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Call Center Management on Fast Forward: Succeeding in Today's Dynamic Inbound Environment (1st Edition) Paperback – 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0965909303 ISBN-10: 0965909301

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Call Center Press (1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0965909301
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965909303
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #846,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Call Center Management on Fast Forward is an outstanding treasure-trove, loaded with information critical to call center managers' successes. I keep my copy under lock and key -- Ross M. Scovotti, Publisher, TeleProfessional Magazine

A must for call center managers. A thorough and practical guide to successful management in today's dynamic call center environment -- Steve Pollack, U.S. Customer Support Center Manager, Hewlett-Packard Company

Call Center Management on Fast Forward is an outstanding treasure-trove, loaded with information critical to call center managers' successes. I keep my copy under lock and key. -- Ross M. Scovotti, Publisher, TeleProfessional Magazine

The winners in this book are our customers who will receive improved service through better informed call centre professionals -- Tony Murphy, Chairman, Call Centre Management Association, United Kingdom

This book is an absolute must for every call center professional -- Ian and Lis Angus, Co-editors, Telemanagement magazine

This book is an absolute must for every call center professional. -- Ian and Lis Angus, Co-editors, Telemanagement magazine

You will never again be stumped for an answer or business case by your finance or technology folks -- Mary Murcott, Vice President, Call Center Management, American Express Business Travel

You'd be nuts to run a call center without devouring Fast Forward. This well-written and eminently usable guide addresses every arcane aspect of call center management in a readable way -- George R. Walther, author of Phone Power, Power Talking, and Upside-Down Marketing

From the Publisher

With more and more companies recognizing the impact a well-run call center has on competitiveness and customer retention, it's no wonder that incoming call center management has become one of the fastest growing professions in North America. It has also become one of the most complex to understand. Brad Cleveland, a well-known consultant on call center management, and Julia Mayben, a writer for Service Level Newsletter, have compiled one of the best books available to help managers succeed in today's increasingly complicated call center environment. The book has been incorporated into college and corporate training programs in over 15 countries.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 31 customer reviews
The perfect book for the people that are managing the call centers.
Antares Gryczan
I also liked the section on characteristics of best managed call centers - the information provides an effective roadmap to excellence and benchmarking tool.
Mike Tarrani
What can be a hard subject is explained very well so that a manager can really put the author's advice into practice.
Stuart Harris

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Eric Berglund on August 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
I've generally been an IT Director and Project Manager, so I read this book to get a better idea of my customers' needs. I was pretty excited to discover that there's at least one good summary of what call centers do and how they do it. For my own sake--and perhaps yours--here's my summary of Brad and Julia's summary:
1. Incoming call center management is the art of having the right number of skilled people and supporting resources in place at the right times to handle an accurately forecasted workload, at service level and with quality.
2. Though average call load may be predictable, calls arrive randomly--which means that they often bunch up.
3. A service level is defined as "X percent of calls answered in Y seconds", not as "X percent answered" or "Average Speed of Answer". (The ASA is skewed by the bad times when calls bunch up.) Abandonment rates matter, too, but fixing abandonment problems usually means fixing service levels.
4. Service level and quality don't conflict. If you try to fix service level with poor quality, it comes back to bite you with more calls and demoralized reps.
5. A good forecasted call load--including talk time, after-call work, and volume--is critical for budgeting people and circuits. Often, a good forecast should predict load by the half hour, using previous data, knowledge of upcoming plans, and good judgment.
6. To determine staffing needs, use a variation of the Erlang C formula. Its input is the number of reps, number of callers forecasted, and the time to serve each caller; its output is a prediction of waiting time. (Even better, add an input for response time, and you'll get the percentage who'll wait longer than that!
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Mike Tarrani HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on February 9, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am writing this review from the perspective of an IT consultant who sets up processes and procedures for service delivery. A call center and an IT help desk are two very different animals. This book is written for call center managers, yet should be required reading for IT help desk managers and staff.
As someone who has set up IT help desks and has also provided application support to call centers I often wondered why typical call centers were so well managed and IT help desks, for the most part, are not. This book goes a long way towards explaining the dichotomy by showing how call center professionals approach service. It contains a wealth of information that should be carefully read by IT help desk professionals who want to implement a world-class operation.
The planning and management framework section of this book starts on the right note: service levels. This is followed by clear explanations of quantitative factors such as call load forecasting, staffing and service level metrics.
Some things that set this book apart are the sections on quality and productivity, and new technologies. The authors go well beyond how to effectively manage call centers by discussing how to integrate new technologies and exploit technology to provide the best possible service. I also liked the section on characteristics of best managed call centers - the information provides an effective roadmap to excellence and benchmarking tool.
Although I am not familiar with the entire body of technical literature on call center management I have to believe that this is one of the most complete books on the subject. I am familiar with the body of literature on IT help desks and can attest that this book needs to be included in the libraries and required reading lists of all IT help desk professionals.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 13, 1998
Format: Paperback
A great book for anyone who works in the inbound call center environment! It's takes the science of call center and transforms it into an easy to read guide. This book will help everyone from senior management to front line service reps gain a better understanding and appreciation of the dynamic call center environment. In the call center world, we often get caught up in the technology and lose site of the fundamentals - this book puts is all back in perspective. Good Luck.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Linda Harden (lindah@incoming.com) on July 8, 1998
Format: Paperback
First, a disclaimer -- I am Director of Incoming Calls Management Institute, which also employs the authors of the book, so I should be considered a biased reviewer. But I'm also in a unique place to know who's buying the book and how they're using it. The book provides a detailed, step-by-step plan for managing an incoming call center. Since it's debut last September, the book has become part of university, college and corporate training programs in over 15 countries. It is "required reading" for the management teams in numerous call centers, and is currently being translated into several other languages.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By cusack@worldnet.att.com - Michael Cusack, author of Online Customer Care on September 14, 1998
Format: Paperback
When call center managers ask me which book will give the most insight into forecasting, scheduling and inbound call management, I tell them to read this one before any other. This book is by far the best in its class.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 27, 1998
Format: Paperback
I am a Sales Support Engineer and interface with many call center environments as part of my job. Call Center Management on Fast Forward works for three basic reasons. 1) The authors know what information is relevant to the discussion of call center management. 2) The authors know how to communicate this information. 3) The authors approach the subject at a level of depth and detail that makes you feel like you have taken a good bite out of the subject - enough to chew on but not choke on. After you have swallowed the concepts they offer you can use the book as guide to point you in a dozen other areas of specialization or interest. But I bet you will still consistently come back to Call Center Management on Fast Forward for reference, overview, or just to remind yourself how a good book can be written.
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More About the Author

Brad Cleveland is known globally as a thought leader in customer relationships, customer services, and the fast-evolving communications economy. A highly sought consultant, speaker, and author, he has worked in 45 states and over 60 countries, and his clients have included many of today's service leaders--Apple, HP, American Express, USAA, Coca Cola, and others. He's also advised governments in the United States, Australia, Germany, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Brad is author and/or editor of eight books, and is recipient of an Amazon.com best selling award. His books and articles have been translated into over a dozen languages. He has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, CNN Money, Kiplingers, the Los Angles Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, and the New York Times, as well as on major television networks (PBS, CNBC, Fox, MSNBC, and others), NPR's All Things Considered, and the in-flight programs of several airlines. He has received numerous industry awards in the customer service field, and was nominated for the prestigious Computerworld Smithsonian 21st Century Pioneering Award.

One of the initial partners in and former President and CEO of the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI), Brad grew the firm into a global industry leader that is now part of United Business Media (London: UBM.L). Along with his work as a speaker and writer, Brad serves as Senior Advisor to ICMI; alongside ICMI's global team, he can bring an unparalleled depth of resources and support to virtually any project.

Brad lives in Sun Valley, ID (located in the central Rockies) with his wife of 23 years, Kirsten, and their daughter Grace. He is a private pilot, enjoys skiing and mountain biking, and has logged an estimated five million miles in travel.