Spoken Communications

News, opinions and information on the state of call centers, cloud contact centers and IVRs worldwide

Empower Your Employees to Serve Your Customers

Posted by Spoken Communications on July 28, 2016 at 6:00 AM

It may seem that we talk a lot about trends in our Spoken blogs, and a quick search of our blog archive would certainly confirm that, but trends are an interesting phenomenon in that they act as a teacher of sorts when it comes to learning about what’s happening in an industry, or the world for that matter.  Plus, watching trends helps us to know what steps should be taken in order to “ride the wave” of the trend instead of getting “swept away” in it.        Empowering-employees.jpg

Let’s take, for example, the issue of Customer Service.  In recent years, the function of customer service has trended away from a single department/cost center to a primary marketing function of an organization.  What’s brought about this change? In a recent article by Tricia Morris, consumers now tend to value customer service and customer experience even more than they value a product or a good price.  Consumers are much more savvy than they used to be; they have the ability to shop multiple sites to compare products and prices and once they’ve found what they want, the process of making a purchase then becomes all about how quickly and easily they are able to do this and how well they are treated should an issue arise with their order.   Additionally, this article points out that 90% of consumers expect consistency and continuity from a brand across channels. That means regardless of how a customer contacts you via phone, e-mail, live chat or a social media platform, they expect the experience to be exactly the same. 

These changes in customer expectations have been the driving force behind the call center’s shift from single department to a more front and center marketing function. Interestingly enough, however, not all contact centers have implemented a multi-channel integration that provides a consistent experience across platforms. Additionally, many contact centers are still lagging behind when it comes to training their agents across multiple channels or equipping them to make on-the-spot decisions that will assist the customer. 

Check out this Spoken blog to learn more about how to equip your call center agents to meet the customer’s expectations.

Considering that this customer trend will not be going away anytime soon, it’s important to implement some customer service principles that will enable your organization to grow with the trend instead of getting lost in it.  This requires a commitment from all levels of the company and is the process by which you make your customer service move from a “back-office” department to a front and center marketing function.  Here are a few specifics:

Empower Employees:  Leaders need to train their customer-facing employees to know what they are doing, what they can offer and where to go to get the information they need to assist the customer.

Insights:  Leaders need to equip the customer-facing employees with access to key customer insights that will make the customer experience more personal. This should include customer profiles on the products and services they use and analytic tools to view customer history.

Mobility: Customers are mobile and customer service should be as well. Leaders who monitor trends will see the importance of a mobile customer service department that is ready to connect and engage with customers on any platform with any device.

Empowering employees to serve the customer requires leadership from the top down that embraces trends, uses multiple channels to engage your customers and training all of your employees to be customer centric. Leaders who have moved with the call center trends have reaped the benefits and built a company that is seen as a leader in customer service.

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Give Your Customers More ‘Wow’ Experiences With Smarter Technology

Posted by Spoken Communications on July 21, 2016 at 6:00 AM

 
Customer-service-idea-featured

It’s no secret that customer service expectations are high and growing higher as new technologies are helping to streamline communications between brands and consumers. But due to these high expectations the probability of meeting these service ideals is low and customer let downs are commonplace following contact with today’s call centers, whether with a live agent or an IVR system. One might even say that your customers are prepared for the worst from the moment they dial into your hotline. One mix up by your auto-attendant, for example, could send the whole customer experience spiraling downward.

Since customer service is a top priority for brands, upgrading your technology to support your call center team and improve every customer service interaction is vitally important to your company’s reputation and, ultimately, its bottom line. So ask yourself: Is your current technology causing more mishaps than success stories? If the answer is yes, then now is the time to stop letting your subpar system diminish your call center’s ability to provide excellent customer support.

With the right technology, you can let the capabilities of your call center shine and never worry that your customers are growing frustrated by an IVR system that frequently transfers them to the wrong representative, for instance.

So, what does a call center model that produces “wow” results look like? Here are few features and benefits:

  • Full redundancy: Is there anything worse than having your phone lines go down due to a storm or power outage? Your customers expect that you’ll be available under all circumstances, so make sure you have technology that can support this supposition. Your technology provider should have redundant and geographically diverse data centers that will back up your phone lines and keep the calls flowing no matter what. For instance, in the event that one data center fails, the second data center will immediately take over the full call volume without missing a beat or disconnecting a single customer.
  • Smart IVR: Your IVR system should be fully customizable to your specific call center needs. That is, you need your IVR system to be intelligent enough to automatically identify and route callers with specific qualifications to particular agents. For example, an IVR system with flexible and programmable call flow capabilities enables call centers to choose exactly how they need their calls to be routed. In addition, advanced programming capabilities help call centers more accurately route callers to the representative most knowledgeable about their issues.
  • Usage-based pricing: Another important feature that will help you produce more internal (in addition to customer-facing) “wow” results is usage-based pricing. For example, if you employ a team of remote agents, they’ll need to use a virtual desktop solution so that they can access the same tools their colleagues in the office use. But some agents may log in at different times, or may not have the same volume of calls each day; therefore, it’s more cost-efficient to pay per minute of usage so that you can get the biggest bang for your buck. Rather than paying upfront for capacity that may not be used at all times, pay as you go and avoid shelling out more money than is truly necessary.
  • Advanced security: Security is a major concern for customers who share their personal information—from home address to credit card numbers—over the phone. As such, it’s important to choose a provider that can offer on-the-fly encryption that uniquely codes each customer’s phone call, making it extremely difficult for hackers to gain access to data that is shared. Rather than only having one general encryption for all of your customers, individual call encryption ensures that, even if there was a security breach, the hacker wouldn’t be able to gain access to all of your customers’ information at once.   

So put an end to letting your customers down when they dial into your call center. Arm your call center with the advanced technology that can fully support your customers’ needs and deliver high-quality results.

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An Inside Look at the Customer Success Manager

Posted by Spoken Communications on July 19, 2016 at 6:00 AM

We recently came across a fascinating article detailing the relatively young profession of the Customer Success Manager, in the recently released 2016 Customer Success Salary & State of the Profession Report. What’s a Customer Success Manager you ask? Well, to best answer that, let’s learn a bit about Customer Success Management programs.

Customer Success Management is a new term that describes a Business to Business program designed to bring success to your business customers.  For example, here at Spoken, we sell products and services that are designed to support the Customer Service functions of our clients. We have a vested interest in making sure that our customers succeed because if they don’t, we don’t. Say we want to implement a program or new piece of technology that we believe will bring great success to our customers, like encouraging certain customers to move to the Avaya Cloud. In order to insure that this “push” is successful, we decide to implement an incentive program for our agents that offers some additional commissions or bonuses for every customer that they are able to successfully transition to the Avaya Cloud system. That is a Customer Success Management program. It is a program that really benefits all involved, because it will bring greater success to our customers and at the same time, reward our employees or Customer Success team for a job well done.

Below is a graph that outlines some of the possible top goals of a customer success team.

 

2016-customer-success-salary-survey-26-1024-goals.jpg

 2016 Customer Success Salary Survey & State of the Profession Report

 

Want more? You can learn other techniques for reducing churn in our recent blog.  And here’s 5 tips for customer retention.

 

Customer success programs are growing as are the teams that manage them. As the Customer Success teams grow, so does the need for managers. Customer Success Management is a new and fast growing profession that has seen tremendous growth within the industry over the past two to three years and is proving to be a profession with low turn-over.

2016-customer-success-salary-survey-24-1024-growth.jpg

 2016 Customer Success Salary Survey & State of the Profession Report

 

Compensation

The compensation structure within the customer success program can be key when it comes to successful implementation. In addition to their salaries, agents can earn additional compensation within the Customer Success program.  As we mentioned above, incentives can be offered to agents when they successfully move a customer into a new program or a new product. Additionally, other metrics, such as churn reduction, renewals, upselling, or portfolio health can be factored into the compensation structure.  Bonuses can be driven by both the team performance and company performance as well.

 

Teams

Customer Success teams can have as few as 1-5 members or as many as 100 plus. Larger companies are likely to have a number of positions that comprise the Customer Success team, beginning with more entry level positions and continuing up to executive positions. 

2016-customer-success-salary-survey-6-1024-positions.jpg

 2016 Customer Success Salary Survey & State of the Profession Report

 

The Customer Success Management Program is a trend that is worth watching and one that we anticipate will continue to grow and change with our every-changing and growing industry. 

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Cloud Trends Unfolding: IT Assumes the Role of Innovation Broker

Posted by Spoken Communications on July 14, 2016 at 6:00 AM

6th in the series

As we continue our series of  Cloud Trends Unfolding in 2016, one of the more interesting trends to watch is how the cloud is impacting the IT department.  One might think that the advent of the cloud would have a negative impact on IT, but as we monitor trends, what we’re seeing is how the role of IT is shifting from that of “overseer” to that of “innovator.”     innovation.jpg

The Role of Overseer

Prior to the arrival of the cloud, the CIO was the purchaser of hardware and software that was needed for the day to day operations. Once these items were purchased, the CIO along with the IT department, implemented these items and maintained them.  Basically, the IT department was responsible for making sure that everything worked and that all the systems were secure.  The role of overseer was clearly defined and things chugged along.

Enter the Cloud

Then Cloud technology came along and everything changed.  Everything began to move faster. Money that had initially been spent on maintenance now needed to be shifted to new things. Additionally, various departments within organizations were jumping over to the cloud on their own, separate from the rest of the company.  In many cases, no one was consulting with IT, which at the time, gave the false impression that IT would be side-lined or marginalized into a minimal role.  However, as cloud technology began to grow and departments migrated their resources to the cloud, it became obvious that the IT department’s role would become much more front and center.

The Role of Innovator

The cloud offers much flexibility and scalability to businesses. This makes it an attractive option when it comes to data storage. In addition, most cloud vendors offer a pay-as-you-go model bringing data storage costs down considerably.  Every CIO wants to insure that they are getting the full cost-benefit that the cloud offers and they tend to rely on their IT managers to research and monitor the best strategies offered. This has required IT managers to gain an insider’s knowledge of each cloud vendor and the specifics of their services enabling them to “pick and choose” which services best suit their company’s IT needs.  For example, which aspects of their business need to be on a private cloud and which are suitable for a public cloud.  It’s been through this process, of sifting through the options of cloud technology, that the role of IT has changed.  Additionally, as cloud technology advances, many cloud vendors are seeing the need to offer more specialized services, breaking away from the more one-size-fits-all model we saw in the early cloud days. With so many options becoming available, it only makes sense that the IT manager would move from the role of overseer/project manager to innovator and cloud-service broker.

IT managers of call centers have, perhaps, been some of the most innovative.  As cloud technology has grown and adapted to market needs, it has proven to be an effective means of streamlining the call center. Since cloud technology allows agents to work remotely, rather than on-premise, call centers can temporarily add agent seats when needed to support peak seasons and then scale back down during the slower times. This type of scalability has proven to be revolutionary to the call center.  Here at Spoken, our Spoken Cloud ACD options are equally revolutionary and efficient allowing customers to gradually transition some or all operations to the cloud. IT managers have praised this aspect of the Spoken ACD.

To learn even more about how the cloud can benefit call center revenues, check out our Spoken blog here.

When it comes to transitioning your organization to the cloud, who better to sort through the latest technology than the team that has been at the helm of your organization’s technology all along?   Thanks to IT innovations, call centers, and all organizations, can reap all the benefits of cloud computing. With the cloud technology continuing to move forward, it would appear that IT managers will have plenty to keep them busy and innovating for a long time to come.

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Best Practices for Using Native Cloud

Posted by Spoken Communications on July 12, 2016 at 6:00 AM

In today’s highly-technological age, there are many new terms that have become very mainstream that a decade ago, we had never heard.  One such term is “native cloud.”  What exactly does this term mean? Native cloud refers to a type of computer software that uses, or is “native” to the cloud. To be a little more specific, native cloud utilizes services and infrastructure provided by cloud computing providers such as Amazon EC2 or Force.com.        Cloud-tech.jpg

OK, that tells us WHAT native cloud is, but let’s break this down a little more and take a look at some of the best practices for using native cloud. In an article posted earlier this year by THE NEW STACK, we found a clear guide to the best practices for using native cloud.

Be Micro- the best way to go about this is to breakdown the application into microservices where each service does one thing really well. This makes it much easier to do updates when needed which is a key for today’s cloud-native application. Sometimes the architecture of these microservices can add complications….. mainly the many containers to track. In 2014, Google introduced the Kubernetes project, which basically makes their container management system “opened source” making the management of microservices a bit easier.  The Cloud Native Computing Foundation, a group that has formed in answer to this issue, will take the Kubernetes Project as a starting point to develop this open-sourced system.

Be Explicit- when developing cloud-native applications, it is important to have consistent libraries and systems that are used for development, testing and production. Be specific about your code dependencies and your relationship with backend services.

Be Stateless-Hmmmm, what does this mean? This means that configuration variables such as hostname and password should be specific to the cloud environment and not the repository. Basically, let the cloud work for you.

Be Temporal- this is another way of saying, “be flexible.” Within the cloud, your application should be able to gracefully shutdown or start-up. If your application is Stateless, as explained above, you can do this without any loss of data.

In April of 2016, Spoken announced the release of the new 2.4 version of the Spoken Cloud ACD. This is a flexible, native cloud ACD of the future that has implemented the best practices mentioned above. 

A key point to remember is that combining good design with coding best practices will make it easier to develop cloud-native applications.

 

 

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What is the real driver of cloud growth in 2016

Posted by Spoken Communications on July 7, 2016 at 6:00 AM

2016 Cloud Trends Unfolding Series

So far, as we’ve been moving through our series on Cloud Trends Unfolding in 2016, we’ve talked about cloud providers optimizing big data in the cloud followed by how cloud analytics helps IT and  the emerging security standards we can expect to see. Let’s take a closer look at another cloud trend for 2016: how contact centers are approaching cloud adoptions.cloud-journey.jpg

However, before we dive into this, let’s take a quick overview of the cloud and how it works. First, it’s important to remember that the cloud is not a single thing but a network of services, storage, applications and servers that both perform tasks and store data. Some of those servers provide services, while others provide storage. An example of the services the cloud provides would be something like SalesForce or Adobe Photoshop. We used to access this creative service by buying the boxed software, now Adobe Photoshop, along with other creative services, has been moved to the cloud and is accessed through a subscription in order to use the service. Microsoft has moved to a subscription model for its popular Office suite as well, now charging for a yearly subscription rather than for a one-time download and outright ownership. 

And anyone who has uploaded photos to iPhoto or Instagram or who has shared documents using Google Drive or SharePoint knows about cloud storage. 

The real driver of cloud growth in 2016

Given that consumers use the cloud every day without realizing, what is the value to the enterprise of cloud in 2016? According to Dustin Smith, Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Tableau Software, it's ease of use. Moving data to the cloud will become as easy as a simple copy/paste move. Smith predicts:

"With self-service cloud analytics and data prep now a reality, the chance of letting an individual move data into a cloud ecosystem quickly and easily (and without a technical background) is on the horizon," he says. "Simple solutions that largely decouple the complexity of data integration, staging, and transformation and focus solely on letting business users drop data into preferred cloud databases and warehouses are on their way."

Smith states a simple truth: the ability to easily back up, access, share and store data in the cloud without even thinking about it is the real value here. Ten years ago, data backup procedures required hardware, manual action and strict protocols. Today, even a non-techie can backup, store or share data in the cloud without even thinking about it. What is driving cloud growth is that it is so easy to use that we can now spend our energies focusing on our core tasks rather than on manual ways of storing and sharing data.

More cloud predictions and other cloud technology posts

Perhaps one of the greatest lessons we’re learning as we watch these trends unfold is simply that cloud technology is easily accessible to the average user with minimal barriers to entry. In the early days, changes in technology had to go through the IT department. But the accessibility of cloud computing meant that departments could bypass IT entirely: a sales team could easily implement SalesForce, a marketing team could implement HubSpot and a development team could share documents on Google Drive or DropBox without going through a lengthy IT vetting and installation process. 

The contact center cloud in 2016

A recent report by research firm Frost and Sullivan on contact center modernization predicted that the cloud contact center market will grow to over $3 billion by 2017. This represents the combined spend across ACD, IVR, outbound contact, chat, quality monitoring, workforce management, and analytics applications.

Furthermore, Frost and Sullivan has reported that the adoption of hosted or cloud solutions is not concentrated to any one industry or few industry sectors; rather, it is fairly distributed across industry verticals.  They believe its high adoption in industries such as financial services and healthcare validate the robustness and maturity of the model.

According to the Cloud Contact Center Market Trends Report by Frost and Sullivan, the key considerations for moving to a cloud-based contact center include:

  • Reduced systems maintenance and management costs
  • Reduced IT budgets to buy and manage infrastructure in-house
  • Rapid time to deployment
  • Flexible scalability and business agility
  • Ease of provisioning and managing multi-site operations
  • To support remote / at home agents

It only makes sense that contact centers are flocking to the cloud with the abundance of benefits and the increasing simplicity.  Will the cloud contact center market reach $3 billion by 2017? Only time will tell. But based on the growth we are seeing at Spoken and the immense benefits our clients are receiving, we certainly think so.

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Keeping workplace productivity high is as easy as 1-2-3

Posted by Spoken Communications on July 5, 2016 at 6:00 AM

How do you keep productivity high?” Well, we did a bit of research on this topic, and honestly, you find a lot of the “same old advice” like, “be a good employer”, “make people feel valued”, “create a productive atmosphere,” “be positive and encouraging.” Now, none of this is bad advice; in fact it’s all good advice, but it is rather vague and subjective and a bit outdated for today’s workplace. We wanted to find some information that offers more targeted tips for the specific demands of today’s worker. Lets-Be-Productive.jpg

Perhaps one of the biggest changes and demands in the workplace today is the ability to work remotely. For newer companies, you know, companies that have come on the scene in that last 5-10 years, this is a common practice. However, for older, more established companies who have been around so long they can remember using fax machines, and phone messages had to be taken by an actual receptionist, the idea of allowing employees to work remotely from home can be a down-right frightening concept. To think of allowing an employee to work from home would equate to an employee who really isn’t working at all. That is simply not the case and this leads us to our first tip:

  1. Pay your employees what they are worth. Nothing is worse than working hard and not being well compensated. One way people will feel valued in the workplace is if they are paid well for what they do. It’s pretty simple really. When people feel their employer is generous, that can be very motivating to work hard in order to feel that generosity is warranted. Life is expensive, and people need to feel that what they devote the majority of their life to, is worth it for them. Pay well, offer bonuses when it’s possible and make sure your benefits package is a competitive one. People tend to not walk away from good situations.
  2. Cut down on useless meetings! We’ve said this before right here, but we’ll say it again! Meetings are USELESS!   Consider this, the amount of time you spend in meetings is time your employees are NOT working at their jobs and being productive. Yes, sometimes meetings are necessary BUT, they should be short and to the point. Always have an agenda when heading into a meeting and make sure the meeting does not go over 30 minutes.
  3. Offer Flexibility and trust by allowing your employees to work remotely from home 1-2 times per week. Today, it is very common for households to have two working parents and also for said households to live quite a long distance from their work-place. Allowing workers to flex their hours so that they aren’t spending half the day in the car will go a very long way in increasing productivity overall. By not having to drive in 1 or 2 times per week, allows employees to get a head start on their work day and in the long run, offers them a better work-life balance. Additionally, allowing employees some flexibility with their schedules can be very helpful when it comes to managing their work and family duties. In doing these, employers communicate to their staff that they understand the need for balance with work and family priorities. Employees see flexibility as a major plus and are careful to honor that in order to keep it.

These three tips are, what we see, as the BIG ones; meaning if these three are in place and prioritized by employers, then workplace productivity can flow. Now, let’s focus a little more on the flexibility tip above. Flexibility is a HUGE plus for today’s employee for the reasons we discussed above. Since it is so popular, it’s hard to imagine that there’s a down side to it, but there is…… or at least there can be.

As we were researching our points for this article, we came across a great read from August of 2015 by Stephanie Vozza about productivity tricks she learned while at Google. The first one caught our eye:

Use technology to keep remote employees close. Very good point. While flexibility and working remotely has numerous advantages, the major disadvantage is a feeling of disconnectedness that can tend to settle in. This is particularly true of organizations that have several satellite offices and a large percentage of employees working remotely. There are many tools available today that can keep employees connected from video chat, to conferencing tools, however, our personal favorite is the secure cloud connection. The Cloud allows employees to quickly and easily connect with your network regardless of where they are in the world and maintain a high level of productivity.  Here at Spoken, our cloud integration is a great tool for maintaining a connection to your remote employees and keeping productivity high.  

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Cloud Security: What are the emerging standards?

Posted by Spoken Communications on June 30, 2016 at 6:00 AM

2016 Cloud Trends Unfolding Series

As we continue through our series of call center cloud trends unfolding in 2016, one of the biggest areas of concern is that of security.

Security is one of life’s greatest needs and is something that every human being craves. We crave security in relationships, in our jobs and in our finances. In today’s world, we also need security in our online activities. Few things can promote a greater sense of fear, in both organizations as well as consumers, as a security breach of personal information.

The internet and the Internet of Things (IoT) have created an even greater need for security as people have shared their information with various businesses and connected devices. Global connectivity paired with the myriad of internet-enabled devices glued to our hands have made us all the more vulnerable to security hacks.

Add to this the increase in cloud technology adoption rates, especially in the call center, and vulnerability concerns increase.

Get the skinny on Spoken’s cloud security features 

IoT-Security.jpg

Cloud security is at the forefront

One of the primary cloud predictions for 2016 was that cloud security would be one of the key emerging concerns, and this is proving to be true. In a recent article in CIO, it was reported that the global cloud market is expected to hit $240 billion in 2016. Security concerns will grow right along with this. According to John Kinsella from CSO, the key challenges that cause these security concerns include the fact that 1) Internal clouds are not inherently secure 2) Companies lack security visibility and risk awareness 3) Sensitive information needs safer storage 4) Apps aren't secure 5) Authentication and authorization must be more robust.  

According to Neil MacDonald, a Gartner analyst for 20 years, “Through 2020, 80% of cloud breaches will be due to customer misconfiguration, mismanaged credentials or insider theft, not cloud provider vulnerabilities.”

With these concerns, the Cloud Access Security Broker market will become the hottest new thing. 

Cloud Access Security Brokers

A Cloud Access Security Broker is on-premise or cloud-hosted software that acts as a control point to support continuous visibility, compliance, threat protection and security for cloud services. Basically, a CASB is like a security guard for cloud data storage. There are a number of CASB providers to choose from, including:

  • Netskope: Netskope helps organizations understand and secure all cloud apps
  • BlueCoat: One of the leaders in web security, they have extended their security to include cloud services
  • Skyhigh: Skyhigh offers security for many different applications on one platform

The primary objective is to find a security system that will meet the particular needs of your organization.  This market will only get hotter and it is likely that there will be even more CASB options to choose from as time goes on.

Check out this definitive guide to Cloud Access Security Brokers.

 

Why is security such a big deal for contact centers?

Contact centers handle some of the most secure and personal data in the world.  From credit card information and bank account numbers to social security numbers and medical records, companies (and their customers) cannot afford for this data to get into the wrong hands.  And with the contact center cloud market predicted to grow to $3 billion by 2017 (Frost and Sullivan), companies are putting a spotlight on security and how to ensure secure operations.

Get the skinny on Spoken’s cloud security features  

 

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Top five customer service trends of 2016

Posted by Spoken Communications on June 28, 2016 at 6:30 AM

Even though we are a technology company, pretty much everything we do here focuses on one thing: improving customer service and the customer experience. The products and services Spoken creates enable the customer service departments, in a wide variety of industries, to do their jobs and provide a high level of customer satisfaction to their clients. Needless to say, (but we’ll say it anyway) we tend to watch the trends that impact this industry VERY CAREFULLY!  

A recent article detailing customer service trends caught our eye. Not only does this article offer some interesting insights into today’s customer, but it also details some very specific trends that will impact the customer service industry going forward.

First, let’s talk a little about today’s customer and how they have a major role in shaping how customer service is done. Customers today tend to be very savvy and well informed. With a simple “click” on a tablet or smartphone, a customer literally has a wealth of information about the product itself as well as access to dozens or hundreds of customer reviews.   

Online customer reviews have been the key factor in upending the business to customer relationship. Why? Because they’re right there for all to see! By reading online reviews, customers can see how problems are handled and whether or not the business truly does value their customers by seeing to it that they’re satisfied especially if there has been a problem. Online reviews as well as social media platforms have forced a transparency in the business world that didn’t exist even ten years ago, and this has had a HUGE impact on customer service. Basically, if a business is not tracking brand mentions online and engaging in conversations via social media--well, as we used to say in the days of The Cluetrain Manifesto, "the conversation is happening out there, with or without you."

Customer service trends in 2016

But aside from understanding that markets are conversations, 2016 has brought a plethora of new trends to the customer service space.

  1. Quicker responses: Customers who complain on Twitter expect a response within 60 minutes. A recent study showed that customer expectations of email response time has sped from four hours in 2014 to just one hour in 2015. It's no longer acceptable to deliver a response in 24 or 48 hours. And what about on weekends? It may be time to review and refresh your response rate policies.
  2. video chatVideo chat: This is a new and innovative technology that is beginning to emerge and can be seen on popular tablets. Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX, for example, feature the Mayday button, which allows a customer to connect with an agent within 10 seconds via a one-way video chat. And medical video chats are becoming all the rage; even insurance companies are covering these effective, low-cost service calls. Other companies are beginning to hop on the band wagon with their own versions of this; expect this technology to become much more common in the future. 
  3. Making self-service easier: Zendesk reported that 91% of customers said they would happily self-serve using an FAQ database rather than contacting customer service directly. Making your FAQ section more robust and easy to navigate will become increasingly more important moving forward. Businesses can beef up this section simply by mining the interactions between the customer and the agents.
  4. Connecting with customers on every channel: In the 2015 Call Center Report, one key conclusion we discovered is that customers each have a preferred channel, and it's fruitless to try to drive them to another channel that isn't their preference. Customers want a variety of options when it comes to communicating with a business, so be sure you have phone, e-mail, live chat, text and social media covered.
  5. Rewarding success: Building a company culture of care and going the extra mile will foster a customer service department that is committed to customer satisfaction. Happy employees make the best customer service agents, so invest in team building and employee appreciation events to ensure the best team possible.
The 2015 Call Center Report: Telephone wins and IVR loses

What trends do you see as we move through 2016 and into 2017?

 

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Cloud Analytics helps IT, but how?

Posted by Spoken Communications on June 23, 2016 at 6:30 AM

2016 Cloud Trends Unfolding Series

As we continue through our series of Cloud Trends that we are seeing unfold in 2016

How does cloud analytics help in the overall scope of Information Technology? That’s a great question.  As the cloud continues to gain traction in the business and technology world as a new option for data storage, questions like these and others arise. However, before we delve into the question of how cloud analytics helps IT, let’s take a few minutes to define cloud analytics.

Cloud analytics is a service model in which elements of the data analytics process are provided through a public or private cloud. Typically, cloud analytics applications and services are offered under a subscription-based or pay-per-use model. 

There are six key elements of analytics:       amalytics.png

1.       Data Sources

2.       Data Models

3.       Processing applications

4.       Computing Power

5.       Analytic Models

6.       Sharing or storage of results

If one or more of these elements is implemented in the cloud, that qualifies as Cloud Analytics.

Tell me something I don't know: four insights your call center analytics SHOULD reveal

So, how do these help IT? Well, if we look at cloud computing in general, we can start to see how the analytics aspect can have a positive impact on IT.

In the article How Cloud Computing Works, we gain some insight into this.  One of the major benefits of cloud computing in general is that it is a web-based service that hosts all the programs a user would need for his or her job.  This includes all the elements of analytics. Rather than investing in separate programs for each function, the cloud offers one place for all to be hosted.  Not only is this a more streamlined model, but with the option of subscription based services, a business can opt for the pay-per-use model insuring that they are not paying for more than what is needed.  So instead of investing in software for the function of processing analytics and then investing in additional software for the storing or sharing of results, the cloud offers each of these analytic functions in one location.

These more flexible and streamlined models offered by the cloud have had a significant impact on the call center and the IT professionals who manage call center data. Prior to the cloud, all call center applications had separate software that was required to run the specific application. This could be a huge headache for IT professionals managing, upgrading and expanding when needed. The cloud simplifies all of these functions by offering a single platform for every aspect of call center services. When a specific application needs to be upgraded, that process is easily managed on the cloud platform, while before, an upgrade required the implementation of new software which lead to down time to convert, training to get agents up to speed and the process of trouble-shooting.  The simplicity and flexibility of the cloud has eased the demands on IT departments.  

Dustin Smith, Sr. Product Marketing Manager for Tableau Software, predicts that “……Cloud analytics solutions that allow for digging into both usage and billing data will give IT leaders the power to quickly spot potentially costly services and prevent budget overruns. And they’ll be able to do it from mobile devices, in the middle of meetings. 

As more services are moved to the cloud, including analytics, the less burden is placed on IT. Essentially, IT becomes more of an operational factor than a major capital expenditure.

Check out Spoken’s blog, on the benefits of moving IT infrastructure from CAPEX to OPEX

Interested in learning more about Spoken Engage Advanced Cloud Reporting and Analytics platform? Get the release notes on the latest version.

 

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