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Inbound and Outbound Converge in the New Contact Center - COPC - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog

Inbound and Outbound Converge in the New Contact Center

I found this article in CRM magazine, Inbound and Outbound Converge in the New Contact Center, to be an interesting because it discusses some of the changes in our industry that are being made possible by process and technology, but with an eye to improving the customer experience.

In the past “outbound” contact centers were a four-letter word to many customers and staff as the focus was almost exclusively on sales and collections calls. The industry is changing and we are now seeing outbound calls blended with inbound transactions and handled by the same agents.

Specialized selling or collections skills are not needed in these environments, as the focus of the outbound call is on the customer relationship and support. This is the same function as that the inbound agent performs. However, I think the key to the design and implementation of this type of blended transaction will depend upon the needs of your customer.

How does your customer want their journey to proceed and how will your organization fulfill it? Will you be able to ensure that regardless of the channel the customer chooses that the content and experience is consistent across channels?

These are the key questions to ask to ensure that any technology implementation is designed to enhance the customer interaction, and that frontline staff have the skills, information and tools necessary to address the customer needs regardless of channel.

You can read the entire CRM article below.

Inbound and Outbound Converge in the New Contact Center

Call blending is the new normal as customer service becomes more proactive

By Leonard Klie – CRM magazine

As proactive contact becomes an integral part of customer care, the lines between outbound and inbound customer communications in the contact center are blurring, and this convergence is only going to intensify.

Currently, 70 percent of U.S contact centers use some form of call blending, involving the same agents in both inbound and outbound activity, according to research that ContactBabel presented in its “Inner Circle Guide to Outbound and Call Blending.”

There is “widespread acknowledgement that inbound and outbound activities are not mutually exclusive. One impacts on the other,” says Steve Morrell, principal analyst at ContactBabel.

And while the largest share of outbound contact (44 percent) involves sales-related activities, proactive customer service calls, such as notifying customers of deliveries or shipping delays, is a growing area. It currently makes up about 21 percent of outbound volume. Debt collection makes up 6 percent of outbound activity, and customer satisfaction surveys account for just 4 percent of the total volume.

Outbound activity is also being driven by an increase in the number of firms that offer customers the option to request a callback when agents are unavailable or hold times are expected to be high. Currently, 22 percent of firms offer this option, and when it is available, more than half of customers choose it, the research found.

The same blurring of the lines is occurring in the channels used, with 83 percent of U.S. contact centers asking their agents to interact over multiple media formats. It is likely that a multichannel approach, in which the company sends an email or text message first, waits to see whether the customer reads it and responds, and then follows up with a voice call, will become popular, the report concludes.

Both of these trends will force contact centers to change how they view their agents. “As outbound work becomes more about customer service and consultative selling rather than the old-fashioned cold-calling model, the agents’ interpersonal skills will become even more important,” Morrell says.

Luckily, technology is helping here, with contact management systems evolving to the point where they can tell the agent about customer purchase histories, personality profiles, and even preferences for the method and time of contact. Additionally, “the personalization of outbound customer contact will be supported through the use of dynamic scripting,” Morrell says.

Customer segmentation, personality matching, and an analysis of call outcomes will also become much more important, the research suggests.

And just as call duration and average handling times have fallen by the wayside as metrics for inbound calls, replaced by metrics that focus on customer satisfaction and first-contact resolution, ContactBabel expects the same to happen with outbound calls.

An additional benefit of call blending is that contact centers in the United States are seeing “considerable decreases” in agent attrition, something that has been historically very high across the industry, the report notes. It was even higher in call centers that only perform outbound activities, where the pressure to perform is much greater.

In addition to benefiting agents, call blending should be to the customer’s advantage as well. Morrell points out that customers could benefit from the right kind of communications, delivered at the right time and over the right channel. “Outbound communications can become welcomed as adding to the customer experience,” he says. “In effect, the business provides customers with information or an opportunity to communicate before they realize they even need it.”

Originally published in the June  2016 issue of CRM magazine. 

Source: http://www.copc.com/blog/inbound-and-outbound-converge-in-the-new-contact-center/

Publish Date: August 4, 2016 5:00 AM


2021 Buyers Guide Inbound Call Handling Services

 
1.) 
2Ring

2Ring Gadgets for Cisco Finesse
2Ring Gadgets for Cisco Finesse, offered in three bundles (standard, enhanced, premium), empowers supervisors and enables agents to become more efficient.

Supervisors are able to handle everyday tasks on their own from within Cisco Finesse: reskill agents, view detailed information about agents and customer interactions in real-time, receive alerts about important call center events (RONA, Calls in Queue, ..), send messages to agents, or even change wallboards on the fly. Be flexible to provide help when needed.

Agents gain all the features that they need to serve customers faster - repetitive tasks are automated, alerts about important call center events pop-up on top of all the appli...
(read more)

2.) 
3Fiftynine

Branches
Calls are received by the right person or department. The right corresponding information is shown to the agent which makes that appointments are handled quicker and more secure.

3.) 
Agara

Agara is an autonomous virtual voice agent powered by Real-time Voice AI. It is designed to have intelligent conversations with your customers, vendors, and partners without any assistance from human agents. It can handle a wide variety of calls including inbound customer care calls, outbound lead generation calls, appointment scheduling calls, and overdue payment recovery calls.

Agara is available for several industries including banking, insurance, retail, e-commerce, airlines, and telecom. Powered by advanced Real-time Voice AI that understands speech in real-time, automatically determines the right process to follow and guides the caller along in the process with natural conversation.

4.) 
Call Center Studio

Call Center Studio
Call Center Studio is the world’s first call center built on Google and is one of the most secure and stable systems with some of the industry’s best reporting. It is one of the most full-featured enterprise grade systems (with the most calling features, one of the best call distribution, outbound dialing features and integrations—including IVR, AI Speech Recognition, blended inbound/outbound calling and includes Google’s new Dialogflow and Speech API. Call Center Studio is the absolute easiest to use (with a 10 minute setup), and is the price performance leader with lower equipment cost and less setup time.

5.) 
Connect Assist

Contact Centre Services
We’re a specialist Contact Centre business and market leaders helping socially focused organisations deliver quality support to their clients and service users. We do this by providing 24/7 helplines, software solutions and consultancy services.

Since launching in 2006, we’ve operated at the sharp end of customer service, supporting some of society’s most vulnerable people. We’ve pioneered in our space to become a specialist in helplines, whilst using the most advanced communication and database technologies available.

Our social mission has remained a constant throughout, providing many meaningful career prospects and growth opportunities to people within our local communities and fur...
(read more)

6.) 
Jointly International Inc.

Front Office Solutions
Front office is your Company’s first line of customer interaction and serves as the mirror of your business. Focus on your core business and let our competent staff handle your various front office needs such as:

* Customer Service via chat, email or phone
* Technical Support via chat, email or phone
* Helpdesk
* Virtual Assistant/Receptionist
* Answering Service
* Lead Generation
* Appointment Setting
* Verification
* Surveys
* Debt Recover, Collections

7.) 
MattsenKumar LLC

Contact Center Outsourcing
By catering valuable, usable and enjoyable customer service, businesses can increase their CSAT Score and Customer Retention Rate. We help organizations to provide quality customer service through varied channels like email, phone and live chat. Ensuring quality after-sales support is our USP and we rely on proven approaches to ensure quality customer service.

8.) 
OpsTel Services

SPEED
The SPEED solution solves for service level issues while cost optimizing the environment with automation.

Provides an enhanced way to speed up & optimize invoking temporary agent skills configuration changes into the contact center environment.

Speed allows you to schedule both future changes & temporary changes that auto-revert back to the original state when scheduled time expires.

Speed features:

*Automated / Scheduled Temporary Agent Skills Configuration Management
*Immediate Temporary or Reoccurring Schedule Skills Configuration Changes
*Easy to Use/Operations Administration Focused
*Descriptive Monitoring Activity Dashboard
*Detailed “End to End’ Audit Trail and Performance Monitoring

9.) 
Vads

VADS Inbound Contact Center
VADS Inbound Contact Center Services provide live operators who answer incoming calls as you would yourself. A team of professional script writers is available to help you script a greeting and experience programmers will set up a time and money saving program. Our unique approach to call center services is client-focused, and takes each project’s unique needs into account to our client’s satisfaction. We offer solution as part of our service to keep you in touch with your client and drive sales.

- Customer Service
- Walk In Center
- Service Desk

10.) 
Tru29 Outsource Solutions Inc.

Front Office Solutions
Any part of your business operations that requires constant end-customer facing task is an essential part of your business.

This task requires a good customer experience results for every customer interaction. Our extensive experience in handling Front Office related tasks can help you focus on your core business while being cost-efficient at the same time.
 



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