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									               C A N A DA’S P RO F E SS I O N A L C U STO M E R CO N TAC T SO L U T I O N S F O R U M
                                                                  w w w. co n t a c t m a n a g e m e n t . c a
                                                                                       Jan/Feb 2007


l First call resolution
                                                                                                                  PM 40050803

l NEW! Product Showcase

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                                                              Contents                       JAN/FEB 2007

 Cover photo: Falko Matte

                            10   Operational strategies
                                 Ideas a mile a minute

                            12   First call resolution
                                 Measuring to better manage customers’ experience
                                 By Wendy Lauther
                                 Chasing that elusive FCR goal
                                 By Rob McDougall
                                 Applying people, processes and technology to improve FCR
                                 By Mike Desmarais

                            16   Multi-channel / web-enabled
                                 Weaving a web of customer service
                                 By Susan Maclean

                            26                    association news
                                 Manitoba Customer Contact Association
                                 Alberta Call Centre Association
                                 GTACC – Greater Toronto Area Contact Centre Association


                                  4 FROM THE EDITOR
                                   5 READERBOARD - The latest industry news
                                   8 COMMENTARY
                                       Scanning the Canadian contact centre sector – By Steve Demmings
                                  17 PRODUCT SHOWCASE
                                       Multiple channels offer service opportunities
                                       Self-service options prove popular
                                       Benefits inside the centre
                                 20 PROFILE
                                       Halton Region makes government more accessible – By Susan Maclean
                                 22 VoIPWATCH
                                       Nordia reveals its VoIP strategy
                                 25 REGIONAL PROFILE
20                                     BC quality of life attracts skilled, multilingual labour                                                      January/February 2007   Contact Management   3
                                                          from the editor

                                                                                                            January/February 2007
     Meeting customers’ expectations                                                                          Volume 7 Number 1
     The start of another year just seems to lend itself to taking stock and attempting to                        Steve Lloyd
     look through a bigger picture. Where are we and what’s in store for 2007?                
         Here’s what Witness Systems’ principal global market consultant Oscar Alban                                 Editor
     recently noted in his blog at “The biggest discon-                               Susan Maclean
     nect that exists in enterprises today is between the contact centre and marketing
                                                                                                      Marketing Information Coordinator
     department. Many marketing dollars are spent trying to learn what customers think                            Adam Lloyd
     and feel. To gain this insight, marketing organizations spend a significant amount of    
     money on focus groups, where they elicit the voice of the customer. Ironically, con-                      Creative Director
     tact centres are involved with a continuous and very large focus group every day.                         Susanna Ferguson
     One key element of workforce optimization is the realization that an opportunity        
     to capture the true voice of the customer exists within every contact centre … and                    Advertising Sales Manager
                                                                                                                  Mark Henry
     it’s essentially free. Contact centre management, reach out to marketing. Marketing,     
     recognize the strategic asset that the contact centre actually is. In so doing, the en-                Senior Account Manager
     terprise scores.”                                                                                             Sean Foley
         Gary Barnett, CTO and exec VP at Aspect Technical Services and Research Develop-      
     ment writes: “I believe that in 2007 company executives will increase their focus on              For subscription, circulation and
     the contact centre as a source of revenue generation, and place more emphasis on the           change of address information, contact
     contact centre as the predominant way to retain customers.”                          
         In order to achieve these objectives, he thinks contact centres will focus on the fol-     Publications Mail Agreement No. 40063311
                                                                                                          Return undeliverable Canadian
     lowing trends, some of which have been gaining momentum for a few years but can                                 addresses to:
     now incorporate “new technologies that will accelerate acceptance.” Firstly, he cites                     Circulation Department
     a unified approach such as that of VoIP adopters who are migrating to VoIP “to take                      302-137 Main Street North
                                                                                                                Markham ON L3P 1Y2
     a more complete view of their customers and focus on customer experiences from                                t: 905.201.6600
     the consistency and ease of use perspective.” Another trend is performance manage-                             f: 905.201.6601
     ment and “the ability for managers and executives to access information in different                 e:
     ways, and to use that data more efficiently to determine where their companies really
                                                                                                  Subscriptions available for $40.00/year or
     stand with customers and to more effectively reach both service and financial tar-                      $60.00/two years.
     gets.” A third trend is “retaining agents by improving work environments by focusing                        2007 Lloydmedia Inc.
     on technology such as workforce management or quality management solutions.”                 All rights reserved. The contents of this publica-
                                                                                                     tion may not be reproduced by any means,
     And lastly, self service. “We will see the continued adoption of speech as companies          in whole or in part, without the prior written
                          look at incorporating more speech into self service; and, a closer                   consent of the publisher.
                             tie between the web and contact centre self service so that cus-                      Printed in Canada
                              tomers can start with self service on the web and end up in the       Reprint permission requests to use materials
                                                                                                   published in Contact Management should be
                               contact centre.”                                                                directed to the publisher.
                                 It still all boils down to meeting customers’ expectations,
                               doesn’t it? This issue features technology, tips and techniques
                                    for companies like yours as you try to meet those expec-
                                     tations and even stay one step ahead. We wish you suc-                    next issue...
                                      cess in 2007 and hope you’ll find us good company on
                                                                                                   MARCH/APRIL – Developing
                                      the ride!
                                                                                                   global partnerships, international
                                                                                                   site selection strategy, the how and
                                                                                                   why of mystery calling, regional pro-
                                                                  Susan Maclean
                                                                                                   file on Quebec.
                                                                                                   MAY/JUNE – Protecting against
                                                                                                   identity theft, how to find and evalu-
                                                                                                   ate an outsource option, inbound
                                                                                                   software showcase, regional profile
                                                                                                   on Alberta.

4   Contact Management       January/February 2007                                                               

                                     ... ECH ROADMAP SEEKS YOUR OPINION...
What is the agent of the future going to        five-year trend in technology evolution to     centres and inhouse versus outsourcers,
look like? Will she/he be working from          ensure that the Canadian workforce skill       for example.
home with a headset? Will it be a multi-lin-    sets are in place to meet changes. John          At press time, a day-long workshop
gual avatar on a website? What will be the      Gelder has been named project manager          called “The Contact Centre of The Future”
impact on human resources management?           and preliminary data gathering has begun.      was set for Feb. 23 at the University of
  Contact Centre Canada will be looking         An advisory committee is being struck          Ottawa’s Executive MBA Centre. It was ex-
for information and your opinions as part       and the consulting firm AtFocus has been       pected to be attended by many industry
of an upcoming study on key emerging            enlisted to help assemble the information      participants to generate some insight on
technologies, expected workforce skill          collected.                                     this topic.
gaps and priority industry issues. It’s all        Initial activities include vendor market/     Contact Centre Canada would appreci-
part of Technology Roadmap, a new proj-         analysis reports on IP contact centres,        ate your opinion and asks that you watch
ect Contact Centre Canada has launched          meetings with key industry vendors and         for a web link to use for that purpose at
in partnership with Industry Canada.            contact centre executive to review stages cm
Technology Roadmap will look at the             of technology uptake of small versus large
                                                                                                  ...ONTARIO GOVERNMENT
  ...CITY OF CALGARY 3-1-1 PROGRAM RECEIVES HONOUR...                                                 ATTRACTS 1,000 SGS
                                                                                                      JOBS TO WINDSOR...
The City of Calgary’s 3-1-1 program is a        who the citizen talks to subsequently in
2006 Award of Excellence recipient of the       the operations centre.                         A new technical support centre in Windsor
Canadian Information Productivity Awards           3-1-1 CSR data can provide city officials   expected to create 1,000 high value jobs
(CIPA), the premier information technology      with details on everything from speed          in this community has been announced
and innovation awards program in Canada.        of service to identifying areas of need.       by Ontario’s Economic Development and
   Calgary launched Canada’s first 3-1-1 mu-    Monthly data is collected by the 3-1-1         Trade Minister Sandra Pupatello.
nicipal call centre service on May 18, 2005.    measurements team and city business               Sutherland Global Services (SGS) will
3-1-1 connects citizens 24/7/365 days a year    units. Regular reports go to senior man-       provide advanced technical support for
with non-emergency city services through        agement and elected officials. Reports         personal computer users. The new Wind-
an Operations Centre that handles service       reveal statistics and trends including ser-    sor operation will phase in hiring and train-
requests on hundreds of municipal matters       vice-request volumes and types, on-time        ing for technical support agents in diagnos-
from intake through to resolution.              performance indicators, call volumes to        tics and troubleshooting. SGS was to begin
   The City of Calgary’s 3-1-1 program is the   the 3-1-1 Operations Centre and how well       with 75 agents and add another 500 agents
municipality’s long-term customer service       the city is meeting service-delivery agree-    in March 2007. One thousand full-time po-
strategy to improve and standardize how         ments in various operations.                   sitions will be filled by March 2008.
the corporation responds to more than              An annual telephone survey conducted           “This investment is a real boost to this
one million citizen inquiries and requests      for the city by HarGroup Research of           city’s economy and a vote of confidence
received annually. Calgary’s 3-1-1 program      more than 800 Calgarians using the 3-1-1       in its highly educated workforce,” Pu-
uses Customer Service Request (CSR) soft-       telephone service showed that 86 per           patello announced. “These are the kinds
ware to co-ordinate and electronically          cent were moderately to completely sat-        of investments that help put Windsor and
assign work orders to field staff through-      isfied. The percentage of customers who        the rest of Ontario on the radar screen to
out the city. The approach eliminates the       recalled being transferred three or more       attract other businesses. We’re grateful to
need for decentralized call centres across      times dropped to 11.5 per cent in 2006         Sutherland Global Services for choosing
the organization.                               from 25 per cent in 2005. First-call resolu-   Ontario. We know it’s because of the qual-
   With 3-1-1, citizens can call one num-       tion of calls in 2006 was 80 per cent.         ity of Windsor’s workforce, and the com-
ber 24/7 to report a pothole to be fixed,          3-1-1 received a CIPA silver award in       petitive advantage Ontario offers through
request a building inspection, report           the customer care, not for profit catego-      lower corporate tax rates, health care and
a missed garbage pick-up or request             ry, at the 2006 annual awards ceremony in      telecommunications costs.”
hundreds of other services. The citizen         Toronto on Nov. 1.                                Windsor is the third SGS operation in
automatically receives a tracking, or SR           “To be recognized by CIPA for our           Ontario. The company operates two tech-
(Service Request) number, which guaran-         work in establishing Canada’s first 3-1-1      nical support centres in Sault Ste. Marie
tees the completion of the request. This        operations centre is an honour,” said Terry    employing 1,300 people. SGS’s COO Ashok
guarantee ensures that the work order was       Pearce, manager of the City of Calgary’s       Jain cited the abundant skilled labour, the
logged, sent to the right place, and acted      3-1-1 Operations Centre. “It is rewarding      continued support of the Government
upon within a set time frame. For Calgar-       to have our efforts to improve citizen         of Ontario and the spirit of partnership
ians, 3-1-1 provides a service guarantee that   response through innovative technology         demonstrated by the City of Windsor in
is easily followed-up on later, no matter       acknowledged on a national scale.” cm          its recent choice of location. cm                                                                        January/February 2007   Contact Management     5

       The Contact Center Employer of Choice            include: phone, web, chat, email and fax.       hance public perception, develop excep-
       (CCEOC) Institute in December certi-             Typical calls include: claims intake, claims-   tional work environments, attract, retain
       fied two more Canadian contact centres           related questions, ethics and compliance        and engage high performing, culturally
       – Crawford Adjusters Canada’s CLAIMS-            inquiries, healthcare claims, emergency         aligned employees and have positive im-
       ALERT contact centre and Grand & Toy             dispatch, surveys, class action administra-     pact on employee/customer satisfaction.
       contact centre operation.                        tion, reservations and technical support        The assessment looked at three groups:
          Crawford Adjusters Canada’s CLAIMS-              The company is a wholly owned subsid-        call centre, telephone adjusters and sup-
       ALERT contact centre in Kitchener, ON,           iary of Atlanta,GA-based Crawford & Com-        port. The designation applies only to the
       achieved the gold level CCEOC designa-           pany, the largest independent provider of       call centre group.
       tion on its first assessment. About 60           claims management solutions to insurance           “Crawford’s CLAIMSALERT team is a
       call centre, support and administration          companies, and self-insured entities.           young, energetic and dedicated group of
       representatives handle well over 250,000            Crawford Adjusters Canada decided to         employees,” notes Jeff Doran, CCEOC In-
       calls per year. Channels of communication        pursue the CCEOC designation to help en-        stitute president. “High scores in the areas
                                                                                                        of employee/management relations, envi-
                                                                                                        ronment and facilities and customer satis-
       ICT Communications reports that the pro-            The future of the industry on the            faction helped push them over the top.”
       gram for the world’s first contact centre        world’s key continents will be addressed           Dave Nice, director, CLAIMSALERT
       forum to unite contact centre decision           by a panel of leading analysts. Mary            noted: “We’re very proud to have achieved
       makers across the global industry includes       Wardley, vice-president of Research for         Gold on the first assessment. As a compa-
       regional reviews that forecast the future        global intelligence firm IDC, will consider     ny, we’re going through tremendous growth
       of the industry in the world’s major ge-         the changing relationship between con-          and we feel it’s very important to recognize
       ographies—EMEA, Asia Pacific and the             tact centres and the organisations they         the valuable contributions our employees
       Americas—plus a series of interactive            serve within North and South American           make every day. This award tells us we’re
       panel discussions addressing controversial       markets. Dr Catriona Wallace, director of       doing a lot of things right. It also tells us
       industry issues. The Contact Centre Glob-        Call, will examine dynamic          where we need to focus and improve.”
       al Forum will be held for the first time in      tensions between profitability, cost and           The Grand & Toy contact centre opera-
       Cannes, France, from April 25 – 27, 2007         human resources demands within Asia Pa-         tion achieved the first level CCEOC desig-
       and annually thereafter.                         cific. Finally, Evan Kirchheimer, Datamoni-     nation for 2006 at all three sites – Toronto,
          Forum director Christina Wood notes:          tor research and analysis director, will        Ottawa and Edmonton. About 120 total
       “The Contact Centre Global Forum won’t           examine divergences across mature and           customer services representatives handle
       shy away from the difficult issues our           nascent markets in EMEA and assess their        more than a million contacts per year.
       industry faces – from globalisation to           implications for contact centre operators,      Channels of communication include phone,
       employment; from customer disaffection           outsourcers and their clients.                  web, chat, email and fax. Types of calls re-
       to the industry’s own shortcomings that             A half day ‘Global Future Summit’ will       ceived are orders, order inquiries, product/
       contribute to it. By airing these subjects       allow delegates to hear and debate the          price/account/invoice enquiries, order
       openly, and by encouraging action-based          findings of a worldwide industry opinion        corrections and rush deliveries, as well as
       debate, we’ll help industry leaders identify     survey and to formulate a series of change      web, technical and consultative inquiries.
       ways to transform the present and direct         recommendations to improve performance             “Paul Gyarmati, Grand & Toy’s national
       the future in ways that benefit contact          within their markets. The Forum also offers     manager, contact centres, adds: “The re-
       centres, the organisations they represent        a Business Exchange area, where 29 Fo-          sult of the CCEOC assessment tells us that
       and the customers they serve.”                   rum Partners—industry associations from         we are on the right track and heading in
          The first panel discussion is ‘Why Cus-       around the world, including Canadian Call       the right direction. I’m very proud of our
       tomers Hate Us – And What We Can                 Management Association (CAM-X)—will             employees and the progress we’ve made.”
       Do About It. The second, ‘The Future             host a series of meeting points and events.        Founded in 1882, Grand & Toy offers
       For Agents – Who We Will Recruit and             The Business Exchange will also house a         more than 6,500 products through seven
       How,’ considers how increased self-ser-          Contact Centre Clinic with international        commercial distribution centres, an Inter-
       vice will affect agent roles, job numbers        consultants and be the focal point for          net ordering system and 50 conveniently
       and employer recruitment strategies as           social and networking activities.               located retail stores. The company em-
       automation overtakes straightforward                For details about Forum Partner-             ploys 2,200 across Canada and is a wholly
       contact centre processes. A third, ‘Global       ship, commercial sponsor and exhibi-            owned subsidiary of Office Max.
       Standards – Do We Need Them and What             tor options or to enquire about del-               The CCEOC certification award is an
       are They For?’ questions whether quality         egate places, contact Christina Wood,           industry standard for recognizing and
       standards add value and whether a single         Forum Director, at +44 (0)1483 755647;          branding people-centric contact centres.
       global standard is desirable or achievable. cm             cm

   6   Contact Management       January/February 2007                                                                

                         Scanning the Canadian
                          contact centre sector
    The potential for great economic benefits from Canada’s customer contact centre sector requires
    great leadership, comments Site Selection Canada’s Steve Demmings. He sees the industry’s future                      BY STEVE DEMMINGS
    success as demanding improved branding and aggressive marketing.

            ccording to Site Selection Canada        as the logical global provider for a higher     munity outside Toronto. Similarly, New
            there have been 270 new customer         value, infrastructure superior, well edu-       Brunswick has announced 43 new deals
            contact centre expansions an-            cated solution for Technical Support and        (16 percent) of the Canadian total and has
    nounced in Canada in the last five years.        elevated Customer Service companies             continued the job creation initiative in
    This has resulted in an estimated 84,462         that seek to employ college and university      spite of two government changes.
    new jobs in addition to the 700,000 jobs         graduates. This is the future! Any North           The province that has assumed lead-
    that existed in 2000. The economic ben-          American work process that can be digi-         ership for the Canadian sector is Nova
    efits are enormous. It has contributed to        tized…will be digitized…in the immediate        Scotia. It has not only become a dominant
    the leasing of an estimated 9.2-10.6 million     future. This will have huge implications for    player in Canada, but since 2000 it has
    square feet of Canadian office space and         those countries that can offer Near Shore       achieved what the rest of the country
    $23.6-$25.3 billion in annual salaries.          options for expanding U.S. business. Don’t      has been talking about for years. It has
       In the past two years both the number of      take my word for it; read Andrew Ross’s         created a stellar customer contact cen-
    deals and jobs created has trended down as       best seller “Fast Boat to China, Lessons        tre infrastructure and an international
    companies focus their attention on smaller       from Shanghai” to get to know our com-          reputation resulting in 7,744 new jobs in
    centres (up to 400 jobs) located in Tier         petition that is on the horizon.                five years and 24 new expansions (nine
    Two and Tier Three cities that offer more                                                        percent) of the Canadian total. They have
    abundant and cost effective labour. Much         Leading provinces                               created a new level of expectations in the
    of the Canadian growth has been by com-          During the past six to seven years, the po-     economic development arena because of
    panies that have been historically active        litical landscape of Canada has undergone       the Research in Motion (Blackberry) ex-
    for the past three to four years including       significant change. Three provinces, in         pansion. The “RIM” deal puts Nova Scotia
    Minacs, NuComm, Stream, Convergys, VAS,          particular, deserve mention. Ontario has        into a different orbit than their provincial
    Help Desk Now, Client Logic, Sutherland,         been a consistent leader during the five        competitors. RIM offers “careers without
    Sitel and Teletech. However, the customer        year period (generating 49 percent) of the      limits” providing excellent salaries…and it
    contact centre sector has witnessed major        deals in Canada. Obviously the McGuinty         creates a real solution to help Nova Scotia
    new growth in Ottawa. Since their first          government recognized the job creation          stem the migration of educated young
    expansion announcement in February of            potential of the Harris initiative because it   graduates from the province. Hot on the
    2006, Dell has made two further announce-        accelerated the customer contact centre         RIM announcement was the Nov. 16, 2006
    ments in May and November that they will         program, in virtually every Ontario com-        headline in the Globe and Mail “Halifax,
    eventually employ 2,700 CSR’s in their new
    147,000 square foot premises. The Dell busi-                    CANADIAN CORPORATE EXPANSIONS
    ness has been a nice rebound for Ottawa            Summary: Comparative performance – customer contact centres 2002 - 2006
    since the tech meltdown in 2000.                  PROV         2002        2003        2004        2005        2006        TOTAL       RANK
                                                       ON           31          29          23          22          26           131         1
    Actions for future success                         NB           15           6           11          5           6           43          2
    Several years ago Contact Centre Canada            NS            5           9           5           2           3           24          3
    was launched as a national human resourc-          QC            7           7           3           1           5           23          4
    es sector council to assist the industry in        BC            5           6           4           6           0           21          5
    meeting its human resources challenge. Its         AB            1           2           3           1           1            8          6
    mandate was a timely one, because the               SK           0           1           3           3           1            8          6
    availability of employees has become “the          MB            0           1           2           1           1            5          7
    issue” for all of Canada’s industry. How-          NF            1          0            0           1           3            5          7
    ever, what we need sooner than later is             PE           2          0            0          0            0            2          8
    a much more proactive and aggressive in-          TOTAL         67          61          54          42          46          270
    dustry association that will brand Canada                                                                         Source: Site Selection Canada
8   Contact Management       January/February 2007                                                                
a centre for International Finance? It’s
No Fish Tale.” The Globe announced the
creation of another 1,000 financial admin-
istration jobs with Bermuda-based com-
panies including Bank of N.T. Butterfield
& Sons, Olympia Capital International and
West End Capital Management, affiliated
with billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

Manitoba’s lost potential
Want to understand how to destroy a
business reputation that took eight years
to build?
   No Canadian province provides a
starker image of lost economic develop-
ment possibilities than the province of
Manitoba, under the current NDP govern-
ment. Manitoba was once a front runner
in the industry, competing toe to toe with
New Brunswick for most, if not all, of the
new business opportunities that consid-
ered Canada as an expansion opportunity.
In 2001 both provinces were in a virtual
dead heat with 11,000 contact centre jobs.
Since then New Brunswick has rocketed
ahead with 20,000 jobs, while Manitoba
has shrunk to less than 10,500. This is the
direct result of an appalling lack of politi-
cal leadership and a profound inability by
Premier Gary Doer’s NDP government to
vision the economic and leveraging po-
tential of the customer contact centre
sector, as best illustrated in the lost op-
portunity with Research in Motion.
   In order for the Canadian industry to
ratchet up to the next level in creating
greater employment opportunities for
our educated youth and to ensure “that
our lunch is not taken from us” by the
competitive forces lurking on the global
horizon, we must scrutinize the provincial
track records that are now clearly obvious
because of the past five years. Take note of
the accompanying Site Selection Canada
score card! Great economic benefits are
possible for all of us, but this requires great
leadership, now more than ever! cm

Steve Demmings is president of Winni-
peg-based Site Selection Canada (www. Site Selection
Canada advises technology firms seeking
new Canadian locations and advises com-
munities on developing strategies to attain
economic development results.                          January/February 2007   Contact Management   9
           operational strategies

    Ideas at a mile
      a minute
   The 60 Ideas in 60 Minutes keynote panel was a hit at the ICCM
   conference in Toronto last fall. The session was moderated by Paul
   Stockford, chief analyst at Saddletree Research. Panelists were: Chris
   Crosby, President, Latigent LLC; Garry Schultz, VP, Global Support,
   Roxio/Sonic; Jon Silverman, CTO, Spanlink Communications; Kevin
   Hegebarth, then director of Strategic Analysis, Witness Systems; Mag-
   gie Klenke, The Call Center School; and Henry Kolisnik, then senior con-
   sultant, Telus. Here are most of their suggestions organized by topic.

   VoIP                                             the number at the end of each instruc-                                     are former
   Chris Crosby – The VoIP migration will           tion. Get rid of industry jargon.                                       call centre
   wreck havoc on your reporting. Whether it’s                                                                           agents.     Teach
   an upgrade or a full ACD replacement, there      Silverman – Agents have up to 20 applica- them how to diagnose performance and
   will be a significant impact to how report-      tions on their desk. Look for a composite coach. This is the great missing link.
   ing works in your new environment. Make          application. Organize your agents’ desks.
   sure to work with your vendor prior to the       Put all applications into one container to Kolisnik – Customers have different pref-
   migration to ensure a smooth transition.         speed their productivity.                   erences for contacting you. Give your
                                                                                                agents SPACE – Shopping, Problem-solv-
   Jon Silverman – VoIP won’t reap benefits         Henry Kolisnik – Understand when it is ing, Answering questions, Collecting infor-
   unless you transform your business to            the right time to invite to chat or call. mation (pre-shopping), Executing transac-
   take advantage of it – for example, how          For example, consider LivePerson if you’re tions. Recognize that they need to switch
   you route calls around the world. Business       looking at multi-channel.                   gears when shifting to a new mode.
   transformation is the way to take advan-                                                        Think about work at home as an adjunct.
   tage of this great technology.                   Silverman – Find ways to drive your cus- Agents would rather work at home if they
                                                    tomers to your website and reduce costs could. There are business continuity ad-
   Deploying other technology                       and time to talk to agents. Have your vantages and higher retention rates. It’s
   Silverman – Identify your subject matter         agents get customer’s email address and particularly attractive in high cost markets
   experts. Show your agents the presence           send callers multiple links to your website like Toronto.
   state of the subject matter experts that         as a voice call wrap up. Show customers        Consider seating your supervisor ranks
   can help them handle contacts. An agent          how to help themselves.                     with an outsourced supervisor.
   can contact the subject matter expert us-
   ing instant messaging and never put the          Human resources                                Crosby – Be agent for a day. It will be the
   customer on hold.                                Klenke – Boost your special handling           most humbling experience of your career.
      Agents need time to become familiar           workforce or quality management by             It’s a great morale booster when agents
   with the technology or information. When         trying out agents in those positions. Give     see management trying to understand
   you roll out a new software application          them an interim posting for six weeks to       their job. You will also glean a better
   for your agent to use to handle customer         see if they would like that role and are       understanding of your operations, from
   contacts, use a quality-monitoring screen        able to handle it. After six weeks, they go    how the telephone works to what your
   recording to capture information on what         back to the floor and you’ve done your as-     customers are saying.
   training is really needed.                       sessment for future reference.
                                                       Regarding HR turnover, analyze your         Kevin Hegebarth – Give some consider-
   Maggie Klenke – Unless your IVR is as            losses by supervisor team. People leave        ation to how you treat staff from a personal
   intuitive and easy to use as an ABM or a         managers, not the company. There is a          perspective. Give agents their own space to
   kiosk at the airport, don’t move to speech       recruiting and hiring problem if staff leave   hang family pictures and service awards.
   recognition with that same garbage!              early on. If departments steal your people,       More often than not, customers are
     Don’t use all 10 numbers on your IVR! You      ask for some of their training budget.         knowledgeable and have been to the
   should give no more than five choices. Say          More than 50 percent of supervisors         website. Have your agents been to your

10 Contact Management       January/February 2007                                                              
website? Let contact centre staff surf your    think speech analytics. If you analyze the    your mother use it? There’s a 10 percent
websites so they are informed.                 call a day or week later, you’ve probably     demographic that refuses to speak to
  Tell agents their shifts are based on per-   lost the customer. With real time speech      anyone but the president. The Graying
formance metrics or quality scores.            analytics you have the opportunity to es-     of America is becoming a challenge, de-
                                               calate a call immediately.                    manding more and more services and ease
Disaster recovery                                 Be very careful how you design your        of use while our budgets are plummeting.
Crosby – Be prepared for surprise disas-       speech recognition call flow. Capture           Our industry is getting slagged and in-
ters such as a fibre cuts and flu epidemics.   data on how your callers use it and be pre-   sulted by comedians, ratio talk hosts, Om-
Have a secret skill group. Put together a      pared to spend time iterating on your call    budsmen and cartoonists left, right and
one-page disaster recovery plan.               flow design. Building a successful speech     centre. Start pushing back. Write letters.
                                               recognition application takes more time       Call radio hosts.
Measuring                                      than for touch tone applications. Speech
Garry Schultz – Most centres still measure     recognition is better when an expert is       Reports
agent performance by traditional metrics;      driving it. Don’t take touch-tone out. Us-    Crosby – Consistency in communication is
AHT, ASA, AWT (these are all resource          ers should have a choice.                     difficult to attain. Accumulate the differ-
planning data points). Throw out your                                                        ent knowledge points of your call center
measures and instead become experts at Kolisnik – To sell speech recognition such            into one-page documents. This should
measuring your customer satisfaction. Ask as speech navigation internally, start at the      cover everything from how service level
one question: are you satisfied?             out-of-the-box product level before get-        is calculated in your company, to esca-
                                             ting into the big stuff.                        lation procedures for when systems go
Klenke – Don’t ignore variances in AHT                                                       down. This will make it easy and intuitive
from one period to another. If you use the Beyond the centre                                 for people to access the information they
same AHT for all periods, you won’t achieve Hegebarth – Have your IT or marketing            need when they need it. As you document
your SLA and you won’t know why.             department be an agent for a day – or           topics, also move them to your intranet
                                             week, depending how much you like them.         for easier access.
Hegebarth – Get behind the numbers. It can bring the strategic value of the con-                Seek and destroy Excel spreadsheets! A
The industry is obsessed with statistics. tact centre to the organization – such as          key metric buried on tab 34, page 67 will
Do we know what they mean? A low AHT gathering competitive intelligence; assess-             be missed. Tailor your reports to specific
might be really bad agents getting off calls ing how goods and services are perceived        individuals. Avoid information overload
quickly. Find out what’s driving it. Look at by customers.                                   and focus on reports that drive action.
both ends of the bell curve.
   Regularly communicate strategic objec- Crosby – There is a great deal of informa-         Schultz – Provide one-button reports.
tives of your enterprise. How do AHT and tion about your company that you need               Thirty percent of one’s time is spent on
quality scores relate to what executives to monitor that is not available from a             compiling reports. Bring on one high pow-
measure as the strategic value of the con- database. Like or not, customers are most         ered data analyst that has the magic blend
tact centre? They don’t.                     likely blogging about you and filling the       of business acumen and can craft useable
                                             internet with personal product reviews.         reports. The target is that managers, at any
Maggie – We measure because we can. Utilize Google Alerts to monitor the                     level, can get the pertinent data they need
Can I directly link a measure to a company internet for websites that mention your           to manage with just One Click.
goal or mission? Know how it contributes company, brand, competition, etc. Go to                Go one better than a graphic report.
or don’t measure.                                          Record client calls and edit the calls in
                                                                                             eight to 15 second snippets to focus on
Kolisnik – Integrate bottom up metrics Klenke – Think of your contact centre as              the point you are making. Then paste
– (what actions to take) – with top down an outsourcer for your company’s various            them together into a four-minute audio
metrics (what is important to management). departments. Bill out your services. Don’t        file to marketing. Let them hear the voice
                                            finger point. Bill back for their applications   of the customer – for example comments
Silverman – If you have evaluation forms, but be prepared to do whatever they ask.           on products or services.
have a formal quality program. Define what                                                      And our last is also Schultz’ suggestion:
quality means for your business in terms of Schultz – Build your maven community in-         Question everything. Why are our hours
key performance indicators or metrics. ternally and outside the company. We’ve               24/7? Why not offer windows of op-
Have a key metric in the evaluation form got tens of people outside of our compa-            eration for customers to even out volume
that if that metric fails, everyone fails.  ny who take care of our customers. Help          patterns? For instance, if your Erlang shows
                                            those people helping your customers.             a lag in the late afternoon gently instruct
Speech analytics                               Know your customers and bear in mind          customers that registrations are between
Silverman – Think real-time when you the GOA – the graying of America. Can                   two and four in the afternoon. cm                                                                      January/February 2007   Contact Management    11
                first call resolution

   Measuring to better manage
   customers’ experience                                                                                             BY WENDY LAUTHER

   Even defining first call resolution (FCR) as the percentage of calls resolved during the first contact made by the customer can
   be a matter of debate since the definition of resolved to the customer and resolved to the rep may not agree.

   The percentage of calls resolved on the first contact has been        comes from a small number of centres with fully deployed and
   much discussed in the marketplace as every company yearns to          robust CRM solutions. To be an effective metric, it must follow
   measure this accurately.                                              the transaction all the way to the end – across departments and
      When an organization addresses FCR opportunities, the im-          people. Another trend, in an effort to support accurate mea-
   pact is far reaching. Successful FCR initiatives can save organiza-   surement, is to take self-service transactions out.
   tions 15 to 40 percent through:                                         Effective measuring typically begins the old fashioned way
      call volume reductions                                             – through side-by-side observations. The most sophisticated
      increases in customer satisfaction                                 approach to measure FCR is provided by speech analytics.
      increased customer retention                                         Sometimes the easiest and most readily available information
      decreases in employee churn                                        to use for FCR measurement is the number of calls/transactions
      increases in morale                                                pended. Pended calls/transactions are those that are not com-
      optimized enterprise processes                                     pleted and must be placed in a suspended or “pended” status.
      decrease in escalated customer issues                              This is an indication of a flawed process, as it suggests numerous
      improvements in service levels                                     touches to complete a single customer issue. Companies tend
      increased customer response times                                  to have information regarding pended issues, rather than com-
                                                                         pleted issues. This allows the company to “back into” a measure-
   FCR is one of the best indicators of customer experience but it is    ment, as a pended issue is not considered resolved.
   extremely difficult to measure – let alone define. Some compa-
   nies define FCR as not transferring to another area, while others     Call segmentation
   try to measure the number of calls a person may place in an at-       Call segmentation is typically a practical starting point in under-
   tempt to resolve a single issue. The most accurate measurement        standing the type of call received, leading to the opportunities

12 Contact Management       January/February 2007                                                           
to improve those contacts. Many times              larger corporate objectives.                  mance management tools, make sure you
the most insightful study is one that iden-           In order to assess the performance of      leverage all the time spent by the qual-
tifies those calls which are consuming the         service providers and agents and to help      ity team to collect data, and leverage the
greatest amount of time, in addition to            deliver targeted coaching and training, the   observations/monitors completed by your
those occurring most frequently. By ana-           organization needs powerful analytics.        management team to gain insights. cm
lyzing the time allocation across call types          FCR is overwhelming because it is a
you can identify FCR opportunities.                business problem that requires tools to       Wendy Lauther is VP, Performance Man-
   Calls with the greatest Average Handle          address. If your company cannot make          agement Solutions, Verint Systems Inc.
Time (AHT) are a wonderful starting point          the investment in the enabling perfor-        312.953.3355
in understanding FCR as they involve a great
deal of the customer’s time and attention.
   The issue with a call may also be what
takes place after the agent hangs up with
a customer. If a commitment was made to
take action, it is critical that action take
place in a timely manner to prevent a fol-
low up call on the part of the customer.
                                                                    WORKFORCE MANAGEMENT by IEX CORPORATION

Business processes
FCR issues are typically a result of process is-      Improve Planning • Enhance Performance • Streamline Tasks • Integrate Data
sues and agent performance. For call backs,
large backlogs and poor cycle times, most
of the solutions for these issues are outside
of the call centre so FCR many times uncov-
ers process opportunities in other areas of
organization. It is critical when you are ap-                                       For over 15 years, Xentrax has been
proaching areas of the business to present                                          a pioneer in offering innovative turn
process opportunities to have quantifiable                                         key Contact Centre Software solutions
support of the findings. Even in the event
                                                                                   to the Canadian Marketplace. It is our
speech analytics are not available, observa-
tion data can be used. Begin the process the                                      singular focus and specialized expertise
old fashioned way – by interviewing the                                          in Workforce Optimization that allows our
management team and observing. The best                                           customers to rapidly leverage the power
way to learn about calls is through listening.
                                                                                    hidden within their contact centres.
Nothing can take the place of a qualified
person conducting a scoring exercise.
   As a general rule, business processes typ-                                        As IEX’s certified Canadian partner,
ically account for approximately a third of                                        Xentrax provides Systems Installation,
FCR issues in an organization, while agent
                                                                                   Product Training and On-going Product
performance tends to account for about
half of the issues.                                                                  Support of the TotalView Workforce
                                                                                       Management Suite of Products.
Agent performance
Ensure the environment supports FCR.
Determine whether the agent or training
issues are preventing resolution, while
ensuring that the agent was allowed                                To learn how we have powered some of
enough time to complete the call backs                         Canada’s more customer focused contact centres,
as promised. In addition, the business                            call 888-XENTRAX (888-936-8729) or
must consider if they are setting a realistic                           
                                                                      email us at
expectation for call backs.
   Empower the agents for FCR success.
All instances requiring escalation, authori-
zation and forwarded must be reviewed to                                                 Innovative Contact Centre Solutions
determine if those processes support the                                                                          January/February 2007   Contact Management   13
                 first call resolution

   Chasing that elusive FCR goal
   Poor first call resolution (FCR) rates rank as the number one contact centre chal-              and track where calls go. Look at calls
   lenge facing more than a third of managers polled in Witness Systems’ 2006 Na-                  and how the IVR handles them. Too many
   tional Customer Service Week survey.                   BY ROB MCDOUGALL, P.ENG                  customers merely opt to “zero out.” That
                                                                                                   choice, however, isn’t giving you interpre-
   Nearly one-third of all inquiries your call       Step 2. Track repeat calls by analyzing       table data. Callers choose to zero out for
   centre receives are from repeat callers.          agent logs and the IVR system. Identify       numerous reasons, including their desire
   The reason is clear: customers simply             whether an issue was resolved on the first    to speak with a live agent.
   aren’t getting their problem resolved fully       call and if not, the actual reasons for re-      Don’t believe that solutions such as
   the first time. Suddenly, they become “at         peated calls. Look at all customer inter-     VoIP or enhanced IVR are the Holy Grail
   risk” customers more likely to defect. This       face points, because if the customer first    in seeking improved FCR rates. It comes
   almost guarantees you will face increasing        contacted you via self-service systems,       down to people talking with people.
   customer churn and thus hurt the bottom           that counts as a call.                           Improvements needn’t be expensive.
   line. Yet, organizations continue to grapple                                                    One IBM call centre receiving one million
   with understanding why higher FCR rates           Step 3. Make certain you provide a means      customer emails annually discovered that
   routinely elude their contact centres.            to measure FCR from the first day forward.    by making a simple update on the FAQ
      What are the five most important rea-          You need useful information to conduct        page on its website, it cut email volume in
   sons for poor FCR rates?                          a root cause analysis. What’s one ideal       half. How? IBM tracked the types of ques-
   1. The ability of the agent is not strong         outcome? Could it be one where you con-       tions and applied a quick solution.
   enough, which is either a training issue or       tinue to use the technology now in place         Better FCR rates remain a top but elu-
   a personnel issue.                                -- but making it work better for you?         sive ROI goal at many contact centres.
                                                        For instance, consider giving your agents  Track repeat calls. Measure and analyze
   2. Your company hasn’t provided the au-           onscreen data that allows the agent to de-    them using root cause analysis. Put your
   thority to agents to make decisions that          termine a customer is shopping around to      agents in a commanding “once and done”
   impact the customer, forcing a continued          get a better outcome. “I see a colleague      position, enabling them to resolve any is-
   escalation of tedious, time-consuming,            of mine talked with you five minutes ago.     sue within the framework of the first and
   repeat calls to people who rank higher in         What did she say?”                            single call.
   the organization.                                    Additionally, agents can ask the custom-      Pinpointing the true causes of poor first
                                                     er if the first call resolved the problem:    call resolution rates is your best initial
   3. Your agents cannot find information            • “Is there anything else I can do?”          step in resolving caller issues in the first
   easily that provides answers or actions           • “Is this what you wanted?”                  place. The end result is cost savings and
   for customers. This aggravating situation            By carefully tracking agent log informa-   improved customer retention. cm
   leads to repeated “look ups” and even giv-        tion, you identify specific customers and
   ing customers incorrect information.              the reasons they are calling. Is it a callback Rob McDougall, president and co-founder
                                                     or not?                                        of Upstream Works, can be reached at
   4. Contact centre systems don’t properly             With IVR systems, examine transactions
   process changes the agents are making, or
   the changes are processed so slowly that
   the root problem is still unresolved for
   too long.

   5. Customer perceptions and behaviours
   are the causes of repeat calls. For example,
   customers call back trying to get a different
   result if their account is being suspended.

   Improving FCR rates has three steps:
   Step 1. Conduct an information-seeking
   “drill down” with experts who are proven
   resources. They can help determine the
   best approach in tackling poor FCR rates

14 Contact Management        January/February 2007                                                             
Applying people, processes and
 technology to improve FCR
                           Achieving 80 percent or higher FCR rating typically results in an average of 1.2
                           calls needed to resolve customer’s inquiry or problem.    BY MIKE DESMARAIS
SQM Group’s research clearly shows that        monthly for achieving their FCR goals.         you anytime or anywhere.
FCR is the call centre measure that mat-       Financial Incentive – CSR to VP financial      Call Type Screen Pop-up – CSR receives
ters most because it reduces operating         incentives are at least 50 percent of finan-   an FCR screen pop-up script guideline for
cost and revenue at risk, increases op-        cial incentive payout.                         resolving the customer’s call.
portunities to sell and improves both          Resolution Outcome – CSRs take owner-          Knowledge Expert Availability via Pres-
employee and customer satisfaction. No         ship for resolving their own customer          ence and Collaboration Tools – CSRs
call centre measure has as much impact         inquiry or problem calls by asking the cus-    can rapidly identify knowledge experts’
on call centre performance as FCR. SQM’s       tomer if they have resolved their call.        availability to assist in resolving customer
definition of FCR is – “The customer’s in-     Coaching – FCR coaching is provided at         issues in real-time.
quiry or problem is resolved in one call”      the CSR level to the VP level.                 Roaming Knowledge Experts – knowledge
and that the customer must be the judge        Hiring & Turnover – new CSR hires are          experts can assist CSRs or customers for re-
of determining if their inquiry or problem     based on having a predetermined FCR pro-       solving calls via wireless phone technology.
was resolved in the first call.                file and call centre management focuses        Call Wrap-up Resolution – allows CSRs to
   Only five percent of the call centres       on reducing CSR turnover.                      capture call resolution outcomes and pro-
benchmarked by SQM are at the world                                                           vide FCR and call resolution reporting.
class FCR rating of 80 percent or higher.  FCR process enablers                               Knowledge Management – CSR uses an
The average call centre FCR rating is 67   Establishing the right processes can also          online knowledge management tool as a
                                           influence FCR performance.
percent resulting in an average of 1.6 calls                                                  resource to resolve customer calls.
needed to resolve customer’s inquiry or    Two Plus Calls – call centre management            Callback Tool – when CSRs are not avail-
problem. As you can see there is a big dif-evaluates source of error and reasons for          able, customers can leave a message on
ference between a world class performing   two plus calls.                                    voice menu and they are called back in
call centre and an average performing call Measurement – FCR is measured weekly               the sequence in which they called.
centre. Listed below are the best practicesand is determined by the customer.                 Verification Self-Service – for verification
for people, processes and technology for   Call Escalation – customer’s problem               or status update the customer can go ei-
transforming your call centre into a world should be attempted to be resolved with            ther online to get information, or receive
class FCR call centre.                     first CSR and customer should only explain         an email or IVR call providing real-time
                                           their problem once and is warm transferred         verification or status update information.
FCR people enablers                        to the tier two CSR for call resolution.           Customer Relationship Mgmt (CRM)
The way people are trained, managed and Call Flow – customer calls are effectively            – CSR has access to all customer infor-
motivated can have a significant impact and efficiently managed (i.e., call rout-             mation and history to assist in resolving
on FCR.                                    ing, script, desktop applications, etc.) for       customer’s call.
Management – is committed to improv- achieving FCR.
ing FCR in their mind and heart and FCR is                                                    Remember, only five percent of the call
viewed as the most important measure.      FCR technology enablers                            centres benchmarked by SQM are at the
Awareness – all levels of employees (CSR Several technology enablers exist that can           world class FCR rating of 80 percent or
to VP) are aware of why it is important to help increase FCR, and each one should be          higher. The key to achieving world class FCR
improve FCR and are also aware of their evaluated for its potential role to improve           rating of 80 percent or higher is to execute
ongoing FCR performance.                   call centre FCR performance.                       the best practices we identified for people,
Accountability – all levels of employees Intelligent Skill Based Routing – match              processes and technology enablers. cm
(CSR to VP) are accountable for achieving customer and/or call type with the CSR’s
FCR goals.                                 knowledge and skills.                              Mike Desmarais is president & founder of
Recognition – CSR to their direct man- Contact Channels – multiple channels ac-               Service Quality Measurement (SQM) Group.
ager level are recognized weekly and/or cessibility means customers can contact      / 800-446-2095.                                                                       January/February 2007   Contact Management    15
                             multi-channel | web-enabled

                               Weaving a web
                             of customer service
                             Even if most customer interactions continue to be via the telephone, can you
                             afford to ignore the demographic and significant purchasing power of clients
                             using non-voice channels?                                BY SUSAN MACLEAN
                             Given the choice between phone, email,            users. In addition, the number of ven-
                             chat and web self-service, most custom-           dors providing these services has also
                             ers will choose the former. But, companies        increased during this time, meaning cost       need to be able to provide exceptional
                             not offering access via these other chan-         reduction due to competition.”                 customer service and support to custom-
                             nels are likely missing out on the potential         Regarding the concern about a limited       ers using communication channel (such
                             of achieving greater customer satisfaction        pool of non-voice channel users, he re-        as phone, email and chat) that custom-
                             at a lower operating cost, according to at        ports this is also changing. “The growth       ers choose. Canadian companies must be
                             least one industry watcher.                       of PDAs, email accounts and web-chat           committed to learn about unique needs
                                In the last 10 years, there has been a not-    users has exploded over the past decade,       of the customer during each interaction,
                             ed growth in interest around developing           and many vendors are looking to connect        assimilate that knowledge throughout the
                             new contact channels, thereby increasing          with their customers using these conduits.     enterprise, and enable real-time access
                             an investor’s reach to existing or potential      What is clear is that the bulk of customer     to customer information to all key stake
                             customers, reports Peter Ryan, a Montreal-        interactions will continue to be driven via    holders of the enterprise.
                             based CRM analyst with Datamonitor.               the telephone, but the demographic of             “Given that more than two-thirds of
                                “To date, the overwhelming majority of         clients using non-voice channels are very      Canadian adults use the Internet to inter-
                             investment has been placed in voice chan-         likely to have significant purchasing power    act with a wide variety of companies and
                             nels, focusing on live agents or investment       and sophistication, meaning that these         industries, ranging from banks to online
                             in IVR. However, forward looking business         channels cannot be ignored.”                   shopping sites, it is imperative that compa-
                             would be wise to also investigate the pos-           Ryan also contends that “in the context     nies gear up to meet service and informa-
                             sibility of deploying non-voice channels,         of Canada, it is important for contact         tion requests that arrive through the differ-
                             including web-chat, email, and text mes-          centre managers and outsourcers to con-        ent Internet channels,” the audit summary
                             saging so as to maximize their interaction        sider more non-voice deployments. With         continues. “This is especially true for the
                             chances,” he counsels.                            one of the highest Internet and mobile         most coveted demographic of all — over
                                Ryan adds that there is no question            telephone penetration rates in the world,      88 percent of young, urban, high-earning
                             that many potential investors have been           the ability for customers to connect with      Canadians are using the Internet to get their
                             put-off by multi-channel investment due           business across verticals will be of the ut-   personal and professional business done.”
                             to two key inhibitors: the perceived high         most importance. In addition, the inability       However, the wisdom of offering multi-
                             cost and concern around the relatively            to make an investment in these technolo-       channel access may be questionable if
                             small number of end users. However, he            gies will end up costing both in overall       that access does not offer the response
                             argues that in both cases, perception may         revenues and customer retention.”              times and quality that customers expect.
                             not be reality.                                                                                  That Talisma audit also revealed:
                                                                               Service differentiator                         • nearly half of all email queries were
                             Cost reduction                                    “In a world where customers regard flaw-          ignored by the companies included in
                             “While it is clear that a capital outlay for      less products as a given, service is the key      the audit;
                             new technology associated with non-               differentiator between companies in many       • there is a lack of self-help tools, espe-
 Photo credit: Falko Matte

                             voice capabilities is required, it may not        industries,” reads a report summary of a          cially searchable knowledge bases;
                             be as expensive as thought,” he argues.           customer service audit – 2006 Canadian         • few companies provided online chat;
                             “This is due to heavy technology innova-          Top 100 eService Survey – of Canadian          • phone service was much better but
                             tion and economies of scale over the past         companies conducted by Talisma Corpo-             lacked personalization; and
                             five years, in conjunction with the growth        ration, a provider of customer interaction     • the majority of companies do not have
                             of these same channels in terms of end-           management (CIM). “Canadian companies             access to unified customer history.

16 Contact Management                                  January/February 2007                                                               
                                                  Capital outlay for new technology associated
On the plus side, accuracy scores were
                                                   with non-voice capabilities may not be as
very good for the responses received.               expensive as thought, says Peter Ryan.
  “The most pressing issue is providing
a consistent customer experience across
multiple channels,” the report continues.         In fact, Talisma estimates that cost reduc-   achieve higher volumes of service re-
“Delays in answering phone calls and           tion can result in savings of up to 90 per-      quests in the same time.
emails erode customer confidence. This         cent of traditional phone support costs.           • Support the multi-channel delivery
erosion in responsiveness will only in-           According to Talisma, organisations           of customer service functions—phone,
crease as channels such as self-help tools,    should look to implement a multi-channel         email, chat, and self-service.
text message, or online chat are demand-       solution that can achieve the following:           • Allow continuous system modification
ed as a basic service by customers. What is       • Strategically deploy communication          to accommodate new products without
encouraging is that providing service using    channels using best practices as a differ-       disrupting operations
the broad reach of Internet channels will      entiator to create enhanced experiences            • Be easily deployable and maintainable
only increase customer satisfaction, as           • Significantly reduce the time for an        with a low total cost of ownership (TCO)
well as be much less expensive to support      agent to execute a customer’s service or           • Take advantage of existing contact
than traditional phone.”                       support request. This would help agents          centre and CRM investments. cm

                                                                                                   product showcase

Multiple channels offer service opportunities
Consumers dealing with customer service        marketing so customers can access a firm                                  BY SUSAN MACLEAN
will pick up the phone because it brings       without having to download any software          ferent windows and effectively reducing
them the fastest results. Yet, one study       or be a member of, for example, AOL,             customer waiting time.
found that 70 percent of consumers say         Yahoo or Microsoft Messenger Network                Vendors are trying to make it easy for
they would use instant messaging (IM) or       (MSN). HelpSwitch solutions complement           customers to move into the web-enabled
email if the response was immediate.           email and 800 telephone support with real-       environment. Aspect Software, Inc., for ex-
   That was a finding last year by Corporate   time chats to customers, live on the web.        ample, recently released version 10.1 of its
Research International (CRI) of Findlay, OH,      If you have pre-teens or teens in your        Web Powered Agent product along with
a firm that promotes IM and live web chat      home, you know why Kwong suggests IM             a promotion through to March 2007 for
as the wave of the future, based on 2,213      would be particularly advisable for a com-       Aspect Spectrum ACD customers to move
completed surveys from a review of call        pany with younger clientele. In fact, the        to what is being billed as “a complete
centre customer service issues and prefer-     “cool” factor is cited in company literature     inbound solution that includes robust
ences for contacting a company, whether        as one of the benefits. To some extent its       queuing, routing, reporting, agent empow-
by phone, email or other method.               use depends on the age of both the tar-          erment and modeling capabilities.”
   When asked how long they were will-         geted customer and the agent.                       Vocalcom also has what it calls an “in-
ing to wait for a response via email, 51.2        IM can provide more detailed and even         tegrated convergence tool” to quickly gain
percent of the respondents said they call      technical information than what is readily       multimedia functionalities of email, tele-
because they don’t want to wait, 33.83         said over the phone and a single agent           phone, fax, Internet. Called X’Media, the
percent said they would wait an hour or        can support three or four customers at           Vocalcom contact centre product allows
less, while only 65 percent would wait 24      a time.                                          a company to centralize infrastructure in
hours, which is what many companies give          Kwong says some of the challenges in          one location, which in turn is said to cut
as a turnaround time for a response.           adopting IM once management is con-              infrastructure costs, enhance productivity
   Dr. Yat-sang Kwong, general manager         vinced of the value of the tool, are some        and provide better customer service.
and CTO at HelpSwitch Canada, finds his        resistance by support staff and manag-              Some companies offer hosted software
company’s IM solutions are a harder sell in    ing changes to skill sets. He suggests a         further facilitating going beyond toll-free
Canada than in the U.S., although he notes     company with 20 agents might have only           inbound calling. For example, CallCentre-
momentum has been building in the last         one or two who are keyboard proficient.          Anywhere from Telus is a hosted service
year. He says government is the fastest        He recommends running a pilot of 10 or           providing access to all the features of a
sector to take up IM in Canada.                15 percent of centre staff on IM support.        fully functional, multi-channel contact
   For about three years, Markham, ON-         Then, look at the volume and track the           centre without requiring a capital outlay.
based HelpSwitch Canada has offered IM         number of customers a single agent can              It’s all about being available to customers
solutions for customer services and email      support simultaneously by opening dif-           when they want and how they want. cm                                                                          January/February 2007   Contact Management      17
                product showcase

   Self-service options prove popular                                                                       Benefits
   What are the most common questions
   your customers ask? What if they could
                                                     customer inter-
                                                     actions from a
                                                                                                      inside the centre
   get the answers to those questions easily         single, unified                                          Web capabilities don’t just refer to
   via your website so they wouldn’t have to         agent desktop.                                          the world reaching into the contact
   phone you?                                           A live per-                                        centre. Within the centre, web-based
      That’s the idea behind IntelliResponse,        son on the                                           software can enhance communication
   an online query and answer tool devel-            other end of                                        and reporting practices.
   oped by Comtext Systems Inc. of Water-            the browser                                           Merced Systems Inc. of Redwood
   loo, ON, and launched in 2000. Initially          gives       an                                    Shores, CA, is a provider of contact centre
   the focus was on servicing university stu-        online      shopper                              and operations performance management
   dents to reduce the growing number of             the control and connec-                          systems. In 2006, the company commis-
   email inquiries manually processed by             tion they’re looking for when they go            sioned a study to identify performance
   staff. With limited marketing, the system         online, maintains LivePerson, Inc., a New        management practices at 107 companies
   spread to 23 universities and colleges in         York city-based provider of solutions for        in the contact centre industry who were
   Canada. It has also been adopted at some          managing online customer interactions            not Merced customers.
   of the world’s largest commercial corpo-          including chat, email and self-service/             While 95 percent of participants be-
   rations including ING, American Express,          knowledgebase. Analytics will help you           lieved it is critical, very important or im-
   ScotiaBank, TD Bank, National Car Rental          read your website visitors’ emotions and         portant to provide performance data to
   and Budget Truck Rental. With over 125            live chat helps you cement the relation-         front-line employees, only 40 percent of
   implementations, IntelliResponse is said          ship by supplying a human element that,          this group provided online dashboards and
   to have managed over 20 million inquiries,        generally speaking, is lacking on the web,       reports to agents. The survey also noted
   with an automated response rate exceed-           the company contends.                            that reporting and dashboard automation
   ing 80 percent.                                      The company claims that all companies         responses were found to correlate with an
      The online query/answer tool is like an        that install LivePerson report a dramatic        operation’s performance. No companies
   ongoing customer survey with an unbiased,         increase of online sales. It also reports that   reporting “significantly above goal” for
   100 percent response rate. While the original     71 percent of LivePerson consumers say           revenue or quality reported having a fully
   goal is to allow customers to find informa-       they would like to find other web sites that     manual dashboard and reporting system. IT
   tion quickly and easily on the website, be-       offer live chat and special promotions.          priorities were cited as the top reason for
   cause it also tracks the types of questions,         The company predicts that consum-             not having online dashboards and reports
   it helps a company get to know customers          ers will lead the demand for live chat,          available to agents.
   better and make sure website content and          and will ultimately force online retailers          Mark Gally, director of marketing at
   company services meet their needs.                worldwide to embrace this communica-             Merced Systems, Inc., cites a six to 12
      LivePerson’s suite of products is said to      tion channel. Will contact centres be far        month payback, five to nine percent pro-
   support and manage all types of online            behind? cm                                       ductivity gains and sales revenue boosts
                                                                                                      of 10 to 15 percent by implementing
                                                                                                      web-based performance management
                                                                                                      software. The positive results come from
                                                                                                      automating the coaching process to
         Want to learn more about making your                                                         develop consistency and getting a more
                                                                                                      accurate, real-time view of how the op-
         call centre web-ready and interactive?                                                       eration is being managed and how well it
                                                                                                      is performing.
       Check out our website to get contact information for Canadian and US                              He suggests supervising is a key com-
       vendors who can help. Our Internet Technology Guide provides a detailed                        ponent in a centre’s performance and
       listing and descriptions of companies that are involved in helping call cen-                   having better insight with clear reports
       tres with their capabilities and technology for implementing or improving:                     and dashboards makes a significant dif-
       Online Research, Compliance & Privacy Management, Content Management,                          ference. “Performance management drives
       Web-Help Services, Instant Messaging, Email Security, GIS & Mapping, Broad-                    behaviour change on the front line,” Gally
       cast Email, eCommerce Services, Electronic Payment Systems and eCRM.                           says. “Supervisors can work better with
                                                                                                      agents to drive strategic goals, rather than
       Visit us at                                                sit in front of a spreadsheet. They can
                                                                                                      execute on the fundamental principles
                                                                                                      better.” cm
18 Contact Management        January/February 2007                                                                

   Halton Region
   makes government
   more accessible
    It’s probably as sure as death and taxes that you’ve ex-
    perienced frustration getting information from the gov-
    ernment. Too often when we get to talk to someone,
    we’ve got through to the wrong person or department.                Ron MacMaster manages
                                       BY SUSAN MACLEAN                 Access Halton, ranked the #1
                                                                        government centre.

           hanks to Access Halton, residents         federal government information.                tario, the province of Ontario’s citizen ac-
           and businesses in the Halton Region          Halton Region was one of the first          cess channel, to ensure “there’s no wrong
           of southern Ontario have fast ac-         regional and municipal governments in          door” when someone inquires about mu-
    cess to government-related information           Canada to establish such a single point        nicipal, regional or provincial issues. “We
    and problem-solving.                             of contact and typically handles an aver-      can’t answer all questions, but we want to
       In 2006, Service Quality Management           age of 23,000 telephone calls per month.       give information and send people to the
    Group (SQM) ranked Access Halton as the          It was also the first local government in      right place,” MacMaster explains. SQM
    number one government centre in North            Canada to deploy a CRM software appli-         measured 83 percent customer satisfac-
    America and in the top five percent of           cation driven by a comprehensive custom-       tion among customers whose calls were
    all 19 SQM key performance benchmarks.           er service strategy, according to then chief   transferred and dealt with by other Re-
    SQM measured overall customer satisfac-          administrative officer Brent Marshall.         gional departments.
    tion at 83 percent with an impressive 80            The success of Access Halton likely stems      But getting to this point could not have
    percent of all customer telephone inqui-         from that top-ranking official’s commit-       been easy. Just for the Region, there were
    ries resolved in one call.                       ment to customer service. It was under his     multiple ways of interfacing with citizens
       Access Halton is the corporate contact        leadership in 1999 that a seamless service     – including about 30 different telephone
    centre for Halton Region and officially          standardizing interaction with clients was     numbers for people to call.
    provides a single integrated point of con-       recommended to the regional government.           “We told (departments) to give us the
    tact for regional programs and services via      Marshall’s focus on serving citizens seemed    repeat calls so they could focus on the
    a local number or a toll free 1-866 number.      to gel with the culture of the organization    higher value ones,” recalls Ralph Blauel,
    The centre is responsible for handling calls     to make Access Halton possible.                director of Technology Services in Halton
    to about 16 program areas, including those          Although Marshall has recently retired,     Region’s Corporate Services Department.
    dealing with waste management, health,           Access Halton’s manager Ron MacMaster          “We could preserve the uniqueness of each
    housing, business, seniors, transportation,      says the executive commitment and culture      and not pigeon hole any department.”
    children, finance and purchasing, commu-         remain – and certainly he is bent on keep-        The single most important key was
    nity services and long term care facilities.     ing the centre on its successful course.       having the CAO’s support, adds Kate John-
    But, in fact, it provides seamless single-          Access Halton was the first municipality    ston, corporate projects consultant in the
    window access to regional, provincial and        to develop a partnership with Service On-      office of the CAO. “Without him champi-

20 Contact Management        January/February 2007                                                              
oning it, the roadblocks would have been        rates,” adds Blauel.                              centre staff see this as a foot in the door
insurmountable.”                                   MacMaster reports they keep an eye on          to moving on to other parts of the corpo-
   She notes that they also treated each        the amount of calls, types of calls and talk      ration. Others like this type of work. Five
group being changed as a client, showing        times per division to ensure staff is allocat-    staff members are Certified Alliance of
the benefits to them and making a point “to     ed appropriately. “We don’t have an empha-        Information and Referral (AIR) specialists.
understand and respect their uniqueness.”       sis on handling time as long as the customer      He describes staff as “empathetic, well-
   Johnston’s efforts at getting people’s       needs are met. Why rush the customer to           educated, very articulate and with a drive
buy-in cleared the path for Blauel’s team       get off the phone? It makes no sense.             to help. We look for good people with a
to implement the technology – specifical-          “Siebel (Oracle) is a great tool for us,” he   desire to help.”
ly, public sector CRM software from Siebel      adds. “It houses the knowledge base so we            Recruiting begins with an initial tele-
(now Oracle).                                   can do key word searches. It stores 600           phone interview to listen to how the
   The Technology Services team eventu-         different scripts. It logs calls according to     person sounds on the phone. The person
ally applied it to addressing citizen issues    types. It communicates to other program           is asked for previous experience and is
with not only the regional government but       areas, creating a “ticket” for follow up. It      invited to tell a story. Before being hired,
also other organizations and the four mu-       provides accountability.”                         a prospective employee is paired with an
nicipalities Halton Hills, Milton, Oakville        Callers are given a “service promise”          experienced rep whose opinion is con-
and Burlington. In fact, there are so many      that action will be taken within a certain        sidered in the hiring process. “People are
applications that Blauel and Johnston           time frame. Rules are in place for Seibel/        teamed so they need to get along with
claim Halton Region is using Siebel/Oracle
more comprehensively than the city of
New York, also a Siebel/Oracle customer!        “We can’t answer all questions, but we want to give
   “We dove deep,” Johnston stresses. “We
did it slower and with a lot of attention to     information and send people to the right place.”
detail, getting to every FAQ or client in-
quiry. I feel we have all clients served well   Oracle to provide an alert if any promise         one another,” he explains.
through the call centre. It is a comprehen-     is not kept.                                         Continuous training and updating the
sive implementation that is cost effective,        Access Halton measures through its             600 scripts in collaboration with program
collaborative and client-centered.”             Nortel Meridian Max the volume of calls,          areas never ends, he says. “Scripts are like
   For some of the most frequent munici-        talk time and hold time. It matches that to       paths,” he stresses. “You have to give them
pality-related programs – such as regis-        the data entered through Siebel/Oracle            their freedom to let their personality show
tering a child for the local recreational       which logs every call without capturing           through. Otherwise there’s no job satisfac-
program – Access Halton has an internal         what would be considered private infor-           tion from just reading a standard script.”
number linked to the municipality so the        mation from customers.                               Halton has a population of just under
caller can be transferred over to a live per-      MacMaster says they compare the two            400,000 with a lot of growth in the last
son right away without redialling.              measuring systems to ensure the error rate        five years. “Call volume is increasing every
   In other instances, for example a call       by staff is low. At five percent, it certainly    year due to centralizing internal divisions
about a body of standing water on what          is low.                                           and growth,” MacMaster says.
might be public property, a service rep            So is absenteeism and turnover.                   An IVR is used but it is “kept flat” with
could send an email out to the person re-          MacMaster suggests this has much to            very few options and the ability to zero
sponsible. “We simplified a service request     do with being part of a larger good em-           out. There is a self-serve feature for after
by creating a linkage to the service level      ployer. Along with the police, ambulance          regular office hours. “We wanted to guar-
(regional or municipal),” says Blauel. “The     staff and administrative staff in the build-      antee a live answer. People don’t like IVRs.
result is an increased compliancy rate with     ing, the contact centre staff members             They are frustrating to a customer,” Mac-
respect to West Nile virus.”                    have access to a cafeteria and gym facility.      Master contends.
   Or, a complaint about waste collec-          The centre has grown from an initial five            To reflect the increasing ethnic diversity
tion… “We’ve taken the leg work away            people in August 2001 to 14 full-time and         of the population, in 2005 Access Halton
from customers to repeat stories” as a          three part-time staff.                            contracted with a language company so
caller is transferred from person to per-          The centre runs 24/7. As part of the           it could provide service in 150 languages.
son, says Johnston. “A service request is       corporate emergency plan and essential            A conference call is placed to the service
sent by email to the cell phones of the         service for Halton, the centre is located         provider as required and within seconds a
waste management crew who can re-               in part of the building that would remain         translator is on the line. There is also a TTY
spond remotely. This (remote response)          powered during power outages so it can            line for those with hearing impairments.
gets uploaded to the Siebel/Oracle sys-         remain open.                                         It’s obvious that Halton Region is com-
tem, so the ticket gets closed.”                   MacMaster boasts that the centre’s             mitted to being as accessible as possible
   “It’s rapid and we can track response        CSRs are good at their job. He says some          to those it serves. cm                                                                           January/February 2007   Contact Management      21
                              VoIP watch

    Nordia reveals its
    VoIP strategy
    Nordia Inc., one of the largest users of Internet Protocol (IP) telephony in Canada, is         How did you go about determining what
    a provider of multi-contact customer relationship management solutions offering                 VoIP technology to select? What brand
    multilingual contact centre services 24/7. It has six contact centres across Canada             did you choose? Why?
    with more than 2,500 employees handling 100 million customer contacts per year.                 Reliability, maximum flexibility, as well as
    Contact Management delved into its award-winning Voice over IP (VoIP) telephony                 a high quality for voice passage and highly
    structure with Pierre Grimard, vice-president Information Technology, and Lyne                  efficient equipment were key elements of
    Magnan, sales & marketing coordinator in Quebec, PQ. Here are their responses.                  the utmost importance in our choice. We
                                                                                                    found all of these qualities with Bell’s lat-
    What was the business case that prompt-          When did you install the VoIP technol-         est Virtual Private Network Technology: IP-
    ed Nordia to turn to VoIP?                       ogy; how long did that take and who            VPN links. It is based on the Layer 3 packet-
    Nordia: We had won new contracts gen-            installed it?                                  routing efficiencies of Multiprotocol Label
    erating 40 percent of additional business.       Nordia and its dedicated expert IT team        Switching (MPLS), a key feature of Cisco
    We needed to rapidly increase our call           spared no effort to carry the VoIP migra-      Internet Operating System (IOS) software.
    answering capacity, as we were facing            tion project to completion in 2005, over       We found the IP-VPN a secure, robust and
    50,000 calls to be handled daily. Among          a period of four months, deploying one         cost-effective way to extend the reach and
    our main objectives was that we wanted           site after the other. Our strategic partners   coverage of our communications infra-
    to better manage call fluctuations and to        Bell Canada, our telecom provider, and         structure. Not only does the Cisco MPLS
    improve service level. In order to do so,        Interactive Intelligence Inc., our call cen-   solution provide a high level of security,
    we needed to optimize the utilization of         tre systems solutions provider, were the       it presents a cost-effective method for
    all our agent workstations, regardless of        two important key players with whom we         connecting offices, workers and business
    their geographical locations. So, instead        worked very closely.                           partners across geographic regions.
    of buying new “traditional telephony”                                                              IP-VPNs do not simply extend a corpo-
    equipment and opening a new centre, we           Was it a smooth or difficult process?          rate network to remote locations, they
    turned to the VoIP telephony solution.           The fact that we were getting 40 percent       can also help organizations to achieve
    This multimedia infrastructure allowed us        of additional business to be implemented       productivity gains, while increasing net-
    to link more than 800 seats and 300 “IP-         in the same period of time was a huge          work security, reliability, scalability and
    ready”, in our six contact centres, which        challenge in itself. Having to implement an    performance. The simplest definition of
    can now act as one virtual contact centre        important project such as VoIP at the same     a VPN is “any network built upon a public
    to optimize the overall capacity for both        time really added to the pressure. In fact,    network and partitioned for use by indi-
    voice and data service delivery.                 at the time we implemented it, it was the      vidual customers”. According to this, pub-
                                                     largest VoIP migration project for a contact   lic frame relay, X.25, and ATM networks
    Is there a length of time that you estimate      centre company in Canada and U.S. At the       can all be considered as VPNs but they are
    the investment will have paid for itself?        same time, we also had to integrate Inter-     generically referred to as ‘Layer 3’ VPNs.
    In fact, we have already recuperated our         active Intelligence’ s call centre manage-
    investment, which was quickly realized in        ment CIC systems so that it would be fully     What other peripheral equipment did you
    less than six months, while helping our cli-     tuned with our IP infrastructure. Overall,     have to purchase? Or was it a package deal,
    ents by being able to quickly handle extra       the right expertise from highly profession-    complete with VoIP headsets, for example?
    call volumes, thus rapidly generating new        al partners, combined with our dedicated       We selected Interactive Intelligence IP
    revenues for Nordia.                             expert IT team made it a smooth process.       approach: Session Initiation Protocol,

22 Contact Management        January/February 2007                                                               
or SIP. Interactive Intelligence chose the         we would have spent integrating new           proved and we have a better control over
international SIP standard because SIP is          applications (hardware/software) at four      Internet filtering, thus reducing the risks
an alternative to TAPI-based IP telephony          sites, which would have represented an        of virus intrusion and loss of productivity.
models, a protocol that eliminates the             important amount of money with tradi-           Linking agents at multiple sites into
need for a separate IP PBX and contact             tional infrastructure. We can now choose      common queues allows us to reduce hold
centre solution and the emerging stan-             the location/site where we want to direct     times, reduce staffing levels or achieve
dard for session control for a variety of          the calls without having to initiate an IT    some measure of both. It also enabled
other communications mediums.                      project for each new service, every time.     agents to request assistance from coaches
   At that time we had to install SIP enable       Furthermore, we linked both our Québec        or transfer calls to other sites in a trans-
cards to connect our T1’s and convert from         and Ontario centres by providing them         parent manner.
TDM to SIP. We have now moved to Intel’s           with a virtual help desk support service,
Host Media Processing (HMP) Software,              per language. Then, to cater to an unex-      How has staff reacted?
which is a 100 percent software solution,          pected call volume increase, a third site     Even though it was essentially transparent
reducing costs over TDM voice boards               with agents having the proper qualifica-      to call centre agents, we made sure that
typically required for IP telephony.               tions, was also linked to this service.       our staff understood the various advan-
   We had to acquire and install new clus-            By optimizing our workstations with the    tages that this migration project would
tered servers for reliability and stability, buy   VoIP migration, Nordia experienced addi-      have on Nordia’s business, for instance,
CISCO switches that manage Quality of              tional growth of more than 25 percent in      that it is a strong competitive advantage
Service over the MPLS network, to prioritize       annual revenues without having to open        in the market. So, this project was intro-
and guarantee bandwidth stability for voice        new centres. It allowed the recuperation      duced gradually in the company and the
packets. We also had to buy new IP phones          of more than 150 workstations which, in       reactions were very positive. Of course,
and IP headsets for each agent position.           addition to improving our cost structure,     this new technological environment (and
                                                   represent the equivalence of an invest-       other factors) called for a change in our
What changes has it brought your business?         ment of more than $750,000.                   organizational IT structure. We wanted to
In fact, the advantages of VoIP lie not in            Also, the implementation of new ser-       make sure to leverage our technical work-
new capabilities, but rather in efficiencies       vices, which used to take six to eight        force in all of our centres and to better
that make changes in your operations               weeks, can now be set within days. With       balance the IT scope of work. Therefore,
cost-effective. Centralizing our telephony         VoIP, the IT department is “no longer on      the Nordia IT workforce has become a
network saved us the need to integrate,            the critical path” and every member of        unified unit, which was also well received
upgrade and support contact centre                 our team is proud of having removed that      at all sites.
technologies at each site. In our world            pressure off our shoulders.
of multiple services and sites, it’s very             Reduction of the number of T1’s by         How have your clients reacted?
complex to maintain rules for call routing,        nearly 15 percent was made possible via       The VoIP virtual infrastructure allows for
and it’s expensive to maintain all systems         line sharing and the integration of several   reduced hold times and increases our ca-
in a dynamic environment. Therefore,               services on a same SIP soft-switch. This      pacity to handle more call volume. These
Nordia being a multi-centre company,               represents an important annual saving on      key factors have significantly improved
we virtualized the telephony network,              our telecom spending. Significant savings     our service, thus contributing to increas-
using two Soft-PBX and Automatic Call              were also achieved for public Internet ac-    ing our clients’ satisfaction.
Distributor (ACD) for all of our six centres.      cess going down from five to two points         Also, one of the advantages of VoIP
This also saves on IT support and the time         of access. Equipment reliability has im-                                see VoIP watch page 22                                                                          January/February 2007   Contact Management        23
                               VoIP watch

    is that you can call anywhere, anytime            expected. One area in particular is the      reside in the expertise of the IT resources
    without paying extra phone charges,               management style which needs to adjust       performing the configuration and fine tun-
    thus reducing long distance charges. For          to the virtualization and the deployment     ing of the environment. In fact, the clarity
    example, one of our clients has been the          of VoIP in multiple centres. The technol-    of voice is often better, with a much bet-
    beneficiary of a very robust economy              ogy allows to seamlessly distribute calls    ter noise reduction efficiency.
    of $500,000 annually in long distance             between various centres and you have           The technology changes are a good oc-
    charges. Since a cost-effective solution is       to deploy the management structure to        casion to review business processes and
    always “music to a client’s ears”, of course,     track, measure and manage a service de-      to improve the delivery of services. Often,
    the reaction was very positive.
       Finally, in case of a disaster recovery
    plan deployment, operations are simpli-
    fied when it comes to quickly transfer-
                                                        By optimizing our workstations with the VoIP
    ring call volumes to other locations. In           migration, Nordia experienced additional growth
    addition, the Nordia corporate network
    is designed to continue operations even              of more than 25 percent in annual revenues
    when there are failures along a particular
    path – thus increasing reliability of IP-                without having to open new centres.
    VPNs since they are riding on highly reli-
    able infrastructure. These elements have a
    direct impact on the business continuity          livered by multiple parties and locations.   we automate or streamline when much
    and the guarantee we can provide to our           Traditional pyramid style management         larger changes could be done by reviewing
    clients that the same high level of service       has to migrate to a more complex matrix      the complete process and envisioning the
    can be maintained at all times, in a trans-       of responsibility and delivery process to    new possibilities brought by technology.
    parent manner.                                    ensure delivery of services. For an out-        We are dealing everyday with clients
                                                      sourcer like Nordia with multiple centres    requiring highly secure system, transpar-
    How did you handle the controversy                serving multiple clients, the complexity     ent and flexibility of service, cost-effec-
    about security issues?                            can quickly increase.                        tive solutions and improved productivity.
    In fact, the security aspects of our busi-           A migration needs to be well planned      There were no questions in our minds that
    ness have significantly improved by sim-          with partners aligned to the same key        the VoIP telephony system was definitely
    plifying its management and reducing              milestones and project schedule.             going to help fill those needs. Plus, Nordia
    to a minimum its vulnerability to attacks            Keep the number of providers as low as    belongs to a global family of contact cen-
    and intrusions. IP-VPNs allow the use             possible, as it can become very complex      tre businesses with over 5,000 employees
    of private IP addresses, thus increasing          and difficult to troubleshoot problems       on three continents and, to stay ahead of
    both security and flexibility. Private IP ad-     with your voice environment if some          competition in a global market, we under-
    dresses are similar to internal telephone         components are provided by non-certi-        stood that flexibility is key and that con-
    extensions in a PABX with the IT Manager          fied or non-compatible third parties.        tact centres must foster innovation and re-
    controlling the numbering of devices on                                                        spond to market challenges quickly and ef-
    the network. Well-programmed firewallsAny further words of advice?                             ficiently. Furthermore, as the trend toward
    at selected points on the network are Do not perform this migration for bad                    outsourcing contact centre operations
    used to grant and manage only accessesreasons. A complete evaluation of the                    grows, and as IP allows call-by-call man-
    for those who have been authorized.   potential savings is required. In the call               agement of outsourced agents, we believe
                                          centre world, savings are more associated
       Since the underlying IP-VPN secures and                                                     that VoIP will play a large role in uniting
                                          to flexibility, expansion and virtualization
    encrypts all data automatically, IT man-                                                       internal and outsourced customer service
    agement can avoid spending time ensur-of centres. In standard business telephony,              operations, anywhere on earth! Therefore,
                                          savings are often related to reducing the
    ing confidential corporate data are secure                                                     the implementation of a VoIP structure
                                          MACs (moves-adds-changes).
    or encrypted before they are transmitted                                                       was not even a question of choice, but
                                             Several people, after experiencing simi-
    to a remote user, partner or branch office.                                                    one of survival. It is no longer only a ques-
                                          lar technology with public (home) VoIP
    As for Voice over Internet, unlike public                                                      tion of whether or not you have the right
    VoIP services, all our communications telephony, may be afraid that the voice                  expertise and workforce to meet your con-
                                          quality could be diminished. The reality is
    are transported only on Nordia’s secured                                                       tract requirements, but it is a question of
    private network.                      that there is actually no difference. Calls              whether you are able to provide the right
                                          are processed on a private network that,                 technology to cater to the market’s ever
    Any lessons learned?                  when properly set up, guarantees that                    changing and increasing needs. VoIP is defi-
    The deployment of new technology, as your voice packets are always prioritized                 nitely the “voice” of the future and a must
    usual, has impacts in more areas than and not scrambled. The quality results                   competitive advantage. cm

24 Contact Management         January/February 2007                                                             
                                                    REGIONAL PROFILE - BC

BC quality of life attracts skilled, multilingual labour
The multilingual and highly skilled labour        nomic Partners Corporation in Chilliwack,        have been estimated to be over US$500
along with the different lifestyles of the        BC, is very upbeat about areas as well.          million. That group’s focus has now been
rural community mean BC has lots to offer            “While no doubt some of our existing          turned to other economic sectors.
the contact centre industry.                      centres are experiencing issues around la-          Another BC strength is that it offers
   “BC offers a hugely multilingual work-         bour availability due to the improved econ-      easy access to the U.S. border. Mitchell
force,” says Jean Mitchell, president, BC         omy in BC, I believe that opportunities still    says a global strategy is to have a centre
Contact Centre Association (BC CCA) and           exist for small specialty contact centres in     here and another in Asia.
manager of Call Centre & Industry Training        some of our member communities, spe-                The local industry is supported by BC
Solutions at British Columbia Institute of        cifically Mission, Cowichan, Comox, Maple        CCA, the active provincial association.
Technology (BCIT). “Every language is spo-        Ridge and Osoyoos,” he notes. “Some of           BCIT, the polytechnic institute in Burnaby,
ken here, including Mandarin, Cantonese,          the existing centres that are having the         BC, offers the BCIT Call Centre & Industry
Spanish and German. There are large U.S.          challenges still remain some of the most         Training Solutions program, which Mitch-
outsourcing centres with proximity to the         productive centres in North America.”            ell manages. Its Call Centre of Excellence
U.S. market. That market requires Span-              Wheeldon is chair of Linx BC, an eco-         is a working call centre designed to help
ish as a second language and BC has no            nomic development initiative founded by          give companies and individuals the edge
trouble filling that requirement.”                the Province of BC and several BC com-           in this fast-growing sector. Companies can
   However, BC contact centres are look-          munities in 1998 to create opportunities         try out the latest technology. Call centre
ing for people, Mitchell admits. She re-          in high unemployment communities by              managers can add to their operations
ports that the rural areas are doing well         attracting call centres to the province. It      to handle overload during busy times.
with centres in Victoria, Kelowna, Prince         brought in 10 call centres which netted          Through BCIT’s Call Centre of Excellence
George, Vernon, Chilliwack and Nanaimo.           over 10,000 new jobs and a total annual          Training Series, individuals can build the
Meanwhile, Dale Wheeldon, director of             income estimated at US$283 million! The          job skills needed to succeed as call centre
Economic Development, Chilliwack Eco-             annual indirect benefits of these centres        agents, supervisors and managers. cm

      � � � � � � � � �                �      �      �      �



       ����������������� �����������������
       �����������������������������                                                                     ��������������������
       ������������� ������������                                                                 ����   �������������������                                                                             January/February 2007   Contact Management   25
                                                              association news

    MCCA – Manitoba Customer Contact                     recognized as a leader in Canadian industry       The Manitoba Customer Contact Asso-
    Association                                          associations. One example cited was Mani-      ciation celebrated its eighth annual MECCA
    MCCA chair Lilly Kaminski writes in her new          toba being a first in Canada to introduce a    (Manitoba Excellence in Customer Contact
    year message to members: “MCCA assists the           University Level call centre management        Achievement) Awards night November 16,
    industry through proactive human resource            training program, and taking a proactive ap-   2006 at the Canad-Inns-Polo Park with over
    programming that will enhance members’               proach to human resource development. In       300 industry guests sharing in the enthusi-
    chances for global success. Government of-           our busy schedules, we often overlook and      asm and excitement. Lilly Kaminski, Chair of
    ficials at our MECCA Awards recently boast-          take for granted what work is happening be-    MCCA, opened the evening along with guest
    ed about the outstanding job MCCA is doing           hind the scenes at MCCA to strengthen our      The Hon. Jim Rondeau, Minister of Science
    for this industry and applauded us for being         global positioning.”                           Technology Energy and Mines. Another guest
                                                                                                        was Kyle Janota from Contact Centre Canada.
                                                                                                        Arvel Gray was the Master of Ceremonies for
                                                                                                        the evening which included a performance by
                                                                                                        Brazilian Dance troupe Viva Capoeira.
                                                                                                           The awards program is intended to rec-
                                                                                                        ognize excellence and evoke pride in the
                                                                                                        customer contact centre industry. Congratu-
                                                                                                        lations to all the winners!
                                                                                                           Representative of the Year Awards went
           Q U A L I TY & P E R F O R M A N C E M A N A G E M E N T b y eTA L K C O R P O R AT I O N    to: Johanne Absalom, Archway Marketing;
                                                                                                        Teri McDowall, CAA Manitoba; Barbara
                                                                                                        Custance, Canada Post; Nicole D’Auteuil, CN;
      Monitor • Measure • Improve • Understand                                                          Patricia Bradley, Convergys Canada; Lucille
                                                                                                        Gregory, CUETS; Edgar Ruiz, E-Care Contact
                                                                                                        Centers Ltd.; Sue Smith, FineLine Solutions;
                                                                                                        Kristi Fecyk, Great West Life; Muriel Tweed,
                                                                                                        Health Links - Info Santé; Marie Paule Palud,
                                         For over 15 years, Xentrax has been                            Integrated Messaging; Lindsay Robinette,
                                         a pioneer in offering innovative turn                          Manitoba Hydro; Peggy Campbell, Manitoba
                                                                                                        Public Insurance; Lola Lewis, MTS Allstream;
                                        key Contact Centre Software solutions
                                                                                                        Rindalah Hijazi-Figueroa, RBC Royal Bank;
                                        to the Canadian Marketplace. It is our                          Tracy Doyle, The City of Winnipeg; and
                                       singular focus and specialized expertise                         Linda Panciera, The Faneuil Group.
                                                                                                           Manager of the Year Awards were given to:
                                      in Workforce Optimization that allows our
                                                                                                        Nadine Laborde, Archway Marketing; Nellie
                                       customers to rapidly leverage the power                          Guy, CAA Manitoba; Ruth Honeygham, Can-
                                         hidden within their contact centres.                           ada Post; Ken Carroll, CN Customer Support
                                                                                                        Centre; Trevor Burns, Convergys Canada;
                                                                                                        Stuart Eckert, CUETS; Sharleene Viray, E-Care
                                         As etalk’s certified Canadian partner,                         Contact Centers; Shawn Knox, FineLine Solu-
                                        Xentrax provides Systems Installation,                          tions; Sarah Rogers, Health Links - Info Santé;
                                        Product Training and On-going Product                           Shelley Garand, Manitoba Hydro; Brian
                                                                                                        Byczkowsky, RBC Royal Bank CCC; and Bill
                                           Support of the Qfiniti Quality and                           Wilson, The Faneuil Group.
                                           Performance Management Suite                                    Organization Awards were presented in
                                                      of Products.                                      five categories.
                                                                                                        Community – CUETS; MTS Allstream
                                                                                                        Environment – Health Links-Info Santé; MTS
                    To learn how we have powered some of                                                Allstream
                Canada’s more customer focused contact centres,                                         Technology – CAA Manitoba; Archway
                   call 888-XENTRAX (888-936-8729) or                                                   Training & Performance Management – Inte-
                       email us at                                                    grated Messaging Inc.; Convergys Canada
                                                                                                        Employee Satisfaction – CUETS; RBC Cus-
                                                                                                        tomer Contact Centre
                                                                                                        MECCA also honoured its five-year volunteer
                                                                                                        committee members: Craig Johnson, CDI Col-
                                                Innovative Contact Centre Solutions                     lege; Carolyn Welsch, McDaniels Executive
                                                                                                        Recruiters; and Alex Herriot, Custom House.

26 Contact Management           January/February 2007                                                                 
Association News - cont’d from page 24
                                                                                              coming events: 2007
   MECCA reports that another study session has begun in the Cer-            FEBRUARY 28: GTACC 8am-10am., 161 Bay Street, BCE Place
tificate in Interdisciplinary Studies: Customer Contact Centre Man-          – Suite 4040. Greater Toronto Area Contact Centre Association
agement. University of Manitoba Extended Education and MCCA                  speaker and networking session;
have designed a program specifically for contact centre managers,
supervisors, team leads, trainers, CSR’s and quality assurance manag-        MARCH 28: BC CCA Call Centre Tours, Vancouver;
ers who wish to advance in their career or pursue a career change  
in the industry. Students must complete 100 course hours from the
University of Manitoba and 100 course hours from the MCCA to re-             APRIL 17: Symposium 2007 AMR-Postes Canada, Montréal, PQ;
ceive a certificate. For more information about the program, individual
courses, contact MCCA’s training coordinator Lynn Riddell 975-6465 or                                                      APRIL 25 - 27: Contact Centre Global Forum, Palais des Congrés,
                                                                             Cannes, France;

                                                                             MAY 14 - 16: Alberta Call Centre Association ninth annual
Alberta Call Centre Association
                                                                             conference, Coast Plaza Hotel & Conference Centre, Calgary, AB.
                                       REPORT BY SCOTT MACKENZIE
Come join us at the ninth Annual ACCA Conference May 14-16 at The
Coast Plaza Hotel in Calgary, AB, as we highlight the “Best In Class,        MAY 15 - 16: MCCA AGM, trade show & conference, Winnipeg,
Getting There and Staying There.” Expect a dynamite three days of call       Man.; 204-975-6464
centre tours, seminars and keynote presentations headlined by Tom
Blake and his insights on “Winning Organizations”! Also featured are
a fun-filled karaoke night, gala dinner and wine tasting event, great                                                       classifieds
prizes, and a dynamic tradeshow. Be sure to check out our website
at for more information and register early. We
look forward to seeing you in Calgary on May 14!

GTACC - Greater Toronto Area Contact Centre Association
                                     REPORT BY SANGEETA BHATNAGAR
GTACC is a non-profit knowledge exchange and networking association
with industry, government and service provider representation. Founded
in 2002, GTACC meets on a quarterly basis to share information on in-
dustry related topics, keeping its membership on the leading edge of
industry issues and initiatives. Furthermore, GTACC supports the Greater
Toronto Area Marketing Alliance with positive, sustainable marketing ini-
tiatives for the Greater Toronto Area customer contact centre industry.
   GTACC is about networking and communication, people assisting
people. Membership is free. Sponsorship and donations are welcome.
   The latest meeting was Sept. 20, 2006 at 8:00 am. Brian Villeneuve
allowed us to book our meeting at BCE Place, 161 Bay Street, Suite
4040, Toronto. This was another fun, information driven, networking            ���� ����� ������� ������ ��������� ������� ��������� ���� �������
opportunity with leaders from our community! Elizabeth Winter, CPA,            ��������� ��������� ��������� ��� ���� ����� ������� ����������
spoke on “Absenteeism in the Workplace” and shared a lot of excellent          ��������� �������� ���������� ���������� ������������ ����������
information!!! Our second speaker also came very highly recommended            ������� ������ ���������� ��������� ������ �������� �������� �������
- Lilly Krstic, Subject Matter Expert with TELUS. Lilly engaged the mem-       ���� ������������ ���� ����� ������� �������������� ��� ������
bership with information on “Contingency planning for Call Centres.”           ����������������������������������������������������������������
   Our first GTACC meeting for 2007 is set for February 28 at 8am -10am.       ����� ����� ������� ������� ���� ����������� ����������� ����
                                                                               ������������������������������������������������������         ����
at 161 Bay Street, BCE Place – Suite 4040. We are fortunate to have Afshan
Bye, from Switchgear Consulting come and speak for us. Afshan is very
                                                                               ��������� �����������������������������������������
active with Contact Centre Canada where she is an active member and
sits on the Board. She was most recently head of ING DIRECT Funds and                    ������������������������
just prior to that was SVP of sales and service at ING DIRECT Canada.                    ������������������������
   Afshan will be speaking on the challenge that so many call centres face               ���������������������
– ATTRITION with the front line representatives. Afshan will share les-                                               ���������������������������������

sons that she has learned that have led to effective management of agent
turnover/attrition. We look forward to having a tremendous information
session, great networking as well as meeting up with our peers to have
some fun!!! Once again, Brian Villeneuve has been kind enough to get us
the beautiful location with some great coffee to start the morning off!
   For details contact chairperson Sangeeta Bhatnagar at or visit GTACC’s new web site: cm                                                                           January/February 2007    Contact Management            27
�������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������ ������������

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