Last week, LiveVox’s Jason Queener and Aaron Easley met to discuss how to optimize new workflows and get back to previous standards of performance.
In this short webinar, you’ll hear about the performance analytics and metrics that can help you understand the bigger picture of how your business outcomes and strategies are being impacted by a work from home model.
Listen to the full webinar here and read the transcript below.
All right. It is 9:02 Pacific Time. Thank you all for joining. Like I said, this is Lindsay with LiveVox. Thank you for joining today’s webinar, Key Metrics You Should be Watching to Evaluate Your Work From Home Performance. Just some housekeeping notes. We are recording this session and we will be sending out a copy of the presentation as well as the recording of today’s webinar. So, you can share these assets with your colleagues. Thank you all again. And with that, I’m going to kick it off to Jason Queener to get us started. Thank you. Jason?
Jason Queener (00:39):
Hey, thanks. Thanks Lindsay. Good morning, afternoon, everyone. My name is Jason Queener. For those of you that don’t know me, I lead our business consulting team here at LiveVox. I’m joined today by one of our team members, Aaron Easley, who’s going to go through some content for you that hopefully helps you navigate this wild work from home life we’re living right now. So, with that said, let’s hop in and go through this real quickly.
Jason Queener (01:05):
I know we have this set for an hour. I doubt we’ll use all that and we’ll be able to give you back a little bit of your time. But just a quick overview of where we are, and we like to use this as a cornerstone of our webinars series as we go through these times. At this point, most if not all of you are well down the path of working from home and for some of you in some states potentially even getting to see some light at the end of the tunnel here. But we’re still seeing the effects of this, right? We’re still seeing this continue to evolve day by day, even hour by hour in some states. The impact to our customers has been immense. As we’ve migrated to a remote agent workforce, it’s not only become important, but almost a necessity in almost every state. Right? There’s not really an option at this point.
Jason Queener (02:01):
And with that comes the effort of trying to evaluate your agent’s performance and maintain that productivity from a distance. Right? So, as we go through this, we understand that you have productivity concerns, managerial concerns, security concerns, and we’re here to help bridge that gap as best we can. So, let’s hop to the next slide and we’ll start to go through what that looks like.
Jason Queener (02:22):
On each of our webinars we’ve really used these three stages as a starting point for our conversation. First thing we all had to do is get a connection to our agents from home. From there, we started to monitor them, coach them, train them. And what we want to talk about today really is starting to optimize that performance. How do we optimize these new workflows and get back to those previous standards and expectations you had and your clients had of you?
Jason Queener (02:51):
So, on the next slide we’ll talk about what really that optimized performance piece looks like. So, Lindsay, go ahead. Thanks. Okay, so you’ve got your agent set up. Okay, now what? Okay. And the question is, yes, we can monitor them, we can coach, we can train them. We can see and hear in most cases for some of you, you can even see their screens. And that’s great for contributing consultation to an individual agent. But it’s required to layer on some performance metrics and analytics to really understand the bigger picture of how your business outcomes and your strategies are being impacted by that shift to a work from home model.
Jason Queener (03:31):
And yes, a lot of those KPIs are the same. Some of those same business data metrics are in place, but we’re going to talk a little bit today about a little bit of a shift in those KPIs that you’ve traditionally used to track your agents and your strategies’ performances. And really we’re talking about doing a supplemental addition to those normal metrics. So we’ve historically talked about things like talk time, wrap time, ready time, connects per hour, just those standard core call center KPIs. But now we need to talk about, okay, now we have a lack of physical proximity where that age isn’t 60 for me. What else should we be looking at?
Jason Queener (04:11):
Let’s go to the next slide and let’s review some of that. At this point, I think it’s safe to say that everyone on this call is… If you could go back one real quick for me. Yeah. Thanks. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all, at this point, gone work at home. If not completely, aggressively. The good news is that most of our customers have seen that it’s not only possible, but it’s extremely viable. Right? And it works. And I think, for the most part, we all understand that this is our new normal. And even as we come out of this, the genie’s out of the bottle from work from home. And I think a lot of those companies that have done this transition well are going to use it as an opportunity to incentivize their top performing agents. Things like snow days could potentially be a thing of the past. Right? Okay, snowed, I’m snowed in. Fine, login from home.
Jason Queener (05:11):
One of the other things that we are hearing our customers start to think about is that holy grail of a split shift. Right? It was always a difficult challenge to say, “Hey, I’d really love an agent to work 8:00 to 12:00 then 5:00 to 9:00 to maximize my peak performance hours.” That becomes a lot easier when you tell an agent, “Yeah, go home at 12:00 and just log back on for me at 5:00.”
Jason Queener (05:32):
With that comes some requirements, right? Again, we talked about the seeing and hearing, we talked about the metrics. So now let’s talk about what that looked like. So on the next slide, this is really a true representation of what most of our customers felt. COVID-19 hit, boom, we slammed on the brakes, agents either couldn’t work from home, there were security requirements that couldn’t be, some agents chose not to work from home. Some have treated themselves out. In other instances, some organizations made deliberate choices to downsize their staff. Okay. So now as we start to try to migrate that head count back up, there are obviously KPIs and metrics that are significantly impacted by a reduction in agent count and having agents work from home.
Jason Queener (06:20):
I’m going to pass this off to Aaron and he’s going to go through some of what we are seeing on our platform and what we can do about it and what we should be tracking. Aaron, you want to take the next few slides?
Aaron Easley (06:31):
Yep. Thanks, Jason. And good morning, everybody. So the first thing that we wanted to dive in to was average handle time. Many of our customers are seeing dramatically higher average handle times across the board. Some as much as 50% higher than what they were seeing pre-COVID impacts. And this is primarily driven by the fact that we’re seeing a higher percentage of our clients’ calls are inbound calls. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the volume of inbound calls is higher, although in some cases it is. But the percentage of calls that agents are handling right now are primarily inbound. And as we all know, inbound calls have a higher average handle time than your typical outbound calls do.
Aaron Easley (07:22):
And then another impact to that is higher live answer rates on outbound so that you are reaching more customers when you are able to make those outbound attempts. Some of that, when you’re dealing with the reduced staff, as Jason showed on the previous slide, and the higher percentage of inbound calls, it can also create longer hold times for your customers. Right? So really keeping an eye on this and monitoring the impact to your agents as well as the customer experience. So go hit the next slide Lindsay.
Aaron Easley (08:04):
Again, higher percentage of inbound calls, not necessarily higher volumes. But with that reduced staff, with the higher handle times, you’re also seeing higher average speed of answers. Right? So the customer experience is a little bit poorer because they’re having to hold and wait for an agent.
Aaron Easley (08:26):
A couple of options to consider here when you’re looking at this data and if you’re seeing these impacts, is to consider a couple of options. One of which is an inbound self-service IVR implementing options for your customers to self-serve without having to reach an agent. It is critical during this and we’ll hit on that a little bit more on the future slides. But another option here is to offer either SMS or web chat. Right? Historically, agents can handle typically about a five to one lumbarization ratio when dealing with SMS transactions or conversations, and the same with chat, as opposed to just a one to one ratio from an inbound call.
Jason Queener (09:16):
So, Aaron, real quick on that. You said SMS. So how would that work on an inbound service? So a customer calling in. Can you walk through that for everybody?
Aaron Easley (09:29):
Yeah, absolutely. One of the options and one of the primary options there is if you have longer hold times, and obviously with the ASA increases, you’re going to. You can actually offer within the IVR itself an option for the customer to select to interact with you via SMS. So a sample script would be, “Hey, we’re experiencing higher than normal hold times. If you’d rather either chat or SMS with an agent immediately then press one.” Right? And then that can launch an SMS to the customer if they’re calling in from their mobile phone. It can launch an SMS to the customer and then start that interaction for your SMS agents.
Jason Queener (10:20):
That’s awesome. Now, will that customer opting in there, are we capturing that consent for future text communications to the customer?
Aaron Easley (10:31):
Yep. Yeah, good question. Yes, absolutely we can. So, in that scenario, if they press one to indicate that, hey, they’d like to go down that path of SMSing, then we can actually put in another prompt that says, “Are you consenting to interact with us via SMS now and in future conversations?” And then, if they press one to that, not only does it launch the SMS to start that initial conversation with them right then, but it also can update their account using contact manager to turn on that SMS consent flag there as well.
Jason Queener (11:08):
Aaron Easley (11:08):
So it’s a great way-
Jason Queener (11:10):
And I should have mentioned I saw a couple questions come in on the webinar. If you do have questions as this goes through, if you want to type them in to the questions about tier, I’ll get to as many as we can when we wrap up here. Thanks, Aaron. Sorry to sidetrack you there.
Aaron Easley (11:25):
Nope, that’s great. Thank you. Lindsay, you want to hit the next slide? As we saw on the ASA and the trends there as it’s trending up, that’s also driving higher abandonment rates. So again, the option there in addition to the SMS that we were just talking about, the self-serve IVR, we recommend really doing some deep dive reviews on your agent term codes. And that way you can get a better understanding of the reasons that your customers are calling and identify some potential options for you to build into the self-serve IVR, whether that’s balance inquiries or notifying you of a payment, trying to make a payment, et cetera, building those into the IVR and freeing up your agents to handle the calls that really require a little bit more of a conversation that you can’t do within an IVR. And that way you can help drive your strategies of reaching out to the clients or how you’re handling them when they do reach out to you. Next one.
Aaron Easley (12:41):
So this is one that you guys probably monitor as is. But this becomes really critical when your agents aren’t in that brick and mortar environment where you have onset or onsite management to watch over it and monitor for productivity. We recommend looking at this, the wrap and talk time specifically, really across multiple segments. One obviously holistically, overall for the business, but also diving down a little bit more into either agent teams and/or individual agents. If you’re seeing abnormal behavior, potentially higher wrap times or something like that, this is a good option or area to implement screen capture. This is really beneficial, again, with not having the onsite presence for you to be able to monitor the agents, see how they’re interacting, are they experiencing delays, or is it really just a coaching opportunity there to help maintain their productivity levels that they saw in office environment?
Jason Queener (13:56):
So, Aaron, to that point, you’ve spent a lot of time obviously reviewing our data across our enterprise. Are we seeing agents struggle to stay productive when they work from home? Are we seeing significant reductions in connects per hour or anything like that?
Aaron Easley (14:17):
We see a little bit of struggle typically right out of the gate as agents are launching with higher wrap times just as they’re getting acclimated to working from home, as opposed to in an office environment. But really across the boards, its main pains are pretty flat level. They’re just as productive. And even in some cases we’re seeing it where they’re actually more productive at home than in an office environment. So no real impact to connect per hour outside of the overall from a business perspective just with reduced staff. But agent productivity, minimal impacts there.
Jason Queener (14:56):
Aaron Easley (15:01):
And then one more slide. There we go. Thank you now. So this is a metric not ready time or time agents are logged off of the platform for whatever reason, not something that is historically a metric that we monitor real in depth, but it is something that, as your agents are now in a work at home environment, that it’s critical that you understand the impacts of when your agents are available, what they’re signing off for, and really trending that to help keep you informed and your supervisor or operational staff advised of the interactions that your agents are having, whether that’s additional meeting time or something like that, because you can’t just pull them off for a quick 15 minute huddle session or team meeting or something like that. Or there’s training information that you need to get out to them that may be more impactful now that they’re not in an office environment.
Aaron Easley (16:04):
So we’re actually seeing some of our clients are building out work at home specific services, and that way they can track these… Sorry, that was weird. So that they can track work at home agents versus office agents, and are there impacts such as technical difficulties or something like that, that the work at home agents are experiencing, but they’re agents in the office potentially aren’t.
Jason Queener (16:45):
Aaron, we touched briefly on, because I don’t know that a lot of our customers are leveraging it today. Can you touch briefly on, I think we call it, our break code report that may help with this sort of a tracking?
Aaron Easley (16:59):
Yeah, absolutely. The idea here is there’s multiple reasons that an agent can log off, right? Whether it’s break, lunch, meetings, technical difficulties, or other stuff like that. So really being able to drill down and see, is the time that they’re logged off for technical difficulties increased at home? Again, you can look at that at specific agents or you can look at it overall from a line of business perspective. But it really just helps you drill down and see what potential obstacles your agents are having that’s causing them to log off. Right? So is it more meeting time because they’re not able to just raise their hand and get their supervisor’s attention or are they having issues with their internet service provider and stuff like that.
Jason Queener (17:50):
Got it. And in one of the upcoming webinars here we will be touching a little bit more, and I think we’ve already done it in one of the prior, we’ll touch a little bit more on agent scheduling and scheduling adherence within the platform that obviously becomes a very valuable tool when you’re dealing with agents that are not in line of sight to you. So, thanks Aaron.
Aaron Easley (18:11):
Jason Queener (18:14):
So Lindsay, let’s go ahead and hop to this next slide. A few other things to consider, right? First and foremost is really one of the first things I ask of our customers is to make sure your reports and your data and your dashboards that you’re creating are matching your KPIs. Right? The data points that are driving how you define success, so that, again, that means tailoring those dashboards to understand your current performance and how it relates to your customer’s expectations, but also showing the before and after. Okay?
Jason Queener (18:51):
I think everybody, and Aaron just showed a lot of slides that were a composite of some of our customers, but there is a profound change in the before and after. And the goal for everybody here is to get back as close as you can to that before.
Jason Queener (19:06):
So we’re looking at aggregated views of call centers, agent activities, agent compliance, performance data, in addition to your regular reporting. Right? So we really want to get a holistic feel of, all right, what’s our agent’s experience, what’s our customer experience? And I touched on it earlier, right? Work at home’s, in thumb level, here to stay. So the goal here is use these KPIs and these data points to target your agents that are excelling in this environment, and incentivize and shift that opportunity to those agents. So, again, that’s going to be a big deal. Almost in my mind, it’s a hiring and a retention opportunity for your agents to say, “Hey, you know what? Work from home on Friday.” And again, Aaron touched on it briefly on the slide before, but there’s a lot of things we can help you out with here that helps track those agent’s performance from home, call recording, screen capture, quality management. Again, we just talked about scheduling, speech analytics, self-service IVR, SMS, web chat, secure payment captures, agent scripting. There’s a lot of ways to tackle this, so your account teams are here, we’re happy to help, we’re ready to dive in with you as you, hopefully, you are transitioning back to as close to business as usual as we may get after this.
Jason Queener (20:25):
Next slide for me, Lindsay. Okay, so we’ve got four more weekly webinars already on the books. Next week, we’ll focus specifically on two-way messaging and how we can help drive your bottom line. We will talk a little bit more in depth about that inbound two-way SMS as well as your traditional outreach two-way messaging for your customers. We’ve seen that as a very powerful tool, not only for customer satisfaction and engagement, but again, to Aaron’s point, really allowing your agents to do more. Right? So taking them from the traditional one-to-one phone conversation to a five-to-one digital conversation.
Jason Queener (21:05):
The following week, we’ll talk about quality management tools, enhancing compliant, accelerating work from home performance. On the third, we’ll talk about self-service strategies to maximize your inbound call traffic. Again, across our platform we are seeing folks struggle with their inbound volumes. That’s not a bad problem to have. It’s always a great opportunity to engage your customers, but with that becomes opportunities to improve. And lastly, on the 10th, we’ll talk about strengthening compliance, optimizing the customer experience with speech analytics.
Jason Queener (21:37):
The document that Lindsay will be sending out after this webinar will have registration links active on here in addition to some click to download assets that you can see on this screen. So performance analytics, overview, quality management overview, call and screen record, and so on. So these will be a quick download, just quick one hit informational information. Again, if it drives interest, if it’s something you want to talk more to someone on your account team about, please reach out to them if you haven’t already.
Jason Queener (22:06):
Lindsay, I did get a couple questions come in. If you want to hit on those before we wrap up.
Jason Queener (22:13):
The first question was on your… I’ll take this one. The first question was, “You mentioned segmenting work from home agents to their own service for reporting purposes.” It says, “Can you blend those agents in to other campaigns?” And the answer there is, yeah, absolutely. So there’s nothing preventing you from having a service that is specifically assigned and created for work from home agents so you can track that performance almost in a champion and challenger mode, and continue to blend them into your agents that are at some point in time back in your contact center. So you shouldn’t have to impact your strategies or your resource allocation, but you should still be able to segment those agents out for a reporting perspective.
Jason Queener (23:02):
Aaron, I will send this next question to you. The next question was, “Where are you seeing the biggest increase in not ready times across our industries?” I think they mean what types of not ready times.
Aaron Easley (23:18):
Yeah. It’s the obvious ones that you would expect. Right? Meeting time, again, just being able to pull agents off to meet with their supervisors or pass along information that is critical for them. And then the next one is technical difficulties. The work at home environment isn’t as stable as an office environment in some cases. So you’ve seen a little bit of an uptick on that specific [inaudible 00:23:47] as well.
Jason Queener (23:49):
Yep, that makes sense. Okay, I think those are the… We had a couple variations of that, that blended agent one. So I think that, Lindsay, with that, I’m going to pass it back to you. I appreciate it, everybody, everybody’s time.
Thanks, Jason. Thanks, Aaron. Really appreciate both you all’s time. We did get a few pings coming in around some audio issues. I think a few of you guys have some difficulties connecting the audio. We will be sending out this recording for you guys to review, so apologize in advance and please be sure to look out for the email with CF. And to end with that, I hope everyone has a great day. Thank you all.
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