Contact Centre Services Give the Chance to Be Even More Agile for Enterprises Large and Small

Gary Barton

Gary Barton

Summary Bullets:

  • The world of contact centres is changing quickly, with traditional on-premises solutions beginning to look inflexible and unwieldy.
  • A combination of multi-channel functionality and analytics tools can make contact centres powerful business solutions beyond customer service.

In previous blogs, I have written of the critical importance of customer service.  In particular, this has focused on the opportunities provided by viewing social media as an integral part of a company’s customer contact strategy – both for direct communication and picking up early signs of service interruptions.  If it isn’t working properly, somebody will have tweeted about it. Read more of this post

Social Media Can Play an Important Role in Companies’ Collaborative Working Practices

Gary Barton

Gary Barton

Summary Bullets:

  • In an increasingly global world and amidst a growing demand/need for flexible working patterns, collaboration tools become more important.
  • Companies deploying unified communications and collaboration (UCC) solutions should consider including social media as part of the ‘collaboration’ element.

Yahoo! chief Marissa Mayer has recently announced that the company is to end the practice of ‘remote’ working (i.e., home working) amongst its employees.  However, the Yahoo! chief was quoted as saying, “To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side.  That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices.”  This brings in a slightly separate element to the efficiency debate.  This is not suggesting that home workers cannot produce as much ‘work’ as office workers, but that the collaborative creative process is harmed by not having employees grouped together in one location.  However, as flexible working becomes not only more in demand from employees, but also a reality for organisations with multiple offices or those seeking to reduce their office space due to economic pressures, collaboration tools become more important.  The nature of certain jobs (e.g., sales or field operatives) also means that some employees will always be remote workers. Read more of this post

Contact Center Investments Make Good Cents

Jerry Caron

Jerry Caron

Summary Bullets:                

  • Customer service in general and contact centers in particular play a crucial role in the health and image of virtually any business
  • The contact center market is stepping up with innovations to meet growing demands, and IT departments and business leaders should carefully examine their level of investment given the importance

The annual global spend on advertising, or customer acquisition, is roughly $500 billion. The customer relationship management (CRM), or cross-selling, market stands at approximately $50 billion. The contact center slice of the pie is $9 billion. These figures were trotted out at last week’s Genesys G-Force conference in Barcelona by the company’s top sales executive in an effort to make the case that perhaps enterprises need to adjust their priorities a bit. That Genesys—one of the contact center market leaders—would make that argument is hardly surprising, but given the irrefutable influence that customer service in general and contact center activities in particular have on brands, the fundamental point sits on a solid foundation despite the self-serving platform upon which is was delivered. Read more of this post

BYO Devices and the Bottomless, Bandwidth-Slurping Pit That Is Social Media

J. Stradling

J. Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Fifty to one hundred applications is the norm, rather than the five to ten apps of yesteryear.
  • Devices are also changing, with laptops now accompanied by smartphones and tablets.

On a recent business trip to Paris, guests of the hotel had to pay upwards of EUR 12 to access the in-room Internet service.  However, WiFi was free in the hotel lobby, and as a result, a dozen Web users were in the lobby at any one time half accessing this ‘free’ Internet experience via a whole variety of handhelds.  Surely, this puts unsurpassed demand on the WLAN link in the lobby and results in lower revenues for the hotel from in-room access.  It can be argued that today’s work places face similar network and IT challenges, with workers entering the work space with all kinds of handhelds for conducting business and accessing the Internet and applications from any location.  Some companies ban certain social media Web sites, whilst others allow and encourage these, understanding that the new generation of Twitters, Facebooks, Salesforce.coms, etc., are entering the business realm as professional tools and for collaboration.  IT managers could throw bandwidth at the issue, but the result may well be simply an improved viewing experience on YouTube, rather than the desired effect of having certain business applications perform better. Read more of this post

Is Your Contact Center Ready to Jump on the Social Media Bandwagon?

K. Landoline

K. Landoline

Summary Bullets:

  • Social media as a potential source of strategic information in the contact center has been a serious consideration for the past two years as social media Web sites have become a channel for individuals venting and/or boasting regarding their customer service and business interactions.
  • Many businesses have jumped to quick conclusions regarding the value of social media and what should be done with its information relative to other data currently available to agents. It is becoming apparent that more thought, time and effort is required before the marketplace settles on strategies that will optimize this potentially valuable flow of information.

Over the last decade many call centers have made the transition from a single channel, voice-only solution to multichannel contact centers. In addition to customer self-service channel access, which includes Web browser and interactive voice response (IVR) interfaces, end users now expect to have additional agent-assisted channels such as e-mail, fax and chat accessible to handle their corporate interactions available at their discretion. Over the past two years yet another very tempting channel of access has become available to customers seeking to get their customer service issues resolved – social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and others. Some contact center managers have been investigating social media data as the nirvana of customer care solutions. And many contact center vendors, including Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, Cisco, Interactive Intelligence and Siemens now incorporate interfaces to popular social media sites into their contact center application functionality. This enables corporations to monitor social media site feeds for both negative and positive mentions of their company by customers and prospects and actually put relevant social media interactions into to contact center queues along with voice calls, chats and e-mails for agent consideration, handling and resolution. Read more of this post

Unusual Suspects Set to Move the Collaboration Space in 2012

B. Shimmin

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets

  • The human-centricity of collaboration software invites innovation driven from many disparate industries and technologies.
  • Natural interface design, information foraging techniques and game theory are set to change the collaboration landscape in 2012.

There are few certainties in this world. And yet, as if bound by a cosmological force greater than the pull of gravity itself, at this time every year, those of us in the technology industry feel an unshakable pull, an unrelenting need to prognosticate. I am in no way immune to such innate stipulations, so it is with great pleasure that I bring to you my own forecast for 2012’s enterprise collaboration platform marketplace. But, just to keep things interesting, what follows are the three most unusual yet profoundly influential trends I think we are likely to see play out this coming year. Read more of this post