Brad Cleveland

Great Customer Service on a Shoestring Budget

Brad Cleveland

The Tugboat Institute recognizes Evergreen companies whose purpose-driven leaders build companies focused on long-term growth. Recently, I was reminded of an article the Institute’s Evergreen Journal published on delivering great customer service.

The Nature of Contact Center Work

Brad Cleveland

People who are new to contact centers are often surprised at how different they are compared to other work environments. The workload is so variable and timing is so critical. This is all true, so it can be helpful to better understand the nature of contact center work.

5 Secrets of Accurate Scheduling in Today’s Contact Center

Brad Cleveland

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Adherence to Schedule Tips

Brad Cleveland

Adherence to schedule is an important performance objective for agents. It is within their control (when implemented appropriately) and measures if agents are available to handle contacts as scheduled.

Onwards and Cloudwards! Explore your options for moving towards the cloud

Hear from independent research analyst Jon Arnold and our very own Barbara Gonzalez, VP of Global Business Consulting, on this topic as they discuss the forces driving the move to the cloud and the options for businesses when change becomes mandatory.

Keeping Up with Customer Service Developments

Brad Cleveland

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12 Principles for Building Profitable Customer Relationships

Brad Cleveland

Over the past decade, ICMI has studied, codified and periodically published a summary of the most important principles behind building strong, profitable customer relationships. Lately, I’ve been asked, are these principles less important?

Customer Advocacy: An Essential Ingredient

Brad Cleveland

Customer advocacy is one of those terms that can be confusing. Does the customer advocate for us, the business? Or is it the other way around? One of the past issues of The Edge of Service™ Newsletter suggests the answers to these questions is both!

TEDx Talk: Thriving in an Always-on World

Brad Cleveland

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12 Principles for Building Profitable Customer Relationships

Brad Cleveland

Over the past decade, ICMI has studied, codified and periodically published a summary of the most important principles behind building strong, profitable customer relationships. Lately, I’ve been asked, are these principles less important?

10 Things Senior Leaders Should Know About Contact Centers

Brad Cleveland

A prerequisite to getting good support from senior management is that they have at least a basic understanding of what contact centers do. To fulfill their potential, customer contact centers need commitment and involvement from the top.

Strategy Drives Structure

Brad Cleveland

Many contact centers have been through consolidations or restructurings that are really just cleanup efforts for lack of having or using an effective customer access strategy. For example, I recall helping an insurance company with agent group “consolidation.”

Forecasting the Customer Contact Workload

Brad Cleveland

Everything to do with getting resources right in a contact center begins with predicting what the workload will be. Workload is what leads to how many agents are hired, what your schedule should look like, the number of work stations you need, even how many snacks are in the cafeteria.

Revisiting Your Service Level Objectives

Brad Cleveland

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Strategy Drives Structure

Brad Cleveland

Many contact centers have been through consolidations or restructurings that are really just cleanup efforts for lack of having or using an effective customer access strategy. For example, I recall helping an insurance company with agent group “consolidation.”

Interpreting Benchmarks

Brad Cleveland

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Improving ROI on Quality Monitoring

Brad Cleveland

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Hiring for Service: It’s Time for a Rethink

Brad Cleveland

In thinking about the challenging job frontline agents have these days, I was reminded of an issue of The Edge of Service™ Newsletter that I published a while ago: The Edge of Service™ Newsletter, Issue 14: Hiring for Service: It’s Time for a Rethink. If hiring is on your list of challenges these days, you might enjoy reading about what … Call Center Contact Center Customer Service Leadership Organization and Culture Brad Cleveland hiring

10 Things Senior Leaders Should Know About Contact Centers

Brad Cleveland

A prerequisite to getting good support from senior management is that they have at least a basic understanding of what contact centers do. To fulfill their potential, customer contact centers need commitment and involvement from the top.

Essential Metrics for the Service Operation

Brad Cleveland

There are many variables in customer service and there are almost always different perspectives of what’s important. What should you focus on?

How Management and Agent Roles Are Changing

Brad Cleveland

Recently, I was reminded of an article that I wrote for ICMI “How Management and Agent Roles Are Changing.” ” The article discusses the relationship between specialization and generalization.

Building a Culture of Engaged Employees

Brad Cleveland

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7 Rules of the Road for Recruiting and Hiring

Brad Cleveland

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The Power of One: Every Agent Matters

Brad Cleveland

The power of one is among the most important principles for any agent to understand. This video shows the impact each person makes on service level, occupancy and average speed of answer. Using actual data, the video makes it clear that every agent matters to both customers and their co-workers.

Common Misconceptions of Customer Service Quality Standards

Brad Cleveland

Sometimes within an organization, there’s resistance to quality standards. Why is that? They’re a good thing, right? Dig a little deeper, and we’ve found there are several common misconceptions that can hamper their development and use.

15 Ways to Strengthen Your Contact Center

Brad Cleveland

For some contact centers, summer is a slower time of year with fewer customer contacts. If that is true for your center, you might take this time to think of ways to strengthen your center for busier days to come.

Reinforce the “Power of One”

Brad Cleveland

Here are some of the steps organizations are taking to reinforce the power of one. Think through how you could approach them with your customer service team. Educate each person on how much impact he or she has on the queue—incorporate these or similar scenarios into training. Develop reasonable expectations for adherence to schedules.

Managing a Contact Center: The Immutable Laws

Brad Cleveland

For contact centers to deliver great service they need to get the right resources in the right places at the right times. This is no easy task. I recently created a course for Lynda.com on Managing a Customer Contact Center. In this succinct course, you’ll learn what makes contact centers so complex, how to implement a solid planning framework, and … Call Center Contact Center Customer Service Leadership Workforce Management Brad Cleveland leadership Lynda.com workforce management

5 Secrets to Better Scheduling Results

Brad Cleveland

The very forces that are making scheduling difficult — more complex products and services, additional contact channels, faster pace of change, and the need for diverse agent skills — are creating an environment in which accurate scheduling is absolutely essential.

Boosting the Strategic Value of Your Customer Service Operation

Brad Cleveland

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10 Causes of Inaccurate Forecasts (and How to Avoid Them)

Brad Cleveland

Accurate workload forecasting is critical to contact center success. Recruiting, hiring, staffing and scheduling—virtually everything that goes into optimizing resources depends on having a good estimate of the work that will come your way.

Skills-Based Routing: 5 Common Problems You Can Avoid

Brad Cleveland

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Contact Center Future Shock: Channels May Become Part of Our Past

Brad Cleveland

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The Power of Brand Advocacy

Brad Cleveland

Do you know who your company’s brand advocates are? Do you recognize and engage with them? If you answered no to these questions, you may be missing a huge opportunity. Customer advocacy creates what some refer to as your most powerful sales force.

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Aligning the Organization to Deliver the Best Possible Customer Experience

Brad Cleveland

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Common Causes of Employee Turnover

Brad Cleveland

How to Meet Changing Customer Expectations

Brad Cleveland

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Transform Knowledge into Intelligence and Support

Brad Cleveland

As a primary customer touchpoint, the contact center has enormous potential to provide other business units with valuable intelligence and support.

Prioritizing Service Improvements

Brad Cleveland

As a leader, you face many choices when deciding where and how to improve service. And the possibilities multiply when analyzing customer data from sources that range from social posts to surveys to operational metrics. So, which issues do you tackle first?

Service Level: Realistic Targets, Taken Seriously

Brad Cleveland

If your operation is chronically missing your service level target, it may be an indication of a fundamental misconception about the importance of service level. You’ll need to focus on a service level objective that your center can realistically achieve.

Common Causes of Turnover

Brad Cleveland

Putting Abandonment in Perspective

Brad Cleveland

In many contact centers, abandonment rate is viewed as a key measure of how adequately the center is staffed. I often get questions like, what is an acceptable rate of abandonment? What is abandonment in such and such an industry? Are there any studies on how long customers will wait?

Agent Performance Standards: Keep It Simple

Brad Cleveland

In recent years, I have seen a trend to streamline and simplify agent performance standards. In many cases, they had become too complex — weighted averages, percent time in this and that mode, formulas that would take a mathematician to figure out.