Call Center Week 2017 Onsite Review
Call Center Week 2017 Onsite
A comprehensive education program featuring Master Classes on chatbot
implementation and next gen staffing strategy…site tours of Zappos and Asurion
…an array of solution provider workshops covering everything from personalized
omnichannel service to employee engagement and eLearning to using voice of the
customer data…journey mapping and messaging…book signings… an awards gala…an
Executive Club for high-level attendees and CCW University for future leaders…keynotes
that included an address by LA Dodgers
and Golden State Warriors Owner Peter Guber as well as executives from the
Disney Institute, Amazon Frontier Communications, networking and special events
in the exhibit hall. Those were some of the highlights of the 18th
Annual Call Center Week, produced by IQPC, which was held from June 26 to June
30 at the Mirage in Las Vegas.
An audience of 2,000 attendees had the opportunity to meet with
more than 200 technology solution providers, and hear from a roster of over 155
speakers. As always, CRMXchange was active both on the exhibit floor and behind
the scenes to provide insight about a cross-section of the innovative new
products and services becoming available to CX and contact center
professionals. Suppliers of AI and machine learning solutions, chatbots,
predictive analytics solutions and particularly SMS messaging for the contact
center were in abundance.
Call Journey is an
Australian-based supplier that operates on the premise that existing
technology is still too complicated and not sufficiently intuitive. While such
solutions may be connected, they are not efficacious enough to overcome the
fact that customers aren’t happy with the current state of service. The focus
of their EVS (Emotive Voice Stream) solution is on enabling companies to
understand what their customers and staff are saying, feeling and meaning. EVS helps companies connect to improve
customer acquisition, build loyalty and improve the customer experience as well
as enhance processes to eliminate manual errors and human bias and ensure
better compliance. Paul Humphrey, Chief Commercial Officer for Call Journey,
answered our questions.
is it important for companies to better understand the emotional tone of every
conversation they have with customers?
"Flat" text info like social media
scrapings, survey data, verbatim and agent notes generally don't give insights
into the level of emotion of the customer. Customer emotions can change
significantly in engagement with organizations, even within a conversation, and
understanding emotion at all levels is important to be able to dissect what
drives engagement (both positive and negative). This can aid areas such as
product insight, brand engagement, agent performance and sales. A good
reference would be a Temkin Group article.
does your EVS (emotive voice stream) solution help businesses improve customer
satisfaction and NPS scores?
When combining huge volumes of valuable,
unstructured data from the volumes of customer conversations that occur daily with
other enterprise data sets, companies see game-changing improvements in
performance. By being able to “unpack” all of the rich data from the thousands
of conversations that occur every day with their customers and prospects,
organizations can tap into the TRUE voice of the customer. This data gives them
a much more informed and enhanced understanding of what is driving customer
experience. Typically, business entities gain factual insights into processes,
product, customer journeys, personas, triggers/events, customer contact
performance at an individual level and emotion and sentiment of the engagement
at all levels.
tools do you provide to diminish customer churn, gain better insight on
customer lifecycle and improve compliance?
Our platform provides a rich data set which
typically augments other data sets or stands alone to give a view of
performance of voice channels. Either as a flexible SaaS offering or on-premise
if required, our platform gives unfettered access to conversations and the
insights from them. Our customers can opt to ingest calls whenever/ wherever
they like and can control the flow of calls/data. For example, they may wish to
understand what’s driving certain traffic types/personas and they can then
control the call profiles that are ingested into our platform to measure and
understand areas like how/why customers interact and different points of their
lifecycle journey or what is driving churn. In terms of compliance, many organizations
use our platform to drive a broader compliance regime as such businesses “listen”
to a very small percentage of calls for compliance. With our tool and flexible
options, customers could run 100% off their calls through our EVS solution and
get a quick, structured and calibrated view of compliance. Our solution can be
further tuned for very precise compliance work. We also see customers using our
platform to drive more specific work to their compliance environment for more
effective outcomes. Finally, we also see some organizations reducing compliance
headcount by introducing our solution and/or re-investing that resource into
there solutions similar to yours in the audio analytics space and if so, what
differentiates Call Journey?
There are a few similar solutions in the
market but we tend to differentiate in a few areas which are important to any
conversation analytics program. Ultimately what it comes down to for our
customers and partners is:
of audio processing across multiple dialects
of voice pipeline (get calls, process calls, deliver output)
• Flexibility –
we work with multiple platforms for both ingestion, processing and output,
allowing customers do make the most of existing partners and environments
Harver is a Netherlands-based HR technology company that claims to
“replace the resume” with its AI-powered TalentPitch pre-selection platform. The
solution seamlessly integrates with an organization’s existing HR system and
employs predictive analytics to transform the recruitment process into a faster,
smarter and more efficient operation. TalentPitch is a modular platform that
uses statistical information and machine learning technology to determine which
candidates will be the best performers. Businesses can match an applicant’s
skills and personality with specific job requirements. Some of the criteria
that candidates are faced with include “knockout questions” that can
immediately establish whether they are right for the position from the get-go,
personality, intelligence and language testing, as well as games that assess
solution incorporates company/culture video tours to help candidates know more
about their potential employers as Harver’s algorithms gather relevant data and
calculate the likelihood of applicants’ success in a position. TalentPitch
ameliorates many of the traditional pain points which are so common in staffing
contact center operations, including the excessive time and high cost of
recruiting as well as the vagaries of the selection process. TalentPitch offers
the perfect blend between informing candidates on the one hand, and measuring
their suitability on the other. Applicants get to know all about the organization
and the job they are applying for, while businesses get to know all about the
The company recently raised $8.1 million in
Series A funding from Insight Venture Partners to scale global adoption of the
solutions and is part of a push that has resulted in $11.4 million in added
funding. Harver has an impressive roster of worldwide blue-chip customers,
including such household names as Booking.com, Netflix, Zappos and more. They assist in recruiting in 42 different
languages and used Call Center Week to announce their official launch into the
US market with their first office in New York City.
Stratifyd promotes its solution as a “Next Generation AI powered data
analytics platform.” It combines deep
textual learning, natural language understanding and sentiment analysis to
automatically identify and extract hidden topics, categories, and trends from a
business’ textual data. The solution leverages high-performance statistical
analytics to provide geographical, temporal, and predictive analysis to offer broad
insight not only on what's happening now, but what may occur in the future. By
bringing structured and unstructured data together, organizations can glean
in-depth insights to better inform customer service management and develop a
better understanding of their overall business performance.
Stratifyd serves a variety of industries
across multiple sectors. Businesses rely on their AI- powered analytics
platform to unify their data sources, provide contextual AI analysis, and
achieve faster data-driven solutions. In addition to their ability to help
companies better comprehend the voice of the customer, the platform empowers HR
to retain superior talent by hearing the voice of their employees, provides
insights on product development to gauge customer feedback and product reception.
It also provides analytical understanding of market trends and research to help
strengthen long-term strategy.
Teckst is a telecommunications startup based in New York City. It is
driven by a team of experts with a passion for enabling enterprise
customer service teams all over the world to use text messaging to better
communicate with consumers. This diverse group includes leaders from IBM,
Bloomberg, General Assembly, Lockheed Martin, FitMoo, and Seamless/GrubHub. Matt
Tumbleson, founder and CEO of Teckst, who was the Marketing and Creative
Director of Seamless/GrubHub, operates on the policy that his company should to
do everything possible to make clients completely happy with their solution. He
elaborated in his answers to our inquiries.
the growing body of evidence that clearly shows that customers want the ability
to communicate with businesses via text messaging, what is holding back
The number one reason why companies are
concerned with texting is because they are afraid of a deluge of new
communications to their customer service teams. This says two things to us: they
understand this is a service their customers want, and automations are
necessary to help deflect, even if just as a vanity feature.
Texting wasn’t even considered for customer
service a few years ago, yet the average consumer was sending hundreds of texts
per day. Today, SMS is making a positive impact in the customer journey from
start to finish. We’ve witnessed an accelerating growth of enterprises that
have added text messaging in the past year.
There’s still plenty of room for growth. For
texting for customer service to gain widespread adoption, there is still more
education needed on the technology and the ease of implementation, staffing and
training and for companies to get a handle on the ROI.
is it important that a two-way text messaging cloud solution for customer
service teams can be implemented without the need for developers or IT
intervention and can be integrated with every CRM system?
Customer service teams tend to be at the
bottom of the list when the technology team meets for prioritization.
Therefore, relying on the technology team to handle the implementation, or even
utilizing a contract for a third party raises the barrier to entry. Teckst can
be set up by our team here in NY in as little as a few hours with zero
does your solution enable agents to use macros to quickly supply answers to common
questions and send images, videos and emojis?
Teckst invented a feature that learns what
agents type freeform to customers, then dynamically updates macros in
real-time. Similar to Google’s autocomplete feature that helps write out the
rest of a search query, Teckst’s suggestions feature is a guide that measures
intent and delivers an answer quickly.
For customer service organizations, the
fragmentation of multiple chat platforms and customer channels are a major
integration headache, so we set out to build a solution that would easily
service the largest companies. One reason we were able to generate early
traction was because we make it easy for any enterprise to use Teckst. We
believe it’s the only ‘off-the-shelf’ and scalable service that integrates
seamlessly with CRM platforms and text-enable existing toll-free numbers for
Furthermore, behind every great company is a
great team. We operate on the principle that if you focus on providing an
incredible experience for clients and their customers, growth will happen
naturally. After every launch, we have received an email underscoring the wonderful
experience of working with our team–from engineers to accounting, everyone is
focused on it.
DIGIT CommunicationsTheir “TDC BRIDGE” platform bridges mobile
text messaging with the traditional voice-based landline – creating a fully
integrated solution designed to meet the needs of customer service
representatives. The patent-pending SMS text messaging platform-as-a-service
offering presents a cost-effective, innovative customer care solution for
contact centers. The projected result is improved customer experience,
increased agent satisfaction and enhanced productivity all due to eliminating
unnecessary friction between consumers and clients’ contact centers.
TEN DIGIT is unique in that they can route SMS
traffic to the best qualified agent (similar to how ACDs
route voice interactions). The system
can understand the language the customer is typing, transcribe the information,
and provide the text to the agent. The agent types in their native language,
the system transcribes and then sends the information back to the customer in
their language. The company’s resale
agreement with IBM gives them a path to contact centers. They also claim to be the only company that has
the capability to provide secure messaging for regulated industries.
TEN DIGIT CEO and Founder Gary Brandt elaborated
on the concept in his answers to a series of questions posed by CRMXchange.
Why do you believe that
most conversations now start with people's thumbs but only sometimes precede a
with thumbs because people don't like talking on the phone, they consider a
phone call an invasion of their time. According to Pew research study, 1/3 of
American's prefer texting to talking on the phone which makes it the most
frequent form of communicating. Texting precedes a call because it is more
Also, texting allows
for the ability to multi-task as well as hold several conversations at once.
You can text mom and your friend while making dinner or cleaning the house.
Another reason is privacy. If you're at work
and your mortgage is late, do you want to speak with the bank on the phone in front
of co-workers? Do you want to have to excuse yourself to go into a quiet room? Texting
allows greater accessibility, discretion, noise reduction and can connect to
networks when voice signal may be weak or spotty.
While most Americans use
text to communicate, a significant percentage do not feel comfortable
interacting with a bot. In what business communication situations is only a
human response acceptable?
That is the exact
reason why our TDC BRIDGE platform doesn't remove human interaction 100%. People
need human interaction and often get frustrated when using a chatbot since sometimes
bots can't solve the customer's problem. For those times when customers and
agents are unable to get satisfactory resolution through messaging, we
installed the “push to talk” feature -- which is available for any business
situation from health care to buying a house – to connect the customer with the
same agent involved in the messaging conversation.
How does your TDC BRIDGE
platform bridge the gap between mobile text messaging and voice-based landlines
to create a fully integrated solution for customer service representatives?
TDC BRIDGE Intelligent
Messaging helps agents handle multiple conversations at once, promoting seamless
interaction between platform, agent, and customer. Benefits include:
- Combines human and
artificial intelligence to improve agent timeliness, accuracy, and compliance.
- Drives 20% to 40%
increase in productivity through multiple ‘call', handling, friction-less
routing, automation and real-time transcription.
- Eliminates annoying
- Increases C-SAT
through timely interaction, unified authentication/escalation, skills-based
routing and experiential learning.
Through features like
‘push to talk’ and ‘push to see,’ customers and agents can seamlessly
transition between messaging and voice or video conversations.
What differentiates your messaging
solution from others available on the marketplace?
TDC BRIDGE offers over
100 distinct features including: carrier-grade SMS Text Messaging, CRM
Integration, Automations, Language Translation, and Encryption to name a
few. Our platform is ready to use
immediately and doesn't require any extra setup or implementation from IT, we
simply hook onto the client’s existing CRM system. TEN DIGIT's Contact Center
and Enterprise business model offer SMS Messaging with carrier-grade
reliability, service availability and feature functionality – including
delivery receipts. We offer text
language translation, ‘recording' of texts such as that of a recorded line for
IVR. The platform is HIPAA-compliant and can be used for a multitude of
regulated and unregulated businesses
Verascape delivers the
sophistication of cloud-based, self-service via the voice and mobile channels,
by combining state-of-the-art speech automation and text messaging
technologies, with real-time customer data integration. The result is
on-demand, personalized and intuitive self-service solutions that provide
timely answers to critical ‘where’, ‘when’, ‘what’ ‘why’, and ‘how’ questions.
This enables companies to operate more cost-effectively by saving on the cost
of call center agents. They believe that offering customers excellent service
anytime they want it, with no wait time and improving first contact resolution
are among the most important factors in defining a brand. They also offer their clients a unique
performance-based fee structure. Mike
Browning, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, provided additional insights on
How does your Automated
Customer Experience combine updated speech recognition and SMS messaging
technology with real-time data integration to empower companies to not only
serve their customers better but more cost-effectively as well?
Verascape’s cloud-based Automated Customer
Engagement Platform (ACE) helps companies reduce costs in their contact centers
by automating certain call types at a fraction of the cost of having them handled
by a live agent, sometimes by as much as 75%. This frees up their live agents
to focus on revenue-generating and more complex customer service issues. ACE seamlessly integrates with a company’s
current telephone and data infrastructure, so there is no need to purchase new
equipment or change what they already have. It is also multimodal, meaning that
we provide automated self-service across different channels like voice, text,
and mobile web.
Can you explain the principle behind
your performance-based pricing structure?
We get paid when we do our job. This is in stark contrast to the standard
per-minute cost structure, where you pay for each minute of a call - even if it
is not successfully retired. We are incented
to achieve the highest call retirement rates, which achieves the highest level
of cost savings for our customers.
Additionally, we do not charge initial setup fees or ongoing maintenance
What are some of the challenging
customer service applications that your solution can help businesses address?
The Verascape ACE platform handles a diverse
set of call types including: taking payments, order status, backorder
inquiries, returns instructions, nearest store locator, loyalty plan inquiries,
subscription cancellations, etc. We also
have self-service applications for more complex issues like re-orders, purchase
order authorizations, insurance claims status, road-side assistance, and
What differentiates Verascape from other
offerings in the marketplace?
For Verascape, it is all about self-service
retirement rates. We are obsessed with
first call resolution. We are the only company
that is focused solely on automated self-service that utilizes a
pay-for-performance pricing model. Our
shared risk pricing structure forces us to truly put our money where our mouth
Zacoustic calls their solution a “Customer Calibration System,” which
looks at both how an agent and a customer score an interaction, then compares
the two. Through predictive analytics—followed
by coaching-- front-line personnel can develop a better-informed perspective to
help them predict how customers will react. Once the agent comprehends more about how consumers
feel about interactions, they can more accurately predict how subsequent
customers will rate them. Having a
deeper understanding of customer behavior enables agents to make the necessary adjustments
to consistently drive better results. Tim Lavin, President and CEO of Zacoustic,
shed additional light on the supplier’s aspirations.
Can you explain what makes a customer
calibration system valuable and the benefits of agents being able to predict
customer survey responses?
Customer surveys are
the purest measure of customer experience, but on average only 10-15% of
customers respond. Of those that respond, approximately 25% are dissatisfied
yielding even fewer surveys that can be used for agent-learning purposes.
Therefore, coaching and big data insights stemming from this low survey
response rate are vague and often inaccurate. Call centers lack sufficient data
to drive process, product and behavioral changes to achieve their strategic
customer experience goals.
agents to accurately predict customer survey responses, which generates the
data and analytics necessary to transform the customer experience. Following
every interaction, agents must predict how customers are going to respond to
existing survey questions. Actual customer responses calibrate agents and
improve their predictive accuracy. Once calibrated, agents produce a virtual
100% customer survey response rate. Calibrated agent survey predictions include:
highly accurate customer experience, issue resolution, repeat contact,
disposition, and AHT for every interaction handled. Zacoustic presents users
with unprecedented big data insight opportunities allowing for targeted
actions, which are most likely to optimize the customer experience.
What is “Match Percentage” and why is it
helpful in determining the agent’s ability to infer customer preferences?
The percentage of
agent predictions which match actual customer survey responses comprises the
Match Percentage. For example, if the agent predicts that the customer is
dissatisfied and the customer responds with the same answer, that’s a match.
Think of the customer
as the “auditor” to the agent’s “predictor”. Zacoustic compares the actual
customer survey response with the agent prediction and through this iterative
process, agents achieve calibration.
We believe that the
Match Percentage is the most accurate measure of the agent’s ability to
understand their customers. Calibrated agents are more present in their
conversations with the customer and further, calibrated agents are more likely
to take actions toward proactively improving the customer experience when they
sense the interaction is getting off track.
How do the insights your solution
provides improve such metrics as AHT and FCR to build NPS and enhance the
customer experience as a whole?
through Zacoustic data improve knowledge bases, training and coaching sessions,
and processes to rout out repeat calls and lower AHT. Zacoustic data is leveraged to de-randomize the
QA selection process to streamline finding valuable calls, as well as reducing the
time and agent headcount needed to do so.
operationalizes and increases NPS by providing customer experience, issue
resolution, repeat contact, disposition, and AHT metrics for every customer
interaction. This complexity of data makes it incredibly quick and easy to
isolate the agents that are demonstrating best practice, while exposing those
who are driving the greatest negative impact. Zacoustic allows operations to
focus exclusively on those actions that are going to have the most favorable
impact to the metrics.
What differentiates Zacoustic from other
offerings in the marketplace?
every customer interaction from the customer’s point of view of resolution and
satisfaction. Voice analytics and other data mining techniques allow users to
find individual and potentially problematic calls, but the data that comes from
customer-calibrated agents creates a virtual 100% customer survey response rate
which, due to our global patent protection, cannot be replicated by other
offerings in the marketplace.
For more information
on companies at Call Center Week, see our preview which ran prior to the
opening of the event.