As call centers transition to remote, work from home, environments, one challenge they may face are keeping their remote agents engaged. While there are many benefits that working from home offers, one aspect that agents may miss about not being in the office each day is the social aspect. It may be an adjustment at first learning how to best keep your employees engaged in the remote environment.
The following tips include ideas to keep your remote call center agents engaged:
Making employee engagement a focus has many benefits for your call center. Engaged employees are more likely to stay with your organization, decreasing turnover and costs of hiring and onboarding new employees. According to Hubspot, 69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were being better recognized. Engaged employees are more productive and want to help the business succeed.
Publish Date: December 14, 2020 9:01 AM
Wikipedia describes system integration as, “the process of linking different computing systems and software applications physically or functionally to act as a coordinated whole.” System integration touches every aspect of today’s society. Everything we do - from buying groceries and other essential items, to banking, to operating a business, to healthcare where hundreds of systems are integrated - relies on systems integration.
System integration is a critical part of operating a successful call center, in both the commercial and healthcare markets. Call centers are required to interact with multiple and different systems, both internal (within the business) and external (at client locations), to complete their calls and business processes. Our products have evolved throughout the years, as the demand for system integration continues to grow.
Infinity Integration System
It is hard to believe, but Amtelco's Infinity system is more than 25 years old. When it was introduced in 1994, it offered a powerful integration of operator services and text-based messaging with voice processing and voice messaging. This integration was so unique that Amtelco was awarded a U.S. Patent on the concept, one that is still in effect to this day. This integration of voicemail and operator services laid the foundation for the many features that are considered essential today. Over the years, many new integrations have been added to the Infinity system.
The Amtelco Intelligent Series (IS) was introduced in 2003 as a Windows and SQL Server based application platform for Infinity. Intelligent Series takes integrations to a whole new level. One of the key elements of the Intelligent Series is IS Scripting and one of the primary goals of the initial development of IS Scripting was a concept called Dynamic Linking that also resulted in a U.S. Patent being awarded to Amtelco. Dynamic Linking focused on integrating IS Scripting with other Intelligent Series modules including IS Directory, IS On-Call Scheduling, and IS Info Pages as well as with web content and external databases. Many call centers took advantage of Dynamic Linking to streamline call and workflow processes for their agents, allowing agents to focus exclusively on the script to complete complex calls.
IS Scripting has expanded over the years with new integrations, including web service elements that enable programmatically integrating IS with third-party systems via SOAP and REST API’s. In today’s IT world, web services are the most popular method of systems integration. Call centers can leverage web services to directly interact with customer and hospital systems to send and receive information.
The Amtelco Intelligent Series (IS) offers the ability for other systems to interact with the IS functions through the IS Web API. The IS Web API is available as a SOAP or REST API. Most developers now prefer the REST interface method because it is easier to work with than the older SOAP interface. Many call centers and hospitals use the IS Web API to enable other systems to access IS information such as IS Directories, IS On-Call Schedules, IS Messages, and more. Amtelco continues to expand the role of the IS Web API to provide further access to IS functions and data.
In 2008 the Soft Agent IS agent application was introduced. The Soft Agent application directly integrates with third-party switches and ACD platforms. Soft Agent integrates directly with any SIP enabled platform such as Asterisk, Avaya, Nortel, and Cisco. Soft Agent also integrates directly with PBX specific CTI interfaces such as Avaya AES/DMCC, Cisco CTIOS (UCCE), and Cisco CTI (UCCX).
Amtelco continues to expand the role of Soft Agent. It is one of two agent interfaces for Amtelco’s Genesis Soft Switching based Emergency ACD and is one of two agent interfaces for the Genesis Soft Switching based IS ACD.
The new Genesis IS Web Agent application is a scalable client application that makes any personal computer a professional telephone agent station. The Web Agent application can be integrated with both hard-wired legacy systems and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) based Voice Over IP (VoIP) networks. Web Agent is an integral component of the Intelligent Series (IS) call center system. The application can be accessed through the Internet or your company’s local intranet, depending on how your system is configured and integrates with a SIP-based PBX ACD.
The MergeComm module of the Intelligent Series (IS) is focused primarily on system integration and automated dispatching. MergeComm adds automated dispatching functions to IS by accepting inbound triggers from other systems, as well as by allowing operators and the system schedule to initiate automated dispatching. MergeComm processes a request by running an IS Script on the IS Server without human interaction. The IS Script typically produces an output that integrates with another system via one of the available IS Directory Contact Methods. The IS Directory Contact Methods all integrate with third-party systems using common interfaces and APIs. The list of supported IS interfaces continues to grow and Amtelco continues to add new interfaces to IS.
There are significant benefits for both call centers and hospitals from MergeComm. Call centers can utilize the automated dispatching functions of MergeComm to automate many of the dispatch processes that require manual intervention today. This includes group dispatching, escalation, retries, confirmation, and failure handling. These automated dispatch scenarios can be initiated by an operator or with a scheduled job. All MergeComm jobs can be monitored from the the Dispatch Board. The Dispatch Board is an interactive display that can be used with MergeComm Auto Dispatch jobs to view dispatch progress for individual contacts and to handle failed notification attempts.
Healthcare has unique system integration requirements. In addition to the above-mentioned interfaces, healthcare has a standards-based interface called HL7 (Hospital Level 7) that enables all of the different hospital systems to interact with each other using a common interface. Amtelco has a long history of working with HL7 to accept ADT (Admission Discharge Transfer) messages and populate patient directories used by agents to relay patient information to callers. Hospitals running Amtelco systems also have utilized HL7 to initiate pages to transport staff, housekeeping staff, and clinical staff upon receipt of ADT messages that indicate a patient needs assistance or a room needs to be cleaned.
As part of the Health Insurance Privacy and Portability Act (HIPAA), the U.S. Congress included incentives for healthcare organizations to migrate their medical records from paper to electronic format and penalties for non-compliance. The move to electronic medical records (EMR) brings additional requirements and opportunities for system integration. One of these opportunities is to document telephone encounters related to a patient in that patient’s electronic medical record. IS and MergeComm facilitate this with outbound HL7 capabilities that enables sending information into an EMR system via HL7. Amtelco is working with hospitals to use HL7 and other interfaces to allow call center agents to interact with EMR systems for uses, such as nurse triage call handling.
The opportunity and demand for system integration continues to grow. This is one of the primary focuses of Amtelco’s IS-based MergeComm module. There will be continued expansion of the integration options provided by Amtelco in the future.
Publish Date: November 25, 2020 11:15 AM
Many people understand the importance of using a secure messaging solution in the healthcare industry. By replacing the traditional pager with a secure messaging app, doctors and nurses can remain HIPAA compliant, ensure the patient’s PHI is secure, and increase overall efficiency. But there are other industries where secure and encrypted communications are vital to the performance of the company and the safety of sensitive information.
According to data from Statista, the United States saw 1,473 data breaches in 2019 and had more than 164.68 million exposed records. Furthermore, the average cost of lost business in 2019 was $1.42 million. Data breaches relating to sensitive information passed through communication can be entirely avoided with the right tools.
This month, we’re addressing the importance of using a secure messaging app within industries that deal with sensitive information, such as government, law, and banking, and how these apps keep your data secure.
To start off, we’ll answer how secure messaging apps, like miSecureMessages, protect data. Most modern secure messaging apps use end-to-end encryption, which is known to be the most secure way to communicate privately and securely online. Generally, to be end-to-end encrypted, you and the person you’re communicating with the need to use the same communication system, which makes secure messaging apps great for use in teams.
End-to-end encryption is a system of communication where only the user and the intended recipient can read the messages. Conversely, when you send a text message on your regular, non-secure device, your message is processed and stored by your and the recipient’s mobile service provider. Often, the mobile service providers may keep the message even after both the sender and recipient have deleted it.
Though there are several secure messaging apps available, not all include the same security features. For example, any messages that are sent or received on a device using the miSecureMessages secure messaging app are not stored on the device to ensure security. If your device is lost or stolen, the app can be remotely disabled so the device can no longer access miSecureMessages information. And, if the device is recovered, the app can be reactivated without the risk of losing messages. When choosing to work with a secure messaging app, be sure to research its capabilities and safety features to ensure it meets your company’s requirements.
There’s no denying that technology has made day-to-day living easier, especially in the business world. Those working in industries that deal with sensitive information, such as law, government, banking, mortgage lenders, credit card processors, and financial services, shouldn’t have to compromise the use of technology to secure their client’s sensitive information. Plus, if you work in a team, large or small, using a secure messaging app can be useful to communicate sensitive information quickly, efficiently, and securely.
Some ways in which a secure messaging app can be useful for teams in these industries include:
With more and more people demanding their information to be kept safe, it’s clear that the use of a secure messaging app is vital in industries that deal with sensitive information.
Publish Date: September 15, 2020 9:00 AM
Call centers exist in a constantly changing marketplace. New channels and technologies are constantly emerging. Using a multi-channel, all-in-one system makes it easier to support customers’ needs and earn their loyalty. A true omni-channel system eliminates many performance challenges call centers are facing today. Agents need to be able to assist customers without having to access multiple systems.
Remote agents are increasingly in demand to maximize the availability of resources. Software and virtual operator applications make working from home easier. In order to be effective these tools should be scalable and capable of offering fully functioning call handling.
Automation adds value by accurately handling the everyday tedious tasks which allows agents to focus on providing a higher level of customer satisfaction. Artificial Intelligence can be employed to improve call taking and reduce errors. Digital channels have become popular tools to enhance the customer experience. Analytics can also be utilized to improve customer retention rates and improve the caller experience.
Transitioning to Virtual Call Centers
Faced with limited space, some call centers are using a unique solution by having their agents work remotely from home. One of the benefits of running a call center in a virtual server environment, or in the cloud, is the ability to use home-based operators.
Communications software and virtual operator applications such as Amtelco’s Genesis Web Agent make working from home easy. These applications are scalable and offer fully functioning call handling to transform any personal computer into a professional telephone agent station which can be accessed through the Internet or local intranet. The Web Agent application is a web browser-based telephone agent interface for the Genesis Intelligent Series (IS) call center platform. Web Agent enables agents to process multi-channel calls through desktop computers, laptops and tablets from a web browser. The Genesis Web Agent application uses WebRTC to provide agent audio in a secure, multi-media environment. All agent functions are still available for remote agent connections, including call log recordings and retrieval, which allows for a smooth transition. For callers, the fact that the agents are remote is transparent.
A cloud-based messaging system is omni-channel and offers flexibility and efficiency. A VPN connection is established for remote operators to ensure their connection is secure. The data connection can be established via direct connection, remote desktop, thin client and an audio connection via integrated audio or external audio.
It is helpful to have a remote system that performs directory searches, scripted messaging, and dispatching, and provides access to call log recordings, web content, and on-call schedules. Custom call center scripting guides remote operators through each call with the exact information they need to provide. The ability to easily edit scripting protocols means frontline operators, working from any location, will know the most up-to-date information to provide the best caller experience and reduce errors or misinformation.
Benefits of Utilizing Artificial Intelligence
Amtelco’s Artificial Intelligence feature can reduce customer effort and help resolve customer needs on the first contact. First contact resolution is a leading sign of a great customer experience. Meeting this goal includes making call taking easier for agents, speeding up the call process for the caller, and reducing the possibility of errors.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) can enhance skill-based call routing to determine the best agent to receive a call. By using a call’s Automatic Number Identification (ANI), the Artificial Intelligence ACD feature can determine the best agent to receive that call based on which agent previously worked with the caller, started a dispatch for the caller, and is the most qualified to handle the call.
Expanding Digital Channels
By offering expanded digital channels such as chat, mobile, and social media, you can engage customers with meaningful support. These channels are becoming increasingly popular as customers feel more comfortable with them.
Amtelco’s Intelligent Series (IS) Social Media Monitor is a web browser-based tool that enables a call center to engage in real-time messaging on behalf of its customers. The Social Media Monitor translates popular social media posts, messages, and notifications on the client accounts into dispatch jobs that can be managed by agents. Facebook accounts can be checked for keywords, inbound messages, posts, comments about posts, shares of posts, and reactions to posts such as likes and other emoticon-based comments. Twitter accounts can be monitored for keywords, inbound direct messages, replies to account tweets, and for likes, hashtags, retweets, mentions, and reactions to posts by the customer. Instagram accounts can be checked for likes and comments regarding a client’s posts.
Utilizing Analytic Tools
Using new analytic tools is important to improve customer retention rates. Speech analytics allow Supervisors a deeper analysis of call logs, such as providing a transcript of the call and describing the overall tone of the caller. Speech analytics can also look for keywords in the call recordings and alert supervisors about the keywords. Data can be analyzed through charts, reports, and transcripts.
Benefits of Amtelco's Speech Analytics include:
As technology continues to evolve, using a multi-channel, all-in-one system will provide agents and customers with a more efficient call handling solution. Utilizing automation and enhanced services allows call centers to provide a higher level of customer satisfaction while reducing frustration for both the agent and customer.
Publish Date: September 15, 2020 8:46 AM
Business communication systems are complex, yet many companies select one communications method, secure messaging, in the hopes that a texting solution or an app is going to be their panacea.
When companies research products and businesses for a solution, they may not realize that, while many secure messaging businesses do offer texting products, that is all the vendor can offer. Having just that one part of a vast communication system will not support what their company needs.
Using a secure messaging app is important, but it is only part of an effective communication protocol. It is paramount for businesses to have a holistic communication platform so that a secure messaging app can integrate with other communication systems, and take advantage of known data to provide reports.
A stand-alone secure messaging app, or messaging app company, will not be able to address all of the communication pain points experienced by a business. However, used in combination with communications solutions that offer scripting, directories, on-call scheduling, emergency notifications, and other web-based applications, a mobile app backed by 24/7 support, provides companies with a complete communications suite they need to succeed.
- Tom Curtin is the president of Amtelco, a leading provider of innovative communication applications, and its 1Call Healthcare Division.
Publish Date: September 15, 2020 8:37 AM