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Transforming the Enterprise and Call Center with Intelligent Automation (IA)

5 Capabilities Intelligent Automation (IA) Solutions Must Deliver to Align with Customer Demands

We live in a world that is connected, mobile and demanding. Enterprises must use Intelligent Automation to gain a better understanding of their customers’ demands, behavior and sentiment. This is essential to successfully manage the customer experience. Especially when today’s customers have other options, high expectations, and access to multiple channels of engagement.

Intelligent Automation Solutions

Managing big data resulting from everyday business with customers, employees and internal activities is another major challenge. It is almost impossible to analyze big data and produce actionable knowledge using manual methods. Other challenges include the lack of unification among enterprise systems and the absence of business process automation.  Deficiencies in producing real-time and holistic views of the overall enterprise operation pose a final challenge.

Conventional workforce optimization (WFO) solutions are not adequate since they do not make use of intelligence-based automation. They use an “inside-out” approach that focuses on aligning customer service with internal business processes.  IA-driven solutions use an “outside-in” approach that aligns business processes with customer demands.

CXM Driven by Intelligent Automation

To cost-effectively deploy IA solutions to most functions of an enterprise, solutions should offer 5 major, generic capabilities:

Capture

Access, capture and record data, media and KPIs from every entity engaged in enterprise functions. This includes data and media from telecom platforms, service request routing, customer engagement, multichannel interactions, transactions, IoT devices, CRMs, and ERPs.

Unify

Manage, normalize, convert, categorize, and prepare the captured data for the next steps of processing and analysis.

Analyze

Multichannel and cross-channel analytics use the unified datato produce actionable knowledge and insightful trends.

Decide & Learn

Rule-based or AI-driven decision-making and learning machines use the actionable knowledge and trends to automatically determine next best steps and actions.

Act

Automatically launch the best actions, reports and notifications determined by the decision-making machines.

The advantage of such capabilities is that they can intelligently automate enterprise and contact center functions related to both customer experience management (CXM) and business process automation.

Empowering enterprises to cost effectively and intelligently automate and unify customer experience management and business processes.

Organizations can intelligently automate the entire CXM process and customer journey before, during and after service. This includes customer service routing, engagement, processing and feedback management. During engagement, IA drives other applications such as automated QA and compliance management. IA also impacts voice and text-based Intelligent Virtual Agent as well as intelligence-based voice applications such as fraud protection and discovery of sentiment. Business process automation is enabled through intelligent robotic process automation, unification and process automation among dispersed enterprise systems engaged in delivering certain enterprise functions.

Deployment of and transition to Intelligent Automation solutions requires customer assistance programs to assure success and a rapid return on investment. Suppliers of Intelligent Automation solutions should offer customer-centric programs like consultations and proofs of concept.  Intuitive tools that help customers map their business processes to IA solution configurations should also be made available. Solutions offered as both on-premise software or SaaS make acquisition easier and help organizations meet their business and financial requirements.

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Customer Experience Management Powered by Intelligent Automation

Customer Experience Management Powered by Intelligent Automation

Customer Loyalty vs. Customer Satisfaction

All enterprises should strive to create positive customer experiences that lead to customer loyalty. Customer loyalty is different from customer satisfaction.  It establishes a long-lasting relationship with customers. It is an ongoing process, not a single set of actions. Therefore, enterprises should develop a strategy for customer experience management.

Companies first focused on customer interactions by capturing and analyzing customer calls, emails and chat. Agent training soon followed to better serve customers during interactions. This approach helped to achieve customer loyalty, but it ignored other steps of the customer journey critical to Customer Experience Management (CXM).

4 Segments of Customer Experience Management

Customer experience management demands a view of the entire customer journey, consisting of the following four segments:

  1. Routing customer service requests to the right organization and agent rapidly with no need for the customer to repeat information
  2. Managing interactions for the best outcome for the customer
  3. Processing customer service requests quickly and accurately
  4. Capturing and analyzing customer feedback from all customer touch points during and after the completion of service, making changes and taking action toward improvement.

intelligent automation

Intelligent Automation Technologies Greatly Power Customer Experience Management

Enterprises can face major challenges in establishing these four critical segments effectively. This is where advanced Intelligent Automation (IA) technologies greatly enhance CXM programs.

The core components of IA is commonly used the same way in all four segments.

  1. Data and media capturing, unification, and big data management performed on all areas critical to the customer journey. This includes telecom platforms (network routers, IVR, PBX, ACD, etc.) and key performance indicators from workforce optimization, workforce management, customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning.
  2. Multichannel analysis (speech, desktop and text) of unified data and the creation of actionable knowledge
  3. Learning Decision Making Engines (LDME) driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI) further analyze actionable knowledge, make best decisions, and learn from historical data and analysis
  4. Automated actions driven by LDME launch actions and automate functions

 

Artificial Intelligence and Learning Machines are Key to Making IA a Practical Solution

customer journey

In customer service routing, IA automatically captures, monitors and analyzes the status and performance of all entities engaged in the customer journey. Routing makes the best decision and launches the action to intelligently route the service request in real time. It also captures customer information from each touch point and deposits it in a single place accessible to all agents and systems. This prevents customers from having to repeat information.

IA captures and analyzes customer interactions (calls, emails, chat, desktop transactions) to automatically conduct quality assurance, compliance management and customer sentiment analysis. Real-time coaching, workflow automation, reminders and notifications help automate agent interactions. Recent developments in AI-based chatbots and Intelligent Virtual Agent (IVA) technologies automate customer interactions while reducing enterprise expenses.

When it comes to processing customer service transactions, IA utilizes Robotic Process Automation to process repetitive tasks in various processes without errors. IA utilizes Business Process Automation to perform data collection, unification and analysis of transactions to automate business processes.

Finally, IA captures customer sentiment from every customer touch point during and after service. This can include social media content and customer surveys. IA analyzes the data and provides actionable knowledge to LDME that can offer conclusions, trends and actions.

Each of these four steps is designed to improve systems, processes and the interactions engaged in the customer journey.

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Transaction Data Unification Challenges

Enterprise data transactions

Associating and exchanging data and events related to the entire transaction life cycle and the data unification of transactions.

Sharing Enterprise Data

Today’s enterprises face a major challenge with associating and exchanging data and events related to the entire life cycle of the transactions. Transactions are processed by major and dispersed parts of their business operations, and especially in between telecom platforms, WFO products, and CRM software. Automating data unification and media from each transaction life cycle, processed by these discrete parts, can offer a holistic and enterprise-wide view for each transaction.

Data Unification – Automate or Manual Data Collection

For example, a CRM record can automatically and in a single place, contain the data and information related to the entire life cycle of a transaction. This can include the start of the transaction through telecom platforms, followed by:

  • Processing of the transaction by agents
  • Agent interactions
  • Information related to the recording
  • Monitoring and analytics of the transaction
  • Final steps in completing the transaction through the CRM software

Consequently, and without a data unification solution, enterprises are forced to manually gather the dispersed information. Manual operations result in time-consuming projects, higher costs, errors and deficiencies in the business process.

The ideal transaction data unification solution provides users with the ability to:

  • Define critical pieces of information and media they need to automatically unify from various enterprise products. This includes telecom platforms, WFO products (such as call recording, screen capture and desktop transactions, and automated quality assurance programs, etc.) and the CRM record objects
  • In real time and automatically collect the data, information and media from all user-defined products and platforms through APIs and software integrations
  • Aggregate the data and store in user-defined locations, such as the CRM screens

A supervisor, a claim or order validator, or a QA manager can utilize the CRM records, reports, charts and analytics snapshots to obtain the information related to the entire life cycle of a transaction. Users can click on user-defined CRM data fields and immediately access recorded calls, WFO-related data, or telecom information.

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What is a Call Center? A Modern Primer

Call centers are offices staffed with representatives who either make or receive phone calls.

Call centers employ many staff in customer service, sales and support functions.

Call Center Introduction

A call center is an office where a company’s inbound calls are received, or outbound calls are made. Call centers are increasingly popular in today’s society, where many companies have centralized customer service and support functions. Call centers employ many staff in customer service, sales and support functions.

Call centers are often large offices staffed with representatives who either make or receive phone calls. Depending on the size of the call center, a single office could have anywhere from a few dozen to hundreds of telephone staff. Depending on the needs of the company, call centers can make either incoming or outgoing calls, or both.

Some call centers focus on answering inbound calls, such as a bank that gives out a toll-free number for customers needing assistance. In that case, call center representatives can give account balances and take loan applications over the phone. Other call centers focus on outbound calls, such as a survey company. In that case, survey representatives make outbound calls to ask people to answer survey questions over the phone.

Almost every company or enterprise has a need for call center. Call centers provide a number of advantages to companies. By centralizing telephone-based service and support in one location, companies can easily adjust staffing to match call volume. Call centers can be located almost anywhere, allowing companies to take advantage of time zones and cheaper labor rates in different states and countries. Call centers also centralize the technology needs of companies, allowing major telecommunications setups to be installed in a small handful of call centers instead of a number of smaller offices, making upgrades and training easier to complete.

Inbound and Outbound Call Management

Many call centers use a number of different technologies to help improve performance and customer experience. Inbound call centers often use automatic call distribution (ACD), in which incoming calls are assigned to representatives on the order they are received, or assigned based on their skills.

Inbound call centers also use a technology called Interactive Voice Response (IVR), in which an automated recorded voice presents a menu to the caller to choose from by dialing numbers or speaking the choice.

Outbound call centers may use Dialer technologies. Dialers can automate the outbound dialing for representatives in which a list of telephone numbers are entered into the Dialer, and Dialer will dial those numbers automatically either after the agent has completed the previous call, or continue dialing the numbers on the list until a number answers and while the representative is waiting, in which case the Dialer automatically connects the answered call to the representative.

Workforce Optimization (WFO) and Workforce Management (WFM)

Call centers usually utilize call recording and monitoring (WFO), in which customer calls are recorded and monitored by quality assurance staff to ensure that phone representatives meet customer needs. Quality assurance and agent performance scoring are critical functions in improving the performance of call center representatives. There are software technologies and applications, called workforce management (WFM), used to effectively schedule call center agents based on the volume of calls during the day, week or month. This schedule management will prevent over- or under-staffing the call center.

Other technologies, such as Performance Management (CCPM), are available to call center managers to define their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), measure, report and manage the performance of their agents and call centers. In recent years industry vendors have provided to call center software technologies that can perform speech and/or text analytics. Analytics technologies can assist in automating and optimizing work required to monitor, measure and qualify call center transactions and/or agent interactions with customers.

The collection of all of the above technologies, called Workforce Optimization (WFO) and Workforce Management (WFM), can be used to automate and optimize the call center transactions, functions, customer interactions and quality-compliance management. Call center technology evolves constantly, helping call center staff assist customers more efficiently and effectively.

Hierarchy of Call Center and Enterprise Technologies

Multiple categories make up today's complex call center environment.

From connecting to the outside world, to customer support programs, call centers are a vital part of modern business.

Call Center Outsourcing

Call centers have been increasingly popular as outsourcing increases. With outsourcing, companies contract out some functions to other companies. As it can be expensive to maintain call center equipment and staff, some companies choose to outsource their telephone functions to an external call center. In this case, external call center staff can be trained to answer phone calls from a number of different companies.

 

Evolution of the phone: Why the phone lies at the heart of business

 

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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

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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 

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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
CollectionsWin-Back
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

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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”

http://bit.ly/1PhP7ju

 

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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.

WFO_BDM_2

 

“81% of Enterprises Are Relying On Analytics To Gain Greater Customer Insights” – Forbes/Tech
http://onforb.es/1LMyfog

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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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