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Customer Service News
08 Feb 2011

Software islands at contact centres slow down learning

The more programs used, the more there is to learn

One training day is enough for half of single software users

IT blockage: many software applications take a lot of patience to get acquainted with   
70 per cent of contact centre staff require two or more working days until they have acquainted themselves with the software they are using. Training staff can take up a lot of time, especially in companies that use numerous different IT systems. Half of all contact centre agents who use at least four programs require more than five working days until they are confident using them. These were the results of a recent trend survey of contact centre agents on behalf of novomind AG.

Streamlined IT structures gives a competitive edge

Less is often more – half of all those contact centre agents who only have to master one application state that they did not require more than one day to become acquainted with it. Yet only half of such employees actually work with just one application. One in four agents have to be able to handle two or three different programs, while one in five have to be able to use four or more – and this tendency is rising. Because of the explosion in social media activities among Internet users, customers’ enquiries and comments have to be collected from countless forums, blogs and social networks. For this reason, the agents have to keep watch on a variety of different channels. This is usually only possible if the various applications work well together.

Good interaction between applications makes up for drawbacks
“It can take much less time to acquaint yourself with software if ‘islands’ are avoided, and if new systems are not simply bought in without any planning. Instead they should be integrated sensibly into the overall architecture,” says Peter Samuelsen, Chairman of the Managing Board of novomind. Customer service centres which run several systems in parallel can avoid competitive drawbacks by tactics such as having all of their procedures run on one central user interface.

Long training periods combined with high fluctuation levels damage the industry   
There is also the risk that frequent system changes can cause errors that delay responses to customer enquiries. To counter this, training periods can be shortened considerably if the procedures that are learned are performed using one uniform user interface. “In an industry subject to a lot of fluctuation, long training periods can hurt – but things don’t have to be that way,” adds Samuelsen.
Background information   
In the summer of 2010, 156 contact centre agents were surveyed by personal CAPI interview on behalf of novomind AG. The survey covered the subject of working in contact centres, including topics such as the working environment, the number of different communication channels used, and software solutions, as well as effects on the health of contact centre agents.

novomind at the Call Centre World 2011 exhibition
Between 22 and 24 February 2011, novomind will have a team at Call Centre World in the Estrel Convention Centre, Berlin. Their contact centre solution, novomind iAGENT, will be presented at the congress and trade fair in hall 5, booth A2. This software brings together all of the IT applications required for customer management in a single interface, thus providing agents with excellent user-friendliness and efficiency.

novomind AG
innovative solutions for modern e-business systems and professional customer communications    Since 1999, Hamburg company novomind has been developing innovative e-business solutions for the modern Internet world in four e-business disciplines: e-commerce (e-shops and zoom server), ePDM (electronic product management), e-marketplace (marketplace integration) and e-communication (solutions for contact and service centres).

novomind is a European technology leader in every service segment and covers the whole digital value-adding chain in retail and electronic customer communication.

The Hamburg-based software house is the fastest growing company in the fields of electronic customer communication and mail management (e-communications). With the two product lines novomind iAGENT and novomind Self Service Suite, businesses now have the opportunity to integrate all of their communication channels into one system.

novomind AG is currently assisting more than 80 companies including Targobank, Der Club Bertelsmann, Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund, Ernsting’s family, EnBW, gebrüder götz, OTTO and QVC.