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Aspect Software Announces Merger with Noble Systems

New combined company will expand its global reach in the Customer Experience technology space

Westford, MA. May 10, 2021. Today, Aspect Software will merge with Noble Systems of Atlanta Georgia, to form Alvaria, (pronounced: ahl-vahr-ee-uh), a new global company delivering optimized customer experience and workforce engagement software and cloud services technology solutions.

 

Alvaria

 

The newly combined company will be led by Patrick Dennis, Aspect President and CEO.

“This merger will combine two of the leaders in the customer experience space into a major unified force for innovation and growth,” said Patrick Dennis, President & CEO of Alvaria.  “Our unified customer base represents the largest financial institutions, healthcare, online retail, and travel and transportation companies in the world. We are so excited to embark on this next stage of our corporate development.”

Abry Partners (“Abry”), a Boston-based private equity firm, spearheaded the merger and is now the majority owner of the combined company. Vector Capital, owner of Aspect, will continue as minority equity holder. The total value of the combined transaction is over $1 billion USD.

“We are impressed with the transformation of Aspect under the leadership of Patrick and the Vector team,” said Tomer Yosef-Or, partner at Abry, “and Noble Systems will be an excellent merger partner, making Alvaria an even stronger competitor in the market.”

Andy Fishman, a Managing Director of Vector Capital, added, “We congratulate and thank Patrick and the entire Aspect organization for their incredible work. We are excited to partner with Abry as we bring together Aspect and Noble Systems as the new Alvaria and look forward to supporting the new company through its next phase of growth.”

Jim Noble, founder and CEO of Noble Systems, will transition into a new role as an advisor to Abry and Alvaria. “Jim has made a lasting impact in this marketplace,” continued Mr. Yosef-Or. “He has led Noble through 30 years of innovation and growth. This merger is a fitting exclamation point to his successful career.”

News of this merger was met with enthusiasm from key Industry Analysts. According to Nancy Jamison, Industry Director, Information and Communications Technologies at Frost and Sullivan, “Aspect plus Noble is a very strong match. Their combined technology stack and market presence, particularly in outbound contact management, will make Alvaria an extremely formidable player in the space. This should be welcome news to enterprise customers worldwide.”

According to Mary Wardley, VP Customer Care and CRM research at IDC, “The Aspect/Noble merger will be a jolt of lightning to the Contact Center market for several reasons; first will be the surprise to the market, second will be the long-term opportunity these two companies and product lines bring. Large enterprise customers will especially see big benefits through innovations to come. This could spur more acquisitions as vendors vie for customers and market share.”

“We are launching Alvaria with an aggressive schedule, beginning with the immediate introduction of our new corporate identity and website, www.alvaria.com, followed by merged operations,” said Michael Harris, Alvaria Chief Product Officer and CMO. “Customers of Aspect Software and Noble Systems will continue to use the existing products and services they depend on now for delivering mission critical services, without interruption, followed by a seamless transition to the next generation of Alvaria systems and services.”

Aspect Software and Vector Capital were advised by Jefferies LLC as their sole financial advisor, and Paul Hastings LLP as their legal counsel. Abry Partners was advised by TD Securities (USA) LLC as its financial advisor, and Kirkland & Ellis LLP as its legal counsel. Noble Systems was advised by Eversheds Sutherland as its legal counsel.

 

Media Contact:

Alvaria, Aspect Software & Noble Systems:
Michael Harris, CPO/CMO, Alvaria
Press@alvaria.com

About ALVARIA:

Alvaria was founded through the merger of Aspect Software and Noble Systems, technology leaders in Customer Experience (CX) and Workforce Engagement solutions. Our name is derived from Latin for “hives” – nature’s perfect form for millions of years – bringing you solutions that are scalable, resilient and secure, with efficiency, speed and pinpoint accuracy. ALVARIA. Reshaping Customer Experience.  For more information, please visit www.alvaria.com

About Abry Partners:

Abry is one of the most experienced and successful sector-focused private equity investment firms in North America. Since their founding in 1989, the firm has completed over $82.0 billion of leveraged transactions and other private equity or preferred equity placements. Currently, the firm manages over $5.0 billion of capital across their active funds. For more information on Abry, please visit www.Abry.com.

About Vector Capital:

Vector Capital is a leading global private equity firm specializing in transformational investments in established technology businesses. With more than $3 billion of capital under management, Vector actively partners with management teams to devise and execute new financial and business strategies that materially improve the competitive standing of businesses and enhance value for employees, customers, and all stakeholders. For more information, visit www.vectorcapital.com.


covid-19

Coronavirus - Call Design's Position Plan

Call Design shares the concerns of the community regarding the human impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the potential implications of an outbreak. We continue to follow advice and recommendations posted by the Australian Government.

Call Design is well positioned to manage any significant or disruptive events that may impact operations with existing business continuity plans, covering our distributed geography and the technology we use. Additionally, the welfare of our staff and partners is paramount, and we have been on the front foot educating staff to practice good personal hygiene and encouraging staff to work from home where appropriate.

Should any of Call Design’s office locations be impacted by the Coronavirus, we would enact our crisis management and business continuity plans immediately. Staff will be instructed to self-isolate and work from home to reduce the spread of the virus, and of importance to note, all Call Design IT systems and applications are securely and remotely accessible ensuring that our staff can continue to provide our services, 24/7, from any location.

Geographically, Call Design Service Desk Operations may be delivered from any of the countries that we operate in including our offices in Australia, North America, Europe and Manila.

Call Design will continue to monitor the global situation, educate our people and keep our customers informed of any impact or the need to enact our Business Continuity Plans.

Should you have any further queries or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your account management team.

Peter Salmon
Director and CIO
Call Design


customised-contact-centre-training

Meeting your requirements: Call Design's customized courses

 

To an outsider all contact centers seem much the same.

However, as anyone with experience in the industry knows, this couldn't be further from the truth. Each has its own nuances and quirks, something which is also true when it comes to problems.

Call Design helps contact centers better their services by offering training courses on everything from performance management to manager essentials. However, through doing this we've learned that it's not always straightforward to pinpoint the issues preventing a given contact center from reaching its full potential.

Here's our solution:

Call Design has customised courses for contact centres in Australia.Call Design's customized contact center courses let you take control over how your staff are trained.

1. Customized courses for contact centers

Expanding training programs was listed as the second most important talent-related initiative to be undertaken in the next two years by respondents to Deloitte's 2017 Global Contact Center Survey.

However, unless you specifically know which area of your contact center workflow needs improving, blindly picking a course and hoping it yields results is just a shot in the dark.

63 percent of respondents to Deloitte's Global Contact Center Survey want to expand their training programs.

That's why Call Design has developed customized courses to meet your unique requirements.

In these instances, rather than adapting our tried and tested teaching modules to your contact center, the impetus comes from you. Simply reach out to one of our team with a question, and they'll get back to you to discuss exactly what you need. From there you can work to build a training program that will best suit the unique situation in your contact center.

2. Why Call Design?

Call Design has worked with contact center managers and leadership teams for nearly 20 years to help improve their workplaces. We combine our industry experience with innovative technologies and a consultative approach to ensure all bases are covered.

Our emphasis is on working with you to identify what is going well, and what could be done better. This builds a solid platform for future growth.

For more information on how Call Design's customized courses can enhance your contact center, get in touch with our team today.


contact-centre-staff

Retaining staff: A guide for contact center managers

 

It's no secret that attrition is one of the biggest challenges facing contact centers, and it's something the industry acknowledges. In fact, 40 percent of contact center managers want to improve retention rates among staff, according to Deloitte's Global Contact Center Survey.

So what can you do to hold on to your top performing agents? Let's explore.

Contact centre managers need to know how to deal with unhappy staff.Staff attrition is one of the greatest problems facing contact center managers.

1. Analyze your hiring process

Reducing contact center attrition starts with your hiring processes.

It can be difficult to know from a resume how well a candidate may suit your company, but it's important to begin building an idea as early as you can. Cover letters in particular should allow you to gain an understanding of how their past experience sets them up for life in your centre, but also what they expect from the role, and how they might fit into the structures you have in place.

Your hiring process should determine whether someone will slide seamlessly into your culture.

This information can then be added to at the interview. As well as digging deeper into their professional skills, a substantial proportion of this time should be allocated to determining whether the candidate will slide seamlessly into your culture. A good indicator comes in the form of their soft skills.

Soft skills is a category that includes attributes such as communication, leadership and collaboration, all of which permit people to work well alongside others and produce an atmosphere where people want to stay and develop.

2. Establish clear objectives, and clear rewards

Opportunities to progress finished second only to a good work/life balance in the list of factors attracting millennials to a workplace, according to Deloitte's 2016 Millennial Survey. Once hiring is complete, therefore, part of the onboarding process should involve giving your new recruits a clear picture of not only their own role, but what they can do to advance.

Crucial to this is having well-defined and easily available employee handbooks. Among other things, these should detail incentives for good performance, as well as Key Performance Indicator (KPI) targets that need to be met. This approach gives your staff something to aim for beyond their day-to-day targets. Though, as we will see in point four, these are also important when it comes to improving retention in contact centers.

Having a clearly defined progression for employees is a great incentive.Employee handbooks are great ways to show the opportunities for promotion.

3. Personalize incentive schemes

A great way to go the extra mile for your staff, and increase their loyalty to your business, is to personalize the incentives you offer.

This could be something as simple as giving employees a range of options if they're eligible for a reward, showing that you take these processes seriously and aren't simply going through the motions.

Digital rewards are also a great option. Acknowledging high achievers on social networks such as Facebook or LinkedIn provide public acknowledgement of good results, and even a well thought-through email can be an effective way to build manager-staff bonds.

4. Stay on track

Using trackable metrics is an essential aspect of managing agent performance and the quality of client interactions.

This not only ensures that your customers experience a consistently high standard of service, but also allows you to catch potential problems and turn them around.

Tracking performance using metrics gives you the chance to catch problems and provide a solution.

Using metrics allows you to identify areas of weakness and provide the necessary training to bridge gaps. As well as showing interest in the professional development of your individual agents, this proactive management can halt the disenchantment that often comes with poor professional performance. Ultimately this may result in preventing an employee from leaving the company.

However, even when employees aren't missing targets, providing regular commentary to staff, based on the insights gained from metrics, is highly recommended. In fact, 51 percent of millennials surveyed by PwC said that feedback should be given very regularly or continuously, and the more detailed, the better.

5. Open up your culture

Vital to preventing unnecessary loss of staff is creating a culture where agents feel comfortable talking to management about problems they may be having.

As these issues may range from professional to personal, it's vital that leadership are properly trained to make these interactions productive. As with feedback on trackable metrics, these are opportunities to catch issues before they snowball and provide a resolution that aids with retaining the staff involved.

However, sometimes enlisting the help of outside experts can be the best solution. Call Design's Contact Center Consulting service is designed to help managers who are too close to identify the root cause of what is preventing an easy fix to culture problems. This service will optimise the running of your contact center down to the smallest details, including leadership skills that could help you better understand the challenges facing your staff.

Exit interviews allow you to get insights on what went wrong,Exit interviews provide a valuable opportunity to learn how you can improve your systems for future employees.

6. Conduct exit interviews

Even if you adhere to all the guidance mentioned in this article, from time to time staff will leave. Rather than view this as a failure of your retention initiatives, use it as an opportunity to learn why this employee felt it was time to move on.

This is a golden chance where the individual in question is likely to be far more honest than they were during their tenure at the company. If there was no single reason that led to their departure, you can still gain valuable insights on what they feel your organization does well, and what could be improved.

Learning from past mistakes and engaging with your staff is integral to reducing attrition in your contact center. However, if you want more information on the relevant professional services you can make use of, get in touch with the team at Call Design today.


aspect-logo

Aspect Software Named #1 Workforce Management Market Share Leader in North America by Pelorus Associates

Date: 11/13/2018, Phoenix, Arizona

  • Aspect retains top spot in North America in Pelorus Associates’ Workforce Management (WFM) rankings for the 12th consecutive year
  • Aspect recognized for a reputation of delivering excellent customer care, most complete contact center portfolio in the industry and commitment to technology innovation

Aspect Software, a leading provider of fully-integrated consumer engagement, workforce optimization, and self-service solutions, announced today that Pelorus Associates, an independent consulting company specializing in the contact center space, has named Aspect® Workforce Management (WFM) the WFM market share leader in North America in its 2018 World Contact Center Workforce Management Systems Market report. Aspect’s share of 29.8 percent is the largest of the North America workforce management market. Since Pelorus began tracking WFM market data 12 years ago, Aspect has consistently held a top market share ranking for the North American market.

“Aspect offers the most diverse set of solutions in the contact center industry and maintains one of the largest and most comprehensive service and support organizations of any vendor,” said Dick Bucci, Founder and Chief Analyst, Pelorus Associates. “Only Aspect has native solutions for virtually every core application required in the modern contact center. Aspect leaders recognized that by tightly integrating these applications into a complete suite, delivered within a flexible and economical architecture, they could bring to the marketplace products unmatched by other WFO vendors.”

Aspect has retained its market share leadership due to the company’s ongoing technological innovation, success of the product portfolio and reputation for exceptional customer care. Pelorus also highlighted that Aspect WFM software can be tailored to unique customer needs, sports a modern user interface and is available in numerous deployment models, from on-premises to private and public cloud environments.

“From introducing the industry’s first workforce management solution in 1973 to developing an AI-driven intelligent assistant for workforce management, Aspect has consistently recognized key emerging technologies that would help our customers deliver truly exceptional workforce solutions. By engaging customers, employees and contractors, Aspect has been able to maintain our leadership position for so many years,” said Mike Bourke, SVP, Product Management, Aspect Software. “Newly added features address how the gig economy is changing the way agents work and companies hire. By weaving the power of AI throughout the management of our workforce solutions, Aspect will continue to help our customers address the challenges they will face as the market evolves.”

About Aspect
Aspect helps enterprises break down the walls between people, processes, systems and data sources, allowing organizations to unite around the customer journey. By developing fully native interaction management, workforce optimization and self-service capabilities within a single customer engagement center, we enable dynamic, conversational interactions and create a truly frictionless omni-channel customer experience. Leveraging the agility of our worldwide cloud infrastructure and over 40 years of industry ingenuity, Aspect conveniently and easily connects questions to answers while helping enterprises keep service levels high and operational costs contained. For more information, visit www.aspect.com.

 


According to Customers, Aspect Workforce Management Leads the Pack

November 13, 2018 Shelley Hofman
Workforce Management, Workforce Optimization

The G2 Crowd results are in: Aspect has the highest customer satisfaction rating of all leading WFM solutions.

The growth and popularity of crowd-sourced customer review and recommendations sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor are where consumers go for authentic, unbiased, user-driven information about products and services they are thinking about purchasing. So nowadays, when you are looking for a hotel, you don’t just want to hear how a hotel describes their rooms, you also want to hear from someone who’s actually stayed in them.

So as is often the case, consumer trends find their way into the enterprise space. The growth of peer-to-peer business solution review sites like G2 Crowd enable organizations looking for software to hear directly from existing users in a forum with an objective and bias-free environment.

G2 Crowd is one of the world’s leading providers of online business software reviews. With more than 500,000 reviews, they offer easily understandable rankings of a wide variety of software products using objective criteria combined with the actual reviews from verified users.

What do G2 Crowd reviews show about Aspect Workforce Management software? As you can see from this real-time G2 Crowd Grid, Aspect Workforce Management is ranked in the Leaders quadrant and has achieved the highest ranking for customer satisfaction among those leaders. In the Enterprise view of the grid, Aspect is the only leader.

G2 Crowd also makes comments, ratings, and actual customer reviews available so users of the site can really get inside the heads of the people working with the software. You can find the full list of reviews here, but below are some examples of what Aspect customers are saying:

Every day, thousands of businesses and hundreds of thousands of agents rely on Aspect Workforce Management to provide accurate forecasting of interaction volumes, flexible and personalized agent scheduling and insightful daily tracking of real-time agent productivity and adherence.  We think it’s the best in the industry but don’t just take our word for it, ask our customers!

https://blogs.aspect.com/according-to-customers-aspect-workforce-management-leads-the-pack/


Why analyze performance in the back office?

 

With today's emphasis on customer interaction and experience, the back office is at risk of being overlooked.

Sure, your front line staff are the main touch point for customers engaging with your business, but you can't expect these employees to operate at peak efficiency if your back office isn't optimized. From forecasting workloads to running accounts, this is the team you'll rely on when customers demand answers to more complex queries.

This article will demonstrate why back office performance analysis should be a top priority for managers.

Performance analysis is a vital consideration to ensure a smooth customer experience.Delays in back office processing can have a large impact on the contact center

1. Find your weaknesses

If you want to improve the way that your back office staff are performing, you should start by identifying what isn't working as well as it could.

Setting clear Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your staff allows you to not only establish expected standards for work, but also to monitor trends. A good balanced scorecard provides you with the right performance metrics and allows you to identify and analyze individual points of weakness among your staff, and tailor ongoing training  to meet these exact needs.

Your staff are a key resource when it comes to actioning the results of this analysis. As well as drawing your own conclusions, group back office retrospectives give employees a chance to provide feedback on what's preventing them from reaching their goals, creating a cycle of improvement. A good performance program and action plan can not only dramatically improve your satisfaction results, but allow you to performance manage your employees 'up' and not 'out', resulting in a massive cost saving for any organization.

2. Improve customer experience

More than 50 percent of customers say that their experience of a brand will impact whether or not they invest in a service or product, according to Deloitte. Customer experience is, therefore, everyone's priority - not just that of front-line staff.

Integral to this is making every effort to resolve queries or complaints the first time they're raised. If this happens, you have the opportunity to turn a potentially negative experience into a positive one, says a study from PwC.

Customer experience is everyone's priority, not just that of front-line staff.

To give your customer service staff the best chance of achieving first time resolution, it's important to ensure that you provide them with as much information as possible – that includes providing visibility to business performance and potential problems such as backlogs or processing errors in the back office.

3. Your staff want you to

The increasingly visible millennial workforce crave the regular feedback that accompanies performance analysis, suggests a separate PwC report. Professional development is important to this demographic, so opportunities to discover areas where they can grow through training are welcomed.

If you're a back office manager hoping to improve your processes and personnel operation, performance analysis is a vital step. Call Design's Performance Management Essentials Course is specifically designed to increase your knowledge in this area, and implement successful change. For more information, get in touch with our team today.


Why engagement management is vital for contact centers

 

We've all heard the adage that happy staff make for happy customers. A cliche, maybe, but one backed up by data. In fact, companies considered as customer experience leaders have 1.5 times more engaged employees than companies who lag behind, according to research by the Temkin Group.

Contact centers are direct points of interaction between businesses and clients, but there are reasons beyond customer satisfaction that make learning engagement management a must-do for those heading up agent teams.

Let's take a look at a few:

Customers will tell if your staff aren't fully engaged with their tasks.Engaged staff are more likely to have positive customer interactions.

1. It's a real time saver

Contact centers are traditionally flexible environments, and empowering staff to take greater ownership of their schedules is a popular way of increasing agent engagement.

The use of smartphone technology that allows employees to interact with each other, swap shifts and access their schedule remotely not only gives them responsibility for their working hours, but also saves your workforce management team a lot of time rearranging hours on their behalf.

However, implementing this scheme requires thoughtful management in order to maintain control over staffing numbers. It's important that it links with your workforce management tool, and rules are built in to check intraday staffing levels for each skill before allowing swaps to go ahead.

2. You can attract great staff

Millennials are flooding the job market, and they rate engagement highly when choosing where to work.

The ability to progress up the career ladder came in first among a list of factors attracting millennials to employers, in a study conducted by PwC, beating even competitive salaries. They also expect regular feedback, praise for good performances and clearly established targets to aim for.

With all of these demands falling under the banner of employee engagement, it's clear that effective management is key for businesses that wish to remain competitive in the world of employment.

Staff feedback can help contact centre managers establish effective engagement strategies.Millennial staff expect regular engagement through feedback from management.

3. ...and keep them

Employees are a staggering 87 percent less likely to leave a company where they feel highly engaged, as compared with staff in organizations where this sentiment isn't so strong, as claimed by a report from the Kenan-Flagler business school.

In an industry where high turnover rates are the norm, this is research contact center managers can't afford to ignore. Indeed, individual engagement strategies such as prioritising the recognition and reward of high quality performance can in themselves improve retention, according to a Deloitte survey.

It's important to remember that these initiatives don't happen by magic, and careful planning is needed to ensure they fit the culture in your contact center.

Effectively managing staff engagement has benefits beyond customer experience vital to the continued success of your business. Call Design's Manager Essentials course is an intensive one-day program tailored to optimize your leadership practices and get the most out of your staff. To find out more, get in touch with our team today.


Contact centers: methods for accurate forecasting

 

As a contact center manager, you should always seek balance. You need to make sure that the workload is handled effectively and professionally, without having so many agents that staffing costs become too great. Learning how to accurately forecast supply and demand in contact centers will lead to greater customer satisfaction, improved staff morale and better productivity.

Here are some useful forecasting methods for contact centers.

1. Time series analysis

Time series analysis is a popular method for contact center forecasting and uses historical data to help predict future workloads. This may seem overly simplistic, but time series analysis allows workforce managers to isolate data to see the effects of certain factors such as trend seasonality, as well as changes that might come about after a targeted sales drive, for example.

In addition to this it's important to analyze average handle time (AHT) patterns as these tend to vary throughout the day, as well as by day of week. Using inaccurate data can lead to under or overstaffing.

By isolating variables in this way workforce planners can get a better idea of how similar changes are likely to impact the call center workload in the future.

Accurate forecasting means you can better predict the workload in your contact centre.Better forecasting leads to happier customers and staff.

 2. Workload

With the above mentioned contact volume and AHT information, workload can be calculated. This is done by multiplying the number of forecast contacts for the interval by the average handle time, and then dividing by the number of seconds in the interval.

3. Erlang C calculations

Erlang C calculations are based on the work of a Danish mathematician and allow you to establish how many staff are required for a given contact volume based on meeting a certain service level goal.  This calculation provides the bodies in chairs requirement, i.e. how many staff would be required if they didn't take breaks, have meetings and one on ones, or take annual leave etc.

4. Shrinkage

In order to work out the total staffing requirement, shrinkage needs to be included. Shrinkage refers to the time during which agents are being paid but are unavailable to handle contacts or aren't working for other reasons such as being on a break, being in one on ones or in meetings etc. Including accurate shrinkage assumptions is critical to calculating staffing requirements as using incorrect data will lead to under and over staffing.

5. Attrition

It's no secret that attrition, or employee turnover, is high in the contact center industry. Hiring and training new employees is an expensive and time-consuming business, so having a firm grasp on the numbers when it comes to attrition rates is important in making sure there are always enough agents to meet the workload requirements.

Being aware of the rate at which agents leave the business can also be useful in working out manageable shift patterns and how flexible you can be with working hours, measures that may help you better retain your staff.

6. Outbound forecasting

While some of the same tools can be used for workforce management in outbound call centers, there are also some important differences. Outbound contact centers are more targeted, as staff often need to speak to a specific person.  Although the workload can be managed a little easier than inbound calls, as the business is more in control, they still need to ensure there are sufficient staff to handle the workload and that their staff can make the calls when the targeted recipient is most likely to be available.

Understanding how to forecast contact center staffing requirements is a good first step, but effective implementation and management of schedules are key. Call Design creates tailored workforce management courses and solutions to hone your skills and maximize the potential of your workforce. For more information, get in touch with Call Design today.