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We get it: Your contact center is struggling right now. Your agents can barely handle phone calls during peak times. So the thought of adding additional customer service channels—like SMS, live chat and email—must seem like a crazy idea.
The truth, though, is that offering multichannel service to your customers doesn’t have to be a painful ordeal. In fact, with the right platform, you can actually make life easier for your agents and boost customer satisfaction ratings at the same time.
What do we mean by the “right platform?” Well, plenty of contact center providers offer multichannel service. The problem, though is that in most cases these services are disconnected from one another. For instance, agents will have to switch platforms for phone support, social media or live chat. The process can be confusing and it can create more work for agents by making them switch between programs during customer interactions.
Bright Pattern takes a different approach, by offering blended multichannel services. In other words, Bright Pattern’s cloud platform combines many different channels into one central hub. Agents will have everything they need in one user-friendly portal, including voice calls, SMS, video calls and chats, email, social messages, and in-app support.
Not only does having access to all of these tools on one screen make things easier for agents, but it also help increase productivity. For example, it allows agents to engage in live chat while on a call, receive pictures from mobile devices while chatting, and override email with a phone call.
So rest assured, launching a successful multichannel strategy doesn’t have to be difficult for anyone. Bright Pattern’s fully-managed, cloud-based platform will remove all of the pain points typically associated with customer communications.
Want to learn more about how Bright Pattern can help simplify your contact center? Click here.
Publish Date: June 15, 2016 5:00 AM
To say that we are in the middle of a mobile revolution is a gross understatement. According to GSMA, five years ago just one in 10 people owned a mobile subscription. Today, mobile subscriptions are owned by half of the world’s population—and an additional one billion mobile subscribers are expected by 2020.
What’s causing this surge in mobility? Smartphones.
As GSMA pointed out, these devices already account for 60 percent of mobile broadband connections in developed markets. And there will be 2.9 billion more smartphone connections across the globe by 2020, too.
Smartphones aren’t just reaching more consumers, though. They are forever changing the way that consumers interact with the world around them. In fact, smartphones are becoming completely integrated into the fabric of society.
“[Two big trends in 2016 will be] mobility as a primary compute platform and [devices] fading to the background,” explained Benjamin Robbins, co-founder, Co-CEO and Principal at technology consulting firm Palador. “It’s the whole notion of work-life integration, rather than work-life balance. That’s what I mean by [devices] fading into the background; they just become so integrated with what you do.”
Consider a recent study from Bank of America, which shows that 71 percent of Americans sleep with or next to their mobile phones. More than one-third of respondents reach for their mobile devices first in the morning (BEFORE their coffee, toothbrush or significant other). About 23 percent of Americans have fallen asleep holding their smartphones (this figure rises to 44 percent for millennials). And 86 percent of respondents claim that they check their smartphone at least a few times per day, with 36 percent checking their phones constantly.
“You’re in the car and you start something, and you go into the office and you start another task, and you move into a conference room and you just keep right on going,” Palador explained. “Maybe another way to say that would be comfortable computing: There’s just a comfort and familiarity with mobile working that it’s no longer a big deal.”
This begs the question: What exactly are people doing on their smartphones? Most of the time, they are using mobile applications. According to Go-Globe, mobile applications now account for more than half of all time spent on digital media. What’s more, smartphone users spend 89 percent of their media time using mobile applications. And 85 percent of people prefer using native mobile applications over mobile websites.
Now, here’s the kicker:
Because of the convenience that mobile applications afford, people are actually talking less and less on their phones. Research from Attentiv shows that consumers are more inclined to communicate using social channels, email and text messages rather than making voice calls. Chatting over short message service (SMS) or social channel is faster and more convenient, and so consumers are naturally taking the path of least resistance and using these methods first.
In light of all of these studies, survival in 2016 from a customer service standpoint requires embracing a multichannel strategy. Your company needs to look beyond voice service to the channels where your customers are spending all their time.
Bright Pattern provides a flexible, cloud-based platform that your agents can use to communicate with customers over any channel that they choose. From live in-app support to SMS to voice, Bright Pattern will make your mobile customer service transition completely seamless.
Click here to get started today.
Publish Date: June 14, 2016 5:00 AM
Your company is thinking of expanding its contact center into an international market, in either Europe or Asia. That’s great, as this means that your business is thriving and turning a great profit. Before you celebrate your expansion, though, you must consider how difficult the journey ahead will be.
While expanding your international footprint is exciting, deploying a global contact center can be exhausting as there will be many difficult barriers you will encounter.
Below are just some of the challenges that you’ll undoubtedly face when implementing a global contact center.
As you can see, there are many challenges to deploying a global contact center. With the help of Bright Pattern, though, you can overcome these hurdles. Bright Pattern’s simple and intuitive cloud contact center platform helps streamline global deployments by offering access to local telecom providers, centralizing customer data into a single Web based hub and even offering support for practically any language.
Bright Pattern has been successfully deployed in Japan, Turkey, the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Russia, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
Click here to learn more.
Publish Date: June 7, 2016 5:00 AM
Faith in cloud adoption is soaring among IT professionals. According to one recent study, 95 percent of IT professionals claimed they are using the cloud (a 2 percent increase from 2015). 77 percent are using private cloud services, and 71 percent are now in hybrid cloud environments.
Why are so many organizations turning to the cloud? It’s because cloud technology offers a slew of valuable benefits such as flexibility, increased collaboration, low costs, disaster recovery, and much more.
Yet while the cloud has become increasingly popular due to its wide range of benefits, some still remain hesitant of the technology due to security concerns.
According to a study conducted by Crowd Research Partners, 53 percent of respondents said that general security concerns were a major barrier to cloud adoption, which is an increase from the 45 percent who reported so last year.
As a business processing outsourcing (BPO) company, chances are you are a part of the 53 percent of people who are concerned about security and may be dragging your feet about embracing the cloud because of it. After all, one security mishap could result in major damages—not to mention hefty fines—for your customers.
Lucky for you, you don’t have to miss out on the benefits of the cloud due to security concerns. Here at Bright Pattern, we make security a top priority. Our cloud-based contact center technology meets the most stringent security and compliance requirements.
For example, our infrastructure boasts multi-tier operation support, independent firewalling of system-level functions, and per-tenant data encryption keys. What’s more, we carefully store and transmit sensitive data with use of secure protocols of all external interfaces and use encryption for all data elements where sensitive data may appear.
We also constantly monitor our infrastructure for security purposes, and release timely system updates that don’t conflict with daily operations. All updates are strategically performed during convenient times so as not to cause downtime.
To learn more about our enterprise-grade contact center software, click here.
Publish Date: June 2, 2016 5:00 AM
If one thing holds true in the contact center outsourcing industry, it’s that repeat business is never guaranteed. A BPO can be on great terms with a client one day, and on equally shaky ground the next. It’s a cutthroat industry, and BPOs can afford little time to rest on their laurels. It’s all about outshining your competitors at every turn.
Just how competitive are outsourced contact center services today? In one recent study, more than half of those surveyed reported that they opted to sever ties with their vendors once their contracts expired. What’s more, a significant number of customers that did renew contracts opted to add higher-value services.
What this study shows is that landing repeat business in the ultra-competitive contact center services market requires having access to cutting-edge software that is capable of facilitating high-quality customer interactions, and also generating comprehensive metrics. If your company isn’t offering these types of services to its customers, there is another company that will be. And it will be very difficult to convince your customers not to go a different route. You can’t win over customers on low prices alone.
Here at Bright Pattern, we maintain that one of the best ways to win over your clients and encourage repeat business is to offer strong (meaning secure, reliable and seamless) customer service across multiple channels. Using Bright Pattern’s cloud contact center software, your business will be able to effectively communicate with customers using SMS, social media, the Internet, voice and more.
To learn how Bright Pattern helps BPOs provide stellar service with our innovative cloud contact center platform, click here.
Publish Date: May 26, 2016 5:00 AM
In one of the most intriguing stories from around the global telecommunications ecosystem, Sweden recently became the first country to implement a national cloud contact center.
Now, Swedish citizens can register as volunteers using a mobile application and talk with callers across the globe about anything related to Sweden. Upon dialing 1-800-CALL-A-SWEDE, callers are randomly paired with anonymous agents. Each call is tracked and monitored, and reports are generated for quality control purposes.
Sweden’s decision to launch a contact center is amazing news for a few reasons. First and foremost, it’s fantastic to see a government entity place its trust in a cloud contact center. Sweden’s decision should send the message that the cloud is secure, affordable and convenient—something every government entity should consider relying on.
What’s more, this bold and creative marketing strategy will help Sweden break down barriers with foreigners who may otherwise be deterred from entering the country. It will also undoubtedly attract tourists and immigrants, and help outsiders to connect with the country, improving relations on a global scale.
The U.S., along with every other country, would be wise to follow in Sweden’s footsteps and consider implementing its own cloud-based contact center. It should be one that embraces multichannel customer service, and allows customers to connect over any channel—from live chat to SMS.
In the meantime, we encourage you to pick up the phone and contact Sweden to see what you can learn. Who knows—you may just wind up booking a Scandinavian vacation!
Publish Date: May 19, 2016 5:00 AM
In researching multichannel customer service, you’re bound to come across the term in-app customer support.
What exactly is in-app support, and why should you offer it to your customers?
In-app support simply refers to live customer service that is offered within the friendly confines of your company’s mobile application. In-app support can also refer to live support via your website.
Let’s stop and consider why in-app support is important…
A mobile application, like any other customer-facing channel, needs to act like a sort of trap. The goal is to keep a customer inside your application for as long as possible, in hopes of completing a transaction.
Customers, however, don’t always get the information they need when visiting. They can easily get confused and stuck. When this happens, it leads to one of several courses of action: The customer may head to Google and type in a query, which could lead him or her to other brands. Or, the customer may reach for the dialer and attempt to contact your brand over the phone, which takes more time and could lead to a hang-up. The customer could also just give up altogether and move on with his or her day.
It’s therefore critical to ensure that help is readily available within the application. Offering in-app support can be as simple as providing a “help” button that identifies the customer and connects him or her with an agent—all without having to exit the application. A robust in-app support package should also allow customers to exchange relevant voice and video files, images and documents.
Want to learn more about in-app support? Click here.
Publish Date: May 17, 2016 5:00 AM
Right now your team is building a new business model from the ground up, cherry-picking the best ideas and steering clear of any that could be seen as tired or irrelevant.
So when it comes to forming a customer service strategy, it’s worth reevaluating the need for a contact center. After all, the idea of the contact center as we know it was born during a time when the telephone was the only way of reaching a live agent. Now, the majority of customers simply take to the Web when they have a question about a brand.
You may be surprised to learn, though, that the contact center is still one of the most important parts of the enterprise and will continue to be over the next several years. In fact, according to Technavio, the global contact center market will continue growing at a CAGR of over 9 percent between now and 2019, at which time it will be valued at $9.7 billion.
As these statistics show, the contact center is far from obsolete. In fact, it’s playing a bigger role than ever before in helping businesses to provide great customer service. This is largely because, while self-service technologies are increasing in popularity, they have not and will not replace live agents. Self-service is just one part of a robust, multichannel customer service strategy.
What has changed, however, is the way that contact centers procure their network services. In the past, contact centers were primarily in-house, which meant having to procure your own network and software. Now, businesses can access first-class contact center services through the cloud at a far lower price.
Bright Pattern is one company that offers blended multichannel contact center software. For more information about Bright Pattern, click here.
Publish Date: May 12, 2016 5:00 AM
Right now your contact center is faced with a problem that is costing your company a great deal of business: Agents aren’t picking up the phones fast enough. As a result, customers are hanging up and may be fleeing to competitors.
This problem is called call abandonment, and it’s one of the most common issues that contact center managers struggle to overcome. Generally speaking, this problem is exacerbated when call wait times hover around 30 seconds or longer.
Of course, in a perfect world your business would be able to hire more agents—but this is a dream for most organizations.
Many contact centers are struggling financially, especially those that rely on expensive, on-premises networks. And the truth is that it’s neither quick nor easy to onboard new agents—especially in large numbers. Scaling may come with hefty fees associated with purchasing more software licenses. Agents must also be trained before fielding calls, further driving up time and cost.
So, how can you actually fix the problem?
As we discussed in a recent white paper, some of the most effective ways for dealing with call abandonment include announcing estimated wait times for customers to eliminate anxiety, offering virtual queue services and implementing a blended, multichannel customer service strategy. You can also offer self-service online, and improve communication between team members to speed up interactions and serve more customers.
Don’t despair, in other words. It is possible to reduce call abandonment rates in your contact center. Check out our white paper and see for yourself.
Publish Date: May 9, 2016 5:00 AM
You have been reading all about the immense power of cloud computing, and how most contact centers are now embracing this technology. At this point, you know that the cloud can reduce not only CAPEX and OPEX, but also headaches associated with downtime and scalability—while at the same time improving agent productivity and customer satisfaction ratings.
As for how the cloud actually works, however, you’re still a bit in the dark. So let’s break down this technology a bit further and focus on the three types of cloud deployment models that you have to select from: public, private or hybrid cloud.
Public cloud: Investing in a public cloud contact center solution will provide you with all the amenities you need to run your contact center, like software licenses and hosted, offsite storage. Vendors offer varying degrees of amenities and support. The most important thing to keep in mind about a public cloud environment is that you will be sharing the same computing infrastructure with other companies. The tradeoff is that, while public cloud service typically costs less, it may lack the resources and support that heavy workloads or mission-critical environments require for maximum performance.
Private cloud: If you’re looking for a more hands-on approach, and greater control over your data, you may opt for a private cloud environment. By deploying a private cloud setup, you will gain the same benefits of a public cloud, and you can even arrange for multitenancy if you want it. However, it will be on-premises and therefore managed by your own team, which can strain your resources. You will have to provide the equipment, and your team will be responsible for system upkeep.
Hybrid cloud: Many companies are opting to run with a hybrid deployment, which is basically a mix of public and private cloud infrastructure. In a hybrid setup, you’ll have a private, onsite cloud environment but offload certain processes to a hosted, offsite third-party cloud provider. This arrangement allows you to scale more easily and cost-effectively, and gives you more options for managing your data.
Leading cloud contact center solutions provider Bright Pattern can help you realize your cloud goals in any type of environment—public, private or hybrid. To request more information, click here.
Publish Date: May 5, 2016 5:00 AM
Nobody ever said it was easy running a business process outsourcing (BPO) company in the contact center space. In many ways, a contact center BPO operation is mission critical, as there is no rest, and no room for error.
If a client is depending on your business to handle its inbound communications, that client trusts that every interaction is handled professionally and in accordance with the expectations outlined in the service level agreement.
Unfortunately, many contact center BPOs are now finding out the hard way that, when that trust is broken, clients are slow to forgive and forget. Research shows that up to one third of all call center deals that come up for renewal are terminated each year.
That being said, here are some ways to earn the trust of your clients and avoid running into trouble:
Keep call times low: The last thing you want is customers complaining about long wait times before speaking with operators, so reducing wait times should be one of your biggest priorities. Low wait times mean fewer call abandonment rates and happier customers. Another bonus: call times will also be reduced as a result, meaning you will pay less for your monthly toll-free telephone bills.
Offer more than just phone service: The vast majority of customers will go to a company’s website or social channels, or use email before they place a phone call. So if you want to stay competitive, it’s vital to offer multichannel customer service options as well as in-app support and video chat. Try to be one step ahead of the game—don’t wait for your client to come to you and say “Why aren’t we offering Web service?” Chances are good that your competitors already are.
Follow the customer journey: The key to pleasing customers is to offer personalized service using data pulled from each subsequent interaction. Greeting a customer by name when he or she calls, recalling something from a previous conversation or mentioning an upcoming birthday are all ways of providing stellar customer service—and will make customers feel appreciated.
It takes a lot to earn repeat business and a strong reputation as a contact center BPO in today’s competitive market. Using Bright Pattern’s advanced, user-friendly and comprehensive cloud-based contact center software, however, the process is a breeze.
Blog: Call Center Outsourcing Best Practices
Why Bright Pattern is Quickly Becoming the #1 Multichannel Vendor for BPOs
Publish Date: May 3, 2016 5:00 AM
When the decision is made to outsource part of contact center calls to an outside vendor, it can be difficult to select a vendor to route your calls to. When outsourcing the calls you are typically forced to use the technology the outsourcing vendor already has in place. With this you are trusting their technology for call flow, reporting, quality management, as well as ensuring quality personnel, just to name a few. Because of these difficulties and the frustrations of managing calls on two different systems, many companies choose to keep all contact center operation in house, when there is an option out there that is beneficial to both the company and the outsourcing vendor.
When using a virtual, cloud contact center provider, it might make sense to consider asking the outsourcing vendor to log into the cloud-based platform used in-house as an additional team. This has a number of benefits: the reports stay the same, there is no system integration efforts, the same tools for quality management can be used, and recording remains in-house. If your contact center software also has advanced features and additional channels, that the outsourcing vendor does not currently support, having the outsourced agents working on your cloud contact center platform could be even more beneficial by increasing agent productivity and improving your call center KPIs. Finally, the metrics are calculated exactly the same way as for in-house teams, so the numbers are directly comparable to the current operation.
The vendor’s agents would use the company’s virtual call center user interface. This will require additional technology training on top of the company information they already need to learn in order to handle the customer inquiries.
The cost associated with a having the outsourced agents on your in-house technology is also quite minimal. If you are outsourcing during peak-hours when your in-house agents are busy you would only pay additional agent license fees on the concurrent outsourced agents. If you are outsourcing during off-peak hours, the additional cost of hosting outsourcing team will be minimal, because this will not increase maximum concurrent user counts.
Publish Date: April 29, 2016 5:00 AM
The republican and democratic campaigns are officially in the home stretch, with candidates making every concerted effort to sway the opinions of swing voters. At this point in the lengthy campaign trail, with the field narrowed down to just a few people, it’s a good time to sit back and marvel at how these politicians were able to reach the heights that they did.
All other things aside, it took money—and a lot of it—for these politicians to get where they are. According to the New York Times, for example, Hillary Clinton thus far has raised about $222 million. Bernie Sanders has raised $139.8 million. Ted Cruz is close behind, at $122 million, with Donald Trump coming in fourth at $36.5 million. John Kasich has brought in $34.1 million to date.
Also, none of these candidates would be where they are today without an effective dialing system in their contact centers.
Political fundraising, after all, comes down to two things: effectiveness and speed. Callers need to be able to reach as many voters as possible, in as short a time as possible. What’s more, they need to play by the rules; using robo dialers to contact cell phones, for instance, is prohibited by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) and could result in costly penalties.
For these reasons, the quality of a candidate’s predictive dialer—or automated outbound dialing system—can make or break an election. Predictive dialers offer the following benefits:
Fewer wait times: Predictive dialers, like Bright Pattern’s solution, dial callers before agents pick up the phone, and connect agents to live callers only. It eliminates the process of agents waiting on the line for a voter to pick up the phone, only to receive an answering machine or a hang-up.
Updated call registries: An effective predictive dialer system has access to databases that constantly refresh to ensure that contact centers are contacting the right numbers. Telephone numbers are continually ported by telecommunications carriers, so it’s vital to have the right information before placing a call.
Real-time hot listing: Another solution that an effective predictive dialer offers is real-time hot-listing, which pools data to recognize higher-priority contacts and push them to the top of the predictive dialer list. For example, this could include voters in key neighborhoods, or specific audiences correlated with live debates. For instance, if a politician is currently speaking to working-class Americans, the predictive dialer could target people in a specific income bracket and call them during a commercial.
Want to learn more about Bright Pattern’s unique approach to predictive dialing? Click here!
Publish Date: April 28, 2016 5:00 AM
Publish Date: April 27, 2016 5:00 AM
Right now, the city of Memphis, Tenn., like many other municipalities, is facing a challenge with its emergency contact center: It doesn’t have enough staff to answer calls in a timely manner.
The national standard for call wait times in emergency contact centers is 20 seconds, for at least 95 percent of the time. In March, Memphis tested at an average of 27 seconds.
This is a big problem. Those extra seven seconds could, in some cases, mean the difference between life and death. But Memphis is between a rock and a hard place regarding its staffing shortage, as there simply aren’t enough agents to answer the phone. The city has been struggling with the issue since last August.
City officials are currently working on a plan to significantly increase the number of agents by 2017. But there’s another noteworthy plan in place for next year as well—the implementation of text-to- 911, as part of a statewide effort to upgrade emergency response capabilities.
Text-to- 911 is intended for use by citizens who require emergency attention but who may not be in immediately life-threatening situations, for example witnesses of crimes or domestic violence victims.
Emergency 911 operators will handle these texts and send timely responses. This so-called multichannel service will reduce incoming call volumes, freeing on-call operators to answer phones faster.
Multichannel service is provided by cloud-based contact center platforms like Bright Pattern. With the help of Bright Pattern, agents can access multiple channels over a single hub. It’s a user-friendly, cost-effective way to make emergency contact centers more accessible, and also more efficient.
To learn more about how Bright Pattern can improve your city’s emergency response times with a multichannel service strategy, click here.
Publish Date: April 26, 2016 5:00 AM
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