Call Center Special Projects

As part of my job, I do desktop support for a medium size call center (200+ agents). I also seem to get assigned "special projects" that no one else can do, for whatever reasons.

I thought I’d take a moment and share an example of how I use Macro Express at work. When a customer calls (in this case, from a major US airline), we are required to fill out a call or incident in our ticket base. Our ticket base is rather complex, has multiple tabs and forms, full of user supplied data, radio buttons, drop down menus, and the like.

We routinely experience ‘scheduled outages’ of our primary ticketing system while data is backed up or server maintenance is performed. During these ticket base outages, our internal network is still up; however, access to the ticket base is not accessible. Our operation is a 24 x 365 business with non-stop calls. Down-time of the ticket base used to be a major headache and a golden opportunity for lost revenue. To track tickets when the customer calls during these outages, we developed a Sharepoint file to capture critical caller data. However, that’s only half the solution. We still MUST make a regular ticket (based on the data captured in the Sharepoint file) when the ticket base comes back up after maintenance. We used to have several agents do this "by hand". It was realized that this was a perfect opportunity for Macro Express – to take a manual, repetitive task and automate it. Reliably. No transcriptions errors, etc. This greatly increased our productivity by leaving personnel free to take calls rather than be unavailable "scribes" for data that already existed in a "machine readable" format! Why waste time if it’s a repetitive task moving data between forms like this?! Using Macro Express has given us a MUCH higher consistency and QUALITY of data than was previously obtained by the "human transcription" method previously used. No other tool that we’re familiar with would have worked. While the ticket base maintains SQL tables, etc; even "read only" access is extremely restricted and not a viable solution to us. If we were going enter data into our ticket base, we had to emulate a human user.

Using nothing more than the documentation that came with the product, I went from knowing NOTHING about Macro Express (other than my company had a multi-user license for it) to writing a fully functional macro in three days. That may not seem that impressive until you consider there are over 70 sub-macros involved. This uses an "industrial strength" ticket base, and Sharepoint files – each with hundreds or thousands of records (depending on length of outage). Each macro performed a specific task or series of related tasks (e.g.: Open an Excel spreadsheet generated by Sharepoint, read all the fields in a record, evaluate the critical fields, copy data to ticket base, record the processing in a text log, error processing {log all errors!}, update Sharepoint records with the appropriate ticket base #’s, and update the ticket base with the appropriate Sharepoint index #, and so on). The macro has already successfully processed thousands of records.

We generate our revenue, in part, based on being able to generate quality tickets. See the obvious connection here? It not only saves TIME (which is also money), it assures you of consistent output. If only humans were as consistent as Macro Express is… ;-)

I also use Macro Express for many of the "special projects" I get assigned (Call Mentoring, and so on). Personally, I used to use Hot Keyboard Pro. Simply stated, there is NO comparison in the sheer "horsepower" between the two products. The price difference is small and the difference in capability is night & day!

Parting tip: If you’re not already familiar with Macro Express, before tackling a project of this magnitude, I would recommend that you get acquainted with Macro Express scripting in a gradual manner. Start off simply by letting it "record" various phases of your task for you. Then study & edit the recorded macro (shorten delays, remove excess mouse movements, etc.). Once you’ve used the Macro editor and you’ve seen how the instructions are formed, you’ll learn very quickly how to write these macros "from scratch".

P. Ferris, Tulsa, OK

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