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Licia Wolf - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog

Five Dangers of Not Having Call Recording in Public Utilities

As Utilities make strides in improving their operations and the customer experience, the need for tracking and recording all interactions is increasing. Keeping track of communications in utilities contact or dispatch centers is important for ensuring that policies, procedures, best practices, and regulatory requirements are met. Interaction recording and capture is instrumental for avoiding 5 pitfalls that may result from not having a recording capability.

 

Utilities with recording capabilities in their contact and dispatch centers have come to realize that they can avoid the following dangers:

1. No Event Management or Safety Tracking

Recording of internal and external communications during an event (e.g. outage) provides insight into how to follow best practices.

2. Unhappy Customers

Recording improves training which in turn creates better interactions with customers.

3. Unproductive Agents

Recording pinpoints best practices and can lead to process improvement, which can help to empower and motivate agents.

4. Misunderstanding the Customer Voice

Recording ensures that the customer’s voice and issues are properly understood through careful review, and their issues can be correctly addressed.

5. Poor Liability Management

Communications are critical for events and service outages; having recordings ensures that information is properly disseminated and dispute resolution is possible.

Publish Date: July 20, 2018 4:25 PM


Big Data Management and Storage for Utility Companies

Many U.S. utility companies are experiencing aging infrastructure and outdated technologies, and are operating on a system from the mid-1900s. Electrical grids, urban water systems, and natural gas pipelines were built when populations were smaller and resource limitation was not a consideration. Today, this presents several problems that affect cost, service, efficiency, resource use, and the environment:

  1. Decrepit wiring, pipes, and meters that break down and need replacement.
  2. Manual meter reading is inefficient.
  3. Data collection has traditionally been one-way: measuring the delivery of water, gas, or electricity to the customer.
  4. Very little preventative maintenance.
  5. Huge inefficiencies in resource storage and service – wasted resources, service interruption, environmental impact.

Other factors driving utilities toward reforming their infrastructure are government regulations and changes in public policy requiring integration of renewable energy and reduced pollutants. Utilizing green energy is also in demand from customers, and many power companies are adding solar and wind-powered energy to their sources. Building these systems may be costly but necessary, and it requires extensive strategic planning while maintaining affordability for customers.

Moving Toward a Multi-Way Communications Model

The ability to deliver power to customers using efficient and green technology means development of a smart grid - an electricity supply network that uses digital communications technology to detect and react to local changes in usage. This involves equipment upgrades, and use of sensors/monitors throughout the network that send data about usage, electrical flow, and equipment health. Utilities will not only monitor what goes out to the customer, but can capture data coming in. Networked devices in the grid also communicate with each other to coordinate appropriate responses.

Examples of smart monitors include:

  1. Smart meter, which can automatically be read every hour or more.
  2. Electricity flowing through the line and its phase is monitored by a synchrophasor.
  3. Line fault detector, which monitors if there are any faults in the line.

Water utilities are beginning to implement smart solutions that can manage peak load, analyze leakage, energy efficiency, and, customer segmentation. Using cloud-based services and information storage, tech companies are developing systems that allow utilities to migrate their infrastructure into a smart system. Data is not only captured directly from the equipment, but also engages customers with mobile apps and collects data from the utility’s mobile work force.

How will the Restructuring be Funded?

The Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium and Smart Grid Investment Grant are government programs that are helping fund this new infrastructure. Some utility companies, such as Florida Power & Light, and Georgia’s Tri-State Electric Membership Corporation have already made significant improvements with help from this funding.

Information Storage and Management

Once on a Smart System, utility companies will be amassing a large volume of data, which requires strategic management and storage.

For each data point/event, the associated metadata is needed to tell the story, e.g., location of the monitor device, data intake source (mobile device, direct from a sensor), time of day, temperature, etc.

An important aspect of managing all these data is to understand what information is essential and what can be discarded. Currently utilities retain all their data, but with the accumulation of Big Data, this will become impractical. Storing so much data can be costly and inefficient, even with cloud-based solutions, so a selective storage strategy is necessary. Utilizing robust information capture, storage, and interaction analytics applications, such as Calibre, is paramount for automating this process.

Once data is organized, advanced analytics can be applied to define use cases and implement systems for preventative management, real-time alerts to oversee load management, and long-term planning for maintenance and system upgrades. This will result in greater reliability, improved efficiency, and reduced costs. 
 

About the Author - Licia Wolf, highly-educated with a Ph.D., is the Marketing and Communications Manager at HigherGround, with background in electronics, internet marketing, and print/imaging technology. Click here for more information on the rest of the HigherGround team!
HigherGround, Inc. provides best-in-class, reliable data capture and interaction storage solutions that enable clients to easily retrieve mission critical information and communications. Our interaction recording and incident reconstruction solutions transform data into actionable intelligence, allowing optimization of operations, enhanced performance, and cost reduction.

Publish Date: December 13, 2017 11:08 PM


Collaboration between Smart Utility and Contact Center Data

A previous blog discussed technology changes occurring in the utilities industry, including implementation of smart grids, infrastructure upgrades, improvements in monitoring, efficiency, and maintenance. Also discussed was the importance of interaction analytics and storage in many areas of service and maintenance.

HigherGround’s Calibre platform, which currently focuses on call recording and associated metadata, can play a key role in bringing contact center analytics and the emerging smart grid analytics together for more in-depth business intelligence and enhanced customer service.

Following the diagram above, there are three quick use cases that can be constructed:
 

  1. Correlate smart utilities data with customer complaints or service issues with data from the contact center to improve repair or service interruption response. For instance, a customer calls or texts that their water pressure is low. Data from system monitors at their location can be analyzed along with the customer’s description, and the problem can be determined quickly. The agent will then either be able to assist he customer remotely or dispatch a technician if needed.
  2. Use smart grid data with interactive voice response (IVR), text (SMS) or some other omnichannel approach to help educate customers in real time to optimize their power needs. An example would be on a very hot day, a customer is running their air conditioning, lights, computer, etc. They then start vacuuming and running an electric dryer. The utility company would receive information from the smart grid that this customer’s energy use is extremely high. At this point the customer is notified (text, email, auto-call) with a suggestion to delay one or more activities that draw power until the temperature cools, or they can cut power use in another way. Resulting data from contact centers can be used to grade effectiveness of such outreach programs.
  3. Proactive / preventative / maintenance actions could be announced through omnichannel methods. For example, if the utility company has received information that a repair is needed in a local area, customers can be texted/e-mailed, or auto-called to notify them that they may experience a temporary outage at a certain time. This way customers can plan and adjust their schedule if necessary. The contact center data can be used to track effectiveness of the program as well as real-time customer feedback and satisfaction.


These are just three ways to collaborate between two separate data sources that can increase business intelligence and product actionable analytic results.

Are there other creative ways to bring data together for utilities? Let us know – we would love to hear from you!
 

About the Author - Tom Goodwin is the Vice President of Marketing at HigherGround. His background in telecommunications and data networking has been augmented with work in data analytics and automated reporting prior to joining HigherGround. Click here for more information on Tom and the rest of the HigherGround team!
HigherGround, Inc. provides best-in-class, reliable data capture and interaction storage solutions that enable clients to easily retrieve critical information. Our interaction recording and incident reconstruction solutions transform data into actionable intelligence, allowing optimization of operations, enhanced performance, and cost reduction.

Publish Date: December 13, 2017 11:05 PM


Triage Nurses and Interaction Data

The U.S. healthcare industry is continually evolving, and keeping pace with changing insurance plans, emerging technologies, and government regulations can be challenging for healthcare providers.

The unsung heroes of the medical world are the nurses who support physicians and provide the majority of personal care for patients. Despite the fact that the number of nurses is rising and is expected to grow 15% by 2024, there is a chronic shortage of nurses in the U.S. and it is predicted to worsen.

A critical component of the healthcare industry, nurses comprise 82% of patient care staff. In the U.S there are about 4.1 million nurses and 923,300 doctors. Nurses perform a wide array of duties, including administering medications, assisting patients, managing intravenous lines, observing and monitoring patients' conditions, communicating with doctors, and maintaining records.

The Triage Nurse
Triage nurses are an important part of the nursing community. With a growing need to optimize staff resources, their accuracy and efficiency is essential. Triage nurses are responsible for responding to patients without appointments who need immediate attention, and they are generally the first point of contact with non-emergency patients. They collect patient information and determine the level and need for medical care.

Responsibilities of a Triage Nurse include:
 
  • Assess patient condition
  • Initiate emergency care if necessary
  • Provide education to patients and families
  • Prioritize patients according to set guidelines
  • Communicate status of patients to doctors and nurses

Triage nurses do not diagnose patients, but they do provide care and advise. To do this, the nurse gathers medical history and other pertinent data from the patient.

If these interactions between the triage nurse and patient are not properly documented or there is a communication issue, the healthcare provider can face liability issues. A misunderstanding or a negative patient outcome can lead to malpractice suits against physicians.

Some of the most common types of malpractice claims include:
  • Failure to follow care standards
  • Failure to communicate
  • Failure to document
  • Failure to assess and monitor a patient

Proper documentation and handling of records is a high priority for healthcare providers, who must follow ever-changing HIPAA laws that require specific regulations and patient privacy protocols. Current systems are disparate, with some that are manual, and some partly automated and connected. This can open the door to incorrect or incomplete records, poor communication, inability to retrieve and analyze interactions, and legal liabilities.

Policy Changes
Improving triage nurse issues begins with changes in management policy. Many healthcare organizations today are re-organizing their call centers and triage nurse systems by implementing nurse health lines that connect medical providers, patients, and emergency responders with a multi-channel network. This allows close coordination between triage nurse call centers and emergency responders, and improved communication with patients and staff.

Along with improved communications, migrating to an integrated software architecture that captures all interaction data between nurses, patients, and other support staff will mitigate any issues of confusion or loss of information. Interaction capture includes metadata (time of the interaction, ID of the nurse, location of the patient, heart monitor data, etc.), so everything about the event can be easily and quickly retrieved if necessary. All data is stored and can be analyzed as needed.

Healthcare organizations that have implemented these systems have reported improved records management, better patient care, and reduced liability and costs.

If you have thoughts about triage and call center nurses, or data capture and analytics in healthcare, share your thoughts with us
 
About the Author - Licia Wolf, highly-educated with a Ph.D., is the Marketing and Communications Manager at HigherGround, with background in electronics, internet marketing, and print/imaging technology. Click here for more information on the rest of the HigherGround team!
HigherGround, Inc. provides best-in-class, reliable data capture and interaction storage solutions that enable clients to easily retrieve mission critical information and communications. Our interaction/call recording and incident reconstruction solutions transform data into actionable intelligence, allowing optimization of operations, enhanced performance, and cost reduction.

Publish Date: December 13, 2017 11:00 PM


Advancements in HealthCare Communications

Technological advancements have had an enormous impact on businesses, transforming processes in almost all industries. The healthcare industry is no exception, and many procedures have been vastly improved with technology partners that enhance patient care and outcome. An example is use of the IoT to monitor out-patients, which allows collection of detailed biological information 24/7 in real-time. Combined with data analysis, this system provides a significant contribution to seamless communication and information required for the best possible care.

Consolidation of Communication

For these systems to work effectively, formerly separate systems must work together. The goal is a comprehensive approach to managing critical communications and achieving a unified system.

Studies by the Joint Commission find that communication issues are often at the core of most critical failures and sentinel events within healthcare. Migration to a digital, integrated, and secure system can mitigate these issues, saving time and costs related to malpractice and liability.

Of primary importance for an integrated communication system is connectivity, data capture, data storage, and analytics. This involves combining systems that have traditionally been discrete, such as call centers, EMS dispatchers, hospital staff, call recording systems, and data retrieval.

One solution that has proven highly effective for the next generation of healthcare critical communications is the synergistic integration between two leading tech companies: HigherGround and Spok. A multi-national healthcare technology solution provider, Spok offers Care Connect®, a fully integrated enterprise healthcare communications platform combined with HigherGround’s CalibreTMsoftware.

Spok Care Connect® is software that captures communications such as paging, phones, texts, from outside and within the organization, and provides an integrated system to distribute this information in a highly efficient way.

This system is ideal in a hospital setting in which traditional communications are no longer adequate. Using overhead paging, radios, and manual procedures to communicate with physicians and staff is inefficient and requires considerable time and resources. Moreover, for critical situations and disasters, timely notifications are essential.

Calibre provides feature-rich interaction storage and analytics software that captures and stores multi-channel data, tracks multiple metrics, measures overall progress, and analyzes data and metadata.

Spok solutions with HigherGround provides healthcare contact center operations with a reliable and complete data capture, storage and analytics system, and integrates this information into a digital communication network among hospital staff and first responders. It also includes workforce management such as web‐based employee directories and on-call scheduling.

The combined power of Care Connect and Calibre illustrates a solution to equip healthcare providers with a highly reliable centralized system that allows physicians and others to reach the right person 24/7. The result is increased quality of patient care and decreased costs from poor communication and loss of information.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Spok and HigherGround Solutions for HealthCare.

We would love to hear your thoughts on advancements in Communication in HealthCare. Share with us!
 
About the Author - Russell Sorg is a Regional Sales Manager at HigherGround. His professional background spans wireless telecommunications, critical messaging, and data networking, with computer telephony and clinical systems integration. Click here for more information on the rest of the HigherGround team!
HigherGround, Inc. provides best-in-class, reliable data capture and interaction storage solutions that enable clients to easily retrieve critical information. Our interaction recording and incident reconstruction solutions transform data into actionable intelligence, allowing optimization of operations, enhanced performance, and cost reduction.

Publish Date: December 13, 2017 10:37 PM


Big Data Organization

We see it all around us every day. More data is available for conversion into useful information. Whether it is the IoT, smart phone apps, or law enforcement technologies used for mission critical communications, the influx of additional data requires additional methodologies to capture and store it. The ability to take in more information compels us to focus on when, how and what accompanies the capture of it. This metadata that is captured in conjunction with the main event enables greater insight and depth of analysis of the information.

With the plethora of captured metadata, there is a pressing need to organize the main data with its metadata to run the desired interaction analytics. Our world is rapidly evolving from a model of one-channel simple recording to a model that allows the capture of a large volume of data and metadata streams; Multi-Channel High-Velocity Interaction Storage.

Front-End vs. Back-End

The capture of this new rapid-fire data and associated metadata mandates a decision point: organize it on the front-end, or process it on the back-end. Many analytic engines today work with non-structured databases that are populated with documents, posts and other content. Following a non-structured process instead of a structured one allows collection of all the associated data and metadata. However, this method requires more processing power than structured data to run analytics and obtain results.

The API that Integrates

The HigherGround platform addresses the needs of interaction storage, and emphasizes organization on front-end incoming data so that retrieval and reporting can be completed with less processing power. To assist in organizing data during capture for structured database environments, HigherGround has developed a Remote API software module that allows third-party developers to interface with the HigherGround platform.

The flexibility of the API provides the opportunity to connect the HigherGround platform to applications other than recordings and metadata. The Remote API is the foundation for integration of the HigherGround platform to any third-party device. For example, the Remote API could interface with a platform that collects data from sensors in rail systems in real time. This system could organize data and associated metadata such as train location, train speed, number of passengers, time of day, weather, etc.

The benefits are endless. With expandable user-defined attachment fields using cleartext (commands, variable parameters and responses), third-party developers can coordinate with HigherGround and adapt the platform to meet their custom requirements for interaction storage and analytics.

What are YOUR thoughts on Big Data organization? Share them with us!

If you're interested in HigherGround's technology solutions, CONTACT US today.
 
About the Author - Tom Goodwin is the Vice President of Marketing at HigherGround. His background in telecommunications and data networking has been augmented with work in data analytics and automated reporting prior to joining HigherGround. Click here for more information on Tom and the rest of the HigherGround team!
HigherGround, Inc. provides best-in-class, reliable data capture and interaction storage solutions that enable clients to easily retrieve critical information. Our interaction recording and incident reconstruction solutions transform data into actionable intelligence, allowing optimization of operations, enhanced performance, and cost reduction.

Publish Date: December 13, 2017 8:09 PM

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