Latest Contact Center Best Practices

Nov 18

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Best Practices

Posted by Rachel Brink on Nov 18, 2014 8:56:00 AM

Accounting for 27% of the total call experience, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) service menus help shave approximately 20% in operational costs.  But despite the immediate cost benefits, recent surveys show 83% of consumers feel IVR systems provide little to no value or are purely to benefit a company’s bottom-line without much consideration to the customer experience.  In fact, apparently only 7% of organizations currently offer an interactive voice response solution capable of delivering a better experience that of a live representative.  So while IVR solutions can absolutely provide businesses with enhanced operational efficiencies one has to wonder at what cost if the solution is outdated, poorly implemented, or over-utilized at the expense of the very thing it hopes to deliver – superior customer service and experience.  

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Topics: customer service, call center, contact center, IVR technology, interactive voice response, best practices, IVR menu, interactive voice response menu, IVR

Sep 05

The Role of Self-Service IVR

Posted by Rachel Brink on Sep 5, 2014 9:06:00 AM

In a recent study, an astounding 67% of customers have stated a preference for self-service as opposed to speaking to a live representative (ZenDesk).  Previously viewed as a burden imposed on consumers, the self-service arena has today become an essential part of the average consumer experience.  And as one considers each major industry, the rapid adoption of self-service solutions is readily apparent everywhere.  Grocery stores have self-check out lines, airlines offer Kiosks (have yet to figure out how to apply it to Homeland Security lines, though), restaurants use self-service reservations – the list goes on. Each of these initiatives involves one person, and one person only: the customer. 

The importance of self-service in the contact center space is no exception. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technologies are leading the charge, providing customers the ability to quickly and easily access any information by selecting options from a simple menu. What was at first an effort for contact centers to improve operational efficiencies and reduce costs, has since become an industry standard.   And with 69% of customers equating a good customer experience to how quickly an inquiry is resolved, the need to adopt the latest technology facilitating their ability to do so has never been more important.

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Topics: call center, call center software features, multichannel contact center, contact center, call center software, cloud based call center, cloud customer support, B2C, best business practices, IVR technology, customer satisfaction

Jul 25

Contact Centers and First Call Resolution

Posted by Rachel Brink on Jul 25, 2014 10:22:00 AM

According to a recent study, customer satisfaction ratings are 35-45% lower when a second call or interaction is required to address the same issue (Customer Relationship Metrics).  And with 82% of clients rating speed-of-service as one of the primary drivers behind their satisfaction ratings, with 45% abandoning transactions when expectations aren’t met (Forrester Research), the challenge facing contact centers seems fairly obvious.  Provide quality service fast.   So why is that contact centers still fail to address 32% of all incoming customer inquiries and concerns on the first go-around (SQM Group) despite the clear need to do so? 

One has only to consider his or her own experience with a sales or support representative to quickly list how the service could perhaps be improved.  Granted, not all customers are reasonable, nor can every inquiry be easily addressed in a single call or interaction.  However, if someone wants to upgrade their service, follow-up on a support ticket, discuss their bill, or review a possible purchase it shouldn’t be painful or difficult.  But for those of you who need a little more to justify the value of first call resolutions (FCR) then consider the following:

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Topics: customer service, contact center software, crm integration, customer support, best business practices, SaaS, IVR technology, employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, first call resolution

Jul 03

How to Have a Successful Contact Center: Real Customer Service

Posted by Rachel Brink on Jul 3, 2014 10:52:00 AM

Not a day goes by when a company isn’t trying to pretend it’s more than just a vendor but rather your friend. Whether it’s a credit card firm stating how much they miss you (code for: why aren’t you spending lately?) or your local airline offering you a “friendly” reminder that it’s been a while since your last vacation (code for: you work too hard, how about spending some?), all companies are lately obsessed with appearing human. And yet, despite today’s emphasis on customer service there seems to be quite the disconnect between what companies want to deliver and what inevitably ends up being reality. Where are all the real people?  

Whether you are stuck in an IVR recording or speaking to an actual agent, the distinction is not always obvious.  In today’s ongoing attempt to provide a unified experience, companies have inadvertently turned the very agents designed to instill customer loyalty and foster long-lasting relationships into two-dimensional versions of their IVR counterparts. Whether the exact cause is due to a lack of training, lack of access to the proper technology, or a basic lack in skills, the problem is very real.  So what’s the solution?

A few suggestions to consider:

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Topics: call center, multichannel contact center, multichannel call center, best business practices, employee retention, IVR technology, dynamic scripting

Mar 24

Is Your Contact Center Truly Redundant?

Posted by Guillaume Seynhaeve on Mar 24, 2014 1:30:00 AM

Over the weekend, the weather finally changed, with temperatures in the high 60’s on Saturday.  It’s not something I generally get excited about, but after this year’s brutal winter I took advantage of the break from the cold to go on a long run with friends.  It was on this run that someone asked me, “How is it that my home phone never goes down but that a number for one of Ashburn’s biggest data centers can, and recently did, with only a busy tone for those trying to get through?” 

Knowing what I do for a living, he went on to explain that one of the employees at the data center had been fired and chosen to turn off the switches before walking out, which brought the whole center to a standstill.  In fact, not only was he able to bring down all of the managed hosted services, but the VOIP-based PBX system was also shutoff, which prevented the entire support staff from making or receiving calls.   To make matters worse, every client who tried to call customer support heard nothing but a busy tone.  Doesn’t help when one of those clients is the state government.

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Topics: fully redundant software, contact center software, call center, call center scalability, 360 view, call center software features, call center software, cloud based call center, technical support, cloud customer service, redundant systems, customer support, scalability, fault tolerance, service delivery, IVR technology, VOIP