Contact Centre Summit | Forum Events Contact Centre Summit | Forum Events Contact Centre Summit | Forum Events Contact Centre Summit | Forum Events Contact Centre Summit | Forum Events

Posts By :

Guest Post

GUEST BLOG: Four questions organisations need to ask after a cyber attack

960 640 Guest Post

Cyber attacks are inevitable, but it’s how an organisation deals with them that can make or break their business. Have they got all the answers, and do they fully understand the implications? Can they be sure the attack won’t happen again?

Swift and comprehensive incident response is a critical step to ensuring the future security of a business and protecting its reputation. It’s not enough to be aware that an attack is taking (or has taken) place. There are four key questions organisations need to be able to answer following a cyber security breach – if a single answer is missing, the security team won’t have the full picture, leaving the business vulnerable to impending attacks. Not having this level of insight can also damage an organisation’s relationships with suppliers and affect customer confidence, as it means the business itself is not in control of the situation.

Andy Pearch, Head of IA Services at CORVID, outlines four questions all organisations must be able to answer after a cyber attack.

1. How and where did the security breach take place?

The first step of an effective incident response strategy is to identify how the attackers got in. Quite simply, if an organisation misses this first crucial step, attackers will exploit the same vulnerability for future cyber attacks. Guesswork won’t cut it – any security professional can hypothesise that “it was probably an email”, but security teams need clear evidence so they can fully analyse all aspects of the problem and devise an appropriate solution. 

2. What information was accessed?

Understanding specifically what information was accessed by the attacker is paramount to knowing what impact the attack will have on the organisation. Identifying which departments were targeted or what types of information might have been stolen isn’t good enough; organisations need to be able to articulate exactly which files were accessed and when. Headlines about attackers stealing information are common, but just as importantly, you need to know the scope of the information they’ve seen, as well as the information they’ve taken. Not only will this inform the next steps that need to be taken, and shed light on which parts of the business will be affected, but it will also enable the organisation to remain compliant with legal obligations, for example, identifying if a data breach needs to be reported under GDPR.

3. How can systems be recovered quickly?

Organisations will understandably want to get their IT estate back to normal as soon as possible to minimise damage to their business, service and reputation. If the compromise method is identified and analysed correctly, IT systems can be remediated in seconds, meaning users and business operations can continue without downtime for recovery.

4. How do you prevent it from happening again?

Knowing the IT estate has been compromised is useless without taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Managed Detection and Response (MDR) is all about spotting the unusual activity that indicates a potential breach. If a user is accessing files they would never usually touch, sending unexpected emails or reaching out to a new domain, for example, such activity should prompt a review. The problem for most companies, however, is they lack not only the tools to enable such detection, but also the time and skills to undertake thorough analysis to determine whether it is a breach or a false positive.

A managed approach not only takes the burden away from businesses, but also enables every company to benefit from the pool of knowledge built up as a result of detecting and remediating attacks on businesses across the board. With MDR, every incident detected is investigated and, if it’s a breach, managed. That means shutting down the attack’s communication channel to prevent the adversary communicating with the compromised host, and identifying any compromised asset which can then be remediated.

Shifting security thinking

Clearly, GDPR has raised awareness that the risks associated with a cyber attack are not only financial, as hackers are actively seeking to access information. Security plans, therefore, must also consider data confidentiality, integrity and availability. But it is also essential to accept the fundamental shift in security thinking – protection is not a viable option given today’s threat landscape. When hackers are using the same tactics and tools as bona fide users, rapid detection and remediation must be the priority.

Image by kalhh from Pixabay

AI: It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new way of customer support and engagement

960 640 Guest Post

With headlines stating that AI will be ‘the death of the contact centre’, it’s understandable that Contact Centre Managers might feel like the world is against them. 

AI-driven technology is not new, in fact people been talking about it since the summer conference at Dartmouth College in 1956, where the attendees became leaders of AI research.With predictions of an AI-first world since 1956, why is that AI-powered technology is causing more and more confusion, hype and fear this decade with trending headlines stating that robots will take over our jobs, causing concern about the long-term impact of AI on the employees?

Well firstly, it’s this shorthand referral to AI that is causing a lot of confusion, hype and fear around this subject.Like computing, it’s hard to distinguish between classifications for AI, the broad term, used to describe the ‘smart’ human-like capability within software such as machine learning, natural language processing, robotics and computational intelligence, which all refer to a wide variety of algorithms and methodologies under AI.

So where does AI fit into the contact centre?

Businesses can no longer afford to rely on archaic siloed channels for customer support and experience. As consumers grow more and more comfortable with messaging, AI applications offer the contact centre some dramatic benefits that stretches way beyond customer support.AI can play a vital role in making better business decisions, many of them positively impacting the customer.

Many brands understand that their customers will expect support across multiple digital channels, regardless of business hours and that site search, static FAQs and info@ email options have become archaic.Businesses must be ‘present’ on their customers’ preferred support channels and respond swiftly, no matter the means customers use to get in touch.

Investing in AI might sound like a daunting task, but it is imperative in our evermore competitive world where businesses need to win the CX war to remain relevant and profitable. For AI to introduce new value and break fresh ground, strategists must take an innovative approach to CX and consider its impact beyond its novelty.

Smallsteps are key to preparing for the ever changing CX landscape.The light in this confusing artificially intelligent world of darkness are that there are ‘modest’ AI-powered solutions that can translate into cost savings, increased productivity and improved customer experience with minimal demands on IT resources.

Commonly known as Natural Language Understanding (NLU) – a machine algorithm to process and analyse large amounts of natural language data to ‘understand’ natural language – it’s easy to underrate the powerful impact this science can have on business processes and the contact centre.

Although human language is extremely complex, full of contextual rules and nuances that we take for granted, the advances in Natural Language Processing today means the complex processing of the NLP system’s back-end is effortlessly encased within a user-friendly interface without requiring users to have technical expertise.

NLU is a supreme AI engine particularly when it’s integrated into services such as conversational Virtual Agents (chatbots), dynamic FAQ self-service, Intelligent Web Form and agent assistance in the contact centre through channels such as Live Chat. can be key to deflecting calls, reducing costs and improving customer satisfaction. Consequently, market movements are already showing strong signs of businesses within a variety of sectors moving towards this type of AI technology to remain applicable and competitive.

How NLU makes sense in the contact centre

NLU can offer a lot more to the modern-day contact centre. As a toe in water into the world of artificial intelligence, when integrated with unstructured data – such as handwritten documents or notes by contact centre agents, text messages, photos and videos – AI-driven NLU can add considerable gains in workplace efficiency.

A contact centre knowledge-base integrated with AI-driven NLU can automate the processes of searching, modifying, and rating knowledge-articles, which could be any of the above-mentioned examples not only saving time in having to manually find information, but a dramatic increase in contact centre productivity. 

It enables new or temporary agents to serve customers almost instantly with reduced training times and access to instant, correct and consistent information over the phone, during a live chat or through email. NLU algorithms often can contextualise information to find mentions of subjects even when the relevant keywords are absent. 

Gartner predicted that in 2019, 20 percent of user interactions with smartphones will take place via virtual personal assistants.

The truth is they were not far off. Advances in text analysis and natural language processing has grown the list of queries that can be answered, and tasks resolved without human interaction. And since 2016, the popularity of using NLU in the form of chatbots to drive sales, qualify leads or to provide customer support, have had analysts forecast that conversational commerce will automate up to 85% of customer interactions by 2020.

Smartphones have changed the way in which people communicate and engage with each other. Messaging apps and social media are driving the exponential growth in the intelligent assistant landscape because it feels intimate and personal, encouraging customer transactions such as buying a product, present targeted promotions and product recommendations based on the customer’s enquiry, profile and history incorporating real-time analytics and business reporting. Bots are unmediated in a way that most digital interface still entirely fails at. 

With an intelligent bot handling high volume, frequently asked questions, your contact centre agents can focus on resolving complex customer issues. Additionally, due to working in the most efficient way possible, bots can handle spikes in customer contact to digital platforms, while dramatically decreasing the volume of physical calls which makes it easier to stay on top of demand and to record interactions on a CRM system or for analytics and training. Given its scalability, a bot implementation is a cost-effective opportunity for business improvement. An affordable, intelligent point of contact that can efficiently respond to an unlimited number of queries with relevant information, any day, any time.

Self-serving answers when customers need assistance across desktop, mobile and social channels is not a new concept anymore. This is not news to enterprises either and most will have incorporated – or are looking to integrate – a powerful intelligent FAQ system into their customer service/experience strategy. And although there appears to be an AI-uncertainty among business leaders, small steps need to be taken towards implementing AI to not get left behind.

NLU’s adaptability and usability make it an ideal first AI step for businesses of all kinds, generating quick win efficiencies in the short run, and more importantly preparing them for more complex AI solutions in the future. Are you ready to take the next step towards AI that can deliver quick-win business results?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Practical steps to streamline processes, enhance customer experience and reduce costs

960 640 Guest Post

Ember are delivering an exclusive seminar where our experts will be exploring proven techniques for process optimisationand sharing examples of how our clients have delivered enhanced customer experiences, reduced costs and improved ROI. 

Read More…

GUEST BLOG: What is Customer Experience?

960 640 Guest Post

Peter Tetlow, Client Solutions Director, Ventrica

The contact centre industry is continually evolving. A few years ago we were in the Customer Management industry. Now we have evolved to be in the Customer Experience industry.

On the face of it, this rebranding of the industry shows that we look at things from the customer’s point of view rather than simply trying to manage them as if they are a nuisance. However, do we really understand what the customer experience is and how to improve it?

A starting point is to look at what experts say. Forrester defines Customer Experience as “how customers perceive their interactions with your company.” This is correct in as far as it goes, but only tells half the story. As with most things, we tend to look internally as an industry and assume that the customer experience is all about us and the type of interaction a customer has when contacting the company.

However, ask any customer. Customer experience starts long before they pick up the phone or start a chat session. For a manufacturing company, the experience starts when the customer researches and then purchases the product. Their experience continues when they set the product up and try to understand the instructions; it continues when they register it and use it.

Customers need help from the start to set up their new product and get it working or indeed they may get many months or years use from the product before they have an issue and they need support. Only then, when they need help, will they contact the company. Their experience at this stage can make or break the relationship because the customer won’t necessarily remember the fact that something has gone wrong, but they will remember how the problem is dealt with.

The critical part that is missing from the definition above is an understanding that the customer experience starts long before they try and make contact with a contact centre. As customer experience professionals, we need to be able to influence the full end to end experience, not just when a customer contacts us. In many ways, that is locking the stable door after the horse has bolted.

Advisors understand customer issues because they are in the privileged position of speaking (or chatting) with customers. The majority of the issues identified will be outside the contact centre’s direct span of control, but this knowledge is a source of invaluable information and insight. For example, if customers call in because product instructions are not clear, only the contact centre will know this within the organisation. If customers talk about multiple and confusing correspondence received, again, the contact centre is probably the only team aware of this and the impact it has on the customer.

Contact centres and retail stores if appropriate, need to be at the centre of the organisation and become the insight and analytics hub, collating and analysing insight gained, to drive improvements. Because this insight comes direct from customers, capitalising on it is the optimal way to improve the customer experience, leading to higher satisfaction, more loyal customers, reduced contacts, reduced costs and product insight.

This will require a change of mindset for many organisations who may see the contact centre as a necessary evil, within which to minimise spending as much as possible, rather than a business critical function that helps to inform and drive product development, product management and marketing amongst many other teams. Ultimately, the contact centre is a strategic asset rather than a simple cost centre but to use it as such requires a deep understanding of the end to end customer experience.

Befriending The Robot: How To Build Meaningful Relationships Using AI

970 640 Guest Post

It goes without saying that implementing automation in the contact centre improves customer service efficiency, but how does it affect the quality of your company’s customer relationships?

The depersonalising experience of being funnelled down an automated IVR can leave customers feeling undervalued, especially if they have to repeat information given in the queue when their call is finally connected to an agent.

Eliminating Frustration

By implementing AI within your contact centre, the often frustrating routing process can be transformed into a streamlined system that enhances the level of personalisation that your customers receive.

With Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities integrated into your IVR, customers’ answers to automated questions within the queue can be transcribed using speech-to-text functionality, recorded, and presented to agents before the call is taken. This enables a smoother process, through reducing repetition, and allowing agents to focus on providing exceptional customer service, without having to spend time looking up customer data.

Immediate Satisfaction

We live in a digital world, where information is instantly and readily available online, with most everyday problems being solved with a quick internet search. So, when it comes to answering simple enquiries, it pays to be able to provide a service that can give your customers immediate satisfaction.

Chatbots, NLP and Image Recognition technologies can all be employed to automate requests for information, resolving non-complex issues without the need for an agent, and satisfying customer queries as soon as they are received.

Building Relationships

Automatically resolving simple enquiries through AI frees up your agents to provide a more supported and specialised service to those who need it most. Whether it be priority customers, vulnerable callers or those with more difficult or complex queries, employing AI gives your agents the time to craft meaningful, human relationships that lead to loyalty.

Empowering agents by providing them with more time to focus on the quality of each interaction, and to develop their soft skills, helps to transform complaint-resolution scenarios into positive, relationship-building experiences.

Content Guru’s cutting-edge AI package, brain®, offers NLP, Chatbot and Image Recognition capabilities to help revolutionize your contact centre, and build meaningful customer relationships with every interaction.

Find out more about how Content Guru’s AI offering can enhance your customer experience here:

Find out more about Content Guru here:

Giosg Interaction Designer makes it easy for everyone to build and publish interactive content

960 640 Guest Post

Online customer engagement software provider Giosg introduces Interaction Designer, a new tool that enables companies to easily create and publish interactive content without coding.

Users can build different interactive elements to engage and reach out to their website visitors or customers.

“In such a dynamic and fast-paced world in order to succeed,  businesses should be able to serve and help their online visitors or customers fast. This is why I am very excited to offer our customers the opportunity to build and deliver different interactions in real time”, said Ville Rissanen, CEO at Giosg. 

With giosg Interaction Designer, customers are able to design banners, questionnaires, polls, surveys or build their own button-based chatbots – predefined set of button options that guides a user in the right direction for a right answer.

“Interaction Designer provides us with so many different ways to build our interactions. It takes only a few minutes for me to create a button-based chatbot to help my customers find the car they are looking for”, said Matti SahiCustomer Insight Specialist at K-Caara. 

To learn more about Interaction Designer, visit giosg.

About Giosg:

Giosg offers businesses digital tools for diverse, personalised and creative ways to interact with their online visitors and customers. By combining data, AI technology, and human engagement, we help our customers create meaningful interactions, serve more efficiently and grow their business.

Centralized or de-centralized WFM: 5 ways to strike the perfect balance

960 640 Guest Post

New business models and organizational change have put the debate over centralized versus decentralized workforce planning back on the table. Kanogo Njuru at Teleopti advocates a balanced approach using Workforce Management (WFM) technology to blend all types of service organizations…

In the past, workforce planning was often managed by local teams out in the field.  However, as technology has progressed to automate many of the traditionally time-consuming forecasting and scheduling processes, more and more organizations have seen the advantages of centralized planning.  Contact centers in particular have enjoyed the benefits technology brings when addressing critical long-term strategic challenges, while optimizing workforce management and end-to-end processes for improved productivity, staff satisfaction, customer service and financial control.  

It is also a trend that is not necessarily limited to the contact center world and the same debate over centralized versus decentralized planning can apply to all sorts of service models for example in retail, cleaning services and hospitality. In all instances the aim is to improve customer and employee satisfaction and boost profitability through optimized, automated forecasting and scheduling.  

Over the years, seismic shifts in business have had a transformational impact on people.  Mergers and acquisitions have brought uncertainty along with fluid internal staff structures while the rise of e-commerce has turned old ways of working on their head.  How do organizations change the corporate culture to adapt to the new world order? How do they find, manage and keep good talent?  How do they bring together thousands of full or part-time employees at head office locations or at remote virtual contact centers around the world and of course take into account home workers?  What is the best way to forecast and schedule effectively?  All these questions have renewed the debate around centralized versus decentralized workforce planning.

Some organizations take a conscious decision not to centralize all their Workforce Management (WFM) processes at once, if at all, regarding it to be counter-productive.  There is the commonly held belief that centralized planning takes power away from local people, leading to a sense of loss of control and a demoralized workforce.  Then, there is the pragmatic approach.  Planners often share a special relationship with their local teams and they truly understand what their staff want and how they work best hence the old saying – if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

Other companies may choose to centralize certain functions like payroll but decentralize others such as HR and recruitment.  Whichever WFM model organizations choose to adopt, good communication is essential to overcome mistrust and feelings of fear. By combining a sound communications strategy with technology, a balance between reducing unnecessary costs, while also promoting consistency and higher standards of operations, customer service and workforce satisfaction can be achieved.  

5 ways to strike the perfect balance with WFM

Fortunately, the latest WFM solutions are highly flexible and offer speed and agility to support the needs of today’s multi-channel customer experience (CX) operations and other service organizations.  Being cloud-based, they eliminate the need for expensive hardware and large in-house IT departments, are fast to implement, easy to scale and simple to use.  Let’s take a closer look at five key benefits: 

1.       One single solution – can support a whole network of planners and brings consistency to a variety of centralized and decentralized WFM processes – from forecasting and scheduling enough staff to manage changing customer requirements to keeping track of employee sickness, personal schedules and team preferences.  Even if different planning teams operate in different locations, the deployment of one solution makes it easy to connect the dots, bringing together the various elements involved in successful workforce planning such as staff information, employee requests and forecasting while accelerating the transfer of important workforce data to accommodate specific special projects or marketing campaigns.  What it more, using one WFM platform opens the door to centralized planning in the future and makes the transition a smooth and seamless one. 

2.       High levels of scalability – support both centralized and decentralized workforce planning through agile forecasting and scheduling that adapts to changing customer and business requirements and by helping to create effective skills matrices that identify and deploy the best talent.  The latest WFM solutions can flex up to accommodate a growing network of different planning teams in different locations or they can provide end-to-end visibility and superior management of organization-wide workforce planning activities from a central point. 

3.       Self-service for choice – whether an organization adopts a centralized or decentralized workforce planning model, the addition of self-service empowers employees to  control their working lives, to view their schedules and those of their colleagues, request shift swaps or book time off at the click of the mouse or by using their mobile devices. 

4.       Fairness and transparency through automation – consistency and greater visibility of WFM processes both in smaller, decentralized planning teams and in centralized departments that plan for thousands of staff across the organization is made possible through automation.  Transparency and openness create a sense of fairness that appeals to staff while satisfying organizations with a strong Union or Works Council presence.  Managers have the information they need to ensure all employees take it in turns to do the more unpopular shifts and plan vacation time equitably while employees have total visibility of each other’s schedules and time off through self-service functionality. 

5.       Effective Change Management – certain customers like Germany’s biggest online retailer OTTO, cite the strategic impact that WFM technology has on actively advancing corporate change management programs.  The flexibility, transparency and collaborative nature of today’s WFM technology has helped OTTO to strike a good balance between achieving high productivity levels (1,600 agents working 2 million shifts and 4,500 shift rotations – handling over 24 million enquiries per year!) and transferring the program’s core values of empowerment and fairness into 15 virtual contact centers. What is more, they have achieved this through a mixture of centralized and decentralized workforce planning methods across the company.

Centralized? Decentralized?  Does it really matter? What really matters is striking the balance between operational or business efficiency and promoting a collaborative framework that leads to engaged employees and satisfied customers.

It’s time to welcome WFM technology as the catalyst for change.


960 640 Guest Post

Fusion’s plug ‘n’ play application SmartScribe® shines a light in minutes on your customer interactions. Find out how.

SmartScribe® from Fusion.

Switch the lights on in minutes and learn what’s really going on between your agents and your customers. SmartScribe® is easy to deploy and brings relevant analytics from the get-go.

Use your call and screen recordings to capture insight into your compliance, quality monitoring, customer service and agent performance.

The Smart Approach

Contact Centres have a number uses for transcription, speech analytics and screen recording. But what are the most popular ones?

  1. Redaction: In our GDPR age and with PCI regulations tightening, ensuring your call recordings are compliant with both is important. A tool like SmartScribe® removes sensitive information from the call transcription and the recording, leaving your Contact Centre free to store call recordings without breaching regulations.

  2.  Automating Compliance: Agents are typically required to deliver statements, or ask questions, to ensure the company complies with external regulations, internal standards and reporting. Using speech analytics means you can check compliance on every call and help you provide targeted training where needed. 

  3. CX and Agent Performance: Truly understanding customer trends across each interaction is becoming ever more important with the focus on Customer Experience. Using automation tools like SmartScribe®, companies are monitoring all of their calls, building a much fairer understanding of agent’s performance.

The three key questions

These questions cover topics which have prevented companies adopting this technology in the past.

How does it work? SmartScribe® will take your voice, chat and email records and automatically check them for compliance using Natural Language Processing (NLP), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies. Seeing is believing.

How much does it cost? Much less than it did just a year ago. In fact, the cost barrier to entry has been lowered to such an extent that even small contact centres of just 10 seats can afford to play. 

How much effort does it require? Things have changed… It used to take 3 to 6 months of typing in keywords and teaching the system what you want to know. With SmartScribe’s intelligent processing you can gain insight with practically no heavy lifting at all. 

SmartScribe® is a Leader

Considering the increasing variety of benefits, easy adoption and lowering price, more and more contact centres are bringing automated analytics into their technology stack. 

Here at Fusion we are leading with advances in accuracy and AI through SmartScribe®, helping companies stay compliant, improve efficiency and lower cost.

Introducing ERROL – The fun way to embed Learning & Knowledge

960 640 Guest Post

Ember Real Results Online Learning Platform (Errol Owl) is a unique tool designed to increase the effectiveness of your learning solutions.

It provides an easy and enjoyable way to follow up on learning and help identify further knowledge gaps that can be plugged by further learning or through coaching…

For more information, visit:

The Virtual Agent: Finding the balance between man and machine

960 640 Guest Post

It’s no secret that AI technologies are taking the customer service and contact centre industry by storm. After all, the idea of replacing expensive staff with comprehensive automation can represent an all-too-tempting opportunity for contact centre cost-cutting.

Suddenly, a future where customers interact solely with emotionless corporate robots, with no option for compassionate human conversation, doesn’t seem quite so distant as it once did.

However, your human agents are the key to maintaining successful customer relationships, and driving a brand loyalty fuelled by genuine human interaction. It is in enhancing your agents’ ability to form these relationships that AI truly reaches its full potential.

Agents and Automation

By implementing intelligent automation in your contact centre, routine enquiries, repeat calls, and requests for information will be resolved must faster, often without the need for human interaction. This frees up live agents to tackle more complex questions, and serve priority customers.

By shielding live agents from repetitive, low satisfaction tasks and allowing them to use their unique skills and specialist knowledge, their job satisfaction is drastically increased, leading to reduced agent attrition.

Introducing brain® Virtual Agent

Content Guru’s latest AI development, brain Virtual Agent, is a cutting-edge AI toolset, offering Natural Language Processing (NLP), Image Recognition (IR), and Chatbot capabilities.

brain’s NLP technology facilitates speech recognition, allowing simple spoken queries to be automatically resolved, liberating your agents to tackle more complicated issues. Through speech-to-text transcriptions, brain can securely store customer interactions for compliance or data analysis purposes. Agents can access these using a simple keyword search, enabling future customer interactions to be more personalised and streamlined.

brain integrates seamlessly with world-leading IR technology. Through image filtering, brain can automate everyday, image-based queries, order images by importance, and flag up those that require specialist agent attention. Images can also be screened, so that your agents are not exposed to inappropriate content unnecessarily.

By understanding human language and simulating conversation, brain-powered chatbots can be used to provide accurate, live information to customers when prompted.

Find out more about how Content Guru’s AI offering can enhance your agent performance here:

 Find out more about Content Guru here: