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Call Center Week Report, Part 3


Presented By: CRMXchange

During the two days the Expo hall was open at Call Center Week 2015, attendees had the opportunity to network with contact center professionals from all over the nation, meet the finalists in the Call Center Week Excellence Awards and attend special functions. One supplier staged a well-appointed by-invitation only reception in their booth, with company personnel strategically stationed to prevent those who were not invited from so much as grabbing a bag of chips as they walked by.

In our third report on Call Center Week, CRMXchange spoke with four suppliers, three of whom were international companies seeking to expand their reach in the North American market. They had distinct opinions on achieving customer centricity by creating a consistent cross-channel customer experience, improving personalization by better understanding the customer journey and listening to feedback and improving employee engagement via establishing trust, providing the right technology and offering accessible training.

While many organizations say they understand the importance of being customer-centric, only a select few have committed to making it an ongoing business standard. What are the three most critical measures that need to be taken to integrate a customer-focused approach into a company’s day-to-day activities? 

cameo.june2015Tim Brannock, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Cameo Global  One of the hardest challenges for businesses today is to create a consistent customer-focused experience while promoting a memorable brand experience.  

Three issues that any large company must consider when creating a plan for their unified communications include: • Creating a seamless customer experiences across multiple channels of information • Collecting customer data in real-time and using it to personalize customer interactions • Tailoring engagement to the preferences of the customer

Cameo Global’s Cisco Powered products, with enhanced software applications including   customization options, call recording, and analytics, help create a seamless omni-channel customer experience.

sestek.june2015Professor Levent Arslan, CEO, Sestek One of the most critical measures that needs to be taken into consideration is putting your customers at the core of your business.. Putting customers first requires truly understanding them.  Organizations that better understand their customers can provide the right products and services to guarantee an enhanced customer experience. That is why business leaders need to put themselves in their customers’ shoes and try to understand their perception. In addition to demographics, organizations also need to understand the expectations of their customers.  They need to focus on what customers want and need and design the experience accordingly. Lastly, acting on customers’ feedback is one of the most crucial points in adopting a customer-centric approach. It not only demonstrates that your organization cares about its customers but also drives continuous improvement in products, services and the experience provided.

TalkdeskTiago Paiva, CEO, Talkdesk   In order to deliver on a customer-focused strategy, companies must align the people, processes and technology that impact the customer lifecycle. Customers interact with companies across different touch points (in-store, online, through social media or the call center), applications (CRM, marketing automation, ecommerce, etc.) and departments (sales, support, marketing). Unless there is alignment, connectivity and shared goals across these groups, applications and points of interaction, companies will be unable to achieve the goal of a customer-focused approach. 

Prioritizing a customer-focused approach requires it to be tied closely to the company’s strategic goals and board-level initiatives. For example, if a hotel chain’s top goal is rooms booked per night, the business should be able to show how this customer-focused approach helps the company achieve that goal by facilitating the booking process. As long as the customer is seen as fundamental to a company’s growth and success, they will be at the center of daily activities.

Companies should also prioritize consistency across channels. While social media and mobile applications are not replacing traditional means of communication such as phone support, they are changing the types of conversations and expectations. For example, on any given day, a customer may interact with a company across a number of different channels, so it needs to be a company priority to provide a seamless transition, consistent information and superior service on all channels.

xen.june2015Nick Flaminio, Senior Account Executive, Xentrax  As brand loyalty becomes a more challenging aspiration, Customer Effort Score is a critical metric in promoting loyalty and customer lifetime value.   Loyalty today is the result of a company’s ability to offer customers greater options and flexibility – including the ability to seamlessly engage with them across multiple channels. 

An organization’s success will be directly attributable to their ability to understand their customer’s journey and based upon that understanding, act on improving the effort customer are required to make in order engage its products or services.

Delivering a superior customer experience often involves knowing more about the priorities and needs of individual consumers. What do you see as the key factor in enabling companies to make their customer interactions more personal? 

Tim Brannock Enhanced technology can help enable personalized customer interactions in several ways. An advanced solution provider can optimize and customize software for personalized interaction with their clients. Some of the ways that they can do this is by providing third party applications in addition to the basic solution sets. One example of how Cameo Global helps their clients is through our partnership with CafeX, which delivers real-time video and chat experience via mobile phone.

Levent Arslan Adopting a personal approach in customer interactions requires seeing each customer as a unique person, understanding him/her accurately and providing customized solutions that answer his/her needs. A respectful, empathetic and comprehensive understanding of the customer enables organizations to make their customer interactions more personal. Since an interaction is all about communication, it is important to enable a two-way communication which starts with listening. Today’s customers are willing to share their thoughts more than ever as a result of increased social media use. Organizations do not have the luxury of ignoring any message that comes from their customers. That is why they need to monitor each interaction carefully and take action accordingly. Voice of the customer solutions meet this need conveniently by capturing feedback through the multiple channels that customers cross. By applying in-depth evaluation methods to the captured interactions, these solutions provide invaluable insights about customer experience. Companies also benefit from the analytics tools they include, such as speech analytics, social media analytics, and quality management and so on. Organizations that use these insights to answer the specific needs of their customers manage to adopt a personal approach in their customer interactions.

Tiago Paiva The most important factor in enabling companies to make their customer interactions more personal is contextual data about the individual customer. When customers interact with a brand across multiple touch points, their data lives in disparate, siloed systems. Support data may be in Zendesk, purchasing history in SAP, online searches in an ecommerce system such as Shopify, a lost package in a shipping system. For a customer to feel that an interaction is personal, they need to feel that the company, the agent, the sales person all sees the complete picture of who they are, their preferences and their history with the brand. The only way to achieve this is to connect the data points by integrating all the applications to provide a single view of the customer. Imagine calling into a call center, and by recognizing your number, the technology is able to pull up your order history, support information, even your online preferences, so the agent can greet you personally and jump straight into solving your problem. That’s how companies can deliver a superior customer experience.

Nick Flaminio As we have evolved from the single neighborhood store --where personal relationships with customers were more easily practiced-- to regional, national and global organizations.  Cultivating personal relationships with customers necessary to understand their individual needs has become increasingly difficult. 

In most cases however, companies already possess the information necessary to understand their individual customers’ needs.  The challenge is that this information is often vast and hidden (unstructured).  Employing a strong team of analytics professionals and giving them the tools to mine the information is key.

What do you consider the two most important strategies that businesses can leverage to make the most significant impact and lasting progress on improving employee engagement?  

Tim Brannock Companies need to expand their thinking about what engagement means today and train their leaders to actively invest in developing customer relationships through their call center. The shift is from a customer avoidance strategy to a customer attention strategy.

Companies and their employees need tools and methods, such as  CloudBlu, with analytic and metric capabilities that can measure and capture feedback in real-time. Management can continuously adjust practices and the work environment at a local level.

Levent Arslan First, it is crucial to provide a positive work environment which makes employees feel good about coming to work and provides the motivation to sustain them throughout the day. One of the main elements of such an environment is transparency which is supported by open and two-way communication. Informing employees about the decisions made within the organization helps companies to gain their trust and increase their commitment. Providing various training and development opportunities for employees is also a sign of a positive working environment since it shows concern for self-actualization of employees. The second vital strategy is providing recognition for hard work. In addition to special prizes, verbal recognition can also increase employee motivation by making them feel valued by the organization for what they put in which results with higher engagement.

Tiago Paiva Employee engagement is critical to customer success, since employees who are engaged, challenged and have job satisfaction better serve the end customer. The two most important strategies are the following:

Make it easy for your employees to do their jobs well. To make it easier for them to do their jobs well, they need technology that is intuitive, easy to use and provides relevant information about the customer.

Provide training and information in a way that works for the employees. Today’s employee has a “distracted mental state” where not only do they have a shorter attention span, but there is also more competition for their attention. To improve employee engagement in this generation, it’s important to serve up the information they need in a way they can consume. For example, today’s call center agent would rather learn how to locate the information they need versus learn and memorize a script. In this new world, it’s important to provide a wealth of rich information that is easily searchable while interacting with customers.

Nick Flaminio, Xentrax Effective training and providing a path to career advancement

What differentiates your service or solution from others available?

Tim Brannock Cameo Global has been a trusted Cisco partner for over 20 years. We have the ability to implement our solutions and services worldwide with a reputation for helping our clients create the best solution for them because we can deploy collaboration via premise, hybrid, and cloud consumption models. 

Our cloud offering, CloudBlu, is unique in that it is a Cisco Powered solution that offers voice, contact center, and video capabilities for an enhanced user experience. Our offering is subscription-based, turnkey, and can be scaled to fit any business need.

Levent Arslan We produce state-of-the-art technology solutions as a result of our continuous R&D efforts. Having a prior role in university-industry collaboration influences our business approach. We do not produce solutions for the sake of profit.  For us, producing a solution that effectively solves a problem, answers the needs of customers conveniently and makes life easier are more important than making money. Our team consists of young and ambitious members who have respectable academic backgrounds. They are working hard not only to develop new technologies, but also to improve existing ones to provide an enhanced customer experience. We produce tailor-made solutions that answer specific needs of each customer which requires knowing our customers very well. Since we see our customers as our partners we develop strong and sustainable relationships with them. Thus we have the chance to get continuous feedback from our customers which results in continuous improvement.

Nick Flaminio, Xentrax Our focus is twofold: specialized and focused expertise and an emphasis on creating an environment where personalized relationships with customers can flourish.

What is the primary benefit that CameoGlobal CloudBlu provides for companies seeking to improve both voice and multi-channel communications? 

Tim Brannock CloudBlu offers an easy, affordable way for companies looking to move their voice and unified communications seamlessly to the cloud.

Other benefits include:

• Grants instant, transparent access to new technologies • Enables faster time-to-benefit • Converts CAPEX to OPEX • Accelerates business strategy and improves reliability • Available anywhere in the world where a company does business • Built on a stable, hardened infrastructure • Reduces data center and real estate costs • Scales from 25 seats to 1000s of seats

In what specific ways can organizations simplify interactions and improve business efficiency by deploying Sestek’s speech-enabled Customer Service Automation Solutions?  

Levent Arslan Speech-enabled self-service solutions contribute to an enhanced customer experience by transforming conventional self-service applications to practical and efficient ones. For example, a call steering solution which is based on natural language understanding technology enables users to describe their needs in their own words and be routed to the right self-service application easily without dealing with complicated menu mazes of traditional IVR systems. Our call routing solution is completely web-based. It does not involve complex voice XML grammars. We first make a transcription and then apply parsing. You can design a dialogue system in a very short amount of time and have your system up and running. You can also simulate the dialogue system on the fly and check for errors and test improvements. The implementation speed for our customers was almost 3 times faster than industry average.

In what specific ways can Talkdesk help small and midsize businesses (SMBs) improve call center functionality without incurring high cost or needing much IT involvement? 

Tiago Paiva Talkdesk is ideally suited for companies that are looking for a flexible and scalable call center solution without a heavy investment in hardware or software. As one of the most progressive cloud-based call center solutions, Talkdesk customers need only a computer, internet connection and headset to set up a world-class call center operation. Talkdesk provides a full range of enterprise-level call center features including integrations with business tools and CRM applications. Small businesses can afford our flexible pricing which is based on the number of agents a company needs.  Large and mid-size companies can also rest easy, knowing their agents are using a robust call center solution. Setup is minimal and can be done in minutes with no IT support.

How do you leverage partnerships to help you enable your clients to integrate platforms and technologies for customized Workforce Management and Quality/Performance management solutions? 

Nick Flaminio: As in any relationship, communication between parties is key. Strong communications fosters trust and trust creates an enduring partnership that results in sustainable win-win scenarios for all parties.