Contact Solutions Inc. - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
WashingtonExec Features Tim McCurry, Director of IVR Solutions, on Agency Fraud Prevention Strategies
Recently our very own Tim McCurry, Director of IVR Solutions, was featured in WashingtonExec. In his interview, Tim provided fresh insights on how government agencies can prevent and combat fraud. He provides a sneak peak into the type of new projects his team is working on this year. Hint: It includes looking at more real-time automation and analytics to detect and prevent fraud in the IVR. For the full interview, click here.
Publish Date: April 15, 2016 5:00 AM
We’re all familiar with the email or phone call we receive from a company following a customer service engagement asking us about our experience. The average response rate for email surveys is 24.8 percent and 8 to 12 percent for telephone surveys.
That’s a good response rate, but maybe there’s an opportunity to learn more. Consider supplementing post-call surveys with actionable questions asked during a customer service interaction.
To celebrate International Ask A Question Day, here are some tips your company can use to get valuable feedback on customer service experiences and even your customers’ overall brand perception.
- Alleviate the customer’s frustration – Most of the time when a customer contacts customer service they’re encountering some sort of problem or issue. While it’s important to be sympathetic by apologizing for the inconvenience, use this opportunity to also ask the customer questions about their overall experience, for example: “What can we do to improve our mobile app experience?” or “How can we improve the mobile checkout process?” Asking these types of questions makes the customer feel like they’re being heard and their opinions matter. It can also uncover issues that other customers may be encountering.
- Put yourself in the customer’s shoes – At the end of the day we’re all customers, so think about the questions that you appreciate hearing from customer service reps. Questions such as “Did we get your issue resolved?” or “How did we do on the call today?” are simple ways to get feedback and identify areas for improvement. Another great question to ask is “What kind of device or platform do you prefer when contacting customer service?” This feedback can help inform new customer service offerings. Often, companies assume that because a person calls for customer support, that’s their preferred platform. But we’ve found there’s a digital disconnect between the platforms customers prefer and those that enterprises are offering. For instance, customers may not prefer the phone, but could still choose to call customer support because other options didn’t provide a compelling experience.
- Take advantage of the lull periods – If your customer service reps are on the phone with a customer waiting for a transaction to be completed, for instance trying to get a hold of another department or waiting for information to go through, use that moment to ask the customer a question about their experience with the company such as: “What would you like to see us add to our services and products?” This is a great opportunity to hear customers’ preferences directly.
Publish Date: March 13, 2016 5:00 AM
Dr. Natalie Petouhoff of Constellation Research recently wrote a blog post providing insight into Verint’s Acquisition of Contact Solutions. Thanks to Dr. Natalie for allowing us to repost her blog below.
Cloud-Based Customer Service and Customer Experience: Verint’s Acquisition of Contact Solutions
February 22, 2016 By Dr. Natalie
Cloud-Based Customer Service and Customer Experience. Verint® Systems Inc. announced its acquisition of Contact Solutions, a leading provider of real-time, contextual customer care solutions. The combination of Contact Solutions advances the Verint Customer Engagement Optimization™ portfolio with the addition of cloud-based solutions that enhance voice and mobile self-service through automation and analytics-driven personalization. By joining Contact Solutions’ strong self-service capabilities with its advanced customer analytics, engagement management and workforce optimization solutions, Verint is extending omnichannel engagement across the enterprise. With this acquisition, Verint is furthering its mission of being the world’s leading Actionable Intelligence® platform that enables organizations toprovide crucial insights that empower decision makers to anticipate, respond and take action.
Cloud-base Voice and Mobile Self-Service. The combination of Contact Solutions and Verint will increase the value proposition that customers of both companies receive. Verint customers will be able to extend their investments in omnichannel customer engagement with expanded cloud-based voice and mobile self-service options. Contact Solutions’ dynamic customer base—including many public sector and commercial organizations—will have access to new world-class actionable intelligence with the ability to leverage leading customer engagement optimization solutions to help transform their end-to-end customer engagement.
Personalization Engine: Providing Intelligent One to One Service. Today’s forward-thinking organizations understand the value of delivering personalized and contextually relevant interactions that enhance the customer experience and heighten loyalty. Backed by a robust set of analytics, Contact Solutions’ personalization engine analyzes and adapts call flow and the pace of interactions based on caller behavior. For example, if a caller most frequently selects “account balance” from a set of menu options, the personalization engine can detect this behavior and dynamically rearrange the menu so “account balance” is always the first option presented to that caller. This reduces both time and effort, resulting in better experiences for customers, and decreasing interaction costs for the enterprise through higher automation rates and shorter calls.
Cloud-based Solutions Extends Engagement Optimization Across Smartphones, Tablets and Personal Computers. The rise of “digital-first” approaches to customer engagement has opened the door for consumer engagement at any point in the customer journey. Thanks to the widespread adoption of smartphones, mobile self-service is on the rise and growing in popularity. To address customer demand and market dynamics, Contact Solutions delivers My:Time™ (its patented digital engagement platform.) This cloud-based solution extends engagement optimization across smartphones, tablets and personal computers. With advanced, cross-channel messaging functionality, it enables customers to start a digital interaction on one device and continue it on another, allowing continuity and continued personalization of interactions. Leveraging My:Time’s App2Agent™ functionality takes mobile customer service another step forward by enabling a seamless transition from self-service to live service within a mobile app, mobile web or web application. This will advancing mobile self-service and engagement.
Privacy and Security: Combating Contact Center Fraud. The combination with Contact Solutions also will add functionality to Verint’s solution set focused on mitigating risk, identifying fraud and reducing loss. For instance, Contact Solutions’ capabilities complement Verint Identity Authentication and Fraud Detection™, the innovative technology that delivers passive voice biometrics to profile and recognize the voiceprints of fraudulent callers—while makingcaller authentication faster, easier and more secure. Backed by advanced analytics, Contact Solutions brings advanced “upstream fraud detection” functionality that can identify suspicious caller behavior within voice self-service interactions. As potentially threatening interactions surface, red flag detection alerts users to problems and tailors appropriate responses.
MY POV: Businesses need to decide the evolution into the cloud, especially when it comes to customer engagement, customer service and especially mobile and self-service. As customers become more and more attached to their phone, and their expectations for customer engagement higher than ever, it’s really time businesses decide on their digital transformation strategy and start now. Tomorrow is too late!
@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research
Covering Cloud and IoT That Drive Better Business Results and Awesome Customer Experiences
Publish Date: March 2, 2016 5:00 AM
“Verint has once again demonstrated a keen ability to stay one step ahead”
Contact Solutions announced on February 22, 2016 that it had been acquired by Verint. Contact Solutions has a suite of cloud offerings that include:
- Adaptive IVR
- Fraud Prevention
- Mobile Engagement
Paul Stockford from Saddletree Research has been closely following the Verint and the industry for some time. Paul provides his perspective on the acquisition in a “Research Update: Verint Acquires Contact Solutions, Adding Advanced IVR Capabilities to Customer Engagement Optimization Portfolio.”
Get your copy of this Saddletree Research update below (It's a one click download pdf.)
Publish Date: March 1, 2016 5:00 AM
Verint + Contact Solutions: Taking Omnichannel Engagement to New Heights with Real-Time, Contextual Self-Service
From Dave Capuano, Verint and Michael Southworth, Contact Solutions
Today, we’re pleased to announce Verint’s acquisition of Contact Solutions, a leading provider of cloud-based voice and mobile customer care solutions.
Like Verint, Contact Solutions is focused on helping customers achieve better outcomes with less effort. With a rich history and dynamic customer base, Contact Solutions provides real-time, contextual voice and mobile self-service solutions. Behind the solutions are a wealth of automation and analytics-driven personalization that aligns exceptionally well with the Verint Actionable Intelligence vision and further extends our omnichannel customer engagement portfolio across the enterprise.
Today’s forward-thinking organizations understand the value of delivering personalized and contextually relevant interactions that enhance the customer experience and heighten loyalty. And thanks to the rise of “digital-first” approaches to customer engagement, consumers can now start and re-engage at any point in the customer journey and from any number of devices and channels.
With the addition of innovative companies like Contact Solutions, Verint is continuing its mission of delivering the world’s leading Actionable Intelligence platform. Click here to learn more about Contact Solutions and here to find out more about Verint’s full portfolio of Customer Engagement Optimization solutions.
Publish Date: February 20, 2016 5:00 AM
Groundhog Day took place just a few short days ago, and, as you might know, Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow, which means there is an early forecast for spring. Though many of us cannot even imagine sunshine and warm weather after the blizzards that have swept the nation recently. While most of us were stuck inside our houses for days binge watching Netflix, there were a lot of people at contact centers around the country working hard to keep the power and heat on for their customers. But, running an effective customer service center in the midst of a state of emergency isn’t a fluke. Want to know the key to executing an efficient customer service center during a crisis? Create a disaster-proof plan. Here are some ways to improve your network reliability and prevent an outage during the blizzard season:
- Develop a crisis-management plan and test it – Creating, implementing and maintaining a disaster-recovery and business continuity plan is extremely critical to your business’ survival. It is also important to test out your plan multiple times to ensure that it works and is ready in the event of a network outage or disaster.
- Follow the 3,2,1 rule - Have a backup solution for your backup solution: three copies of your data, stored on two different kinds of media, with one of them stored offsite. Investing in a cloud service platform to store your data backups is the best way to ensure that your most critical information is protected during a state of emergency.
- Open communication – Communicate in advance with your employees and customers of who may be affected. Let them know if the inclement weather will impact your service to your customers and make sure to keep them posted with updates.
- Know your vendor’s contingency plans – Make sure you have an open line of communication with not only your customers, but also your vendors. This is important so you can keep your customers informed of how much disruption there will be to their service.
- Safeguard your data – During a state of emergency, there are a lot people trying to access data and information, which results into a greater potential than normal for a malicious compromise of your network.
Don’t wait until the next Snowmageddon to develop a disaster-proof plan, start planning now so you can be prepared. Practice makes perfect therefore it is important to efficiently train your employees so they know what to do in the incident of a state of emergency. As our good friend Ned Stark once said: #WinterisComing.
*Photo Credit: Meme Generator
Publish Date: February 4, 2016 5:00 AM
Have you ever wondered if it’s a good decision to put your customer engagement and contact center in the cloud?
Being a builder, provider and expert end user, I have come up with 5 questions to ask yourself no matter the size of your organization!
Take The Self Assessment
- Are your end users satisfied with the solution you’re providing for them? Is it creating a great customer experience, retaining agents, and driving retention? Be sure you are retaining loyalty and revenue with your customers with whatever solution you may be providing.
- Do you provide your customer facing employees a single view? If a customer inquired on a service via mobile, chat or phone calls, does your agent know that? Can your agent really know the consumer through their conversation threads?
- Is your core competency finding the specialists that support your complex software, hardware routing, IVR, workflows, PCI, and security compliance?
- Do you have the expertise to meet the needs of the customer? Is this within your core competency? Due to limited skill sets, not many companies can count on this as an area of expertise.
- Have you been able to focus on a customer engagement solution outside the call center? Keep in mind, the customer interaction is more then just a call center—it includes the web communication and making sure the customer feels valued. That drives loyalty, revenue and credibility to your brand.
And one last question for grins. If you are looking to partner in the cloud, will your partner align with you and minimize the risk around your business outcome?
All of these questions are important to ask yourself in order to take your customer engagement and contact center to the cloud. After this self assessment, if making the switch sounds like the best option, contact Nexxphase to learn what we can do for you.
Publish Date: June 9, 2015 5:00 AM
Every industry is competitive—especially the contact center industry, now becoming the Customer Engagement industry which managed the consumer interaction inside and outside the Contact Center. One major way companies compete is by staying up-to-date with current trends and predictions within their specialized industry. The technology industry, for example, is always changing and falling behind can make or break the success of your company.
To avoid following in the footsteps of failed companies, it’s imperative that a startup stays very current in the industry it’s trying to break into. How can you stay up-to-date in the trends in the call center industry? Below is a list of 5 Call Center trends likely to become wide spread in the year of 2015.
Browsers and WebRTC
How promising are browser-based call center solutions? Well, promising enough to allow Talkdesk, a brower based call center, to acquire $3.15 million in funding as of October 2014.1 Ease of use, accessibility, security, and cost efficiency are just few examples of how a browser-based call centers are superior to their hard drive running counterpart.
WebRTC, a set of protocols that utilizes various APIs to enable browser video, voice, screen and P2P file sharing, is able to provide call centers with a reliable, fully integrated solution for their communication needs. WebRTC is a major reason for the upcoming trend of browser-based call center solutions. Here are a just a few of the benefits that call center companies derive from browser and WebRTC integration:
- Ease of use: A browser-based call center solution requires no installation and is accessible from any computer with an Internet connection and a browser.
- Seamless integration: A browser-based call center solution provides seamless integration through standardized web protocols.
- Reduced costs: By switching to browser-based call centers, companies are able to reduce the costs of their PSTN calls.
- Security: WebRTC is a browser-based protocol; as such, it utilizes many of the modern day security protocols available to a web API.
- Enhanced communications: browser-based call center solutions are able to provide a more interactive UI with more available functionalities to its users.
Brower-based contact centers provide a significant increase in functionality and efficiency with little to no drawbacks. As a result, it’s easy to see why it is on track to be a major trend of 2015.
BPM and Work Flow optimization
BPM, through information technology, increases efficiency by optimizing business processes. According to Wil van der Aalst, a Business Process Management (BPM) researcher and professor at Eindhoven University of Technology, BPM is “supporting business processes using methods, techniques and software to design, enact, control and analyze operational processes involving humans, organizations, applications, documents and other sources of information.”2
By implementing BPM, a company is able to optimize their business processes and benefit in the following ways:
- Increased visibility: BPM makes all processes visible. Having little to no visibility is the reason why business processes are able to get away with gross inefficiencies.
- Obtain analyses: In the absence of BPM, business processes are tough to analyze. BPM allows businesses to analyze and optimize their business processes that will result in increased efficiency and optimization.
- Security: Companies find BPM to be a useful tool in fraud prevention, auditing, and assessment of regulation compliance.
- Efficiency: Whether through convergence, reduced lead-times, increased potential to identify areas in need of optimization, or a better understanding and definition of in-company duties, BPM can drastically improve a company’s efficiency.
Video was a major addition to customer service support in 2014. The trend is unlikely to halt in 2015 and is, instead, expected to grow at a rapid rate. Video is a tool that companies are able to use to increase customer support through enhanced human interaction.
In January 2015, AT&T announced its plans to support WebRTC by allowing their customers to transfer their video calls to their smartphones without dropping the data.4 Microsoft also announced their support of video calling by promising WebRTC integration with Skype and Internet Explorer. As a result, it appears that browser-based video calling will become an industry standard and a major call center trend this year.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, gamification is “the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service.”5 Although the term Gamification has been around since 2002, it has started to to gain more popularity over the years.
In 2011, Gartner, a world leader in information technology research and advisory, said, “By 2015, more than 50 percent of organizations that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes.”7 Gartner’s analysis was proven correct due to a survey conducted in February 2013 that revealed more than 70 percent of Forbes Global 2000 companies were either already implementing or had plans to implement gamification.
Because gamification is designed to encourage engagement with a product or service, it is not surprising that call centers are interested in how gamification can help them make their job more interesting to their employees.
As previously stated, Gartner has predicted many of the IT industry’s trends. In October 2014, Gartner said, “Cloud is the new style of elastically scalable, self-service computing, and both internal applications and external applications will be built on this new style.”
Cloud-based call center solutions offer fulfilling company’s scalability, reliability, speed, reduced costs, increase capabilities and much more. Cloud utilization has seen remarkable growth over the past year and as a result, 2015 is now posed for an explosive takeoff of cloud utilization in call centers.
NexxPhase, the leading Customer Engagement solution provider, is more then just a Cloud Call Center Provider. NexxPhase streamlines the way businesses digitally interact, communicate and operate with others in the industry. Optimizing the consumer interaction that drive loyalty and revenue.
As a company that enjoys being on the leading edge of the industry, NexxPhase makes every effort to stay ahead on industry trends and open standards for innovation. Allowing our customers that competitive and differentiated advantage they look to us for.
1 Kia Kokalitcheva, “Talkdesk grabs $3.15M for Its ‘Call Center in the Browser,” Venture Beat, September 16, 2014, http://venturebeat.com/2014/09/16/talkdesk-grabs-3-15m-for-its-call-center-in-the-browser/
2 Ryan K. L. Ko, “A Computer Scientist’s Introductory Guide to Business Process Management (BPM),” Crossroads, June 2009 http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1558897.1558901&coll=ACM&dl=ACM
4 Micah Singleton, “AT&T is the First US Carrier to Support WebRTC,” The Verge, January 5, 2015, http://www.theverge.com/2015/1/5/7494745/att-first-us-carrier-support-webrtc
5 “Oxford Dictionaries,” Oxford University Press, February 27, 2015, http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/gamification
6 Simon Carless, “AGDC: Paharia, Andrade On Making Dunder Mifflin Infinity,” Gamasutra, September 17, 2008, http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=20288
7 “Gartner Says By 2015, More Than 50 Percent of Organizations That Manage Innovation Processes Will Gamify Those Processes,” Gartner Press Release, April 12, 2011, http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/1629214
8 Brian Burke, “The Gamificiation of Business,” Forbes, January 21, 2013, http://www.forbes.com/sites/gartnergroup/2013/01/21/the-gamification-of-business/
Publish Date: April 23, 2015 5:00 AM
We have long had the vision:to one day have a business model that aligns fully with our clients as partners rather than vendors. After all, those in the customer experience business should be the first to embrace customer goals and visions, right?
Imagine side by side goals, objectives and compensation – a real team approach. Imagine real alignment that structures a partnership, not just a detached vendor relationship.
No More Empty Promises
No longer would clients have to hear from their vendors about their great “all you can eat” software at a GREAT price – only to discover later that they never even used most of those highly promoted bells and whistles. Which means that the price wasn’t so great after all. Not to mention the PS bills that continue to flow in to support all those integrations and upgrades.
No longer would clients have to hear, “We have some great software on a monthly subscription, and good luck hitting your ROI’s we developed together!”
Or, “It all works great if you buy everything from us, including your email, chat, conversation tools, distribute workflow tools, WFM, etc.”
And what if clients want to create and track the full customer engagement by integrating the back office and remote offices? What they hear is, “No problem. For enough PS and time we can make it happen.”
We have tried this as an end user, and WOW is it painful. Generally, vendors have developed these offers as “bolt on” products that are not well integrated, and both client and customer suffer.
Instead, our vision includes a platform designed for simplicity, speed and efficiency that is:
- Easy to deploy due to the Web Services Core
- More than just a Contact Center, but a Customer Engagement Solution that provides a single view of the consumer and integrates the following:
- All the contact center technology
- CRM services and mashable desktop
- Communications enabled workflow to optimize the consumer engagement
- Open to the integration of your own preferred technologies
- A platform NOT built on an ACD, but a work item processing architecture treating documents, emails, chat, voice, and social all as simple work items, which collapse the consumer with the agent.
- So open with our rich set of REST API’s, that you are willing to bet your business agility on it.
With our deep aggregation of operational and technical experience, we see exciting opportunities for improvements every day that could significantly benefit from our powerful enabling Cloud platform. We also have partners who have skills in the area of predictive analytics, vertical self service and a whole set of unique solutions that ride on top of the NexxPhase platform.
Results as a Service
We are excited to announce the first ever RaaS TM (Results as a Service) model, where we defer all PS fees and 50% of SaaS service fees until we meet a mutually agreeable business outcome. What’s more, the outcome is determined by you, the customer.
We are inspired by the possibilities that come from teaming with our customers in generating a substantial business outcome. Whether it is First Time Call resolutions, an increase in retention rates, revenue uptick, or cross sell; it all depends on your priorities.
- We will agree to a percentage increase in First time call resolution, revenue cross sell increase.
- We will defer PS and discount our seat rate by 50% until we obtain the mutually agreed upon business outcome. Naturally this all starts with our Customer Success Organization through an initial discovery session.
Why can we do it? Simply because our team members have deep operations experience and the necessary expertise of those who have run many successful F500 Customer Care and Customer Engagements.
Unlike other Cloud providers and call center companies, many of us come from the operational side of the industry. We have been in the shoes of our clients. And through our highly effective use of partners we know what it takes to form a truly successful partnership with a real win/win relationship.
So let’s roll out a new era of Results as a Service that includes real and lasting client alignment.
Give us a call today and find out how you can take the first steps toward a call center solution that you can really use.
Publish Date: January 30, 2015 5:00 AM