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WEBINAR: 3-Step Guide to Scaling your Business using AI

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Deploying AI in Contact Centres for rapid on-boarding of new business

By Jim Nolan, Sales Manager, KantanMT

One of the most significant challenges, faced by the contact centres industry is on-boarding new territories and customers. Many contact centre managers will way say it takes too long, it’s expensive, and complex. And if the on-boarding process includes a multi-lingual dimension, then hiring agents with product expertise coupled with language skills can be a nightmare. Combined with increased costs associated with multilingual agent resourcing and rostering, it’s no wonder contact centre managers view it as a significant challenge in scaling their business!

Many contact centre managers are looking towards AI as a solution to help them rapidly scale their business and on-board new clients. This is especially prevalent in the context of providing multi-lingual support and services. These progressive contact centres are shifting the hiring focus away from languages with an emphasis on agent product/service knowledge and expertise.

However, to do this successfully, they must remove the language barrier from all aspects of their service chain, ensuring that any agent, can service any ticket in any language!

By removing the language barrier, contact centres fundamentally change how they organise and deploy support teams. While traditional contact centres establish regional and/or language teams, todays progressive centres focus on product/service teams, where language is simply irrelevant.

To achieve this, progressive contact centres are looking towards AI to remove the language barrier and accelerate on-boarding. This results in higher agent productivity, happier clients, and enhanced business agility.

KantanSkynet is an AI platform that fuses the latest neural machine translation technologies, with a community of professional editors, removing the language barrier and helping contact centres scale.

Jim Nolan, AI Evangelist, will present a 3-Step Guide to how AI is used by 1,500 agents at Keywords Studios, for the Gaming and Entertainment industry, delivering support in 12 European and Asian languages. The presentation will explore how KantanSkynet is used to remove the language barrier, shifting the hiring focus away from language skills and driving the rapid on-boarding of new territories and clients.

Join us on Wednesday 16th September for our webinar and gain an insight into scaling your business using AI.

Click here to reserve you seat at the webinar.

If you require additional information, please contact  Jimn@kantanmt.com.

Meet with Diabolocom at the Contact Centre & Customer Services Summit!

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There’s only a few weeks left until the Contact Centre & Customer Services Summit!

Let’s take advantage of this virtual event to enhance your customer interactions!

Diabolocom‘s 100% cloud software can be integrated to your CRM in only a few minutes.

Self-service, personalized messages, post-call workflows, …

Are you ready to set up the best strategies in order to increase sales while improving customer satisfaction?

Free Demo Here https://www.diabolocom.com/en/free-demo

Call Centre Management – Getting it right from the start

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By Simon Black, CEO, Awaken Intelligence

We all know how having a great contact centre manager can make the world of difference to managing your team of agents and delivering outstanding campaigns. However, with the news that Oracle, alone, sent more than 100,000 customer service agents home to work, how can you ensure that you’re still delivering the best call centre management even with the majority of your agents working remotely?

As a recent FT article highlighted, “the image of a seamless, 24-hour global work ethic (from the contact centre industry), relies to a great extent on humans in large offices – ‘butts on seats’, as one industry locution has it.”

Covid-19 is dramatically changing the contact centre landscape as we know it. So, what critical disciplines and tools are the very foundation of great management of your business? And how can you evolve to ensure you’re getting the best performance and customer satisfaction possible, wherever you can? Below you’ll find a few gems that will support your agents in this rapidly evolving sector.

Onboarding and Culture

According to Glassdoor organisations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70% yet a study by Gallup found that only 12% of employees strongly agree their organisation does a great job of onboarding new employees! The challenge to introduce new joiners effectively is greater than ever and while we know that the job market is going to be flooded at a time like this it is important you get it right. Finding self-motivated individuals that fit within your contact centre and that aren’t just ‘butts on seats’ is really important. You may be looking for completely different people compared to your traditional hires. You’re going to need self-starters that are motivated and that aren’t afraid to shout as they settle into their new role. Managing the existing team is hard enough at the moment but you need to ensure your new agents aren’t just thrown in the deep-end! Make sure you have a robust onboarding process where they get the following:

  • To meet their team and key managers in the business. Give them a feel for your company culture even if it’s only via video calls.
  • Make sure you cover all the HR aspects and get the admin out of the way as quickly as possible.
  • Ease them into the role by showing them the systems and procedures by using video training. The technology exists to do this so there’s really no excuse!
  • Appoint a mentor – a key person your new hire can go to when they’re feeling anxious or have any questions as they settle into the role, and encourage them to schedule regular, virtual coffee meetings. According to HCI, 87% of organisations that assign an ambassador or buddy program during the onboarding process say that it’s an effective way to speed up new hire proficiency.

You’ll see we also mentioned company culture. We know it’s difficult to keep this going while everyone is working remotely but it’s vital as BreatheHR’s Culture Economy Report 2020 highlighted, estimating that toxic workplaces cost the UK economy £15.7 bn every year. Encouraging existing employees as well as new agents to contribute to conversations, turn up on team calls and join in online quizzes or cocktail hours will help to keep people motivated even in this disjointed world.

Best Tools for the Job

AI and voice analytics are changing the way in which many businesses operate and contact centres are no different. Our conversational analytics will not only help you to analyse the vocabulary and sentiment in your most established performers but will also help you to pick up on where new starters are struggling too.  This is so important when you’re unable to stroll around your call centre and listen into conversations taking place. Plus, it’s actually a far more practical and informative way of keeping your finger on the pulse.

Not only will scripting and analytics help to guide even the newest recruits through their first calls but, also with this informative data they’ll soon be able to understand what makes a seamless journey for the customer and a better day at work for them! Here’s a reminder of why conversational analytics (CA) is so important for your agents:

  • The intuitive way CA works means your agents require less training or can move on to different campaigns without spending hours reading reams of training manuals.
  • Ability to handle calls and resolve them faster than before, which means your agent’s experience and job satisfaction will be higher and your cost per call is kept in control.
  • Your agents have the ability to focus on the conversation, rather than the process which means both agent and customer have a better experience. That means your staff retention improves dramatically.
  • By providing you with actionable insights formed into one report, it will allow you to motivate your agents in the right directions and stimulate continuous improvement.

Automate

Automating the intensive process of monitoring agent-customer interactions at scale can help to highlight which agents might need further training and on what in particular. Also, there are repetitive call centre tasks such as listening to agents calls and manually evaluating agent’s performance or screening the calls for quality assurance (QA), that can be automated to make the role more enjoyable. Given automation is a proven way to reduce attrition investing in automation makes even more sense when you look at the numbers. According to Response Design Corporation call centres replace approximately 26% of their agents each year and a report from CIPD claims that the average cost for replacing call centre staff is £6,125. It doesn’t take a mathematical genius to realise that re-hiring and training 26% of your workforce on an annual basis is pretty expensive! So, doing anything to retain the great performers is more than worthwhile.

Metrics

It sounds simple but measurements should be in place to monitor individual, team and campaign performance. How can you reward and praise if you have nothing to benchmark people’s efforts by? And similarly, how can you report success on a particular campaign if there are no KPIs.

Any decent call centre technology will provide you with a reporting dashboard where you can gather critical data at every level. You need to measure from the individual call, agent, team, campaign and across the entire contact centre. Generating these reports shouldn’t mean that your contact centre manager spends hours stuck in Excel, these should be generated by a powerful web-based tool providing managers with all necessary information to make strategical decisions for your contact centre.

The Customer is Always King

You’ve heard it before, but your agents should never forget that delivering frictionless customer experience is critical to your organisation’s success. Help them to really understand what makes your customers tick, the variety of different requirements and to share experiences with their peers to help better the experience for all. It’s also important to remind your team, no matter how difficult the client interaction is, that being polite and positive will pay dividends. Smiling on a camera during your virtual meetings will make the conversation instantly warmer in 9 out of 10 cases. And sometimes we all have to accept that if people have a bad day and not to take it too personally either.

Going Full Circle Time and Again

While it’s been tricky with agents working remotely during this time finding ways to offer feedback and being accessible to your team is key to maintaining morale and motivation. We’ve discussed the importance several times of being a good listener and how to run a team efficiently to encourage two-way conversations across the team so they can support one another and share learnings.

As we’ve already said it takes a certain type of person to work in a contact centre and an incredibly motivated one to work from home on their own, amongst a virtual team. That is not going to change any time soon. They need to be confident, efficient and a good listener as well as a team player. However, to help them be successful you need to deploy the right tools and pay attention to the data you garner to ensure that your managers, your agents and campaigns run as efficiently as possible.

Covid-19 has been a catalyst for digital transformation this year, pushing businesses from all industries to embrace smarter technology to support their people and allow their operations to thrive. Solutions that you once viewed as a ‘nice to have’ or planned to introduce over the next five years are now a necessity. Equipping your team with the best will not only enhance their working lives but dramatically improve your customer experience (CX) too.

Safeguarding your customers from fraud before – and after – COVID-19

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By Brett Beranek, VP & General Manager, Security and Biometrics at Nuance Communications

The spread of coronavirus has resulted in increased uncertainty for many. Even as we hopefully begin to see light at the end of the tunnel, feelings of ambiguity have triggered a variation of consumer behaviour. Some are plunging deeper into their work to stay productive and keep the feeling of development going. Others are ‘switching off’ from the news and current affairs by diving into box-sets. Many are calling their banks to check on payments, Direct Debits and seek reassurance.

Loitering behind the scenes of it all is an unfortunate reality often tied to uncertainty and associated behaviours – threat actors, also known as fraudsters. The sad truth is that fraudsters don’t stop their crimes because of a pandemic. In fact, they often seize the immense change that comes with an event like this to ramp up their activity. From social engineering to email phishing and the development of sophisticated – but bogus – websites, fraudsters are taking advantage of any guards down during this time.

During the initial phases of lockdown, we saw a huge increase in the volume of fraud attacks – ranging from 200% – 400%, depending on industry. Some of these relate directly to the pandemic and reports indicate there have been hundreds of coronavirus-related scams. With fraudsters now turning to track-and-trace apps in order to dupe individuals out of their data and hard-earned money, this is a number which is only likely to increase as we go on.

Last year, even before the impact of coronavirus hit, fraud reportedly cost the global economy $5 (USD) trillion. A global poll conducted by Nuance around the same time found nearly one in five (27%) UK consumers had fallen victim to fraud in the previous twelve months, losing an average of £1,000 each, due to inefficient passwords.

That fraud loss doesn’t just hit you and me, or the bank’s insurance premiums. It hits the firms unintentionally associated with the fraud. Customers are quick to move away from those associated to fraud when it happens, with three in five (60%) in the UK noting they would change service providers or brands if they fell victim to fraudsters through their services.

Safeguarding customers in the new normal

Over the last few months, businesses all over world have faced a myriad of challenges. Irrespective of size or sector, we’ve all needed to adapt in order to keep going. The early obstacles were around ensuring both connectivity and productivity, enabling employees to work effectively from home during this unprecedented period in history.

But securing this new home-based workforce and protecting every employee, as well as every customer, from fraud is still a major concern. Many are simply not prepared and do not have the latest safeguarding tools – such as biometric technologies – in place to shield themselves from financial loss and protect their customers from identity theft. In such an uncertain time, it’s never been more important for organisations to bolster their cybersecurity strategies and arm themselves with the technology to keep fraudsters at bay whilst maintaining usual levels of service.

The unsung heroes

The abrupt switch to home-working has put particular pressure on call centres – and their agents. Many have had little to no experience with enabling remote or home working environments and fraudsters are using this to their advantage – testing for vulnerabilities by directly attacking agents working from home or even pretending to be those agents to test for weaknesses in the wider business.

This would be a challenge enough in itself but those operatives are also having to manage a massive surge in customer call volumes at a global scale. The economic downturn has all but brought the travel and hospitality industries to their knees and customers are concerned about their finances. They have questions and – in a time when many physical banks and offices are only starting to reopen – they are turning to call centres for the answers. Banks in Ireland, for example, saw a 400% increase in contact centre calls, including an average of 7,000 calls a day from customers around mortgage-related concerns. 

In today’s circumstances, it can be difficult for customer care agents to navigate the sheer volume of calls, let alone separate the fraudsters from the real customers requesting to make these transactions. This is where biometrics can help.

The biometric barrier

With your contact centre agents tackling higher demand than ever before, biometrics could play a key role in protecting both them and your customers. Not only can it verify and authenticate a caller using just the sound of their voice and behavioural characteristics – saving your agents from having to ask knowledge-based questions – but it can also flag known fraudsters who are attempting to deceive.

This in turn gives your customers peace of mind in terms of the security of their account, and also streamlines the process and customer experience when they’re in contact with your brand.

Unfortunately, the most at risk of fraud are the elderly, especially during this pandemic. Indeed, according to Age UK, an older person in England and Wales becomes a victim of fraud every 40 seconds. This is an issue we need to address as an industry – and technology is there to support this fight. In fact, the most advanced technologies can now also enable organisations to identify those over 65 years of age when calling, and prioritise them accordingly using the sound of their voice – helping protect those at increased risk and further improve their experience.

Biometric solutions are emerging as a key resource in the armory needed to fight against fraud, especially during the coronavirus crisis. Their ability to identify customers, agents and fraudsters alike are helping to keep bad actors at bay and ensure that contact centre connections are safe and secure. By investing in such measures, businesses are taking a proactive stance to safeguard their employees and customers, putting security at the heart of their customer experience.

Everything you should know about customer experience mapping

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By Simon Black, CEO, Awaken Intelligence

Having the right people, the right tools and adding in the right approach is all part of the mix in creating the right level of service for your customers. But how do you know what they really want at different stages of their journey with your brand and how do you create a frictionless customer experience (CX)?

The answer can be found in customer and user experience mapping. It can help you shape the way you handle every aspect of the customer journey. From voice calls and emails through to social media channels, SMS and App usage as well as webchats. However, if you really want to excel in the service you provide you need to firstly understand and then refine every element of your customer omnichannel experience. It might seem daunting but by peeling back the layers and working through the data you collate during your customer engagements you will find real actionable data points that educate you and your team on how to map out a smoother customer journey.

Before you start working on your customer experience mapping there’s one thing to clarify. As Jim Kalbach highlighted in his book Mapping Experiences, there is a difference between customer journey maps and customer experience maps:

  • A customer journey map typically views the individual as a customer of the organisation. And, there is often a decision involved: to purchase a product or service
  • A customer experience map looks at a broader context of human behaviour and shows how the organisation or brand fits into a person’s life. 

How to create a customer experience map fit for your clients

Your customers experience doesn’t necessarily follow a linear path with your brand.  And one size doesn’t fit all. These simple steps will help you to break down what can feel like an overwhelming task:

  • Identify every type of customer your brand or organisation has
  • Work out at what point in their lives do they have a need to engage with your business
  • Then carefully work out every possible interaction these different types of customers, or personas, will have with you during the product or service lifetime.

Let data guide the mapping process

This process will help you to outline the specific routes that each customer takes when buying from your business or brand. And remember, a customer may reach you through various parts of the omnichannel. Just because they initially reach you through the webchat doesn’t mean they’ll continue to communicate that way and it’s likely they’ll switch to voice or email as their journey starts to progress. Every aspect needs to work well and provide a consistent experience.

From that foundation of information, you then need to dig through your data and let it enlighten you on your customers’ experiences. Be prepared to make some uncomfortable discoveries and remember the data doesn’t lie so you should be able to identify some customer pain points that you can quickly resolve along the way.

What’s the goal?

Don’t just embark on the customer experience mapping work because you think it would be a good thing to do. Have a goal so that you can maintain focus throughout the project and be able to deliver on a particular outcome. For example, if your goal is to reduce support times for a certain product by a set number of minutes so that you can handle more customer enquiries (by a certain percentage) make sure that remains your focus. Or, it could be that your goal is to upsell a supporting service or accessory product to work with the original purchase. By mapping that customer experience you’ll be able to identify key touchpoints in the journey for these different engagements.

Customer experience mapping leads to enlightening discoveries

There will be some findings that you’ll be expecting to discover in the process but by carefully picking through the data it’s likely you’ll reveal some insights into what drives greater brand loyalty and, equally, what turns customers off. Your customer experience mapping should help you to identify:

  • new or refine ways to increase customer satisfaction
  • touchpoints or paths that are creating friction rather than aiding the experience
  • to understand what parts of the service or product drives loyalty
  • to discover where you can improve retention and possibly where new product, or service opportunities lie.

Key elements for customer experience mapping

Once you’ve identified your goal(s) and your different customer personas there are some key steps to follow as part of the mapping process that you can also overlay with your data:

  • List every single customer touchpoint.This may range from physical stores to advertising and email marketing through to your website and social media channels. Leave no part of this engagement unturned
  • Identify the customer need.Just as you’ve ascertained your goals your customer will have them too. Make sure you map their needs against the personas as they may have more than one
  • Different phases of interaction.Your customers will engage with you at different points long their journey. Not only do you need to identify what these points will be and the drivers behind them you should also work out the likely route of these touchpoints. Will it be a call or an email enquiry and do you have the appropriate scripts on hand to help your agents deliver the right level of service?

Where does the data come from?

If you’re reading this and worrying about where to draw all this useful data from then you may also need to take a step back and assess what systems, you have in place to manage your customer experience. It may be time to embrace digital transformation and explore how conversational analytics (CA) can help you to evolve your contact centre. It’s not only difficult to navigate across multiple legacy systems to draw on this data, it’s unproductive for your agents and, ultimately, incredibly costly for your business. Don’t be surprised if part of the customer experience mapping process may throw your need to migrate your systems and processes to something more suitable for the 21st Century too!

Improving Contact Centre Performance with Mobile Messaging

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By mGage

With 89% of consumers willing to switch to a competitor after a bad customer service experience[1], the importance of good customer service cannot be overstated. In the recent climate, increasing pressure has been placed on contact centres across various industries. Contact centres are costly, not just because of the resources required to operate them but also because of the impact they have on the customer experience. Therefore, it is crucial that businesses explore new channels that can help improve the contact centre performance – which is where mobile messaging solutions come in.

Why Mobile Messaging for Contact Centres?

There are currently 5.2 billion[2] mobile subscribers across the globe and with increasing time spent on mobile phones – the average person’s screen time is 3 hours 15 minutes a day[3],   messaging has become the leading form of communication. Public affinity for mobile messaging has led to 9 out of 10 consumers[4] preferring to message businesses as opposed to calling or emailing them.

Businesses are already seeing the benefits of mobile messaging such as increased customer loyalty and a reduction in operational costs, with 97% of companies finding they communicated more efficiently with consumers after launching texting initiatives[5].

Different Mobile Messaging Channels to Consider

SMS (or texting) Messaging

SMS, often deemed a more traditional form of messaging, is still a widely used and valuable tool in customer engagement, consisting of 160 basic characters ideal for a variety of uses. In fact, SMS has a 20x higher engagement rate than Email, Voice & Facebook[6].

With 98% of SMS messages being read in less than two minutes [7], SMS can be a very effective way of providing customers with the timely customer service updates they want. They can also utilise the SMS chat feature for two-way engagement where a consumer can ask a brand a question. A text can also be sent alerting the customer of when they are experiencing high call volumes with a call-back option. This helps alleviate some of the pressure on contact centres.

Rich Communication Service (RCS) Messaging

RCS is the next generation of SMS messaging. It brings the familiarity of SMS and adds rich media and interactive functionality which has led to RCS having a 14x higher engagement rate and 13x With the added interactive features such as suggested responses and actions, images, carousels and more, RCS creates a conversational and seamless experience for end-users, similar to that of an app.  Rather than the user having to text back a response to the brand they can tap a button from the suggested responses to navigate to the information much quicker.

Push Messaging

Push Messaging are notifications that can be delivered to the mobile device. The app does not need to be open for messages to be received therefore the message will be displayed on the smartphone’s ‘homepage’ until the user taps or deletes the notification, maximizing the messages visibility. With a 90% deliverability rate and a 7x higher click rate than email [9], push notifications are proven to improve engagement and customer retention.

How Mobile Messaging can help Contact Centres  

Streamline post-purchase customer service

72% of customers blame their bad customer service experience on having to explain their problem to multiple people[10]. This highlights the importance of gathering as much information as quickly as possible regarding the customer query prior to a call with a live agent to ensure that the query is directed to the right team with the required knowledge.

An SMS chatbot can act as the first point of contact by using a pre-programmed list of questions that the customer service team can gather before the call. Using SMS allows customers to send quick messages with the key details.

Another way to improve engagement and reduce contact centre strain is by offering call-back requests via SMS. This reduces the number of customers being left on hold which directly affects the overall customer satisfaction with the service.

Offer viable alternative calls

As we know, customer service is essential but can be a very costly function for businesses. Mobile messaging has now become a more viable option to replace the need for calling contact centres with the introduction of more interactive messaging solutions as well as helping reduce the strain on contact centres due to the high volumes of incoming calls.

A messaging option like RCS can use suggested options and image carousels to automate simple inquiries that would be costly for contact centres to process instead. The image below shows how RCS can be used to make changes to a scheduled delivery in seconds.

Increase engagement, reduce wasted time  

The most significant benefit of mobile messaging solutions is the ability to send messages in an instant, providing real time updates and resolutions to customer inquiries. This reduces the number of customers calling contact centres for updates on existing cases and allows customer care agents to better prioritise and manage queries.

Push messaging is a great way to provide updates and reminders to customers, as they appear as notifications immediately visible on phone screens, making customers feel informed and valued.

Final thoughts

Messaging solutions can be a cost-effective alternative that can support contact centres and improve the overall customer experience. These are just a few of the options available to businesses today. To learn more about messaging solutions you can use in your customer engagement strategy, get in-touch today with mGage.

References

[1] Customer thermometer

[2] GSMA Mobile Economy

[3] Rescue time blog

[4] Agility PR

[5] mGage.com

[6] Mobile xco

[7] adobeblog.com

[8] mGage.com

[9] e-goi

[10] Salesforce

 

FREE EBOOK: Managing Contact Centre Homeworkers – 20 Quick Tips

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Being a home worker will give you (as a Manager) a different and better perspective on the unique issues and pressures facing colleagues.
That said, are you finding it difficult to support your remote teams? Unsure how to motivate and boost work-at-home productivity? Or are you struggling with information security and compliance?
The new eBook from Sensee will teach you how to get on top of these and many other remote management issues.
View the ebook here (no need to register)

COVID-19: A catalyst for change in the contact centre

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By Martin Taylor, Deputy CEO and Co-Founder, Content Guru

When COVID-19 caused mass lockdown across the UK, nearly every single organisation was required to send its employees home to work remotely, or face having to close business operations entirely. There is no escaping the monumental impact that COVID-19 is having and will continue to have on both individuals and businesses on a global scale.

From grandparents using Zoom for the first time, to legacy-reliant organisations modernising in the cloud, there is a huge wave of ‘digital acceleration’ building towards a ‘new-normal’. We are now seeing efficient remote working across industries that previously thought it impossible, as well as the clear environmental benefits resulting from this. Work-life balance may be somewhat strange, but employees are now being trusted more openly by their employers to work from home in an environment that suits their needs.

In light of this monumental shift to remote working and cloud-based technologies, the long-term effects of COVID-19 as a catalyst for change in all aspects of life will be profound, and one particularly strong instance of this can be found in the contact centre industry.

COVID-19 in the Contact Centre

The traditional contact centre environment – often characterised by its low-paid employees packed side-by-side into drab offices or warehouses under strict supervision – could be described as the mill of the modern age. While typically associated with a high employee churn rate, this environment is quite obviously a hotbed for spreading germs. The crowded spaces may make for unappealing working conditions during normal circumstances, but with the battle against COVID-19 firmly on the nation’s mind many contact centre agents now see their traditional working environment as a risky and dangerous place to be.

Social distancing measures have been in place for almost two months now. It is therefore surprising – if not shocking – to learn that research over this period has revealed many non-essential contact centres are still requiring agents to work in their offices on a daily basis. Undertaken by the University of Strathclyde, the research suggests only a third of contact centres now have social distancing measures in place, and half are still working face-to-face. When you consider that the majority (two thirds) of contact centre employees have asked to work from home and yet just four per cent of those requests have been granted, it seems likely that this is an industry not only taking a lackadaisical towards the pandemic, but one that is similarly uninterested in the wellbeing of its employees.

The dangers are real. More than 2,000 contact centre workers have answered the survey so far, reporting insufficient social distancing, multi-occupation workstations, poor sanitisation, and re-used headsets. On top of these poor practices, large on premise contact centres are potentially spreading germs through heating and ventilation systems in multiple open-plan offices. For an industry that employs around four per cent of the UK’s working population, these statistics paint a stark picture.

The time to innovate is now

It should be blatantly obvious that the contact centre of yesterday is not suitable for operation amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. However, looking beyond the pandemic, it is also suppressing the necessary evolution of the contact centre from a reactive centre of cost reduction, to a more proactive, value-driven engagement hub. Lifting these restrictions will provide the catalyst for the same digital acceleration we are now seeing across industries, while also empowering employees with the latest technologies, remote working capabilities, greater responsibilities, and more rewarding careers.

The contact centre industry employs more than a million UK workers, and this typically conservative, on-premise industry has faced a mammoth task of pivoting operations to react quickly and flexibly to the largely unforeseen pandemic. With cloud-based contact centre technologies leading the charge, organisations that have acted quickly to deploy remote working capabilities are now demonstrating to the industry as a whole how they can provide an excellent engagement experience for their customers, even under extremely strained circumstances.

Those organisations that have acted fast to move to a cloud-based technology platform are now breaking away from the pack. These are the architects of a revitalised industry, modernising in a post-pandemic world and rethinking how home agents can work in a liberated yet secure and supervised way – even in sensitive situations such as PCI-DSS-compliant card payments.

Beyond the pandemic

The influx of email notifications from service providers in all industries detailing a drop in contact centre service levels shows that many organisations still have some way to go. However, almost all will be taking action now and this will prove vital in the months and years ahead.

While the ‘new normal’, in which all businesses must operate, is certainly very different to the previous business landscape, the key issues and challenges facing the contact centre are the same. For those comfortably operating in the cloud and supporting secure remote working capabilities, the traditional challenges of reducing agent churn, managing learning and development and ensuring employee wellbeing will be far easier to overcome. COVID-19 has led many contact centre operators into an enforced proof of concept that will deliver them significant operational benefits in the long term. Those that were once scared or unsure about how to make the leap are quickly realising the benefits of a modern, cloud-based contact centre, remote workforce and a more environmentally-friendly industry.

Broken barriers

The pandemic has broken down barriers to innovation that blocked progress in the contact centre industry for decades. Agents across the country are comfortably performing their jobs in the same secure, compliant way as they would have in a physical office. Where there may have been a lack of trust around home working, the capabilities of cloud contact centre technology, such as real-time screen reporting and Quality Management for supervisors, have enabled contact centre managers to maintain complete visibility over their remote agents’ wellbeing and workload. Never has the call to innovate in the contact centre been more clearly heard than now.

This pandemic will change many things. For the contact centre, it will fundamentally alter the landscape forever – and for the better – marking the start of a more caring, efficient, agile and environmentally-responsible industry.

Discover a CCaaS solution built for The New Normal.

WEBINAR: Leading Organisations are Embracing the GigCX Revolution – Learn Why and How

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Thursday 25th June 2.00 pm (BST) / 9.00 am (EDT)

Bricks and Mortar contact-centre operations continue to face challenges on multiple fronts:

  • Increasing cost of people
  • High levels of attrition
  • Staff absence
  • Limited agility to respond
  • Rapid adoption and acceptance of virtual working

Seasonal peak demands and disruptions such as COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the vulnerability of the traditional contact-centres with their business model being significantly limited in its ability to respond effectively to such challenges.

GigCX offers a strong business case: not only with respect to business risk mitigation but also with the potential it offers for delivering new, innovative service models that derive the maximum benefits from a distributed workforce.

During this free-to-attend webinar, Ember’s industry-experienced specialists will be joined by guest panellists as they explore the rising adoption of GigCX and address some of the critical questions facing the market today:

  • What is GigCX
  • What are the benefits of introducing GigCX as a solution to your operating model?
  • How can GigCX support long-term economic sustainability?
  • What is the process of removing barriers within your organisation to introduce GigCX?

This 50-minute webinar will be taking place on Thursday 25th June at 2.00 pm (BST) / 9.00 am (EDT) and to register please click here.

Introducing the presenters:

Mike Havard
Group Director
Ember Group

Simon Dillsworth
Managing Director
Ember Group

 

WHITEPAPER: The best call deflection tactics to reduce calls into the contact centre

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IMImobile’s new white paper looks at how digital messaging channels enable proactive and reactive call deflection to reduce call volumes and improve customer satisfaction. 

For any customer, “we are experiencing a higher than normal call volume” is a phrase that causes frustration. It tells them they face a lengthy wait to have their questions answered and that the value they place on immediacy when it comes to customer service is not reflected by the business they are trying to contact.

While dealing with high volumes of inbound calls at peaks times has always been a challenge, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the scale of the problem for most businesses. This has been caused by a sharp rise in customer enquiries, staff shortages and a rapid shift to remote working. Businesses that previously managed voice-based contact well, now find themselves struggling, while those that had trouble before are now being crushed under the weight of calls they must answer, risking alienating their customers for life.

For most businesses, it isn’t simply a case of just hiring more contact centre staff, as they are already allocating large budgets to these operations. They have also invested in digital solutions to reduce the role of telephony and provide answers via the likes of FAQ pages and web-based self-service portals. However, despite their efforts, research by Gartner shows that they have failed to have a significant impact on the number of customer calls they must answer.

How can they remedy the situation to reduce call volumes and increase customer satisfaction?

Digital messaging – the new centre of customer help

WhatsApp and other messaging channels have seen an immense rise in usage across the globe during the lockdown. With their use at an all-time high and predicted to continue to grow, we have seen major players like Apple and Facebook establish themselves as platforms for messaging-based B2C interaction by launching new channels such as Apple Business Chat and WhatsApp Business.

Businesses are now increasingly switching their attention to these channels in order to automate enquiries through FAQ chatbots, proactively share information, organise a call-back, and enable agent chat. Messages can be uniquely laid out, include carousels and other rich media, and use multiple call-to-actions to guide users through the interaction.

These digital messaging channels are more cost-efficient than voice, enable agents to handle multiple enquiries at once and allow consumers to contact businesses in the same way they would communicate with their friends and family, at their own convenience. The use of digital messaging channels as a platform for self-service and agent interaction is an opportunity for businesses to reduce inbound call volume, provide answers quickly and increase customer satisfaction.

The role of proactive and reactive call deflection

Businesses can take a two-pronged strategy for deflecting and guiding customers to use digital messaging channels for customer service.

The first is reactive call deflection, which is about presenting a choice to the consumer at key customer service touchpoints. For example, when a customer calls the contact centre, their reason for calling is qualified through an IVR (Interactive Voice Response). When matched to certain types of enquiries, they are offered the chance to transfer to an alternative channel. If they say yes, they seamlessly move from the call to a digital messaging channel of their choice. From there, a chatbot can help them to resolve their enquiry or they can start chatting to an agent.

The second is proactive call deflection, which is about pre-empting customer queries and addressing them to remove the need to contact. Businesses can automate customer journeys that reach out to customers through digital messaging channels to communicate issues, provide service updates and offer follow-up actions to solve calls before they happen.

These can cover a wide range of use cases across the customer journey for every type of business. For example, airlines can send out disruption updates with options to book another flight, search for a hotel, or redeem compensation. Delivery companies can provide real-time updates about when a package is expected to be delivered, enabling customers to confirm they will be in, a “safe” drop off point, or that they will collect the parcel from a local shop. There are hundreds of different use cases where proactive engagement with customers can be combined with automated resolution to prevent calls into the contact centre.

Call Deflection: Tactics for Success white paper

To learn more about proactive and reaction call deflection, and how it can help to reduce call volume and improve the customer service experience, read IMImobile’s latest white paper.

It outlines how contact centres are able to deflect inbound calls and proactively communicate through messaging channels like WhatsApp Business, RCS and Apple Business Chat. These are the new generation of two-way messaging channels that enable customers to find the answers they need without calling the contact centre.

You can download a copy here.