The Wild West in our Unified Communications and Contact Centre round-up.

Posted by UCeyeComment on 28-Oct-2016 15:53:30

There’s certainly a Wild West element to this space, and that opens the door for new players to make their marks, and bring even more disruption to the cadre of UC players we’re so familiar with.

To think in the time of the Wild West, telegraph messaging was the way people communicated over distance. This progressed to voice, and now we have gone back to messaging. Have we moved forward or regressed in some way?

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The Dance of UCC Transformation

Organizations experience five stages of transformation as they deploy and expand UCC technology investments, according to Wainhouse Research analyst Bill Haskins. He outlines the progression from siloed to transformed organization. Changes along this five-step path include migrating to a single UCC platform shifting strategy from cost savings to productivity.

“There is a three-step process for organizations as they move through these stages of deploying UCC technology, said Peter Quinlan, vice president of UCC product management at Tata Communications, which sponsored the webinar.”

Yes, you read that right. There’s a 3-step process for deployment within the 5-stage process for transformation – sounds like a right old merry dance. As long as you don’t suffer from “analysis paralysis” in wasting time defining which stage you’re in, Mr. Haskins does provide some actual meaningful takeaways for optimizing UCC.

Connect Managed Services, in addition to kindly supporting my blogs, happens to provide exactly the type of services to assist you through the transformation outlined by Mr. Haskins, although in a more sensible progression.

Call Centres Make Bad Neighbours?

The concept of individuals rejecting the construction of certain developments in the vicinity of their own homes is so ubiquitous as to have its own acronym, “Not in my backyard,” (NIMBY.)

I get it. I don’t want to live near a highway, train station, or chicken processing plant either.

But rejecting a call centre? I’m baffled.

The town of Victor, on the eastern portion of New York State, is proposing to build ConServe, a 100,000 square foot call centre. And some residents are displeased.

Upon reading this, I first suspected my fellow journalists were sensationalizing the story; finding one irrational citizen and inflating their views, attributing isolated resistance to a larger segment of the population. 

One resident stated, “We don’t need any more business.” Being a responsible journalist, I did a bit of research. Victor has a population of 14,000. Considering there is a 5.5% unemployment rate, and negative recent job growth, I doubt there aren’t other citizens who would beg to differ.

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Using Data to Turn a Customer Relationship Centre into a Profit Centre

No one likes being “put on the list.” You know – called, emailed, and texted relentlessly by marketers. Most businesses respect this desire to not be pestered. “We won’t share your information with any third parties,” is standard language to include when soliciting contact details.

Then others take the complete opposite approach, as Pierre Puyraveau writes in, “Using Data to Turn a Customer Relationship Center into a Profit Center.”

“At the heart of the customer relationship, the CRC has become the nerve center of value creation. Beyond just answering calls, agents are now incentivized to grow existing accounts and win new business.”

Despite a prevalent desire to not be bothered, it’s true that existing customers are a wonderful source of additional revenue. Viewing customer relations as a profit centre is smart business. Mr. Puyraveau continues by describing the business processes and technology needed to enable these changes, and a comprehensive roadmap to analyse the current state of your call centre. The piece ends with one mention that his company, ISG, can help with this. I’m always pleased to see authors provide meaningful content, rather than indulge in narcissistic self-promotion.

Social Media a Hidden Gem for Improving Customer Satisfaction

According to digital marketing expert and author Jay Baer, when posting about a business on social media, consumers expect a response only half the time, and are merely complaining the other half.

“As it happens, customer expectations for a timely reply from Facebook or Twitter are fairly low.” A returned phone call or email simply meets expectations, whereas a Tweet back can surprise and delight consumers. It’s also less expensive for businesses to interact with customers in social media versus phone and email.

Mr. Baer states that numerous industries are “adding social media teams or shifting workers away from traditional customer service ‘call center’ roles.” At a time when NPS is a key benchmark, the move towards customer experience strategies mapped to the customer journey could bode well for many companies. Of course, that is only until customer expectations adjust, and responses are expected via social media in the same way as email and phone. Jump through this window of opportunity before it closes.

(NPS = Net Promoter Score, if you’re not up on your TLAs, Three Letter Acronyms.)

Voice Biometrics Lead to Poetic Justice

One incident of financial fraud occurs every 15 seconds, a 53% increase over the same period in 2015.

Nick Ismail writes, “The online side of security in particular has come on leaps and bounds recently… However, at present the same cannot be said for phone-based contact, which still significantly lags behind its online counterpart…It is estimated that between 30-50% of all fraud incidents are initiated with a phone call.”

Voice biometrics are an innovative new technology-based solutions that can protect contact centre agents and prevent fraud. “The main reason that voice biometrics can be so effective is because research shows over 95% of fraudulent call attempts are in fact repeat attacks by the same group of professional criminals. This has allowed authorities around the world to build up a global database of known fraudsters and their voice signatures.”

One could say that succeeding in their criminal endeavours has assisted authorities in identifying these criminals. I find this to be wonderful poetic justice. The only question I see remaining is why every business isn’t using voice biometrics already?

Unified Communication: As Elaborate as an Airliner?

Instrumentation is crucial to the safe operation of an aircraft. Darc Rasmussen wrote, “And yet corporations to this day manage their unified communications systems -- many of which are just as complex as an airplane--with no instrumentation at all, flying blind from one white-knuckle incident to the next.”

While it’s true that UC systems have grown more sophisticated, I still feel the need to call ‘hyperbole’ on the claim that they’re “just as complex as an airplane.” Exaggerations aside, you indeed cannot manage what you cannot measure.

Mr. Rasmussen continues to describe how, without a performance-management and monitoring system, it’s difficult to find the glitch in “the comedy of errors that transpires when things go wrong.” And if you can’t even see measurements, you’re one step farther away from efficacy. Connect Managed Services, happen to offer this very service.

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Tooting Your Own Horn

Press releases occasionally contain actually news. But all too often they’re blatantly boastful shouts out to existing customers and investors, and prospects of both types to proclaim the growth and strength of an organization. A few recent examples are below:

  • Cisco acquired Worklife, makers of meeting productivity and collaboration software. Cisco intends to combine the Worklife platform with Cisco Spark, which runs on the company's collaboration cloud, in an effort to bolster existing features of the platform.
  • 8x8, Inc. has been awarded four new patents related to its communications technologies that help customers seamlessly connect, communicate and collaborate globally.
  • TelePacific signed a long-term contract with VeloCloud Networks to provide the foundation technology that is now delivering its rapidly growing Unified Communications, Managed IT and Managed Services to businesses across the country.

  

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Topics: Telephony, Unified Communications, Customer Experience, Voice Biometrics, Contact Centre, Digital Transformation