Vonage Calls on Nexidia for Improved Contact Center Operations
Headquartered in Holmdel, N.J., Vonage is a pioneer provider of low-cost communications services. The company connects roughly 2.4 million subscribers through broadband devices, and offers unlimited international calling to mobile and landline phones in more than 60 countries for a low monthly rate.
Vonage home phone service connects calls through a user's high-speed Internet connection instead of a traditional phone line. The service is sold on the Web and through retailers including Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Kmart, and Sears, and is available to customers in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Vonage recently launched Vonage Mobile, an iPhone and Android app that lets users make free high-definition calls and send free texts.
The company's contact center operations are a key element in its strategy to maintain and grow its customer base. Its contact center environment is made up of multiple outsourcing vendors on several continents, each utilizing different legacy platforms to record and store calls. With more than 6,000 hours of recorded transactions per day from more than 1,600 agent seats, Vonage's key challenge was to better understand what its customers and prospects were saying and how to efficiently aggregate and use this information to drive quality and improve overall contact center operations.
Prior to working with Nexidia, Vonage used a traditional approach to quality monitoring, and analyzed only small, random samplings of agent calls each month; as few as five random calls were manually reviewed. The approach made trend coaching difficult, if not impossible. Additionally, it was not aligned to any organizational objectives.
Vonage believed that speech analytics could help transform this data into meaningful business intelligence. The company began working with Nexidia as far back as 2009, using its QuickStart model, a trial program that lets a company try out the service before committing to purchase. Vonage officially implemented Nexidia's services in 2011.
Vonage identified several key areas on which to focus its analyses. Using the Nexidia Evaluate solution, Vonage has access to 100 percent of its recorded calls and can use this access to do quality monitoring and apply speech analytics to help measure and improve quality and agent performance. The Nexidia solution helped Vonage reduce the expense associated with quality monitoring significantly, and provided access to a much broader base of recordings for agent coaching and training. The contact center benefited by moving the quality function from an after-the-fact back-office process to a strategic asset for timely decision-making and constructive agent coaching. Early results showed that Vonage was able to identify opportunities that produced a 5 percent reduction in average handle time (AHT).
"Such a random sample results in an incomplete view of performance, and does not provide clear signals about what specific customer issues or agent behavior may actually need to be addressed," explains Nexidia. "Some systems, such as those from the legacy call recording vendors, use meta-data and word spotting to bring more calls into the review set. Because of their limited scalability, these methods still rely on filtering the data set down to a smaller number of calls, which does not allow for timely analysis across the full activity in the contact center. As such, these systems do not provide a way to measure agents' performance across the full breadth of their customer interactions."
Mike Trotter, vice president of customer experience at Vonage, agrees.
"This random sampling approach didn't necessarily uncover areas where an agent may have been struggling [such as gaps in product knowledge or following identified best practices]," he says. "With Nexidia, we have a flexible product that provides the opportunity to do analysis on 100 percent of the calls, thereby dramatically helping us streamline our agent training, reduce quality-related costs, and improve our overall contact center operations."
Nexidia also helped Vonage reduce the costs of quality monitoring by enabling the company to review calls at the team, site, and agent levels for all types of escalations. Vonage was able to quickly identify nonperforming agents, pinpoint areas in the calls to allow for specific coaching, and determine the exact point of process issues.
Vonage also used Nexidia in call driver analysis.
"The first thing we were able to do was to determine which type of calls accounted for the highest volume," Trotter says. "We were able to look at the volume of calls coming in and understand what were the handle times on those calls, what were the kinds of issues we were hearing from customers, some of their questions. We could track that relative to call type as well as call volume, and had a chance to really dig into that customer experience that was occurring…and understand what was the customer really saying, what were the questions [being asked]."
Also, in terms of call driver analysis, Trotter says that Vonage used Nexidia to get to a more granular level regarding its handle time.
"We are really able to dig down into things like nontalk time, being able to identify calls that had a huge amount of nontalk time, and being able to go into and listen to those calls and understand, 'Why did we have…nontalk; was it hold time; was the agent trying to use the system and use the technology?' In the past…we were stumbling across issues. We…weren't identifying the issues. In the nontalk time example, we didn't even really know at that point how much nontalk we might have in some calls."
Vonage also applied Nexidia's solution to improve efficiency when it came to transfers from the service operations. They first identified a series of calls that were being routed to the sales queue in error, which added to the handle time and created additional call transfers. By revising the IVR procedures, these calls were routed correctly the first time, improving both the AHT for service and the general customer experience.
With Nexidia's solution, Vonage has developed a system to leverage rapid customer intelligence in time to effectively improve agent response to customers inquiring about new marketing campaigns and adjust related agent training or information required to meet customer expectations.
"Using Nexidia, we were able to not only identify customer issues, but also special requests made by customers," Trotter says. "We were able to see a particular emerging trend for a specific customer request, and adapted our process to meet customer needs."
In one case, Vonage was able to understand that 4 percent of the incremental customer service volume was generated by a specific promotion. In just a few days, additional training and talking points were created and rolled out to the agents. Previously, collecting this information would have taken weeks and the data would have arrived too late to affect the campaign.
"The QA process became a bouquet of roses for us because we now have so many opportunities to look at things in a very different way," Trotter says.
App at a Glance
After implementing Nexidia's solutions, Vonage was able to:
- provide better agent training and coaching, contributing to a reduction in average handle time and significant savings;
- streamline the quality monitoring call selection process, lowering costs in this area by 20 percent;
- improve call routing and reduction of misdirected calls to the sales department; and
- generate marketing intelligence, enabling campaigns to be managed in real time.
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