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Making the move to cloud in contact centres: 3 key questions to ask

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As organisations look to future-proof customer experience they are reviewing their contact centrestrategies with many turning to cloud-based technology for all-round agility. Magnus Geverts, VP Product Marketing and Management at Calabrio, shares his top tips for a smooth and successful transition to a cloud-first approach…  

As economies recover following the Coronavirus Pandemic cloud-based contact centres will become standard – that’s the verdict of over 300 contact centre professionals when asked about the future of their industry. Even before anyone had heard of COVID-19, the shift was happening but the acute pressures of managing virtualised home-working teams while meeting rising customer expectations have accelerated the rate of change. The statistics are revealing: one in ten contact centres is now fully cloud-based, eight in ten are ramping up deployment of cloud-based software and an astonishing 39% either plan to invest further in the technology or take the final leap into the cloud, if they haven’t already done so.

These results reflect what our own customers have witnessed throughout the pandemic. Organisations which have relied on an on-premise solution have often struggled to cope with the dual lockdown pressures of increased customer demand and a new working from home (WFH) workplace culture.

3 key questions to ask

With greater demand for remote working and employee flexibility there is no better time to adopt cloud-based contact centre technology, however, here are three things to consider:

Why move to the cloud in the first place?

Cloud-based communications systems offer far more flexibility, resilience and security than traditional on-premises solutions, without the need to hire additional IT staff or invest in expensive hardware. Strengthening your business case for cloud should start with people, the bedrock of great customer service. Cloud-based workforce management (WFM) solutions offer far more flexibility than traditional on-premise solutions. Agent autonomy and self-service including shift trades, booking time off and obtaining overtime shifts are made easy using a mobile app or secure staff portal. Wherever agents, planners or mangers are based they benefit from access to WFM for greater control of often tricky WFH environments.

The latest cloud solutions scale up and down flexibly, making it easy to add new channels, services and users in an instant, thereby boosting productivity, customer loyalty and longer-term profitability.

Finally, as customer expectations rise exponentially, organisations are seeking new ways to differentiate themselves through customer service. Now is the perfect time to combine the cloud with advanced, omnichannel Voice of the Customer (VoC) analytics. The cloud facilitates fast and simple integration between these sophisticated tools and other important applications, including CRM, to capture vital intelligence inside and outside the contact centre and add context to customer conversations. When agents know why a customer is contacting them in the first place, can understand their mood and have sight of their complete conversation history, they are empowered to deliver a far richer, relevant and satisfying customer experience. After all, brands that go beyond the simple ‘what happened?’ to ‘why did it happen? will be the outright winners.

What should I look for?

As contact centres prioritise moving to the cloud and investment pours into the marketplace, organisations are spoilt for choice. Big names and well-established vendors jostle alongside the new disruptive kids on the block such as Amazon Connect, who are introducing exciting new developments. Choice is undoubtedly good, but it can be confusing for cloud novices. The best technology vendors offer a blend of rich features and functionality with a strong service mentality and long-term vision.

When choosing a new vendor, be guided by a checklist of key qualities. One of the essential ‘must-haves’ is a cloud first value proposition. This means one single platform that is purpose-built for the cloud rather than adapted from a legacy system and is designed to deliver a single unified experience. A good technology partner must enable a flexible transition to the cloud while maintaining business as usual (BAU) operations. Meanwhile, opt for a solution set that scales readily with changing customer and business requirements and delivers quick win features to maximize ROI.

What could go wrong and how to avoid the pitfalls?

One of the main motivating factors for moving to the cloud is it simplifies contact centre operations while reducing IT and administration costs. However, choosing the wrong technology and aligning with the wrong partner can do more harm than good. Unwise choices merely increase the time and number of headaches associated with manually integrating standalone systems and trouble-shooting end-user issues. Avoid the pitfalls of choosing the wrong supplier. Look for a partner with an innovative outlook, proven experience and technology that is customisable, but comes with basic out-of-the-box contactcentre functionality as standard, is quick to deploy, easy to use and even easier to maintain.

Take the final leap into the cloud to enjoy the benefits of improved workforce flexibility, enhanced agent engagement and performance while gaining valuable insights across the contact centre and the overall business.

For more guidance, ideas and information about planning your shift to the cloud, download our “Making the Move to the Cloud” Ebook.

Thinking of Transforming your CX Strategy?

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By Foehn

At Foehn we work with our clients to deliver world-class CX strategies through the delivery of agile, digital, cloud-based solutions such as Genesys Cloud. We have helped many companies enhance their customer experience through our implementations, allowing them to use digital channels, CSAT tools, Workforce Management and Gamification to improve both the customer and agent experience.

Get in touch with us today to start your digital transformation journey!

www.foehn.co.uk

sales@foehn.co.uk

0330 403 0000

Mobile Learnings for 2021 to Increase Customer Loyalty

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By Pinder Takhar​, Director of Marketing, mGage

2020 was a significant year for business messaging as we saw an upward trend in its usage. It quickly became an indispensable communication channel for brands to stay connected with their customers, keeping them engaged, informed and updated.

Along with an increase in two-way messaging, more businesses started to deploy mobile chat services and automation in line with consumer demands. It proved vital for enterprises to send key and relevant messages to their audience, enabling them to provide a better customer experience during the pandemic.

Taking our learnings from both business communications and consumer behaviours, we found that there were three significant areas of change that are likely to stick in 2021 and something all organisations need to think about.

  • People shopping online (no surprise here)
  • More cost-conscious consumers
  • Digital product discovery

Thinking about the changes, it raises the question what should brands consider in 2021?

  1. Being multi-channel

We know that the use of mobile messaging for one-way and two-way interaction has increased, however there are many more channels out there like Rich Messaging (RCS), WhatsApp for Business and Apple Business Chat, that brands can adopt to make themselves more available to their customers. Allowing consumers to easily reach them or engage in a two-way dialogue, its increasingly important to be where your customers are. According to Edelman, 65 percent of consumers will base their future purchasing decisions on the ways in which a brand communicates with them at this current time. This highlights that customer needs and requirements are more important than ever before.

  1. Use mobile messaging for customer service

Consumers are looking for convenient ways to engage with brands, as 69 percent[i] of consumers prefer communicating with brands over text messaging rather than traditional phone calls. Many businesses have had to adjust over the last year and adopt mobile chat services, however this is an area that is still largely underutilized for customer support. Enabling mobile messaging channels presents various routes for consumers to effortlessly connect with brands: whether it is to receive product support, request information or to resolve an issue. It empowers mobile users to easily initiate a conversation with businesses and provides a customer first approach.

  1. Consumer reach – best time to send messages

It is important to highlight that people’s routines have changed significantly and they are not the same as they were a year ago. Working patterns have changed considerably, flexible hours are more of a norm, socializing has shifted online and many of us are no longer commuting. Before the pandemic, the best times to engage were typical commuting hours and lunch times. However, recent research has shown that there are now spikes around 9am, after lunch between 2-6pm, with engagement then seeming to decrease until the following day. So, it’s important for businesses to review data and try different times if you have not already done so.

  1. Convenience and transparency

Make it simpler for your customers to engage with you, to navigate and find information. With services such as click and collect provide customers with clear instructions, as to where they can collect this from. Set expectations, if there will be delays, be open and honest and make it effortless to change appointments or delivery times. Customers today expect fast and timely responses to their enquiries and a delayed response can often be the basis for a negative review or cancelled service. A report from Forrester Research found that 63 percent of customers will leave a company after just one poor experience and almost two-thirds will wait no more than two minutes for assistance.

To learn more about the emerging new technologies and use cases for mobile messaging, watch our webinar recording to pick up some key insights.

Watch Recording

To find out more information about mGage’s Mobile Messaging solution please contact us.

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The new collaborative contact centre

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By EveryCloud

Building a collaborative contact centre has never been so important, it’s crucial to stay connected for a contact centre to function at its best capacity. It’s our job to guide you on the best technology and tools you should utilise to improve customer service.

Unleash your people’s talent and delight your customers from anywhere – with voice, meetings, chat, analytics and even full omnichannel contact centre, all on one dynamic platform that’s tailored to your needs.

Click here for more information.

Bot Revolution to Permanent WFH: What 2021 Has in Store for CX

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By Content Guru

In the contact centre industry, looking backwards can often give us a clear indicator of what lies ahead. 2020 brought with it both personal and professional challenges no one could have predicted. However, the coronavirus crisis marked a clear turning point for the contact centre – one that has laid the foundations for further changes on the horizon.

Indeed, many of the tools, technologies and techniques that enabled the sector to navigate the pandemic – through lockdowns, infection scares and financial concerns – have put the contact centre on a course of continuing innovation and disruption for the decade ahead.

Let’s take a look at some of the emergent factors set to fuel the contact centre of the future.

Flexible Working Becomes the New Norm

At the start of 2020, contact centres that had already adopted modern cloud technologies were able to pivot in a matter of days to successfully implement new distributed working models. Enabling agents to work securely and compliantly from home, even when handling payments, was just the start. Organisations have also used their contact centre-as-a-service (CCaaS) solutions to manage everything from workforce performance and wellbeing, to delivering support and training tailored exactly to the real-time needs of individual agents.

For many, the remote and hybrid models implemented in 2020 will determine how they resource contact centre operations in the future. This will usher in an era, in which agents will have more flexible working options, and organisations will be able to access greater operational agility, essential for coping with evolving market demands.

Working Smarter – with Greater Granular Control

Intelligent automation and smart scheduling tools have certainly proved their worth as contact centres strived to optimise resource utilisation in the context of agent availability. Indeed, today’s AI powered Workforce Optimisation (WFO) has proved highly effective at ensuring schedules are kept at peak efficiency, while giving agents maximum control over the hours they want to work.

Alongside automated services, intelligent routing, and real-time reporting, today’s CCaaS solutions make it possible to ensure that agents are always presented with a familiar desktop – complete with the call recording facilities and integrated information databases they needed to perform – regardless of their location.

Some organisations have even taken advantage of their integrated CCaaS and unified communications environment to garner feedback from agents at the drop of a hat via virtual quality improvement ‘huddles’. Using these insights, contact centre leaders are able to tweak workflows to improve how agents interact with calls, or the information systems they depend on to serve customers.

The Rise of the Bot – Delivering CX with a Human Touch

Having found themselves at times wholly dependent on digital and remote services to undertake everyday life tasks, consumers will increasingly expect to encounter streamlined experiences, no matter which channel they choose to interact with brands over.

While AI, chatbots, smart speakers and virtual assistants aren’t new, the rapid expansion of digital channels during the pandemic saw more contact centres adopting such technologies to cut response times and sustain the mass delivery of high-quality personalised customer experiences.

Capable of sustaining humanised two-way conversations and even detecting a caller’s current mood, AI assistants are fast becoming mainstream in digital channels. In time, expect the role of contact centre agents to evolve, as they increasingly work in collaboration with these technologies to deliver efficient customer experiences with a human touch.

The last 12 months have presented contact centres with an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate digital transformation. In the coming years, they will continue to evolve into value-driven customer engagement hubs capable of orchestrating end-to-end, intuitive customer experiences across every channel.

Keep up with customer expectations. Enhance your CX today: https://bit.ly/37DMdJ3

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: EveryCloud Open Communications Platform

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Transform your business with 8×8’s pioneering, cloud-based Open Communications Platform, in partnership with EveryCloud.

Unleash your people’s talent, maximise mobility and delight your customers from anywhere – with voice, meetings, chat, analytics and even full omnichannel contact centre, all on one dynamic platform that’s tailored to your needs. Talk to EveryCloud now to futureproof your CX and your business.

Click here to learn more about us.

Why Mobile Chat Services are Key to Boosting Customer Experience

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By Pinder Takhar, Director, Marketing, mGage

This year businesses have had to adjust the way they operate and communicate with their customers. Not only has it been vital in keeping customers informed it has also been just as important to ensure customers can easily reach the brand. With the increase in customer engagement, this has meant many businesses have had to utilise existing and embrace new technologies to cope with the demand.

According to Edelman, 65 percent of consumers will base their future purchasing decisions on the ways in which a brand communicates with them. This highlights customer needs and requirements are more important than ever before.

It’s apparent that today’s consumers are looking for simple and convenient ways to engage with brands as 69%[i] of consumers prefer communicating with brands over mobile messaging rather than traditional calls. Furthermore, a study by mGage revealed that 61 percent of consumers aged 25-34 years and 56 percent aged between 18-24 favour a messaging service over picking up the phone to contact a business.

Many brands are facing challenges with call centre resourcing, customer loyalty, retention and struggling to quickly implement the latest technologies. Therefore, for many businesses, mobile messaging has become a crucial part of their customer service function to deliver an advanced customer experience.

Mobile Chat Services Enable Operational Efficiency

Customer service centres are an essential but costly function for businesses.

By implementing a mobile chat service, this enables businesses to easily answer routine customer service enquiries swiftly and deflect traffic from its call center to improve the customer service. With agent driven applications businesses can become more efficient as you can have multiple mobile chat sessions. Most importantly it helps save costs and in fact, it is reported by IBM that integration of chatbots can lead to a 30% decrease in operational costs.

Invest in Mobile Chat to Enhance Customer Loyalty

Customers today expect fast and timely responses to their enquiries and a delayed response can often be the basis for a negative review or cancelled service. A report from Forrester Research found that 63% of customers will leave a company after just one poor experience and almost two-thirds will no longer wait more than two minutes for assistance.

By incorporating an automated chat service a brand can provide the immediate and time sensitive responses consumers expect, therefore improving the customer experience and average call handling time. This is reflected in research by Chatbot Magazine that shows 69% of consumers prefer chatbots because of their ability to provide quick replies to simple questions.

Businesses can also reallocate agent resources for more complex and delicate services that may not be suited for automation.

Lead with Smarter Messaging to Increase Customer Satisfaction

Smartphone users have access to a range of channels including SMS, RCS, Facebook messenger, WhatsApp and more. In the digital era, businesses no longer operate on a set time as websites and social apps are always available 24/7, meaning that customer engagement is a constant. This is where mobile messaging technologies become essential to support this level of customer/brand engagement.

The implementation of new technologies such as RCS (Rich Communication Services), will allow brands to build interactive and engaging chatbot flows for different stages of the customer journey. Whether that is to amend a delivery, track an order or request customer feedback, by combining the rich media and interactive chat features it offers a unique capability for consumers to engage with organisations like never before. It’s also a strong incentive for brands to deliver exceptional customer service and loyalty reward programmes.

Final thoughts

As consumer attitudes shift and technology advances further, companies that incorporate mobile chat services will be able to offer a far more personalised experience that fits in better with the ever-changing demands of consumers.

We know that mobile chat services have been around for a while, however, given the technological advances in making this a more “human” experience by using A.I technology, it will continue to be a vital part of any business looking to better their customer engagement.

To find out more information on mGage’s Mobile Messaging solution please contact us.

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WEBINAR: Case Study – Remote working and your Contact Centre Operations

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By Diabolocom

The onset of national lockdowns’ in 2020 means that organisations with contact centre operations had to respond and adapt to the previously unchartered territory of an almost wholly remote workforce. Business continuity plans were dusted off the shelf and new ways of working had to be established over-night. Most organisations already had some capability to enable a remote workforce, but never on a scale as large as this and never in such a disruptive way to contact operations.

In a recent live survey from Diabolocom, when asked almost 80% of Contact Centre professionals responded that their organisations planned to increase the remote working capability in 2021, indicating that the trend is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

In this webinar, held in association with UKCCF, BBGR Customer Service Manager, Alex Carr shares his experience of enabling his contact centre operations to be remote working based. Highlighting the challenges, successes and considerations for planning as 2021 approaches Alex will share his experiences of 2020.

Diabolocom’s UK business lead Mervyn Nichols will also share learnings from 2020, how Diabolocom has supported BBGR in maintaining its excellent customer service, as well as highlighting services and offerings that Contact Centre operations leads should consider for 2021. Mervyn will also share the preliminary insights and results from our live survey, hosting a live Q&A session with Alex and Mervyn, sharing future planning considerations for those in the contact centre industry with remote agents.

Join us 8th December| 12:30pm

Can’t make the live session? The webinar is being recorded, register your details to be sent the replay link shortly after the live session ends. Be sure to invite any colleagues who would also benefit from this presentation.

Please note: For the best webinar experience, we recommend using Google Chrome to access our platform. Internet Explorer is no longer supported and will not work.

Integration with existing business tools, the biggest blocker to improving Call Centre Operations

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By Frédéric Durand (pictured), Founder & CEO Diabolocom

In a live survey being run by Diabolocom, 67% of respondents have shared that the biggest barrier they for-see in 2021 to improving call centre operations is the need to integrate with existing business tools. When asked about their organisations planned investments for 2021, 80% indicated that they would be expanding video-conferencing capability and a further 63% would be exploring the integration of AI into their platforms.

So, in a world of cloud and AI, why is integrating with existing business tools perceived to be the biggest barrier for organisations? The answer is complex, many organisations have legacy enterprise tools that require weeks of development time to make changes. API’s have been added, bespoke work-arounds created and development coded into their systems. In some cases, organisations may have not or are not able to migrate to cloud systems as of today, and others do not want the disruptive change to their businesses. Underneath the shiny websites though, organisations can have complex and cumbersome IT ecosystems that can make technology improvements difficult to implement.

With all this being said, organisations must evolve to survive and thrive. A post Covid-19 world is the test case to prove this statement. Throughout 2020, organisations have had to turn into an almost fully remote workforce, with the demand for technology that can support this fundamental shift in ways of working increasing ten-fold. Customer behaviours have also changed. When budgets are tight, pressure to deliver greater than ever, and in an always digitally on mindset, it can be argued that customer communication and the tools required to support this needs to change also.

How then, can contact centre operatives pivot and thrive in this rapidly changing environment? The answer – a flexible and tailorable platform that is already set up to integrate rapidly with existing tools such as your CRM, can be accessed from anywhere, regardless of where in the world your workforce is, and has a simple and intuitive user interface that ensures the enhanced value to your operations almost immediately.

The argument for a platform such as Diabolocom is compelling for improving contact centre operations. A completely omni-channel platform that integrates seamlessly with existing business tools and can be deployed rapidly through the cloud overcomes many challenges to improving operational excellence. With built in integrations with the likes of Zendesk, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and ServiceNow, the platform provides your agents with all of the information they need to continue thriving in a new contact centre world. Multi-channel and flexible to your needs, your agents and customers can communicate in more than ways than ever before, all captured and recorded using your existing CRM.

To feed into the live survey and share your insights into the contact centre industry, follow the link here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/diabolocom

To find out more about Diabolocom and why it might be the right tool for you to overcome barriers to operational success, visit www.diabolocom.com/en.

WEBINAR: Fast Track Your 2021 CX Service Strategy

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Extraordinary times demand original responses. To help you prepare for the next phase of customer service evolution and deliver outstanding CX throughout 2021, Puzzel and customer strategy expert, Martin Hill-Wilson have developed Being Ready, a handy planning framework for contact centre leaders.

Join Puzzel’s webinar tomorrow to learn more about the framework and receive your free e-book and templates.

When: Tomorrow, November 25 at 14:00 GMT

Where: Online

Secure your place now: https://bit.ly/33aBpzU