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CallTalk™ Radio

Author: BenchmarkPortal

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CallTalk is the first on-line radio show specifically about Call Centers. BenchmarkPortal brings this show to listeners with no vendor sponsorship so the content is completely neutral. If you have a topic you would like us to cover, send it to
147 Episodes
Covid-19 has had a terrible impact on people and economies around the globe. But it has facilitated accomodation of at-home work for the disability community. Guest Kate Brouse of nonprofit NTI helps disabled Americans and veterans open employment doors. She outlines how today's environment has allowed NTI's services to disabled Americans to double. Discover how. you can leverage this willing and dedicated workforce in your business.   Guest Bio: Kate Brouse is a disability advocate for national non-profit NTI@Home, the leader in helping Americans with disabilities train for and find work-at-home jobs. Kate has appeared on talk shows and podcasts discussing remote work, accessibility, diversity, and disability. Kate has a bachelor's degree in English from Brigham Young University and is an avid bicyclist, roller blader and reader.   About CallTalk CallTalk is a monthly internet radio program for the customer service industry featuring the most innovative managers and thought leaders in the customer contact field, interviewed by BenchmarkPortal CEO, Bruce Belfiore. Broadcast monthly, directly over the Internet to your desktop, CallTalk covers hot topics that impact today's call center. CallTalk airs without the participation of vendors so that topics will be free from their influence and guided by the needs of its listeners. If you have a topic you would like us to cover, send it to
Knowledge management is foundational the effectiveness of the modern contact center. Metrics from cost per contact and handle time require agents to rapidly find the information they need, and customer satisfaction demands that agents have complete and accurate answers in every situation. Even agent satisfaction is impacted by how a center manages knowledge because their job becomes easier when information is readily accessible and intuitively organized. Guest: Burgoyne Hughes Burg has over 30 years of contact center leadership experience.  He designed and implemented the quality assurance program for Staples North American contact centers, then went on to lead the first multi-channel contact center for Staples. He served as Vice-President of Consumer Service at Teleflora where he drove a 20% increase in average order value while establishing industry leading customer service in a highly seasonal environment. Burg then Vice-President of Operations for BuySeasons where his teams regularly earned BIzRate’s Circle of Excellence Award for demonstrating exceptional end to end customer experience. Burg is currently in his fifth year as Senior Manager of Call Center Operations for GE Healthcare, where his team recently achieved Center of Excellence recognition from BenchmarkPortal. Burg has presented at a number of industry conferences, including ICMI’s Contact Center Conference and Expo, The National Conference on Operations and Fulfillment, CRM Evolution and KM World.
The contact center world has been pushed ahead 4 to 5 years in 1 year in terms of technology, because of COVID. The rate of adoption of existing tech just exploded. What’s next? What does 2021 bring?    Guest: Steve Bederman | President and CEO | NobelBiz Steve Bederman is a published author, accomplished leader, and a highly regarded Contact Center industry innovator. With a phenomenal journey throughout his career, his expertise in corporate restructuring and strategic growth brought him the reputation of a renaissance business leader. He is also an Amazon best-selling author having released a very successful series of corporate thrillers. Now, Steve is the President and CEO of NobelBiz, a Contact Center Technology Company. From a unique carrier-of-carriers network to a complete omnichannel software with social media integration, NobelBiz offers state-of-the art solutions for companies that want to keep their clients happy.
Digital CX is meant to provide a more effortless customer experience across multiple engagement channels. As the channels customers can use to interact with us multiply, customers demand a personalized, consistently positive customer experience as they navigate their engagement. Companies subsequently have developed increasingly complex CX strategies, and these strategies need to empower the contact center agent with smart tools to support traditional voice, live chat and email channels while augmenting these channels with AI-supported digital channels and virtual assistance. While some industries, including financial services and telecom, have eagerly embraced multi-channel CX and the integration of several digital channels, consumer utilities have been slower to adopt these solutions. But it doesn’t need to be this way. The current scarcity of digital CX and integrated multi-channel support within consumer utilities presents a greenfield opportunity. Consumer utilities willing to craft a modern, integrated voice-and-digital CX strategy can realize cost savings and resource efficiencies, reducing cost-of-support for customers, while crafting a customer support environment that makes for happier employees and more satisfied customers. Join Cary Cusumano and Sarah Simon, a pair of CX design professionals at Verizon Business Group, as they help utilities understand “what’s in it for them” in adopting digital CX solutions to make their customer support operations both more efficient and more effective. With capital dedicated to meeting regulations and maintaining infrastructure, CX is not always a top priority for utilities. Yet serving a captive audience of utility customers shouldn’t mean resigning your support organization to using the last generation’s support strategies.
CX + EX = Success

CX + EX = Success


If you are measuring your customer experience and not measuring your employee experience you are missing a great opportunity to discover the gaps in critical issues like customer loyalty and employee loyalty. As the saying goes, if you don’t measure, you cant manage.
Recruitment, Hiring and Training techniques during the Pandemic- the traditional models of in person recruitment and training are not feasible during COVID pandemic how can you successfully hire and train CSR in a street to seat manner
…And that’s why we wanted to talk more about the shift to remote contact centers, and we have brought in an expert on the topic for you, Fabrice Martin, CPO at Clarabridge. Welcome to the show Fabrice.   Guest: Fabrice Martin, CPO at Clarabridge Fabrice is responsible for the vision, roadmap and go-to-market strategy for the Clarabridge CX Suite of products. He brings more than two decades of experience launching new products and business applications focused on solving large, complex analytical problems and delivering valuable insights.
2020 has created an intense focus for companies to reconsider their relationship with customers and how they serve them.  The vision and promise of good Customer Experience often talks about creating“wows” with customers at scale.  Yet many of the tech stack tools and operating metrics that dominate the industry discussion can detract from the fundamental human interaction that drives those positive customer responses.  And many companies have yet to create true Customer Experience capabilities tied to their fundamental growth strategies. Craig Binkley, Managing Partner of Fidelum Partners, will talk with us about The Human Brand in all our companies and how to connect our customer service vision and our operating approaches and tools.   Guest: Craig Binkley | Fidelum Partners Craig Binkley is Managing Partner of Fidelum Partners, a strategy consulting firm using customer and employee insights to drive loyalty and growth.  Before Fidelum, Craig was CEO of Northstar – an award-winning insights agency working in over sixty countries from offices in Toronto, New York, Atlanta and London. Craig was also EVP of Strategy for MDC Partners, where he led the network’s insights into digital transformation that is disrupting traditional marketing models and the overall customer experience.  Previously, Craig worked at Coca Cola as Worldwide Director of Marketing for Diet Coke, Coca-Cola light and Minute Maid.
Are you implementing new contact center technology?  Join us as we discuss tips and benefits on how to embrace the technology to transform the customer, employee and business experience by leveraging it within and beyond your department while promoting the benefits, results and successes throughout your organization.
Are you struggling with scaling cll capacity in this time of pandemic? Could you leverage artificial intelligence to make your calls smarter? This episode of CallTalk will provide tips and insights on how to properly assess AI for your center's needs, keep the call flows going, and make you a hero to your CFO by reducing costs. This will include definitions of AI and examples of implementations.   Guest: Tim McLain A passionate technologist at heart with more than 25 years of marketing experience, Tim loves using technology to help businesses solve problems and grow their bottom line. Tim is happiest brainstorming new approaches to marketing and communications to help thinQ’s partners better understand, trust, and embrace our cloud communications solutions. As a lifelong learner, Tim has helped bring four Internet startups to life since 1993, spent several years as a newspaper reporter and TV news producer, and boasts long marketing management stints at ProQuest and Netsertive (a top Google Premier Partner).
Agents complain they can’t find customer data because the software is out of date. Managers take too much time to finish weekly reports. BI software is out of date and not capturing the right analytics. If these things sound familiar, you will want to join our discussion on the next CallTalk podcast. Our guest Nancy Munro, CEO of Verbal Transactions will speak about the importance of aligning back office functionality to improve customer service and ensure you’re managing to the right metrics. Guest: Nancy Munro | Verbal Transactions Nancy Munro, CEO of Verbal Transactions, has over 28 years in helping organizations implement and deploy voice enablement solutions. Nancy has worked with organization’s like CVS, AT&T and Microsoft, helping them decipher how best to address performance challenges that align to their structural capabilities and revenue goals. Nancy pioneered voice-enabled technologies in the corporate space and was the first to launch an interactive audio role-playing simulator. Her current solutions leverage speech recognition and AI to provide a scalable and immersive learning application. Nancy speaks at various conferences such as the eLearning Guild, ASTD, and AA-ISP and was the Chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum of Chicago for three years.
Join us for a free, fact-filled session on what you can do to manage your center through the Coronavirus pandemic. Information you can really usePanelists representing large, medium and small contact centersFocus on new insights, not same old platitudes  Forty-five minutes of meaty discussion and storytelling from managers who are on the front lines managing through this crisis right now.  No sponsors, no vendors, no commercials. Just great information and tips on how to manage through this crisis and emerge better and stronger as the leader of a flexible and successful contact center operation.   Moderated by BenchmarkPortal’s Bruce Belfiore, who has taken a thought leadership position on the COVID-19 crisis:
Join Christine Cunneen, CEO of Hire Image, a nationally accredited background screening company, as she shares helpful information about the latest drug testing and background screening trends facing call centers.  Learn what is happening with marijuana legislation across the country, the latest drug testing developments, and other state and local updates affecting the industry in 2020.   Guest: Christine Cunneen | Hire Image As CEO of Hire Image LLC, Christine Cunneen sets the company’s vision and strategy while overseeing the operations, finance and business development functions nationwide.  Ms. Cunneen is a frequent guest speaker at business, human resource and background screening association events throughout the U.S., educating employers and other professionals about background screening topics, and is often quoted for her expertise in the news media. On a regular basis, she travels to Washington, DC to meet with legislators and is active in campaigns and advocacy pertaining to laws and regulations that impact the background screening profession, business owners and small business entrepreneurs.
Guest Dr. Charles Fenzi and our host, Bruce Belfiore, author of Coronavirus and your Call Center: Don’t Panic – Plan and Prepare, which focuses on how to show true management leadership in the face of this crisis.  This special episode of CallTalk™ is dedicated to providing you information and advice that will make you better able to display, and develop, your management skills in a time of Coronavirus. Learn ways to protect your most precious assets - - your colleagues - - while serving your callers and keeping the corporate mission in mind.
Join Bruce Belfiore as he talks with Mike Dershowitz about the market and corporate forces that push us to offer compensation based on market conditions, and about the human and political elements that push toward offering “living wage” compensation.  Mike will build on concepts he first shared with us during his previous appearance on CallTalk (“Fair Trade Outsourcing: Ethical and Profitable”) and will unpack the many issues surrounding the living wage issue.  He will draw on his experiences managing centers in urban America and offshore sites.  He will share his opinion that the $15 national minimum wage is not the right way to go to achieve living wage objectives.  You will find this a lively but very practical, manager-focused discussion on economic justice, employee engagement and performance results in the contact center environment.
Are you endlessly trying to get agents to improve their customer service? There might be a culprit you’ve never considered. Discover hidden and counterintuitive obstacles that hurt agent performance. You’ll learn: Why rewards and games often makes service quality worseHow wall boards can increase your queuesWhat secret your agents know that can immediately improve service   Guest Jeff Toister Jeff Toister is a best selling author who has written three customer service books, including Getting Service Right: Overcoming the Hidden Obstacles to Outstanding Customer Service. Feedspot has named his Inside Customer Service blog one of the Top 50 customer service blogs on the planet.  Jeff has been recognized as a customer service thought leader by Global Gurus, ICMI, and Comm100. Thousands of customer service professionals subscribe to Jeff's Customer Service Tip of the Week email, and have taken his video-based training courses.
Ever have a bad experience with a contact center agent? Why do you think this happened? One answer may be poor training or poor coaching – either way these situations can be avoided. Join us for our next discussion to hear Nancy Munro share tips and advice on how contact centers can build better and more effective training programs.   Guest: Nancy Munro, CEO of Verbal Transactions, has over 28 years in helping organizations implement and deploy voice enablement solutions.  Nancy has worked with organization’s like CVS, AT&T and Microsoft, helping them decipher how best to address performance challenges that align to their structural capabilities and revenue goals. Nancy pioneered voice-enabled technologies in the corporate space and was the first to launch an interactive audio role-playing simulator. Her current solutions leverage speech recognition and AI to provide a scalable and immersive learning application. Nancy speaks at various conferences such as the eLearning Guild, ASTD, and AA-ISP and was the Chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum of Chicago for three years.
Gamification and Engagement have been used in contact centers for some time now and so far, the results have been… mixed. Why do some Gamification and Engagement programs work so well for some organizations, and fall flat for others? Fresh out of the military and religious service, Elijah stumbled upon Snowfly, a leading gamification-based incentive, engagement, and analytics company, that did things differently. It’s a company that focused on people and understood and leveraged human psychology. He’s seen and participated in effective programs and created tools that have completely transformed organizations and its people. He’s now on a mission to spread the message the Gamification, Incentives, and Engagement have a new look. Guest: Elijah Cox, COO of Snowlfy Elijah is the Chief Operating and Technology officer at Snowfly, a leading gamification-based incentive, engagement, and analytics company. Elijah started as a junior programmer for Snowfly and within a few years was involved in all operations and consulting within HR, product, and Employee Experience/Engagement. Elijah is passionate about self-improvement, leadership, and organizational health.
Contact center industry associations can contribute a lot to the success of your center and your career. However, many managers don't consider joining or, if they do, fail to make the most of their investment. We have brought in an expert who has seen this from both sides, and can tell you how to make the most of the opportunities that associations offer.
"Conversational Virtual Agent (sometimes known as chatbots) are all the rage. There has been an explosion, with easily accessed and low-priced conversational frameworks from the likes of Amazon and Google. However, while it’s easy to put together a bad conversational application, developing and deploying one that actually provides a useful service for everyone involved is a different matter. Join this show to hear about the different channels on which virtual agents can act, how their knowledge base should be structured, the best approach to training, the necessary integrations, and why machine learning, with all its promise, is not enough to build a conversational agent that you can trust to talk with your customers."
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