Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Pokemon Go And Your Contact Center



By Colin Taylor

It has just been a few weeks since Pokemon Go has unleashed mobs of zombies walking in search of new Pokemon to capture, and other players to battle. The game quickly eclipsed Twitters total number of users and at more than 21 million players it shows no signs that the growth is abating anytime soon. Cemetaries, museums and private homes have posted notices asking player not to play at their location. Players have walked into buildings, signs and driven into police cars. Playing any game while driving is probably not a good idea. Calls to 911 requesting access to fire stations in LA are ‘impeding emergency service’.
But what does Pokemon Go mean for the operators of call centers and contact centers? The invasion of your call center by Pokemon is likely to reignite the debate about smart phones in the contact center.
Make no mistake Pokemon is a distraction for staff and management alike, it is not just a game played by teens and millennials. So all staff in the center are at risk for being affected by the need to capture Poke’s that are hovering on the next desk, in the parking lot or in the lunch room. In a contact center operation this equates very quickly to a new category of labor shrinkage, right up there with lunch, breaks, and washroom trips. It also can impact and agents’ performance if they were hunting Pokemon until 4 am, they may be a little tired at the start of their 7 am shift.
But it is not all gloom and doom. Pokemon Go also represents an opportunity. Just as some businesses have benefited from proximity to Pok├ęStop and Poke Gyms, others have been spending money to become a hub of Pokemon players. A pizza restaurant in New York city spent $110 in ‘lures’ and increased their order volume by 75%. One enterprising outsourcer employed a lure at their center to attract people to their job fair, bringing more people and candidates to their facility.
How centers will balance the risks and challenges of Pokemon Go on their staffing and workforce management is still an open question. But there is opportunity here as well, the use of lures may help centers to recruit staff and the possibility of leveraging Pokemon Go as an element of gamification shows great promise.
Only time will answer these questions for call center operators, but rest assured Pokemon and augmented reality is here to stay, so we need to get used to the idea and think creatively about how we can turn this technology to our advantage.

Let me your take on Pokemon Go and the implications for your call center or contact center.

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Monday, July 11, 2016

Profit Centre vs. Cost Centre

Profit Centre vs. Cost Centre

By: Turaj Seyrafiann 

July 11th 2016, 

Traditionally, call centers were managed in order to minimize the costs. The reason for that seemed simple and obvious; taking the calls and providing service on the phone appeared to be of no additional value to the organizations. The call centre activities were concentrated around providing the after sale services and at best would be considered as revenue protection (a necessary evil!!). It was many years later that organizations started realizing the value of their contact centers in not only protecting revenue but also in generating revenue from both new and existing customers. This new realization brought a new operational concept to the contact centre environment: “invest more in the centre in order to generate more revenue”!

In today’s environment, contact centers operate in two distinct modes: Profit Centre vs. Cost Centers. In a profit centre environment, the centre is operated similar to an independent or self sustaining business unit. The budgetary and operational decisions are taken with focus on generating revenue for the organization. Although revenue generation may not be the sole purpose of the centre, its management is responsible to operate – and perhaps expand – using internal funds. In a cost centre environment, the budgetary focus continues to be on minimizing the costs. Majority of the operational decisions will be scrutinize in order to find the lowest cost approach with less regard for their value to the centre or the organization. In fact in most cases it would be very difficult to quantify the value of these decisions in a tangible manner.

Which one of these two approaches is right for your centre? Well, the answer depends on the role of the centre within the organization (for example “Technical Help Desk” vs. “Sales & Services”) and the overall mandate for the centre. There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches. In a revenue centre, the management has broader control over its internal decisions, but with the control comes broader responsibilities and accountability in making the right decisions. On the other hand, in a cost centre environment, there is constant pressure in maximizing the efficiency of the operation (which is not entirely a bad thing) while the management may feel they have none to very little control over decisions that would impact their centre.

The dividing line between the two approaches is not always clear but it is extremely important for the contact centre management to decide on an approach since it will determine and establish the contact centre priorities.

Contact The Taylor Reach Group, Inc. to assess which is the right approach for you!  

Turaj Seyrafiaan
is an experienced senior call center consultant working with The Taylor Reach Group, Inc. 

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5 Reasons New Call Centers Fail

5 Reasons New Call Centers Fail

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By: Colin Taylor

There can be many reasons for an organization to decide it is time to create a call center or contact center. Perhaps organic growth, a new product, service or acquisition is resulting in calls swamping the switchboard, or customers are tracking down the administrative offices to trace an order, or email volumes are surging and going unanswered?

By creating a call or contact center and being able to direct and centrally manage all call, emails, chats and other channels of communications organizations can realize both financial savings, but also improvements service quality and customer satisfaction. Whatever the cause once an organization has determine it is time to create a call center the next steps can be both daunting and critical.

There are more than 800 discrete tasks associated with building a call or contact center. Common Challenges include; Accurately sizing your call center requirements, Determining which channels to support, Identifying the telephony and technologies required to support your business activities, Mapping your business processes impacted by the call or contact center, Identification of the  integrations and links required to CRM or back office systems, The physical design of the call and workflows, Design of the physical call/contact center space, Creation of an organizational design and the people requirements. People are the largest cost in any call or contact center. People requirements include; job descriptions, Identification of skills required for each role, compensation modeling, quality management, workforce management (forecasting and scheduling) and the reporting required to provide the business with the knowledge to make data driven business decisions related to the call center / contact center and the customers they support.


Taylor Reach assisted thousands of organizations to design, develop, implement and improve their call and contact centers. We have developed a proprietary approach to simplify and streamline what modeling and decision making around what can be a very arduous 6 to 12 month process, resulting in lower cost to implement and higher effectiveness and efficiency from day 1.

Common Fails

In supporting our clients in the development and implementation of new call centers and contact centers we have seen a number of challenges and decisions that can adversely impact the development process. These challenges include;

  • The lack of a cohesive vision of the role of the center. Is the center designed to be a profit center or a cost center? Is the purpose to deliver service that exceeds customer expectations or to be delivered a cost effectively as possible? Has the organization defined the desire customer experience when interacting with the center? Without a clear vision it is impossible to develop a center successfully. Fuzzy goals will produce fuzzy results.
  • Failure to realize that a call center or contact center is a unique and independent business service and must be properly researched and resourced in terms of both people and technologies.
    • The failure to complete proper research has led many organizations to select technologies that don’t meet the needs of the organization. Many solutions can appear on the surface to do what we want them to do, it is only be drilling down to the details of ‘how’ that we can often surface inadequacies. Research takes time, but it is time well invested versus selecting and installing a telephony or technology solution that doesn’t work or handicaps the organization going forward.
    • The failure to realize that a call or contact center requires staff with unique skills and competencies can result in the wrong people being on your contact center ‘bus’. Just because someone likes to talk doesn’t make them qualified to be an agent and a good salesperson isn’t always the best solution to lead a call center or inside sales team. Putting the wrong people in the wrong roles can handicap your center for months or years to come.
  • Failure to plan for growth or seasonality. Nothing is static, companies evolve over time and the reasons our customer contact us also evolve. Organic growth in contact volume may be linked to organizational growth, new markets, products or services. Increased focus on ecommerce can increase seasonal spiked and volumes. If the center planning has not taken these factors into consideration, you can find yourself without the ability to scale the center to support the customer needs. The solution to this can include center expansion and/or outsourcing. Both of these scenarios are disruptive and will reduce service quality while often increasing costs.
  • Failure to understand the labor market. In a call or contact center labor is the number one expense. Center also often have high staff turnover, both externally and internally. The location selected for the center must be sustainable and the labor costs and budgets need to be realistic. Failure to properly plan can lead to a center unable to secure the desired staff with the desired skills and/or force it to pay more than was budgeted for these roles.
  • Failure to seek guidance and expert advice. There is certainly a cost associated with retaining an expert to guide you through the process of designing and implementing a new call or contact center, but there is also a cost for not doing so. We have seen organizations select technologies only to have to remove and replace them within months, build and then shutter center locations due to staffing issues, deliver degraded services because their budget was incorrectly set in the first place and be hampered by center staff and leadership without the skills, competencies or training to excel in the role.

The preceding is by no means an exhaustive list of challenges associated with creating a new call center or contact center, but the examples cited above are some of the common failures, that can spell disaster for a new center initiative.

To find out more about The Taylor Reach Group or our services to support the development of a new call or contact center please check out our website http://ift.tt/1eYfdez review our case studies or contact us directly at info@thetaylorreachgroup.com  You can reach me directly at ctaylor@thetaylorreachgroup.com or by phone at 416-276-9068.


Colin Taylor is the CEO and Chief Chaos Officer at The Taylor Reach Group, Inc. a call center, contact center and customer experience consulting firm with offices in North America, Europe and Asia. Colin is an award winning industry pioneer with 40 years of call, contact center, customer experience and customer service experience. Colin has been regularly ranked as one of the top industry experts by leading industry publications.

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