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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.

Why VPN is a poor choice for enabling a remote call center staff

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By Steve Bell, TalkDesk

In my previous blog, I stressed the importance of using cloud technology to quickly move call center agents to a safe, work-at-home environment, to continue support for their customers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. In this blog, I explore the challenges and pitfalls of a common alternative tactic many companies are employing to enable remote agents: using Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections to their legacy on-premises phone system.

Decision Time

IT executives across the globe are currently facing the urgent need to remote enable their contact center staff. If you’re still running an on-premises phone system, chances are you already have a VPN network in place to support a percentage of teleworkers – maybe 10 to 20% – for disaster recovery scenarios. So, one reaction might be to extend that VPN network to your entire staff, leaving your on-premises phone system in place.

On the other hand, you know you’ve been wanting to move your contact center to the cloud to take advantage of efficiencies, cost savings and better customer experiences, but haven’t had a compelling event to make the move. If there was ever a compelling event, COVID-19 is it. This is your company’s justification to move to the cloud immediately. Why not embrace the opportunity?

Which of these alternatives – VPN or Cloud – makes the most sense in terms of speed, cost and reliability? Spoiler alert: the right answer is NOT VPN. Click here to discover why.

Removing the friction from Customer Experience 

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By Simon Black, CEO, Awaken

The world in which we now live and work is truly global and as such many companies need to communicate with customers across multiple languages. The inability to converse with customers in a common language presents barriers for many businesses. And while it may seem like a huge ask to address this need the technology now exists to make it possible to communicate with customers no matter where they are and no matter their local language. Now is the time to create a frictionless customer experience (CX). 

Quite often you’ll find that the customer contact centre is at the heart of any company’s customer services. It’s usually the first point of call for customer queries so it’s important to make sure that the communication is as mutually understandable as possible between the agent and the customer. Afterall customers’ experiences are the life blood of your business. It only takes one good or bad experience to make or break a relationship and in today’s world of over-sharing customers are likely to recommend or complain about your business, products or service across their social channels, within minutes.  

According to Reputation Refinery a customer who is dissatisfied will tell 9-15 people about their bad experience with negative interactions spreading to two times as many people as positive interactions. But do not fear, there’s good news. Throw Artificial Intelligence (AI) into this mix and, as a recent survey by PointSource highlighted, 49% of customers are willing to shop more often when AI is present. Furthermore 34% of customers will spend more money, and 38% will share their experiences with friends and family. Essentially, AI makes people shop more, spend more and share more. So, with today’s technology there is every reason and every opportunity to get the customer experience right.  

According to IDC, $13.9B was invested into CX-focused Artificial Intelligence (AI) and $42.7B in CX-focused Big Data and analytics during 2019, with both expected to grow to $90B in 2022. You don’t need much more of an argument that now might be the time to look at how AI can support and enhance the experiences of your customers.  

Back to the supposed language barrier. We’ve worked with many organisations and several online retailers, using AI, to automatically translate languages on the fly. This means a customer can communicate in French (or any other language), and then the text or voice is translated in real-time into the local contact centre agent’s own language so that he/she can understand and respond appropriately. The subsequent communication is then translated back into the local language of that particular customer again. The ability to respond in real-time is transformative. Being able to quickly respond to customers in their own language (not yours) and not have to rely on basic manual translation tools means that you’re creating a truly frictionless experience for your customers. 

Furthermore, being able to understand the conversations taking place across your entire omnichannel is crucial. With AI you can instantly pick up on the tone and sentiment of conversations taking place which helps to better inform your contact centre agents and enables them to predict the journey of that particular customer conversation, adapting their responses and behaviours appropriately and immediately.  

Not only does this approach help to improve the customer experience during a live engagement but it will also help you to identify areas where you need to better communicate and share information with customers online, perhaps via your website, for example. We now have the ability to dynamically change the customer journey as it happens. The call or text can be analysed straight away, within seconds, so your agent can respond and adapt without interrupting the flow of conversation all the while improving the customer experience. AI enables us to give the right information at the right time to help provide a seamless and smooth customer experience. 

Addressing language and translation barriers is an absolute must for businesses operating across multiple and diverse geographies. But once that’s dealt with you need to look at what else can be achieved with AI. For example, we recently worked with an online retailer that had introduced a variety of new services to improve their customer journey yet they couldn’t assess whether these services were being utilised by customers and improving their experience or detracting from it. They weren’t getting any feedback whatsoever. Thanks to AI we were able to quickly build in a voice analytics solution that analysed both voice or text communications and could pick up on feedback, whether positive or negative. For example, ApplePay had been introduced but they didn’t know how customers felt about it and if they liked paying that way. With voice analytics we enabled the business to assess their customers’ emotions and experiences and therefore make informed decisions on which services were working well and other areas that needed improvement. 

AI and voice analytics are proving crucial tools in delivering a better customer experience and being able to measure what is or is not working. It’s also important to remember that communications are two way and that it’s not just about how the customer is communicating with your business but also how your team are responding to those customers. Analysing both sides of the engagement will help you to fine tune customer engagement further. 

AI can help you to recognise if there’s a problem brewing and that some of your people may need your support beyond that of screen prompts. As we all know, if you have a happy and well-informed team, you’ll have happy customers.   

Upgrade your on-premise PBX to support remote working with ContactOne’s BCP

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With on-premise telephony systems PBX, the remote homeworking functionality is often limited to call forwarding extensions to mobile phones and other landlines. Using this method will get your calls answered, but the user-experience will be very limited, as many of the functions a business uses a PBX for, such as transferring customer calls to colleagues within the business, and internal 1:1 / extension-to-extension calling are impossible.

When working in a contact centre environment this becomes even more challenging as agent presence cannot easily be detected or call volume workload easily balanced.

To meet these challenges ContactOne have introduced a business continuity plan (BCP) product that is designed to work seamlessly with on-premise PBX platforms enabling seamless remote working. What is more ContactOne have ensured that there is a pathway to remove dependency for the on-premise platform should remote homeworking become the new norm.

By using our own softphone, costs have been reduced to the bare minimum with short-term plans available, all that is required is the ability to call forward from the main numbers in use to our service numbers. These service numbers are then used to reproduce the functionality of the on-premise PBX and ensure that companies can get back the full functionality of the phone system. All your employees’ need is an Internet connection and a laptop, smartphone, or PC, it’s that simple.

To support contact centre-style engagements an optional module supports full agent presence detection, live call monitoring and call recording. The BCP provides full reporting and real-time extension status monitoring.

We understand timing is everything, which is why our BCP product has been designed to be installed remotely with setup times as short as two days from receipt of order. The platform is also designed with longevity in mind, so can be transitioned to become the primary voice telephony platform, in most cases, by simply porting the existing numbers once the BCP is in place.

For more information on how ContactOne can turn your on-premise PBX to a fully functional agile / remote working platform contact us on 0330 880 4444 or email info@contactone.net.


Millennials and Next Gen are driving a message-focused future

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By Nick Millward, Vice President Europe at mGage

In recent years, smartphones have become the standard and with 95% of smartphones being used daily, coupled with the innovative capabilities and growing impact on our lives, it is a trend that businesses across all sectors need to pay attention to.  In turn, Over-the-Top (OTT) applications, or ‘social messaging apps’ such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and SMS text messaging have enabled brands to start conversations with consumers more directly and personally than ever before. However, the format and content that brands share with consumers is crucial to the success of the customer engagement.

As technology advances, smartphones continue to evolve and customer attitudes shift, brands need to consider methods that provide not only rich and engaging content via messaging but conversational commerce as a way to interact with consumers. With more than half of 25-34 year olds and 18-24 year olds favouring a messaging service or chatbot over picking up the phone to contact a business, it is evident that brands are facing a growing demand amongst the younger generation for rich conversational messaging that is not set to subside.

Despite the new technologies entering the market, text-based SMS is a communication channel that is highly unlikely to ever be replaced. This is because text messaging is still widely used and remains the preferred platform for brands to communicate with their consumers for critical applications like one-time passwords, reminders and balance updates. However, for brands to get the most out of their communication tactics they need to listen to what their consumers want. Sadly, more than half of consumers say they find marketing messages boring and would much prefer messages that are well targeted and well designed, using images and video content to bring the messages to life. This is where Rich Communications Services (RCS), the latest development in the evolution of mobile messaging, can really hold its own.

With the capability to provide a richer experience for users and the ability to encompass multimedia that incorporate offers and coupons, brands are able to open up their communication channels to consumers and offer alternatives that are personal to them. Consumers today, particularly among the younger generation, are more willing to engage via messaging that is interactive and delivers a much rich media experience. This is good news for brands wishing to expand their consumer experience.

Our latest whitepaper unearthed some interesting statistics with perhaps the most telling being that consumers of all ages wants brands to do better – to bring engaging and exciting offers and content to them in an easily-accessible format that makes them confident to buy more.   The best way to do this is to utilise rich content messaging and multimedia for marketing communications to attract the attention of consumers. RCS also brings a more conversational and interactive messaging experience in line with the demand by the younger generation to text a brand rather than pick up the phone. Utilising chatbot elements and the functionality of suggested actions and responses, brands are able to direct their consumers to the information they require more quickly and easily than trying to navigate through a clunky Interactive Voice Response (IVR).

With technology continually advancing and customer attitudes shifting towards more message-focused platforms, brands worldwide have access to innovative solutions that have the capability to transform the way that they communicate with consumers. Driven by the demands of millennials and next-gen, brands need to consider solutions that are in line with the expectations of future generations and adjust their communication strategies to meet these, if not they could see a huge impact on the success of the business.

As the adoption of more interactive and rich media messaging platforms become more prevalent, brands will be able to communicate directly with their consumers, target likely prospects more effectively, gain better campaign analytics and offer unparalleled customer service through instant responses and notifications to ensure that they give the consumers of the future the communications that they not only want but come to expect.

Click here to download the Mobile Messaging State of Mind whitepaper.

Connect ESAT to CSAT in Times of Crisis: NICE introduces WEM@home

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At a time when human connections matter most, are your frontline employees empowered to perform, and inspired to care? Are you doing all you can to keep your agents engaged and motivated?

Now, more than ever, every moment in the customer journey matters. The COVID-19 crisis has evolved to render face-to-face touchpoints less frequent, thereby highlighting the value of connected experiences in channels from phone to chat to SMS text.

Contact centre agents are in a unique position to deliver personalised, seamless omnichannel customer experiences that synthesise a variety of interactions – and to put the “care” in “customer care”. To this end, contact centre leaders that use actionable insights gained from agent experience feedback can inform successful evolution in times of disruption.

Would your agents recommend your company to a friend?

Employees, when engaged and empowered with the right tools and training, can be your most valuable brand asset – and increase customer loyalty while reducing customer churn.  Successful companies use the power of Net Promoter Score (NPS) along with direct, indirect and operational customer feedback to refine and deliver superior customer experiences, all along a holistic journey. Just as NPS reflects customer experiences from the outside in, it is equally as important to gain insights from the inside out.  Would your agents recommend your company to a friend? How they feel about their experience directly reflects to the experience they provide to the customer.

With insight comes opportunity

Especially in times of crisis, Voice of the Employee (VoE) and agent experience insights are a key part of the holistic feedback mechanism that powers customer experience management. Enhancements to customer experience cannot be accomplished without a keen understanding of the customer experience agent.  How do they feel about their ability to successfully engage when their work environment changes? Do they have the tools they need to deliver? This critical connection cannot be overlooked when working situations evolve. As the human connection to your brand, you must understand their situation and align to their changing needs.

Igniting a holistic CEM program that elevates CSAT

Times of crisis offer an opportunity to authentically engage with your customers, as well as your employees. This open outreach can nurture a collective appreciation of individual feedback that can shift CX programs into high gear. When agents on the front lines feel their feedback is important – their voice is heard – spirits are lifted, and that is infectious. Opening that feedback channel can inspire an ongoing, company-wide culture that not only elevates performance, but values input. And it is that input that is critical to a holistic understanding of all experiences that affect CSAT.

Our challenging times have surfaced human connections as a premium. As contact centre agents connect with your customers, it is more important than ever to connect to their input. With a durable, integrated feedback framework, agents can be inspired to see problems, find solutions, and feel more accountable to a holistic customer experience that delivers on your brand promise.

Integrated feedback management is an essential tool to gather and synthesise actionable frontline insights. NICE Satmetrix offers integrated listening for a 360 degree understanding of multidimensional behaviours that impact customer loyalty. To learn more about how you can gather and use employee experience feedback to drive engagement, and gain visibility and ensure performance, visit wem@home.

Coronavirus: CCaaS from Home

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By Content Guru

COVID-19 is spreading, and nobody knows how the situation is going to develop. Governments around the world are responding to the situation with bans on public gatherings and travel, and even quarantining whole cities.

The impact on business is already huge. Dozens of factories, schools, and offices around the world have closed, while conferences, meetings, and trips have been cancelled globally. Contact centres are especially exposed to this risk. Organisations planning their response need to look at two things – protecting their workers, and ensuring business continuity in the face of this threat.

How to Safeguard Continuity?

How do organisations not just operate, but thrive, in the face of this threat? Businesses responding to events like COVID-19 need to be one thing above all others – agile. They need to know that they are equipped to respond rapidly and appropriately to ongoing events, whether it is an outbreak like COVID-19, or a more common form of disruption like a power outage or severe weather.

Do your current disaster recovery protocols allow you to continue working after your office has been closed with little to no notice? How, in the face of adversity, do you deliver great experiences to your customers?

You need to provide your colleagues, and your customers, with continuity of service. In order to enable your organisation to rapidly move to distributed working models such as homeworking, you need to be backed by technology that offers that agility. Without the technology to back up your plans, your organisation risks having to cease operations as well as close your contact centre.

How We Can Help

Now is the time to act. Our award-winning CCaaS solution, storm®, gives contact centres the flexibility and, crucially, the speed that you need. Our cloud contact centre solution can be deployed in days and ready-to-use wherever your agents are, whether that’s in the contact centre or at home.

Due to its browser-based nature, all an agent or supervisor needs to carry on is an internet-enabled device, such as a laptop, and a headset. This means that your business can rapidly adapt in the face of disruption, and continue to provide your customers with great experiences. Content Guru can guide you through this process with a hybrid deployment, in which initially numbers and intelligent routing capabilities are moved to the cloud, whilst keeping the same familiar agent desktop. This deployment model acts as a stepping stone for organizations to rapidly move to a full CCaaS deployment as and when required.

Meanwhile, our scale means that even the largest contact centres can have a ready-to-go cloud contingency plan. Without significant investment, many on-premise contact centres are not set up to cater for all agents working from home. As storm is a true cloud solution, however, the location of the agent does not matter, and it can scale immediately in line with a rapid move to homeworking.

A concern many organizations have with a move to homeworking, especially one which has to be implemented relatively quickly, is in how they ensure standards remain high, and that they are able to continue their auditing and compliance monitoring. Our Quality Management tool set, storm SYMPHONY™, delivers screen recording and omni-channel recording through the cloud, while our reporting interface, VIEW™, ensures that your supervisors can continue to monitor the contact centre both historically and in real-time.

To find out more about how to implement an effective disaster recovery solution for your contact centre: https://www.contentguru.com/storm-dr/

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.


[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