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Best practices in SMS customer care

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By mGage

Did you know that 95% of people who had a bad experience are willing to give a brand another go if they know that their issue was dealt with correctly[1]?

Customer care is extremely important for brands, and facilitating customer care over as many communication channels as possible is good business practice.

Text messaging, or SMS, is an excellent channel for customers because it’s convenient, and immediate. We ran a webinar on the Best Practices in SMS customer care and wanted to share some key points below.

SMS Customer Care Use Cases

Customers prefer SMS customer service to voice because it’s more convenient than waiting on the phone. In fact, 81% of all consumers get frustrated being tied to a phone or computer to wait for customer service help[2]. By adding text messaging to your communication, you will reduce operational and call center costs, while at the same time increase customer satisfaction. Below are a few customer care messaging examples that are used today.

Reminders: Sending SMS reminders to your customers will help decrease missed appointments and ensure payment adherence. With 98% of text messages being read within two minutes[3], sending a quick text message is a more efficient way to reach your customers than trying to reach them with a phone call or sending an email they may not see.

Bank Alerts: SMS provides a much more expedited, seamless experience for fraud notifications and charge authorizations, creating a better customer experience than previous methods. By being notified promptly, customers will feel like their bank is looking out for them.

Call-back Requests: Implementing call back requests via SMS immediately reduces strain on your call center and instantly improves customer satisfaction by reducing wait times. You can even enable your toll-free number for this purpose, so customers who are already familiar with your current contact info can continue to use the same number.

Best Practices for Delivering Customer Care Messages

Be Very Clear: Clarity is essential when delivering your customer care messages. Be upfront and set the proper expectations, so customers know what they are signing up for.

Keywords are Key: We always suggest you use the keep it short and simple (KISS) approach for keywords. Customers want to receive messages that are easy to read and digest, so keep it simple and avoid special characters. Choose keywords that won’t be autocorrected and be sure to choose keywords that are straight to the point.

Test Measure & Learn: Finally, learn from all the information you get and use it to improve the customer service you deliver to your customers. Measure the success of your customer service alerts by paying attention to the number of customers opting in and out of your programs. The number of opt-outs is a good indication as to whether the content remains relevant to your audience.

Final thoughts

Provide the best customer support by adding text messaging to your communication channel. These are just some of the best practices we would suggest for your SMS customer care strategy. To view our webinar on the best practices in SMS customer care, click here.

For more in-depth detail, contact us today and speak with one of our experts.

Sources

[1] https://business.trustpilot.com/reviews/5-reasons-why-customer-experience-is-the-pulse-of-every-business

[2] Harris Interactive, “The High Demand for Customer Service via Text Messaging”

[3] RetailDive

2020 Contact centre trends you need to know

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Contact Centre executives have a lot on their plates. To thrive in 2020 and beyond, successful leaders must set their sights on strategic differentiation, not daily firefighting. No longer is it sufficient to react in-the-moment and call it good enough.

The smartest (and most successful) contact centre leaders realise they need to keep looking forward at all times to identify the important trends shaping the industry.

For our annual trends e-book, Serenova researched and spoke to industry analysts, customers and prospects to uncover the critical, emerging trends that deserve your attention. Understanding these issues will help you effectively prioritize resources, including time, budget and workforce, to ensure your contact centre operates at its full potential.

Download your copy today at https://success.serenova.com/ccb-2020-trends

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: ContactOne

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At ContactOne we believe in creating more successful conversations by using true multi-channel / omni-channel engagements that enable business-to-consumer (B2C) organisations to communicate with their customers via the customers’ channel of choice.

Customers want to engage with a contact centre through their media of choice without unnecessary repetition of previous conversation elements…just one conversation across all interactions. Our advanced agent workplace does just that allowing the agent to view the whole, threaded conversation, along with the notes made during each communication. Consistent engagement across all media, along with sophisticated routing and a blended, universal queue makes it easier to upskill agents from a single media to interactions spanning all channels. Our platform includes all major channels including Voice, Email, Webchat, SMS, Facebook, Twitter and Trustpilot.

Contact centre managers want extensive, real-time information, with scheduled email reporting on daily, weekly and monthly trends. With a wide range of widgets our platform delivers data in a clear digestible format enabling contact centre managers to easily create, and share, real-time analysis wall boards to show information in a way that’s relevant to their business needs

Supervisors need basic information about calls in progress, contact centre / agent performance and real-time agent availability. Our supervisor dashboard widgets show this information and much more. They are optimised for the needs of the contact centre supervisor and, like the analysis widgets, can be combined by the supervisor to show the exact information required. Supervisors can even listen in on agent conversations and assist by whispering to the agent during the conversation if necessary.

Understanding what your customers think is a key element of the modern, B2C contact centre, which is why ContactOne’s Contact Centre platform incorporates both a CSAT module for real-time Voice-of-the-Customer (VoC) feedback along with a Monitoring and Engagement module for Social Media (Facebook, Twitter etc.) and Review sites such as Trustpilot and FeeFo.

Find out how ContactOne can help you have more successful conversations, contact us via phone 0330 880 4444 or email info@contactone.net for a free demonstration of our Contact Centre platform.

Company Website: https://contactone.net

Contact Centre Automation: Best Practices for 2020

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By TTEC

With the digitisation of contact centre operations, the status quo is being upended. Technological advances in robotic process automation (RPA), AI, and machine learning (ML) are literally changing the face of customer care.

However, just because you can automate something in the contact centre doesn’t mean you should. To know which tasks to turn over to artificial intelligence and a machine is a challenge. One must balance core service goals with digital worker capabilities and provide exceptional customer experience.

Learn more about contact centre automation best practices – download TTEC’s white paper, Thoughtful Contact Centre Automation Transforms Customer Care.

WHITE PAPER: How AI Improves Customer Experience

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By CallMiner

Artificial intelligence is being used in many ways to improve customer experience, and innovative new use cases are emerging all the time. Enterprises must reimagine their operations, with automation and AI at the center of their strategy.

This paper provides an overview of artificial intelligence, explains how AI fits into the spectrum of technologies used for managing contact centers operations and efficiencies both on the agent and customer side, how speech is a gold mine for data, and identifies the leading use cases that are delivering customer experience and stronger business value through customer engagement analytics.

To download the white paper, click here.

3 Strategies to Connect the Experience – Get the QuandaGo eBook

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Looking for insights on how to take your customer engagement to the next level? Get strategic guidance on how to connect the experience for your customers, agents and company with QuandaGo—The Connected Experience Platform.

See the common causes of today’s CX disconnect, and how to overcome them by bringing your customer interactions, company knowledge and business processes together in a single place. 

Empower your employees and customers with just the right information at just the right time. Automate tasks and workflows with AI. Drive greater efficiency and accelerated results by connecting the contact center into the back office—and across your business. 

Get the free eBook here today!

Banking on security: Keeping customer data secure in financial services

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Simon Hill, Legal & Compliance, Certes Networks

The protection of sensitive data in line with regulations, both for banks and other financial services organisations, is currently a big challenge.

The way these organisations operate has changed dramatically in recent years, due mostly to the fact that financial institutions are not only heavily regulated by data privacy requirements, but they are also under mounting pressure to be open to consumers and businesses about how they are protecting their data from potential breaches.

The increasing expectations of consumers means that banks and financial institutions are trying to achieve a balancing act: how can they protect data privacy, while at the same time remaining transparent about how data is being protected?

However, it doesn’t have to be a play-off between meeting these customer expectations and meeting cyber security and compliance requirements: banks and financial services organisations can utilise technology to the fullest extent while still protecting data. 

The balancing act 

To achieve this balance, banks and financial services organisations need to take control of their security posture and assume the entire network is vulnerable to the possibility of a cyber-attack. Robust encryption and controlled security policies should be a central part of an organisation’s cyber security strategy.

Through generating and defining policies, network policy enforcement allows organisations to ensure that only authorised applications and users are communicating with one another, while enabling them to meet their own governance, security and compliance requirements. 

Rather than waiting for a cyber-attack to happen, new technology tools are now available to gain a deeper understanding of policy deployment and analyse every application that tries to communicate across the network, all the while monitoring all traffic and limiting the pathways potential threats can travel. 

Conclusion 

Banks and financial services organisations should not have to worry about keeping data secure and protected. Adopting new ways of thinking about how these organisations can strengthen the protection of data requires well-defined policies, strict key assignments and authorisation of who sends and receives data.

But, most importantly, the ability to enforce policies to better monitor and observe applications and suspicious activity on the network will require sophisticated technology and tools that are currently available today. 

GUEST BLOG: Demystifying Data Subject Access Requests

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One year on from the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and it is becoming clear that when it comes to Data Subject Access Requests (DSAR), organisations are confused regarding a desire to balance the rights of an individual with the needs of an organisation, John Potts (Head of DPO DSAR and Breach Support) GRCI Law, outlines the essential processes that companies must put in place to avoid falling foul of DSAR breach.

GDPR Misunderstanding

While subject access requests were in place under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), growing personal data awareness has resulted in a significant spike in DSAR activity – and there is a degree of resentment regarding the way individuals are now using these new data rights. However, whether a business feels the DSAR is justified is in the main irrelevant: it is the law. Companies have a legal requirement to comply with a DSAR within one month – or face the wrath of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), and a potential enforcement action which could mean a fine, it will always impact on the reputation of the organisation.

This deadline applies for any DSAR, whether it is created internally or externally. Indeed, a significant proportion of the rise in DSARs is in support of employee grievance and tribunals. Many employment lawyers will now typically file a DSAR for the relevant period(s), as part of any case – whether it is an employee fighting dismissal or filing a complaint against a colleague. Companies, therefore, need to recognise that in such cases these individuals know exactly what information the DSAR should include, whether that is an email trail or meeting notes. Don’t fall into the trap of overlooking the DSAR simply because a tribunal is underway: the right process must be in place to respond to every DSAR irrespective of who makes the request or why.

As such, it is essential to put in place a process for immediately recognising a DSAR. Individuals can make requests via any medium, from Twitter to email and letter. Fail to respond within the deadline, for whatever reason, and the individual can raise a complaint with the ICO, which will then investigate. In addition to ensuring DSARs are not overlooked for any reason, a company also needs a smooth escalation process and at least one individual trained to respond to the DSAR.

Exemptions and Third Party Data

While the majority of DSARs are simple, organisations will face some that raise questions. The way third party data is handled, for example, can be a minefield. Many companies believe it is simply a case of going through all the relevant data and redacting any names other than that of the individual that has made the request. That is not the case.  

For example, if ten people were in a meeting and one of those makes a DSAR, there is no point redacting the names of those other nine individuals – everyone knows they were in the meeting. However, this approach cannot be applied to CCTV records, for example. An individual may accept the existence of CCTV in a nightclub, but that does not provide implicit agreement that their presence can be shared in a response to someone’s DSAR. Or take a police custody suite: even if faces are redacted, background conversations could infringe individual rights. When it comes to third party data, DSARs will have to be considered on a case by case basis, there is no blanket response.

Furthermore, there are a number of exemptions that can be applied to DSAR, including Legal Professional Privilege (LPP) for information exchanged between an individual and legal representative, as well as information relating to company finances or national security. The ICO will look at each exemption on a case by case basis and it is therefore essential to ensure each DSAR is annotated with the relevant exemption.

Conclusion

Failure to respond quickly to a DSAR is not going to automatically incur the huge fines associated with data theft. However, it is still a breach of GDPR and the ICO is not going to go easy on organisations that fail to put in place the right processes. DSARs are becoming a fact of life for every organisation; individuals know their rights and, as the rise in employee grievance inspired DSARs reveals, they are actively looking to use the new legislation to support their cause. 

For any organisation process is key: monitor all incoming communication channels for DSARs and escalate quickly, the clock starts when the company receives the request. Put in place good professional support for any complex cases that may require exemption or redaction. And, critically, think hard about data retention strategies. The whole aim of GDPR is to make companies consider their data resources and move away from storing data for the sake of it. Only retain data that is relevant and you have a lawful reason for processing put in a place a retention policy with strong methods for recording, extracting and redacting if needed. 

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GUEST BLOG: Whose data is it anyway? GDPR and the problem of data ownership

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By Tony Pepper, CEO, Egress Software

“GDPR is the new Y2K” was a phrase I heard multiple times during the first 12 months since its implementation. As the ICO continued to work through historical breaches under the Data Protection Act, there was certainly a sense that GDPR was all bark and no bite.

Then its first anniversary was quickly followed by the ICO issuing intentions to fine British Airways an incredible £183.39m and Marriot nearly £100m. With this move, the ICO reminded CISOs and their boards that they are indeed operating in a new era of data protection and compliance, and GDPR moved back up the agenda once more. 

Yet despite this, we don’t go a day without a new breach hitting the headlines – and the impacts are only getting more significant. The latest ‘Cost of a Data Breach’ report from Ponemon and IBM shows the average cost has increased 1.5 per cent to $3.92m. 

Stemming this tide is the problem all CISOs are working to solve – but if measures to date have had limited impact, where should they look next to achieve this? A clear understanding of why data breaches are happening is the logical place to start, however when employees are involved, this is never a straightforward issue. 

Understanding the ‘why’ around data breaches 

Much analysis has been carried out into the types and frequency of data breaches, but there has been little focus on why they are happening. When considering cyberattacks and malicious data breaches, we can quickly attribute motivations to factors such as financial gain (including ransom), political affiliations, competition and sabotage, or emotions (for example, anger). To most people, the link between these motivations and subsequent actions make sense, much in the same way that physical theft might do. 

When we consider non-malicious insider data breaches caused by staff, the problem becomes layered with complexity that’s difficult to untangle and resolve. Yet only when we understand more clearly the why behind these breaches, can we reduce their likelihood and impact. 

At Egress, we looked into this topic with independent research company Opinion Matters. Our survey of over 500 CIOs and IT leaders in the US and UK found that nearly all of them (95 per cent) are concerned by insider threat and most believe employees have put data at risk in the last 12 months either accidentally (79 per cent) or maliciously (61 per cent).

We also surveyed over 4,000 employees and found that they paint a very different picture: 92 per cent said they have not accidentally leaked data in the last year, while 91 per cent said they had not intentionally leaked data. 

Such a contrast clearly demonstrates that to some degree, employees are either unwilling to admit to causing data breaches or unaware that they have caused one.  

The issue of unknowingly causing data breaches is a nuanced discussion. It’s not simply a case of, say, never becoming aware that they’ve emailed sensitive data to the wrong person; it also includes whether employees feel like they have a right to the data in the first place, and therefore by removing it from a secure environment, they don’t realise that they’ve caused a breach – for example, exfiltrating customer lists when moving onto a new company. 

Our research found that almost one-in-three employees (29 per cent) believe they have ownership over the data they have worked on for a company and that 60 per cent don’t believe the organisation has exclusive ownership over the data.  Interestingly, those aged 16 – 24 were actually less likely to think the organisation has exclusive ownership (33 per cent), while those aged over 65 were more likely to think so (51 per cent).

The problem of ethics and ownership

Awareness and education are a favourite starting point for tackling non-malicious insider breaches. A solid foundation of cybersecurity awareness does help to reduce negligent or inadvertent instances by championing good practices. Employees can also be challenged and re-educated on the subject of data ownership, for example explaining what needs to remain with the organisation when they leave. These educational measures should also be highly targeted to the current workforce age ranges within individual organisations. In a time where digital natives, such as millennials and Generation Z, have grown up with prevalent sharing on social media and a sense of ownership around what they produce, this problem is likely to be exacerbated in these employees. 

Yet education alone won’t turn the tide of data breaches, as it can’t prevent reckless behaviour or be able to stop all inadvertent breaches – after all, people are always going to make mistakes!

How technology can reduce breaches

When respondents who acknowledged to causing a data breach were asked how this happened, our research found that accidental leaks were caused by: rushing and making mistakes (48 per cent), working in a high-pressure environment (30 per cent), and tiredness (29 per cent). Two of the top causes of intentional breaches were not having the tools required to share data securely (55 per cent) and taking data to a new job (23 per cent).

This insight helps us to understand the role technology needs to play in preventing data breaches. Advances in machine learning and graph data base technologies have made it possible to identify when people are about to accidentally or intentionally leak data – warning users and administrators in real-time that a breach is occurring, and even preventing the release of certain data altogether.

The use of this technology can not only reduce the likelihood of a data breach but also significantly reduce the impacts should a breach occur. The ‘Cost of a Data Breach’ study shows that use of security technologies such as encryption and DLP were associated with lower-than-average data breach costs. In particular, encryption had the greatest impact, lowering the cost by $360,000 on average. What’s more, security automation that leveraged technologies like machine learning and analytics on average reduced the cost of a data breach by an impressive $2.5m.

Not another Y2K

For those of us operating in cybersecurity on a daily basis, it’s impossible to be ignorant of GDPR and its impacts. This awareness inevitably dilutes the further we get from CISOs and their Security Teams, but GDPR doesn’t make this distinction: good data protection practices are non-negotiable.

As research has shown, there’s no one silver bullet to turning the tide of data breaches, particularly those caused by employees and the complexities they bring to this problem. But GDPR has emphatically proven it is not another Y2K – and CISOs need to keep educating and equipping employees to prevent non-compliance. To do this, CISOs need to address the motivations and problems staff have when sharing data – and when they don’t have confidence that people will make the right decisions, they need to look to the latest technologies to do this on their behalf.

GUEST BLOG: Creating an environment that motivates millennials

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By Nazma Quarban, Chief Revenue Officer, Cognism

By 2025, 75% of the global workforce will be made up of millennials; a shift that businesses need to prepare for in order to attract and retain workers.

Forget about the misconceptions, millennial employees can be just as hardworking, spirited and loyal as any other generation; it’s all about how you motivate them. 

As the race is on to captivate their attention, many companies are asking the same question: how can you harness the skill and determination of millennials and create a culture that inspires them to succeed? Cognism’s Chief Revenue Officer, Nazma Quarban, looks at how companies can foster a culture where millennials can thrive and talent is retained. 

  1. Become a mentor

Traditionally, the manager-employee relationship has been centred around achieving the objectives of the business or department. However, managing purely based on performance won’t work with millennials; in order to see the whole picture, companies need to move their focus to development. 

From fostering an open-door policy to setting up regular one to one meetings to discuss both personal and work-related issues, managers should always put personal growth first. Casual conversations can lead to feelings of trust and by becoming a mentor that acknowledges the employee’s strengths, employees become empowered to make their own decisions. It is only then that they will truly learn for themselves.

2. Pave the way for a future 

91% of millennials consider the opportunity for rapid career progression as one of the most important aspects of a job. Ultimately, they want to know that if they work hard, they will reap the rewards. So, making sure encouragement and benefits such as salary and remuneration are in place is key to increased productivity and performance. 

If space is created for people to step up, they will do so. Putting a progression plan in place from the start is the best way to make a millennial employee feel that you, as an employer, prioritise their career growth and advancement. And job titles really do matter; for motivated millennials, a job title reflects their status and success. Giving them a taste of authority will give them a sense of purpose which could help drive company success. 

3. Cultivate a culture 

Millennials want an environment that lets them thrive, but how can companies make this happen? With many millennials fresh out of university, replicating the university environment in the workplace through socialising and collaboration is a great way to engage them.

Creating a business unit which doesn’t feel isolated from other departments and doesn’t have any members of the management team locked behind glass doors, is the first step. Once this roadblock is removed, the workplace feels immediately more inclusive. Solving the problem of diversity through regular collaboration will help build a supportive environment that millennials want to be a part of.

4. Celebrate success

Millennials respond well to a celebratory culture; this shouldn’t just be limited to business success, but inclusive of both team and individual success too. Celebrating milestones such as a great customer review, when a contract is signed, or even their triumphs outside work will give millennials the positive reinforcement to keep achieving. 

One way this works is through company socials and entertainment. Assigning a dedicated budget to host regular activities at work will help blur the line between work and play. Whether it’s team lunches, beer and pizza evenings or even an annual trip away, when people enjoy what they do and who they do it with, they will feel like they have a sense of purpose. 

5. Champion transparency 

Millennials expect transparency and are willing to be transparent in return. Being open and honest in both communications and conduct will go a long way in winning the hearts of millennials. Opening up these conversations and creating an inclusive environment will make them feel a level of value and respect whereby they can impact actual change. 

Giving them the opportunity to innovate and pursue their personal interests in the professional setting is one way companies can keep things fresh and provide them with the opportunity to get involved in the way the business is run. After all, you never know what hidden talents might transform your business. 

Conclusion 

Business owners need to realise that it’s no longer about what millennials can bring to the company, but what the company can bring to millennials. Working with millennials needn’t be an obstacle. If organisations invest in them as people and not employees, they will create a happier team, which is inevitably more effective and motivated and set up to succeed every time. Engage with millennials in the right way and there are no limits to what can be achieved. 

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