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Smart Call #62 – Christmas in the contact centre

June 11th, 2009

This week’s Smart Call is brought to you by Verint, who ran seminars in Sydney and Melbourne this week entitled How to Survive (and even Thrive) During the Economic Downturn.

Verint’s Principal Global Solutions Consultant Bill Durr joins us with part two of his presentation to the event.

Our feature interview is with Toby Poulson, Chief Financial Officer of a company called Layby Services, which sells pre-paid Christmas hampers. The nature of that business means the load on its contact centre is very seasonal. The company has six full-time agents, but a 40-seat contact centre.

Close to Christmas, all those seats are filled. But for much of the year, those seats are empty. Toby explains how the company copes with these seasonal spikes in activity and reveals some interesting technology and human resources tricks!

 
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Smart Call #61a – Phishing scammers create fake contact centre

June 3rd, 2009

Hi everyone.

I’m sick! It’s not swine flu, but I’ve been dragging myself around and haven’t had the energy to podcast.

But there’s a big story around we should look at anyway.

Over the last couple of weeks, the Commonwealth Bank has been the subject of a series of “phishing” attacks. For those who are not across IT security issues, “phishing” involves sending fake emails that try to con their recipients into handing over their Internet banking passwords.

Phishers usually do this with fake web sites that look just like a Bank’s real website.

But a new round of phishing targeting the Commonwealth Bank offers a phone number to call. And there’s even an IVR that answers calls to add some authenticity in the hope of fooling you.

The folks at APCmag.com have even recorded the IVR in action. Click here for their story about this scam and the recording.

We’ll try to address this incident on future editions of Smart Call.

Smart Call #61 – Meet the Contact Centre Institute of New Zealand

May 28th, 2009

This week’s Smart Call is brought to you by Verint, who ran seminars in Sydney and Melbourne this week entitled How to Survive (and even Thrive) During the Economic Downturn.

Verint’s Principal Global Solutions Consultant Bill Durr joins us with the first part of his presentation to the event.

Our feature interview for the week is with Alex VanDerLeij, Communications Officer for the new Contact Centre Institute of New Zealand (CCINZ). The CCINZ is the brand spanking new peak body for the industry in NZ and Alex explains its aims to us this week.

We also take a quick look at news including:

  • New investment saves a regional contact centre!
  • New contact centre jobs at Centrelink
  • Fiji’s new contact centre tennant

And as ever, we like to thank our founding sponsor, NSC!

 
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Smart Call #60 – Industry anger over Do Not Call Register extension

May 21st, 2009

Australia’s contact centre industry was not entirely happy about the introduction of a Do Not Call (DNC) register, but accepted its necessity.

But the industry is livid at the proposal, unveiled in the recent Federal Budget, to extend the register to businesses.

This week, we learn why the industry is so unhappy about the proposed extension in interviews with the Australian Direct Marketing Association and the ATA.

Dr. Catriona Wallace also offers her five cents worth on the topic and helps us to analyse news including:

  • How green are contact centres?
  • Consolidation of emergency services contact centres
  • The state of the customer service job market

Thanks as ever to founding sponsor NSC.

 
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Smart Call News Special – Aegis offers to buy UCMS

May 15th, 2009

This Smart Call News Special features UCMS CEO Denice Pitt, explaining the offer made today to acquire the outsourcer.

Aegis BPO has made an offer to acquire the group and the UCMS Board thinks it’s a good idea, as you’ll here in this special edition of the show.

 
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Smart Call #59 – Agents solve problems

May 15th, 2009

Contact centres make huge investments in resources to help agents respond to customers.

But a new study suggests agents ignore many of those resources and instead rely on information they gather for themselves. And that information makes them more effective, according to Dominic Byrne of IMC Communications, one of the authors of the research which you can find here.

Our sponsor feature, thanks to is a presentation by Virgin Blue CIO David Harvey. It’s a little more IT-oriented than our usual fare (pardon the pun), but does offer a wonderful insight into how some seemingly simple chances to the airline’s operations meant big challenges for the contact centre.

 
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Smart Call # 58 – Speech recognition at work

May 8th, 2009

This week’s Smart Call features Jennifer Scott of UK outsourcer Capita.
Jennifer visited Australia to speak at the Voice Leadership Forum and shares her experience of introducing speech recognition to a contact centre where efficiency and cost control were at a premium.
Thanks as ever to founding sponsor NSC.
The show also mentions Smart Call’s new sponsorship packages for FY 09/10. Check them out here.

 
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Smart Call # 57 – Senator Steven Fielding’s proposed anti-offsshoring bill

April 30th, 2009

This week’s Smart Call comes to you live from the Australian Customer Management and Contact Centre Summit and features Family First Senator Steven Fielding explaining his proposed Stop Booting Jobs Offshore Bill.

The bill would make it very hard for contact centres to use offshore resources, making it understandably controversial.

We’ve been trying to get the Senator on the show without success, but tracked him down at this event!

Also on this week’s show, Dr Catriona Wallace joins us to look at news including:

  • The decline of India’s contact centre offshoring industry
  • The loss of 250 jobs in a Tasmanian regional contact centre
  • Internet cafes that become contact centres by night

Thanks to our founding sponsor NSC for their support!

And for what it’s worth, here’s a camera-phone snap of Senator Fielding in action!
Steven Fielding

 
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Smart Call #56 – Get the best out of workforce management

April 24th, 2009

This week’s smart Call is brought to you by NSC and features Vicki Herrell, Executive Director of the Society of Workforce Planning Professionals.

Vicki joins us with her tips on how to get the best from workforce management tools.

We also have part two of our sponsor feature with Anthony Seaegg, former national chairman of the ATA and now Director of ICT Group. Anthony continues his talk about turning a contact centre into a profit centre.

We also welcome back Dr. Catriona Wallace of callcentres.net to help us analyse the week’s news, which includes:

  • The contact centre with a culture of sarcasm
  • More on Steven Fielding’s ‘No Offshoring’ bill
  • Is it wrong to hire out of work geniuses in your call centre?
  • Australia’s national broadband network – what does it mean for customer service?
 
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Smart Call #55 – Managing agents with different roles, KPIs

April 9th, 2009

This week’s Smart Call is brought to you by NSC, who bring us a sponsor feature with Anthony Seaegg, former national chairman of the ATA and now Director of ICT Group. Anthony talks about turning a contact centre into a profit centre.

Our main feature interview is with Nicole Twyford, Medibank Private’s Group Manager Direct Sales & Service. Medibank Private has changed the way it routes calls and now has one pool of agents who solve small problems, fast. Then there’s the pool of agents that tackles weightier issues and aims to achieve first call resolution to ensure customers with complex queries go away satisfied.

Nicole explains why the company has chosen this strategy and how it is managing two pools of agents with different skills and KPIs.

And in this week’s news we consider:

  • Senator Steve Fielding’s anti-offshoring Bill
  • The New Zealand Bank offshoring to …. Australia!
  • French research suggesting fixed-line phones are on their way out as a customer service channel
  • CIOs’ attitudes to customer service during a downturn
 
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