I’ve mentioned a couple times in recent posts that I’ve been working on rolling out a new phone system for our call center. I’ve tried several at this point and just haven’t been able to get it right so far. I’ve done so many demos and they all seem to run together at this point. I finally went over to InternetRetailer.com and looked around in their vendor directory. It was there that I was introduced to this concept of a “customer experience platform”. Since my title at the time was Director of Customer Experience I figured I should probably know what that is, so I went ahead and arranged a demo.
Genesys Premiere, the light version for companies with less than 250 agents, sets itself apart from all the other systems phone systems in one very distinct way. It actually manages the phones, emails, and chats all in one interface. This means that if an agent wasn’t on the phone the system would push an email to the agent, or a chat. It all depends on the demand at the time, and the skills assigned to the agents. This concept is beyond different systems integrating with eachother, it’s all native within Genesys. Once I understood this fully I couldn’t get it out of my head.
This is the epitome of automation and standardization if you think about it. You no longer need to monitor levels manually and shift people around. the system handles all that for you based on the priorities and skills you establish. No matter how much you are micromanaging someone you will never be able to tell them to grab an email in between calls when there is no one holding. I honestly can’t think of a more efficient way this could be done.
Another benefit of this queue is that an agent is assigned a specific email. In the past we’ve had issues with all the difficult emails remaining in the inbox overnight because everyone could just pick and choose. We also had some agents that would fit in 50 emails each day in between calls, while others wouldn’t even bother logging into the email system in the first place. The same goes for chat. We’d have to take people off the phones in order to be available for chat. Now the system simply sends chats to those that aren’t on calls.
This queue has little benefit for a 5 person team, but once you get to a size where you need to distribute the work more effectively this is an amazing tool. It’s such an amazing tool that it pretty much outweighs all drawbacks I’ve experienced with it. In the interest of full disclosure here’s specifically what I don’t like about it:
- You have to own a separate phone system. Genesys simply routes calls to a direct phone number. It’d be nice to have that be part of it.
- The email system doesn’t support canned responses. (We work around that by using ActiveWords.)
- There’s very little supervisor insight into what emails are currently unanswered.
- You can’t manually route or assign calls, emails, or chats (maybe a blessing in disguise?)
- The chat system lacks most of the features I’ve become used to with Olark (co-browsing, only appearing when people are logged in, Design flexibility, etc.)
Aside from that though everything works great.
Through their reporting interface I have insights into all trends and can also tell how much time our agents are at their desk available to contact. This used to be something I’d have to anecdotally form opinions on. Now I have averages and trends for our whole workforce and can define what’s productive based on them.
Additionally, they have some seriously advanced call routing capabilities and also some great customization options. for example when someone calls our call center this system will check our backend for the phone number, if there is a match with a customer then along with the call a popup will appear on the agent’s screen with a link straight to that customer’s page and order history. This eliminates several seconds from each call.
I also use them for automated outbound calls. We have to notify customers of late payments on a daily basis and now we just import a list of late orders and the system calls the customer and plays them a recording instead. The customer can then press 1 and be connected to an agent, or they can just hang up. When we manually do this we probably get 80% voicemail anyway, so this feature saves up several hours a day.
I’m still in the early stages of really understanding everything about this software and how to best utilize it, especially when it comes to the analytics on the backend. But if you’re running a 30+ seat call center and trying to find a reliable system, I would definitely recommend you check it out.