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Enghouse Interactive - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog Page 2

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Contact Center Service Provider (CCSP) estimated as the most widely-used global Cloud Contact Center Platform

DMG Consulting, founded by Donna Fluss, has long been one of my favorite analyst firms because of the depth and breadth of their understanding and expertise in the contact center (as well as other) application space. They are known for publishing very detailed, informative and comprehensive reports no matter the topic.

That’s why we are happy to post a Reprint excerpted from the 2015 /2016 Cloud-Based Contact Center Infrastructure Market Report and I hope you’ll download a copy of our reprint. If you’re looking for an in-depth analysis of the dynamic cloud Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) market I highly recommend the source report, her eighth annual report on this topic with over 500 pages of analysis.

In the report you will find Enghouse Interactive’s Contact Center Service Provider (CCSP) is estimated as the most widely used cloud contact center platform in the world. Our service provider partners manage over 280,000 named agents at more than 1000 end customer (tenants.)

That means we have 3 times more end customers than the vendor ranked second and have 80% more seats than the vendor ranked third! With 14.3% of the market CCSP is the most selected CCaaS platform for organizations wishing to offer a cloud-based contact center to their end customers.

We continue to believe that it is service providers who are ideally positioned to offer CCaaS as they have the core infrastructure, network and operational ability needed to deliver cloud applications as a service.

Read more about our position as the most widely-used cloud contact center platform in our Press Release.

Source: http://blog.enghouseinteractive.com/contact-center-service-provider-ccsp-is-the-most-widely-used-global-cloud-contact-center-platform/

Publish Date: March 15, 2016 5:00 AM


What do people really think of Skype for Business in the contact centre?

What do people really think of Skype for Business in the contact centre

According to Unify-Squared, the world of Skype for Business is growing rapidly, looking to exceed 100 million enterprise seats by 2018, if it continues on its current growth trajectory.

But is the contact centre really ready to embrace Skype for Business? In our recent webinar with Microsoft, it was highlighted that the connection between the contact centre staff and back office experts using presence, adds the greater value to the contact centre.

However, we recently asked the Enghouse Interactive twitter community their opinion on Skype for Business for the contact centre. Interestingly, there is much needed education to help businesses understand the true benefits of SFB for contact centre environments. Currently, a number of the twitter community are still in the mindset of Skype as a consumer product and see video as the only reason to use SFB in the contact centre. Which is of course is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of benefits to the contact centre.

Read more of what our twitter community had to say, by downloading our WHITEPAPER: What do people really think of Skype for Business in the contact centre?

Source: http://blog.enghouseinteractive.com/what-do-people-really-think-of-skype-for-business-in-the-contact-centre/

Publish Date: February 29, 2016 5:00 AM


Rectify your call scripting mistakes in real time to improve performance

The use of scripts in the contact centre can bring businesses many benefits, reducing agent training time and helping eliminate errors and compliance issues; supporting better customer engagement while promoting consistency in customer service.  Yet, there are also many pitfalls in rolling out a call scripting strategy. And where businesses do get things wrong, they can end up irritating customers, alienating them altogether or becoming non-compliant with the latest rules and regulations.

Fortunately, help is at hand in the form of the latest speech analytics technology.  Here we assess two common issues with call scripting and consider how they can be resolved with the help of real-time speech analytics.

Common Mistake – Creating scripted monologues

One of the most frequent mistakes businesses make in this area is building unnecessarily long agent monologues into scripts, thereby offering little opportunity for interaction or engagement with the customer. The latest speech analytics technology helps address this issue by evaluating the speech ratio of calls in real time; identifying those scripts that don’t allow for a proper dialogue, or input from the customer, and then modifying them accordingly.

Common Mistake – Following script but failing to respond to ad hoc questions

Another common issue is when the agent follows the script successfully but then fails to respond effectively to questions or remarks from the customer which are off script.

Again, real-time speech analytics can provide an effective solution, by evaluating dialogue pairs consisting of a phrase and a predefined answer, which can be used to ensure the agent is giving a correct response to questions such as ‘is there an early repayment charge?’ as well as ensuring that the customer is confirming agreements for compliance reasons.

Taken together, these examples demonstrate that call scripting can offer an extensive range of benefits for customer-facing businesses today. Yet, if they want to make sure these benefits don’t turn into drawbacks, real-time speech analytics is an essential requirement.

For further information, please visit information on our Real-Time Speech Analytics solution. 

Source: http://blog.enghouseinteractive.com/rectify-your-call-scripting-mistakes-in-real-time-to-improve-performance/

Publish Date: February 15, 2016 5:00 AM


Improve Contact Center Performance with the Right Analytics

The contact center’s role as an enabler of customer service has always been driven by metrics. But, are we now seeing fundamental changes in how performance is measured?

We still ask ourselves how long our customers have to wait for a response, or for an answer to their problem. We still ask ourselves how productive are our agents, and whether we’re getting enough value for the cost.

So, are we OK sticking to the same reports and data we always have?

In a word, no.

The “what” and the “how” of performance measurements are evolving in lockstep with how your customers now expect to leverage easy communications for rapid solutions. Before getting to the kind of analytics you should be thinking about, consider the recent past and why these “legacy” metrics won’t keep you competitive today.

The world you know

Conventional call center reporting has historically focused on operational metrics, such as: number of calls; abandoned calls; talk time; service level (% of calls answered within an acceptable time period), and so on. Legacy facilities have been capital-intensive, and certain core metrics were needed to demonstrate good ROI to management. These data points were fairly easy to measure – we know how long a customer is listening to hold music; we know when an agent picks up and hangs up the phone. In any given week, we could tell our managers that volumes are up, but talk time is down, so our service level is getting better and better. Life was good, or so it seemed.

Then, as the Internet grew, call centers evolved into contact centers, and multi-channel became the norm. With a choice of communication channels, “talk” time became “interacting” time; the time it took to compose an email reply or complete a text chat.

Acceptable service levels were relative to the channel – it’s OK for a customer to wait 24 hours for an email reply, but web chats demand response in 30 seconds or less. These same concepts were applied to what was reasonable for each channel.

The world you thought you knew

Before we make the jump from multi-channel to omni-channel, let’s take a step back. On its surface, “talk time” (or “interacting time”) seems like a valuable metric; after all, if I minimize the amount of time each agent spends on each interaction, they can handle more. Right?

More interactions, lower cost translates into more customers, higher revenue. True?

But, consider what if agents, who are incented to get off the phone quickly don’t actually solve the problem? What if customers have to call back multiple times to address the same issue?

What if agents artificially inflate their number of interactions to appease management, at the expense of quality and customer satisfaction? Talk time may look great, but “issue resolution time” and “customer satisfaction level” may suffer dramatically.

To address this concern, more sophisticated contact centers began to look at combinations of multiple metrics. Let’s examine the impact of higher talk times on shorter issue resolution time, you might say. Or let’s take a look at the number of interactions per issue. As such, that leads us to metrics that more closely indicate true customer satisfaction, like “first contact resolution” rate, or our “customer survey rating” or “Net Promoter Score” (NPS).

Some organizations are examining the value of speech analytics to monitor and analyze spoken words which bring structure to interactions and reveal the information buried in customer contact center. In a recent report, Markets & Markets detailed its potential, as “the technology is used to extract important business intelligence material which is used to relate it to strategy, product, process, operational issues, and contact center agent performance. All this information helps to give an insight regarding what customers or clients actually think about their company, which in turn will help the enterprise to react quickly in favor of their working structure.”

Collectively, we are getting closer to identifying real interaction value, but it’s not an easy road.

How does one measure “first contact resolution,” for example? A post-interaction survey (“Did we resolve your issue?”) may work, but it may also be biased. Unhappy customers, for example might complete the survey to make a point.

Agent “wrap-up” data is also viable, but its value is derived from the agent’s honesty in evaluating performance. And, one must ask if the agent really knows if the issue was fully resolved. Supervisor evaluations of recorded interactions are an option, but could be very time-consuming and expensive.

The world you need to know

As contact centers boldly move into the world of omni-channel customer communications, truly insightful metrics may require even more intricate calculation. For example, if you text message an appointment reminder to a customer, they click through to your website to change it, and then they require a live call to discuss options, are these three different interactions with your business or just one (which combines three different channels)? Would you call this “first contact resolution?”

It is no doubt a complex equation. Here are four suggestions to help define valuable metrics in this brave new world:

  1. Leverage a knowledgeable partner. Choose a vendor and/or integrator with proven experience in omni-channel communications and analytics solutions. A good partner will assist in determining the right metrics, with a focus on customer experience, value, and cost.
  2. Determine the analytics that are most appropriate for your business. Do you require segmentation by customer value, by product, by region, and/or by team? Do your key metrics vary seasonally, after promotions, by time of month or year, etc.? What are your key determinants of cost, revenue and growth? A good analytics system allows you to control how the data is measured, including dimensional views and trend analysis.
  3. Tie contact center data to customer (CRM) data. The problem of connecting related interactions together is simplified when communications are associated with customer and issue/order data. This enables a consolidated view of customer and issue history in reporting, and may even empower agents to see a complete picture of a “customer journey” in real-time.
  4. Utilize innovative analytics methods for immediate benefit. Tools are now available to interpret data that previously required extensive manual intervention to analyze. Speech Analytics can automatically examine real conversations (during or after a call), to provide information on script adherence by an agent, to report on volume/clarity/tone, and even to determine stress levels for agents and customers. Knowledge Management can use search data and history to determine what information is most requested by customers and agents. Survey tools can perform post-interaction or post-issue data gathering to determine issue completion and satisfaction levels, then tie results to immediate action (such as a disgruntled customer campaign).

How you measure well-defined analytics depends on your business, but one age-old principle survives. The best results come from a never-ending loop: measure, improve, measure again, improve some more.

Even as customer communications evolve, the value of great metrics will always be based on how you use them to continuously move the needle and advance progress.

To learn more about how analytics can improve your contact center performance, join our upcoming webinar, “Quality Management in the Contact Center: Are you Listening to your Customers?” February 25 at 2 pm EST/11 am PST. REGISTER HERE

Source: http://blog.enghouseinteractive.com/improve-contact-center-performance-with-the-right-analytics/

Publish Date: February 11, 2016 5:00 AM


An Introduction to PCI Compliance

Many people think PCI compliance is as simple as pausing and resuming a call recording at the time that sensitive credit card details are captured. In fact, there is much more to it than that. Payment card industry (PCI) compliance is adherence to a set of specific security standards that were developed to protect card information during and after a financial transaction. PCI compliance is required by all card brands. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) defines the need to secure cardholder data that is stored, processed or transmitted by merchants and processors.

Why is it important to be PCI compliant?

If a business loses card data i.e. suffers a data breach and it is not PCI DSS compliant it could incur fines and be liable for the losses incurred against these cards and the operational costs of replacing the accounts. In 2015, for example, staysure.co.uk, an online travel insurance company that stored sensitive payment card details in breach of PCI DSS requirements was fined £175,000 by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) after the data was stolen by hackers.

You need to remember though that these PCI DSS specific costs are just part of the story. Organisations should not look at this in isolation. Instead they need to consider the issue of quality of service and PCI compliance as part of their wider performance quality obligations and requirements across the whole contact centre and even the entire organisation. It should be part of overall quality management, call recording and speech analytics approach in the contact centre.

This is certainly the case for one Scotland-based outsourced contact services provider to which Enghouse Interactive delivers its Quality Management Suite. One of the key benefits of the solution and approach that QMS supports is its ability to help ensure the outsourcer and its agents remain fully PCI-DSS compliant throughout all of their interactions with customers. When sensitive information i.e. credit card details are being taken by the agent, the provider can, thanks to the Enghouse Interactive QMS system, ensure that the recording is paused (an action that is automatically triggered when the agent reaches a certain point in the process) and then resumed at the right point.  It effectively introduces silence during the period that the credit card details are being taken. This in turn allows them to clearly ascertain how long its agents take to carry out the credit card processing and rectify any issues with the process.

Click here to read further about PCI compliance and the key goals and requirements which appeared in Mycustomer.com

Source: http://blog.enghouseinteractive.com/anintroductiontopcicompliance/

Publish Date: February 10, 2016 5:00 AM


Business Case for Service Providers to offer CCaaS – Contact Center in the Cloud (Part 2)

In my previous blog post, I explained how service providers are ideally positioned to offer Contact Center-as-a Service (CCaaS) by having the core infrastructure, network and operational ability needed to deliver cloud applications as a service.

What is very important to note, is that while established contact center vendors have been bringing various forms of CCaaS offerings to market for years, their focus has been on positioning cloud as an alternate deployment option to the traditional on-premise buyer. Today, widespread migration to the Cloud has created a marketplace in which business customers welcome the opportunity to consume value-added workplace applications and software bundled with competitive communications and network services – all from a single provider.

There can be no arguing that cloud-based contact center solutions offer equally beneficial returns for both service providers and businesses. In order to capitalize on this opportunity, however, service providers must fully grasp the factors that not only validate their business case, but also make cloud contact center solutions so compelling to their customers. Please click here to review these dynamics, which are detailed in my article published in CUSTOMER magazine.

Source: http://blog.enghouseinteractive.com/business-case-for-service-providers-to-offer-ccaas-part-2/

Publish Date: February 4, 2016 5:00 AM


Four interesting factors about Customer Engagement Center

Engaged customers are more loyal, they buy more and spend more. This is a fact. So, can we afford not to have defined our "customer commitment center”? 

Much has been said about customer experience and the client´s loyalty to the brands, but there is still a lot to discuss about the Customer Engagement Center (CEC) concept or Loyalty/commitment customer center. CEC refers to the next generation of customer service tools servicing the customer experience. The Wow! Factor is what all companies aim for, but we cannot stop there. What do companies look for with that WOW? easy: sell more, sell better with more profit. So companies need to boost their commitment center.

From Customers to fans, from buyers to ambassadors. That is the object of desire of this new relationship center: excellence and customer loyalty. But what are the four basic factors needed to implement a good CEC strategy?


1. Understanding the customer. It may seem obvious, but not only customers have changed, their behavior has too: the way they express themselves has changed radically. There are still companies that want to sell like 30 years ago. Ask yourself what your customer wants, what makes him happy. You will be surprised: if before he wanted "a tie to go to work" today he wants "a tie that makes him feel good." Before, he would have bought it in the store and had a relationship with the seller, now he does it through e-commerce and lacks that personal contact and commitment. Are you covering those gaps?

2. Be proactive in your business. We must ask questions like: Am I able to provide a unified experience with my brand? Is my team ready to adopt this new strategy? It is important to understand that we no longer sell to isolated entities but social people. We must be able to react quickly to change and adapt to the new and to what is to come.

3. Customizing interactions. Every interaction is an opportunity. Customers seek experiences and good experiences are activities where he feels is treated with exclusivity.


4. Being able to offer a unique Omni channel experience. According to Gartner, the Customer Engagement Centers go a step beyond multi-channel. It has integrated workflow tools capable of adding value through follow-up and monitoring. We also talk about technology capable of working with both old infrastructures and with new devices with apps, all perfectly integrated without losing information or data between devices or channels.

To successfully implement the Customer Engagement Center, it is necessary to have the right technology. In Gartner´s report: Critical Capabilities for Contact Center Infrastructure, Gartner states the features that the perfect technology solution must have to meet this new trend. Discover how technology can help you improve and monetize your Customer Loyalty Center / Customer Engagement Center.Download now this Gartner report for free.

Source: http://www.presenceco.com/en/news-resources/the-blog/entry/four-interesting-factors-about-customer-engagement-center.html

Publish Date: September 28, 2015 5:00 AM


Self Service transformation or the traditional IVR´s change



Self-sufficiency is mature people pathway it starts on the basics and extends to all areas of their life. In ancient Greece self-sufficiency was known as the proper situation of wise people, those who are happy and have enough with what they have, reducing the dependency on others.

Today, as consumers and users, we want to be self-sufficient. We want to resolve our own problems, issues, queries, etc. by ourselves, without depending in others, or waiting to someone to solve it for us.

These days, we don´t have any special motivation to call a Company and talk with an agent of customer experience. We prefer to obtain answers on the company´s website instead of calling or sending an email. Besides, more and more people have a smartphones or tablets nowadays and they keep using it to navigate in the internet, and have access to a more visual and interactive content. Audiovisual and self-service aren´t only a trend when we give service to people, they are also part of our own interest and desires once we need to attend our demands.

Therefore there is no doubt that self-service and audiovisual are intrinsic part of our interests and they go beyond being just a trend to consider when understanding service demand of clients.

Until now it was mandatory to have a “multichannel” Contact Center platform. It was enough to have a “client focused” service strategy and was crucial to have an “Omni channel” system, as the only way to provide good “consumers experience”, to capture new clients and encourage loyalty. We need to go a step further if we want our business to keep growing; we have to adapt to consumers demands especially to young generations. Audiovisual self-service is key, in transforming the traditional IVR, into an IVR that combines audio and video in a new offer with a friendlier service and with a better and effective content.

It doesn´t matter if we are younger or older, nobody likes or want to hear the numerical option menu that the classic IVR offers us when we call a company´s customer care service, trying  to remember all the options , so we can then the appropriate one. We would all prefer to see them, interact in a simple and intuitive way, select the different options, go back easily and find out without any effort the option that is going to solve the reason of our call. (It´s a fact that people react better to visual signs than to audio).

However, we want to keep doing it with the same easiness regardless the point of access we use: computer or mobile phone (Gartner says that 60% of internet users would choose as the first option, to use customer service applications through mobile phones). But, we want to go further like asking a Contact Center agent to call us (Video-Call, or Tap-to-Call by mobile app), we want to schedule when to call us (Video- Callback),  we would like to ask things and have a text dialog with an agent (Video-Chat, or Instant Messaging by mobile app) and use many other audiovisual apps that can be included as extra service value of the Contact Center, transforming customer experience.

We can´t forget that navigating in an IVR facilitates audiovisual services, is at least 4 or 5 times quicker than the traditional audio menu, and eliminates one the most frustrating elements of a customer care service of a Company . When there are long waits when all the agents are busy (more than third of users hang up when they have been waiting more than 2 minutes) or when they have to repeat over and over the same information because it was not transferred from one agent to another.

In conclusion, the audiovisual self-service era has started; it is a reality and people demand it. There are some IVR´s capable of doing it in the market, but those who don´t prepare to deploy it in their Contact will offer a poor customer care service that can have damaging consequences to their business.

Source: http://www.presenceco.com/en/news-resources/the-blog/entry/self-service-transformation-or-the-traditional-ivr-s-change.html

Publish Date: April 13, 2015 5:00 AM


Back in time! The new trend


It is a fact that we are moving from personalized relationships to impersonal ones. Technology has allowed us to interact with more people in a more impersonal manner. E-mails, SMS, chat allows us to communicate with anybody and any company anytime and anywhere. This is not only true in business environments but also in our personal life, younger generations communicate through instant messages platforms or social media, and we see more and more people connected to their smart phones distant from the real things happening around them.

This new way of communication has allowed us to be more agile, solve things sooner and be more productive. In fact we have seen that Communication trends, specifically within the Contact Center, have been given more and more weight to these channels as the preferred communication methods of customers with companies.

But, if we analyze closely these trends, we can see that voice has remained being the main communication channel, at least by most generations. Why? In my opinion, even though you might feel lazy on making a phone call to speak to someone about a problem, deep down you know it is the fastest way to solve something or get an immediate answer (provided that the agents picking the phone are properly trained). For other “issues” you can send an e-mail or chat via web, but they usually not require an immediate action. Also, these impersonal relationship don´t allow us to trust entirely the company, to sometimes delay decisions and to end up calling the call center to finally purchase the product or service, and depending on the “feeling” the customer might or might not finalize the purchase.

In fact, even though younger generations are very comfortable communicating through the website, e-mail, etc, the voice channel and one-to-one conversations still take place, we use voice and even video, not only in our personal life but also professionally. We use video and voice in our business meetings and even client´s presentations and we are beginning to see a trend in the use of video as an interaction channel in the call center.

In my opinion, this not only responds to the client´s preferences to see  the company their doing business with, but it´s adoption within the call center might benefit the company by providing a more trustworthy relationship and maybe speeding up the purchasing time.


What is your opinion is video chat in the call center here to stay? Does this trend respond to customer preferences or to Company´s interests?

Source: http://www.presenceco.com/en/news-resources/the-blog/entry/back-in-time-the-new-trend.html

Publish Date: March 24, 2015 5:00 AM


Agents motivation. Key in Contact Center operations

Anyone that manages a call center knows the importance of the human factor. The team motivation and training are key to achieve the established objectives.

But this is not easy, in fact in might be one of the most challenging issues when managing a service.

There are several aspects that count towards agent motivation that can have a direct impact on the results. To make it simple we can divide them in two. One that would address the agent directly: incentive program, work environment, acknowledgements etc.

And another one that even though does not impact directly it makes a huge difference in the day to day work of agents and when properly done prevents them from frustration.

DB quality: Agents generally  want to do their job the best way possible, they want to reach prospects and close the sale, in an outbound service a poor quality DB can be as a frustrating as trying to sell a useless product. Is the supervisor responsibility to guarantee the DB quality and if not, to enable a profiling campaign with different objectives. If this is not possible, then it would be also the supervisor responsibility to be aware of the DB difficulty and take the appropriate measures fast enough. For this, real time reporting plays a very important role, if it is not possible to check objectively a campaign and it´s process, how are supervisors or campaign responsible going to realize the problem? Real time reporting, monitoring and having the right KPI measuring the campaigns can save lots of idle unproductive times to agents, hence improving campaign results. You can have the best dialer in the market but if you are not controlling it you will probably be losing opportunities.

Training. A good trained agent will be more successful! He will better know how to respond, how to introduce a product and how to close the loop on the sales process. The problem is that the agent needs to be trained in both, the business and service he is going to perform and the tool or software he is going to use. Any flaw in any of those two might lead to a loose in sales or an angry customer. Business training is often performed by a specialized team with broad knowledge on the service and solutions, and the agent is monitored and helped during the training process but software or tool training is often done by the supervisor, this is why an easy to use tool facilitates learning, reduces human mistake and speeds the time to market of campaigns.

Do you agree? In your experience, are there other factors that might contribute to the agent´s motivation? How can supervisors motivate the agents?

Source: http://www.presenceco.com/en/news-resources/the-blog/entry/agents-motivation-key-in-contact-center-operations.html

Publish Date: March 16, 2015 5:00 AM


Self-Service in the Contact Center. Friend or enemy of Customer Experience?

Companies are shifting from a more Enterprise Centric strategy towards a Customer Centric one.  We are experiencing the age of the customer. Customers decide when and how they want to approach a company and of course how they want to purchase. They are realizing that a good customer experience has proven to be a key differentiator among competitors, and this is achieved not only with properly trained agents but also with better tools that improve First Contact Resolution (FCR), multichannel attention and unified information within the Contact Center.
 
Customers want to use multiple ways of communicating with the company depending on their preferences and security and some of them want to do it on their own through self-service tools. If I don´t feel like speaking to an agent, why should I? Can I solve my issue just by calling the system? Or just by accessing the website?

Some enterprise centric companies implement self-service systems to improve Contact Center efficiency and return on investment, we need to keep in mind that agents represent 75% of Contact Center costs and self-service systems are the perfect ally to reduce costs and keep agents away from useless back office work. But they can also be the enemy of a good customer service when customers get frustrated in the process or the business rules are not aligned with what the customer wants.

So, is it possible to combine self-service tools that beneficiate the company with a customer centric strategy? It should be, it must be.
The key is allowing the customer to choose. If they feel comfortable managing the interaction only with self-service tools they should be able to, but if they want to speak to an agent from the very beginning or at any specific time they should be able too.

Besides that, there are situations in which a self-service tool always adds value, regardless of the customer preferences. I recently had a power outage at home, I obviously called the power company and to my surprise they had already configured the IVR with a message related to my issue. One of the options was to report a power outage and when I selected that option a recording stated that they had identified a problem in my area and that they were working on it that if I wanted more info I could listen to the latest updates on the recording or talk to an agent. So, self-service tools add value, I did not need to speak to an agent therefore they didn´t have to engage in unnecessary calls, and at the same time I was left with the impression that my power company was on top of things and I was getting the service I deserved.

This example illustrates how crafting a proper business strategy allowing the self-service tools (Web, IR, IVR) interact with the customer in for example: Identification,  sensible data collection, survey questions etc.  Will allow companies not only to take advantage of the benefits of a self-service system (not involving agents in unnecessary interactions) which translates in substantial cost savings. But can definitively improve customer experience by giving self-service attention 24/7, (automated transactions, delivering security to the customer etc) and improving Customer experience.  

It seems that companies have the tools to enhance their contact center performance and improve the customer experience, hence their results but, in order for this to work it needs to be integrated with the rest of the systems of the company, so all the information is available regardless of the channel of communication. Also, a proper self-service strategy needs to be in place, so self-service tools are applied where they can really add value to the customer not only to the company.

Source: http://www.presenceco.com/en/news-resources/the-blog/entry/self-service-in-the-contact-center-friend-or-enemy-of-customer-experience.html

Publish Date: March 5, 2015 5:00 AM


Why Do Scripting Solutions Matter in the Call Center?


Everyone has answered the phone only to find an obviously uninformed contact center agent stumbling over the finer points of why it is important to purchase a particular product or service. The uninspired tone, the disingenuous hello, and the nervous pitch all give away the fact that the agent is woefully unprepared. Most customers hang up before the agent even gets too far into their script simply because it comes across so forced! The reality is that the contact center agents to whom you speak would be far more effective, and happier, if the proper training had taken place, and if a tested script had been offered as a starting point! Scripting solutions, utilized in conjunction with automated outbound dialing, can turn a negative into a positive by increasing customer-centricity and agent productivity through customized interactions enhanced by contact-specific data and business details which minimize introduction errors.

By identifying buying habits, customer preferences and consumer demographics, it is possible to develop intelligent sales messages that will not only reach, but persuade, a target audience to purchase complex products or services. Contact centers providing inbound and outbound services today across multiple channels – direct-to-consumer, phone, email, web portal, social media, SMS, etc. – are increasingly challenged to maintain service quality while providing a pleasant and personalized customer experience. Scripting solutions improve overall agent effectiveness by unifying customer data across multi-channel campaigns, enabling agents to locate and open complementary information according to pre-selected values, authority levels and business rules, depending on the service strategy, and regardless of complexity. Scripting solutions elevate the quality of personalized service contact center agents are able to provide by helping them craft the perfect message based on the customer they are calling. With the right information at their fingertips, scripted agents can quickly enrich customer interactions by incorporating contextual data at exactly the right time. Scripting thereby helps multi-channel agents reduce the average time of contact management (TMO), improve the customer experience, and make more of the right contacts.

Today, the best scripting solutions are flexible, and allow business users to build scripts without programming knowledge. In fact, supervisors or managers can build scripts for specific agents, or campaigns, or even tailor scripts to fit the needs of certain geographic locations or demographics. Changes can now be made on-the-fly, eliminating downtime and delays in campaigns since waiting on IT to alter script details is a thing of the past. Additionally, scripting solutions allow managers to monitor the evolution of service production and campaign results in real-time through the use of statistical data which can be analyzed via standard or customized reports specific to campaign, agent, contact, or even business interaction.

Scripting solutions increase the ability of agents to connect with more customers and prospects by raising the quality of multi-channel customer services, optimizing workflow, and providing greater internal controls over inbound customer service and outbound campaigns. Multi-channel campaigns almost demand the talents. According to recent Forrester research, scripting solutions can increase first call resolution (FCR) by as much as 17%, and up agent productivity across the board by approximately 36%. Such a significant increase in FCR and agent productivity means scripting solutions make it possible for companies to close more sales and achieve better business results by enhancing the effectiveness of contact centers and outbound dialers.

Source: http://www.presenceco.com/en/news-resources/the-blog/entry/scripting-solutions.html

Publish Date: February 24, 2015 5:00 AM


Are Your Customer Service Channels Integrated?

The biggest danger to any contact center is the lack of coherent information.  As Aberdeen’s report “Customer Engagement Analytics: How to Use Data to Create (and Keep) Happy Customers” (May 2014)  indicates, it’s not a lack of data but a lack of integration between systems that is the major pain point in the contact center. Although contact centers possess the technical infrastructure that specifically focuses on handling customer interactions via phone, the web, email, live chat and more,  the use of isolated systems that are not properly integrated limits your agent's ability to succinctly resolve a customer’s issue in one call.  Even the best system for managing customer data will be of little use if the agent does not have easy access to the information they need when they need it!

For instance, when a customer calls in with a service or sales issue, their identity has to be verified by your agent. This gives your agent the ability to pull up their past call history and start with a little background information. However, is that identity connected to their social handles which have also interacted with your customer service team? Has this customer tweeted about their problem to your @customerservice handle in the past? If they are calling you it means either A) your social service team never responded (which is bad) or B) your social service team prompted them to call (which is fine IF the agent knows what is going on the minute they open up their customer profile!) Does that customer profile have records of all the times they have used voice chat to contact your call center? Is this a new issue or an old? Having to repeat themselves is one of the biggest pain points of callers, and un-integrated systems force them to rehash their problems time and time again. If your service channels aren't properly linked than your agents are actually dealing with only a small percentage of the real story and can't have as powerful a customer experience as there could be.

Aberdeen found that best-in-class companies relied on three key capabilities to manage customer data flows across company systems:

  • 83% - Centralized knowledgebase of product/service information
  • 83% - Data from social customer care interactions shared with non-contact center staff
  • 56% - Access to all customer information on a single screen/desktop

In Best-in-class contact centers, customer data moves with the customer even if they switch channels or get transferred. This is especially important as research has shown that typical interactions involve at least one transfer. Companies that provide recent and historical data enjoyed a 3.5% reduction in average handle time compared to .7% reduction of those without the process. When your customer gets transferred to another agent are they forced to re-tell their tale? This slows down the interaction (increasing AHT) and only adds to the frustration of your customer.

Coherent information, and not a bunch of unrelated raw data, is required to be able to make informed decisions. So not only do contact channels need to "talk" to each other, they also need to understand what the other is saying! How do you incorporate information from the voice channel with information pulled from emails and ensure that nothing is lost in translation? Data mining systems must also be in place to help those channels better integrate and ensure your customer information is 100% accurate across the board.

Although contact center problems are frequently attributed to a lack of knowledge or the attitude of its staff or departments which support it, the truth is that the information is all there, it's just that the traditional contact center systems aren't "talking" to each other properly. So is your customer information on point or are you only getting part of the story?

Source: http://www.presenceco.com/en/news-resources/the-blog/entry/service-channels-integrated.html

Publish Date: February 17, 2015 5:00 AM


The Danger of Bad Technology in Your Call Center


In today’s dynamic market environment, an organization’s success depends primarily on its ability to respond to its customers’ demands in a timely manner. Speed and consistency are the cornerstones of any customer service program, and in the last few years the contact center has become the champion of the customer experience. It’s more often than not the first place many customers go when they have a sales or customer service issue, and meeting and exceeding customer expectations is critical to long-term growth! Because of this, contact centers have had to adapt new technologies and strategies to keep pace with their constantly evolving environment. Simply answering the phones is not enough! The call center needs to offer its customers the finest service and individualized attention, while maintaining high productivity rates and overall productivity.

The rapid deployment of new technologies, including other channels such as social and self-service, and customer experience strategies offer clear advantages in this customer-driven market. However, a wrong implementation of that new technology may lead to serious failure; since an increase in the diversity of channels also increases complexity of what the contact center staff has to deal with. Each channel requires different priorities, service levels, skills or even agent training. The proper assignment, monitoring and follow-up of each interaction handled through each new channel has to be carefully tied together so the contact center isn’t creating multiple versions of each customer’s experience. For instance, does your CRM recognize that @customer123 and johnsmith@email.com and caller John Smith from Boston are the same person? If not, the next time John Smith calls in his entire social experience is missing from his customer record! That puts the agent at a disadvantage and could comprise the quality of that phone call. Without careful management, each new channel’s service levels may be completely compromised because the technology isn’t “talking” to its partners.

Incorporating automated or self-service solutions like a website FAQ can also affect your contact center’s quality and productivity if these new tools are not completely integrated with your existing technologies and tools. For instance, customers are bound to become frustrated when they have to provide their account information not only during a self-service or IVR, but also when the call finally reaches an agent. While validating the identity of a caller is important, how many times does a caller have to rehash the same story in order to get a simple question answered?

For instance, one time I called my credit card company to inform that I was traveling overseas. I spent 20 minutes verifying my ENTIRE LIFE, including the last 4 zip codes I have lived in. This negative experience compounds when a customer is transferred to a second level support, and they end up asking again for the same information. Eventually the perception is that your company cannot handle their request professionally and they begin to question whether or not you deserve their business. These repetitive questions also negatively affect the contact center’s productivity, since it increases the average handling time by having to collect data already provided by the caller earlier in the call.

While adopting new technology has the ability to dramatically revolutionize the way your contact center does business and interacts with customers, unfortunately, many traditional solutions do not adapt to a contact center’s real needs, thereby hindering their operations instead of simplifying it. Old technology doesn’t play well with new and therefore it’s hard to justify needed improvements because the powers-that-be are concerned that their shiny new project will actually make things worse than better.

Source: http://www.presenceco.com/en/news-resources/the-blog/entry/bad-technology.html

Publish Date: February 12, 2015 5:00 AM


Just How Important Is Compliance in the Call Center?



Federal regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) all have different rules and guidelines that agencies are expected to be in compliance with at all times. Many individual states have their own compliance requirements and international business may have to adhere to regulations set forth foreign governments.  Failing to adhere to one or more of these laws can result in a hefty fine, so call centers are doing everything they can to ensure call compliance from top to bottom.

Every call center has to ensure that both their technology and their people are acting in compliance at all times. For instance, collections agencies are mandated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding the times and frequencies they are allowed to attempt a collection. In many instances, it takes numerous attempts to reach the consumer, and the collector also contends with factors such as busy signals or answering machines. But collections agencies can't just dump their call lists into an automated system and hope for the best. Capital One, for instance, made was caught placing debt collection calls to about 21 million cell phones without first obtaining the necessary consent. Now, the company has agreed to a settlement of $75.5 million for violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991. If your technology isn't set up properly with updated DNC lists, call time windows and so forth than you technology could actually get you in trouble!

A collections agent is prohibited by law from providing false or harassing statements, so a call scripting system supplies correct scenarios for the agent to set up payment plans or discuss different payment options, initiate payment reminders or establish automatic payments while using compliant language Meanwhile, a call recording system allows the screen and call to be recorded ensure agents were compliant with federal collections laws should an audit ever be done. There were over 11,000 FDCPA lawsuits filed by consumers in 2011 according to WebRecon. Every call needs to be monitored to identify any compliance risks based on content of the conversation. Real-time alerting systems can guide the agent through a call, as well as give supervisors the chance immediately intervene when complaisance issues arise.

Many call centers, including collections agencies and those that process payments for retailers, are struggling to remain compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which requires file encryption, secure storage of data and the mandatory deletion of specifically sensitive information such as the credit card security code. According to the PCI Security Standards Council, recorded calls are subject to the same rules as any other method of capturing and storing customer card authentication data. Some call recording systems provide allow agents to pause the recording when credit card numbers are spoken. This way the call recording system has no record of that credit card on file, keeping the contact center compliant, while still keeping the main body of the call recorded for future reference.

Source: http://www.presenceco.com/en/news-resources/the-blog/entry/compliance-call-center.html

Publish Date: January 30, 2015 5:00 AM

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