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NICE

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.

NICE release special home working solution in response to COVID-19

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

By NICE inContact

We live in a world where the only constant is change.  As we experience together the COVID 19 global pandemic and its impacts on our daily lives, the necessity of being able to adapt is very clear. In addition to the massive strains on the healthcare systems around the globe, the business world we live in is also severely impacted.  With the disruption of supply chains resulting in shortages of goods, to the current and impending layoffs of employees around the globe, the world we live in is changing at a faster pace that anyone could expect. This makes the Financial Crisis of 2009 look minor in comparison, as people are concerned about both their financial and physical well-being.

These changes hold true for contact centers given the critical role they play in business. As the front line to customers, they too need to adjust to our new reality.  Customer demands on agents are higher than ever but the safety of the contact center agents is also critical given the nature of the crisis.  How does one balance customer demands with the new reality of “social distancing”?  The roles of governments also come into play where some have restricted or eliminated freedom of movement which causes agents to be unable to get to the office. This results in businesses not being able to provide the services and support that customers expect.  Lost revenues and customers, and potentially the total closure of the business itself are inevitable for those without a plan to quickly adjust to this new reality.

Some businesses failed to have strong business continuity plans, but there are others that were preparing for any eventuality.  This includes preparing their contact center agents to work from home leveraging a cloud based technology.  Understanding how to manage the human resource elements from hiring to performance management is also a critical part of the plan.  Here are just a few best practices you should focus on when moving your contact center agents to work from home.

NICE inContact are offering CXone@home to help companies transition in 48 hours their contact center agents to a home-based work environment, at no cost for 45 days.

Choose the Right Cloud Solution
A full suite of AI and Analytics driven applications from compliance, workforce and performance management to automation.

Equip Workers with the Tools They Need to Succeed
Remote contact center workers and supervisors need the same access to applications and tools as they do when in the office.

Ensure You Transition the Right Existing People to be Remote Agents
Employees need to be self-motivated, resourceful, mindful of the importance of confidentiality (with customer data) as well as technically oriented.

Make Experts Readily Available
Employees need ready access to the companies knowledge bank of information in real time.  This should include things like attended robotic process automation.

Utilize Tools and Reporting to Track Agent Activity, Goals, and Metrics
Allow managers to effectively monitor teams remotely through things like call monitoring and recording as we as deliver effective performance management.

Optimize Skill Development with Distance and AI Driven Personalized Learning
Using distance learning or eLearning technologies to certify agents on new campaigns or products.

The crisis we are now facing should cause many of those in the contact center industry to rethink the way they do business.  Now is the time to move your contact center to the cloud to weather the storm we are currently in and be ready for those yet to come because we will always live in a world of constant change.

Learn more about CXone@home here. https://get.niceincontact.com/cxoneathome

Millennials and Gen Zs ‘driving digital-first customer experience’

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

The third annual 2019 NICE inContact Customer Experience (CX) Transformation Benchmark has detailed how understanding younger generations’ use of and expectations around next-generation solutions like artificial intelligence (AI) and digital channels are fundamental to building exceptional, best-in-class customer experiences.

As Millennials and Generation Z become dominant consumer groups, with Generation Z purchasing already reaching an estimated $100 billion according to research conducted by Barkley, their comfort level and familiarity with multiple digital channels including social messaging and chatbots means organizations, no matter their size, must provide digital-first omnichannel experiences to meet consumer expectations and effectively compete in the experience economy.

Key findings from the study include:

  • Almost 60% of Generation Z and Millennials have used private social messaging for customer service. In contrast, 38% of Gen X, 19% of Baby Boomers and 16% of Silent Generation have done so.The majority of Generation Z and Millennials also want companies to allow them to interact with customer service using private social messaging apps (72% and 69%, respectively).
  • Consumers are using AI more and feeling more positive about chatbots over time.Half of all consumers have used AI for any purpose (50%), compared to 2018 (45%). This can be attributed to a significant increase in the use of an automated assistant/chatbot online (34%, up from 25% in 2018). Generation Z and Millennials are more likely to agree that chatbots make it easier and quicker for their issues to get resolved, and are also the most likely of all generations to have used all forms of AI for any purpose, as well as for customer service.
  • Half of consumers who start with AI are transferred to a live agent, and age is a significant factor when it comes to AI and the importance of the human touch. While chatbot usage and performance are improving – and preferences and attitudes are changing – most consumers want to be informed if they are using a chatbot (92%) and 91% of all consumers prefer a live agent. However, this preference follows a downward trend generationally: 98% of the Silent Generation, 96% of Baby Boomers, 91% of Generation X, 86% of Millennials and 83% of Generation Z say they prefer a live agent.
  • Seamless digital-first omnichannel experiences are vital to positive customer experiences.Most consumers (93%) want seamless omnichannel experiences, and yet they are increasingly giving companies a poor rating on seamlessly switching between channels – 73% give companies a poor rating, up from 67% in 2018. This is especially important for meeting and exceeding the expectations of Millennials and Generation Z, who are the most likely to have experienced omnichannel customer service (16% and 21%, respectively).

“Understanding the nuances of what consumers expect, and how they actually engage with brands via a myriad of digital channels, and integrating these in-demand channels seamlessly to deliver digital-first omnichannel experiences, is key to sustainable growth,” said Paul Jarman, NICE inContact CEO. “The NICE inContact CX Benchmark looks beyond education around demographic customer service trends and gets to the root of what makes new channel options attractive. Millennials and Generation Z are bellwethers of what consumers expect and are increasingly likely to recommend a company on social media based on personal experiences – the influence they wield is tremendous.”

Click here to read the full report.

80% of business leaders say Robotic Process Automation improves customer service

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

NICE has revealed insights from a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting that shows the connection between improved customer service and Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

The findings indicated that 80 percent of business leaders surveyed felt RPA is important in making customer service teams more efficient.

RPA is not only a key component of a broader digital transformation, but 88 percent of respondents also consider it a cost mitigation strategy, while 72 percent reported looking at RPA as an enabler of customer self-service in emerging channels.

NICE asserts the findings testify to the strategic importance of embracing technologies that drive true and full digital transformations for enterprises while empowering employees to improve performance and automating increasing levels of processes at varied complexities.

This survey-based research study highlights the rapid growth of the RPA market and indicates that deployments are still the tip of the iceberg, stating: “According to Forrester’s research, RPA’s growth will continue, with global spending on RPA services in 2019 set to exceed $5 billion – and $12 billion by 2023.”

The research brings to light that 78 percent of business leaders are willing to leverage digital workers or robots for routine tasks while human contact center agents take on more strategic roles. Additionally, almost half (49 percent) of employees surveyed said RPA has removed all or some of the mundane tasks and helped them focus better on their work. These statistics indicate that RPA technology increase employee engagement and enable improved levels of customer service delivery, thus boosting brand differentiation in today’s customer experience-driven era.

Additionally, the study also noted that 47 percent of employee respondents stated they sometimes or often forget a step in the process. This directly ties into 41 percent of managers and employees reporting that the reduction of manual errors is one of the top three impacts of RPA on the employee’s job. Both these findings indicate RPA also improves service quality.

Barry Cooper, President, NICE Enterprise Product Group, said: “We welcome the insights from Forrester’s research which validate the market movements towards intelligent Robotic Desktop Automation solutions that sit at the heart of an organization’s digital transformation. NICE’s vision of bringing automation to the people is more relevant than ever to this dynamic high growth market. We look forward to expanding our partnership with organizations that want to empower their employees and drive their business to new heights of customer satisfaction and efficiency.”

Cloud tech delivers ‘18% more customer satisfaction’

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

The findings of the 2019 NICE inContact Customer Experience (CX) Transformation Benchmark has shown that companies with all of their contact center technology in the cloud report 18 percent higher customer satisfaction (CSAT) based on service experience compared to companies with on-premises contact center technology.

Furthermore, at 40 per cent, a significant portion of companies are very likely to invest in four or more channels to improve the customer service experience.

The 2019 NICE inContact Customer Experience (CX) Transformation Benchmark gauges the attitudes of businesses and consumers in key areas of customer experience.

The latest report on the business wave of the study provides insights on contact center technology investment plans amidst changing customer needs, and points to the need for businesses to move beyond multichannel offerings and create true seamless omnichannel customer experiences powered by a complete cloud customer experience platform.

The study polled contact center leaders in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia.  

Key findings:

  • Organizations with all of their contact center technology in the cloud report superior customer experience outcomes. Companies using cloud contact center technology report 18 percent higher CSAT as well as 36 percent higher likelihood to recommend their company from customers based on service experience, compared to companies with on-premises contact center technology.
  • Channels investment plans are significant. Forty percent of companies are very likely to invest in four or more channelsto improve the customer service experience in the coming year. Further, those who are very likely to invest in four or more channels who also have all their contact center technology in the cloud or are planning to move to the cloud are more likely than those with on-premises contact center technology to now offer eight of the 11 channels covered in the study, including communicating with customers on social media, online chat, SMS / text, video chat, IVR, mobile apps, chatbots, and service via a home electronic virtual assistant device.
  • Despite customer demand, investment plans for omnichannel functionality are lacking. Overwhelmingly, customers expect seamless omnichannel functionality when interacting with businesses, by a rate of 91 percent. Meanwhile, only 25 percent of businesses are likely to invest in new services that allow channels of communication to work together seamlessly. Consumer use of and preference for digital channels is on the rise. In the US from 2017 to 2018, chat use tripled, and text grew tenfold; preference for these channels grew 36 percent and 71 percent respectively.
  • Almost half of global organizations see a need for more agent-assisted resources. While customer reliance on self-service channels has spiked, increasing from 17 percent to 31 percent in the United States (based on the 2018 CX benchmark) 49 percent of businesses globally expect they will need more agent-assisted resources in the coming year. Among these businesses, 61 percent say the need is due to an increase in the number of customers interacting with agents.

Paul Jarman, NICE in Contact CEO, said: “From social media messaging, to text, to chatbots, the customer relationship takes place across a wide and diverse range of channels in addition to voice. As more customers embrace multiple digital channels to communicate and engage, it becomes increasingly important for businesses to be able to quickly adopt and integrate digital channels into a seamless omnichannel customer experience.

“The NICE inContact CX Transformation Benchmark not only shows that contact centers are moving to the cloud, but that those who are in the cloud, and those that plan to invest in customer experience, provide superior customer experiences. Leading organizations of all sizes can stay agile and ahead of customer expectations by leveraging a complete, unified and intelligent cloud contact center platform, to deliver quick, effortless interactions – anywhere.”

NICE inContact surveyed more than 900 contact center decision makers in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. The report presents global findings from the business wave of the research and provides insights on contact center leaders’ technology investment plans and contact center goals and metrics.

For more information and to download the full research report, please click here.

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

NICE partners with Atos to drive digital transformations

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Cloud contact centre software platform NICE inContact has partnered with French digital transformation specialist Atos, which currently operates in 73 countries and employs over 110,000 members of staff. 

The partnership will see the creation of NICE inContact CXone, a solution for Contact Center as a Service and bring CXone to the company’s installed base of hundreds of thousands of contact centre agents across the globe as well as new customers.

CXone will be integrated with Circuit and sold by Atos under the name Cloud Contact Center – powered by CXone, to deliver one unified, digital-first omnichannel cloud customer experience platform, and complements the OpenScape Contact Center solution which Atos will continue to offer for on-premise and hosted requirements.

“Contact centre organisations of all sizes around the world are moving to the cloud to power immersive and engaging customer experiences that drive down costs while building loyalty, advocacy and wallet share,” said Paul Jarman, NICE inContact CEO. 

“Our partnership with Atos demonstrates NICE inContact’s accelerated international expansion. We’re delighted to work together to bring the benefits of the cloud to thousands of agents and customers.”

Commenting on the partnership, Simon Skellon, Chief Sales Officer for Atos’ UCC division, said: “For many customers, the move to cloud is a central element of their digital transformation strategy and by offering them NICE inContact’s world-class cloud platform underpinned by Atos’ proven leadership in Workplace Services, they have the perfect opportunity to migrate to a true digital first omnichannel customer experience — whether served directly by Atos, or via a member of our extensive partner community.”

Compliance software investments ‘a priority’ for contact centres

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

91 per cent of contact centre IT staff consider compliance software investments a priority.

The research commissioned by enterprise software solutions company, NICE, also found that 97 percent of IT and compliance professionals were concerned about the ability of their organisation to meet today’s compliance requirements.

These concerns ranged from the introduction of new regulations and growing threat of cyber-attacks to the increasing complexity of internal systems.

When asked to identify the most important factor for improving contact centre compliance, 88 percent of respondents highlighted a need to improve proactivity and speed through better mechanisms to detect violations (26 percent), better error prevention (23 percent), improved visibility across different tools/systems (21 percent) and quicker violation resolution (18 percent). 

The survey also found that a quarter of the Contact Center IT staff’s time is being invested in compliance-related activities

A key conclusion identified by the research was that dedicated compliance solutions comprising analytics and automation will help contact centres optimise resources while empowering employees to ensure compliance and building trust among customers.

“Contact centres must protect the interests of their customers when it comes to their personal data,” said Barry Cooper, President of the Enterprise Group for NICE. 

“Ensuring compliance requires contact centres to navigate a maze of regulations, standards and best practices, which are becoming increasingly resource draining for IT and compliance professionals. Businesses must leverage analytics, AI and automation to adopt a proactive approach, uphold the trust of their customers and simplify their employees’ day to day tasks.”

Image by bhupendra Singh from Pixabay

AI key to customer service, but performance overrated

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Sixty-three per cent of contact centre leaders agree that chatbots and virtual assistants make it easier for consumers to get their issues resolved.

That’s according to findings of the second annual NICE inContact CX Transformation Benchmark, a global research study that gauges the changing attitudes of both industry professionals and consumers.

NICE inContact polled contact centre leaders in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. The report compares global findings to the 2018 consumer wave of the study, and includes year-over-year findings for the US.

NICE inContact says results reveal that businesses are confident in artificial intelligence’s (AI’s) role in delivering exceptional customer service experiences, but they overrate their own CX performance.

Compared to consumers, businesses overreach when estimating their own net promoter scores (NPS), overrate their own CX success, and underperform when it comes to delivering seamless omnichannel experiences.    

Key findings:

·       Businesses express confidence in AI. The CX Transformation Benchmark found that 63 percent of contact center leaders agree that chatbots and virtual assistants make it easier for consumers to get their issues resolved, and 68 percent of those surveyed agree that consumers want to use virtual assistants to interact with them. Findings show that significantly more US businesses now offer automated assistants / chatbots online, at 54 percent compared to 44 percent the prior year.

·       Business overreach in self-assigned Net Promoter Score (NPS). Compared to consumers, businesses give themselves higher net promoter scores for every method of communication tested. Businesses overestimate most channel-specific NPS by broad margins. For example:

o   Automated Assistant / Chatbot: While consumers award automated assistants an NPS of -8, businesses estimate they earn an NPS of 25, for a gap of 33 points.

o   Email: The consumer NPS for email is -9 while the business NPS is 19, for a gap of 28 points.

o   Text: Consumers give text a -2 NPS while businesses estimate 25, for a gap of 27 points.

·       Businesses overrate their CX success. Businesses are 15 percent more likely than consumers to agree that they make it easier for consumers to get their issues resolved in their preferred channels, and that they provide a consistent customer service experience across the purchase journey.

·       Businesses understand the value of omnichannel experiences, but underperform. While 93 percent of businesses agree that consumers expect companies to provide a seamless experience when moving between channels, only 24% of businesses globally give themselves an excellent rating on allowing consumers to switch seamlessly between methods of communication.

Paul Jarman, CEO at NICE inContact, said: “We are at an inflection point for AI in the contact center. AI innovations are at their best when paired with the human touch and deployed to address targeted customer and agent experience opportunities. AI in the contact center has the potential to add significant value to customer experience outcomes and operational performance.

“The CX Transformation Benchmark shows contact center leader confidence in AI, and we join them in delivering end-to-end AI capabilities that span the entire customer and agent experience, to empower organizations of all sizes to stay one step ahead of customer expectations.”

NICE inContact surveyed more than 900 contact center decision makers in the US, UK, and Australia. The report presents global findings from the business wave of the research and provides comparative results to the consumer study published in 2018.

For more information and to download the full research report, please click here.

NICE unveils global ‘Robotic Automation Community’

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A new educational platform from NICE aims to provide resources and best practice sharing for customers, partners, system integrators and domain professionals across various industries.

With over 550 deployments, 500,000 robots in production and 16 years of RPA experience, NICE says its automation community members now have access to insights on RPA and NEVA (NICE Employee Virtual Attendant), as well as the latest innovations and trends in the industry.

By joining the NICE Robotic Automation Community, entry level employees as well as experts can learn how to harness the growth the industry is experiencing and cultivate their skills and careers.

Open to customers, partners, system integrators, as well as domain professionals, materials include short articles, how to videos, white papers, in-depth e-learning content for technical employees and consultants, as well as certification programs.

The community includes a forum that encourages discussions among peers and with NICE experts, enabling the sharing of best practices, guidelines and experiences that members can learn from and adopt in their own implementations.

NICE’s community is integrated with NICE Dojo, one of the largest global learning networks which enables users to easily access training assets and choose flexible learning paths to suit their individual and professional needs.

Barry Cooper, President, NICE Enterprise Group, said: “As the most established and experienced RPA vendor in the enterprise market, NICE is delighted to launch a comprehensive and engaging global community to drive collaboration and innovation among RPA professionals. The NICE Robotic Automation Community is the ideal platform to share in-depth experience and industry knowledge. Our innovative RPA technology is built to support the most complex process scenarios facing enterprises today. The RPA market is vibrant and dynamic, and we are excited to be contributing towards and shaping the industry on a global scale.”

Thomas Cook adopts NICE Robotic Process Automation for customer experience

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Thomas Cook has implemented the NICE Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solution for its UK operations, which it says has saved millions in operational costs over a 24-month period.

The travel giant elected to adopt US-based NICE’s advanced process automation solution in order to meet the challenge of servicing both internal and external customers across various markets and networks.

The company deployed NICE RPA’s attended and unattended robots across its UK operations, including automation of its back-office activities.

In addition, Thomas Cook brought its outsourced offshore activities back onshore and in-house at the UK contact centres.

The new system replaced a heavily manual process involving inconsistent legacy systems by either completely automating routine tasks or assisting agents to ensure more efficient customer interactions.

The partners claim the changes have driven millions in savings, reduced the average handle time of in-house processes, introduced global consistency in reporting, increased efficiency, and facilitated a greater focus on customer service.

Thomas Cook is planning a phased roll-out of NICE RPA across all its European operations and within other divisions of its UK business activities.

Graham Lee, Group Head RPA, Thomas Cook said: “At Thomas Cook, we are investing in process automation initiatives as a pillar of a transformation program intended to liberate cash for investment in marketing and to accelerate growth. NICE RPA, with its scalability and flexibility, has met those goals with significant operational cost savings and support for our customer experience strategy in the UK. It has provided a great foundation for additional savings and efficiency enhancements using advanced process automation across our European offices, for internal business functions, and in the context of other enterprise activities.”

John O’Hara, President, NICE EMEA said: “We’re excited to see NICE RPA making a significant difference at Thomas Cook by helping ensure efficient and effective operations. By combining both attended and unattended robots, the solution provides Thomas Cook with a platform to deliver on strategic objectives across all its markets with a consistency that improves both service and internal reporting. In the travel industry, automating routine tasks with NICE RPA is an important key in delivering customer service that’s comprehensively streamlined in terms of processes and fuels greater engagement among frontline agents, both of which customers are attuned to. This makes all the difference in an economy where customer experience is king.”

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