169 Call Center Powered by a Virtual Agent 2

Call Center Powered by a Virtual Agent 2


The prior briefing introduced Call Center Chat Powered by a Virtual Agent. This briefing continues that discussion. 


“Digital chats” or “chatbots” have emerged and promises to help resolve some of the troubling issues in call center operations. These can conduct virtual “conversations” through the exchange of a series of messages with the customer. 


Innovative customer service organizations are now implementing an Intelligent Virtual Agent that can learn from the experience gained in prior interactions with customers and accumulate more knowledge through every succeeding customer conversation. It will even be able to think and respond faster than a minimally trained human CSR! 


Here is how the virtual agent can augment call center operations:

Level 1—Basic Chat Conversations: For initial basic chat conversations, the virtual agent can gather information, answer simple to moderately complex questions, and determine when or if it is necessary to escalate the conversation to a human CSR. 

Level 2—Moderate Problem Solving: More in-depth chat conversations should be handled by a human CSR who will diagnose the issue, answer more complex questions, and satisfactorily resolve the issue. Or if it’s not possible to resolve, then AI can recommend escalating the issue. 

Level 3—Research and Diagnosis: The CSR might need to perform research to get to the root of the issue. AI technology could be used to augment the investigation, help diagnose the problem, then provide potential answers based on prior experiences in solving such problems.


The innovations that AI technology can deliver have the potential to result in higher call center productivity, as a greater percentage of issues can be resolved during the first interaction and more highly skilled CSRs are better utilized. 


I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on how AI will transform the sales profession, check out my book at my website thetechseller.com. 


168 Call Center Chat Powered by a Virtual Agent 1

Call Center Chat Powered by a Virtual Agent 1


Call center operations are used by companies to provide support for their customers. Conversations between a customer service representative (CSR) and the customer are initiated and involve answering basic and detailed questions in an attempt to resolve customer issues. 


Call centers are notorious for having problems in resolving issues and satisfying the customer, which presents a real problem for sales organizations: the main reason for their existence is problematic when the call center is not able to provide the necessary service. Here’s why. 

  1. Call center operations often suffer from high staff turnover.
  2. Call centers are repeatedly staffed by employees with little experience in the business. Entry-level employees are frequently deployed to work with customers to field calls and have direct conversations about topics they are not trained to handle. It’s hard to believe that workers on the front lines in communicating with customers are the least-experienced. 
  3. New CSRs often follow scripts to guide their responses through the overall interaction with the customer. This can be difficult, as conversations can easily veer off script and inexperienced CSRs give inaccurate information. 
  4. Call center operations are habitually outsourced, and the CSR on the other end of the conversation might be from an area of the world where the dialect is not readily understandable to the customer. 


Meanwhile, customers just want correct answers and quick resolution of their issues. 


All these factors could negatively impact customer loyalty. That’s why, a company’s call center operations increasingly rely on message-based “chat” sessions where the customer invokes an online session on the company’s website then corresponds with a CSR via messages until either the issue is resolved, the CSR recommends follow-up actions, or the customer ends the session.


I’m DJ Sebastian, and we’ll continue the discussion on Call Center Chat Powered by a Virtual Agent in the next briefing. 


167 Potent Analytical Tools for the Sales Manager 2

Potent Analytical Tools for the Sales Manager 2


The prior briefing introduced the power of Analytical tools for the Sales Manager. This briefing continues that discussion. 


After examining how her sales team is performing at a high level, Susan, the Sales Manager, leverages the power of Data Analytics to perform in her role more effectively.


Susan had two large deals on her sales forecast. Both were deemed must-win to achieve her quarterly revenue commitment. She drilled into her analytical dashboard and the following stood out: 


Deal 1 

– Had 2 remaining milestone steps to win

– the forecast accuracy/credibility of the sales rep was HIGH 

– Deal velocity was HIGH

– Business value agreed to by customer = SOLID

– Strong Sponsor with power

Recommended Action (from the Analytics):

– Raise win probability to 80%


Deal 2

– Had 4 remaining milestone steps to win

– the forecast accuracy/credibility of the sales rep was LOW 

– Deal velocity was LOW

– Weak Sponsor without much power

Recommended Action (from the Analytics):

– Lower win probability to 20%


On the surface, these two deals appeared to be nearly equal. But after analytical review, they were shown to be very different. Susan was able to gain a greater understanding about each deal. She took the proper steps to recommend how to advance Deal 1; she advised on the best strategy for getting Deal 2 back on track; and she was able to reset expectations by reporting a more accurate forecast to her management.

All this was possible by leveraging Data Analytics to generate valuable insights for Susan and her sales team.


I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on how AI will transform the sales profession, check out my book at my website thetechseller.com. 


166 Potent Analytical Tools for the Sales Manager 1

Potent Analytical Tools for the Sales Manager 1


What if sales managers had powerful analytical tools at their fingertips to assist them in creating more accurate forecasts by getting better insights on active sales opportunities and their sales reps’ performance? What if managers could assist their sales team in identifying new prospective customers who are the best candidates for marketing campaigns?


Here are four examples of how sales managers can leverage powerful Data Analytics tools, visual dashboards, and reporting tools to deliver greater results. 

  1. Monitor deal progression and velocity as well as the primary factors that contribute to the sales team’s win rate. 
  2. Monitor sales rep performance, including how they are building solid customer relationships and executing the proper sales process steps.
  3. When a new solution is being introduced to the market, work with the sales team to identify the top prospective customers for upcoming marketing campaigns. 
  4. Dive deeply into specific deals to understand the actual status, what challenges are in the way, and how solid each opportunity is. Understand how each sales rep’s actions will result in advancing and winning the deal. 


Here’s how one sales manager benefits from analytical tools:


Susan, uses a Data Analytics dashboard that dials up a current snapshot of sales opportunities. With this dashboard, she can stay abreast of:

  • The overall health of the sales plan relative to achieving their forecast;
  • How well opportunities are advancing and where opportunities are stalled as weighed against standard sales process steps;
  • How sales reps are performing against their quota and advancing deals;
  • The accuracy of the forecast based on a sales rep’s prior projections; and
  • How well sales reps are identifying new opportunities that fit the profile of good prospects. 


I’m DJ Sebastian, and we’ll continue the discussion on Empowering the Sales Manager with Potent Analytical Tools in the next briefing. 


165 The Need for the Analytical Sales Manager

The Need for the Analytical Sales Manager 


A sales manager’s success is highly dependent on the performance of his or her sales team in finding, advancing, and winning sales opportunities that generate revenue and contribute to attaining and exceeding the quota. 


Sales managers must monitor the actions of their sales team to ensure that they are effective at advancing and winning those opportunities.


Sales managers often spend significant time poring over their sales team’s forecasts and regularly report their revenue forecast projections to their executive management. 


But forecasting would be easy if it didn’t deal with the future.


Sales managers review the documented details of all sales opportunities in their CRM then conduct interrogations with each sales rep to learn the status of their key deals. This includes understanding the roadblocks that are slowing down progress, identifying what relationships are in place with key customer contacts, and other relevant details. Top deals are discussed at regular business reviews (or deal reviews). 


Too often, the accuracy of the overall forecast depends largely on what is reported by sales reps. The sales manager must evaluate whether what is being reported is believable, whether the sales rep has a good handle on the customer intent and a has solid, executable plan to win the deal. 


Too often, revenue forecasts and deals expected to be won are merely a wild guess produced by the sales rep. The sales rep might need a specific amount of revenue to stay on track to reach his quota, so he inflates the revenue forecast or overestimates the true status of his deals. The sales manager obviously needs to confirm this forecast, as it becomes a promise to deliver that amount of revenue to the organization.


I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on how AI will transform the sales profession, check out my book at my website thetechseller.com.