Sunday, September 30, 2007

Profession observation: The next generation call center expedites financial BPO

The match enlightens the net - China computer newspaper Wang Bin In February, 2005, the Barthel bank supervising and managing committee announced "Outside Financial Service Package" (Outsourcing in Financial Services).This supervising and managing direction document promoted global finance BPO (Business Process Outsourcing, outside service flow package) the market development, the Chinese finance BPO market not to be exceptional enormously.Along with the Chinese finance BPO market prosperity, provides the correlation service the enterprise to be more and more many, these enterprises very are many all are serve through the call center for the financial enterprise.

Financial BPO challenge call center

However, facing the financial BPO market huge development space, was looking from the technical stratification plane that, at present by PBX, IVR, CTI and so on several part of constitution mainstream call centers has appeared somewhat lacks the ability to do what one would like, mainly displays in:

  1. high cost (pronunciation hardware equipment prices and so on board card, PBX switchboard expensive);
  2. realizes the distributional application with difficulty;
  3. realizes multimedia turning on with difficulty;
  4. disperser management causes the cost control difficulty increase.

These questions will restrict the financial BPO industry the further development.But uses technical construction and so on soft the exchange next generation call center (NGCC), can solve the present mainstream call center in to carry on in the financial BPO service some difficulties, can realize to the existing call center system smooth promotion, realization many kinds of new characteristics.

The NGCC call, the load bearing, the service, the control separation concept has guaranteed the call center distributed characteristic.The NGCC call center structure divides into four: The call distribution and the management level, the call key-course, the IP exchange level and the user turning on level, the use lamination structural design makes the call center the distribution characteristic to be very easy to realize.

NGCC used ACD (automatic call assigned) the mechanism to the telephone traffic resources (for example seats, IVR, CHAT, IM service and so on) carries on the unification to manage and to mix, causes the telephone traffic resources which originally in the geography and physics all dispersed to realize the entire net to integrate and to complete the unification highly to mix, telephone traffic by lowest allocation of cost to most appropriate seats.

NGCC based on VoIP and the H323 unification media and the network protocol as well as the international standard unification code form, like G.711, G.723, G.729, T.38, H.261 and so on, managed for many kinds of media unification and unifies mixes has provided the foundation and convenient.

NGCC will have many based on PBX (program controlled switch) the call center system will fuse in the existing call center system, this will be manifests this design economical superior key to be at.Through the ACD gateway, NGCC causes the traditional simulation seats and the newly built IP seats unification carries on the call distribution.

The call center unification each kind of media service request (PSTN, IP and the motion net) unifies VoIP the exchange network, meanwhile may the call center part software which processed many before need expensive hardware.Many before must use the expensive hardware support part all may now through the software realization: IP-IVR based on the software realization (traditional way is through DSP board card), the line machine also may through the software realization (traditional way be through PBX), but the telephone channel control also can realize (traditional way through the software is passes DSP board card).In the next generation call center, all telephone channels use the VoIP realization, implements the entire network the unification management and the distributional monitoring, thus can the further reduce the operation cost.

Because uses the H323/SIP standard agreement, NGCC may flows the voice and the pictorial information in VoIP RTP the synchronous processing, in addition other type digital data service, like CHAT, IM (immediate communication service), the E-mail service, the Web click digit dialing service and so on, these will all take the unification service request one kind of type or many kinds of type combination.

Four function entities

In order to realize the call center distributed characteristic and the multimedia characteristics, we divide into the architecture four function entities:

The call distribution and the management level are responsible for maintains each telephone traffic resources (for example IP telephone traffic seats, IP-IVR, IM and Web server) the current condition and through with the database connection maintenance customer historical telephone traffic information, accepts telephone traffic distribution request which SoftRoute sends out, decided distributes the telephone traffic most appropriate and on the consumption resources least telephone traffic resources.

The call key-course is responsible to receive the customer the service request which sends out from the media gateway and the IP telephone, and to the SoftACD transmission, carries out the telephone traffic distribution instruction which SoftACD sends out, simultaneously, informs the telephone traffic resources change of state SoftACD.

The IP network exchange level completes the VoIP pronunciation package of and the control signal transmission.At present each place constructs the broadband networks and the metropolitan area network construction already could provide grade of service (QoS) the guarantee.

The user turning on level either moves through the media gateway the PSTN network GSM or the CDMA network customer service request unification turns on in the IP network.The user also may turns on in directly the call center system through the IP telephone or the multimedia soft telephones.The partial customers also may chat the tool through the text to turn on the call center.

In telephone traffic resources turning on level, all telephone traffic resources including IP multimedia seatses, IP-IVR (based on VoIP IVR system), IM and Web server, IP-IFR (based on VoIP IFG system), video frequency server and so on, but also includes through the VoIP gateway and TDM ACDGate the turning on traditional PCM seats and PCM the IVR system.

Looked from the lamination structure that, the typical telephone traffic flow is: PSTN (public exchange telephone) the user dials local in the city the unification turning on number, the media gateway is connected it with the PSTN network, through SS7, SS1 or the ISDN signaling accepts the call, and transforms this call tallies the H323 agreement and the RTP agreement call requested, the media gateway IP-IVR system will confirm the customer number through the prompt sound collection customer information and with the central data central connection; Then the telephone traffic is unified delivers the third SoftRoute call key-course, the call key-course calls the information to carry on the extraction and the reorganization, distributes the level to the SoftACD call to send out the request; SoftACD will rest on the current telephone traffic information and the data central recording user history information decided which most appropriate telephone traffic resources will be supposed to call distributes, and will send out the response to SoftRoute; After SoftRoute will receive the response with the telephone traffic resources which will assign connects through the H323 agreement and the RTP agreement the telephone traffic.By now, operator's screen demonstrated and the customer correlation this and the historical telephone conversation related information, the operator may accept the service request and with the customer telephone conversation.

Fusion electronic commerce

In past several years, the Internet let the mass datas apply immediately in the trade activity into possibly, the customer also suddenly had the more communication way to carry on the trade activity.Has caused the pronunciation and the data based on the standard and the opening technology already is comprehensive the trend fusion, but fuses the focal point was the call center.

NGCC mainly is walks road of the fusion.On the one hand is the call center internal fusion, like shouts into the platform with to exhale the platform the comprehensive fusion, the customer service and the increment service fusion and so on.The next generation call center software function further will separate with the support hardware, through certain simple definitions, the enterprise might provide very many careful diverse, the goal for the customer strong, the drawing close to demand service.In all is engaged in the financial BPO service in the enterprise value chain, the user material database will be the profit point of growth which extremely precious also will be unable to substitute, technologies and so on data warehouse, data mining generally is applied, the system will be automatic gathers reorganizes the related information which will shout into through the user obtains, when will exhale the marketing will perform to use properly.Shouts into the platform and as the service exhales the platform realization seamless connection as the marketing, unifies closely.To is engaged in financial BPO the enterprise, will exhale the marketing the proportion to increase, this also will be the financial BPO service development way that must be taken.

On the other hand, the most important fusion is the call center omni-directional and the financial customer enterprise's organization fusion.The call center extension extremely will expand, its antenna will extend to financial enterprise operation each link, will involve the enterprise the technical support, the market development, even will enter the enterprise the decision-making strata.Comes from the call center operation data, the service target data and the customer suit and so on, will become the financial enterprise policy-makers to appraise the enterprise grade of service, the operation efficiency important reference, will become the enterprise operation the auxiliary policy-making basis.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Homeshoring: Buzzing more for popularity Customer Service Center

Contact Center Industry has always looking for new ways and methods to increase the productivity, client satisfaction, employee benefits and satisfaction while keeping the cost as competitive to lure more and more business and clients.

Homeshoring, is also a way to get the employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, cost calculation,

Contact Center Industry has always looking for new ways and methods to increase the productivity, client satisfaction, employee benefits and satisfaction while keeping the cost as competitive to lure more and more business and clients.

Homeshoring is also a way to get the employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, cost reduction at the same time. Homeshoring gives and advantage to companies and BPOs to utalise their available workforce in less space & facility.

IDC, Research firm - proposed in 2005 that homeshoring – the underestimated sibling of offshoring – could play the role of a certain safe-haven for American workers in a globalised world. Now, the same company indicates that the bursting U.S. housing bubble may actually serve to increase the value of homeshored customer care solutions.

Service providers want professional, productive, dependable agents like never before. Captivatingly, with regards to the delivery of high-quality customer care, therefore homeshoring becomes more compelling as a model. In fact, the American home may become increasingly valuable as compared to the American automobile that has long enabled customer care agents to commute to brick-and-mortar centers. At the same time, wage earners are looking for ways to ease the stress of demanding commutes and are now being forced to become more attentive savers.

According to IDC, the homeshored model may end up becoming increasingly valuable as the American home is becoming an appreciating asset in the form of a new kind of contact center for the future.

Benefits form homeshoring bizwiz can offer to both employees and companies make it worth considering, although it will not work in every situation. Instead, companies must be equipped to not only extend its virtual contact center to the employee’s home, it must also be able to effectively manage the employee and find employees able to be productive at home. A good mix can produce a cost effective model that works for everyone.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

A call centre in your bedroom?

The trend for call centre workers to be based from home is set to increase rapidly over the next five years as businesses look to cut customer service costs.

Analyst Datamonitor claims the use of outsourced home agents is now becoming a mainstream option for businesses.

There are currently around 47,000 home-based outsourced call centre workers working 20 hours per week or more globally - predominantly in the US - and Datamonitor predicts this will rise to almost 224,000 by 2012.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Checking unsolicited calls

Register, Centre tells telemarketers
Legal Correspondent

In order to put a check on unsolicited business calls or SMS to mobile phone users, the Centre has made registration for every telemarketer compulsory with a provision of fine up to Rs 50 crore for violation of the telemarketing licence agreements.

Detailed guidelines formulated by the Department of Telecom (DoT) on the direction of the Supreme Court, were placed before the apex court with a commitment that a three months’ time had been given for mandatory registration.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Choosing the best call center technology

Selecting effective call center technology is a matter of following a highly defined process and identifying the risks associated with each product being considered.

Many firms rush through the important organizational stages of call center technology selection projects and chaotically leap into analyzing products based only on the functionality that's needed -- or worse, they start the selection process with a specific vendor already in mind, Brian Hinton warned a roomful of ACCE attendees.

"How are you going to sort through all of the options?" said Hinton, a senior consultant with Strategic Contact, who boasts 10 years of call center consulting experience. "The way to find the right [software] is to apply a structured process to analyze your options."

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Verizon Introduces Broadband Video Call Center Link for Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing Customers in Mid-Atlantic Region

Customers in the Mid-Atlantic region who are deaf or hard of hearing can now communicate directly with Verizon about their services, using videophones and American Sign Language.

The new option for engaging Verizon's Center for Customers with Disabilities is available here and in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. Customers can communicate directly via videophone with representatives in the Verizon center who are proficient in using American Sign Language (ASL) to handle orders, change services or answer questions.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Virtual call centers driving VoIP adoption

Contact centers are increasingly turning to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to run their operations, and the interest in "virtual call centers" is driving much of that change, according to some recent research.

VoIP is helping enterprises to do away with their large call centers -- with rows and rows of agents being monitored by on-site managers -- and turn to the "virtual call center," a strategy of distributing agents across multiple locations, including home-based agents and offshoring.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Globe telemarketing campaign unethical--NTC

An official of the National Telecommunications Communication said it was unethical for telemarketers representing Globe Telecom to call up subscribers of rival operator Smart Communications and offer them to switch to their service.

“The practice is not ethical,” said NTC Deputy Commissioner Jorge Sarmiento in a text message.
He said the NTC will be looking into the matter.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Is the Customer Always Right?

The answer to this headline is both "yes" and "no." Customers are not always right, but they are always the customers even when they're wrong. Too many practices have rigid rules and policies. How many times have you heard the answer, "this is our office policy"? This can only be described as rigidity. Every situation calls for some flexibility and leeway. By making your staff adhere to rigid rules, you prohibit them from providing customer service that will benefit your practice and image.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Senior Citizens Pick Up on Call Center Jobs

"We have quite a few senior citizens that work for us and most of them work part-time. We may have a few that work full-time," said Convergys manager Ray Mason. "They are very stable employees, and they usually have some good reason for wanting to work -- sometimes it's just enjoying continuation of work."

He's been a sheriff, an entrepreneur and a school custodian. At 70, he's still a political activist and handyman. However, this elder statesman of Pueblo, Colo.'s Democratic Party has added another career twist to his life -- call center worker at Convergys.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Call Center Agents: On the Frontlines of War

Everyday, wars are raging around the world. And its not a battle being fought by soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan using guns and missiles for democracy. Instead, this battle is being fought by call center agents in office cubicles using a sophisticated network of computers and telecoms switches to deliver great customer service. The war between companies to put their products on the forefront of the consumer's consciousness has driven them to use customer service as a weapon against the competition. Companies have learned that great customer service can make customers flock to their camp and patronize the products or services that the they are offering. This is where call center agents come into play.

Call center agents are service representatives hired by a client company to handle support and information for a specific product usually through phone calls, faxes or emails. Call centers may be described as a set of functions or actions that can be carried out in a number of ways using multiple delivery channels by merging information and telecommunications technology, Among the services they offer are toll free customer service, direct response, interactive voice response (IVR), 24 - hour help desk, appointment scheduling, order taking services, emergency response, conference and registration, virtual receptionist, and infomercials which can be tailored to suit your company's specific needs. IVR systems are set up to handle the initial stage of customer contact, and is programmed with a set menu for predictable customer questions, which gives them prerecorded answers and tells them how to proceed. If their issue is not adequately addressed by the IVR, customer calls are routed to knowledgeable representatives who have speedy access to information.

Call center agents are soldiers in the front-lines of war. They are a channel between a company and its customers, giving the latter a forum in which their concerns may be addressed and complaints resolved. It is also a way for companies to improve the product or service that they offer because customers can tell you directly exactly what they want. These dedicated soldiers are ready to deploy anytime, anywhere. Call center operations continue like a well-oiled 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means that your company can cross the boundaries of distance and time zones so you can do business with people worldwide. Because this vital service may be costly for companies to put up themselves, the service is frequently outsourced to a call center company. Outsourcing the service to a call center at a set price is a cost effective solution for any business, large or small. This leaves companies free to concentrate on delivering the product or service without having to worry about the large cost of putting up their own call center and hiring employees to man the phones while being assured that customer satisfaction is being closely monitored. Performance markers for call center agents may include call handling time, call queue length, hold times and customer satisfaction level. Agents who fail these markers are subject for calibration with company standards or retraining as their progress requires. As soldiers are aware that one mistake can cost them their life, all call center agents are aware that every customer contact is a unique opportunity to create more business and cement the loyalty of the customer, so efforts are made to improve and retain relations. Seasoned agents are like war veterans; they know all the tricks of their trade and are keen to impart their hard earned knowledge to new recruits to ensure the same level of service for every customer call. They know that providing great customer service is winning yet another battle for market supremacy.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Tomorrow's Call Center: Two-Way Video Interaction

We've heard a lot about the "fast approaching day" when agents will be able to interact with customers via two-way video. This is a really cool idea -- and I see a wide variety of ways that video communications could be used to enhance our daily routines in the not-too-distant future. People in the call center industry have been exploring the idea of integrating Internet Protocol Video in the contact center for years, and now many of the software and equipment makers, including CosmoCom, Verint, Genesys, Radvision and others are finally ready to make this prophecy a reality.

Future of Customer Service
Within the next few years, experts say, two-way video communications will be the new cutting edge way of doing business.

The banking industry is already starting to deploy "virtual tellers" at branch offices (this in addition to completely branch-free, Internet-based "virtual banks") -- while the retail industry is apparently gearing up to introduce "virtual store clerks."

Banking Industry Leading the Way- For now, it appears the banking industry is taking the lead in bringing this new technology in play. Numerous banks have already deployed "virtual tellers" at branch locations, and some banks are doing away with branches altogether and going to a pure "virtual banking" model (where all transactions are handled electronically via the Internet).

For most of us, using a "virtual teller" at a branch office will not be too different from using an ATM, except you'll be able to communicate via video link with a "virtual teller" who is, in fact, a call center agent located miles away. In addition to handling basic transactions (such as cashing and depositing checks, which in many cases will be handled via pneumatic tube), these "virtual tellers" will be able to answer questions about your account, as well as cross-sell and upsell new products and services that the bank is offering.

This new technology also brings tremendous advantages to the banks themselves, as they will be able to centralize and reduce staff, lower their real estate costs (as branches can be made much smaller) and deliver more consistent service to all customers. This "kiosk-based" form of video communications at bank and retail locations is the prelude to the much larger rollout of fixed-line and mobile two-way video communications, which will ultimately bring this new form of communication into the privacy of our homes.

Hurdles need to overcome- Obviously, there are still hurdles to overcome before video communications becomes commonplace. For one thing, there's still the basic problem of not enough bandwidth on our last-mile networks (in fact, almost half of the U.S. is still on dial-up).

Then there's the simple fact that most consumers do not have video phones or even video cameras and microphones connected to their PCs at home. Perhaps more importantly, there is still a question of how many people really want two-way video communications -- whether actually seeing the person you are speaking with offers enough value to the consumer to make the cost of rolling out IP video communications worth it.

However, with the major wireless service providers of the world working in concert with the handset makers and aggressively rolling out video capabilities on their next generation networks, we are no doubt getting closer to the day when two-way video communications will become a reality. As advanced new mobile devices (i.e., videophones) come onto the market, and consumer demand for them increases, it only makes sense that the call center industry will follow suit.

Show and Tell
Similarly, the retail industry is gearing up to introduce "video kiosks" where you'll be able to ask virtual store representatives questions about the products the store sells -- maybe even take a "virtual tour" of the store before you go inside.

Perhaps one day the "virtual clerk" at Home Depot (NYSE: HD) will be able to tell you that, yes, they do have 12-inch Milwaukee Super Sawzall Blades in stock, that they're in aisle 12, and that they cost $21.97 each before you spend 20 minutes wandering the aisles looking for something that might not even exist.

Farther down the road there's the potential for using IP video for a wide range of customer service and support operations, which people can access from their homes. For example, one day an agent in a tech support center will be able to "show" a consumer who just bought a new computer how to load some new software, or perhaps troubleshoot a set-up problem, right on the consumer's computer screen.

The ability to "show" a consumer how to do something, in real rime, rather than "tell" them over the phone will no doubt have powerful applications in the future.

I see tremendous potential for video in the contact center and I see plenty of applications for it that make sense. However, like all things in technology, this isn't going to happen overnight: the software and equipment makers are going to have to work on it slowly, in bits and pieces, and experiment with it as they go along.

Still, I look forward to the day when I'll be able to get a truly "personalized" customer service experience with a call center agent who I can almost reach out and touch.


Sunday, September 16, 2007


Much has been said about the advantages associated with call centers. But what are its negative externalities? Yesterday, a young fellow working in a big call center (in Manila) asked about the negative side of hosting call centers. I asked why did he asked and the reply was that he has observed a number of people who stopped going to school in favor of jobs in contact centers. He reasoned that this happened because contact centers do not require applicants to have a college degree.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Call centre jobs are safe as new owners take over

STAFF at Aviemore's TSC contact centre have been assured that their jobs are safe and not going to India after a change in ownership.

Telecom Service Centres – one of the area's largest employers – has joined forces with Hero ITES, a Hero Group Company, in a multi-million pound move.

TSC presently employs over 130 staff at their base on the Cairngorm Technology Park at Dalfaber.

Bosses have said that the changes not only safeguard present jobs but will also help create more employment throughout the UK.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Call centres do nothing to help the customer

WHOEVER thought up the idea of call centres must have had a stake in the medical industry. There is nothing more sure to send your biological being into a spin as trying to get hold of a company and being completely stone-walled.

Call centres were invented with cost-savings, and not customers, in mind.

You first listen to an automated message of how important your call is, and that it will be recorded for quality purposes. (The first is a lie, and if they ever listen to those recordings, they will immediately abandon them).

Then comes the inevitable list of up to nine options, with an additional one to speak to an agent. Some companies have even added the option of listening to them all again.

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Sunday, September 9, 2007

British call centre group bought by Indian conglomerate

Telecom Service Centres (TSC), the UK's fourth-largest call-centre operator, has been taken over by the Indian conglomerate Hero in a deal thought to be worth around £40m.

Despite the number of call-centre jobs which have moved offshore over recent years, Hero has pledged to increase the number of staff the enlarged company employs in the UK and in India.

TCS, founded on the Isle of Bute in 1994, employs 3,000 in Scotland and Yorkshire. Its customers include Vodafone, HSBC and Hewlett-Packard.

Hero has bought the stake from LDC, the investment arm of Lloyds TSB, which bought a majority stake in 2003. Since then revenue has more than doubled to £60m.

TSC's management, led by Ken Hills, will run TSC Hero, the Indian firm's enlarged call-centre operation.

Mr Hills said: "This is not about taking UK jobs to India. On the contrary, TSC's clients have all made positive decisions to locate their operations in the UK."


Friday, September 7, 2007

Indian law frees users from telemarketers

INDIA--The community of over 230 million telecom subscribers in India will be able to seek relief from unwanted telemarketing calls as the country's Do Not Call directive kicks into action tomorrow.

India's telecom regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in June unveiled the "Telecom Unsolicited Commercial Communications Regulations 2007", putting in place a mechanism to curb unwanted telemarketing calls.

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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Now, bid goodbye to unsolicited calls

Unsolicited promotional calls need not give you a migraine now. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Saturday ensured the phone subscribers that they will be protected from unsolicited marketing calls beginning September 1 this year....

Unsolicited promotional calls need not give you a migraine now. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Saturday ensured the phone subscribers that they will be protected from unsolicited marketing calls beginning September 1 this year.

To stop such calls, a subscriber can either get in touch with his service provider through SMS, via the call centre, on the service provider’s website or even by sending a letter.

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Sunday, September 2, 2007

Call centers make use of Netopia for training, recruitment

Internet café chain Netopia has started offering its facilities to several call centers and business process outsourcing (BPO) operators for training of employees, disaster recovery site and soon, for recruitment.

During a presentation, Netopia President George Tan said several call centers and BPOs have already started training their employees in their facilities. Among the companies are ePLDT, SPI, TeleTech, PeopleSupport, Convergys, InfoNXX and Accenture.

Tan said that so far, the training has been going well for all of their clients.

“We have branches that have been transformed into a classroom-style facility to emulate the feel of a training room,” he said.

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