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Article : Very Best Customer Experiences – The New Competitive Advantage

#contactcenterworld, @Calabrio

Jeremy Hamill-Keays, Product Manager with Teleopti takes a look at a favorite subject from a new angle in the following article.


We are experiencing change all the time, and today, more rapidly so than ever. Products, technologies, the business landscape, expectations – they’re all in a constant state of flux. This is nothing new. How companies are developing a competitive advantage has also changed.


Customer care is the new competitive advantage

In the eyes of many business analysts, companies can no longer compete by simply driving manufacturing costs down or gaining detailed data on customer trends. These efforts have long been maximized, if not exhausted. Today, companies are competing for the loyalty of customer directly through the service(s) they offer. Neil Smit, President/Chief Executive Officer of Comcast Cable and Executive Vice-President of Comcast Corporation, says: "Put simply, customer service should be our best product."

In a similar vein, Gartner estimated that by the end of 2016, 89 percent of companies – in contrast to just 36 percent four years ago – expected to compete largely on the basis of customer experience.

Contact centers are obviously trying to gain ground here by ensuring that agents meet – better yet, surpass – customer demands. So, since this is where the heart of competitive advantage lies today, wouldn’t it make sense to do everything in your power to ensure that extraordinary customer experiences are being delivered by agents and that measures are planned and taken to ensure continual improvement in your contact center?


What have you done to help?

Stop and think for a minute: What concrete measures have you taken and/or are you taking to ensure that this is happening in your contact center, now and in the future? You could, for example, take the contact-center team (not all of them at once, mind you) for an out-of-the-ordinary lunch on a regular basis. You see, the key here is maintaining – better yet, raising – agent motivation and satisfaction, and rewarding excellent results. Remember, agents, through their front-line contact with customers, also have the power to make or break customer loyalty.

Amidst the development of this competitive differentiator, we’re witnessing a number of powerful trends. Artificial Intelligence systems, for example, are taking over many of the simpler tasks. Technology today can replace a bus driver with an automated, self-steering bus in the middle of a busy city, quickly taking passengers to desired locations.


Robots just don’t make it

However, more complicated tasks, such as delivering the very best customer experiences, can still not be carried out by robots or automation. Neither can a fantastic website or the latest Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system replace human agents. When customer calls, chats or e-mails come in, only well-trained, competent agents, with an understanding of the customer issue at hand, can provide this.

I’m not talking about needing to deliver WOW experiences; rather, dealing with the issue at hand, quickly, professionally and satisfactorily – with minimum effort required on the part of the customer.

However, agents need to have the right energy and motivation to do so. Automated workforce-management (WFM) solutions can go a long way towards raising the energy and motivation levels of agents, necessary for producing outstanding customer experiences. In fact, today, WFM does far more than just replace clever spreadsheets (even though some may be amazing).


Keep agents focused and motivated

Leaving scheduling, shift swaps, vacation requests and the like to WFM automation keeps agents focused on customers. Imagine the amount of time and effort spent on scheduling, shift swaps and vacation requests through verbal or e-mail exchanges, the answering back and forth, the approvals, the pending approvals etc., and how that impacts the loss of focus in a +1,000 agent contact center.

We obviously spend supreme effort working on core WFM functionality, such as schedule optimization. However, equal effort is spent on functions, such as agent preferences, training planning, gamification and mobile interfaces. Why all this effort? Because these make agents more empowered and engaged. Because without energized, competent, informed staff, any contact center will find it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to compete in the modern business climate – even with the very best optimized scheduling.

As the importance of contact centers expands, so does the scope and importance of WFM. If you’re still using spreadsheets for forecasting and scheduling or an older WFM system, do take a look at some of the more modern WFM systems, with a scope far broader than you might possibly have imagined.


Make contact center staff life easier

Using a modern WFM system is as simple as checking off a few boxes on your smartphone on your way to work. Check for any schedule changes? Swap a shift? Request a day off? Send approval? Check, check check – done. How about matching up five suitable staff members with some vital training, ensuring the right trainer will be in place, that a room is available, and, most importantly, that the service level impact is minimized? Check, check check – done.

#contactcenterworld, @Calabrio


About Jeremy Hamill-Keays:
Jeremy has worked in both R and D and Sales/Business Development, including Product Management for large scale systems on mobile networks. He was Product Director for one of the first cloud solutions targeting the gaming industry. He is co-author of four patents in the areas of messaging and M2M technology.

About Calabrio:
Company LogoThe digital foundation of a customer-centric contact center, the Calabrio ONE suite helps enrich and understand human interactions, empowering your contact center as a brand guardian. We maximize agent performance, exceed customer expectations, and boost workforce efficiency using connected data, AI-fueled analytics, automated workforce management and personalized coaching. Only Calabrio ONE unites WFO, agent engagement and business intelligence solutions into a true-cloud, fully integrated suite that adapts to your business.
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Today's Tip of the Day - Keep Cost In Perspective

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Monday, April 10, 2017

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2022 Buyers Guide Messaging Systems

 
1.) 
Amtelco

miSecureMessages
miSecureMessages is an encrypted messaging application designed as a pager replacement for healthcare organizations, call centers, and enterprise environments.

2.) 
eGain Corporation

Messaging Hub
eGain has rearchitected its platform to handle the messaging channels in a new way. eGain Customer Engagement Hub™, the platform that unifies knowledge, AI, analytics, and conversations to ensure that no channel is left in a silo, also powers the eGain Messaging Hub.

3.) 
Startel Corp.

Contact Center Software
Startel is a leading provider of unified communications, business process automation and performance management solutions for contact centers. Since its founding in 1980, Startel has established a loyal customer base from a variety of industries, including contact centers, education, healthcare, insurance and telephone answering service. Startel's solutions are designed to enhance the customer experience, improve employee productivity, reduce operating costs, and increase revenues.

4.) 
Synthetix

Chat
Chat, Synthetix’s multichannel live chat solution offers customer support in real-time, driving huge efficiencies.

When customers have complex queries that require human intervention, live chat proves far more efficient than traditional channels. Not only is it quicker and more convenient than waiting on hold to be dealt with, but with AI-powered features, it produces massive ROI.

With concurrent chat slots, a live key-press feed and AI-predictive suggestions that recommend articles in real-time, Synthetix Chat reduces average handling times by up to 50% compared to standard live chat.
 

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