Our consulting capabilities are based on decades of experience in successfully building, operating, managing and — when strategically necessary — consolidating service organizations and contact centers, including many for federal government agencies and Fortune Global 500 companies. These are a few executive summaries of those projects and the results achieved.
CCI works on behalf of the CDC via the Baer Group, a subcontractor to Northrop Grumman under the umbrella CITS (CDC Information Technology Services) contract.
The charter of this effort is emergency preparedness for CDC-INFO, the contact center for Health and Human Services. Specifically, the mission is to ensure that CDC-INFO can handle and respond to call volume increases from the American public due to public health events or emergencies caused by natural disasters, eco-emergencies such as chemical spills, and bio-terrorism.
The first phase was implemented in the fourth quarter of 2008. Our role involved collaborating with all necessary vendors to implement a network-hosted enhanced call-routing system and IVR, including all related hardware and software.
After conducting an operations analysis, we collaborated with multiple partners to replaced the previous CDC-INFO call routing infrastructure with Genesys, a flexible advanced call routing and management system that allows the quick addition of multiple locations and agents to call distribution plans, and directs calls to the best qualified resource based upon business rules. We integrated the enhanced call routing with the Seibel desktop system to provide more accurate detailed and reliable reporting via Genesys, IVR and Seibel. In addition, the IVR call menu system allows for prerecorded or on-the-fly messages about events or campaigns.
Our solution also included setting up technology and processes in three "event-state" modes so that CDC-INFO can proactively respond to emergencies of all magnitudes.
Our client needed to improve cost controls and service at its three telesales centers and one service center
After performing workflow analysis it was evident that first-time service was being hindered by message volume, poor management of team priorities, and backlog. In particular, poor inbound and outbound contact control was causing call abandonment and high average speed of answer. All sites needed enhanced scheduling, better workflow and improved supervisory skills.
We conducted detailed call-volume analyses and developed agent/sales schedules that matched the transaction patterns. Our project team trained front-line supervisors in reacting to real-time management issues during the day, and prioritizing workload and backlog. We implemented training surveys and involved training elements in best practice training. And we improved forecasting information and developed outbound proactive telesales call teams, while eliminating backlog.
Results were measured by increased hit ratios and revenue generation. Service response improved to less then 5% abandonment, a telephone service factor of 80 in 20 was achieved, and a savings opportunity of $2.6 million was identified, yielding an ROI of 8:1.
Formed by the merger of two separate health insurance companies, this client recently completed desktop system integration and training for all customer service employees. As a result, they consolidated 16 separate call queues into three.
Call abandonment and average speed of answer began to deteriorate immediately due to significant half-hourly call distribution differences among the various old queues.
We conducted a detailed call volume analysis and created new agent schedules to match the new call patterns. Our project managers worked closely with the call center supervisors and agents to explain the new schedules, execute an orderly shift-bid process, and implement the new schedules.
The result was measured by reductions in both average speed of answer (from 233 seconds to 19 seconds) and call abandonment (from 15% to 3%), and a 43% increase in calls per agent.
Our client believed their agent talk times were too high and wanted an outside consultant to assess their customer service procedures to determine if they could reduce agent talk times.
We conducted side-by-side agent observations of 500 calls and determined there were three ways we could reduce call-handling time:
To address the first issue, we trained agents to obtain and verify account and caller identity up front in the call, allowing them to get to call resolution as soon as possible.
We initially tried to eliminate the need to transfer, but due to account and agent security concerns this was not possible. Instead we trained service agents to briefly explain why callers needed to speak with a different department and give them a new 800 number to call.
Finally, we trained agents to conclude the call with a closed-ended question: “Have I successfully addressed all of your reasons for calling today?”
In the four weeks after implementation, these process changes reduced call-handling time 13%, from 254 seconds to 221 seconds.
Our client believed they were being too reactive to top-line call center performance, which usually involved increasing staff when service goals were not being met.
Our project managers conducted side-by-side call observations with the agents and interviewed floor supervisors to understand what metrics they were using to manage their agents. Specifically, while spending time with supervisors we noticed they would become alarmed when call queues began backing up and would then walk through the center to find their agents and demand they get to their desks and log into the ACD. Sometimes agents were asked to cut breaks short to cover incoming call volume.
We advised our client of the need to establish team-oriented schedules whereby agents would have scheduled off-phone time every day, and supervisors would know when their agents were to be on the phone, on break, at lunch, or doing scheduled off-phone work.
The new schedules were designed, implemented and received positively by agents, supervisors and center management. As a result, service levels increased while staff was actually reduced. Average speed of answer was cut from 66 seconds to 26 seconds, abandonment was reduced from 12% to 4%, and calls per agent increased 30%.
This client was growing very rapidly and did not have a centralized Contact Center. The growth was projected to continue from 200 contacts a day to 1,000 a day within 12 months. Calls were being handled through the corporate switchboard and routed to anyone in the company who was not on the phone. The phone switch did track and record the information on inbound calls but the information was not understood nor being used.
After analysis of the call data to determine call arrival patterns and talk times, a central location in the company was established as the temporary call center and six employees were identified and trained to work part of their schedule in the center. With those stop-gap measures in place, a call center manager was hired and full-time employees were hired and trained to staff the call center.
Within six months call volume had grown to 600 contacts a day. A proprietary call tracking system was quickly built, escalation procedures were established, and agent schedules were developed and implemented. Within one year contact volume had increased to the projected 1,000 inbound calls, with 150 outbound calls and 100 emails per day. The staff had grown to 15.
Results were measured by average speed of answer, abandoned call percentage and service levels. The average speed of answer was less than 10 seconds, the abandoned call percentage was 4% and a service level of 90 in 20 was achieved. Eighteen months after the project was completed the contact center was reporting a 94% customer satisfaction rating.
The client had an established contact center capacity of 1,000 contacts a day and an investor accounting department capacity of 200 new investments per day. A new investment to a specific product line was scheduled to close, ending that investment opportunity. Consequently, contact volumes and investments were forecast to double in the remaining three months. The goal was to continue the service that was being provided and record new investments on the day they were received. In addition, customer service agents were to be coached on not over-selling the product, which could result in having to return money to investors.
A task force was established consisting of key personnel in the existing contact center and investor accounting department. The task force members were promoted to temporary supervisors and training programs were built. Employees were identified throughout the company to become part of SWAT teams to handle the temporary increases and work areas were established. The teams were given names to create competitive spirit for a contest with monetary and time-off rewards, and were scheduled so that employees could also complete their normal work.
Results were measured by average speed of answer, abandoned call percentage and time to record investments. More than doubling, call volume tripled to over 3,000 calls a day and new investments quadrupled to 800 a day for about 5 weeks. Average speed of answer was less than 30 seconds, abandoned call percentage was 7 percent, 92% of investments were recorded the day they were received, and the product did not oversell.