Daniel OrdDaniel OrdMarch 28, 2019
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19min1190

Daniel Ord is the Founder of OmniTouch International, and one of the global Contact Centre industry’s most influential figures. 

With over 30 years of experience under his belt, Daniel is bringing his expertise to a wider audience with a new Masterclass on High Performance Management for Inbound Contact Centres. The two-day Masterclass will take place in Manchester in July, and in London in October. 

 

The more complex the Contact Centre ecosystem becomes – with multiple channels of communication, omnichannel ambitions, and increasing customer expectations – the more the fundamentals matter.

This is because once you have mastered Contact Centre operations, you will have a solid framework on which to ‘hang’ your decisions – whether that’s people, technology, or Customer Experience.

A Contact Centre expert would be expected to accurately answer the 15 Contact Centre operations questions presented in this article. 

This should be without any reference, discussion with others, or looking up the answers.

It’s not that the questions are easy – they’re not!  It’s that to be a master of the environment requires very particular know-how, and once your Contact Centre folks have this level of know-how, performance will improve – guaranteed!

So give these 15 questions a go. For each question select either A, B, C, or D, and there is one correct answer for each one

To find out your results, simply email your answers to daniel.ord@omnitouchinternational.com, with the question number and the answer  you selected.

It should look like this:

1.  A

2.  B

3.  A

4.  C

Etc. 

Good luck!

1. Which of the following contact types require the use of service level to determine staff requirements

   I: Outbound calls

   II: Email (with 24-hour response time)

   III: Live chat/Text chat

   IV: Walk-ins

A. I only

B. I and IV only

C. II and III only

D. III and IV only

 

2. Which of the following is the industry standard service level?

A. 80% answered in 20 seconds

B. 90% answered in 30 seconds

C. Industry standards only exist for vertical industries (e.g. financial services, telecommunications, insurance, etc.)

D. There is no industry standard

 

3. A Call Centre has recently established KPI targets. The Service Level objective is 80% answered in 20 seconds and the Average Speed of Answer (ASA) objective is 10 seconds. The Call Center also plays a prerecorded announcement for all callers prior to queuing. Given this information, which of the following statements is true? 

A. The Call Centre is measuring typical callers’ experience more effectively than call centres that measure service level alone

B. Setting both Service Level and ASA targets is not appropriate

C. To be most meaningful, ASA should be measured as an end-of-day average

D. The timing of ASA should begin as soon as the prerecorded announcement starts

 

4. Given the following information, what is the abandonment rate for the week (Monday – Friday)? Total calls answered for the week: 9479. Total calls abandoned for the week: 702. Monday’s abandonment: 10.4%. Tuesday’s abandonment: 7.4%. Wednesday’s abandonment: 5.4%. Thursday’s abandonment: 3.4%. Friday’s abandonment: 7.0%   

A. 6.7%

B. 6.9%

C. 7.2%

D. 33.6%

 

5. When managing the queue in real-time, which of the following real-time statistics should you look at first?

A. Agent status

B. Longest current wait

C. Number of calls in queue

D. Average time to abandonment

 

6. Which of the following statements is TRUE?

I. Occupancy is the percentage of time agents spend talking to customers or completing after-call work

II. Occupancy is a result of random call arrival

III. When service level increases, occupancy increases

IV. When Occupancy is very high for extended periods of time, agents tend to work harder to clear out the queue 

A. II only

B. I and II only

C. II and IV only

D. I, III, and IV only

 

7. If an Agent arrives 30 minutes late to work on calls or live chats, which of the following actions would benefit the Contact Centre the most (assume the Agent is unable to consult with his/her Team Leader on the most appropriate action)?

A. Stay 30 minutes extra at the end of his/her shift

B. Skip his/her morning and afternoon breaks, each of which is 15 minutes

C. Come back from his/her hour lunch break 30 minutes early.

D. Take his/her breaks and lunch as normal and leave at his/her scheduled time

 

8. Which one of the following statements is FALSE?

A. Measuring the number of calls handled by an Agent is a good productivity standard

B. Adherence to schedule is the single most important productivity measure for a Contact Centre Agent handling Service Level-based contacts

C. When adherence to schedule improves, Service Level improves as well

D. Most of what drives the Average Handling Time lies outside the control of the Agent

 

9. Which statement is the MOST important?

A. To achieve productivity objectives, Agents will need to sacrifice a bit on quality                          

B. Average Handling Time is the most important productivity standard for an Agent

C. All Contact Centres use internal monitoring to calculate their quality scores for Agents.  

D. It is possible to design standards that enable Agents to achieve both quality and productivity objectives                                

 

10.  The best definition of Time Series forecasting is:

A. A method where the past is a good basis for predicting the future

B. A method which is only used in rare circumstances

C. A method that covers the qualitative side of forecasting

D. A method that doesn’t require judgement

 

11.  What variables does Erlang C require to perform staffing calculations?

I. Average handling time

II. Call volume

III. Number of abandoned calls

IV. Service level objective in seconds

A. I and II only

B. I, II and III only

C. I, II and IV only

D. II, III and IV only

 

12. Your Call Centre supports email and is expecting 200 email messages to arrive between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.  The average handling time of email messages is 8 minutes. Your promised response time is 4 hours. 

Assuming the Agents can work uninterrupted on these email messages only, which of the following staffing scenarios would meet your response time objective for these email messages?

I. 4 Agents working from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

II. 9 Agents working from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

III. 14 Agents working from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

IV. 40 Agents who each spend at least an hour working on email from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

A. II only

B. III and IV only

C. II, III and IV only

D. I, II, III, and IV

 

13. Which of the following are factors you need to incorporate in a  monthly labor budget?

I. Is my Agent in the building?

II. What is the monthly average Occupancy rate?

III. Is my Agent on a break?

IV. Is my Agent on leave?

A. III only

B. I and II only

C. I, II and III only

D. I, II, III and IV

 

14. Which of the following KPI results can be determined by looking at only ACD reports?

I. Service Level

II. Average Speed of Answer

III. Abandoned Calls

IV. Adherence to Schedule Percent

A. I and II only

B. III and IV only

C. I, II and III only

D. I, II, III, and IV

 

15. When forecasting call volume, you should use:

A. Calls answered

B. Calls answered plus calls abandoned

C. Calls offered discounted for multiple attempts from individual callers

D. All calls offered


Daniel OrdDaniel OrdMarch 22, 2019
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9min948

Daniel Ord is the Founder of OmniTouch International, and one of the global Contact Centre industry’s most influential figures. 

With over 30 years of experience under his belt, Daniel is bringing his expertise to a wider audience with a new Masterclass on High Performance Management for Inbound Contact Centres. The two-day Masterclass will take place in Manchester in July, and in London in October. 

 

Have you attended any conferences lately?

After the speeches are done and the workshops concluded, you have the chance to cluster around a table in a coffeeshop or bar and get to know other people who attended the event.

This is when one of my favourite questions comes up: “So how did you get into the Contact Centre industry?”

If you’re an introvert and get goosebumps around networking, then I guarantee you that this question works as a great ice-breaker. 

A happy accident?

Whether it’s Customer Service, Customer Experience, or the Contact Centre, I’ve rarely met anyone who doesn’t have an interesting story about how they accidentally ‘fell’ into the industry.

Some folks come up from being an Agent. That’s cool, because we all know you’ll never forget what it was like to talk to customers. Learning how to persuade, calm, and influence is one of the biggest gifts you get from doing this work.

Others – like myself – fell into the job through management level transfer or acquisition. 

I’m lucky enough to have transferred over from Finance to Operations, and I’ve always been grateful to have that background in numbers of logic to call on when running large centres.

The higher up the management ladder you go, the more you need to work ‘up and out’ in your organisation

When I first got into the industry, I faced the common challenge I think many of you have – most of my seniors thought my job was easy. I mean after all, on paper you just put a bunch of ‘operators’ in place and answer calls or emails or chats… where’s the complexity there?

As time and market forces increasingly put the customer in the centre of the organisational universe, things got a little better. However, I found that at least half my time as a VP Operations was spent talking to senior folks across the organisation – time well spent.

Teaching them about the industry, about customers and about our value proposition. Helping them ‘get it’.

Today, in all my management level Contact Centre courses, I advise folks to make a real organisational impact by getting up and away from your desk and office….and not just walking around your centre, though of course that has value!

I’m talking about booking time with the heads of other functions and getting yourself invited to senior level meetings. You’ve got to make yourself visible and talked about. You’ve got to help people in other job roles solve problems or create opportunities, because if you don’t, your centre – and everyone who works there – will suffer benign neglect.

It’s not an easy industry

I always say that in the Contact Centre industry we have to be masters of many domains. That includes:

  • Operations – after all everything starts here
  • People management & organisational design
  • Leadership & financial management
  • Customer Service & Experience
  • The role of technology in the lives of our customers & people

I can’t think of another industry that places this many demands on its leadership.

And a word of caution…

If you’ve worked a long time for one or two centres, you begin to think that the way ‘you’ work here is the way the ‘industry’ works. Nobel-Winner Daniel Kahneman talks about the danger of ‘WYSIATI’: What you see is all there is.

He teaches that we humans tend to make decisions on incomplete information, thinking that what we see or know now is all there is. Do your best to push back against WYSIATI – I think the best Contact Centre leadership does. 

But no matter how you got there…it’s what you do when you’re there

So you’re there. That’s so cool.

You’re the Contact Centre Manager or Director, and they’re counting on you to be efficient and effective.

When asked what I think is the most important thing to learn first about Contact Centres, I always give the same answer:

Operations!

I can hear some people say “no, it must be customers!”,  or “no way, it’s people!”

But Centres are unique and complex ecosystems. You’ll make better decisions about both your people and your Customers when you’ve mastered Operations. 




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