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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

http://bit.ly/1FD2gyg

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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.

http://bit.ly/1w3waKi

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Customer Experience Predictions for 2016

Predicting the Future of Customer Service

One business prediction – you will lose customers to the competition if you can not provide a consistent and good customer experience.

Customer Experience Strategies

Many organizations are currently reviewing and planning corporate customer experience strategies and activities for 2016. As you review current processes and procedures and the things you would like to accomplish, looking into the crystal ball and predicting what the future may bring can’t hurt your bottom line.

One clear prediction for all organizations concerns the overall customer experience and how well your customers perceive their interactions with your company. According to Accenture’s 10th Annual Global Consumer Pulse Research, $1.6 trillion is lost by companies that disappoint customers with poor experiences. It’s a nearly 30% increase in the money up for grabs over the last five years as customers switch companies due to a poor customer experience.

Customers are savvy buyers. They demand excellent service from you no matter whom they interact with or how – by phone, chat session, or email.  They view every contact point as one company and expect a consistent experience. And it is no longer just a matter of how much something costs. Consumers, especially B2B, are more than willing to pay a small premium for a great customer experience that is handled cheerfully and efficiently.

Competitive Edge

If price is not always the winning factor, what else can distinguish your company from the competition? The competitive edge is found in delivering a great customer experience. This has to be an overall effort beginning with the pre-sale and continuing throughout the life of the customer relationship. When employees put the customer first, they create goodwill and a true partner relationship. A satisfied customer will continue to use your services and products if they are met with a familiar and pleasant attitude. More than likely, they will even forgive minor discretions or inconveniences if the overall experience is a good one.

This kind of relationship builds customer loyalty with many tangible and intangible rewards. You will receive repeat business, referrals and positive reviews of your company that yield growth and profitability. You will be able to establish your reputation and brand for excellent customer service through long term customer loyalty.

Customer Service Programs

Many companies today have accrued huge stores of customer interaction and/or Voice of the Customer (VoC) data. However, most are challenged with effectively turning it into operational assessments and actionable reports. New solutions for unifying and analyzing data offer users “Business Objectives”, such as an understanding of overall voice of customer, employee and customer feedback, customer journey and customer behavior-reactions. The benefit of these solutions is that they can automatically look for the related customer-centric activities discovered through analytics, integrate the metadata of each activity, and present it as it relates to their business objective. With this type of big data management, your company can really listen to and understand your customers’ true sentiment like never before.

New Year – Old Plan

You don’t want to become a company that experiences big losses from losing unhappy customers. Success ultimately depends on how well you treat your customers, even more so in our “socially-enabled” society, where a negative post can have an immediate and dramatic effect on your business. As Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos passionately said, “If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.” Don’t repeat last year’s mistakes. Be a winning company that gains opportunities by investing and planning in customer loyalty strategies that reinforce your brand, boost your reputation and deliver a great customer experience.

The Cost of Unhappy Customers (Infographic)

http://bit.ly/VUgw7i

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Teleservices Group Transforms Business

OEO Annual Teleservices Meeting

Transform Your Teleservices at the 2016 OEO Annual Meeting.


The OnviSource Equipment Owners Association (OEO) members are OnviSource product users strengthening their investments in OnviSource answer service and teleservices solutions in a true member-vendor partnership. If you want a connection to the best and brightest in teleservices, the OEO and OnviSource can help make that happen.

Helping Teleservices Business Owners

The OEO is an association for business owners and operators who believe they are instrumental in their clients’ success and are passionate about their contribution. OEO is a true partnership with its vendor sponsor, OnviSource, a leading provider of teleservices and workforce optimization solutions. Specialized committees work to keep the OEO organization abreast of the latest advancements in their industry.

  • Technical Committee – Works closely with OnviSource engineering to provide feedback regarding products, enhancements, and new feature requests.
  • Education Committee – Develops live and online events periodically to ensure ongoing training and education around topics of interest to the membership.

OEO Teleservices Member Benefits

  •  INNOVATE – Learn firsthand from OnviSource and market leaders about the future of customer service and teleservices. Find opportunities to improve and grow your business.
  • BEST PRACTICES AND TIPS – Learn what other companies are doing. Implement the best practices for your company to maximize the investment in Onvi­Source products. Offer your suggestions for others to learn from you and your company.
  • NEWEST INFORMATION – The OEO is the conduit to communicate the latest product updates and announcements, as well as upcoming products and solutions.
  • COMMUNITY COMMUNICATIONS – Take advantage of the OEO “ListServ”, an online community of like-minded teleservices operators who can directly correspond and research past discussion topics, OnviSource products, and best business practices. The OEO is the conduit to communicate the latest tele­services industry products and solutions, including industry updates and announcements.
  • ANNUAL MEETING – Face-to-face meetings to engage with peers about top-of-mind topics relevant to you, share ideas, receive exclusive training, learn best practices, answer each other’s questions and see product demonstrations.
    • Chance to win generous door prizes throughout the meeting such as an iPad, and OnviSource services.
    • Hear new ideas and insight from new members, and helpful advice from old ones, as you share and discuss familiar problem areas.
    • Learn about new cost-saving products and solutions on the Onvi­Source Product Roadmap.
    • Relax and enjoy social gatherings with other OEO members. Past meetings included cocktail hour, river cruises, outings, and dinners.

Contact Dan L’Heureux , OEO Director, at dan@callconsult.net for additional information.

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The Ascent of Text Analytics

Use text analytics to uncover true customer sentiment.

Valuable customer insight from all data sources is not utilized to its full potential.

The New Frontier – Text Analytics

In this era of progressive improvements to the customer experience, many companies are searching for new avenues to gain insight into the customer journey using text analytics. Text analytics can be defined as a process for analyzing unstructured text, extracting relevant information, and transforming it into useful business intelligence. Large corporations such as Walmart, Amazon, and Google collect massive amounts of customer data in the Petabyte range and beyond. As enterprises of all sizes struggle to uncover true customer sentiment from unstructured data sources such as social media, surveys, notations in CRM software and service notes, blogs, and many other sources, this valuable customer insight is not being utilized to its full potential.

Preventing a Poor Customer Experience

However, most companies use only a fraction of the customer data that is readily available to them. One of the value propositions for using text analytics is its ability to analyze and classify huge quantities of text and automatically extract meaningful data that really needs to be scrutinized. This yields customer experience information that previously might not have been known or recognized, and used to prevent a repeat, poor customer experience. Text analytics reveals insights into why something is happening. For example, a visitor to a website might not be able to find a product or suitable answer to a question. Text analytics can be used to discover if the issue is related to content, FAQs, or navigation problems.

Root Cause Analysis

The data gleaned from text analytics can also be used to determine the root cause of problems (known or unknown), and companies can begin to anticipate or predict problems by analyzing customer interaction data. Just as speech analytics can unveil customer sentiment by automatically identifying key words and phrases from customer telephone calls, text analytics adds to the wealth of unstructured customer information that can be extracted, transformed and loaded into subject-oriented categories delivering new possibilities for enhancing the customer experience.

  • Trend analysis
  • Tool to make strategic business decisions
  • Predict and forecast customer behavior patterns
  • Deliver an improved customer experience
  • Companies are realizing that all employees must listen to their customers, or they will become fair game for the competition

http://bit.ly/1Hpydkn

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Why You Need Data Analytics

Data Analytics identifies real business problems.

Leveraging data to identify real business problems can work for you.

Importance of Data Analytics Solutions

The ability to leverage analytics for all of the business data your company collects in order to solve real business problems is now more affordable than ever before and available to every organization. Implementing and applying automated analytics solutions are essential for understanding all facets of your business. As many companies continue to focus on improving the overall customer experience, analytics can help you understand your customer’s sentiment from any touch point (telephone, email, text, social media, etc.).

Not As Complicated As You Thought

Although there are many different types of analytics solutions available on the market, such as front office (contact center specific) and back office (transaction processing) the secret is to partner with a vendor who will help you every step of the way. Once you select a vendor, this is accomplished by first discovering the root causes, pain points, or product and service issues that may be impeding performance or profitability. Some common items or “notions” that analytics can reveal:

  • Excessive customer complaints about a certain service or product(s).
  • Trends and discovery of repeat calls (“called before…”, “calling again…”, “not fixed…”, “still a problem…” etc.) – over time more samples can be discovered and added to the analytics search, strengthening the discovery of repeat calls improving first call resolution.
  • Compliance issues (internal compliance to defined business processes and external or regulatory compliance).
  • Repeat call subject (desktop screen or transactions) representing the repeat call can be defined by user, and automatically and in real time detected by desktop analytics – actions can be taken in real time, such as coaching, notifications, and next-best-action.
  • Monitoring social media sites to understand the voice of the customer (negative and positive), the competition, your brand and reputation, and selling opportunities.

Starting with a defined notion of the relevant data you want to uncover is key to your success. A vendor must allow you to use your own data for clarity, in small digestible bites, to initially demonstrate the viability of the analytics program. Set up an internal team to own the new analytics program. Run the solution as a test program, review the results, implement recommended changes, and review the outcome (benefits, ROI, etc.). You want a vendor that will educate and guide you and do the work for you, sharing results along the journey. Once you are comfortable with the technology the vendor should be able to create a tailored solution for you without a custom price, and continue to assist your future usage, growth and progress.

Multi-channel Delivery – Not as Expensive as You Thought

Analytics programs do not have to break the bank, and are now available to any organization. Many solutions are offered as on-premise, cloud services, outsourced programs, or hybrid packages. Take advantage of the delivery method that best fits your budget and business needs. Selecting the right vendor will enable you to benefit from the functionality and flexibility of multi-channel analytics solutions as well as cost effective delivery methods.

http://bit.ly/1GiyAOk

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Enterprise Feedback Management

Enterprise Feedback Management

Enterprise Feedback Management solutions enable views into the customer journey delivering a high level of customer satisfaction.

Enterprise Feedback Management Solutions – More than a Simple Survey

Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) solutions are more than just simple surveys, they are used for actively monitoring customer and employee feedback from all customer touch points such as calls, emails, text, desktop transactions, surveys and social media channels. EFM enables views into the customer journey, and can identify and improve internal business processes to optimize and provide a high level of customer satisfaction, or discover sales opportunities, liabilities, and business intelligence.

EFM, however, requires technical abilities to:

a) Capture all data from all channels, such as structured and unstructured data (text, voice, SMS), and solicited and unsolicited input (such as social media).
b) Perform analytics on all different types of media collected from those channels, including audio, speech, text, email, surveys, screen-based transactions and social media.

Furthermore, EFM demands to provide the capability to view the tiered information (data, unified information, and actionable-predictive-prescriptive information) in a holistic and universal form in order for users to immediately see and easily understand what they have been looking for. This information now becomes a valued enterprise wide asset, not, for example, only a contact center, or other business unit performance or productivity tool.

Complete Views of the Customer Experience

OnviSource supports a true Enterprise Feedback Management solution through its multichannel capture-evaluation, called OnviForce™, and a universal view management, called OnVision™. Capturing data from multiple OnviSource platforms presents a complete view of the customer experience. The data is then analyzed for process improvements, trending detection and associated alerts, customer journey, and sharing of results through real-time, multi-channel analytics, automated actions, and dashboard and other types of enterprise reporting.

Re-defining customer feedback concepts.

 

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Basics of Contact Center Call Recording

Call recording

Call recording is just as important today as it was 40 years ago.

Call Recording Enhances the Customer Experience

Technical advancements in contact center call recording technology and the implementation of automation and unification of systems has relegated call recording to a commodity. Omni-channel centers handle many more contact touch points than ever before, including telephone calls. Looking back, the first systems that could enhance the overall customer experience first started back in the 1980’s with (you probably guessed!) call recording software.

Recording all calls was practical and a necessity for many businesses that required proof of financial authorizations and other compliance reasons when conducting business over the telephone. Today, there are many more federal and other regulations where call recording is instrumental in protecting companies against litigation.

Call Recording Adapts to Technical Changes

Analog call recording grew into VoIP (Voice over IP) telephony in the ’90s and offered even more telephone capability with different types of Internet device such as smartphones and computers. The rapid adoption of VoIP by everyone, including the large telecoms, provided even more growth into VoIP call recording solutions and the resulting quality assurance (proof that the call is in compliance) software. However, one of the biggest dilemmas that quickly became apparent, was the use of multiple systems doing proprietary call recording (analog, digital, VoIP). The usual scenario was that calls would end up in a silo reporting system creating even more work to manually reconcile reports.

The answer appeared in the form of migration into cloud-based call recording solutions. Using a cloud bridge for older systems, or as many corporate call centers opted to do – EOL their legacy systems – allowed calls from multiple sources to trigger call recording in the cloud, tightly integrated with cloud-based telephony systems (PBX, IVR, dialers, and even social media channels).

Call Recording Benefits

Call recording remains very important to any business that handles customer calls. Financial institutions, any legal conversations, and especially health care (HIPAA) are regulated for when and how they record calls. There are many benefits of call recording:

  • Dispute resolution and historical archives
  • Adherence to federal and state regulations by industry
  • Evaluating customer sentiment
  • Trends
  • Ensure both internal and external compliance processes

Call recording today is just as important today as it was forty years ago – the foundation for ensuring agent compliance and delivering a satisfactory customer experience.

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Transforming the Customer Experience

Front and back office integration

Contact center and back office integration is critical to the overall customer experience.

Enhancing and Transforming the Customer Experience

Enhancing the customer experience has become an enterprise-wide strategy, not just a job for the contact center. Smart companies have realized that delivering the optimal customer experience occurs when contact center and back office integration becomes a critical factor for success. After all, your customers just want their immediate issue resolved, and no matter whom they talk to, they look at your company brand as one entity.

Easier said than done, with so many ways customers can contact a business (phone, mobile, text, chat, and social media), the complexity of managing multi-channel contact points puts service quality at risk. Aside from numerous stories of downright poor customer service from overworked and stressed agents, the chances of not receiving, or handling a customer contact in a reasonable amount of time, clearly exacerbates the problem.

Managing Valuable Data

A major challenge in the implementation of an integrated and enterprise-wide optimization, automation and unification is in the management of the end-to-end process and the ability to provide a single and holistic view of the critical data. Every part of the customer experience process generates valuable data, so the next step is consolidating and unifying the raw data into a single, holistic, workflow-oriented view covering the entire contact center and enterprise functions.

Creating an Omni-Vision view of the entire enterprise, followed by applying Omni-Channel analytics to various data and media collected in the process enables users to automatically generate actionable knowledge or even automated actions from the simplest to most advanced form without concerns of how each individual product is used in the workflow chain. The goal is to create time saving and actionable reports, notifications, APIs, and even launching applications, from contact center quality assurance and performance management to business intelligence, discovering new customer experience opportunities or obstacles.

View the complete article, Your Enterprise Transformed, recently published in Connections Magazine.

Connections Magazine

Connections Magazine

http://bit.ly/1EpX8nK

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Growing Your Teleservice Business

Workers in every industry rely on teleservices companies.

Teleservices and answering services assist clients in every industry and occupation.

How to Market Your Teleservice Business and Get More Clients

Teleservice and Answering Service companies provide valuable services for all types of businesses. When a customer is in the middle of a crisis, the last thing they want to hear when they call a company for help, is an answering machine or auto-attendant. In a time of need, hearing the simple phrase ‘I’m so sorry to hear about that!’, and “How can I help you?’ may seem trivial, but it’s rarely heard these days from most companies – other than a teleservice operator.

Many small businesses are owned and operated by a single proprietor who may spend the greater portion of their day away from the phone. This makes anyone who works away from their office a great candidate for answering services. In addition, any business taking appointments or dispatching service workers is an excellent target.  For example, this can include:

• Salespeople • Repair services
• On-call jobs (tow services)• Pet services
• Medical & Healthcare facilities• Home improvement contractors
• Landscaping & Lawn service• Funeral homes

Grow Your Teleservice Business with Inexpensive Marketing Tools

Inexpensive ways to market your teleservices business include the local phone book and newspaper, the small “penny saver” type of publications and community bulletin boards. Become a member of the local Chamber of Commerce, letting local businesses know you offer a service and advertise through their channels of communication. Here are other tried and true methods for finding new business:

  • Place ads in newspapers, online and in phone directories.
  • Create a LinkedIn page – it’s professional, free and a great way to connect with contacts through your current clients.
  • Ask clients for referrals and offer them a referral credit as an incentive.
  • Post fliers on bulletin boards in local stores.
  • Attend networking events and give out your business card.
  • Send direct mail advertisements to business owners with seasonal incentives.
  • Have operators make cold calls during times of low call volume.
  • Invest in a simple web site highlighting the services you offer, a brief history (credibility) of your company, testimonials from clients and contact information.

Another opportunity is when new businesses come to your area. Send them an invite and a brief description of the benefits and features of your teleservice operations. Offer them a reduced rate for the first 30 or 60 days of service. You want to highlight how an answering service can save them money and help make their business highly successful.

  • Cost effective when compared to hiring extra office staff – only pay for the calls received (typical savings of 60%-75%).
  • Never miss an important phone call.
  • Use the service only when you need it – after hours, emergency, out-of-office coverage such as illness or vacation, power outages, and much more.
  • Spend your valuable time on your business knowing that you are not missing phone calls.
  • Turn off your mobile phone when you are in important meetings knowing that it will still be answered.

Questions to Ask Prospective Teleservice Customers

Answering these questions may help new clients decide if teleservices is right for them:

  • Is every phone call that comes in being answered by a live person?
  • Is your voice mail overflowing or completely full?
  • Does answering calls and scheduling appointments keep you from attending to business and doing your work?
  • Are you losing clients and potential customers because incoming calls are not handled efficiently and quickly?
  • Are customers frustrated with a lack of response or follow up to their inquiries?
  • Does your company deal with a large volume of client phone calls every day?

Remember to ask your clients for references and referrals to others that they feel could use your services. Your existing, satisfied and happy clients are the best source for new customers!

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