• Covid-19 – click here for the latest updates from Forum Events & Media Group Ltd

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

Posts Tagged :

Contact centres

How real-time feedback helps drive lasting change

960 640 Lauren Maschio

By Lauren Maschio, Product Marketing Portfolio Manager, Enterprise WFO

How to give people feedback, according to Harvard Business Review, is one of the hottest topics in business today. A key problem with feedback, Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall wrote, is that people are “unreliable raters of other humans.”

“This phenomenon is called the idiosyncratic rater effect, and it’s large (more than half of your rating of someone else reflects your characteristics, not hers) and resilient (no training can lessen it),” Buckingham and Goodall asserted.

Human listening is neither consistent nor cost-effective – two people evaluating the same call often disagree whether the agent showed empathy, for example. In the end, agents don’t trust the process because they’re being measured based on a handful of calls each month, and supervisors don’t trust the process because it puts them in the difficult situation of justifying their assessment of the calls.

To overcome this challenge, contact centers are using artificial intelligence (AI) to give agents immediate and accurate feedback. A comprehensive AI framework can provide a consistent, accurate and unbiased score of the agent soft skill behaviors proven through decades of research to drive customer satisfaction – on every single interaction.

AI contact center technology can deliver behavioral insights that reside in the so-called “big data,” where pre-built models have been developed based on millions of hours of customer interactions. AI is delivering dividends, too: A recent survey by Aberdeen Research found that contact centers using AI are enjoying 3.3 times higher customer retention, 3.5 times more satisfied customers and 2.4 times higher agent productivity.

By adding real-time interaction guidance, agents get immediate feedback on how to change the conversation when a customer is expressing frustration. That’s important because while contact centers invest a lot of time and resources into coaching agents to improve behavior, agents often struggle during interactions to retain, recall and apply skills learned in coaching sessions. In fact, research shows that people forget about 50% of the new information they receive in training sessions within an hour. A day later, they’ve forgotten 70% of the material, and one week later, they’ve forgotten on average fully 90% of the coaching.

With real-time interaction guidance, agents receive desktop prompts and specific recommendations, such as how to build rapport or acknowledge loyalty, to have a more engaging conversation. Real-time interaction guidance enables agents to self-correct in the moment and reinforces skills they have already learned in a coaching session.

“Feedback is most meaningful in the moment,” Shani Harmon and Renee Cullinan wrote in Forbes.  “Feedback loops are critical for individual and organizational learning. Without them, we cannot improve.”

Learn more about how contact centers are using AI-powered real-time guidance to help agents while an interaction is in progress, giving them the feedback and coaching

7 ways Generation Z will change the working world

960 640 Jack Wynn

A new study has revealed a number of key ways that the next generation of workers will affect the landscape in 2017.

Traditionally described as being born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s, ‘Generation Z’ represents the new wave entering the workforce this year.

Communications specialist 8×8 has released a study in which full-time and part-time employed Generation Z, Millennials and Generation X workers were surveyed on their preferences, and here’s a rundown of how Gen Z are presenting a new hope in the workplace.

 

1. Email & Landline Decline

A huge number surveyed saw email as a dying art, and just 5% of Generation Z said they prefer landlines, as the smartphone continues to become the new communication hub. When taking the survey, twice the amount of Gen Z used a smartphone compared to other generations.

2. Embracing the Bot

Almost 70% of all participants in the survey agreed that many current jobs could be replaced with automated services, with even more agreeing that bots will continue to take over jobs in the future.

3. Blur the Lines of Personal and Work

56% of respondents admitted they’d rather use the same tools for their work as well as personal lives, such as phones and laptops.

4. Value Communication

As more and more conversation becomes digital, the value of genuine conversation is growing, with one in four Gen Z preferring talking in person. This is contrary to Millennials (aged around mid-20s to mid-30s), who believe face-to-face communication is becoming less important to business.

5. Smart Workplaces

Across generations, over half believed that connected devices and applications, such as wifi-enabled cars and smart fridges, could have untapped workplace applications, as many believe work environments need to catch up with the constantly evolving leisure landscape.

6. Less Tech Dependent

Generation Z hasmore in common with the older Gen X (aged around 35-50) when it comes to technology in their life, with only around 26-27% owning wearable tech such as smart watches, or wireless appliances. With the generation still being young and many of these applications being fairly expensive, however, it’s yet to be seen if these statistics will change in the years to come.

7. Effectiveness over Efficiency

The majority of Millennials admit to wanting to use the communication tools that save them the most amount of time, such as messaging and chat apps. Gen Z is  the least likely of all generations to embrace informal methods of communication for work, instead admitting they would prefer to use tools that are the most effective for the job, even if doing so takes more time.

If you’d like to learn more, you can read the full study, “Rogue One: How Generation Z is Going to Bring Balance to the (work)Force,”

BLUECREST HEALTH SCREENING TO BOOST CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE USING 8X8

978 450 Jack Wynn

Bluecrest Health Screening is introducing cloud-based communications technology to improve the service for its customers. Adopting 8×8’s Virtual Contact Centre and Quality Management solutions will give the company’s customer service agents the tools to provide an excellent experience at every stage of an interaction.

A leader in private health screening sessions for signs of illness, Bluecrest Health Screening needs its staff to be fully equipped to deal with customer enquiries effectively and sensitively.

Bluecrest needed one unified platform that lets its staff communicate with customers using their preferred method. 8×8’s Virtual Contact Centre offers staff the ability to respond via phone or email and with space for 30 staff on the system, Bluecrest can easily increase or decrease the numbers of agents based on service demand. As all cases are fully updated in the cloud after every interaction, agents can pick up from one another without needing to ask customers repeated questions.

bluecrest

 

Analytics is key to measuring and improving agent performance; however, the incumbent reporting system needed manual input, which drained managerial time. Now all communications and cases can be tracked from just one place, saving time and ensuring that staff performance is always outstanding.

8×8’s analytics tools are also integral to Bluecrest to be able to track the success of marketing campaigns. Bluecrest uses more than 100 non-geographic numbers as part of direct mail campaigns and the ability to record call volumes and responses has been crucial in evaluating their effectiveness.

Angela Rodbourne, Contact Centre Director at Bluecrest, said: “We’re always looking at how we can improve our customer service using the latest technology. It’s important as a leading provider of healthcare that the level of service we provide in screenings is not only first class but also consistent, which is just as important when our customers reach out to speak to us. Next year, we’re hoping to achieve ISO 9001 to demonstrate our ability to provide excellent services to customers; we’re confident 8×8’s Virtual Contact Centre will help us with this.”

Kevin Scott-Cowell, UK MD of 8×8, said: “It’s important that companies like Bluecrest can rely on their chosen technology to work effectively and improve customer service in a sensitive space. We’re looking forward to working with them to improve service standards and support their bid to achieve  ISO 9001 accreditation.”

 

For more information visit Bluecrest via http://www.bluecrestscreening.com/ and 8×8 at https://www.8×8.co.uk/

5 trends transforming Call Centres in 2017

800 450 Jack Wynn

The Call Centre industry is “evolving at a very rapid rate”, according to leading industry analyst Peter Ryan. “Whether it is new technologies, alternative points of delivery or taking on the growing multitude of channels needed to communicate with today’s mobile consumer, enterprises need reliability and quality,” he claims, whilst offering his predictions for 2017

 

1 Location and languages spoken will become less important

The rise of automation will see a change in how people interact with call centres. As computers and voice recognition continues to impress, new business models focussing this way will change current opinions and concepts on off-shore and nearshoring.

 

2 Central and Eastern Europe will provide huge UK opportunities

In the post-Brexit world, studies are already showing countries such as Romania and Poland are increasing as top outsourcing destinations, as the countries are building reputations for customer service and financial attractiveness.

 

3 Data Security is more important than ever

As technology becomes the backbone of the industry and payment options become quicker and easier, security has to keep up with the evolving world in order to prevent dangers such as data and identity theft.

 

4 The boom of Apps, Chatbots and Mobile

It is predicted that around 85% of customer interaction will be entirely automated by 2020, and the companies that can more quickly make that switch will be leading the pack.

 

5 The departure from traditional voice

In the world of instant messenger, digital interaction is becoming the communication of choice for younger generations. Call centres will need to open up more channels in order to appeal to as many customers as they can, including emails, live chat and a broader range of social media if they want to stay relevant with an increasingly tech-savvy customer base.

Positivity Pays in 2017

1024 447 Jack Wynn

 

Almost three quarters of Brits anticipate a more positive 2017 than 2016, which could see an increase in public spending.

A study by the Institute of Customer Service showed customers are 69% more likely to spend if they are surrounded by positivity, which could lead to good news for businesses as 73% expect this year to deliver more good news than 2016.

The last year’s controversial headlines polarising public opinion has left many feeling negative, and the Institute of Customer Service poll revealed companies could increase profits by 30% if customers were engaged in ‘friendly conversation’.

Other factors likely to encourage more consumer interaction and spending were by employees remembering a customer’s name, personalised offers and employees taking longer to understand their needs.

“Consumers are willing to pay a premium for a genuine and authentic experience,” explained Jo Causon, chief executive of Institute of Customer Service, emphasising that while the business world is currently filled with uncertainty, helping understand employees “could pay dividends.”

Guest Blog, Simon Pennie: The power of great customer service…

800 450 Jack Wynn

Businesses spend vast amounts of time, money and resources to build a brand that customers love. But if they fail to ‘put their money with their mouth’ is – by investing in delivering top notch customer service in their contact centres – they risk squandering their hard-earned reputation.

In an era of fierce competition and highly empowered consumers, customer experience is now seen as the new brand battleground. Millions spent on marketing will be wasted if businesses provide a poor experience when dealing with customers directly. On the other hand, brands who get the customer experience right can track the benefits right through to their bottom line: driving sales, acquisition and loyalty. 

Contact centre agents are on the frontline of customer service, acting as ambassadors for a brand. Having the right people and processes in place to handle customers is arguably the most important thing a business can do to get ahead and follow best practice.

 

The right channel for the right situation

An integral part of good customer experience is providing the right mix of channels to fit with customers’ lifestyles and preferences.

Customer service is still an area where person-to-person interaction will often be most effective. Despite the rise of digital and self-serve customer management, 65 per cent of non-face to face consumer contact still happens over the phone and 15 per cent over email. Voice will remain the preferred channel for engagements which rely on empathy and the human touch, so it is essential that brands continue to invest in this area.

However, the rise in technology has opened up new opportunities for businesses to innovate and build new paths for engagement.  Digital channels such as webchat, messenger and Twitter are now essential tools in a brand’s customer experience arsenal.

The trick is to allow consumers to choose how they engage, rather than forcing them to go through a certain channel at a certain point in their journey. Customers will have specifically chosen to make contact through their preferred channel, so being overly prescriptive or expecting them to switch will only cause frustration. Avoiding channel bounce is one of the most important ways brands can optimise customer experience.
Listen and learn from your customers 

As the use of data becomes the norm, consumer expectations have shifted. Today, customers assume every engagement will be tailored to reflect what is known about them as individuals. Furnishing agents with a history of previous interactions with customers will help them better understand the nature of an issue and offer a more personalised service each and every time.

Similarly, brands can draw directly on customer insights as a barometer to gauge the efficacy of their own processes. For example, using speech and text analytics software across calls can help to plot customer frustration or satisfaction. Interpreting this data allows brands to take informed steps to improve engagement – improving resolution rates and boosting satisfaction.

 

Your agents are your biggest asset 

There’s no question that making the most of data and technology can significantly enhance customer experience. But it’s important not to forget that customer service is first and foremost about engaging with a human being – a single consumer with unique preferences and needs.

Businesses need to make sure they are empowering agents with proven processes for managing customers, giving them the flexibility to use their judgement and determine a solution accordingly. Too narrow a focus on handling times or too rigid an adherence to process can often compromise the ability of an agent to reach a resolution or deliver the best possible outcome.  

Creating a contact centre culture where those dealing daily with customers are empowered, motivated and highly skilled will give companies the greatest chance of delivering the best possible customer experience.

 

Winning in the age of the customer 

In the end, it’s the people who represent a brand that are the ultimate differentiator. If contact centres are the beating heart of a brand’s customer service efforts, then the agents that work in them are the lifeblood.  Getting the formula right on the ground allows businesses to truly set themselves apart from their competitors in the age of the customer.

 

Simon Pennie is VP Solution Architecture at Firstsource Solutions, the leading customer experience expert. He works with clients across a range of sectors to provide business-transforming customer insights and deliver strategic customer experience solutions. Simon is an experienced contact centre professional, with over 15 years’ experience in CX and management consultancy. 

 

Are industry professionals missing out on key cloud opportunities?

800 450 Jack Wynn

While the majority of contact centres are using cloud technology to some extent, adoption for many is ‘relatively superficial’, according to recent conducted by Aspect Software.

Surveying 100 UK-based senior contact centre professionals, data indicates that even though the industry is ‘moving in the right direction’, Aspect believes the benefits of the delivery model for agent productivity and customer engagement will only be unlocked when contact centres ‘migrate more of their operations to the cloud’.

Research found that 78 per cent are currently using cloud to some extent, with the channel most likely to have been migrated being email in 60 per cent of cases.  However, adoption of cloud technology in other channels remains low – 27 per cent manage their mobile apps in the cloud; 23 per cent have migrated SMS to cloud; 13 per cent have deployed cloud-based web chat.

Stephen Ball, SVP Europe and Africa at Aspect commented: “It’s clear that cloud is gaining ground in contact centres and that contact centre operators are increasingly comfortable with cloud delivery models, which is very positive. But at the moment many have only migrated a handful of applications and channels – what you might call the low-hanging fruit – and that doesn’t seem likely to change much over the next year. Even partial cloud adoptions can bring about positive changes within your organisation, but we’ve seen that the really interesting things only start to happen when bigger portions of the IT estate have been migrated.”

Analysts predict that this is unlikely to change over the next 12 months, as just 27 per cent of respondents claimed they will integrate new cloud-based solutions into their contact centres in 2017.

NewVoiceMedia announces industry-leading global ‘call routing architecture’…

800 450 Jack Wynn

Cloud technology provider, NewVoiceMedia, has announced the introduction of its industry-leading global ‘call routing architecture’ which claims to provide a dramatic improvement in call quality for organisations managing contact centres across multiple locations.

The ‘ContactWorld’ solution is described by the company as a ‘multi-tenant intelligent communications platform’ that enables centre representatives to conduct more successful conversations with their customers. Core contact centre functionality, such as self-service IVR; omnichannel contact routing; screen pops; automated outbound dialling; and instantaneous CRM updates are provided with proven 99.999 per cent platform availability.

CTO at NewVoiceMedia, Ashley Unitt, said: “NewVoiceMedia delivers a telephony agnostic cloud contact centre with global infrastructure that allows customers to operate a single call plan for all of their globally distributed sales and service agents. And with 40 per cent of agents using our technology based outside their contact centre’s home country, this enhancement could impact around half of the world’s global agents.”

He continued:  “Our global network will deliver a superior customer experience through the ability to route calls more effectively across the world with better visibility of agent productivity and centralised management reporting.”

 

Find out more about ContactWorld here