Friday, 28 December 2012

How Talent Management Software Can Help Your Business

Talent management has become a very important buzzword within the corporate HR world and it’s not without good reason. The way businesses recruit employees has changed dramatically over the years and talent management is purely a natural progression of the HR process. In order to see how it works we need to look at how HR itself has evolved

Personnel Department

During the 1970’s and 1980’s the responsibility of the workforce was very much based around the personnel department. Their role was relatively simple. They had to hire people, pay them and make sure that workers had necessary benefits.

Human Resources

In the late 1980’s and 1990’s the concept of strategic Human Resources (HR) was born. Large corporations who were dealing with 100’s of employees realised that they had more of a responsibility to them. Especially in respect of training, managing and getting the best out of them. In addition, focus moved to recruiting the right people for the job. Also around this time companies began to offer other benefits to employees such as stocks, shares, bonuses and healthcare packages. In essence HR became a focus for overall employee health and happiness

Talent Management

In the main, strategic HR continues to be a big focus. However, over the last five years or so, attention has started to turn towards efficiency. Whether this be in recruitment (selecting the right people for the job), management (developing better managers), or sustainability (creating sustainable leadership). These new business challenges require new systems in place to help manage them. This is where talent management software comes in.

How does it help your business?

Effective talent management software can help your business to survive and even thrive in an economic down turn.

Helps to Reduce Labour Costs

For any business, the acts of hiring and firing are one of the most costly that any company will undertake. Therefore efficient management of employees as well as co-ordinated recruitment processes will undoubtedly reduce this cost. With this in mind talent management software has the ability to provide valuable data about your workforce at various points along the employee life-cycle. This data can then be used to recruit more efficiently and pick out future business leaders.

Performance Management

Employee performance reviews can add tremendous value to any company as they strive to get the best out of their employees. In addition an employee will know areas where they are doing well and are valued, or areas where they need to improve. In essence reviewing performance is vital and can be the difference between poor and excellent productivity output, which in an economic down turn is essential. Software for talent management automates this process and keeps track of goals and progress of company employees.

Performance Development

When a company invests in an employee it's more important nowadays than ever before, to see that they get a return on their investment. Therefore nurturing and training talent to help push a company through a recession is vital. Talent management software offers a selection of handy learning materials that will enable employees to further their skills, to see that this happens. On the whole talent management software has been proven to help businesses and the examples above show just some of the ways in which it can do this.

Nowadays companies are beginning to understand that their business is only as good as the employees within and as such, talent management looks here to stay.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Accountancy software – get the best results

Make sure that you’re making the most of your new accountancy software.

The key to the successful adoption of a new accountancy software or Enterprise Resources Planning system is planning. If you don’t make sure that the implementation of the system is carefully planned and communicated across the business, you run a clear risk of the system not working as well for you as it could; disenfranchising your employers, suppliers and, most importantly, your customers. All software is essential – from Bulk Mailing Software from Webpost to accountancy software – so research is important.

How to plan

If you choose an experienced supplier for your new accountancy software, you should be able to work with them and use their expertise to help you plan ahead. In particular, you need to consider some of the following points:

Do I need to run my new system alongside my old system?

In some circumstances, it may be beneficial to run both systems at the same time. This can only be for a short while, however, because of the extra work involved. Properly managed, running your systems in tandem may help you to achieve an easier hand-over from the old system to the new one.

What training should I give my staff?

No new software should be installed for your business without giving your employees the right training. A lack of understanding about how the new system works could result in mistakes being made, and will also frustrate your employees. Arrange with your system provider for the relevant level of training to be given to all those that need it. This may take place off-site for a dedicated period, or may involve training staff working with your employees at your offices to make sure they understand how the system works in practice.

How do I communicate the changes?

In many situations, accountancy software fails to bring the promised benefits simply because people within the business don’t understand its capabilities or possibilities. If you are leading this process of change, you will need to communicate clearly with your employees, customers and suppliers, making sure that everyone has plenty of notice about the intended changes – and a point of contact for any queries they may have.

What happens once the accountancy software is installed?

A good software supplier won’t forget about you as soon as the installation’s complete. They’ll monitor your progress over the initial start-up period and be on-hand to sort out any problems you may have. If you are offered a support agreement when you purchase your accountancy software, think seriously about taking it – it’s often only after the software is installed that problems arise, and you need the support and advice of the experts to make sure your business isn’t affected by any problems.

Friday, 6 July 2012

The Growth of the Parcel Delivery Service

The parcel delivery service industry has grown incredibly to meet the demands of online shopping with same day courier service from One Call and other organisations.

Shop floors emptied. Clearance banners infiltrated the high street. Shoppers were nowhere to be seen.  And the tumbleweed was almost audible. The 2008 recession left high streets with nothing more than an empty void, but online shopping increased dramatically with e-commerce sales more than doubling around that period. This is where the growth of the parcel delivery service began.
When e-commerce first came about, shoppers were happy to wait up to a week for deliveries. We were happy to pay high delivery charges for a quite frankly, slow service. But as e-shopping developed so did the consumer taste buds; we’d tasted the luxury of lazy online clicking and we wanted more. We wanted speed. We wanted discounts. And this is what we got in the end. A slow parcel delivery service was not going to cut it, so more and more parcel delivery service providers hit the market with impressive offerings.
The Era of the Parcel Delivery Service
When once there were only one or two parcel delivery service providers that came to mind, there were later many more that followed. Today, it’s easy to name several, enough to fill a hand of fingers, but is a large number of parcel delivery service providers enough for the e-consumer?
It doesn’t appear so.
A parcel delivery service doesn’t just need to be speedy, cost effective and reliable, but it also has to somehow predict when we are not at home – that’s right – the modern consumer wants flawless shopping from start to finish, and that includes solving the problem of missed deliveries. No matter how efficient and effective a parcel delivery service is, there still seems to be room for blunders. One of the biggest inconveniences that online shoppers are experiencing today is the problem of missed deliveries. Although some courier services are able to give you an estimated delivery timeframe, it’s often very frustrating for the shopper when they are not at home to receive their package.
So today, there is a modern solution that can ensure that shoppers never miss a delivery ever again. E-commerce has proved so far that it is utterly recession-proof so it looks as though the cloud of luxury goods, gifts, clothing, designer glasses, groceries and other products will remain. The solution to missed deliveries is a locker bank system devised by ByBox.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Physical marketing – beyond the web

Although internet marketing is huge and undoubtedly incredibly important for just about every company nowadays, there are still other methods of marketing that should be used.
Physical marketing is essential for a company that wants to get as much publicity as possible. Here are a few methods used for physical marketing:
Billboards are everywhere in towns and cities and whether you know it or not, you look at them an awful lot. They are used to advertise everything from underwear to cars and holidays and they can be very effective.
Display stands
Another option is display stands which feature in shops up and down the country. They can hold confectionary or beauty products and they also work as effective advertising at the point of sale.
Exhibition stands
Exhibitions and conferences are a great place to seek out new custom and exhibition stands that are well designed can really boost a business.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Speech Automation – What the Doctor Ordered

Speech automation is helping to battle the growing problem of sickness absence in the UK contact centre industry.

Sickness absence accounted for the loss of 8% of working time in the UK contact centre industry in 2005, a figure that shot up to 11% in 2007. The phenomena isn't specific to the contact centre and call centre industry but taps into a wider problem that recently inspired a Panorama documentary, Britain on the Sick. With an estimated 175m working days lost each year to sickness, the problem costs £13 billion in lost productivity across the UK. But there is a healthy antidote to the sickness epidemic - speech automation has been recognised as an effective system for monitoring and managing sickness absence.

Speech Automation: How it Works

Speech automation uses automation technologies that are commonly used across contact centres. Eckoh - the self service specialist – has, in partnership with BT, developed a sickness absence management (SAM) service that uses speech recognition technology to gather sickness absence information. Using email, IVR and sms, the SAM technology offers managers the tools they need to monitor and manage sickness absence effectively.
Once a staff member calls in sick, the speech automation technology does all the hard work. Previously, if a staff member was sick, they would have to chase a line manager until they finally got hold of them. With the speech automation technology, the employee simply calls the SAM absence line and outlines the details of their absence and likely duration of their sickness. The SAM absence line is available 24-hour, 365 days a year and so offers effective time management and ease of use. Once the call is made, the information is sent to the relevant line manager and human resource department using sms or email. The speech automation technology not only offers a time and cost effective alternative, it offers managers a data capture service, allowing them to easily analyse sickness patterns.

Speech Automation: A Company Health Check

Using the speech automation technology, employees can manage this fraught human resource issue more effectively. Although many sickness absences are genuine, there is the issue of the 'work-shy'. The speech automation technology behind the SAM absence line helps employees to capture absence information, providing line managers or human resource staff with the tools they need to examine the endemic causes of absence. It's possible to see trends or clusters of sickness to determine whether the company needs to address underlying problems such as health and safety issues or stress, or if they need to intervene with individuals whose repeated sickness absence indicates management intervention or support is necessary.

Speech Automation: Diagnosis and Cure

We are all human, and the news that Alan Sugar's recent Apprentice winner Lee McQueen called in sick on his first day at work highlights the fact that nobody is immune from absenteeism. But by using speech automation technology that records and monitors all employee absence, SAM technology ensures sickness absence cases can be handled fairly. It also ensures employers can find alternative cover for absent employees fast. The speech automation systems ensure employers have the tools and information they need to ensure their staff are given the help they need to return to work, fit and healthy.

Sales Force Automation Experts Team up with Google

Sales force automation has joined forces with Google as web-based software transforms how customer management professionals work. 

Sales can be helped in many ways, from physical ads created by Sign Makers - to automated systems. Sales force automation taps into software that automates sales, order processing, sharing information and contact management as well as database inventory monitoring, analysis for sales, employee evaluations and order tracking. The automation of sales tasks is crucial for business to be time and cost effective and to safeguard customer service and customer satisfaction. So the news that and search engine giant Google have joined forces represents a significant step forward for customer management professionals.

Sales Force Automation: Get Web It

Clients of – who specialise in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software – can now use Google applications including Google Talk, Calendar, Gmail and Google Apps. The Google applications have been integrated with the sales force automation software to allow customer management professionals to manage workload online. This step could transform how, when and where customer management professionals work. The sales force automation processes can now incorporate customer data and communications, such as email messages or instant messaging sessions, storing this information on the internet. This provides instant back up and a centralising of customer details and information.

Web Based Software: Google and Sales Force Automation

The role of the internet in how we live and work has been phenomenal and the use of hosted, web-based software has grown spectacularly. The easy access to the internet means effective sales force automation is possible without costly or time consuming software systems and upgrades. Staff can access sales force automation systems through any browser, from any location, freeing up how, where and when staff work. act as the host for clients helping ease of use as they can fix problems through the server rather than individual computers. The only flaw is if the internet connection fails, the software is not accessed.

A Salesforce to be Reckoned with are a market leader in CRM and sales force automation software. Although Salesforce has integrated its Sales force automation systems with Microsoft Office and Outlook, this is the first time it can offer customer database applications online thanks to the Google arrangement. Since entering the CRM and sales force automation market, Salesforce has proved to be a leading competitor to the software giant, Siebel. In the late 90s, Siebel only offered software as a client/server model; Salesforce forced other software providers to redevelop software to run through a browser.

Diallers – The Silent Calls Backlash

Outbound call centres are responsible for the phenomenon of 'silent calls', where customers are called by diallers but there's nobody on the other end of the line.

The phone rings and rings, you pick up, there's no-one there... Silent calls are predominantly generated by predictive diallers used in call centres and contact centres. The 'dead air' is a result of an agent not being available to deal with the call resulting in the call being terminated by the dialler. As well as call centres, diallers are used by telemarketeers.

Silent calls are not illegal although the problems of diallers causing needless anxiety or annoyance triggered OFCOM to investigate two companies believed to be generating a large percentage of silent calls with diallers. In 2005, they issued an official warning to one of the companies and in 2006 OFCOM's policy on silent calls and diallers changed saying abandoned calls should carry a recorded message explaining the company behind the call, with silent calls being kept to below 3% in any 24-hour time frame.  

Homeworker David Hickson also began investigating silent calls back in 2003 after being on the receiving end of abandoned calls from diallers. “BT told me that it happens all the time,” he said. “They explained it was to do with diallers that outbound call centres use.”
Hickson led a campaign to stop silent calls that has had an impact on the call centre industry. The backlash against silent calls as result of diallers has even put the future of the outbound industry in question. Ofcom has since prosecuted a number of companies and despite advances in diallers technology, the backlash has triggered dramatic changes in the UK call centre sector.

Diallers: Does the Call Centre Industry need them?

Outbound centres that use diallers increase their efficiency. Helen Ward, a senior consultant at the hardware and software outbound dialling solutions company, Avaya, explained: “Manual dialling typically achieves seven contacts an hour. Preview dialling where agents can see what numbers the system is dialling achieves ten contacts per hour,” she said. “Predictive dialling, where the system makes calls based on the number of agents available, then connects the agent when the recipient picks up, can achieve 28 contacts per hour. This means that the cost per transaction is significantly reduced using these dialling techniques.”

Diallers Boosts Agent Productivity

An example of how diallers can massively impact on productivity is demonstrated by the bookmaker Betfair. Betfair adopted diallers in 2005 as director Julie Cooper explained, using agents to individually dial numbers was time consuming. The Genesys' preview dialler was installed and instantly boosted productivity without making any of the dreaded silent calls that so alienates customers. “With the implementation of the dialler, we increased agent productivity by as much as 50 per cent,” she said.

Telecoms Applications are a dialler provider. Managing director David Fricker explained how a predictive dialler offers far more than a method of making phone calls. “It involves live monitoring of the data penetration and results of active campaigns. It sets recall timers for engaged calls, telephone answer machines, dead numbers and so on. This saves agent time and improves data penetration to previously unachievable levels. It also lets call centre managers know that all their data is being used, and that it’s not just agents selecting the data that looks most profitable to them.”

Call Centres Misusing Diallers

But some call centres are setting their diallers to ensure that their agents always have a call waiting. Many call centres feel under pressure to deliver results and meet targets, and setting diallers up in this way is one way of increasing productivity, but it also generates more silent calls. Simply put, more calls are being answered by customers than there are agents. The anxiety the silent calls from diallers cause is often down to the assumption that the call is a burglar checking to see if anyone's home, or that somebody is deliberately out to make nuisance calls. The scale of the silent calls epidemic in 2004 was huge - up to 800 companies were using diallers in the UK, generating 120,000 complaints a month. The distress diallers were clearly causing was a wake up call for the call centre industry and direct marketing sector – damage limitation had become necessary.

The revised Ofcom regulations in 2006 on predictive dialling that stated a 3% limit on silent calls and insisted silent calls were explained by an information message helped improve the use of diallers in the call centre industry. 70% of contact centres changed their outbound operations as a result of the revised regulations, and the fines issued to Carphone Warehouse, Space Kitchens and Bedrooms, Toucan Residential and Bracken Bay Kitchens of up to £45,000 served as a further warning to call centres to regulate the use of diallers.

Changing Attitudes to Diallers Crucial

And now new technology for diallers is being introduced to help the call centre industry comply to the restrictions on silent calls. Dialler company itCampus UK said that with the right technology, there is no reason to have silent calls or long delays. As well as tapping into technology, call centres need to ensure dedicated managers are overseeing the dialler. As Kristi McKernan, client service manager at contact centre 2Touch, said: “We need to put systems in place to ensure that no one is bothered by any of our calls.” This includes 'sensible recycling rules' so the same customer is not bombarded with calls and that predictive dialling modes on diallers are only used when there are eight or more agents available to handle the calls. She added that call centres sticking to reasonable hours also helps eliminate customer anxiety and irritation.
Many experts in the contact centre sector believe that the industry needs to not just step up to the challenge to comply to legislation, they need to adopt these changes in order to survive.