Behind the Curtain: The Magic World of a Conference Call Center
Today’s blog post was authored by Antonio Capodieci, a Compunetix Senior Account Executive within the Communications Systems Division. Originally from Italy, Antonio is now based in Pittsburgh and has been assisting conferencing provider customers across Europe and throughout the Middle East for the past five years. To contact Antonio and find out how the CONTEX Global Operator can increase your CSP efficiencies, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How many times have you attended a conference call with operator assistance? Do you have any idea of what’s behind a conference call center and all the headaches that operators and supervisors need to address while simultaneously greeting you in a kind and relaxed manner?
Before joining Compunetix, I couldn’t imagine what was behind a conference call. Upon joining the account team, visiting the various operator call centers worldwide, and talking with their staff, I was enlightened.
Operators and supervisors need to work in harmony like a finely tuned machine. They have to be able to provide that initial smooth conferencing experience to oftentimes impatient and stressed customers. Customer retention is dependent on their performance. Keep in mind, an assisted conference call is a one-time live event and, like a live TV show, cannot be repeated!
Of course, the operators are not left entirely alone during the course of the event. They have in front of them an operator software interface that becomes critical to the success of their activity. The operator interface becomes their best friend.
So what are the Operators looking for in an interface “best friend?”
- It has to be user friendly
- It has to be reliable
- It must be able to quickly process the high number of calls and instructions
- It has to be able to address the most common complaints during a conference call. For example: if the customer is experiencing poor audio quality, the operator needs to be able to quickly understand if the audio quality depends on the customer connectivity. He or she then has to be able to do something to improve the user experience, like increasing the gain in and out of the conference call or identifying the party that is causing a background noise.
- It must be able to execute the call instructions provided in a timely manner. For example: which participant’s information the operator needs to enter, which specific features to enable in the conference call, what playback file to play in to the conference, does the conference require a Q&A or voting session…and so on.
- The software interface also needs to allow the operator to monitor all the conference participants and to assure that the events are running smoothly as planned (Is there a participant requesting for assistance? Is there a specific request from the moderator? Is the incoming call line too long? … etc.).
From the operator supervisor’s perspective, he or she is stressed by the company management to reduce costs and to maximize the operators’ efficiency. One day the operation center has to manage calls with thousands of participants (for example, during IR season), another day it has just a few small conference calls. At the top of the hours, the incoming calls queue gets too long and at the middle of the hour the operators are looking at the sky…
Of course, hiring for peak usage is not an option.
The operator interface software can make the life of the supervisor easier as well. With just a click, the supervisor can record the participants’ information and have the operator transcribe this information during his or her downtime. Even better, he can have the participants insert their information through a web interface prior to joining the call. The supervisor is also able to monitor conference statistics. For example, he is able to keep the participants’ waiting time and the number of incoming calls answered by each operator under control.
While all this is happening from the other side of the phone line, you are comfortably seated on your sofa in the living room while your kids are screaming and playing video games, and you get annoyed if you have to repeat the spelling of your name to the amazing operator in his magic conference center world.