Gain Contact Center Efficiency With Desktop Automation and Analytics

Your Communicators all possess different skill levels. So, how can you best identify who can do what, as well as where training is indicated, to improve the quality of customer care and maximize profitability? As you embrace omnichannel and seek to improve the customer experience, how can you ensure that frontline staff become more productive problem solvers and relationship builders, rather than process navigators and tool users?

To address these concerns, contact center leaders are adopting next-generation unified desktop technology. The solution includes not only dynamic scripting to help Communicators articulate a cohesive brand message but also call recording and analytical features that generate performance metrics for supervisors. The technology also works to eliminate time-draining manual tasks for employees.

A recent ContactBabel study, “The US Contact Center Decision Makers’ Guide 2016,” as a matter of fact, finds that 10 percent of the 221 contact center managers and leaders surveyed rank back-office automation as the most important technology, from a list of 25, over the next two years—second only to omnichannel.

Unfortunately, most of today’s contact center processes and systems are only loosely integrated, leading to flawed views of performance and issues. For example, ContactBabel reports that voice of the customer projects often run into difficulty when attempting to track the customer journey across departments, processes and channels.

This situation has been exacerbated by the high level of resource required to ensure that disparate solutions can leverage data into a cohesive whole. The addition of new communication channels (e.g., live chat, email and text) only makes integration more urgent.

Unification of various workforce optimization tools gives businesses the chance to break down information silos that are preventing the optimization of the customer experience, as well as reduce user complexity. Today, for example, even after successful call completion, systems—from customer accounts to warehouse stock systems to CRM to credit/debit card applications—may require input from Communicators to initiate necessary back-office processes. Often times, such complications put accuracy and maximization of revenues at risk.

A simple change of address, for example, in a non-unified environment can be a time drain, requiring alterations to several databases. ContactBabel reports that Communicators spend an average of 10 percent of their time each hour in after-call work, which costs the industry $20 billion each year.

A unified desktop automation and analytics solution addresses this challenge by allowing faster processing of calls, as well as reducing training times and improving customer satisfaction. Communicators work with a single desktop application tailored to their specific needs, which pulls in only the right data and applications from disparate systems and presents them on a single screen. In the background, business rules and workflow make sure that the right back-office processes happen without agent intervention.

In 2017, eliminate manual, error-prone tasks required of Communicators by deploying next-generation workforce optimization solutions that automate their duties. This will help you gain contact center efficiency and free up staff to focus on the customer.

Maximize Use of Analytics to Optimize Customer Relationships

Analytics has taken the identification of contact center issues from gut instinct—or random sampling as managers walk the floor—to a science. It can help contact center leaders get to the root cause of problems, better enabling their resolution. In concert with the right applications, analytics can be used to ensure the optimal duration and profitability of a customer relationship.

As the application of analytics advances, it will be used to predict customer needs and behaviors to the point where contact center managers will be able to proactively deliver appropriate services—even before customers realize they need them!

Using data inputs—such as product use behavior, purchase history, Web and mobile clicks—contact center analytics will become a strategic tool for businesses. Managers will be enabled to provide white-glove service to their most valuable customers, as well as identify which customers have the potential to become majorly profitable—and serve them equally well.

To realize the full potential of contact center analytics, it must be combined with sales and marketing analytics. These business units have traditionally used analytics to better segment prospects for marketing purposes. The new opportunity is to use the data inputs from across the organization to better inform business decisions. With insights gained in this more holistic manner, contact center managers will understand how to engage and support customers throughout the relationship life cycle.

So, where do you begin the process of maximizing analytics for your contact center?

First of all, your company must be completely digitalized—to the point where nearly every customer touch point is accessible for analysis. Otherwise, missing data can skew analytics and set you up for a fall. Second, the contact center must put customer experience—not reducing handling times or reducing costs—at the center of its strategy. After all, you don’t want to let a customer slip through your fingers while you tally interaction expenses. Finally, the entire organization must be onboard with creating a culture where customer engagement is its main purpose and function. This last point is necessary to reduce organizational boundaries that might limit the sharing of meaningful data.

Once your organization is set up to optimize customer satisfaction, contact center analytics will be a far more strategic tool. You’ll gain a deep knowledge of customer drivers, and know how to best address them to strengthen relationships.

Gearing Up Your Contact Center for the Holiday Rush

From early October through December, the contact center reflects both the uptick in holiday shopping and the push to hit the year’s projected numbers.  When you’re standing in a line waiting for the doors to open on some retailer’s one-day only seasonal sale, just imagine the hold queues forming in contact centers that didn’t prepare for the onslaught! Due to the rise of mobile shopping, and the phenomenon that is Cyber Monday, the holidays now represent one of the busiest times of the year for contact centers.

Most contact centers bring on extra Communicators for peak holiday business. Here at InfoCision, we bring on about 500 new employees, which represents one-eighth of our normal Communicator workforce.

To be a prepared contact center that continues to satisfy customers during holiday shopping periods, here are a few additional suggestions:

Use data to forecast the rush: Review historical data, industry projections and other intelligence to estimate how many extra hands you’ll need to meet customer demand at this time of the year. Beyond hiring Communicators, consider adding staff to handle monitoring of social media channels and other contact center functions. Consider whether extending service to 24/7 availability or enlisting an outsourced contact center would enhance the customer experience over the holidays.

Acclimate existing and new staff: Even experienced Communicators hired for the season need some time to acclimate to new surroundings, so don’t wait until the last minute. It’s also a good idea to team new hires with expert Communicators to teach them the ropes.  Also, prepare all staff to handle seasonal promotions by giving them written materials detailing how to upsell and cross-sell products, and provide additional training and scripts to help Communicators maximize revenue.

Support Communicators: Some contact centers have gone to extremes to keep their Communicators happy during the holiday rush—offering chair massages, for example. Others provide free coffee and cookies delivered to workstations and bring in complementary lunches. Still, others hold drawings for merchandise and gifts. To build team support, try an ugly Christmas sweater contest or offer a prize for best decorated cubicles.

Make sure your holiday shoppers—who may contact your business only at this time of year—have a great experience with your brand. When you’re well-prepared for the rush, you can build stronger relationships that will last all year.

 

How to Move From Data to Insights to Action

As a business leader, you are told often enough to harness the data in your organization to drive more-effective decision making. And maybe you’re thinking “easier said than done”—and you’d be correct.

It’s a struggle in today’s business environment to rein in data when more and more of it arrives every day. Yet the amount of data doesn’t change the fundamental executive decision-making premise: Understand the market to determine how and where to best compete.

So, how do you get from vast compilations of data to pertinent insights that can grow your business?

To win customers, you need data and analytics to show what they want at the times when they are bent on going somewhere, or learning, doing or buying something. You must be able to identify those instances and act on them wisely. Companies that excel go beyond analytics; they build insights they can use to develop truly relevant customer experiences.

Take the following recommendations into consideration:

Integrate data: First, you need to achieve a single view of your customer base. Only then can you ensure optimal product offerings and the most effective communication strategies. Mix together multiple sources of customer and marketing data—from email response rates to data from in-person meetings—with a strong focus on demand generation, to enhance the customer experience. Continually use data and analytics to test your effectiveness. According to a recent study by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, some companies that have captured the full customer journey by integrating multiple sources of data are generating up to 8.5X higher shareholder value.

Stay ahead of the curve: Second, use analytics to generate new value for customers whenever they reach out to your brand, not just to strengthen marketing effectiveness. Continually develop more-sophisticated analytics capabilities and applications, as the ability to gain competitive leverage from analytics is declining as more organizations develop capabilities.

Leverage tools: Sophisticated technology tools allow you to drive customer satisfaction in diverse ways—from your website’s ease of use, to on-time delivery, to actual product performance. This is where analyzing social media and direct customer feedback is especially beneficial.

Broaden marketing scope: Eliminate enterprise market­ing divisions and vertically integrate their roles within each line of business to break down organizational barriers to improving customer experience. This will entrench marketers into a par­ticular customer experience and concentrate their attention on each phase of the customer journey. This includes moving from a product-centric to a customer-centric focus. In today’s market—full of smart and demanding consumers, as well as product commoditization—trying to compete by managing costs won’t do the job. Instead, apply formal customer value measurements to drive and evaluate changes.

Build a team: Create a team of analytics professionals who understand not only data but the technologies that help to amalgamate data into a cohesive whole. Beyond that, place more emphasis on the data than the analytics team, meaning determine the questions the data should answer before setting your analysts free. Otherwise, you could end up with massive amounts of data that actually cloud business implications instead of offering clarity.

A disciplined approach to analytics will garner you an improved customer experience. Just as with any decision-making process, optimize analytics to obtain the desired results.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.

The Time is Now For Predictive Analytics

There’s no denying the fact that technology has transformed the contact center, allowing businesses to better care for customers, improve business processes and boost revenue. One such technology that’s affecting positive change within many organizations is predictive analytics.

In fact, the  analytics market is booming. Valued at roughly $694.6 million in 2013, the predictive analytics market is expected to triple by 2019, reaching more than $2.3 billion, according to market research firm Micromarket Monitor.

Predictive analytics is the process of extracting information from existing data sets to determine common patterns and predict future outcomes and trends. For contact centers analytics can help greatly improve customer satisfaction, reduce employee churn, and much more.

For example, by using this technology businesses can identify the behaviors consistent with customers who have stopped doing business with the company to understand whether those behaviors represent a potential risk of churn from current customers. This process can also be applied to reduce employee churn.

Besides improving customer and employee churn, analytics can help businesses make better, more informed business decisions. The New York Times, for example, used analytics to see the processes in which people become subscribers and used that data to influence more people to subscribe.

What’s more, the newspaper used the technology to determine what content topics generate the most engagement, and then shared that data with the marketing team so that they could create and promote content that would resonate best with customers.

As you can see, analytics has many uses within organizations from sales to customer service to marketing. If you want to keep agents informed, gain a more well-rounded view of consumers, and gain valuable insight to reap better contact center services ROI, then consider choosing a partner that has invested in business analytics technology.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.

Why Providing Agents with Analytics is Essential to Your Success

In The Art of War, Sun Tzu writes that “Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought,” referring to the immense preparation that is necessary to be su

ccessful in war, and the need to arm soldiers with all the tools they might need. The world of customer care is no different.

While having skilled and personable call center agents is of course vital to providing a high quality of customer care, arming those agents with as much information as possible is also a necessity. Today, contact center technology is more sophisticated than ever, and the use of big data analytics is critical for providing agents with the information they need in order to provide better assist customers.

Big data analytics will play an ever-increasing role in the world of contact center services. In fact, a recent report by Gartner concluded that by 2018 half of all agent interactions will be influenced in some way by real-time analytics. Giving agents access to all of this information will dramatically improve quality of customer care, as agents will be able to have a greater understanding of both the problem and the customer.

Big data analytics like predictive analysis will allow agents to solve customers’ problems more quickly, more efficiently, and with greater accuracy—the ultimate goal of all contact centers. By using information from prior customer interactions, predictive analytics can give agents a good idea of what a customer is calling about before even answering the phone. This allows them to begin compiling solutions in a timelier manner, providing rapid assistance to the client.

In order to keep up with the abundance of big data available within customer care space, businesses must understand how to use it to their advantage. As such, contact center leaders need to look into improving the back end of their centers—the engine that drives their customer interactions—with Business Intelligence tools to make better use of the enormous pool of big data of which businesses are receiving ever-increasing access.

Knowing how to access, analyze, and apply big data to contact center services will allow business to provide the highest possible quality of customer care, increasing customer satisfaction as well as company reputation. Effectively using big data analytics will help make contact center services one of the most valuable resources of a business.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

Two Important Ways Contact Center Services Help Raise Non-Profit Awareness

Today, “contact center services” can refer to a multitude of communications options besides telecommunications. In fact, best-in-class contact centers are capable of providing multichannel marketing services to satisfy a wealth of needs in a variety of industries. Take the nonprofit space, for example; a multichannel fundraising campaign can help recruit a great reach of donors through the use of a combination of telephony and digital channels.

In fact, nonprofit organizations should focus on boosting their fundraising awareness by adding more channels to their campaigns. But, creating an effective multichannel fundraising program is no simple task. Recent research compiled by Blackbaud stands to substantiate this claim as many nonprofits aren’t utilizing digital channel optimally. For instance, 37 percent of nonprofits do not send emails to potential donors after signing up.

Optimizing your digital channels—through email marketing, for instance—is a surefire way for nonprofits to acquire more recognition and expand their audience reach. As such, nonprofits must come to realize that outsourcing their marketing and fundraising to a third party, like a contact center, is in their best interest.

Contact center services can help raise awareness and recruit more donors through:

  • Email marketing: Email marketing adds a different dimension to a fundraising campaign, as recruiting donors via standard phone may not be suitable for certain demographics. In addition, a contact center that is proven to succeed in this marketing channel can really hone in on its voice, tone and style, ensuring its messaging will be targeted and consistent.
  • Using technology: Business Intelligence tools used by contact centers can help a nonprofit’s fundraising success as well through capturing relevant insights from donor data—like preference, response rates etc. In addition, demographic scripting can help fine-tune the messaging that encompasses the urgency and core competencies of a nonprofit’s value proposition.

There are more ways for nonprofits to make their voices heard and attract a greater donor base, all you need to do it ask!

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

Predicting Customer Service Success: The Importance of Data Analytics

I think most would agree with this suggestion:  consumers expect customer service agents to know how to efficiently solve any and every problem at hand. Due to the fact that agents aren’t mind readers, supplying your contact center with the right tools to better identify future customer inquiries is critical in reaping full ROI.

Recent research suggests that advanced business intelligence directly improves customer experience as well as contact center services ROI. According to Dimension Data’s “2015 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report,” 57 percent of companies relate improved customer service experience levels to ROI, while 75 percent of contact centers can now pre-identify and segment their customers. It’s evident that contact centers’ improving ability to predict customers’ future behavior and, in turn, offer a catered experience to each segment is an important correlation.

Guarantee your agents are prepared for any type of customer by instating these three forms of business analytics:

Predictive Models: Foresee the imminent behaviors of particular customers by compiling past transactions to create a customized model. Learn from past consumer actions by using those experiences to better prepare for the next. The customer is bound to appreciate the personalized attentiveness of an experienced Communicator.

Market Segmentation: Use your contact center’s abundance of incoming data to organize your consumers. Grouping certain consumers based on personality and historical tendencies saves time and money. This allows for improved Communicator assignment, as the agents most experienced with specific groups can be strategically assigned in order to ensure the best customer experience.

Customer Profiles: The ways in which we are able to use data are nothing short of incredible. Contact centers receive massive amounts of information about customers through inbound customer service calls and/or outbound calls to prospective non-profit donors. Leverage this data in order to create customer profiles based on the similar attributes detected in specific groups of consumers. These profiles will give businesses an edge in predicting future behaviors.

Hiring mind readers isn’t a realistic goal, but we can provide our employees with top notch business intelligence for a best-in-class customer experience. Learn more about business analytics strategies that can help augment your contact center services ROI.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the American Teleservices Association (ATA). He also donates his time to serve on several University boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s higher honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

Let Analytics Tell You the Interaction Story

Years back it was nearly impossible to monitor the flow of a customer service call or the rate of success among a staff of operators. A lack of insight on the Communicator to customer interaction left contact centers in the dark when it came to improving strategy. Now, contact center analysts are able to utilize a wealth of data which allows them to leverage contact center services ROI with success and ease.

Modern contact centers are able to augment their inbound and outbound calls through advanced data analytics. Below are a few examples of just how informative today’s contact center business solutions have become.

Less Intrusive Outbound: Contact centers can leverage data from every outbound call in order to determine the best times to reach particular donors or consumers. Advanced data aides Communicators in appearing less invasive when they know what time of day is best to reach a particular person and, as a result, only call during that time of day.

More Effective Inbound: Business analytics also allows contact centers to track when the most inbound customer service inquiries occur per client. If we know that most of your business’ inbound calls come in on Wednesdays, we will ensure our most client-specific trained staff are on the phones that day.

Training Needs: A major part of contact center business analytics revolves around Communicator performance. Data can now be leveraged in order to pinpoint Communicators whose call lengths are too short or too long, indicating that further product training is needed. Coaches can actually get on the line of a customer service call gone awry and offer help in real time or provide instruction to the potentially struggling Communicator afterwards.

This is just a sampling of the ways in which data analytics has supplemented the success of contact centers today. Information can be extracted from each moment of a customer service interaction; why not use this to your business’ advantage? Want to know even more about how business intelligence can improve your contact center ROI? Check out this winter’s edition of InfoCision’s Marketing Solutions!

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the American Teleservices Association (ATA). He also donates his time to serve on several University boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s higher honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

 

Transitioning Customers from ‘Like’ to ‘Love’

What’s better than a bouquet of roses or a heart-shaped box of chocolates on February, 14th? In my opinion, it’s unmatched quality of customer service.

A recent Forrester blog suggested that in 2015 companies will aggregate more information from CRM platforms in order to improve the customer experience. In other words, this year the contact center is going to be defined by going that extra mile to improve customer relationships to transition first-time prospects into loyal brand proponents.

Executives should be focusing on what they can do to ensure consumer retention. It’s no secret that the quality of customer service directly affects your ROI. Providing exceptional service is vital to a company’s future development.

So, what more can your company do to encourage customers cross the line from ‘like’ to ‘love?’ Here are a few suggestions:

  • Utilize Business Analytics: Collecting and leveraging relevant data and analytics can help immediately improve your understanding of consumer behavior and habits. For instance, do your customers prefer live chat over phone calls to solve queries? When you understand the trends of your client base, you’ll be able to offer more tailored customer service.
  • Appreciate Your Employees: Satisfied and fulfilled employees produce higher quality service for your organization, a topic we cover frequently on this So prioritize internal corporate culture as much as you do stellar customer service. It’s the small things like celebrating a top-notch customer interaction or a new sale deal that will make the difference.
  • Provide Expert Training to Your Operators: Rather than having a contact center use a blanket script for all consumers, customize your scripts for the various demographics you touch. Businesses that outsource contact center operations must care about cultivating the right voice for their brand in order to maintain a positive reputation. At InfoCision, we go beyond the typical phone operator standard by staffing our facilities with expertly trained Communicators who provide personalized customer service based on specific client demographics.

The question remains: how are you going to spread the love this year? Comment in the box below and tell us how you’re going to improve your quality of customer service this month and beyond!

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the American Teleservices Association (ATA). He also donates his time to serve on several University boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s higher honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.