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Advice from a Call Center Geek!

Author: Thomas Laird

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Advice from a Call Center Geek is a weekly podcast with a focus on all things call center and contact center. We discuss topics such as call center operations, hiring, culture, technology, and training and have fun doing it! Please post a review on Itunes if you find our podcast of value. This will help us reach as many Call Center Geek as possible!#callcenter #contactcenter #CX #custserv #callcentergeekwww.expiviausa.comIf you enjoy listening to the podcast then come and interact with all of us! Join the "Advice from a Call Center Geek Community" on Facebook today. You can ask questions and learn from the entire Call Center Geek community!
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You guys may think I am crazy, but I think I found the technology that will be changing the customer service and customer experience industry to levels we have never thought of.Currently, we are using call center technology to either gauge the CX (CSAT, NPS, Sentiment..) or we are trying to make interactions shorter, more cost-effective, or easier for the customer.These are all good things...yet we have no technology out there that will totally change of we operate as customer experience professionals.I think I have found that technology, one that will change how brands service in the next five years.  It's not a call center and it's not an AI chatbot (well not really...).Listen to this episode, tell me if we are crazy or not! For more info on Advice from a Call Center Geek:Text us: 814.247.0366Follow Tom: @tlaird_expiviaJoin our Facebook Call Center Community: www.facebook.com/callcentergeekConnect on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/tlairdexpivia/Watch us: Advice from a Call Center Geek Youtube Channel 
In this episode of "Advice from a Call Center Geek!",  we sit down with Jimmy Budnik, the VP of Customer Care and CRM at Overstock.com.An engineer by trade, Jimmy takes to the role of VP of customer care at Overstock.com with one eye on the culture of his team and another on improving the customer experience through education and technology.In this 30 minute interview, we tackle topics such as:Take a look behind the scenes at how Overstock handles the retail holiday seasonUnderstand how COVID-19 has affected the Overstock customer care modelHow Overstock is handling changing demographics and self-serviceWhat technologies are Overstock utilizing to improve the customer experienceJimmy's view on how analytics can better understand customer expectationsHow does Overstock view NPS in relation to customer/agent sentimentVery insightful perspectives from an industry CX leader.  This episode is very technology-driven and will hopefully give you some insights into where customer care is moving to from the views of someone running one of the leading customer care models in the industry.Follow Jimmy Budnik on LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/jimmybudnik/For more info on Advice from a Call Center Geek:Text us: 814.247.0366Follow Tom: @tlaird_expiviaJoin our Facebook Call Center Community: www.facebook.com/callcentergeekConnect on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/tlairdexpivia/Watch us: Advice from a Call Center Geek Youtube Channel 
Outsourcing is not for everyone, and we have been very open about that, in fact, we did an entire episode on 10 reasons why you should NOT outsource.These 7 falsehoods though are topics that organizations that are new to call center outsourcing think are reasons why they would NEVER outsource.  This is a false narrative.  In this episode, we talk specifically about these seven excuses for reasons not to outsource.These are:Thinking you will love total controlQuality will take a hitNot being able to integrate your data systemsYour program is much to complex for an outsourcerTurnover will be highSecurity ConcernsIssues with the cloud Text me: 814.247.0366Follow me: @tlaird_expiviaJoin our Facebook Call Center Community: www.facebook.com/callcentergeekConnect on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/tlairdexpivia/Watch us: Advice from a Call Center Geek Youtube Channel 
Call Center Superbowl....For many of us, that is what Black Friday and Cyber Monday are.  Over the years, we have come up with some tips that help make these high-traffic days go as smoothly as possible.In this podcast we go over 7 call center tips for Black Friday:No IT Updates This weekLook at Your Shrinkage %Have a Motivation for Your AssociatesTaking Care of Large QueuesVirtual Call BacksUsing Mon-Wed to Educate Your AssociatesDocument, Document, DocumentText me: 814.247.0366Follow me: @tlaird_expiviaJoin our Facebook Call Center Community: www.facebook.com/callcentergeekConnect on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/tlairdexpivia/Watch us: Advice from a Call Center Geek Youtube Channel 
Speech analytics is an evolving tool that has use cases not yet thought of. As we are evolving how we use the tool, we want to tell the Geek! community as a whole to possibly spur some thoughts on the best way to use analytics in your organization and to also increase the ROI for an analytics investment.In this episode we talk about 10 unique ways that we see analytics being used:Proactive Customer ServiceIncenting Associates to be NiceGenerating Marketing DataFinding out WHY?Notating FrustrationLearning What the Real SLA Variance Should BeTracking SilenceFraud ProtectionTracking Key Words and CompetitorsExpanding Service to Other ChannelsText me: 814.247.0366Follow me: @tlaird_expiviaJoin our Facebook Call Center Community: www.facebook.com/callcentergeekConnect on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/tlairdexpivia/Watch us: Advice from a Call Center Geek Youtube Channel 
Its almost 2021 (YES!!) and we here at Expiva are having budgeting talks and discussions on where we see the industry moving in 2021 and what technologies and strategies do we want to invest in for next year.In this episode we talk about the top five trends that we see in the industry and how we plan on using them to our advantage.Topics include:Google Real-Time Transcription / DialogflowsCustomers Want No Excuses After COVID-19The Effects of COVID-19 on Legacy (older) Technology Exploiting Digital Service (Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp...)Proactive Servicing using AnalyticsText me: 814.247.0366Follow me: @tlaird_expiviaJoin our Facebook Call Center Community: www.facebook.com/callcentergeekConnect on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/tlairdexpivia/Watch us: Advice from a Call Center Geek Youtube Channel 
One of the age-old call center ops questions is "Should we use live or recorded calls" for our QA?  Understanding that many call centers are moving to an analytic based QA platform, there is still a majority of centers using managers to "listen" to calls.In this episode, we talk about the benefits of using both methods and when to do so.We discuss what type of individual you should hire for a QA role and making sure you don't have your QA staff think that the job is to just find the mistake that reps are making.  There is so much more to QA!Calibration sessions are a very important tool in creating the right quality culture in your center.  We discuss how to set them up, what types of calls to use, and tips to get the most out of them.Text me: 814.247.0366Follow me: @tlaird_expiviaJoin our Facebook Call Center Community: www.facebook.com/callcentergeekConnect on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/tlairdexpivia/Watch us: Advice from a Call Center Geek Youtube Channel 
I am going to start to answer the awesome  questions I am getting in the Advice from a Call Center Geek! SMS Texting community as Community Q/A mini-podcasts.  I want this to be a huge benefit of joining our texting community (to join text "podcast" 814.247.0366 to get signed up).In this Mini-Pod, I give my thoughts on some best practices when you have voice and chat agents and channels to staff.  Should you keep them separate or should you cross train and integrate all the reps with all the channels?Text me: 814.247.0366Follow me: @tlaird_expiviaJoin our Facebook Call Center Community: www.facebook.com/callcentergeekConnect on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/tlairdexpivia/Watch us: Advice from a Call Center Geek Youtube Channel 
 Here is a quick overview of what skills-based routing is, how to use it, and why it's such a great tool.This is the biggest difference between a UCAAS (Office Phone System) and a CCAAS (Call Center) platform.I have been getting a bunch of questions on skills-based routing so I hope this answers a lot of them! We did a white boarding video that goes along with this as well if you are more of a visual learner that can be found here:https://www.linkedin.com/posts/tlairdexpivia_callcenter-contactcenter-callcentergeek-activity-6725462092012371968-Qci4Text me: 814.247.0366Follow me: @tlaird_expiviaJoin our Facebook Call Center Community: www.facebook.com/callcentergeekConnect on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/tlairdexpivia/Watch us: Advice from a Call Center Geek Youtube Channel 
Lowering handle and talk time the right way can add to a center's ROI and make the customer and agent experience betterIn this episode of the Geek!, we talk about tips on how to break calls down into segments to streamline processes. how to lessen hold time, and how to minimize one of the biggest killers to handle time and call center efficiency...after call work/wrap time.I try to give simple and effective ways that we have used to best utilize technology, processes, and training to get your handle time lower while not impacting the customer experience.Text me: 814.247.0366Follow me: @tlaird_expiviaJoin our Facebook Call Center Community: www.facebook.com/callcentergeekConnect on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/tlairdexpivia/Watch us: Advice from a Call Center Geek Youtube Channel 
Outsourcing your call center operations can be a scary deal. If you can manage the relationship in a proper way, there can be a win-win mentality that happens not just for you and the BPO partner but most importantly for your customers as well.In this episode, we give you actionable items to put into place to make sure the client/call center relationship runs as smoothly as possible.Some of the items we discuss will center on:Partnership over VendorshipSingle Points of ContactWeekly Calibration CessionsQuarterly ReviewsIM ToolsIssues/Escalation Processes Text me: 814.247.0366Follow me: @tlaird_expiviaJoin our Facebook Call Center Community: www.facebook.com/callcentergeekConnect on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/tlairdexpivia/Watch us: Advice from a Call Center Geek Youtube Channel 
This is an Episode for true Call Center Geeks!  I want to give you my five favorite call center reports and tell you why they help me and can help your call center.In this episode we will talk about:Daily Summary ReportsMonthly Volume TrendsInterval Volume TrendsAgent Occupancy Reports Customer/Agent Sentiment Reports Text me: 814.247.0366Follow me: @tlaird_expiviaJoin our Facebook Call Center Community: www.facebook.com/callcentergeekConnect on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/tlairdexpivia/Watch us: Advice from a Call Center Geek Youtube Channel 
SOOOOO, I was scolded by my staff about the title (not the content) of yesterday's episode on "10 Reasons why you Should NEVER Outsource Your Call Center". They said it sounded finite like you should outsource no matter what, if you listened to the episode you know that was not my intention...So to make peace with everyone, I have done an episode on "10 Reasons Why You SHOULD Outsource Your Call Center".I think (or hope), listening to these two episodes will give you a great baseline to do what is best for our organization.In this episode we talk about the benefits of outsourcing as it deals with:     Having Proper Infrastructure      How Outsourcing Helps with Scaling     Relieving the Pain of Hiring, Training, and Turnover     Having access to the Latest and Greatest TechnologyAnd much more... Text me: 814.247.0366Follow me: @tlaird_expiviaJoin our Facebook Call Center Community: www.facebook.com/callcentergeekConnect on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/tlairdexpivia/Watch us: Advice from a Call Center Geek Youtube Channel
I can talk all day on why you SHOULD outsource your call center and the benefits of doing so, but that doesn't seem very much fun.Let's talk about the 10 reasons why you should NEVER outsource.If you or your organization can relate to 2 or more of these topics on the top 10 list, then you should seriously consider keeping your call center internal.Some of the reason we talk about in this episode are:Cost Savings is the ONLY DriverNot Having Buy-in from Key Stake HoldersNot having a Strong VMYour Training is not in OrderThis episode will make sure you are making the best decisions for your organization in terms of whether to outsource or not. Text me: 814.247.0366Follow me: @tlaird_expiviaJoin our Facebook Call Center Community: www.facebook.com/callcentergeekConnect on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/tlairdexpivia/Watch us: Advice from a Call Center Geek Youtube Channel 
To maximize revenue, some call center outsourcers will do some things that are not up to industry standards.  This is no different from what a SAAS or website creator may add in the "small details". I don’t want any member of the "Geek Nation" to fall for any of these when you are looking for a great outsourcer.  Some of the ways that outsourcers may pay games are Charging Crazy Setup Feel (We talk about what you should pay) Charging for Client Support and Reporting Not Defining What is included in Hourly and Per Minute Billing Who Pays for Attrition Training  And more...  If you are looking to outsource, or are interested in behind the scenes of how outsourcers think, this is a can’t miss episode. Text me: 814.247.0366Follow me: @tlaird_expiviaJoin our Facebook Call Center Community: www.facebook.com/callcentergeekConnect on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/tlairdexpivia/Watch us: Advice from a Call Center Geek Youtube Channel 
If you have not joined the Call Center Geek Texting Community here is another reason why.  (text "Call Center" to 814.247.0366 to Join)The Texting Community gets to ask anonymous questions to me that I then will answer on Linkedin.  Every couple of weeks, we will do a podcast episode with these questions so the geek nation can hear them and hopefully gain some value from them.The topics we takle in this episode are: What are some ways you are hiring and recruiting during Covid?  What social platforms are the best? How do you monitor and care for the emotional well-being of WFH agents? Budgetary case for Speech Analytics .Thoughts on Voicemail Being Used in the Call Center.Text me: 814.247.0366Follow me: @tlaird_expiviaJoin our Facebook Call Center Community: www.facebook.com/callcentergeekConnect on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/tlairdexpivia/Watch us: Advice from a Call Center Geek Youtube Channel
Just a quick message for any organization out there that is looking to purchase a new telephony platform or software but may need a little help making the best decision for your organization.I started Call Center Geek Consulting a couple of months ago and in that time frame, we have been able to help some of our podcast listeners that have reached out to me with making the best call center platform decision for their company.  If you have any questions about what you should get, what should you pay, should I negotiate, how many providers should I get demos from...let me know.We set up a landing page at callcentergeekconsulting.com.  That form comes directly to me, fill it out and we can have a quick call to answer your questions.  There is no cost at all to you or your company.  For full transparency, I am paid on the back end by all the providers so I am totally platform agnostic.  Just want to set you up with what will work for your company.Click here callcentergeekconsulting.com and lets talk. Text me: 814.247.0366Follow me: @tlaird_expiviaJoin our Facebook Call Center Community: www.facebook.com/callcentergeekConnect on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/tlairdexpivia/Watch us: Advice from a Call Center Geek Youtube Channel 
How many times has your boss or manager said the call center was not servicing properly and that the NPS and CSAT scores were too low!  It has to be poor service in the call center right?WRONG!With so many ways that customers can interact with an organization, most times the call center can only triage a poor experience that a customer had had with a product, delivers, website, service model...They are not the root cause.In this episode, we talk about customer journey mapping and finding the actual causes to customer issues.This episode will begin getting down the path of being proactive and explaining not just that issues are happening but WHY!(This is why speech analytics is soo important as well!)Join our call center geek texting community!  Totally free.  Get exclusive call center ops content and a way to ask questions directly to Tom! Text "Journey" to 814.247.0366The "Advice from a Call Center Geek!" podcast is sponsored by Expivia Interaction Marketing, a leader in USA call center/customer service outsourcing.  Check Expivia out at www.expiviausa.comText me: 814.247.0366Follow me: @tlaird_expiviaJoin our Facebook Call Center Community: www.facebook.com/callcentergeekConnect on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/tlairdexpivia/Watch us: Advice from a Call Center Geek Youtube Channel
I had the great pleasure of being asked to give a talk to the University of Wisconson E-Business Consortium on "Making Call Center Culture Tangible, Using Culture as a Weapon, and Engagement Practices for Call Center Reps".  This is the full talk that I gave.  It's well worth the listen.If you would like to have the deck that I used, please message me on Linkedin and I will be more than happy to send it to you!Hopefully, it will add some value to your organization as well.  There is the response we got from the moderator after the talk:" You ROCKED it this morning, Tom! Thank you so much for sharing your time – and a fabulous talk with our Customer Care Community members! We received several spontaneous “Wow! That was great!” messages in the chat stream after you spoke – and several participants have already emailed me to ask for a copy of your slide deck (they just couldn’t wait for us to upload it to our members site in a couple of days). We’ll have the results of our “official” post-event participant survey in a day or so, but I can feel in my bones that the session was a great success. Kudos to you for hitting the ball out of the park!And on behalf of me, the team – and all today’s participants, THANK YOU for your willingness to share your insights and experience around this very important topic with the community. The "Advice from a Call Center Geek!" podcast is sponsored by Expivia Interaction Marketing, a leader in USA call center/customer service outsourcing.  Check Expivia out at www.expiviausa.comText me: 814.247.0366Follow me: @tlaird_expiviaJoin our Facebook Call Center Community: www.facebook.com/callcentergeekConnect on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/tlairdexpivia/Watch us: Advice from a Call Center Geek Youtube Channel
If you are in the market or will be in the market for a new call center platform, this is a can't miss episode.In Episode 78 of the Geek!, we talk about everything you need to know when purchasing a new call center platform.Host Tom Laird goes in-depth to the different types of providers, what are must/should-haves for any platform you purchase, tips on saving money, tricks the platforms sometime play, how to negotiate the price and what you should be looking to pay per seat.Once you listen to this episode,  you will understand the technology and terminology to make you feel confident in making a good decision for your business.If you would still like to talk about your upcoming purchase or have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me at tlaird@expivia.net or head over to callcentergeekconsulting.comWe do not charge for any consulting we do.The "Advice from a Call Center Geek!" podcast is sponsored by Expivia Interaction Marketing, a leader in USA call center/customer service outsourcing.  Check Expivia out at www.expiviausa.com Text me: 814.247.0366Follow me: @tlaird_expiviaJoin our Facebook Call Center Community: www.facebook.com/callcentergeekConnect on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/tlairdexpivia/Watch us: Advice from a Call Center Geek Youtube Channel 
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Comments (1)

Alisha Truemper

Great advice for a newb. Thanks!

Dec 8th
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