What’s New at Call Center Week 2013

 

Acknowledged as one of the industry’s influential events, Call Center Week took place in Las Vegas June 10-14. Approximately 1,500 contact center professionals (including expert personnel over 125 exhibitors) convened at Caesars Palace to exchange ideas, explore emerging technologies, hear from leading authorities in the field, and discuss what’s working in contact centers across a broad range of industries.  Multi-channel solutions, analytics, voice of the customer measurement, mobile workforce management and workforce optimization programs were all present. Business process outsourcers and systems integration specialists were also well represented.  Here is a sampling of the new products, services and technologies that were in the spotlight:

Bolder Thinking announced webRTC Connect ,a plug-and-play, real-time communication platform enabling click-to-call functionality from any webRTC-enabled browser. webRTC is the much-publicized new technology which enables plug-in-free connections with a web browser.  Before webRTC, real-time communications required a downloadable plug-in or native app, putting the onus on the user to install them. It is estimated to be currently available to more than one billion endpoints.

webRTC Connect is designed to make communicating online and on social media easier than ever for both consumers and contact centers. The platform features a simple widget that enables website visitors and social followers to "click to call".  The widget automatically detects if customers and prospects are on an 'enabled browser'.   It provides a seamless experience connecting clients to the resources they're seeking. It’s an easy, plug-and-play technology with rich data capabilities, passing critical user data to call center agents.  A cloud-based contact center solution, it can easily be scaled to meet business requirements, enabling companies interested in enabling webRTC Connect to get started in a matter of minutes.  The technology works across all telephony platforms, including inside and outside of Bolder Thinking's core call center telephony solution. 

Through a partnership with Astute Solutions, webRTC Connect allows a smooth transition from automated support and live chat to voice.  Web visitors are easily able to escalate an existing conversation online to the exact agent they were conversing with, passing along a rich history of historical information adding context to the call. 

Clarabridge displayed their new release of Intelligent Customer Experience (ICE), designed to bring intelligence to every aspect of the customer experience journey, including listening to, analyzing, operationalizing, measuring and acting upon the Voice-of-the-Customer (VoC).

ICE incorporates four key components: Clarabridge Analyze, Collaborate, Engage and the multiple resources of the Intelligence Platform.  New features include enhanced field-level report distribution to get the most relevant, customized information to stakeholders, presentation-ready insights analysis, and Hadoop via HBase support for accessible big data analysis.

ICE transitions from a reactive approach to a proactive approach.  Traditionally, the feedback came in, analysis was done, insights were gleaned from the analysis, and a decision resulted.  Now, by using natural language processing that goes beyond keywords, companies can recognize the trends from a conversation and address issues before they become problems. 

The new insights analysis enables businesses to gain a detailed understanding of feedback drivers by comparing multiple variables, including brands, products, store locations, business units, regions, customer groups, and competitors through a simple wizard. With these insights, organizations can better understand why some areas underperform or over perform as compared to others. Businesses can also glean detailed, customizable, presentation-ready reports for each differentiator to determine what is driving feedback volume and sentiment.

ConnectFirst offers a cloud-based contact center software platform built for the end-user.  It runs on commodity hardware and open source solutions in order to maximize uptime and the resiliency of the network. At the conference, they engaged in numerous situation-specific discussions with attendees in which they detailed the cost-saving benefits of moving contact center operations to the cloud. ConnecFirst also demonstrated their intuitive technology for ACD, IVR, dialer, reporting, routing, call tracking and more.

EchoStar launched their cloud-based intelligent personal technology management suite, Symbi, which combines personal technology management for consumers and advanced incident management for agents.  Symbi helps people navigate the proliferation of smart phones, computers and tablets in their homes. It leverages EchoStar's Semantic Knowledge Management System (SKMS), a dynamic intelligence engine that is filtered and prioritized to provide guided content based on the end user's actual technology environment.

Symbi’s intelligent incident management platform makes it a valuable tool for customer service professionals as well. It provides a one-point solution where agents manage each aspect of the end users technology environment. This helps the agent to speed up diagnosis and resolution of common set-up, service delivery and technical support incidents. Contact centers utilizing Symbi will be positioned to deliver superior customer service, extending the consumer lifecycle while achieving operational savings.

Five9 has incorporated an array of new capabilities and strategic integrations into the latest release of its cloud contact center software. The updated solution, which was announced at the show, includes a new mobile app for supervisors, enhanced multichannel capabilities, and a PCI compliance solution. The new Five9 mobile supervisor app for the iPad allows managers greater flexibility, enabling them to monitor and manage staff from any location. They can leave their desks and walk the contact center floor, keep track of everything that’s going while attending a conference or waiting for a flight at an airport. The new app empowers supervisors to text chat with agents from anywhere, monitor queues, stats and agents as well as listen to calls, whisper or barge-in.

The release also features integration with LiveHelpNow to enable interactions with customers via email and chat. This partnership improves agent productivity and customer satisfaction by eliminating the need for agents to toggle between applications, making it possible for them to multitask and work on emails and chat while simultaneously taking calls. LiveHelpNow customer support allows reps to create an ongoing thread of the customer conversation by attaching multiple emails or chats to one case file,

Bolstering Five9's PCI compliance offerings, the release also includes a new integration with agent-assisted automation technology specialist KomBea, allowing representatives using Five9 to securely exchange sensitive information with customers over the phone.

This latest release of Five9 software now supports Mac environments.

Fonolo offers a choice of callback solutions to provide more responsive service to help customers get their issues resolved quickly.

In-Call Rescue gives callers the option to receive a callback when hold times are too long. The solution allows them to “press 1 to get a call-back from the next agent”. Web Rescue enables customers to seamlessly transition from web to live assistance. It offers them a call-back and allows them to fast-track the IVR with just one click. With just a few lines of code, business can add a widget to their website, which allows the customers to request a callback. Mobile Rescue lets customers connect to a live agent directly from within the mobile app.  With one tap on their smartphone, they can request a call-back and avoid hold time.

Genesys rolled out Genesys Cloud – a comprehensive new family of cloud solutions which offers capabilities designed both for small and mid-sized businesses requiring simplicity and speed and for large enterprises requiring highly scalable and customized environments.

Genesys Cloud is comprised of two offers: the newly available Platform On-Demand, which delivers the full capabilities of the Genesys platform from the cloud; and Solutions On-Demand, which delivers flexible cloud solutions recently acquired from Angel for smaller contact centers and interactive voice response (IVR) for self-service, including a range of industry-specific applications.

Platform On-Demand provides sophisticated voice contact centers, advanced self-service, proactive communications, speech analytics, workforce management, and multi-channel support for email, chat and mobile. The solution supports an unlimited number of users with flexible deployment scenarios, including both a cloud-only and a hybrid cloud model, which can blend on-premise and cloud-based solutions. This enables both companies already using Genesys solutions and new customers to add cloud solutions as their needs change and evolve.

Solutions On-Demand typically supports up to 150 agents with unlimited IVR ports. It’s designed for rapid deployment with easy-to-use point and click configuration, enabling business or departmental users to get up and running quickly. Advanced business intelligence and analytics are also provided.  A  wide range of industry-specific solutions are part of the package, including financial services, healthcare, high technology, media and entertainment, pharmaceutical, retail, telecommunications, travel and hospitality, and utilities.

Genpact considers data to be the central lever in developing what they term “the intelligent contact center.” The company leverages data and analytics to understand and proactively manage channel usage to create a transformation roadmap to elevate a company’s operation.  They use Lean Six Sigma technology and deploy technical experts and tools to facilitate the implementation process. Genpact believes that companies which employ structured data, as opposed to working with the silos that are too often prevalent in contact centers, will wind up ahead of the game. Their approach is to stitch data together from all channels– IVR, chat, web and voice- tracking and analyzing on a day-to-day basis to identify gaps, find root causes of calls and create an intelligent assessment of what actions are needed.  They have the ability to create data marts, which often took years to build, in a matter of weeks. Genpact’s combination of IT expertise and contact center technology enables them to manage call center analytics on a large scale. Rapid ROI is achieved by results including 12%-15% decreases in agent calls, 10%-15% reductions in operating costs and measurable increases in CSAT ratings and NPS.

inContact provided a buzz with their latest benchmark assessment tool. Industry professionals took the assessment to measure how effectively their call center is performing and received customized recommendations on to meet their individual goals.

After initially asking industry professionals to identify their job function, the assessment then loads a set of specific questions that are aligned with the goals of that position. The next step is to ask about their contact center’s performance over the past 12 months. Based on the individual’s responses, the contact center is assigned a score of 1-100. This ranking uses analyst data established by the Aberdeen Group to classify the operation as “best in class,” “industry average,” or “laggard.” The results help professionals understand how they stack up against their peers, and also provide practical recommendations on achieving improvements in specific areas.

For example, a contact center manager might identify increasing customer demand for personalized and timely service as their top priority. After evaluating the responses, the tool makes recommendations such as implementing performance tracking methods as well as an individual rewards programs, geared to inspire contact center agents to provide higher quality service.

Intradiem demonstrated its new intraday management capabilities, which is the cornerstone of their new brand. They have transitioned from their previous identity as Knowlagent, recognized for delivering training during idle time, into Intradiem, which employs intraday management technology to drive new improvement opportunities.

Call centers are using task management to use agent idle time to deliver any activity they are being asked to do off the phones — from back office work, urgent communications or even breaks to reward high performers, in addition to training. Intradiem’s platform finds small pockets of idle time in call volume and directs agents to the corresponding system to complete any of these activities– all without constant manual scheduling or negatively affecting service levels.

New queue management functionality complements task management by allowing users to set up rules to automatically re-skill agents in queues so agents can begin taking calls immediately after completing training or improving performance. Intradiem also automates intraday staffing, allowing companies to set up business rules to automatically offer voluntary overtime or time off to the right agents, saving time and labor costs associated with manual processes as well as protecting service levels.

The booth also spotlighted success stories of how companies are using Intradiem to help solve their intraday management challenges in video case studies:

  • BGL avoided adding headcount by blending back office work into the call
  • Vivint improved productivity and agent performance, which complements its culture of investing in agents
  • The General increased FCR, quality results and agent satisfaction by delivering training during idle time

Jones NCTI showcased LogiCALLTier Zero, a customer self-help model for its LogiCALL decision tree tool and unified desktop solution. Tier Zero enables customers to bypass company call centers by accessing online support 24/7. This platform serves as an extension of a company’s current customer support operation without needing to increase headcount.

“Tier Zero is a powerful tool for any call center operation wanting to expand service levels without expanding expenses,” says Jack Latzer, Vice President of Productivity Solutions for Jones/NCTI. “By giving customers a Tier Zero option, agents are more readily available to assist customers who require direct or specific help.”

Tier Zero resides on individual company websites, making it easy for customers to access and providing the added benefit of keeping them on the website. Additionally, all steps that a customer takes through Tier Zero are tracked, so if an issue requires escalation the information quickly segues to an agent, eliminating repetition and frustration.

Maintaining content will not be a problem. Updating or editing information within the Tier Zero decision tree is seamless and immediate. Similar to LogiCALL SMART Path, which guides customer service agents in decision-making , the process is simple; therby allowing managers to learn quickly giving them the freedom to make changes whenever necessary.

KANA Software introduced a major new release of its LAGAN Enterprise customer service suite for public sector organizations. In an omni-channel era where citizen expectations are constantly rising even in the face of severe budget cuts, the new version offers extensive functionality to manage escalating workloads. LAGAN Enterprise empowers public sector entities to improve service efficiency and speed of response, addressing the essential need for government to improve citizen relations and services while keeping related costs in balance.

The solution incorporates three powerful applications, designed to help deliver improved constituent services, provide public sector employees with enhanced mobile capabilities and offer improved web-self-service:

  • LAGAN Knowledge Management features an all-new knowledge platform and user interface that offers improved speed, flexibility and easier knowledge-authoring. A new agent search user interface incorporates meta tags for search filtering and user ratings for content, and is designed to integrate seamlessly into any and all engagement channels.
  • LAGAN Employee Mobile allows public sector workers to easily view, accept, update and close cases while in the field..
  • LAGAN Web Self-Service supports 24/7 year-round online self-service, enabling customers to find answers to queries via comprehensive Knowledge Management functionality on the Web.

mBLAST goes beyond the basic parameters of listening, monitoring and measuring popularity by helping companies prioritize responses to social customer service.  Its powerful, sophisticated social analytics filters out the noise in social media to locate the people that matter, allowing an organization to focus their interactions on the most important or influential customers.  . 

By taking five key factors into consideration, mBLAST develops an impact score that provides companies a strategic perspective which they can use to identify the users that need to be engaged and to prioritize the responses. The criteria are: Sentiment – which enables a business to cut through customer service queues and determine how it is being perceived by individuals, Topic – how often does a customer talk about the company, Authority – who are the people that retweet and how often are they doing it. Reach– which people are most likely creating content and Resonance –determining who is most influential in disseminating content,  what is being said and counteracting negative content.

Companies can use the solution to identify any ‘out of channel’ conversations. An alert is created and fed to an agent queue.  The agent can see what a person has said and where this individual has their social accounts which can then be used to bring this person into the community.

mBLAST is committed to the success of their customers. They work closely with clients to build the queries, sift through the data and integrate it into their processes enabling them to uncover new insights to change the trajectory of their business.

Satori Software offers a cloud solution to clean and enhance data quality, providing a time-saving tool to help companies ensure that they have the most accurate prospect addresses.  Agents can simply enter a zip and the first few letters of the address in order for the entire address to auto-populate. Data is quickly and accurately entered with just a few keystrokes. The software works within a company’s CRM system.  It allows organizations to flag “do not mail” households and append apartments for greater accuracy.   The solution helps with data entry efficiency, minimizes less waste of the customer’s time, and provides batch cleansing to update, enhance and correct.  The tool can supplement a company’s CRM database with additional customer or business data and can be tailored to meet an organization’s requirements.

SPLICE Software is an innovative provider of human voice messaging and interactive voice solutions which lets you have a data drive dialogue with your customers.  SPLICE works with contact centers to produce personalized outbound calls, in human voice, to notify customers about key offers, services or actions that must be taken. Companies can integrate outbound and inbound call services and secure portal-management controls into call center workflows, scheduling and infrastructure. Personalized messaging enables companies to proactively reach out to more customers at a lower cost, while pre-qualifying those who need to speak with an agent. The suite of message applications includes:

  1. Dialog Controller: Enables permissions and preference management. Talk to customers how they want, when they want. 
  2. Dialog Builder: Splice together phrases creating a 1 – 1 asset for voice. SPLICE recommends scripts, records both the scripts and personalization content using human-voice talents, and then seamlessly splices them together to create mass-personalized messages.
  3. Dialog Director: Manages the campaign approval and execution process, and coordinates all parties through the timely delivery of relevant, personalized messages.
  4. Dialog Dashboard: Helps companies learn more about their customers and how to talk to them by transforming volumes of data generated from marketing activities into graphs, charts and reports.

TCN offers SIP-based, on-demand virtual call center, predictive dialing and interactive voice messaging (IVM) solutions. TCN’s Platform 3.0 (P3) Virtual Call Center suite helps companies maximize their right party connectivity with each attempt, employing proprietary algorithms and dialing logic with SIP/VoIP technology. The TCN SaaS solution enables organizations to apply Interactive Voice Communication strategies and maximize available resources without massive capital outlay or new staff.

TELUS International made a joint presentation with their outsourcing client, Google, on driving and sustaining a customer-service culture that creates an environment where team members work as a family. Google Apps provides 24/7 support in four languages, and local support in 8 other languages, soon to expand to 13. Telus International supports a portion of these calls, running the gamut from the ‘How do I?’ to very complex coding issues.

Selecting the right partners to create such culture is critical, according to Peter “Scotch” Scocimara, Director of Enterprise Support for Google Apps. TELUS customer-and agent-centric culture was a key draw. Both companies believe that creating an extraordinary work environment helps to deliver exceptional customer experience.

Since it may take 3 – 6 months for an agent to be fully productive, agent retention is critical…and agents stay and grow with TELUS.  TELUS International positions itself as a Career First Destination, investing in the education of their team members to help them grow and expand in their careers.  At TELUS University, team members can obtain university degrees at a subsidized cost while they continue to work. 

The investment in education and training pays off. The result is CSAT scores consistently over 90%, for technical support as well as customer support and a significantly lower attrition rate that reduces the cost of hiring and training.

 T-Metrics provides multimedia communication contact center and operator systems that allow customers to reach an organization in the way that is most convenient for them –through calls, email, web chat, or social media.

T-Metrics TM-2000 Multimedia Contact system seamlessly integrates with a Lync configuration, providing complete Contact Center coverage. The solution delivers full WebRTC capability, which allows each page on a website to be a potential direct connection to knowledgeable agents in a contact center. WebRTC can be incorporated into email or even custom applications bringing not only voice, but also video calls directly into an organization.

T-Metrics also provides total mobility in contact center management and operations. Supervisors can be in control from a tablet or mobile phone and set workforce schedules from anywhere.  The company offers several VoIP solutions which allow agents and supervisors alike to perform all of their duties from their home PCs or from their own devices. T-Metrics provides a mobile client for Android smartphone or tablet, from which representatives can take ACD calls, instant message, process routed emails, web-chats, social media, and SMS. Managers may receive queue stats, and supervise agents in real time.

The Transera Customer Engagement Analyzer is an interactive web based application that brings together the data from your disparate contact center systems, such as your automated call distributor (ACD), interactive voice response (IVR) system, customer relationship management (CRM) application, order entry system and other customer data sources such as demographic services together in the cloud for cross-analysis. You can analyze customer sessions, transactions and interactions across systems and map those with common intent and business outcomes to customer engagements and final business outcomes.

  • Interactive Dashboards for every Contact Center Stakeholder
  • Cross-analysis of data from multiple contact center systems
  • User-defined metric visualizations
  • Deep, flexible analytics

TransPerfect Remote  Interpreting (TRI) provides a 360 degree solution for communicating with non-English speaking customers.  Their device-independent remote interpretation solution instantly supplements a company’s existing customer support capabilities by enabling customers to access interpretation services in over 170 languages within seconds whether they are using the phone, mobile device, video chat or computer.

The company also provide email services either by machine or by human translation, transcription of documents and localized web sites. TransPerfect’s YOUR AGENT solution can be an organization’s first line of support with a ‘micro contact center’ to handle calls in other languages. 

 

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