Call Center Solutions Featured Articles
As a nation, we're mad for our smartphones. Nearly two-thirds of us own smartphones and most of us use them to go online. We are also using them to resolve customer issues and contact the companies with which we do business. The problem is that many companies are taking advantage of the opportunities offered by a smart phone-enabled American populace.
How many channels do you offer clients for interaction? If your environment is like most small- to medium-sized businesses, you take phone calls from clients, manage a website with a "Contact Us" page and maybe even interact via social media. It sounds small, but these three channels make yours a multichannel environment-and that takes a special kind of attention.
Hansen Technologies, a customer care and billing solution provider with clients in over 40 countries, has selected AIS as its new IT infrastructure service provider for consolidated data center operations in the United States. The announcement about this deal has been made by AIS (American Internet Services), a Southwest provider of tailored data center and cloud service solutions.
The maturing of the contact center market appears to be a looming reality for the industry, requiring companies to refocus on providing positive customer service through more than one communication channel while reducing overhead costs.
The ultimate aim of cancer screening is to reduce the number of people who lose their battles to it, as well as to lower the number of people who develop the disease. The current study published online in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Preventing Chronic Disease, explores how Latinas perceive cancer screening and how they react to interactive voice response (IVR) messages for scheduling screenings.
Companies that wish to outsource their contact center and customer support functions have a dilemma today. They know from previous experience or the experience of others that contact center services can be contracted offshore for costs lower than what they pay in the U.S., largely due to lower salaries. But they also know from experience (and the experience of others) that foreign contact center agents with accents are intensely disliked by many Americans. Communication problems aside, many Americans resent the idea that a company is shipping jobs offshore during a time of high domestic unemployment.
It takes more than a vision to create an effective interactive voice response self-service solution in a contact center. There are many factors that contribute to the goal of achieving high self-service completion rates along with improved customer satisfaction with this communication channel.
Bright Pattern, a provider of next generation cloud based contact center software, recently announced that it has collaborated with thinkingVoice, a provider of a cloud based campaign management platform, to develop a new cloud-based solution that implements a new model for real-time lead qualification and regulatory compliance.
Integrated Research is giving Avaya customers visibility into their multi-site contact centers. The company has recently announced expanded voice quality capabilities for Avaya customers, which are aimed to help minimize expensive outages for businesses and provide a superior experience for users.
While not everyone enjoys reaching out to customer service only to be met with an automated system, the reality is that if we want efficient, self-service interactions, we have to let go of the live agent. For contact centers, this means taking advantage of interactive voice response (IVR) systems to meet their needs.
While most contact centers, which service small to medium-sized businesses, don't operate on a global basis, the largest of companies might operate contact center services across national borders. For organizations doing business in both the U.S. and the UK, providing cross-Atlantic customer service may come with a few challenges. Most notably, American and British consumers have some different preferences and reactions when it comes to less-than-sterling customer service.
Many contact centers are finding the value of moving to the cloud. While most companies are doing it in short bits and pieces - dabbling by using cloud-based CRM first before venturing elsewhere - they are finding that the cost savings, broadened functionality and flexibility are worth their time.
Interactive voice response (IVR) technology has been used for decades in contact centers to route calls and for self-service purposes, helping customers get answers to the most routine questions. The goal is to offload certain simple questions from live agents, keeping call queue lengths down and allowing customers access to immediate answers.
DATEL Software Solutions, a developer of contact center and call accounting applications, has unveiled its new Unified Contact Center SWEET (UCCS) for Avaya IP Office.
In the U.K., it's five percent. In the U.S, it's three percent. It's one of the most critical rules of telemarketing. What is it? It's the percentage of calls that can be "abandoned" by telemarketers. If a company exceeds these rates, they could be subject to fines.
It's well known that knowledge is useless until it is shared, and this is the aim of The Arthritis Foundation, which is striving to help arthritic people lead a better life. Wanting to put the massive amounts of knowledge at its command to far better use and thereby empower its call center agents, it has decided to deploy SmartSupport, Safeharbor's knowledge base platform.
While running a contact center is challenging enough - it certainly requires keeping many eyes on a multitude of people, processes and technology - there is special admiration that should be reserved for those who manage to successfully manage a public-sector contact center.
Clarabridge, provider of intelligent customer experience management (CEM) solutions, has opened the door for independent software vendors, service integrators, consultancies, value added resellers and service providers to join its newly introduced partner program.
In the contact center of 2014, there are two major trends: big data and personalization. Big data, of course, refers to the fact that the average contact center collects so much information about customers on a day-to-day basis that it wouldn't be difficult to work up a complete psychological profile of a customer after a few months of multichannel interactions. Personalization refers to the fact that customers want to be treated like individual human beings when they contact a company: They want that company to know who they are, what they have purchased, and when and how they last contacted the company. They also like it when the company can anticipate their needs in advance.
LiveOps, Inc., a provider of cloud contact center and customer service solutions, recently announced the successful closing of a $30 million round of debt financing from Comerica Bank. The company also announced the creation of LiveOps Cloud Platform and LiveOps Agent Services; two new separate corporate entities which will function as it's wholly owned subsidiaries. Marty Beard, CEO of LiveOps will take on the position of the Chairman of the Board. LiveOps is a leading
Brierley+Partners, a provider of customer relationship management and customer loyalty solutions and programs, has recently entered into a strategic partnership agreement with GPShopper, a provider of retail mobile commerce solutions.
There's always a lot of talk about customer loyalty in contact centers. The problem is, that's often all it is: just talk. Most companies don't even know where to begin when it comes to building real customer loyalty that is strong enough to even outlast a misstep on the part of an organization.
In a contact center, agents aren't there - or at least shouldn't be - simply to answer questions. In a high quality customer support environment, contact center agents also act as members of a great inside sales team. Customers who call in are generally receptive to cross-selling and upselling, and a skilled contact center agent can recognize when opportunities exist.
For mobile and social engagement solutions, rich customer interaction creates meaningful, real time customer connections.
Call it what you will - client relationship or customer relationship ¬ it's all the same. Both emphasize service, as evinced by OneTrust Home Loans' tagline, "Service is everything." And as testament to that, the San-Diego based mortgage banker has opened a new client relationship center (CRC) in Chandler, AZ.
While cloud-based contact centers are becoming the norm instead of the exception, it's important to remember that different companies have different ideas for what a cloud-based contact center entails. For some companies, it's just about using a few solutions in the cloud: workforce management, for example, or CRM (customer relationship management). For other companies, it's the whole enchilada: their telecommunications as well as their necessary applications.
Minnesota's health insurance exchange, MNsure, was at last report still seeing some pretty substantial wait times when it came to service. In fact, the average wait time at the call center just last week was up around two hours per person. However, just a week later, the average wait time has dropped in half, sometimes lower still, and some are pointing to an online tip sheet that may be helping to lower the average wait time.
Any contact center interested in success tracks its metrics. It may not track many metrics - not the dozens or even hundreds that large, enterprise contact centers do - but chances are good any contact center tracks at least average handle time (AHT). As far as most contact centers are concerned, average handle time is a good indication that agents are working rapidly and efficiently.
Social media has emerged as an important marketing and brand management tool. It is also becoming an open consumer forum where customers can discuss the products and services and share their opinions. Insight into such interactions can help companies improve their businesses.
Wolters Kluwer Health Contact Center Receives Certification as a Center of Excellence from BenchmarkPortal
For the fourth year in a row, the Wolters Kluwer Contact Center is has achieved certification as a Center of Excellence from BenchmarkPortal.
While the roll-out of the national insurance legislation known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) has been far, far from trouble-free, some parts of it have gone smoother than others. While the federal health insurance exchange website, Healthcare.gov, was something of a catastrophe and still remains problematic despite major fixes, many of the state sponsored exchanges went off with far fewer problems.
While the function of a contact center is ostensibly to answer customer questions and resolve their issues, today, it needs to be about much more than that. In today's hyper-competitive environment, in which customers are becoming more demanding than ever, simply resolving transactions isn't enough. It's not only about satisfying customers, it needs to be about delighting customers and driving more business out of them. It needs to be about engaging your customers to the point where they become loyal and recommend products and services to others.
Industry veteran Terence Fogarty, with twenty-years of experience in contact center applications, recently joined Carousel Industries as its Contact Center Solution Consultant - Strategic Accounts.
Azzurri, a provider of intelligent, data-aware routing solutions, has announced that it will now bundle its Expert Router functionality as standard feature of the Callmedia contact center platform. As a result, the company expects to reduce customers' CAPEX spend on a new contact center.
"Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way," sang Pink Floyd's David Gilmour on the band's iconic 1973 album, Dark Side of the Moon. Cultural stereotypes tell us that Americans are fond of complaining, while the British are committed to queuing, stewing quietly yet never managing to satisfactorily communicate the depths of their displeasure.
Many people dream of fame and success. For musicians, it's often about becoming a rock star. For community theater actors, it's about becoming a Hollywood star. For mobile app developers, it's about becoming the next Instagram.
Callstream, a UK-based provider of call center solutions, has picked Sostenuto, Sunrise Software's customer service desk software to manage its customer service and sales pipelines.
Voice Recognition applications and solutions can do a lot for streamlining your work flow, enabling you to work as fast as you can speak. IVR (interactive voice recognition) allows customers to interact with a company's contact center system via a telephone keypad or by speech recognition.
While customers of decades past were often steadfast in their brand loyalty, those days are now just a fond memory. Customers today are led by their wallets, by the level of convenience they are offered and by the quality of customer support they are provided. While a few prestige brands may still attract customer loyalty, for most companies, there is a very real need to be the best and the fastest when it comes to customer service.
While the technologies of the contact center have changed over the past few decades: one thing has generally remained constant. Regardless of how many other channels get added to the mix, the telephone has remained the channel of choice globally for receiving customer support. The other channels were fill-ins, extras or simply alternate media.
Indosoft, a provider of call center solutions based on Asterisk, has enhanced its Q-Suite call center solution with new routing capabilities in its multi-channel Automatic Call Distributor (ACD).
While many companies look on their contact centers are a cost of doing business - a rather high cost that uses a lot of capital but offers very little tangible return - other companies view the contact center differently. For starters, it's the front line between a company and its customers, and since sales and revenue are made or broken by the relationships companies build with their customers, it's one of the most critical operations in the business.
CATS Software, provider of the Web-based CATS Applicant Tracking System, announced it has integrated its system with call center software from 3CLogic.
CorvisaCloud, a provider of cloud contact center solutions for enterprises, has unveiled the latest version of its CorvisaOne contact center suite.
We know that customers are changing and evolving when it comes to how, when and where they want customer service. We know that voice remains king, but the average customer today is mobile, visual and wants a more interactive solution as well as an immediate solution.
Webhelp Lands in South Africa: Opens First Two South African Facilities at Cape Town And Johannesburg
South African society shares a deep cultural and linguistic bond with its British and Australian counterparts. A number of BPO firms have taken advantage of this similarity to deliver superior customer service for the customers in the UK and Australian markets. UK-based customer experience company Webhelp is the latest BPO firm to jump aboard the bandwagon, deciding to ditch the traditional BPO destinations and start their operations in South Africa.
While it would be nice to think that the goal of every contact center is to achieve excellence, we all know from extensive experience that for many contact centers, the only possible goal is to "keep your head above the water." The best laid plans can go awry in the contact center, and this often leads to a "putting out fires" approach that simply means going from disaster to disaster and trying to correct them.
Software Company ASC has been specializing in solutions for the fast growing market of workforce optimization, encompassing the technologies of recording, quality monitoring, speech analytics and workforce management.
While the contact center was once simply a place that tried to help customers on a transaction by transaction basis, today, smart companies consider the contact center a strategic tool in maximizing the value of each customer to the company. It's a place with a mandate to build an engaged customer that will remain loyal for life, voluntarily helping a company sell by sharing positive experiences with others.
As we become more dependent on our mobile devices, consumers are becoming more expectant and demanding when it comes to accessing information in real-time. If they want to text an organization, they expect a response within minutes. If they want to chat with an organization over the Internet, they expect that option, emoticons and all. Not only do they want organizations to be available at all times across all different channels, but they also expect you to know exactly what they did on each one and when.
In the marketing world, there is often much talk about the value of the brand. Much work and insight goes into the development of the brand strategy and every individual that represents the brand from that point forward can have an impact on its value. For that reason, call center agents must be prepared to serve as brand ambassadors.
The unified communications (UC) market in Germany is growing due to widespread acceptance of Internet protocol (IP) and hybrid private branch exchange (PBX) technologies among various verticals.
Thanks to a new Chicago-based call center, Illinois residents have an additional toll-free number they can call to sign up for health insurance. The new number was setup to handle more calls and alleviate bottlenecks that have occurred since enrollment in health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) began Tuesday.
NIXXIS, a Belgium based publisher of Call Center solutions, has entered into a partnership with Teleopti, a supplier of workforce management solutions.
Social media has become a force to be reckoned with in the customer service industry. Customers today have more power than ever before, thanks to both the immediacy and reach of social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook. A majority of companies, however, are still slow to respond, missing the boat on the opportunities that social media presents and failing to engage in effective damage control when the posts and shares are negative.
Thrupoint Inc, a WebRTC specialist, has decided to place a greater focus on the area of software development. Accordingly, the company has initiated a spin-off of its Fusion collaboration software business. The result is a new business entity, born with a special focus on the development of customer experience management solutions. CafeX Communications, the new independent company, will operate as a software-only company aiming to extend enterprises' existing contact center and communications systems to new channels and use cases.
As if running a contact center was complex enough, many (if not most) contact centers are struggling with external and internal directives to ensure compliance with any regulations that may affect their operations. Since we live in an e-commerce world today, most call centers handle some sort of sensitive information: customer financial data, for example, or social security numbers and account information.
Next IT recently announced the release of Alme for Chat, which leverages Next IT's virtual assistant platform, aiming to provide a first-class online customer chat facility.
Metaphor Voice, the all-inclusive, hosted contact centre engagement solution from USAN is now available. The latest offering from USAN has been developed to deliver a modular and expandable range of communications and engagement capabilities to contact centers.
Intelemedia has unveiled an enhanced release of its web-based scripting platform. Customers of Intelemedia were requesting scripting improvements and provision of A/B testing scenarios concurrently in multiple call centers. The latest release allows customers to deploy A/B testing scenarios, review live results, make script modification in real-time and enhance sales results immediately across one or multiple call centers. Current customers of Intelemedia's web-based hosted CRM scripting tool can avail the latest features.
If you made a Top 10 list of technologies customers hate the most, you might find programmable DVRs and cell phones somewhere in the list. But it's nearly a sure thing that you'd find the interactive voice response (IVR) system near the top of the list. Customers have been complaining about the IVR since its introduction in the 1970s, and as technology has gotten more complex, so too have the complaints.
As the rate of smartphone usage continues to increase, organizations are searching for ways to use this new mobile channel to provide a rich customer experience.
Verint Systems, a provider of call center solutions designed to deliver actionable intelligence across customer interaction, has enhanced its Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) solution, offering new features aimed to help organizations address proactive customer engagement through company-wide action and accountability.
Catering to the needs of the customer base requires a number of tools, technology and patience. Companies invest millions in call center solutions to try and meet a high set of standards, only to find they must also hire staff to maintain the system, deploy hardware to support the tools and purchase upgrades on a consistent basis. It can be a cost-draining exercise over the long-term.
Provider of cloud routing solutions for the direct response industry Connect First has announced a partnership with OnBrand24, a provider of domestic call center services.
The introduction of the self-service channel into the call center was an important step to cater to the segment of the target audience that prefers to get things done on their own time. When that channel is easily blended with other call center solutions to create the optimal experience for all, the purchase has a better return on investment.
Noble Systems announced the launch of the upgraded version of its Noble Composer X, one of the company's solutions for desktop interface for unifying agent environment. The new release, titled Noble Composer X.2, will include integrated Noble Softphone, Call Recording, SOAP Web Services and stored procedural support.
The stakes are higher than ever before for the contact center industry. Customers are becoming more demanding, expecting instant results and high levels of first-call resolution. At the same time, technology budgets haven't expanded much - if at all - for most organizations in many years. For some companies, notably financial services and insurance companies, whose services are very commoditized and customer loyalty is often low, the pinch between budget and customer demands is even more extreme.
Frost & Sullivan has recognized IVR technology provider VoltDelta with its 2013 Frost & Sullivan Award for Enabling Technology. Frost & Sullivan awards the title to companies that have developed technology that benefit or revolutionize the industry by removing a significant obstacle in the development of technology, enabling the creation of new products or modifying existing products to target new applications.
The call center is a "make it or break it" function for every company with customers. While many companies view it as simply just another department, or just another link in the chain, this patently isn't the case.
Noble Systems announced the launch of the upgraded version of its Noble Composer X, one of the company's desktop interface solutions for unifying the agent environment. The new release, titled Noble Composer X.2 will include integrated Noble Softphone, call recording, SOAP web services and stored procedural support. The enhanced version of the desktop interface module is designed to enable contact center employees to create and manage complex workflows and provide enhanced customer service.
While the contact center industry talks about quality frequently, there is evidence that talking is almost companies are doing. A report completed by Forrester Research last year found that only 37 percent of companies earned a rating of "excellent" or "good" rating from customers, and nearly two-thirds were slapped with the labels "ok" or "very poor."
Provider of CRM Intelligence InsideView has secured $19 million in financing led by Split Rock Partners, with participation from the company's existing investors, Emergence Capital, Foundation Capital and Rembrandt Venture Partners.
When social media first began to show itself as a force to be reckoned with when it came to customers, many businesses panicked a bit. Which social media channels to monitor? Should they do more than simply monitor, but also engage customers? How should they ensure that reputation damaging social media posts don't go viral? How to make the most of positive coverage in social media?
BT Global Services recently announced that it has signed a deal to provide unified communications and cloud-based contact center solutions to HBF, Western Australia's largest health insurer, over the next five years. Per the deal's terms and conditions, BT will provide HBF with a comprehensive managed platform, initially for 150 service advisors with a clause to scale up the numbers as required for managing high volumes during peak periods. The new deal is part of HBF's initiative to upgrade its technology framework across the organization.
Quality customer experience is almost universally regarded as the primary mission of the contact center. At the same time, this costly division of the company is always looking to leverage call center solutions to streamline operations and reduce the impact on the bottom line. This focus ultimately creates the opportunity for self-service channels.
Maybe you've had that experience of responding to a job advertisement and being invited to interview. Then, when you arrive at your interview, the job details that you hear don't match the job that was advertised.
Frost & Sullivan: Domestic Market Remains Key Revenue Source for Brazil's Contact Center Outsourcing Service Vendors
Frost & Sullivan, a company offering market research and analysis, has released its new report "Brazil's Contact Center Outsourcing Services Market 2013." The report indicates that Brazil's contact center outsourcing market earned revenues of $5.39 million in 2012 and estimates this number to reach $9.42 million by 2019 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.3 percent.
Teradata Active Enterprise Data Warehouse has been chosen to improve efficiency for the Resona Group while enabling the company to better serve its customers.
When an enterprise launches a marketing campaign, it is crucial that some metrics are used to measure its success or lack thereof. Marketers want to know how efficient their campaign strategies are and what methods result in the biggest conversion rates. Whether it's a television or Web marketing campaign, data plays a leading role.
Scheduling the call center to ensure there are enough agents to handle the projected workload is a challenge in every industry. Managers are constantly focused on leveraging historical data, projected response rates and upcoming campaigns to determine the right balance in scheduling. Call center solutions can help, but the center has to have a strategy.
Startups, just like mature enterprises, need to put a high priority on customer service. Fortunately, creating a satisfying customer experience is much easier than some might believe, if you follow some simple suggestions.
Zurmo is an open source customer relationship management (CRM) application that is mobile, social and gamified. It allows companies to create and maintain a custom-built, integrated CRM system. The company has now integrated three new tools with its open source CRM application - Rapleaf, Zapier, and Import2.
The agent who gets abused constantly on the phone is an agent bound to be frustrated in his or her position. It isn't easy to be the target, even if confrontation is a key motivator. But unhappiness among the agent base is not necessarily due to unhappiness among the customer base. Sometimes satisfaction comes from having the right contact center solutions in place to meet performance expectations.
The seasonal call center model allows you to rapidly increase or decrease the size of your call center staff to match your business cycle throughout the year. This call center model makes sense for the highly seasonal businesses, as it saves them from making a year-long investment for meeting the needs that may not last for more than four months. For these types of businesses, running an in-house call center with a full time staff is not an economically viable option. In an effort to provide the seasonal businesses with the right call center solution, Florida based Global Response has come up with its seasonal call center plans and is currently filling out the positions for these call center jobs.
OpenSpan Inc. recently announced that it has signed a reseller agreement with Pentegy S.A. to distribute the former's desktop analytics and desktop automation solutions to back offices and call centers operating in Poland. The agreement will leverage Pentegy's experience in implementing and supporting OpenSpan technology to bring OpenSpan's desktop solutions to Poland.
Interactive voice response (IVR) suffers from a bad rap on the consumer end; it is associated with rigid and complex menu systems, shouting into the phone, and lots of effort for little payout. This has made some businesses avoid deeply using an IVR system for their contact center solution.
IntelliResponse, a provider of virtual agent technology, has launched a new data visualization tool called Voices that allows marketing executives to understand and analyze incoming customer questions.
Advancements in communications technology have certainly changed the way companies can interact with their client base. Where customers once relied on the telephone to get in touch with the desired company, these individuals are now relying on social media and other innovative means to get what they want. Call center solutions that incorporate these new innovations help the organization stay at the forefront of the industry.
INOVO, a provider of enterprise telephony and call center solutions, in association with Presence Technology, a provider of multichannel contact center software, has just launched a Dialler Challenge in South Africa.
With so many platforms of communication, including text messaging, social media, video conferencing and voice, organizations are having a difficult time figuring out the right way to reach their customers, which is why they have begun to implement multi-channel customer service communication platforms.
It's become common practice to reward the best performers in call centers. IQPC's annual 2013 Call Center Excellence Awards, Las Vegas, is one such recognition in the call center services industry.
Although it is a fairly new concept to digest, the notion of setting up a virtual office adds not only value to an organization, but a long-term investment. Instead of setting-up an offshore office, a company can now hire agents that are located across the world that can work right from their home, and the issue of language barrier, which is the No. 1 reason for dropped calls, is no longer a problem.
Unity4, a provider of contact center outsourcing solutions and related technology in Australia, unveiled its live performance dashboard that will reveal the effectiveness of campaigns which serve as business performance indicators.
Connect First, a provider of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) communications and cloud based call center solutions, said it is participating at the 14th Annual Call Center Week in Las Vegas where it will showcase its outbound dialer solution at the event.
Avaya, a provider of unified communications and business collaboration solutions, has launched a new call center solution called Outbound Contact Express to support outbound communications in mid-size contact centers.
Enterprises looking for wireless headsets that enable a call center agents to answer phone calls while away from their desk, now have a new option in the market. VXi Corporation has introduced new offering to its call center and office portfolio, namely the VXi V150 wireless headset and the VEHS-A1 electronic hook switch system.
A new U.S. Contact Center Decision-Makers' Guide 2013 written by ContactBabel studies the performance, operations, technology and HR aspects of U.S. contact center operations.
Many companies have found value in operating a string of contact centers located all over the globe. This virtual contact center approach - which may include remote and satellite offices, home-based agents or a mix of the two, offers unprecedented flexibility when it comes to offering customer support.
Dealing with contact centers is tricky for hearing-impaired people. While most contact centers have the ability to accept calls via telecommunications relay services (TRS), this can be problematic in itself. (Earlier this year, the Justice Department approved a punitive settlement for a debt collector that refused to take relay calls from hearing impaired Americans, a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.)