[View Past Issues] September 16, 2014
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: On-Demand Webinar: The Top 10 Avoidable Mistakes Front-Line Support Teams Make

The words "customer support" evoke images of smiling, headset-wearing people sitting in front of computer screens, eager to serve you. But we’ve all had support experiences that don’t feel anything like that.

When support agents drop the ball, they give their companies a reputation for bad service and make their own job harder. Fortunately, their biggest mistakes are almost always predictable — and avoidable.

Listen to Rich Gallagher, author and customer service expert, and take a frank, humorous tour through the 10 “worst practices” support teams use every day on the frontlines with customers.
Watch this webinar to learn:

  • The impact of "case-close-itis" on performance
  • Catch phrases that aggravate everyone
  • How to think like a customer instead of an agent
  • The wrong way to respond to a customer complaint

Register today!

inContact Continues Workforce Optimization (WFO) Market Momentum with New Cloud SMB Solution
inContact, a provider of contact center workforce optimization tools, announced the launch of the inContact Discover WFO Suite, an easy-to-use, fully-featured cloud WFO solution that is purpose-built for small to mid-sized businesses (SMB). The all-in-one, 100% cloud WFO solution is tightly integrated with inContact's powerful contact center offering, enabling contact centers to deploy a single unified platform for Recording, Quality Management (QM), Speech and Desktop analytics, Workforce Management (WFM) and Performance Management, with intelligent automated actions connected back to inContact's multi-channel routing and IVR.

Aspect Software Fills the Skies With Cloud-Based Contact Center Deployment Solution
Aspect Software, a provider of fully-integrated customer interaction management, workforce optimization, back-office and cloud solutions, announced Aspect Hosted, a secure dedicated hosted deployment service that helps companies deliver a differentiated next generation customer contact experience while speeding time-to-value for strategic initiatives. Designed to help organizations focus their efforts on running their business, Aspect Hosted, which includes Proactive Monitoring and Management, allows companies to modernize and manage their contact centers without the cost and complexity associated with deploying, managing and optimizing Aspect's customer engagement software and hardware in their own IT infrastructure. 

White Paper: Tiered Customer Support is Dead - And That's Good for Business

Customer support departments typically have a “Tiered” or “Level” model of support. The average number of tiers is 3, with as many as 5 at some companies. These tiers are based on level of complexity and an equivalent skill level of the technician. 

The problem with this structure is that it is limiting (and frustrating) for both the support agent AND the customer. Collaboration offers a much better alternative to customer service.

Download this whitepaper to learn:

  • Why tiered support is bad for the agent
  • How agents can learn more and become more valuable in a collaborative system
  • Why a tiered model promotes poor customer service
  • How to adopt the new support model of collaboration

Download your copy today!

Security tops CIO worries; IT budgets, turnover on the rise

CIOs are spending more on IT, worrying most about security and privacy, and staying on the job a little longer, according to the latest data from the Society for Information Management (SIM). 

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the SIM IT Trends Study, which surveyed 1,002 people (including 451 CIOs) from 717 organizations. Among surveyed companies, the average annual revenue is $5.6 billion and average annual IT budget is $288 million.

The trend for CIOs to focus more on the business and less on pure tech is evident in how their success is measured. According to respondents, the top 10 performance measures for CIOs, ranked from 1-10, are: the value of IT to the business; IT’s contribution to strategy; customer satisfaction; innovative new ideas; availability; projects delivered on time; IT cost controls; productivity improvement; business cost reduction controls; and revenue growth.

SIM also asked how CIOs spend their time, and their answers reinforce a business-focused agenda.  According to the study, CIOs spend 41.5% of their time on business activities, including evangelizing IT, addressing the needs of IT and business customers, and managing change; 36.1% of their time on IT activities, including project management, resource allocation, IT governance, and technical research; 18.3% of their time on IT and business strategies; and 4.1% of their time on career activities, in particular managing personal networks.

Meanwhile, turnover is on the rise. The average IT employee turnover rate hit 9% in 2014 – a nine-year high. That’s up from 6.6% in 2013 and 5.2% in 2012. To combat employee turnover, leaders are investing more on training and education. The percentage of IT budget allocated to training and education was 5% in 2014, up from 4.7% in 2013 and a six-year low of 2.9% in 2012.

Ranked from 1-5, organizations’ five largest IT investments are: analytics and business intelligence; data center infrastructure; ERP; application software development; and cloud computing.



Top 10 Challenges faced by IT Project Managers

Janco Associates conduct a survey of IT Project Manager in large and mid-sized corporations. 178 Project Managers participated in the study.  All of the managers had been operating in that role for over one year and several had been project managers for well over five years.  They all had at least 5 project team members and the largest project had over 60 IT professionals on it.

The project managers were able to select multiple answers as well as write in their own challenge.  Interestingly almost two thirds (63%) said they spent too much time doing things other than tasks associated with the success of the projects. They attributed that to administrative overhead and organizational bureaucracy.

The top 10 challenges they face are:

  • Bureaucracy - admin overhead - 63%
  • Over worked - 53%
  • Under staffed - 51%
  • Changes in specifications - 47%
  • Changes coming too fast - 42%
  • Scalability of applications - 41%
  • Deadlines not agreed on - 39%
  • Staff skills gaps - 34%
  • Technology out of date - 22%
  • Staff turnover - 10%


Click here for more Industry Stats

Metrics: Do They Accomplish What You Want?
Contact centers are one of the most heavily metric driven organizations in a company.  Great contact centers are transparent organizations and as a result of technology, results are available every second of every day.  While it is great to constantly measure performance and communicate results, are you measuring the right things and are you driving the best behaviors for your organization?
Full Article

6 Eye-Opening Employee Engagement Statistics
While it would be great to walk into an office of positive attitudes and buzzing energy, if real engagement isn’t present, that office will soon have an order to vacate on their door. Realizing that there is a difference between satisfied and engaged, is a vital distinction for leaders to establish. Smiles are one part of the engagement equation, and numbers are another. 
Full Article

Why Is Customer Disservice Becoming the Norm and What Can We Do About It?
I thought that I had shaken off my own customer disservice trauma until I heard the Comcast viral recording. I just could not mentally resolve this disconnect: How can a company with supposed good values have such poor customer service? How can the CEO reconcile this dichotomy? How can that company in good conscience believe that they have stellar corporate values? How did American consumer businesses get this way?
Full Article

5 Ways Not Using Speech Analytics is Affecting Your Contact Center
By not using a call monitoring solution, like automated speech analytics, money is being left on the table, agents are at risk for failure, and customer churn is inevitable. Here is a quick list of five ways your business is affected the longer you continue to put off using technology that automates the process of monitoring conversations with customers.
Full Article

CIOs Rack Up Millions in Incentives
CIO salaries in the U.S. average between $153,000 and $246,750, according to Robert Half Technology. But salary is just the beginning. Cash bonuses and equity awards can propel pay packages into the millions. To find out how much CIOs at giant global companies really earn, we scoured the proxy statements of the 500 largest U.S. companies and found 26 that disclosed CIO pay. Here are the details on their pay packages, organized from lowest to highest paid.
Full Article

A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive
by Ted Coine and Mark Babbitt

What does the Social Age mean for your business? Containing stories, analysis of real-world scenarios, and indispensable guidance, A World Gone Social gives you the tools and information you need to survive--and thrive--in a business climate in which customers hold all the cards... jobseekers have the power to easily find out what working at your company isreally like... and expertise has become more democratic than ever as employees collaborate with each other, as well as with vendors, customers, and even competitors.

You'll discover what the "Death of Large" and "Flat: The New Black" mean for you and your organization, how to build a socially enabled team that puts the customer experience first, and what it means to create an "OPEN" network of partners, collaborators, and brand champions.

Click here for more information!

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Free Research on the Service and Support Industry
Are you looking for the latest research available (for free!) on the service and support industry? Then check out the research section of SupportIndustry.com. Some of the current offerings available to members are:

  • 2013 People Issues in Customer Support
  • 2012 Service and Support Metrics Survey
  • The 2012 Service & Support Snapshot: 5 Support Trends That Will Change Your Business in 2012
  • Research Insight: Self-Service Support
  • Research Insight: Average Speed to Answer, Wait Time and Handle Time
  • Research Insight: Effectively Measuring Customer Loyalty
  • Research Insight: Cost Per Contact (Phone & E-Mail)
  • Research Insight: First Contact Resolution

All of these reports can be accessed by clicking here...

Visit the SupportIndustry.com Blog
The SupportIndustry.com Blog is another way stay on top of the service and support industry. Our blog, updated at least once a week, is dedicated to covering the latest topics related to service and support, call center management, customer experience management, web-based support, help desks, workforce optimization and more.
Check it out today

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Editorial suggestions, feedback & comments:
Carolyn Healey, Editor - chealey@supportindustry.com

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