To me, letting       Non-Telco         Unpredictable    High       Spotty     RLWPN    Yes
someone else select all the important options for you is like      Compiled
going out to an expensive restaurant and letting your waiter       Utility Billing     1-30 days      High      Regional    BRLWPN   No
decide what you’re going to eat.
                                                                   Special              Varies       Varies      Varies     Varies   No
     If you, like many contact centers, use a service provider     Purpose
to add and update phones numbers on your call list, you may
be unknowingly allowing someone else to decide which               * Type Coverage: B=Business; R=Resdential, L=Landline;
                                                                    W=Wireless; P=Published; n=Non-published
phone numbers are the best for you and your customers.
You may receive a pre-appended file from your clients,                   Table 1. Phone Append Data Grades and Factors
or you may send lists out for a phone-append process in
tandem with your Do-Not-Call (DNC) scrubbing. A                          Whitepage phone appends use phone numbers drawn
phone-append process is any process that adds a phone              from electronic copies of phone books. These numbers were
number to another type of contact data, most typically a           accurate and verified by the phone company, but there’s no
name and address. It may appear that “phone append” is a           guarantee that the phone number is still active.
commodity, but there are actually many different types of                Directory Assistance (DA), also known as 411 data, can
phone-append processes and quality grades. Being a                 be thought of as “what the phone book looks like right now”
well-informed information-service buyer can reduce your            data. DA data is typically updated every twenty-four to
unreachables, increase your contactability ratio, and improve      forty-eight hours, so it is very current and contains newly
your conversion rate. This article will break down the options     connected phone numbers. It also contains some records that
available to ensure the best possible results, as well as          are not published in the phone book. One of the few
examine why phone-append processes can vary so widely.             downsides of Directory Assistance data is data gaps.
                                                                   Important pieces of information such as apartment numbers, or
Question 1: How current are                                        in some cases even the entire address, may be missing if the
the phone numbers?                                                 consumer requested them to be excluded from the printed
     There are five common grades of phone-append services         phone book. Whitepage and DA/411 data can be used for
that, among other factors, define the “freshness” of the           marketing as long as the phone numbers are scrubbed against
phone numbers: white page, directory assistance, non-telco         the DNC lists.
compiled, utility billing, and special purpose. The grades are           Non-Telco Compiled data is assembled from nontypical
differentiated by a set of factors that include:                   and generally nonutility sources of phone numbers. This data
     • Freshness of the phone numbers: how quickly                 can be useful in filling in some gaps in telco-originated
          updates from the phone companies are integrated          datasets, but the freshness of this information is unpredictable.
          into the data                                            These datasets are commonly “scraped” from another type of
     • Field Saturation: how frequently each data field            information such as warranty cards or ringtone downloads.
          contains a value (especially the first name and street   Since some of these data sources are “self-reported,” use this
          address fields, which are often intermittent)            type of data carefully and don’t pay more than it’s worth.
     • Geographic Coverage: a measure of how many                        Utility Billing files contain phone numbers from either a
          phone numbers a process has access to as a percentage    telephone company or some other utility. These are generally
          of the total phone numbers available in a particular     good in quality and completeness, but they usually only cover
          geographic area.                                         a particular region of the country or a known subset of all
     • Type Coverage provided:                                     possible phone numbers. This information is both hard to
          • landline versus cell phones                            find and of limited permissible purpose. Typically marketing
          • business versus residential phones                     use is not allowed, but there may be exceptions for particular
          • published versus non-published phones                  call sponsors (such as political parties, nonprofits, or government)
     • Permissible Purpose: for what purposes can the              or for specific call purposes like non-solicitation surveys,
          phone numbers be called; common purposes include         political campaigns, and medical or emergency notifications.
          marketing, nonprofit, survey, funds/donation                   Special Purpose files are compilations of records
          solicitation, political, collections, and employment     with specifically allowed uses. They are often similar in
          verification. Another important, related issue is        restrictions to utility billing-based information, but they are
          whether the phone numbers are on one of the state or     not built primarily from utility information. There is a wide
          national DNC lists.                                                                                 (Continued on page 14)

Connections Magazine •                                                                 SEPTEMBER 2010 • 13
A Guide to Phone-Append Services
(Continued from page13)                                                    You alone control the first factor – the quality and
                                                                      completeness of the name and address data you send your
variety of special purpose information on the market, including       provider. Just keep in mind the old adage of “garbage in, garbage
those that provide some cell phone information and those built        out.” If you are buying a list from a broker or a lead-generation
primarily from voter registration records, which is usually limited   company, make sure you’re getting good quality and consistent data
for use in political campaigns. Most of the phone numbers             formatting. Make sure your file’s contact records have the right
available from these special-purpose files come with some kind        data in the right fields. Buying a file with mailing addresses in
of restriction. In fact, if someone tries to sell you a special-      the name field or vice-versa is a waste of money.
purpose file that has no restrictions, proceed with caution.               When shopping for phone-appending services, ask your
                                                                      provider how many different sources they use and the
Question 2: How deep is the ocean;                                    approximate number of contact records to which they have
how wide is the net?                                                  access. In general, bigger is better, but the third factor, search
     The most common advertised measurement in any                    effectiveness, is where the art of phone appending comes into
data-append process is the “match rate.” In the case of               play. Just having access to phone numbers doesn’t mean that
finding phone numbers for your file of names and addresses,           your provider is going to find them. Ask them how much
the match rate is a measure of how many phone numbers your            “fuzziness” they allow in their data searches. Will they find
provider returns for every 100 contact records you send               the phone number for “John McDonald, 123 Main St” if your
them. When you compare provider match rates among                     contact file uses “Jonathan MacDonald at 123 Maine St”?
phone-append service providers, it is important to be aware of        If you only want exact, literal matches, make sure they know
four factors that can significantly affect the rate:                  that. Verifying a sample of the phone numbers returned to
     1. The quality and completeness of the name and                  you is always a good idea.
         address you send your provider                                    In order to gain the broadest access to contact data, ask
     2. The breadth of data to which your provider has                your service provider how many sources are available to them as
         access                                                       well as the number of contact records to which they have
     3. How effective your provider is at finding the names           access. Having only a single data source isn’t necessarily a
         and addresses it has on files                                reason to switch to another provider, but you may want to look
     4. How broad of a match you accept                                                                         (Continued on page 16)
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14 • SEPTEMBER 2010                                                    • Connections Magazine
Take a New Look at Telescan
                                                           New look, new products,
                                                           same dedicated Telescan

Some things have                   We have the same dedicated       TAS System. Whether you need
changed at Telescan.               staff, and the same dedication   a whole new system or just
                                   to adding new products and       looking to enhance your
Most things have stayed
                                   new features and enhancements    current system, you should
the same. We have a                to our Spectrum System.          take a new look at Telescan.
new look: a new logo,
new website, new                   Telescan is also dedicated to    Check out our latest products
products for multiple              staying on the leading edge of   for all Windows® based
                                   technology. We have introduced   systems: Spectrum Funeral
platforms. But our
                                   two new products that can be     Home Manager, and Phoenix
dedication to Keeping              used on any Windows® based       Back-Up Server on our new
Your Business in Business          platform. We continue to make    website:
has not changed.                   advancements in our Spectrum

For more information contact Telescan at 1-800-770-7662
or Patty at 314-616-2445 or
A Guide to Phone-Append Services
(Continued from page 14)                                            campaign are differentiated from those for a statewide ballot
                                                                    measure; political survey use is now being differentiated from
for other providers with different data sources or a single data-   political funds solicitation use. Calls on behalf of one type of
service provider with access to multiple sources of contact data.   nonprofit may be differentiated from those on behalf of
     For example, if you or your client only want to speak to a     another nonprofit of a different kind.
specific individual, tell your provider that you don’t want               The common theme, then, for contact outsourcers is
“household-level” matches (same last name at the address but a      specificity. A contact outsourcer knows the particular type of
different first name) or “address–level” matches (same address      message or call purpose, but they may not be categorizing their
but a different name). Reputable data-service companies only        customers in enough detail to obtain access to special use files
want you to have the data that best meets your business’ need.      only available for a particular purpose or other specific criteria.
If a provider tries to sneak in address-only matches in order to          A good example of this type of categorization that has
improve their match rate and increase your charges, you should      been growing recently is that of membership. Are the
consider a new provider. Even if you have a good, long-term         individuals to whom a call is being made members of the
relationship with your data service provider, always keep in        calling organization? If so, is there any contact information
mind Ronald Reagan’s advice: “Trust, but verify.” If they have      available that is not available if the individuals are not members?
your interests at heart, they’ll appreciate your assistance in      This isn’t really a matter of whether or not a person is on the
helping them to meet your needs.                                    DNC list. All companies making outbound calls need to pay
                                                                    very close attention to following the FTC’s DNC regulations.
Question 3: What is the purpose of your call?                       Categorization of customers and call purpose is about having
     All phone calls are not created equal. You already know        the widest variety of contacts with which to start. The wider
that making a call to tell a potential customer about a great       the variety of contacts available to a call center, the better the
new product is under a different legal treatment than a call        opportunity to find someone to whom a call is allowed after
made to notify a patient of an upcoming appointment.                all the necessary regulatory filtering has taken place.
However, as general use data resources get fewer and fewer                This specificity trend seems to be increasing. As it does, you
(and hence become overused), new contact data resources are         will want to discuss with your phone-append service provider
being developed that allow outbound calling only for specific       what options you may have for broadening your access to contact
purposes. For example, calls specific to a candidate’s              information and how you can properly communicate with your
                                                                                              provider about the categorization for the
                                                                                              particular type of call (and the particular
                                                                                              call you are making).

                                                                                            Bottom Line: Don’t forget that
                                                                                            you are your phone-append
                                                                                            service provider’s customer.
                                                                                                 Remember that they may have a
                                                                                            wide variety of customers with a broad
                                                                                            spectrum of needs, so what they have “on
                                                                                            the shelf” may not be your best option.
                                                                                            Above all, make sure you tell them about
                                                                                            your specific needs and work with them
                                                                                            to give you the best quality available for
                                                                                            you and for your customers. Don’t
                                                                                            unknowingly allow someone else to
                                                                                            choose what’s best for you. ¤

                                                                                                 After spending the first half of
                                                                                            his career in traditional technology
                                                                                            development and information systems
                                                                                            management, Scott Rice has enjoyed the
                                                                                            migration to designing and overseeing the
                                                                                            development of specialized Internet-based,
                                                                                            real-time information products. Scott is
                                                                                            currently the chief information officer at
                                                                                            PacificEast Research, a West Coast-based
                                                                                            provider of information services. 

16 • SEPTEMBER 2010                                                   • Connections Magazine
A Multimillion-Dollar Trap:
By Perrie Weiner,
Edward Totino,
Joshua Briones, and
Ana Tagvoryan

        company’s success hinges on the quality and efficiency
        of its customer service. For businesses that
        provide service to customers by telephone, ensuring
quality customer service often depends upon the ability to
evaluate calls with customers – live through call monitoring
or after the fact by listening to recorded calls. However,
while call monitoring and recording aids in agent training,
quality assurance, and quality control, these methods can
expose a company to legal liability costing hundreds of
millions of dollars if call monitoring is not implemented in
accordance with local law.
                                      (Continued on page 18)

Connections Magazine •               SEPTEMBER 2010 • 17
Recording Customer Service Calls
(Continued from page 17)
     In the United States, federal and state regulations govern            For companies that have hundreds
the monitoring and recording of telephone conversations.
Many of these laws are found in the penal statutes that forbid            or thousands of calls per month, the
eavesdropping, wiretapping, and monitoring communications.
While these laws may originally have been aimed at nefarious               potential liability can easily reach
activities, like secretly tapping another person’s telephone
line, amendments have expanded these laws to cover innocent                    the multibillion-dollar range.
activity such as a company monitoring its telephone calls for
quality assurance. Indeed, although the federal law makes
one party’s consent to the recording of a telephone conversation    against such companies to the person whose “privacy” rights
a defense to a claim of unlawful recording or monitoring,           are violated. Moreover, many of the states that allow for civil
many state laws require all parties to the conversation to have     actions expressly provide for the recovery of fixed statutory
consented to the recording or monitoring, or at least be notified   damages on a per call basis, even in the absence of any actual
that the call may be monitored or recorded. To avoid liability      damages. Minimum statutory damages vary depending on the
for monitoring or recording, a business handling customer           state, but several states require $1,000 for each recording. In
calls to and from different states in the United States should      California, the minimum is $5,000 for each recording. Many
implement procedures to ensure compliance with every                of these statutes also allow for the recovery of punitive
state’s monitoring and recording regulations. Only such             damages and attorneys’ fees.
universal procedures will provide a bulletproof defense to any           The creation of a private right of action, as well as the
claim of unlawful monitoring or recording.                          fixed damages provisions of these statutes, create an incentive
                                                                    for actions to be brought for violation of the statutes on behalf
Potential Risks for Monitoring or                                   of a class of plaintiffs (i.e., class actions). Such class actions
Recording without Consent                                           are often brought on behalf of a class of consumers who
     Many state laws provide for criminal sanctions against         engaged in telephone conversations with companies that are
companies that monitor or record telephone calls without            alleged to have deficient procedures for providing notification
notice, as well as give a private right of action in civil courts   of monitoring or recording, or that experienced a technical
breakdown in their automated systems for recording or                  Businesses that take customer-facing calls from many
monitoring. In such cases, actual damages are minimal or          different states must be wary of the recording laws in the
simply do not exist, but each consumer nevertheless may be        states in which they do the recording, and the states from
entitled to the minimum statutory damages for each illegal        which they receive or to which they make calls. Indeed, in
recording. For companies that have hundreds or thousands of       2006, the California Supreme Court decided to apply
calls per month, the potential liability can easily reach         California Penal Code section 632 – which requires that both
enormous proportions in the multibillion-dollar range.            parties be notified of, or consent to, monitoring or recording –
Indeed, under California law, recording or monitoring only        to calls in which any of the parties is located in California,
200,000 calls without the required notice or consent can result   even if the recording or monitoring took place in a state that
in aggregate statutory damages of $1 billion. This is true        allowed recording or monitoring without notice or consent
even if no one suffered any actual damages.                       (see Kearney v. Salomon Smith Barney, Inc., 39 Cal. 4th 95,
                                                                  2006). The safest approach is to always provide notification
Interstate Recording                                              of monitoring or recording on every call. However, even then
and Monitoring                                                    there may be issues of whether the type of notification given
     Twelve states have statutes that in some form or another     was sufficient to obtain consent to recording.
require all parties to a telephone call to be notified or give
consent to recording or monitoring. When one of the parties       Notification and Consent:
to a telephone conversation is in a state that requires all       What’s the Right Way?
parties to consent to recording, complex choice-of-law issues          There are many different ways that a company may
arise. A comprehensive analysis of both states’ laws will         attempt to provide notice of, or obtain a consumer’s consent
determine whether the party doing the recording can take          to, monitoring or recording. For example, a company can
cover under available safe harbor provisions. For example,        give written notification of telephone monitoring or recording
some states have an exception that allows recording that takes    in their customer account agreements, email communications,
place in another state, or a choice-of-law provision or           or invoices. A company may also provide automated
interpretation that only applies the law to recordings done in    notification of recording before a call is routed to an agent, or
the state. Other states have an exception that allows recording   by using automatic beep tones during a call. A company may
without notice for business or customer service purposes.                                                 (Continued on page 20)
                      Recording Customer Service Calls
                      (Continued from page 19)

                      even instruct its customer service agents to inform customers
                      of the possibility of monitoring or recording at the beginning of
                      each call. Whether any of these methods is sufficient to
                      constitute “consent” under the statutes requiring all parties’
                      consent to recording depends on the state’s law. No statute is
                      specific with regard to the manner in which a person may
                      comply with its provisions, or the manner in which consent
                      may be implied or confidentiality defeated, although some
                      states do have regulations on the subject. The issue is mainly
                      explored and analyzed through court interpretations, support for
                      which is derived from regulations promulgated by public utility
                      commissions and tariffs of telephone communication carriers.

                              Even if notifications of monitoring
                             or recording are provided, it would
                                 be wise to have a system that
                               creates and maintains proof that
                                  such notification was given.

                           For example, the California Supreme Court has discussed
                      the effect of verbal warnings, stating directly that “[a] business
                      that adequately advises all parties to a telephone call, at the
                      outset of the conversation, of its intent to record the call
                      would not violate the [Statute]” (Kearney v. Salomon Smith
                      Barney, Inc., 39 Cal. 4th 95, 118, 2006). The rationale is that
                      “if, after being so advised, another party does not wish to
                      participate in the conversation, he or she simply may decline
                      to continue the communication” (Ibid., emphasis omitted).
                      Thus, if the party then continues with the call, he or she no
                      longer can have a reasonable expectation that the call was not
                      being recorded, thereby implying consent to the recording.
                      In California, courts that have interpreted the statute have
                      not had the occasion to analyze or decide whether tone
                      warnings may defeat confidentiality under the statute.
                      However, one court has mentioned such circumstance
                      in passing.
                           Courts have also opined that several existing legal
                      protections for communications could support the conclusion
                      that a person did or did not possess a reasonable expectation
                      of privacy in a conversation. One such existing protection is
                      found in the regulations of the Public Utilities Commission of
                      the State of California. General Order 107-B, for example,
                      provides that notice of recording shall be given “by an
                      automatic tone warning device” or “by verbal announcement
                      by the operator of monitoring equipment to the parties to
                      the communication that their communication is being
                      monitored.” However, whether compliance with CPUC

20 • SEPTEMBER 2010    • Connections Magazine
Regulation establishes immunity from suit under the
California Penal Code has not been decided.
    Even if notifications of monitoring or recording are
provided, it would be wise to have a system that creates and
maintains proof that such notification was given. Accurate            CONFIDENTIAL…
records should also be kept of the dates the recordings started,
backup procedures, storage of recordings, and software that             SECURE…
can accurately quantify and capture call volumes, caller
identifying information (including phone numbers), and                  IF YOU ARE THINKING
other data.
                                                                           OF SELLING YOUR
     There are additional factors that may come into play                 TAS OR VOICE MAIL
regarding the liability analysis for recording calls. For example,
some states, like California, make it illegal to record a telephone      BUSINESS—WE ARE
conversation only when the conversation is “confidential” –
                                                                       INTERESTED IN BUYING

                                                                       If you are considering selling your business, we
meaning that one of the parties has a reasonable expectation
that the call would not be overheard or recorded. Because of

                                                                       would welcome the opportunity to discuss your
the complexity of the analysis for any given case, companies

                                                                       needs and the direct purchase of your business.
would be wise to engage experienced attorneys to analyze and
offer recommendations on their monitoring and recording

                                                                      We will be happy to coordinate with you and your
practices. Otherwise, they may find themselves defending a

                                                                      tax advisor, if necessary, in determining effective
“bet the company” class-action lawsuit. ¤

                                                                       and sensible tax strategies relating to the sale of
    Perrie Weiner, Edward Totino, Joshua Briones, and

                                                                         your business, whether the transfer is on an
Ana Tagvoryan are with the law firm DLA Piper.

                                                                             all cash or deferred payment basis.
                                                                           Prompt quotes for full service centers
                                                                       including fixtures and equipment or account
                                                                                     only transactions.
                                                                                     Joe Truszkowski
                                                                                      Vice President
    2010 Fall Conference
                                                                                      John Sophocles
    October 11-13, 2010
    Sheraton Baltimore North -
    Towson MD

    is a Key to Life                                                      Message Centers
                                                                      Toll Free: 1-888-558-2726
Connections Magazine •                                                   SEPTEMBER 2010 • 21
Why Are We
So Afraid to
Call Center
By Glenn Pasch

    had lunch with a client recently, and we discussed               Let me give you a couple of examples:
    the areas of his business that he wants to improve. I            • Documenting the steps of a call (opening, presentation,
    uncovered a common structural flaw that many companies               discovery questions, and so forth) makes it easier to train
have: not all of the processes for employee job responsibilities         agents and follow up with them. During the execution of
are written out. Employees rely on their own notes (if they              a call, agents can focus on hitting each step that they are
take any) and the training delivered by whomever the GM or               required to hit. This is the technique; style is what wraps
site director had available at the time.                                 around technique.
     This scenario is completely dysfunctional. If three different   • Documenting the process inbound agents should follow
people are responsible for training new people and there is no           creates consistency in customer interaction – for example,
standardized structure for them to follow, then each one has             listing the proper questions each agent needs to ask on
their own version of how to perform the job. Not having a                every call, or writing out the steps management wants
specific format creates confusion when management or a                   them to follow each time they interact with a customer.
supervisor follows up. Inevitably, it leads to management
saying, “Don’t listen to them; this is what you have to do.”             Having worked for years in the food and beverage industry,
How confusing for the new employee, and what a waste of              I have witnessed just how integral documenting process is.
time for all involved!                                               How a waiter takes someone’s order, how they explain the
     Some managers – especially in sales departments – have told     specials, and how they place the order with the kitchen is
me that documenting processes hinder them from executing their       never left up to chance or else chaos ensues, the system falls
job. “That would cut out my own style of doing it,” they say.        apart, and ultimately, customers don’t come back.
     Now, I appreciate and applaud personal style, but I am              Here are a few other things that I recommend documenting:
talking about the underlying techniques required to do the job.      • How employees handle incoming or outgoing calls –

22 • SEPTEMBER 2010                                                   • Connections Magazine
    some call centers create an actual phone script,
    whereas others have bullet points to be followed. This
    documentation ensures the proper communication of
    information to customers as well as retrieving correct

    information in a consistent manner.
•   How to handle leads – how quickly to respond to the
    lead, the process of following up, and when to put the
    lead into a “not interested” list
•   What the call center agents’ disposition should be for
    each lead they handle
                                                                         )       "!     !'        "!) %& ' "! * ' (& %&'
•   How agents handle situations that are outside of the
    normal routine                                                           "% "'         %      ! &      "# % ' "!&
•   When to involve a supervisor on a call with an upset customer

    One of the most important processes to document is the
employee code of conduct. This code creates a series of
checklists for employees to reference in case they have questions:
• What is expected of each agent
• What level of customer service is demanded
                                                                             "    (! ' "!&/ ! 1/ & *     !"*! !
• What specific job duties agents are responsible for
                                                                      % #('    ! ' "!*         !' % ' ' & +# ! !
     Most employees, especially new ones, are not comfortable          ! "" ! '" $( % ! "(!              !' %& !
asking a question about process. They do not want to seem              !&* % ! & %) & "%        & 1 !     !,   & &
inadequate, so they try to fudge it, and that leads to poor            ) %,' !     ! %     ! ! #      ! ( ! ,"(%
execution. It would be much simpler and more efficient                 " ' "!/ ,"(% $( # !' !        "&' #"%' !' ,
for them to go to a file on their computer or in a manual to find     ,"(%       '     # ", &-
the answer.
     If processes are not documented, it is harder for upper           (%    # ", 2 *!       " # !, &'% ) & '"  '
management to follow up and hold everyone to the same
                                                                      ! (&'%, !        % ! * *"( * "           ,"(%
standard. Without documented processes, people begin to cut
                                                                       (& ! && !       # ", & & "(% ! * &' '
corners, even unknowingly, and if no one is checking, that
new shortcut becomes the new standard of performance. It                     %&1    % ! & %" # &' $( & ' "!& %
can lead to a slippery slope if there is no anchor or road map        )        (#"! % $( &'1
to quickly reference and get back on track.
     If you currently have your processes documented, take                                          2
the time to check them and make sure everything is
up-to-date. Take the time to make sure everyone is executing                                                   8==7
them effectively. If you don’t have your processes documented,                                    5
I suggest that you get started. Choose one area, document all
of the processes performed, and continue until you work your
way through every process.
     It may seem like a lot of detailed work (which is why
many call centers skip this step), but in the long run, your
operation will run smoother and more efficiently.
     Think of those documented processes as your road map to
success. Even if you hit a detour or get lost, you can pull over,
check your bearings, and get back on track quickly and efficiently,
saving time, money, and avoiding the risk of a crash. ¤                          !' % &' # %' & # & "!' '0
                                                                                        % !'     ,/
     Glenn Pasch is the president of Improved Performance                               3<774 =::2=<<<
Solutions (, a                           &    ,6 # "     (! ' "!&1 "
consulting firm that specializes in helping organizations
improve their customer interaction. Improved Performance                                       & ' "(% * & '
Solutions provides the proper training to convert conversations                  ***1          # "     (! ' "!& 1 "
into sales and positive customer service experiences.

Connections Magazine •                                                      SEPTEMBER 2010 • 23
       Leader Outsources
           Web Chat
                               By Jim Iyoob

                                                                    customer base. These dedicated agents were available to

        lthough an Internet presence has the power to
        revolutionize an industry, many companies are finding       answer questions and help close sales through this online chat
        that customers are leaving their Web sites without          solution. Unfortunately, though, this solution didn’t meet
purchasing. However, studies show that the customer experience      their objectives. The agents’ close rates were lower than
is significantly improved by providing online chat service          expected and customer feedback showed that they weren’t
representatives to answer questions, provide additional             meeting their CSAT (customer satisfaction) objectives either.
information, and resolve customer issues. These studies             They had service levels of only 70 percent. Yet, while they
further revealed that companies investing in chat programs          weren’t meeting their objectives, the cost-per-chat contact of
not only received a phenomenal increase in their conversion         $3.51 was well below their cost-per-sales call, which was a
rates but also were able to reduce their inbound call volumes       nice cost savings. The company needed to find a way to
by more than 20 percent.                                            optimize this low-cost sales channel while meeting their sales
                                                                    goals and CSAT objectives.
The Challenge:
     E-commerce companies know that it is an ongoing challenge      Solving the Problem Required the
to convert Web site traffic to paying customers. In fact, studies   Perfect Solution Provider:
show that 60 percent of online visitors abandon the checkout             The company had several options for tackling this issue.
process due to complicated service orders, unanswered questions,    They could grow internally and invest in training for their in-house
and unexplained charges. A leading telecommunications               team, or they could outsource to a vendor who specializes in
provider is a case in point. They wanted to increase online         chat sales and customer service. The telecommunications
sales and overall conversions in order to meet their aggressive     provider was hesitant to outsource because they wanted to
revenue goals. They also wanted to ensure a great customer          preserve their brand and ensure a great customer experience.
experience online. In their competitive field, they could not       “Could a third-party vendor really provide the same level of
afford to lose a single customer or sale.                           service as we can in-house?” The management team decided
                                                                    to test the waters. They searched for an experienced vendor
Existing Solution Riddled with Issues:                              to help them capitalize on the potential customers browsing
    The telecommunications provider developed an internal           the Web site and tested them against their internal solution.
Web chat sales channel, staffed by highly compensated               They looked for a partner with a strong background in chat
representatives, to meet the needs of their growing online          sales that could be up and running quickly with strong results.

24 • SEPTEMBER 2010                                                  • Connections Magazine
Their partner needed to be available 24/7 and be able to scale         •     Met the average order value goal and exceeded the
very quickly.                                                                internal team’s average order by 12 percent
                                                                        • After the initial trial, averaged 89 percent in
The Selection:                                                               customer satisfaction rates
    After a thorough search, the telecommunications company             • After the initial trial, reached close rates as high as
made their selection. Not only did the agents have proven                    20 percent some months, surpassing the previous
success in chat sales, but they also offered other practices and             goal of 16 percent
had additional experience, including:                                   Based on the results of the trial, the company transitioned
    • World-class training                                         the entire Web chat project to this outsourcer. The project
    • Faster response times                                        expanded from six agents during the trial to more than
    • Quick staffing ramp-up                                       200 agents today. Over the past twelve months, chat
    • Deep business intelligence                                   volume has grown by 90 percent and is expected to increase
    • Quality monitoring                                           further as customers continue to move to this contact method.
    • 24/7/365 capabilities                                        Today, the call center is providing the company with stellar
    • State-of-the-art technology                                  sales and customer experience results along with a 97 percent
    • Integrity                                                    service level. ¤

A Successful Trial:                                                    Jim Iyoob is vice president  of global development
    The telecommunications provider was pleased with the           for Etech, Inc. (, a provider of
results during the trial period, including:                        inbound/outbound customer care and teleservices – including
    • Reduced the cost-per-chat session, allowing an even          Web chat, which is composed of approximately 2,300 team
         greater savings on this already low-cost sales channel    members with seven facilities located in Texas, Jamaica,
    • Met their SLA (service level agreement) of 85 percent        and India. Jim has over fifteen years of contact center
         and outperformed the internal team                        outsourcing experience in domestic and offshore inbound,
    • Achieved 15 percent close rates, outperforming the           outbound, and chat operations; he is an industry expert in
         internal team on a regular basis                          click-to-chat sales and service. He may be reached at
    • Generated more sales per hour than the internal team         936-559-2258.

                                                                    46th Annual Convention
                                                                    and Trade Show
                                                                    October 3-6, 2010
                                                                    Las Vegas, NV

Connections Magazine •                                                       SEPTEMBER 2010 • 25
         Is First Call Resolution
            the Top Agenda?
                                                  By Gary Schwartz

       ome might argue that First Call Resolution (FCR)           to reach a live person. Fortunately, they asked their
       should be at the top of the agenda in the call center      customers first and learned that their customers didn’t care
       environment, but traditional Key Performance               that much how long they had to wait in a call queue as long as
Indicators (KPIs) are not always the best way to measure          their problem was resolved on that call. This led to a
customer experience excellence.                                   feedback program in which the very first question measures
     Historically, call center metrics have looked at average     the customers’ views on call resolution.
call handling time and their associated costs. They have               Given that it is becoming increasingly important to view
focused on metrics that are easy to capture, such as call         the world from the customers’ perspective, the only real way
abandonment rates and the amount of time it takes to answer       to find out if an inquiry was resolved the first time around is
a call. These metrics are expected to provide information         to ask the customer directly. Companies should be measuring
about levels of customer satisfaction, but FCR – determining      what is important to the customer if they want to track
whether a customer’s problem was resolved on the first call –     customer satisfaction and identify agents, processes, or
is not conclusive.                                                policies that make a real difference to customer experience.
     Call centers that handle a large number of fast and simple        Measuring customer attitude is the best way to find out if
queries (such as directory inquiries), could, in theory,          a customer is satisfied or dissatisfied. Responding to
measure satisfaction by using FCR, but it is not suitable for     customer feedback and resolving issues quickly and
more complex calls, when resolution is often dependent on         thoroughly after each interaction – even if this takes more
actions that take place after the call (for example, sending a    than one call – is the only way to improve customer loyalty
customer a new checkbook).                                        and improve customer retention rates. ¤
     Transferring a call to another call handler outside the
center does not mean that the customer regards their query as          Gary Schwartz is senior vice president of marketing at
resolved. What the company considers resolution may not be        Confirmit, which provides software for organizations to
considered resolution for the customer.                           conduct customer feedback, employee feedback, and market
     A large British retail bank nearly made the mistake of       research applications. Gary develops the applications used
assuming it knew what its customers’ priorities were and was      for Confirmit’s online survey, analysis, and reporting
prepared to focus on reducing the time it took for a customer     platform, while also leading product development.

26 • SEPTEMBER 2010                                                • Connections Magazine
  ADVERTISER LISTING                                                                                                  The Sliding Scale
                                                                                                                      of Power Strategy
Alston Tascom, Inc.....................28, 32            Startel ................................................31
13512 Vintage Place                                      16 Goodyear, Ste 125
Chino, CA 91710                                          Irvine, CA 92618
866-282-7266 or 909-517-3660                             800-782-7835
fax: 909-517-3670                                        fax: 949-863-9650                                            By Steve Michaels                           

ASTAA ..............................................21   Szeto Technologies .....................18, 19                            I am thinking of selling my teleservice company
800-718-1712                                             Call Management Equipment                                                 myself, but I’ve heard horror stories about being
                                                         888-421-3737                                                              taken advantage of. How can I protect myself?
Amtelco..........................................2, 16

800-356-9148 or 608-838-4194                   
fax: 608-838-8367
                                                                                                                                     Unfortunately, some unscrupulous buyers will do                                                                                                                     or tell you anything to purchase your business.
                                                         TAS Marketing.................................29                                                                                                           Once you have signed a letter of intent and
                                                         Business Brokers
                                                         800-369-6126                                                 received a deposit, your business is off the market to other
CAM-X ..............................................25   fax: 406-827-4554                                            potential buyers. At this point, an unethical buyer can wear
800-896-1054                                                                            you down for their benefit.                                                                                  First, the buyer may take too long performing their due
                                                                                                                      diligence, focusing on irrelevant issues. The longer you have
Flake Kelley Commercial                                  Tasco..................................................21
Real Estate ........................................20
                                                                                                                      to wait to close, the more anxious you become. Also, other
                                                         888-558-2726                                                 potential buyers may pursue other projects. Over time, you                                     John Sophocles
                                                                                                                      may become more willing to concede selling points in
International Contact Center..........14
                                                         Joe Truszkowski                                              anticipation of completing the sale – and getting a big check.
800-882-8684                                                                                                          This maneuver is called the sliding scale of power strategy.
                                                                                                                           In the beginning of the transaction, the seller has all the
Map Communications......................23                                                                            power, but as things progress the buyer starts to gain more
                                                         TAS Scheduler ..................................25
                                                         866-803-2212                                                 power by: (1) talking to the seller’s staff, who are now expecting
                                                                                        a sale and may leak this to clients or quit, (2) asking the seller’s
                                                                                                                      landlord to approve the rental space for the facility, (3) finding
                                                         Telescan, LLC...................................15
OnviSource .......................................14                                                                  reasons why the seller’s business is worth less, (4) insisting on
2300 N. 10th                                             10679 Midwest Industrial Blvd
                                                         St. Louis, MO 63132
                                                                                                                      taking over the seller’s outstanding receivables, and (5)
Enid, OK 73701                                                                                                        suggesting different terms or conditions. These tactics are not
800-311-3025                                             800-770-7662
                                                         fax: 314-426-1357                                            illegal, but they do need to be addressed at the proper time.
                                                                                                 To combat this, establish the price you want for your business
Professional Teledata, Inc..................6                                                                         and stick to it. You can negotiate a bit, but don’t let the buyer
175 Canal Street                                                                                                      become unreasonable. Firmly address who gets receivables:
Manchester, NH 03101                                                                                                  will the buyer purchase them, or will they collect them for
800-344-9944                                                                                                          you? What do you consider a viable client, when are you                                                                                                 going to close, and who will do the final billing? Does a cash                                                                                                   sale really mean cash at closing, or is there a holdback?
                                                                                                                      (Unscrupulous buyers will slip this in at the last minute.)
                                                                                                                      Lastly, limit the amount of time the buyer is allowed for due
                                                                                                                      diligence; a couple of weeks is plenty if you have your

             FOR MORE
                                                                                                                      financials in order and other pertinent information ready.
                                                                                                                           Remember, don’t be afraid to walk away from a deal;
                                                                                                                      after all, it’s a seller’s market. ¤

    about advertisers in Connections Magazine,
                                                                                                                                                  Steve Michaels is a broker with TAS
                                                                                                                                                  Marketing ( and
                                                                                                                                                  can be contacted at 800-369-6126,

                       visit our website:                                                                                               

                    and click on “vendors.”
Connections Magazine •                                                                                                           SEPTEMBER 2010 • 27
                                                                                                                    services for cash. Everything to remain in place
                                                                                                                    and as is: location, equipment, agents – the lot! If
                                                                                                                    what happens to your employees is as important
                                                              Tucson, AZ, at bmc41782@ or

                                                                                                                    to you as getting a fair price, then you need to call
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                                                                                      • Connections Magazine
                                                                   Connections Magazine possible.
                                                                                                          and as is: location, equipment, agents – the lot! If
                                                                Please thank them for their support
                                                             phone expenses. Contact BertCohen in

36 • OCTOBER 2007
                                                                                                          what happens to your employees is as important
                                                                         of this magazine.
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                                                               USINESSES           FOR SALE
O      C  C
    UTSOURCE                  ALL         ENTERS                                                                         A fair offer by an established,
Call Centers that provide services to other call centers.    Profitable turnkey business serving                           reputable company for your
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                                                                                                                   TASCO MESSAGEmedical answering
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                                                             only 123 accounts and billing a whop-
    Let UsCommunications Provide and
                  Stan Gardner
     Personalized                                                   economic downturn we
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                                                             average peraclient with only TAS med-
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                                                                                                                     Contactclosings on cash or deferred payment
          Maintain Your

                                                                                                                   transactions. We will coordinate with your tax advisor.
                                                             ical. Utilizing sophisticated equipment
                                                                    system. Later, due to the
                                                                                                                          Long established company since 1938.
          Communication                                             accounts they lost answering
                                                             with PRIs, this 15+ year in this
                                                                                                                   s MISCELLANEOUS to discuss.
                                                                                                                      Call John Sophocles or email
                                                                     is asking climate, 12.4
                                                             serviceeconomic $495K orthey times                            Very Confidential 888-558-2726.
          Equipment                                          but worth longer neededprofit margin.                 
                                                                    no it with a 33% 10 seats.                       You have dedicated a lifetime to building
    Let Us                                                  Broker 800-369-6126.
                                                                   Alston Tascom helped by                          your company’s reputation. Don’t let your
                                                                                                                     fair offer by an established, reputable
                                                                                                                   A clients down just because you are selling
           Randy Anderson 800-508-9936
          Substantially                                            reducing the number
                                                             List your Business Here;of go to                         the company. your commercial
                                                                                                                   company for If it is time to sell, let usor
                                                                   seats which reduced their
  Boutique contact center providing
          Slash Your exceptional 24/7               a ds                         continue your tradition of excellence.
                                                                                                                   medical answering service (with

          Phone by phone,
customer service and sales Bill live chat & e-mail
                                                                   cost. Will your vendor do                        Contact Nicholas at 888 422 7352 ext 1500
                                                                                                                   or without equipment). Contact
                                                             AVAILABLE CALL CENTER SPACE
                                                                   that for YOU?                                   Ron toll-free at 866-388-0772 or
                                                                                                          1967 and still
                                                                                                                     Reputable TAS, in business since
    Let Us Help in the
   To be included You                                        Call Center Office Space Available For
                                                                    Alston Tascom                                   owned by the founding family, seeks a small TAS
   Marketplace listings,                                     Lease. Turn-key call center located in                 acquisition Eastern and prompt cash
                                                                                                                   Premiumin price US. Ideally, you’re billing
          Improve Your
      contact Valerie at                                            866.282.7266
                                                             Boise, Idaho. 20,000+ square feet,                    closing for quality accounts. Long
                                                                                                                       under $20K per month. Smaller is better.
           866-668-6694                                                              We’ll treat you reputable Minnesota
                                                                                                                   established,right, AND your employees and
          Bottom Line                                        raised data cable access floor through-
                                                                                        customers. Let’s talk. Contact Doug at

                                                                                            • Connections Magazine
                                                                                                                  888-693-7935 or
36 • OCTOBER 2007

28 • SEPTEMBER 2010                                                                          • Connections Magazine
                                                                                     To place a Marketplace Ad, contact Valerie
                                                                              at or 866-668-6694.

                                                                        Domain Names Available!
Help Wanted: General Managers wanted for the
world's largest telemessaging business. Are you a
 team player? Are you looking for a rewarding
 career? Then we want to speak to you. We are
currently seeking qualified candidates throughout
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Used Equipment For Sale: CadCom Equipment
  For sale: 4 LineMasters, 2 DataMasters, 10                                                     
keyboards, 18 monitors, 1 fax board, 1 SIO card,                                                         Search4aContactCenter .com
 7 blue tip cards, 3 yellow tip cards, 7 green tip
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                                                                   These domain names
Seeking Position: detail-oriented professional, offering           are now available for sale.    
friendly, clear, communication with excellent typing
skills for call center/answering service, customer support,        For more information,
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office setting, with computer, DSL, and unlimited long distance.   visit
Email John: Please include your
telephone number, email address, and job description.

                                                                                 BETTER PRICE
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                                                                           Now’s the time to sell your business.

   Connections                         MAGAZINE
                                                                                           (800) 369-6126
  To place your                                                                               Broker Standing By

 Marketplace ad,
 contact Valerie at 866-668-6694 or
                                                                   233 Whitepine Creek Road • Trout Creek, Montana 59874 • •

Connections Magazine •                                                                                       SEPTEMBER 2010 • 29
COMING EVENTS                                                 All new listings or changes are italicized
                                                                          See the most recent updates online:
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                                                           “Upcoming Events” calendar and on our Website,
                                        please email your information to:

                             September 22-24, 2010                            November 7-9, 2010
                          TUNe Fall Annual Conference                       STA Fall Annual Meeting
                           AmeriStar Resort & Casino,                 Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans, LA
                                 St Charles, MO                            More info: 763-473-0210,
                            Contact Dan L’Heureux at             , or
                                                                              November 9, 2010
                                October 3-6, 2010                      ATA Compliance Education Series:
                        CAM-X and WSTA Joint Convention                       Legally Speaking
                        Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, NV                        Atlanta, GA
                              For more information,                       For more information, visit
                             visit and                 
                                                                              December 2, 2010
                               October 11-13, 2010                     ATA Compliance Education Series:
                              ASTAA Fall Conference                           Legally Speaking
                      Sheraton Baltimore North - Towson MD                      Phoenix, AZ
                            More info: 763-473-0210 or                    For more information, visit

                               October 25-27, 2010
                        International Contact Center Expo
                                 and Conference
                           Doral Golf Resort and Spa,
                                   Miami, FL
                            For more information, visit

                              October 25-27, 2010
                           GLTSA Fall Annual Meeting
                             Courtyard by Marriott,
                          Magnificent Mile, Chicago, IL
                            Contact Dan L’Heureux at

30 • SEPTEMBER 2010                                • Connections Magazine
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