customer loyalty

The 5 Latest Customer Service Trends You Need To Know In 2022

Contributed article by Wanda Lafond

Customer service has been changing rapidly in the past few years mostly due to the changing business landscape. This, of course, is the direct result of the global pandemic that forced some companies to shut down completely while others transitioned to hybrid or completely remote models of work.

Nevertheless, no matter what changes in the business world, companies need to keep up with these shifts in the industry and implement the necessary changes within their own organizations. Hence, here are the five latest customer service trends you need to know in 2022.

#1 Customer Support Delivered Through Social Media

With the rise of social media during the last decade, more and more companies started joining popular social media platforms to deliver content directly to their audiences. No doubt, social media makes it much easier to make important announcements, have product launches, and so on. Moreover, social media also provides many options for brands to go viral with their content while also establishing closer connections with dedicated customers.

Considering all of this, it was just a matter of time for social media platforms to become one of the primary channels for delivering customer support. Just a few years ago, there were still not that many businesses offering customer support on social media, but this has definitely changed. More and more businesses are offering customer support through multiple channels, both traditional and new ones such as social media.

The best part about offering customer support through social media is that it is clearly much easier to manage than some other channels. In fact, according to BrandWatch, the customer support offered through social media can be up to 12x cheaper than customer support via phone. It’s no wonder that more and more businesses are realizing that it’s a great opportunity to reduce their customer support costs and satisfy clients at the same time.

#2 Shorter Response Time and Round-The-Clock Availability

Nowadays, brands are increasingly focused on their customers. Many business decisions (including those related to customer support) directly depend on the data companies collect about their customers in an attempt to please customers in every way possible. This is probably why more and more customers now expect a much shorter response time when they send a request to customer support. On the other hand, businesses themselves are now prioritizing round-the-clock customer support availability to handle these requests.

For instance, according to Statista, 48% of consumers expect to get a response to their questions and complaints on social media within just 24 hours. This is probably why there are so many brands replying to tweets as fast as they can, especially if they see a customer complaining about something. It’s not just a way to handle the situation correctly when it’s already exposed to the public, but it’s also a way to show that they are proactive.

Another reason why round-the-clock availability is so important today is that globalization has expanded conventional notions of a target audience even for small businesses. Your customers could be located in a different time zone, so if their request needs to be processed quickly, your customer support will have to be available during irregular hours to do so. With 24/7 customer support, “irregular” hours are not even a thing because support can be delivered anytime.

#3 More Self-Service Options for Independent Customers

Even though customers have now become more demanding and expect businesses to deliver high-quality service to them, a lot of people are also quite independent in their own right and willing to take action themselves. This is why more businesses are now offering a wider variety of self-service options for customers who want to handle their own problems themselves.

On one hand, this is great for customers who want such autonomy. On the other hand, it’s also good for companies because they now have to handle fewer customer support requests with so many people doing the work themselves. For instance, one popular way to offer such self-service options is by having a knowledge base on your website rather than a simple FAQ section. A conventional FAQ section is quite limited in the amount of information it can provide, but a knowledge base with categories and good search and filtering features is perfect for customers who want to find questions to their answers themselves.

The only downside is that not every business has the time or resources to create a knowledge base like that. That’s why you can hire a professional writer from the custom writing reviews site Best Writers Online. This writer will create all the content for you after you provide them with all the necessary guidelines.

#4 Increased Personalization in Customer Interactions

As explained earlier, businesses are hyper-focused on their customers nowadays and always aim to deliver the best experiences no matter what. This is why most customers nowadays expect to see a fair amount of personalization in all the interactions they have with the brand. Not only does it show that the company values them, but it also makes the handling of requests faster.

Unfortunately, many businesses still don’t know how to create such personalized experiences which can result in customers leaving. In fact, according to Accenture, 33% of customers who cut short their relationship with a business in 2016 did so because personalization was lacking. Though this statistic is a few years old, many customers still stop purchasing from certain brands specifically for this reason even today.

So, how can businesses solve this problem? You can hire an expert writer from the writing services reviews site Writing Judge to create personalized content for your customers (e.g. emails). However, it’s your customer support team that needs to be trained to deliver better experiences to your customers when they make requests.

#5 An Automated Workflow with Increased Communication

Last but not least, one more trend evident in customer service is automation. Thanks to the newest technologies, businesses are able to use the newest digital tools to automate their workflows and increase communication with their customers. Chatbots can instantly respond to messages, automated emails can be triggered by certain customer actions, and the day-to-day activities of your customer support team can be done by programs entirely.

According to Microsoft, 30% of American consumers said chatbot interactions were “very effective” in dealing with customer support issues. That being said, chatbots still have a long way to go. Fortunately, the AI sector is rapidly developing which is why chatbots are being perfected every year and will likely be able to deliver high-quality customers support in the nearest future.

Final Thoughts  

To sum up, customer service is perhaps one of the most essential aspects of any business which is why paying attention to this department in your company is so important. Use the trends listed in this article to help you create your customer service strategy for the year and deliver high-quality experiences to your audience.

12 Best Tips for Effective Contact Center Management

Contibuted Article by Ravi Soni 

Top tips for effective contact center management 

Influential administrators in the call centre business must remain acquainted with every element of their industry, lead by example, and operate within confined budgets that can be overpowering. However, you can better manage your call centre with these effective tips below. 

So let’s get started, shall we?

1. Comprehensively onboard and train your agents

Even after hiring suitable agents, your job as a manager is never done. Rather it has just started. According to a report, around 87% of employees in a call center believe that training and development are important in the workplace. It begins with a comprehensive onboarding process, self-assessment, periodic training, and monitoring throughout their job span with the contact center.

In addition, both star agents and poor performers require comprehensive onboarding training. However, the only difference is how frequently you conduct your onboarding training and the strategic emphasis of the training. 

For instance, training for poor performers should always remain focused on negative client feedback and QA scorecard assessments. Furthermore, using performance data, you should concentrate your actions on which aptitudes need progress and provide them with training to fill those learning gaps

2. Employ the right agents 

Contact Center managers are only as effective as the workforce behind them. Therefore, it is imperative to employ suitable  agents who possess the required hard and soft aptitudes to accomplish their job. It demands the managers put much of their energy and time into the recruitment process when scanning resumes, checking references, and interviewing. 

Furthermore, managers should concentrate on employing a workforce that exemplifies client assistance soft skills such as initiative, adaptability, teamwork, compassion, virtue, problem-solving, communication aptitudes, and emotional intelligence. 

While these aptitudes are challenging to gauge, they are the most reasonable indicators of success within every call center. The key is to create the list of aptitudes most required within your workforce and then employ agents who maintain these required attributes.

3. Concentrate on Employee Engagement

An engaged workforce is a happy workforce. Such a workforce is more productive, innovative, motivated, and loyal and is more likely to remain associated with your contact center for a long time. For example, a successful call center management team always emphasizes employee attention as the core focus of their administration strategy, and they: 

  • Deliver exact expectations, including objectives and KPIs, so your agents understand what they are working toward in the organization.
  • Help their agents’ actions through onboarding, tools, and training.
  • Present routine feedback—both negative and positive.
  • Listen to the call center agents’ feedback, letting their opinions be heard during the decision-making process. 
Ravi image 2

4. Guarantee Appropriate Scheduling For Effective Management

Operating in a call center is challenging. That pressure can impact your employees. So the point they start to feel overworked, their ability to function at a high-level decreases. That’s where appropriate scheduling comes into the picture. Providing your employees adequate rest to refresh and refocus can guarantee that your clients obtain the best service.

However, planning a downtime can be challenging to schedule even for a small team. For instance, to ensure the maximum efficiency for your call center, it is prudent to factor in employee ability, peak and low hours, employee availability, and numerous others. It can assist you in turning the scheduling into a full-time job by using the most suitable tools available for time tracking.

5. Build a highly communicative call center

For effective management of your center, it is essential to maintain a holistic communication style. Also, as a manager, you must build ample opportunities to discuss your agent’s performance and objectives. By creating a communicative call center management approach, you provide your agents with an outlet to communicate their thoughts and allow you to share your thoughts and opinions on their work performance.

6. Regularly QA your agents’ calls 

Regularly QA your agents’ calls. Listening to the recordings of your agents’ calls will allow you to evaluate your workforce’s strengths and weaknesses to manage the call center better. 

By executing a QA (Quality Analysis) compliance, you can prioritize your calls based on agents’ performance. And with this, you can emphasize which client-centric actions accomplished favorable outcomes and which failed. So we can say that the definitive objective of listening to your agents’ calls is to assess if your client service agents are fulfilling client experience goals. 

7. Evaluate call center QA every day

If you aspire to understand how to handle a call center efficiently, you must initially comprehend how you function, which requires day-to-day quality assurance. This routine quality assurance helps you evaluate your leaders, agents, and clients’ performance at your call center.  

In this way, you can decide what changes are required and where. It offers you a beginning point for progress. You can evaluate every communication in real-time with the help of a streamlined internal quality validation process.

8. Regularly engage with customers, passives, promoters, and detractors

As a manager, you might incorrectly think you don’t have to engage with your clients unless something goes amiss and your intervention is required. Nevertheless, that’s not the point at all. One of the most crucial supervisor skills is replying to positive and negative customer feedback, and you must: 

  • Follow up with the promoters to thank them for their commitment and exhibit your company’s persistent dedication to their delight.
  • Get in touch with detractors and passives to understand how your call center workforce could enhance their efforts to better fulfill the customers’ requirements. 

9. Focus on the data and track KPIs

Reliable data must support decision-making. As a manager it  is imperative to remain familiar with your call center’s most crucial performance metrics based on KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and employ that data to understand your processes. The key is to estimate accurate information based on your company’s strategic goals and objectives. In addition, within your strategic call center information framework, you should use a tool that provides information on: 

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) metrics
  • Customer Satisfaction (CSat) indicators
  • Call abandonment
  • Average handling time
  • Call resolution
  • Crucial KPIs as delineated by your QA strategy 

10. Give targeted feedback to your workforce

Periodic quality-of-service review is crucial for the prosperous working of any contact center. Take some time to give feedback on your employee performance and then remain ready to take some feedback for workplace improvement. 

11. Delegate duties to your workforce

 It is easy for call center managers to get caught up in the precise details of the job. Nevertheless, numerous small jobs need to get accomplished for a  center to operate efficiently.

There are a lot of high-level strategic decisions that you must take to keep your center running at its best. It is better to delegate some duties to your workforce so you can better concentrate on issues that demand urgent attention. 

12. Always remain on top of your managerial tasks

 As a call center manager, you strive hard to make your call center operate smoothly.Hence, it is equally important to take out time for things like calculating profit margin,  managing timesheets, training, and project planning as it will offer a solid foundation for your team to work on. 

The Bottom Line 

To sum up, we can say that with the right technology and tools and following some effective tips above, you can better manage your contact center to improve your customer service. By following these tips, you can provide your agents with everything they require to effectively and efficiently perform their tasks. If you are looking for cutting-edge call center management tools, there are many leading online platforms that offer comprehensive solutions that will help you offer exceptional client service, better agent satisfaction, and improved productivity.  For reference, start with the CrmXchange Vendor Directory.

Companies That Are Serious About CX Need to Up their Mobile Customer Support Game

It is no secret that customer experience (CX) has become perhaps the most compelling influence in the consumer’s decisions to initially do business—and build an ongoing relationship  –with a company. CX can be defined as the sum of all experiences a customer has in their interactions with a company and its products or services. Understanding these interactions, specifically what makes them positive or negative, is central to making improvements. Effective CX is determined by the quality of the experience customers have when they seek product information and seek support—tasks they now mostly use mobile devices to accomplish.

Engaging mobile consumers requires businesses to become more creative. Mobile devices are more than just hand-held web browsers. People have long since become accustomed to using mobile devices for a very wide range of activities, beyond calls: social media, taking/viewing photos, GPS navigation, downloading music and videos or watching live entertainment

SMS, or mobile text messaging is also a long-term primary use case, in social and now increasingly in business contexts. In fact, with the rise in mobile device usage, messaging is the default user behavior. But it goes beyond SMS texting alone. Mobile phone users throughout the world are sending messages back and forth, using Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat, and other emerging channels of mobile chat messaging. However, in the US where most of us are text messages, companies are just starting to learn more about these emerging channels and how they can use them to improve communications with their customers. These are developments that are taking hold and it’s becoming more critical for businesses to be knowledgeable about them. This particularly true for organizations that wish to expand their global presence.

According to research by Forrester, people don’t wish to go out of their way for support. This   put companies in the position of having to keep up when their customers are blazing new trails. As Forrester put it in a recent report, “Customers will explore emerging channels to reduce friction. Customers want to move between channels without having to repeat their situation every time. They want to get service at any point in their pre- or post-purchase journey.” This need for flexibility and responsiveness becomes a serious problem when customers are unable to reach a company’s agents as quickly as they would like to. Then, once connected, customer frustration ramps up rapidly when they can’t adequately resolve their issue through a voice-only conversation. So, the undermined customer loyalty and increased cost becomes a lose-lose scenario for businesses.

Of course, there are more effective methods to deliver mobile customer service that enhance as opposed to detract from the customer experience., Mobile service specialist UJET will share detailed information on how organizations can to transition from voice-only interactions to engaging their customers on a variety of rich and responsive messaging channels. On Thursday, May 27 at 1:00pm, UJET will present a complimentary webinar on CrmXchange entitled “Mobile Support For Cost-Effective and Enhanced Customer Experience.”

Josh Mazgelis, Solutions Consultant, UJET, will draw on his 25 years of contact center experience. He will discuss how to cost-effectively deploy the company’s cloud-based mobile-focused customer satisfaction platform to enable customers and reps to share photos and videos, take screenshots, and even combine voice and text together. Among the topics to be covered are:

  • Enabling end-users to easily share multimedia with agents
  • Elevating the customer experience with Rich Communications Services
  • Using data intelligence to customize and improve support channels

Register now to see how your company can upgrade its mobile service. If you can’t attend the live webinar, a link to it will posted 24 hours after it is presented.

Discovering the Value of Attended Automation as a Digital Transformation Tool to Enhance the Productivity of Remote Agents

It was a transition that was already in progress before the current emergency unfolded. The migration to a reduced population of work-at-home agents, coupled with the unprecedented spike in demand for information, has dramatically accelerated the need for digital transformation. While just about every business already knew it had to digitize its operations to remain competitive, many are now scrambling to get up to speed.

Three key process automation technologies: Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Cognitive Intelligence and Attended Automation are the core elements in any digital transformation initiative. Attended Automation is the orchestrator that binds them together by ensuring that agents are aligned to both customer-facing and back-office processes. It acts as a kind of digital personal assistant to all employees, giving them real-time, context-specific guidance when needed in interaction processes.

In its truest form, Attended Automation is comprised of software robots that reside in each employee’s desktop. These robots have cognitive intelligence that enables them to navigate the dynamic desktop environment: a robust functionality that empowers them to bubble up when they sense an employee needs guidance. They communicate with employees via intelligent, interactive screens that are fully customizable.

When businesses adapt Robotic Process Automation (RPA) or chatbot solutions to support both the automation of repetitive tasks and the accessibility of self-service channels, the central focus will continue to be on humans. It is live people who are responsible for the proper functioning and sustainability of these solutions. Applying Attended Automation technology to customer-centric operational processes further augments the role played by humans.

Attended Automation was initially designed to work in collaboration with live agents to enable them to focus on high-value tasks that require a human touch. But with the need to keep business continuity in crisis mode becoming the new norm, it has also become a tool to allow people to achieve their full potential while helping them adjust to organizational change. This in turn helps companies maintain service consistency and process efficiency while keeping their growing number of remote agents on-target.

Learn more about the benefits by attending a complimentary webcast presented by NICE on CrmXchange on Tuesday, May 19 at 1:00 PM ET. It’s entitled “Keep Your Remote Agents Engaged and Productive with Intelligent Attended Automation” and will be delivered by Karen Inbar, Director of Marketing for NICE Advanced Process Solutions, an expert with a 20-year track record in the high-tech field, including stints at leaders such as Microsoft and SAP.

Among the topics she will address include using intelligent attended automation to:

  • Positively impact service operations and consistent delivery within a new distributed working environment.
  • Enable remote agents to adapt to their new working environment during an uncertain and turbulent period.
  • Practical ways in which intelligent Attended Automation helps agents stay informed, productive and empathetic to customer issues.

Register now at no cost for this timely and informative webcast. If you are unable to at attend the live session, a link to the webcast will be posted within 24 hours of the presentation.

How Analytics Enable You to Bring Your Company Closer to the Customer than Ever Before

There are divergent opinions in what technologies are most effective in creating a better customer experience, but one thing that just about every expert agrees upon is analytics can be  a real game-changer.

According to a recent Harvard Business Review Analytics Services study, published in Forbes magazine;

  • 70% of enterprises have increased their spending on customer analytics solutions over the past year.
  • 58% of enterprises are seeing a significant increase in customer retention and loyalty as a result of using customer analytics.
  • 60% use real-time customer analytics to improve customer experience across touch points and devices as extremely important today.
  • 44% of enterprises are gaining new customers and increasing revenue as a result of adopting and integrating customer analytics into their operations.

The move toward greater use of analytics has been swelled by a wave of converging technologies including artificial intelligence, the internet of things (IoT), and cloud computing. The exceptional speed and precision advanced customer data analytics continue to improve at an exponential rate, making them a must-have for businesses seeking to forge stronger connections with their audience.

As further noted in the Harvard Business Review Analytics Services study, the number of corporate executives who responded to the study indicated that the importance of having the capability to use customer analytics to improve customer experience across all touch points rose from 60% in 2018 to a projected 79% for 2020.

But it’s an oversimplification to just state that analytics can be beneficial to businesses. Analytics tools encompass a broad spectrum of categories and technologies that needs to be understood and evaluated before being implemented and integrated into a company’s CX strategy.

Can text and speech be analyzed in the same way? Why or why not and how should companies be thinking about text analysis vs. speech analysis? Both text and speech analytics enable organizations to optimize customer engagement by looking deeper into interactions its agents have with customers, regardless of channel –phone, email, chat, social media, or surveys as well.

Speech analytics uses speech recognition software to convert spoken words of recorded calls into text where analyses can be performed. When used effectively, it can help identify the reason behind a call, the products mentioned and the caller’s mood. Sophisticated speech analytics software can analyze phrases used by customers to quickly identify their needs, wants and expectations and indicate areas that need improvement for front-line personnel.

Text analytics is the process of transforming unstructured text documents into usable, structured data. It works by deconstructing sentences and phrases into their components, and then examining each part’s role and meaning using complex software rules and machine learning algorithms. One can analogize it to slicing and dicing piles of diverse documents into easy-to- interpret data pieces. By more closely examining communications written by–or about– customers, business can identify patterns and topics of interest, and follow up with practical action based on what has been learned

Desktop analytics offers contact center managers a method of capturing and analyzing user activity at the desktop level. The data gathered about individual application usage and across applications can not only impact the customer experience but ultimately affect the IT resource budget as well. It resides on each individual agent’s desktop, compiling a list of every application, URL, and more the agent accesses during the day. This empowers companies to determine if contact center personnel are adhering to standards and see how well they are relating to customers.

Leading analytics provider Calabrio will take a deeper dive into the constantly growing use of analytics—and examine its specific role in enabling companies to become more customer-centric—in two complementary…and complimentary…webcasts on CrmXchange.

The first of the two presentations –“The Beginner’s Guide to Analytics” –will take place on Thursday, February 20. Presented by Contact Center Analytics Consultant Mark Fagus of Calabrio, it will explore such key topics as:

  • The differences between speech, text and desktop analytics
  • Analytics technologies, such as LVCSR (Large-Vocabulary Conversational Speech Recognition), Phonetics and STT (speech-to-text)
  • The top 10 analytics business use cases

The second webcast –Unlock Customer-Centric Intelligence on Thursday, March 12 will expand on how companies can make the most out of using analytics by empowering themselves to reach higher levels of comprehension by developing new insights to deal with their customers. Brad Snedeker, Director Product Marketing, Calabrio, will delve into features that companies can use to their advantage, including:

  • Embedded analytics – learn how analytics have been surfaced throughout the application to provide easy access to key insights without having to go outside everyday workflows
  • Unified, self-service dashboards – compelling and personalized insights within dashboards that can double as homepages
  • Enterprise KPIs – out-of-the box performance management tools
  • Speech-to-text enhancements – find out how to achieve increased accuracy and speed of transcription

Register now for the first or second of these informative Calabrio webcasts….even better, sign up for both! Each will take place at 1:00 pm ET: if you cannot attend the live presentations, you can download each one 24 hours after it is completed.

An Online In-Depth Education Program Without the Cost and Inconvenience of Traditional Live Conferences

While there are numerous quality live conferences in the CX/contact center space that delve into workforce optimization, attending these events often entails a series of complex decisions. First, you must determine if it includes enough seminars that are relevant to your specific needs and exhibitors with the right solutions to advance your program. Then, you need to obtain approval and funding, plan the details of the trip and make sure all your responsibilities are covered while you are away. While some consider traveling to an event a welcome break from routine, others find it a time-consuming, expensive disruption that they simply can’t justify.

The need for ongoing education in this critical operational area continues to grow. Over the past 12 years, an increasing number of workforce planning professionals have found a flexible, no-cost, no-travel alternative in CrmXchange’s annual online Best Practices in Workforce Optimization virtual conference, produced in conjunction with the Quality Assurance and Training Connection (QATC) and the Society of Workforce Planning Professionals (SWPP).

Over the past two years, the event has been expanded to provide even more in-depth education. For 2019, it will take place the first two weeks of November, with the first week (November 4-8) focusing on QA and Analytics and the second (November 11-15) examining strategies for Workforce Management and Performance Optimization.

The enhanced conference content reflects the evolution of how contact centers now approach workforce planning responsibilities. It used to be handled in independent groups, with one team handling quality assurance, another conducting training, and yet another developing agent schedules. Supervisors often tried to do coaching with no input from other functional areas, while managers simply ran and reacted to reports. But this disconnected approach no longer works in today’s complex, omnichannel contact center environments. Workforce Optimization is a wide-ranging field that now encompasses all these elements as a unified discipline. And the CrmXchange virtual conference provides WFO professionals with the year’s most convenient and comprehensive opportunity to gain greater insights on the latest technologies, tactics and best practices.

Attendees have the opportunity to meet in real time with industry experts and colleagues who can answer their questions and offer business solutions tailored to their contact centers, without the cost and time away from the office of an on-site conference. Anyone can attend learning sessions the same way they would in an on-site conference.

The format allows entire WFO teams to share newly acquired knowledge throughout an organization. Team members can attend live sessions together or attend different session tracks. All sessions will be recorded and available on demand for one week after the conference – giving those who could not attend the initial presentation the opportunity to view the sessions later.

In addition, attendees can visit the virtual exhibit hall to download product videos, and obtain product information, press releases, white papers, and much more. Sponsors, including Calabrio, CallMiner, NICE, NICE inContact and Verint, are ready to share the latest innovations that may benefit your contact center.

And while you can’t sit down over a drink after hours, you can still chat with presenters and peers in the virtual lounge, a specially designed virtual networking forum for registered members of this online event. Learn what others are doing, meet colleagues, pose questions, and offer your own insight.

The Best Practices in Workforce Optimization virtual conference kicks off on Monday, November 4 at 12 noon ET with a high-interest keynote address Building a Customer Experience Movement which examines the true elements required to create a culture-changing CX program that is built to last. It will be presented by Nate Brown, Co-Founder of CX Accelerator, a virtual community of customer experience professionals.

Join the thousands of industry executives who have already benefited from this powerful complimentary two week online conference Register now and check out the broad ranging agenda.

On-Line Workshop on Speech Analytics Designed to Help Understand the Process

To take a step forward, sometimes you need to take a step back to assess where you want to go. Many businesses are eager to implement programs to move their CX needle but often delay in the process because they simply don’t know how to get started. Beyond the obvious decision of which one will be best suited to their needs, they must also weigh such factors as calculating short and long-term costs, developing a formula for achieving ROI, and doing due diligence on the level of vendor help in both getting off the ground and maintaining a successful program.

The new CrmXchange Build-it! series of how-to webcasts offers a head start by learning the basics of putting a successful program in place. Each webcast will provide step-by-step guidance to help launch programs in a variety of customer experience technologies. Registrants receive a worksheet to help them define their goals, identify the specific improvements they want to achieve and analyze the existing technology.

Professionals benefit from an in-depth review of which areas will make significant improvements. “How to Build a Speech Analytics Program- A Workshop” will be presented by CallMiner, one of the most respected solution providers in this space.

Recent research by DMG Consulting indicates that implementing speech analytics in contact centers pays for itself in less than one year, and TechTarget reports that it pays for itself in as little as three months. The many benefits include:

  • Improving the Customer Experience
  • Cost Savings
  • Revenue Enhancement – Identifying Upsell/Cross-Sell Opportunities
  • Improvement in Operations
  • Helping to Promote Customer Loyalty & Retention
  • Diminishing Compliance Risk Issues
  • Reducing Average Handle Time

While contact center leaders have been hearing for years about what speech analytics can do, hardly any webcasts or white papers have discussed the mechanics of putting together a functional and successful program. This live workshop will focus on critical components that need to be considered:
•Goals: How to define and prioritize
•Data Collection: What information is needed, what does your business have and what is it missing
•Staff: How do you get the right departments involved and who needs to be included
•Reporting: Who gets reports, what format are reports in, reactions to new information

Register now and come away with a detailed outline of steps required to have your program hit the ground running. If you can’t make the live September event, the recording will be available for one year.

It’s So Random: Changing the Culture of ‘Who’s Up Next’ with Intelligent Call Routing

With comprehensive information at everyone’s fingertips, few people now book a hotel room in a far-off location, make a reservation in an unfamiliar restaurant or hire an unknown contractor without carefully reviewing all relevant feedback. For the most part, businesses are even more cautious about making moves, industriously uncovering everything about prospective employees during the hiring process, and thoroughly investigating every angle of any potential partnership, investment strategy or technology purchase.

Yet, with all the rich data resources available to them, most organizations leave one crucial business process almost entirely to chance: which front-line representative takes the lead in customer interactions. Startlingly, 95 – 99% of companies still randomly route customer calls to the next available agent. Of course, it doesn’t have to be that way. Intelligent routing systems—with the capability to identify the caller and the reason for the call to assign the customer to the agent best skilled to handle the specific inquiry— have been around for years and are constantly becoming more efficient and affordable.

Rather than adhering to the circuitous procedure of using interactive voice recording (IVR) to send the customer to the most appropriate department or to an initial operator who will forward the call, intelligent call routing totally streamlines the process. It taps directly into customer records to retrieve information about the caller based on previous interactions and instantly directs the call to whom it judges to be the most qualified agent to handle the issue. In making split-second routing determinations, such systems not only take into account an agent’s track record, training and skills, but also consider caller priority, long-term customer value and more. Sometimes, the best responder for a specific call may already be engaged in another ongoing conversation that started only a few minutes earlier. Depending on how long the caller may have to wait, how wait time impacts that individual’s satisfaction and the skill level of others available, intelligent call routing decides to either have the caller wait or assign them to the next best agent.

With the increasing volume of available data on customer history and improved knowledge of agent capabilities, the traditional legacy routing strategy is evolving to become more intelligent, personalized, and able to effect specific improvements in a company’s metrics. Integrations now enable the use of data gleaned from previous interactions to provide insight into a customer’s personality and behavioral characteristics. By applying this knowledge, companies can gauge their customer’s communication preferences–intelligent routing can go beyond calls, helping to shape better outcomes on email, chat or messaging channels– and deliver the optimal experience.

Learn how your company can use this vital and improving technology to both reduce customer effort and create more personalized connections. Listen to a complimentary webcast “How Intelligent Call Routing Can Deliver Business Results,” presented by NICE Nexidia.

70% of U.S. Employees Hold Positive View of Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace Today

Despite recent doom-and-gloom anecdotal reporting, a nationwide survey of 1,001 workers in the United States (U.S.) finds that 70% have an upbeat attitude toward new workplace technologies involving artificial intelligence (AI), such as chatbots, robots and augmented reality. Only 5% say they dislike new technology for putting their jobs at risk today. In fact, 32% of U.S. respondents feel AI will have a positive impact on their job in the next five years, increasing from 26% today. Just 19% of those surveyed express fear that AI/bots could swallow their jobs within the next decade.

These findings stem from new research by Genesys® (www.genesys.com) into the attitudes of employed Americans regarding the rising adoption of AI in the workplace. Genesys conducted an identical survey in six countries — the U.S., Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand — for a total of 4,207 participants.

The picture isn’t all rosy, however. While 75% of Americans surveyed say they are “rarely” or “never” threatened by new technology at work, one quarter do feel unsettled by it. Happily, only 4% “always” feel threatened. This is fairly similar to respondents in Germany, the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand, but in Japan that figure jumps to 12%.

Is AI a Friend or Future “Frenemy”?

While 52% of U.S. workers surveyed say AI has not yet affected their jobs, that number falls to 29% when asked about a five-year timeframe, with expectations for an increase in both positive and negative effects. Part of the reason for the low percentage of AI’s current impact? It’s not as ubiquitous in the workplace as many people would believe. Among U.S. respondents, 68% say they are not yet using tools that leverage AI; surprisingly, there is not a noteworthy difference between large and small companies.

Survey results also shed light on AI’s influence on employee social interaction, ethics and upskilling, with worker attitudes varying according to age, company size, job status and job function. The overall impression? Employees have a generally positive view of technology now, but are less certain if technology enabled with AI will be their friendly co-worker in the future, or a “frenemy.”

“The survey findings substantiate a long-held Genesys belief that a blended approach to AI is best in customer contact centers as well as the workplace in general,” said Merijn te Booij, chief marketing officer for Genesys.

“Some jobs will evolve as human work combines with the capabilities of AI. The key for organizations adopting this intelligent technology is to help employees understand its potential to make their jobs more fulfilling by taking the mundane, easily automated tasks off their plates. This opens the door for more employees to apply skills AI just can’t replace – like creativity, leadership and empathy.”

Considering 27% of Americans say they simply cannot predict the impact of AI on their jobs five years down the road, and only half feel they have the skills to compete effectively, it’s increasingly important for companies to closely monitor the pace of AI adoption and employee training programs to address it.

A few additional U.S. findings related to overall attitudes toward AI include:

  • Two-thirds (66%) of the U.S. cohort say technology makes them more efficient in their jobs. This response is exactly the same across the three age ranges surveyed.
  • 8% of U.S. employees say they dislike new workplace technology such as AI and bots because it takes away their easy tasks.
  • More part-time U.S. employees (25%) fear AI will take their jobs within 10 years than do full-time workers (18%).
  • Surprisingly, exactly twice as many (26%) of the U.S. employees in the youngest cohort (ages 18-38) fear replacement by AI within the next decade as do their over-55 co-workers (13%).
  • Nearly 70% of U.S. employees trust their employers to use AI in an ethical way.

Survey Methodology and Participants

Within the U.S., a total of 1,001 adults completed the online survey in April. Respondents were evenly divided into three age ranges: 18-38, 39-54, 55-73, with women accounting for 65% and men 35%; less than 1% did not categorize by gender.

Approximately 80% of those surveyed have full-time employee status with the remaining 20% working part-time. Respondents came from seven categories of company sizes, with a total of 42% employed in companies of fewer than 250 employees.

While U.S. survey respondents work in a wide variety of industries, 77% fell into one of 11 functional job categories: Administrative, Assembly Line/Manufacturing, Customer Service/Retail, Doctor/Nurse/Caregiver, Education/Training, Finance/Accounting, Food Service, Human Resources, Marketing/Inside Sales, Media, and Driver/Transportation Provider. The remaining 23% fell into an “Other” job category.

For a copy of the full survey data, please contact genesys@sterlingpr.com

How Robotic Process Automation Makes Contact Centers More Efficient

Automation isn’t new. Technologies like Interactive Voice Response have been around for a long time. But while advancements like these have reduced costs for the contact center, they’ve also managed to annoy customers. In the case of IVR, callers often get stuck in menu loops or struggle with systems that don’t understand what they’re saying. Enter robotic process automation.

Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence

Contact centers are in the business of serving the customer, and in an effort to improve the customer experience, technologies are always emerging. Robotic process automation (RPA) is one of them, automating tasks and freeing up agents to personally handle complex issues. RPA uses Natural Language Processing, which is related to artificial intelligence, an even more advanced type of automation that can make human-like judgments about tasks.

Interactive Text Response for Customer Service

Interactive Text Response (ITR), more casually referred to as chatbots, goes hand-in-hand with the increasing popularity of messaging apps. Brands that want to improve the customer experience are making themselves available on chat – and it’s working. More than 70% of 1-800-Flowers’ chatbot orders come from first-time customers, and the company’s commitment to new tech has attracted tens of thousands of users. Chatbots are more effective than IVR because text input is easier for the system to understand than spoken language. AI can then be used to gain a deeper understanding of what the customer is saying, accounting for the different ways a customer may phrase a sentence or question.

Sample Phone Call with RPA

RPA can also be used with phone calls, not just chatbots. Here’s an example of how RPA can help with a live call:

  • Jane calls to speak with an agent.
  • Your RPA takes the call and authenticates Jane by confirming her account number and call-in PIN.
  • Your RPA analyzes Jane’s account and sees that she has an open ticket and that she’s just been on the website to look at the status.
  • Your RPA says something like, “I see that you have an open ticket with us. Is that the reason for your call?” Jane confirms that this is the reason for the call.
  • Jane is transferred to an appropriate live agent.

Contact center technology like RPA can help customers solve their issues more quickly, but it can also provide much-needed support to agents by making them more efficient.