How to Maintian a Positive Attitude at Work

Hello Kunnect Nation,

It has been a while since my last post, but I thought I would share with you some “Kunnect Secrets” about how we foster an amazing attitude at work, and enjoy spending time with customers while doing our jobs.

Step 1
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Find ways to focus on the parts of your job you like. For instance, if you enjoy working with people, make time to do that every day by scheduling meetings or visiting clients. You’ll still have to deal with the parts of your job you don’t like, but making a point to spend a little time with the parts of your work you enjoy every day will boost your office attitude.

Step 2
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Put up pictures and documents in your workspace that make you happy, such as photos from a fun vacation, letters from satisfied customers or work you’re especially proud of doing. Being surrounded by things you like at work can improve your attitude on tough days.

Step 3
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Anticipate positive outcomes. If you dread a weekly meeting or a particular project, you’re likely to have negative feelings. Instead, look for potential positive outcomes, and focus on what’s possible instead of on what bad things you think are likely to happen.

Step 4
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Give yourself a negativity time limit, and allow yourself 15 minutes or so each day to gripe and complain. After that, focus on the positive.

Step 5
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Take a time out. If you’re dealing with a co-worker who pushes your buttons or a project that’s making you crazy, excuse yourself to take a brisk 5-minute walk around your office building. Clearing your head for a few minutes can help you have a better attitude when you return.

Step 6
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If you are a manager or employer, then make sure to take time to acknowledge your team’s successes EVERY week. It will naturally make them feel more positive about their value to the company.

I’m fortunate enough to work with an amazing group of people here at Kunnect. Let’s keep “Bringing It”!

Fred

The Future Belongs to Kunnect

Kunnect Nation,

I came across a really interesting article that highlights the ever increasing commercial shift from premise to cloud-based delivery models and I thought I would share it with you.

http://www.wired.com/cloudline/2012/07/cloud-network-companies/

As early adopters of cloud-based IT infrastructures, we have used it to our competitive advantage and prospered for it. I hope there are other aspects of your business you can improve by heading to the cloud.

Fred Cote
Kunnect

At Home Agent Market To Benefit From Super Wi-Fi

Kunnect Nation,

As we all know, the at home teleworker market in the US is beginning to boom, but it has been plaugued with some issues, predominantly the availability of reliable broadband internet connectivity.

Google, Microsoft and more than 500 rural US colleges, universities, and public interest groups have joined forces to finally solve the issue of rural internet connectivity — using Super Wi-Fi on the white space spectrum. This initiative, called AIR.U, hopes to bring between 20 and 100Mbps of wireless connectivity to rural educational institutions, which will then provide internet access to local communities (reported by Sebastien Anthony).

Couple this with the governement’s recent work initiatives for veterans and spouses thereof, you can expect U.S. Call Centers to continue to expand into the at home agent market.

Kunnect’s Hosted Call Center solutions lend themselves to at home agent deployments quite easily as its basis is the Web and VoIP. We continue to see at home agents as a significant growth sector for our hosted call center customers.

CCaaS Growing Faster Than Expected

Kunnect Nation,

For those of you unfamiliar with the acronym CCaas, it stands for Contact Center As A Service. Gartner recently relased two interesting report updates. First is on its predictions for the 2011-2016 CCaaS market and the forecast couldn’t be any brighter:

Gartner expects there to be a 17% compound growth over the next 5 years for contact center adoption of hosted call center solutions. Add to this, the report that by 2013, 75% of call centers are expected to be leveraging hosted call center solutions.

As well this week, Gartner announced that its growth prediction for the Enterprise software market will flatten at 4.5%-5% over the enxt couple of years. This is a strong indicator that CCaaS is the new standard for the marketplace of hosted call center offerings.

Kunnect is pleased to be at the forefront of this industry by delivering reliable, cost effective predictive dialing and ACD solutions worldwide.

Cloud Savings are the Real Deal

Kunnect Nation,

For almost two years now, we have been tooting the “Cloud Computing” horn and with reason. Everyday you hear about another story relating to how much someone is saving from having migrated to the cloud. Case in point, this article about the Federal Government yesterday on Wired… http://www.wired.com/cloudline/2012/05/cloud-fed-savings/

Is is true that the savings are real, or are they just short term savings? Initially, I used to believe that the savings might only be short-term, because I don’t need to buy any equipment (depreciable assets). That is true, but here are four more factors to consider:

1. Using a cloud based provider saves you money on a monthly basis when you compare it to amortizing equivalent hardware purchases.
2. Using a cloud-based provider has the added benefit of giving you “ongoing support” in your monthly cost. That also needs to be figured into the calculations.
3. Using a cloud-based provider gives you constant software upgrades. Premised based solutions typically require you to purchase software upgrades, which in turn can lead to you having to buy newer hardware.
4. Right around the time you think you are about to “get into your money” with your premise based asset purchase is usually when it is obsolete and you need to replace it. Keep on spending!

I could also go on about the taxation benefits of 100% write-off of cloud-based provider fees in the same year versus depreciating your assets over 5-10 years.

I say, “What are you waiting for?”, migrating to a cloud-based technology, irrespective of the industry, is having the best of three worlds; Savings, Support, and Non-obsolecense.

Fred Cote

Death Of The Call Center…Keep Dreaming!

Kunnect Nation,

It would seem that some believe that the days are numbered for call centers and their client voice interactions, in favour of self-service via increased smartphone availability. Ask yourself this: Have you ever said the following…

1. “Oh my god, why am I stuck in this annoying IVR. I want to speak with a live operator!”
2. “I’m on a website and I can’t find the phone number to call them. What’s up with that!”
3. “What a great deal for those steak knives! I have to call in right now.”

Albeit I will admit that resolution to trivial customer service transactions via self-service are on the rise (and rightfully so), the aforementioned quotes bear evidence that we have all craved the personal touch of a voice interaction.

Smartphones, SMS, emails, and even blogs all fail in one respect. They fail, in the most part, to deliver the appropriate emotion to accompany the message. Little smiley faces just don’t cut it. People, especially those in the 35-80 age group, still favour voice interactions above all other types of interactions.

Of course it is convenient to order a pizza over the web, and I encourage you to do so…it keeps the overall price of the pie down. But try resolving a technical issue with your PVR during a chat session with an overseas agent. Sometimes, you just have to talk it out. Companies who still offer toll-free numbers for their customers to call them reap the benefits.

Being able to speak with your customers, and even convert disappointed or angry ones, back to being loyal customers of your products is paramount today. Successful companies continue to open the many doors of communications to their customers in an effort to making their relationship a long lasting one.

On a final note, call your significant others on the phone today instead of texting them some 6 word comment. Enjoy it and cherish it.

Fred Cote

Disaster Recovery – You Have Been Warned!

Kunnect Nation,

Over the past years, I have often been asked by customers what they can do to prepare for a disaster as it pertains to the continuity of their call center. Disaster Recovery (DR) solutions have for a long time, be an expensive proposition, and honestly ignored by most businesses.

Enter the Hosted Call Center Solution. One obvious benefit of a hosted call center solution, like XVP, is that your call center hardware, data, and licensing are hosted in the cloud, which means it is with you anywhere you go.

Here are a couple of scenarios to contemplate:

1. You operate a call center and the building has a electrical shortage, or your main internet line is severed. You are down hard! With Kunnect’s XVP, your agents and managers can all go work from home for the next day or two and leverage their own internet connections and home computers to keep the call center going….problem solved.

2. You operate a large outsource inbound call center and your clients demand 100% up-time from you. Let’s say your center goes down, but this time, you are NOT using Kunnect, but rather a premise based PBX / ACD system to route your calls. You would be dead in the water without a real DR plan.

I have a plan to propose to you. Implement Kunnect’s XVP system as your disaster recovery solution…as a standby for your premise based solution. You could prepare the XVP system with all the proper ACD groups and DIDs in advance, so that if you had to cut-over your inbound toll free calls to a new location, you could very quickly.

This idea is not fiction, but one we at Kunnect have already done for several large outsourcers. Find out if it makes sense for you.

Fred Cote

Predictive Dialing – Tricks and Tips

Kunnect Nation,

I often get asked the question about “what settings should I have to cut down agent wait time?” That is a multi-loaded question. There isn’t one simple answer to this question. Here are the factors to consider:

1. Number of agents in that calling profile
2. Time of day
3. Age of the list
4. Nature of the campaign

Certainly it has been said for many years now that dialing predictively only gets better and more efficient, when you have more agents in the calling profile. Personally, I feel that having less than 5 agents dialing predictively in a profile makes it close to impossible to be efficient (low drop ratio) and have a short average wait time between calls (i.e. 20 seconds). I’d say, stick to 10 agents or more.

The time of day you are calling can greatly influence your live contact rate. If you keep working a list during weekday afternoons, it is obvious you wil have difficulty getting a high connect rate. Try calling on your newer leads during the day, and attempting older leads in the evening (or alternating from day to day). One can assume that if someone is not home during the day, they might be working. Calling in the evening will increase your likelihood of a connect.

Old, beat up lists that have been called on for more than 20 attempts can be hard to convert into sales. Try mixing some new and old lists together so that you are not having peaks and valleys in your production.

Lastly, the nature of the campaign can have a critical impact. If the list of numbers you are calling is cold, then you may need a little more dialing power (4-5 lines per agent), whereas a list of previous customers would indicate to me that it will have a greater likelihood of connecting, thus using less lines. You would not want to overdial this group of leads for the fear of alienating them.

Kunnect is proud to say that it has an FTC compliant mode for its hosted predictive dialer, that dials very efficently (average wait times between 20-30 seconds) all the while maintaining a drop ratio of 3% or less. Try it out!

Fred Cote

Offshoring Options In Light of Government Sanctions

Kunnect Nation,

I have written on this topic before, and I was getting ready to blog about it again today, when an industry collegue shared a very interesting piece she recently wrote. I thought I would share it wth you today. It is from Lauren Carlson, a CRM Analyst from Software Advice.

In December 2011, a bill was introduced to Congress that, if passed, will refuse federal grant or guaranteed loan programs to companies that have offshore call center operations. The U.S. Call Center and Consumer Protection Act, or H.R. 3596, will also require all offshore call center employees to reveal their location to U.S. consumers and give them the option to be transferred to a U.S.-based call center. The primary purpose of the bill is to provide more jobs to qualified U.S. workers.

Those companies that do offshore their call centers do so for obvious financial reasons. It is typically more cost-effective and results in reduced overhead costs, as well as provides companies the ability to scale up or down accordingly. But what if those same things could be achieved by hiring onshore? Below, I’ve highlighted three companies that have developed smart alternatives to the offshore call center that not only keep costs down, but also prevent your company from feeling the pain of H.R. 3596.

See the complete article at http://blog.softwareadvice.com/articles/crm/alternatives-to-your-offshore-call-center-1040412/.  By Lauren Carlson, a CRM Analyst from Software Advice, a free online resource for service software buyers.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Thanks Lauren.

Fred Cote

Don’t Carriers Want To Make Calls Anymore?

Kunnect Nation,

If you have been working with most of the Tier 1 carriers, like Qwest, Verizon, etc.., then you have undoubtedly received notices in the past 18 months about “short duration call” penalties. Why are they so diligent about monitoring your call completion rate?

One would think that operating a call center has its fair share of challenges, so why do carriers no longer want to place your calls? I’ll tell you why.

Over the last two decades, the Sales division of carriers ran the show. Sales reps were making hefty commissions on all your calls…everyone seemed happy. Times have changed!

Firstly, most tier 1 carrier sales reps don’t even get commissions on your calls anymore. Now the IT department runs the show. All carriers have been converting their infrastructures to be VoIP enabled in the last 7-10 years. This means that even your T-1 (TDM) calls are being processed (at some point) by a session border controller (SRC – which manages VoIP calls). These machines are very costly, and given the fact that margins on long distance calls are way down, spending money on infrastructure isn’t very popular.

Carriers are making most of their money on bandwidth, not long distance calls. Telemarketing is a sacred American tradition and employes of over 300,000 agents around the country. It needs to be protected.

Fred Cote