OnviSource Ranked “Hot Vendor” in New WFO Report

Hot Vendor WFO 2016

OnviSource named “Hot Vendor” in Ventana Research 2016 WFO Report

OnviSource was recently ranked a “Hot Vendor” for the third consecutive year in the “Ventana Research Value Index: Workforce Optimization 2016” report. Ventana Research is a leading benchmark research and business technology advisory services firm. The Workforce Optimization (WFO) report is the end result of a comprehensive and scientific survey of participating WFO solution vendors.

Hot Vendor Ranking

OnviSource took the top ranking in two out of seven categories and ranked as a “Hot Vendor” in overall placement among vendors that were also evaluated. One of OnviSource’s top rankings was in the Usability category. This ranking is awarded to the vendor that provides a high level of work into the functional roles involved in WFO such as upper management, managers and supervisors, and IT operations. The Usability category includes the solutions support for mobile, Web and voice technologies. Usability also applied to how solution design affects users of different generations.

The second top ranking OnviSource was awarded was in the TCO/ROI (Total Cost of Ownership/Return on Investment) category. This category demonstrates the vendor’s commitment to the product and value delivered, the total cost of ownership and the total benefits of ownership. It also includes the necessary tools and documentation that a potential customer would need to enable an evaluation for optimizing the TCO and ROI.

The list of WFO ranking categories:

  • Usability
  • Manageability
  • Reliability
  • Capability
  • Adaptability
  • Validation

Multi-channel Workforce Optimization (WFO) for Front and Back Office

OnviSource offers workforce optimization for front and back office functions, including the recording and monitoring of 100% of calls, desktop screens, emails, chat, customer surveys, structured and unstructured text and social media channels. The multi-channel captured data is fully analyzed by our automated and omni-channel analytics, including speech, desktop, text and social media, in order to create actionable-knowledge.

OnviSource’s solutions – affordably delivered as software products, cloud services, outsourcing solutions, or any combination – provide enterprise-wide optimization, automation and unification for front office, back office and operation management. OnviSource uses both internal and external data centers for its cloud service solution offerings. The company also owns and operates its own award winning contact centers.

Ventana Research Releases 2016 Value Index for Workforce Optimization


Contact Center and Teleservice Money Saving Tips

Contact Center Agent

High attrition rates in the contact center are a major concern.

There are many ways you can save money in a contact center environment. The tools available today that can lower costs have a profound effect on your bottom line. Workforce Optimization (WFO) solutions have been around for a while, and along with implementing technologies such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) into your contact center, they can really save you money. Here are a few money-saving tips to consider.

Save on Contact Center Telecom Costs with VoIP

Many companies are investigating VoIP to save on telecom costs. VoIP can help eliminate conventional landlines, and it is significantly cheaper than placing your calls through traditional telephone service providers. Overall, implementing VoIP can be relatively simple if you’re looking for a hosted service. VoIP providers handle all the infrastructure offsite, delivering calls to your phones and software clients.

The alternative is to implement a self-hosted, on-site VoIP system. No matter which option you choose, an IP-based, VoIP-friendly version of the PBX phone systems that many offices use is required to route your calls to the appropriate phones on your network. Vendors such as OnviSource can help you decide on the correct configuration for your needs such as a device called a PSTN (public switched telephone network) gateway. The PSTN gateway sits between the IP-PBX software and the analog signals of the PSTN and converts calls to and from digital signals. The benefits of both VoIP options are lower costs and easy configuration management.

Managing Your Contact Center Workforce

One of the biggest cost centers for any company is its labor force. The contact center is no different and having the right staff in place at the right time is not only cost efficient but also contributes to a better overall customer experience. Implementing workforce management (WFM) software allows you to plan more accurately and develop a positive work environment for your agents by taking into account their availability, skills, level of seniority and earned time off. This contributes to a drop in absenteeism and retention rate improvements. WFM has a direct impact on lowering the attrition rate and can also improve agent inefficiency, and minimize idle time.

Workforce optimization software is another essential and money saving contact center tool that has been around for a long time. The basic starting point when using workforce optimzation is call recording. Call recording is a valuable component because it can help you get the most out of your human resources by evaluating and optimizing the performance of your people. Monitoring their daily customer interactions ensures a consistent message and adherence to internal call processes. Call recording can be used as a real world training tool.  Evaluating and playing back recorded calls helps teach and assist new or low performing agents in proper call handling and policy adherence. Call recording may even be mandatory as many organizations are required to record all transactions including telesales, debt collection, finance and banking.  As regulations and consumer demand continue to increase, this requirement will become even more necessary and valuable.

Recording calls isn’t enough. You need a tool to help you evaluate them for quality assurance, making sure your agents are doing a good job. Listening to every call is near impossible if your time is limited, especially if you operate a contact center with many agents. Using a software tool for Quality Assurance (QA) allows you to regularly monitor, support, and give your agent’s with feedback and training to assure and maintain high standards. Bonus and incentive programs can be based on QA scores based on how agents handle calls and their overall performance.

Of course automating the entire QA process will not only save you time, but also eliminate the need for additional personnel engaged in the QA process. When you have the ability to measure and score every interaction, agent performance can be actively measured.

Automated analytics is one of the fastest growing segments of the contact center technology market. Speech analytics and other analytics tools are appealing because they allow companies to take action using unstructured data from customer interactions to gain new insight about their customers.

When used to evaluate agent performance and adherence to internal and external policies and processes, analytics software can give you a significant competitive advantage. A realistic return on investment (ROI) for a speech analytics solution can be as little as six months (up to 18 months).

Voice Messaging can also lower costs by reducing the need for live answer. For example, by front ending calls with voice mail, basic inquiries for information such as office hours can be answered automatically. Voice messaging can increase productivity, improve internal communication, enhance customer service, and reduce message-taking costs. Using a voice-message system ensures accurate messages, reduces the need for live message taking, and frees users from time zone dependency. A properly implemented voice messaging system can leave a positive first and lasting impression on callers.

Improving Contact Center Cash Management and Flexibility

Finally, contact centers of all sizes can improve their cash management and create flexibility by using a vendor with varied payment options. Leasing can help businesses preserve cash flow by making predictable and affordable payments, freeing up capital that would otherwise be tied up. For example, a large contact center chooses a three-year lease instead of purchasing IT and office equipment. Instead of paying $100,000 up front, the company will pay $85,000 over three years. By working with a vendor that is accustomed to lease agreements, purchasers can obtain leases that are structured to preserve their cash and create financial flexibility.  Lease to buy programs are also potential money saving options worth investigating.

Every business has unique operating circumstances, so make sure you select a vendor that can offer multiple payment options and delivery methods. This should include premise based, software and equipment purchases, cloud based solutions and even outsourcing services.

Leading Reasons for Call Center Agent Attrition


Data Unification – Don’t Confuse Your Customers

Data unification

Data unification helps customers transact business on the first contact.

The Data Unification Dilemma

Although there may be many internal discussions about enterprise-wide data unification, putting it into real-world practice is often neglected. In the new “age” of customer service, the one thing a company would never intentionally do is confuse and frustrate their customers. Yet time and time again, there are horror stories of customers interacting or calling into a company for service, support, or even to purchase, only to become a victim of the telephone hold and transfer syndrome. More often than not, the calling customer will have to repeat their identity and reasons for calling to every new call representative they are transferred too.

This problem is endemic in many organizations. Reasons for its existence are many:

  • Lack of call representative training
  • Poor or inadequate processes and workflows
  • Data silos where information is not shared or available to complete a customer transaction

Data Unification and Big Data

Today’s enterprises may utilize multi-site owned or outsourced contact centers. Each center can use multi-vendor and different PBX, ACD, Workforce Optimization (WFO), CRM or other enterprise platforms. All are confronted with the management of large quantities of “big data”. The challenge is collecting isolated data from multiple sites and platforms. The aggregation, normalization, data unification, and retrieving actionable knowledge – then enables them to act in real time to maintain the expected performance and the availability of the right skilled representatives, with the right expertise to assist their customers on the first contact.

Ripple Effect

Centralizing the presentation, and normalizing and analyzing the data and information regardless of the type of the platform, significantly reduces the time, effort, workload, training, costs, delays and human errors. Operating a business with data silos has many ripple effects. The lack of data unification leads to repeat callers who may get tired of being on hold and transferred, angry customers, highly stressed call representatives, customer defections and loss of business and revenues.

A way to solve the data silo effect, is the data unification across multiple platforms, devices, and platforms. OnviSource offers a solution called Universa™ that can normalize, centralize and contain the data for a unified view of the entire operation across multiple platforms and sites. It can also enable automated evaluation of operational performance and launch of actions such as alerts.

Universa can greatly benefit any company confronted with dispersed data silos by reducing costs and time-to-action, eliminating manual work, and accurately responding to real time events that can lead to a far better customer experience.

Customer Experience Data Silos Demystified


8th Annual OnviSource Equipment Owners Meeting

OEO 8th Annual Meeting

OEO Association 8th Annual Meeting

The 8th Annual Meeting of the OnviSource Equipment Owners Association was held in Dallas, Texas, April 4 – 6, 2016. This year’s theme was Transform Your Telephone Answering Service.

Day One

The Annual Meeting started off with a presentation from OEO member Danny Koester, followed by an open forum discussion among the OnviSource team and OEO members related to questions they had about their system, business, or service support.

Training and Open Forum Discussions

Annual Meeting Training and Open Forum

The end of the first day found attendees relaxing during a cocktail hour and dinner party at OnviSource’s CEO, Ray Naeini’s beautiful home.

OEO Social Event

OEO Social Event

There was plenty of good food and drinks and a surprise that generated lots of laughs – a caricature artist created a complimentary portrait for each association member. Below, Lisa Mills, OEO Board VP, poses for her caricature.

Lisa Mills sits for artist.

Lisa Mills, Operations Manager, ProComm Professional Communication Services, sits for artist.

Day Two

On day two, meetings and new OnviSource product overviews were conducted at the OnviSource headquarters. Members had the opportunity to meet the OnviSource family. They enjoyed putting a face to the “voice” of OnviSource staff that they regularly contact for customer service, support and other programs. Meeting in the new OnviSource training center, attendees were given a tour of OnviSource headquarters, including the call center operations, the data center, and the service and support center.

Open forum Q&A session.

Open forum Q&A session.

The afternoon session was dedicated to OnviCom, the new all-inclusive, software only and integrated suite of customer interaction applications and TAS products. A live demo and discussion of cost effective migration paths and re-usability of members existing investments concluded the session.

Day Three

The Annual Meeting ended on Day 3 with a morning round table that provided an open forum for all attendees to discuss any and all topics related to the TAS industry. Meaningful discussion was had with input coming from each participant. Discussion topics covered this year are as follows:

  • Concerns and projected consequences of an increase in the minimum wage across the U.S.
  • Advantages of using barter to gain new clients and incent employees
  • Revenue per minute
  • Importance of establishing your company in a niche market
  • OnviGuard installation, procedures and documentation for marketing to the end client

Great ideas were contributed for the 2017 meeting that will be held next April. Additional details related to the 2017 event will be announced at a later date. Immediately following the round table, OEO Association Director, Dan L’Heureux, presented a plaque of recognition and thanks to Darren McGillvrey for his dedication to the OEO Association as Board President.

Out-going OEO President, Darren_McGillvrey

Out-going OEO President, Darren McGillvrey

One of the meeting highlights was the election of new OEO Board President, Mr. James Galvin (below), Advance Communications, Inc.

OEO President James Galvin

James Galvin, President, OEO Association


Cross-Channel Analytics Transforms the Enterprise

Cross-Channel Analytics Transforms the Enterprise

Capturing and analyzing 100% of the customer experience at every touch point determines the alignment and the optimization necessary to significantly improve customer satisfaction.

Cross-channel Analytics Delivers Customer Engagement Management

OnviSource recently announced a new cross-channel analytics, enterprise-wide solution called OnVision. OnVision leverages an entire suite of workforce optimization (WFO) products to deliver insightful information and trend analysis related to customer interactions and experience across all channels and customer touch points.

“Inside-out” versus “Outside-in”

WFO is traditionally used as an “inside-out” approach to optimize the performance of the workforce within an enterprise in order to improve customer satisfaction. Today’s market is rapidly transforming to an “outside-in” method with first capturing and analyzing 100% of customer experience at every touch point. This determines the alignment and the optimization that is necessary to significantly improve customer satisfaction, and resulting in customer retention, growth, new revenues and favorable branding.

The transition of WFO to this new approach, called Customer Experience Management (CXM), requires an omni-channel method to capture relevant customer experience data from every channel; including calls, emails, chats, desktop transactions, customer surveys and social media. However, capturing 100% of information from all channels can produce a massive amount of data, or Big Data.

What Cross-channel Analytics can do for You

Cross-channel analytics can be leveraged in many ways including looking for data on a specific “subject” you want information on, to providing important data on events or issues you are not even aware of yet. For example, a customer may contact your business from multiple channels before making a purchase. They may fill out an online form, call for information, or send an email inquiry. All of these unique interaction touch points can identify and assist the customer. Unfortunately, the same customer often gets conflicting information, even pricing, depending on which channel they contacted. OnVision can dramatically improve the overall messaging and alignment for customer engagement.

Another example, this time from a corporate view, where a bank issues a new credit card. The bank wants to understand customer sentiment regarding the credit card launch from multiple sources such as social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), call center inquiries, email, text, and chat feedback. OnVision can combine all of the multi-channel analytics into a subject search, in this case, the credit card, and automatically report on the campaign from all of the different channels into one combined report. OnVision can also provide “proximity” searches such as “I like this credit card”, or “this is not a good credit card offer”, “I hate this credit card”, into a cross-channel analytics report.

Often businesses are not even aware of what they need to change to improve operations, customer service, products or processes. OnVision can discover as yet unknown issues or trends. For example, a sudden spike in complaints about a new product, across multi-channels, that might not have triggered an alert if they were only identified coming from one channel. Applying cross-channel analytics gives you trending and predictive analytics and a universal view of the entire enterprise.

The multi-channel analytics generates a huge amount of data. OnVision greatly assists managing the big data. It automatically analyzes the captured data from each channel and produces channel-dependent actionable knowledge. OnVision consolidates and filters customer interaction data across the entire enterprise into seamless, usable and actionable data. It is the next step in the evolution of workforce optimization and big data management, providing a customer centric approach to customer loyalty and improved satisfaction. OnVision fulfills the need for a solution in which WFO and omni-channel analytics are unified with big data management techniques. This provides a true customer experience management, or the next generation WFO, in a universal view.
Connections Magazine – Transforming WFO into CEM 


Outsourcing Contact Center Operations Grow in Popularity

Outsourcing contact center agents.

Outsourcing your contact center operations can provide you with many options and benefits.

Contact Center as Strategic Asset

If you have ever thought about creating or expanding an internal contact center to improve your business, or simply outsourcing the tasks, you are in good company. In a previous post we wrote about the importance of delivering outstanding customer service. One of the main enterprise teams that makes this happen is the contact center, or front office organization. Not only do they field all types of business calls, they immediately convey either a negative or positive image of your corporate brand and style of client care. No longer considered an expensive overhead for companies, the contact center has matured into a strategic entity that can help maintain customer loyalty and contribute to brand excellence and overall growth.

Reasons for Outsourcing Contact Center Operations

There are many great reasons for outsourcing your contact center. Contact center activities are often not within a company’s realm of expertise. An outsourcing company can provide full service contact center functionality. They also offer all-inclusive performance-based outsourcing services with expertise in telecommunications and customer support, and can provide full or partial services dependent upon your objectives and budgetary requirements.

The ability to always appear “open for business” is a priority for many companies, including those that deliver critical products and services. Outsourcing enables companies to focus on their core competencies while implementing short or long-term campaigns. With outsourcing, you reap the benefits of a professional contact center without incurring the cost of purchasing and maintaining expensive equipment.

Outsourcing a call center has many benefits.

Outsourcing delivers a diverse array of services and offers valuable solutions for any organization.

Expenses associated with housing and maintaining additional workforce can be cost prohibitive to many companies as well. Companies who choose outsourcing reserve capital and resources otherwise needed to fund technology, quality monitoring, recruiting, training, incentive programs and more. Also, there are many payment plans available on the outsourcing market including a performance-based payment model where you will only pay for calls that deliver a quantifiable outcome.

Other industry payment options include:

  • Per transaction payment – developing campaigns based on a flat fee per transaction for predictable budget management.
  • Per call minute – customers who choose this payment option for inbound traffic are billed a flat rate per minute so they only pay for the exact time agents spend on the phone.
  • Monthly Retainer – used for programs reliant on availability and expertise rather than quantifiable results, a monthly retainer option ensures that expert agents are always available to service customers.
  • Per agent-per month or monthly flat fees – this is a cost-effective per-agent-per-month for ASP, or flat fees for hosted applications.

Creating New and Unexpected Opportunities

Outsourcing your contact center needs can have some unexpected and positive outcomes. Due to their expertise and technological resources, outsourcing services often identify and recommend solutions to maximize untapped revenue streams for customers. Mining and the analysis of performance reports, made possible through using an outsourcers software technologies, can help to recognize trends and discover new opportunities. Outsourcing can work with customers to create programs and expand services that capitalize on these additional opportunities.

Outsourcing services can complement your business for short term projects such as new product releases or marketing campaigns, and to achieve the goal of retaining customers and reducing the rate of customer turnover with:

  • Retention Programs
  • Churn Management Programs
  • Customer Contact and Loyalty Programs

Outsourcing delivers a diverse array of services and offers valuable solutions for any organization. Multiple programs can be implemented simultaneously for maximum benefit.

Customer Transaction Outsourcing ServicesTelemarketing and Campaign Outsourcing Services
Billing and Billing ResolutionsAcquisition
Customer Plan Changes-MigrationsUp Sales and Cross Sales
Customer SurveysSales & Marketing Campaigns
Data CollectionsLead Generation-Qualification
Customer Support Services and One-Call-Solution-CenterInbound-Outbound Sales
Order Processing-ProvisioningDirect Mail Campaign
Revenue Tracking, Reconciliation & ReportsMarket Trials
Product Launches
Target List and Data Mining-Analysis

Outsourcing Does Not Have to be “Overseas”

About this time you might be thinking, “Yes, but I don’t like talking to overseas companies myself, so why would I put my customers through that negative experience?” There can be language and accent barriers, and overly scripted and restrictive processes that are a challenge for calling customers when using overseas companies. As many large U.S. financial and technical organizations have discovered, most of their customers have a negative opinion and do not like dealing with an overseas outsourcer. U.S. agents have a much better command of the English language and are embedded in American culture. This translates into improved customer satisfaction with fewer complaints than with foreign contact center agents. To maintain customer service and loyalty, they have brought their call center operations back to the U.S.

Outsourcing your contact center operations can provide you with many options and benefits. Once you have decided on the right outsourcing company that can grow with your business, check into their flexible billing arrangements and setup the transaction processing or campaign services that best fit your needs.

Agents can be dedicated or shared, dependent upon the level of skill required and the volume of calls generated through your campaign. Many outsourcing companies have the ability to manage shifting call volume with automated call blending across inbound and outbound groups. This ensures that your contacts are never kept waiting during peak call periods.

The top-tier companies will be able to provide guidance and understand your needs and other factors to get you started. Once setup, they will furnish the information pertaining to your campaigns made available through reports that you can access via email, fax or online. Overall, outsourcing just might be the right choice for your company, ensuring that your objectives will be satisfied as efficiently and timely as possible.

“Top 10 Reasons to Outsource Your Call Center” – Infographic


Customer Care the New Differentiator

Customer care is the new differentiator.

Without a customer care strategy, companies can lose customers hurting their brand and growth.

Customer Care Strategy

Delivering exceptional customer care, support and service should no longer be considered as a corporate obligation, but as a strategic marketing and enterprise wide initiative. As technology improves, many business software and applications have become commodities. Case in point, contact center call recording. It has been around for over 20 years and was a huge benefit to financial enterprises and retail companies. Many businesses were founded providing this front office application. Fast forward to 2016, and call recording has evolved into sophisticated workforce optimization (WFO) solutions that include call recording, quality assurance/monitoring software and even automated speech analytics.

The point here is that if you are trying to stand out in a crowded arena you must offer something that differentiates you from the noise. One thing that has become very clear to many companies is the need to deliver immediate, and great customer care. Social media, and other multi-channel customer touch points, have elevated the customer’s reach beyond a telephone call. Companies must be prepared to handle inquires quickly and efficiently with a consistent message and process.

Companies that develop a cohesive customer support strategy will be able to differentiate themselves in many ways. Not only by delivering great customer care to existing customers, but also leveraging their customers to attract new prospects. It promotes credibility and enables the marketing of their customer care successes with customer case studies and testimonials. Happy customers remain loyal customers, and it is well worth the investment to keep customer care and service a high corporate priority.

As enterprise software products have become commodities, new advanced solutions can often be complex business applications to solve today’s needs. Therefore, customer care takes on a different strategy that begins even before a purchase is made. Vendors must do a good job of understanding a clients problems, root causes and other issues. What exactly are they trying to solve and with what result? A tailored solution often works best, and in order to purchase a new solution, different procurement options must be available that match both their business and financial requirements. Delivering a complex solution requires the vendor to assist new clients every step of the sales process – from analysis of their needs to recognition of their return on investment (ROI).

A few steps that need to be considered for a successful customer care launch include a CRM package to monitor all customer issues. Tracking software can be setup with alerts for time sensitive matters, and pre- and post-sales information. This includes sales and implementation data, technical support, and other customer service data such as technical advisors, software updates, and even system audits.

Customer Care

Exceptional customer care gives companies room to grow and keeps clients happy.

Voice of the Customer

Truly managing to successful customer care also involves utilizing customer service tools, multi-channel analytics and customer surveys to capture, analyze and take actions in order to respond to customer needs. This is key to improving customer sentiment and customer satisfaction. Establishing excellence in providing customer communication and service programs that drive to quick resolution and closure creates customer loyalty not just customer satisfaction. Customer care is not an option it is an expectation.

Remember, every employee, from the front office (contact center) to the back office (fulfillment), both share in the responsibility of providing great customer service. A well thought out strategy will enable repeat business through up-sales of products and services benefiting the enterprise with revenue growth and sustainability.

“Four reasons to invest in B2B customer service tech”




The Workforce Optimization Evolution

Using WFO, CEM and Big Data Management to create unified, cohesive actionable knowledge.

Using Workforce Optimization, Customer Engagement Management and Big Data Management to create unified, cohesive actionable knowledge.

Why We Need the Unification of Workforce Optimization and Big Data Management

Workforce Optimization (WFO) has experienced rapid evolution in both the market demands and the solutions that responded to those demands. The evolution started with enterprises recording telephone calls with their customers for the purpose of record keeping. Then enterprises decided to gain some additional benefits from the recorded calls by sampling some of them and conducting manual QA in order to discover and improve their agent performance and/or better manage their liabilities.

Soon it became obvious that sampling is inadequate in discovering valuable information needed to effectively optimize the customer interactions, and 100% of calls needed to be monitored and scored. This however, required a large number of quality assurance (QA) personnel in order to conduct QA for all recorded calls, leading to a financially impractical proposition. This is when speech analytics solutions came to the rescue by automating the QA process for all recorded calls.

While the industry resolved one major problem, the next challenge was created when customers, in addition to interacting with enterprises through calls, started using other channels and touch points such as desktop transactions, emails, chat, and later social media. This necessitated the enterprises to capture all interactions from all channels, resulting in massive amounts of data being captured on a daily basis. This created yet another colossal challenge, namely, Big Data Management. This phenomenal growth also made enterprises realize that they needed to transform their definition of workforce optimization from agent transaction optimization, to a holistic and multi-channel Customer Experience Management (CEM).

The big data management challenge was partially mitigated by the creation of additional analytics solutions. These solutions addressed desktop screens and a variety of text resulting from emails, chat, social media contents, customer surveys, and structured or non-structured customer documents. Therefore, the market promoted omni-channel analytics as a pioneering solution to capture massive amounts of data from multiple customer touch points, analyze and transform the big data into actionable knowledge for each of the customer touch points.

Though this was great progress in converting enormous amounts of data to actionable knowledge. The omni-channel analytics solution offered actionable knowledge for each individual channel deposited in their own data bases.  However, another solution was still required to create a single and holistic view of the actionable knowledge for specific subject(s) across all channels, and across all customer touch points, by automatically analyzing the results of all omni-channel analytics and discover, aggregate, unify and present a universal actionable knowledge. The combination resulted in a solution in which the workforce optimization and omni-channel analytics were unified with big data management techniques, providing a true Customer Experience Management, or the next generation workforce optimization.



“81% of Enterprises Are Relying On Analytics To Gain Greater Customer Insights” – Forbes/Tech


Tis the Season to Deliver Customer Satisfaction

Angry Customer

Lack of training for customer service employees not only frustrates the customer, it also stresses out the staff.

One of my past college instructors recently posted rather disparaging comments about Amazon.com’s delivery services in the state of Texas. He obviously did not receive customer satisfaction with a recent purchase. I was very surprised to see the post because this particular instructor has always been a mellow individual, who up to this point, I don’t think had a bad word to say about anyone. Therefore, I can only assume that he finally had enough run around trying to rectify his issue. It all boils down to something I have been writing about for the past year – the importance of the customer journey and providing the ultimate customer satisfaction (it better be a good experience!).

In the case above, although Amazon had contracted out a regional delivery service for the holiday season, they are still ultimately responsible for delivering customer satisfaction. They are responsible for all delivery services acting as an agent for Amazon. As he stated in his post, my instructor is a longtime advocate of purchasing goods via Amazon. This was his first negative experience and now he is asking the general public not to purchase certain items from Amazon. NewVoice agrees, 58% of consumers will never use a company again after a negative experience.

Social Media and Customer Satisfaction  

There are two points I would like to highlight. The first is that my instructor knows the power of social media and is using it to vent his frustrations about a lack of customer satisfaction. He is also using it to warn other would-be buyers. He first requested that Amazon post a message about the delivery problems. When he did not get a response, he did what so many other unsatisfied customers are doing. He posted complaints on social media for everyone to see. I have yet to view an online reply from Amazon regarding this delivery issue. According to Forrester Research, 45% of consumers will abandon an online purchase if they can’t quickly find answers to their questions.

The second point concerns the use of seasonal employees. Now there is nothing wrong with using seasonal employees, and I applaud companies who can put more people in work. What bothers me is the minimal training of the seasonal workers. They are typically given a script with canned responses to every question. How many of us have fallen victim to the untrained customer service representative who keeps repeating the same few answers to every question we ask? According to The Harvard Business Review, 84% of customers say that their expectations had not been exceeded in their last customer service interaction. Death by customer service rep could be the epitaph on many a customer tombstone.

Too often companies protect profits at the expense of unhappy customers. The lack of proper training, empowerment, and decision making of customer-facing staff not only frustrates the customer, and lowers customer satisfaction, it also unnecessarily stresses out the staff. I personally can’t imagine anything worse than spending 8 hours a day communicating with hostile customers and having no real power, knowledge, or tools to effectively help them. According to American Express, 35% of cardholders have lost their temper when talking to customer service. As in the instructor example above, an angry customer can easily damage a company’s image and brand with unforeseen, and negative results.

Read the instructor’s post:  http://bit.ly/1N9VTtv

100 Customer Service Statistics You Need To Know



Cloud Contact Centers Made Easy

Multichannel Cloud Contact Centers

Cloud contact centers allow customer service professionals and contact center managers to focus on their core tasks.

Strategic Importance of Cloud Contact Centers

Contact centers continue to grow in both size and strategic importance according to Deloitte’s 2015 Global Contact Center Survey.  Up to 96% of respondents anticipating growth in the next two years in support of customer and business needs.  As they rapidly expand in popularity, hosted or cloud contact centers allow customer service professionals and contact center managers to focus more on their core business.  They no longer have to not worry about all of the technology required to operate a successful operation. This means more time to manage contact center staffing, accounting/billing, and most importantly, delivering exceptional customer care. Another benefit is the development of new multichannel capabilities that incorporate email, chat and social media. Businesses can deploy new technology in the cloud much faster to meet customer needs.

Reasons for the growth of cloud contact centers can be seen in the many benefits cloud solutions offer.

All of the applications and services are owned and operated by the cloud service provider and maintained in the provider’s data centers. Cloud services in general have many more options to support the contact center infrastructure. This can include hosted PBX, IVR, SMS, email, and seamless delivery of quality assurance, analytics, customer relationship management (CRM) and other applications. The provider routes phone numbers to the systems installed in its data centers. Numbers and other data are then rerouted to in-house agents and/or remote agents for action.

The dominant protocol used for cloud contact centers is high speed Internet VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) on demand service. This allows any business to benefit from low cost soft phones on the desktop. All data is stored at the service provider data center where easy remote access is available 24/7. The real value is that companies using cloud solutions are no longer responsible for system maintenance and uptime, hardware and software updates, additional IT resources, infrastructure and paying utility bills.

Cloud Contact Center Benefits

Another key advantage of cloud contact centers is the low upfront investment. Typically, monthly payments are lower than a major upfront investment in a premised-based contact center system. Monthly fees associated with cloud contact centers can better accommodate monthly cash flow. Some vendors even offer a pay-as-you-go model. Contract commitments can include discounts based on volume and options to scale up or down based on demand.

6 Compelling Reasons to Move to a Cloud Contact Center:

  1. No Software or Hardware Maintenance Expense: There are no costs related to system support services, replacing outdated or faulty hardware or upgrading your system.
  2. Reduced IT Expenses: Eliminate monthly expenses for maintaining systems, office space and related utilities. Support may still need to be provided for local desktops and other IT equipment.
  3. Integrated PBX and Call Management Features: Select a provider that can offer call management features such as PBX, IVR, Auto-Attendant, and Call Screening. This type of provider will have a complete solution avoiding equipment and support expenses.
  4. Built-in Redundancy and Disaster Recovery: No more worries about system downtime, redundancy, or maintaining continuity in disasters. Leverage distributed contact centers, 24-hour-a-day coverage, home-based agents, disaster recovery and more.
  5. Operate from Anywhere, Anytime: Gain the competitive edge with the opportunity to staff from a better pool of talent, schedule agents more effectively, and reduce overall payroll costs.
  6. Rapid Scaling and Feature Deployment: Quickly add or remove agent positions and seats with little impact. New features and functionality can be rapidly deployed without on-premise installations, testing, and implementation. Reduce time-to-market with new features and capabilities.