The Top 5 Reasons CRM Still Fails 

Agent workflow around the needs of the customer is limited in CRM platforms. In fact, most CRM systems attempt to enforce a process, but contact center interactions are not so predictable or linear.

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42% Increase in Up-Sell Conversion Rate

Alsco achieved a 42% improvement in up-sell Conversion Rate and improved First Call Resolution with the RiverStar solution.

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Increased Agent Efficiency

"Since the deployment of RiverStar Studio, the call center has experienced a significant increase in efficiency .The efficiency was expected but not at this much of a gain."

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Reduced Agent Training by 50%

Read the story about unifying a fragmented agent desktop that doubled sales conversion rates and improved agent training by more than 50%

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Better Customer Support 

 Learn more about the Web Self Service solution RiverStar delivered to support Activision's customers around the troubleshooting process.

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The RiverStar Blog

Customers want to be known.  They expect every interaction to be based on the complete knowledge of the existing relationship between the two of you.  They are intimately aware of the last product or service they bought from you and the last time they called or emailed to complain about so... Read more...

Key Contact Center Technology Capabilities Needed to Deliver Outstanding Customer Experiences


Delivery of truly outstanding customer experience requires 5 distinct sets of functionality:  dynamic, personalized dialog; adaptive workflow; unified customer context; consistent experience; and, deeper insight.   Each of these elements focuses on a different aspect of the interaction between you and your customer and brings a different value set.  Focusing on any one of these elements will improve the customer experience, but it is the combination of these elements that will differentiate you from your competition.  According to a recent Aberdeen Group report on improving multi-channel service, the top 4 goals for the next year are to:

·        Increase customer satisfaction (56% of respondents)

·        Increase revenue (46% of respondents)

·        Increase efficiency and improve processes, and ( 36% of respondents)

·        Increase loyalty and advocacy. (28% of respondents)

Those all are tied to delivery of outstanding customer service.  The top strategic initiative being worked on is empowering agents with better information.  Getting the right information to the right person at the right moment is critical to providing outstanding service.  That information needs to allow the interaction to be personalized.  The agent needs to know who the customer is, what products and services they have purchased, what troubles they have reported, what their payment status is, how they like to communicate, and a myriad of other information. That information should be used to help guide a dynamic, adaptive dialog within a process-based workflow.  All of this needs to happen within a unified agent desktop that provides instant access to information the agent needs to address concerns the customer raises during their interaction.  This same rich dialog should be able to take place across every channel the customer chooses to use, including voice, web self service, and website-based chat.




 Best practices are a rarity in the call center environment. And even more so in the work-at-home call center environment. There, I said it. Who’s to blame, the call center leader? What does the at home agent do when they don’t know the answer? There’s no person next to them to ask and training is over. Calling the supervisor is an option, but could eat away at valuable time of two resources that are now unavailable to talk to customers.


Best practices in the call center are difficult to duplicate out-of-the-box between centers because each center is different. There are different agents, different campaigns, different cultures, and different goals. Therefore, every contact center must develop and embed best practices that are unique to them. Later in this post, I will provide tangible proof that best practice agents outperform average agents, with numbers like a 25% increase in FCR and a 50% decrease in AHT.


Maximizing agent productivity and managing agent availability can be a challenge with Work-At-Home Agents (WAHA).  Is the work-at-home agent dispostioning the call correctly? How do they absorb best practices from top-tier agents when they are isolated in their home?

The economics around the work-at-home model are extremely compelling. Web-based technologies have lowered the cost of managing customer interactions and opened the door to new possibilities for how (and where) agents interact with customers. However persuasive the economics are, a real challenge exists to overcoming agent availability in the work-at-home call center.


Only 43% of contact centers measure First Contact Resolution (FCR) according to research done by SQM Group.  But, how can this be? Measuring this metric is one of the most important in the contact center. It not only benefits customer service delivery but it also reduces the cost to service customers, a direct hit to any company’s bottom line. In short, improving FCR equals spending less while increasing repurchase from loyal customers.  


Have you ever called a contact center and felt like you’re talking to a robot instead of a human being? Often this feeling of “communicating with a computer” can be attributed to how the agent is reading a script, when in fact it's just extremely poor use of an agent workflow.


Agent scripting shouldn’t be applied to a customer experience as a robotic, word-by-word script that an agent follows during a customer interaction. Customers have unique needs, and agents must adapt to them, not based on what to say, but on what process to follow.  In reality, agent scripting should be the customer dialog function of a strategic workflow process designed to optimize the customer experience.


Unfortunately, there are several lingering myths around the value of agent scripting in relation to the overall customer experience. We'd like to clear the confusion by talking about four specific myths we hear on a regular basis.


Contact center agents within the financial services industry showed that the average agent worked across 7 applications every day and more than 15 percent of agents worked across 12 or more.  Loading the agent desktop with multiple logons, application interfaces, and forcing infinite alt-tabs and clicks forces an agent to focus on confusing, intricate processes. However, an intuitive, consolidated desktop will streamline agent learning and productivity, and ultimately enable a smarter agent.


In general, an average of 25% of inbound calls are a follow-up to a prior interaction. This means that roughly 25% of the calls are happening because the company did not resolve the customer’s issue the first time. Imagine a call center with 5000 inbound calls a month, or 1250 follow up calls. This translates to $4.75 million in direct labor costs (assuming an average salary of $38K year for a 500-seat call center) related to customer follow-ups. A modest 15% improvement in your first call resolution (FCR) would translate to $712,500 in cost savings.


At the recent Customer 360 Summit, analyst firm Gartner stated that 83% of customers are likely to change service providers after a single failed service attempt. In other words, only 17% of customers will stay with your company when their issue is not resolved on the first attempt. Another customer of ours sees a 60% decline in service renewal unless first call resolution is met. Customers are unforgiving when their time and money are on the line. And who’s to blame them?


How many application interfaces must your agents navigate in a typical customer interaction? If you said more than one, we’re not off to a good start.   


One recent call center survey claimed that the average number of applications for an agent to work with is 6 or 7, while 15% of agents work with over 12! For customer-facing processes, applications are the main tool that agents use to handle the call, resolve issues, and provide answers.

Photo courtesy of iMaffo

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