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What’s in a Call Plan?

This article was published on May 26, 2020

Quite a lot as it happens.

I was asked to write a post to celebrate the Q3 launch of NewVoiceMedia’s latest capability. The traditional press release was fine but like a low calorie version of a lasagne bake just failed to satisfy.

I then asked for the 29 page PowerPoint version that the product owners shared amongst themselves. That hit the spot!

So what’s so cool about a global call plan?

Let’s start by talking about life without one and the challenges this throws up. Imagine you have clusters of advisors dotted around the planet. Different time zones for each – for instance London, Boston and Singapore. Each is plumbed into NewVoiceMedia’s cloud infrastructure, able to operate to common standards as a result. Isn’t that enough?

Not if you want to benefit from what a centralised view of life offers. With that, you can unlock a whole raft of useful functionality, courtesy of a single view and access to advisor status and availability, call plans, call recordings and operational statistics. In essence it’s about being able to run your whole estate from a single point of control.

OK, so what can I now do?

How about being able to deliver shorter wait times to more customers at busy times? That’s possible once you can leverage the peaks and troughs across different time zones and advisors. My Boston advisors can help out when things get peaky in London and so forth.

This makes for good customer experience, as does extending opening hours using the same planning technique which incidentally becomes a win-win because you can now offer more availability without needing to add the cost of an extra shift.

Contrast this with a world of separate call plans. Call transfers may be possible but remain completely hit or miss with regard to anyone being free to engage with those out of region customer enquiries. You just don’t know without consolidated real-time oversight. Obviously this matters since the ground rules of customer experience say every contact counts.

Apart from being able to send a customer to an available advisor wherever located, there are some other tricky ‘behind the scenes’ things you have to get right in a global call plan.

Crisp, clear audio might be an expectation, but achieving this across the multiples routes that digital voice takes is not a given. In fact, salami slicing a conversation in real time, routing it as digital packages over multiple networks, and then putting it back together in a way that still sounds like you are having conversation with someone next door, remains one of the wonders of modern global communications.

Sub second delays in getting all the conversation to arrive on time can easily distort and degrade our ability to listen and make sense of what someone has just said. All this matters when you are creating virtual pools of advisors to take calls from any geography. Designing quality assured network paths for ‘fragile’ voice conversations in a cost-effective way takes thought, technical expertise and an iterative approach moving it into live production.

But when it works, being able to offer customers short wait times, even during busy periods, fixes one of the greatest criticisms of voice-based service. And being able to offer high quality audio is one of the unnoticed enablers of generating empathetic dialogue. And both make your brand come across as extra special.

Anything else?

There are other benefits of global call plans that are worth a shout out. Silo performance statistics that need cut and paste can never by definition be real-time or comprehensive. So being able to use a single version for the whole estate is a real plus.

I’d also argue that a global call plan is just about the only cost-effective way of providing 24x7 live assistance which some sectors now have to provide for customers.

Anyway that’s pretty much all the juicy bits from the 29 page internal brief on global call plans I got my hands on. I hope this has clarified a few things and satisfied your curiosity.

If however this remains an ‘explanation lite’ version for your own tastes and you simply have to know what a ‘long leash, cloud agnostic telephony server’ does in making a global call plans hum, you’d best get on the phone and ask that product team!
Martin Hill-Wilson
Martin Hill-Wilson

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