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Human Learning with AI

By | contact Center, simulations | No Comments

Many of you are familiar with the term Machine Learning (ML) which is a subset of AI designed to train a machine how to do a very specific task. Can’t we do the same process with Humans?

The answer is yes, of course we can! I want to highlight some examples that go beyond providing employees or customers with simple information using an intelligent agent.

  1. Shameless self-promotion for ACES (Automated Contact Engagement System) designed to automate the process of teach contact center agents how to conduct the primary transactions they will encounter on the job. ACES is an immersive simulator with builtin AI to provide automatic feedback when an agent give the wrong verbal response or enter the wrong information on screen. All actions are tracked and mapped against the same metrics and agent would be measured on during a live call. Agents get up to speed much faster and are truly “floor ready” when placed into production.
  2. Third Space Learning is using an AI powered system to measure how effective the teacher performance is and tie this directly to student success.
  3. MATHIA from Carnegie Learning is an example of an intelligent tutor. It uses a technique called “Knowledge Tracing” to track a student’s progress and tailor feedback to help them solf the math problems.
  4. EdCast is used to “upskill” employees by making automatically curated content based upon previous content the user has completed in the past and what job skills are mostly likely needed for their job.

Does Your Contact Center Have a Wall In It?

By | call center, contact Center | No Comments

Recently I was speaking to a CX consultant and ask her “why is there a disconnect between what call center agents do and the customer experience initiatives?” She stated that she runs into this quite frequently in her practice.

When I reach out to CX professionals to introduce them to our call center simulator, once they hear it is used for contact center agents to improve performance they immediately refer me off to someone else. 

In an old blog post from Customer Think points out that good customer service is a branding and customer loyalty issue. That was 5 years ago! But I still run into organizations that seem to separate these functions within their organization

In a blog post by Ameyo.com a multi-channel call center, they define the difference between the customer experience vs. customer service and define customer service as re-active. Is it really?

Even if that’s the case, customers only call in when something is wrong or they need help,  the contact center could either be the place for your single point of failure — losing customers or done well, can build loyalty and delight.

I’d be curious to hear from my readers if you feel you have a wall between the CX function and the contact center — or how you’ve broken this barrier.

 

 

The Power of Simulations

By | call center, contact Center, Employee Rewards, simulations | No Comments

Studies have shown that simulation-based training is the best way for learners to retain knowledge and decrease the time it takes for mastery of a new skill.

Why is this important to your organization?

  1. Quicker return on your training $$ – by providing this level of active and immersive learning, your organization will see a greater return on the money you invest in recruiting, retention and customer satisfaction
  2. Greater employee satisfaction – the faster an employee feels confident about their job, the higher their employee satisfaction.  This has a direct impact on customer satisfaction but will also reduce the risk of poor moral or wasted time re-training employees who need more hand-holding
  3. Removing the risk of practicing on real customers – I can’t tell you how many times I hear that call center employees transition from the classroom to the production floor with little or no practice time.  This is a huge risk to your organization.
  4. Reducing time to recognize a bad hire -using a simulator will allow your organization to road test an employee’s skills before putting them on the front line.  This will also help you to determine if an employee is just not making the cut.

Single Point of Failure

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If you are an IT professional, you are probably familiar with the term “single point of failure.” If you manage the customer retention side of the business can you identify your single point of failure?

Is it in the quality of the product, customer service, customer support, delivery or even the return process?

In a study conducted by the Gallup Group 68% of customers leave because of poor service. When nearly 70% of all customer interactions are handled by your contact center — is this your single point of failure?

Let’s break down the contact center experience even further. Take the full customer journey when they make contact. You should factor the following steps:

· Hold time

· Automated routing

· First call resolutions

· Knowledgeable staff

· Courteous reps

· Follow up steps

In a study presented by 31 West the following were the top reasons a customer becomes “enraged” during a call

60%—speaking with a rude customer service rep
52%—speaking with an incompetent service rep
44%—getting disconnected
40%—explaining their issue more than once
38%—being put on hold for too long

It doesn’t take much to surprise and delight customers from these human to human interactions. I see a cautionary trend in migrating live support to automated. It may save you money in the short-run but in the long-run may impact the customer relationship.

I’d love to hear how some of you have built a culture of serving your customers to increase loyalty and retention.

Contact Center Insights Christa Heibel – Managing the BPO Relationship

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In this episode of Contact Center Insights, Nancy speaks to Christa Heibel of CHCG Consulting. Christa has been working with the C-Suite of contact centers for over two decades and has worked both sides of the table when it comes to working with BPOs. Listen to Christas’s great advice on the importance of communication and “putting it in writing” to ensure you have a smooth sailing relationship.

Judy McGee Consulting – Call Center Training the LAMA Way!

By | contact Center, Employee Rewards | No Comments

I had a blast interviewing Judy, she is truly one of a kind and has a great theory on how to train your contact center employees. In this episode, Judy explains her LAMA approach to talking to anyone on the phone, it’s all about making that person feel good and treating them with respect.

Four Free Ways to Record Audio for Your Podcast

By | podcsting | No Comments

Podcasting has quickly become one of the most popular content types in the last couple of years. Earlier this month I gave a presentation at the Chicago eLearning Showcase on podcasting and gave me audience tips on 4 ways to record your audio content with FREE tools. Here they are:

  1. Audacity -probably the most common (other than Garage Band) it’s a free open source audio recording and editing platform. Just be sure to also download the LAMP software to ensure you can export MP3 files for formatting your the proper RSS feeds for your podcast
  2. Free Conference Call.com – Yes it is free and will record you or a group of people dialed into the conference line. They will allow you to download the MP3 file of the recorded call so you can edit and add to your RSS feeds.
  3. BlogTalk Radio – This is used primarily as a web radio tool but I use do record my podcast show so I can add other sound effects — like an audience applauding or a canned introduction to the show. You can have callers dial in as you record the show live and then BlogTalk will allow you to download the show. This service is free for shows under 30 minutes in length.
  4. Amazon Polly in WordPress – This was my latest find, if you have a WordPress blog or site you can embed Amazon’s Polly text to speech voices to “read” your blog post and it will automatically create the RSS feed for you to connect it directly into iTunes as well. You first need to go to AWS (Amazon cloud services) to set up an account to use Polly and there is a minimal cost for using Polly but you can also produce the audio file once inside AWS and then download the MP3 file to add to your post as well.

Please let me know if you know of other free tools for podcasting and I will be happy to share!

Simulations Can Shorten the Path the Mastery

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We all know that hands-on experience is one of the best ways to learn a new skill but don’t just take my word for it. In an article featured from Laurdal they state three reasons why simulations accelerate learning and retention:

  1. Simulations increase engagement – By placing students into an immersive environment, they are ACTIVELY vs. passively engaged in the learning
  2. Simulations maximize retention – One of my favorite reasons why simulations are important. How many times have you put people through a training program and the knowledge is lost within a short amount of time
  3. Simulations ensure that learning is transferred to the job – This should really matter to the executive suite, when employees can accelerate their level of applying their skills directly into their work and shorten their path to mastery, this goes directly to the bottom line.

Think of it in this way, if I gave you a manual to learn how to conduct a step by step process, this is an explicit approach to learning something. It’s easily repeated and more commoditized but not as effective. On the other hand, if I gave you access to the equipment and/or placed you into a simulation which immersed you in learning this process, it’s an implicit experience but much more valuable in giving you first-hand experience in learning this new task.

Finally, in a study conducted by Roger S. Taylor and Micheline T. H. Chi at the University of Pittsburgh, they conducted a study comparing students who studied using a textbook and those who used a computer simulation. This was the summary of their findings “the Simulation condition acquired a significant amount of implicit domain information from pretest to posttest,
whereas participants in the Text condition did not. These results suggest that educational computer simulations have the potential to significantly enhance the learning of implicit domain knowledge.”

But keep in mind that the simulations need to be tailored to a specific skill or task directly related to the job. It should include some form of immediate feedback and places the learner into contextual setting similar to what they will experience in real life. Anders Ericcson was noted as coming out with the study of “deliberate practice” Here is a a video where Anders explains this concept.