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CR Summit Vegas

CRS Vegas – Customer Engagement LIVE! Executive Summary

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The following is a guest blog post from Greg Sherry, Vice President Marketing at Verint. For more information about Verint, visit their website

Thank you for taking part in Verint’s interactive general session at Customer Response Summit Las Vegas called “Customer Engagement LIVE!”  where we broke into discussion groups for interactive discussions and summary read back presentations. Here are some of the recommendations we heard from the groups as part of the breakout group notes and read backs:

What’s Old Is New Again. When is the last time you received a handwritten note or personal email from a business you engage with? It was memorable, wasn’t it? Think of ways you can incorporate genuine, personalized touches with customers. The strategy can be scalable: one “wow” moment can generate genuine delight and powerful word-of-mouth amplification.

Think Mobile. Do you have a mobile strategy? The need is clear: provide information, customer support, “wow” moments via mobile channels. But be careful: consumers often have limited ability to “digest” content you are sharing with them (because they are at the airport, walking, at home, multi-tasking), so be sure your content and communications are as short and to-the-point as you can.

Establish a common knowledge base across all channels to ensure consistent response. One company recognized the need to consolidate contact center systems to a single agent desktop. Customer service agents had difficulty serving customers in a timely manner and providing accurate information because information resided in 13 disparate systems. By consolidating all the systems into one agent desktop view, the company quickly reduced agent average handle time (AHT) and saw increased customer engagement scores. The unified access to the applications and information also increased employee productivity and helped provide a personalized experience for customers. Continue reading

Intelligent Self-Service: Balancing Support Costs with CSAT

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The following is a guest blog from Coveo

The overwhelming majority of support leaders have recognized that their organizations’ self-service channels are their customers’ most preferred method for getting support (and that assisted service has become something they want to avoid). Customers want to find the answers to their questions independently and conveniently. As such, 97% of companies are investing in improving their customers’ self-service experience in 2017.

Self-service is dramatically more cost effective than other service channels, both in cost per resolution, and because it reduces the overall case load on contact centers. According to TSIA, phone and email support are each well over 100x more expensive per incident than web self-service, while chat costs over 30x more. Read more about that here.

New technologies are making it possible to create an intelligent self-service experience – one that is easy, relevant, and intuitive – that can generate results quickly.

For example, WatchGuard Technologies created an intelligent self-service experience, that improved its case deflection rate from three to 11 percent within only four months.

Customer satisfaction is of utmost importance to WatchGuard. The company provides several customer support options, including a 24/7 call center, and a wide range of online technical resources such as a knowledge base, technical documentation, video tutorials, product datasheets and user forums. However, before implementing an intelligent self-service solution – and despite all their available resources – the self-service capabilities were still falling short. Results from a TSIA Benchmark Review helped them realize that their self-service site was not intuitive to their customers and there was no easy way to search and filter through all the information.

Watch Joanne Miller, Managing Director of Product Training and Publications at WatchGuard Technologies, explain her journey to intelligent self-service in this video.

Making self-service easy.

Your customers expect to be able to find the answers they need with minimal effort. Unifying your content and making it searchable allows them to do so. A unified index consolidates all of your organization’s information from across your entire ecosystem and creates a single hub that puts relevant information at your customer’s’ fingertips. Intelligent search taps into that index to find exactly what is being searched and delivers the answers your customers need, when they need them. Continue reading

The Contact Center of the Future: Everything Old is New Again

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The following is a guest blog written by Evan Dobkin, Marketing Manager at Aspect Software.  

I entered the contact center market five years ago, working on self-service interaction and the potential for personalized, customized experiences made possible by smartphones. At the time, the industry was planning for a multi-channel world. The domination of the “archaic” voice channel was starting to give way to native apps, social channels and SMS as the tides that would lift all customer service ships. It was very easy for businesses to get caught up in the hype of what was on the horizon and become paralyzed, wondering what changes they needed to make to their business to become part of this modern customer service world.

However, over these last five years, I’ve come to understand that despite the bells and whistles of sleek, up-and-coming communication channels, brands looking to add self-service interaction must begin by perfecting their IVR. A modernized IVR can help to improve the customer experience while providing a solid foundation for additional contact channels.

IVR has been, and will continue to be, the workhorse of your customer service offering. Often regarded by consumers as “the channel of last resort,” because they expect resolution when taking the time to call directly, it’s actually critical for resolving many customer issues. Not convinced? Consider these modern IVR realities:

– IVR is one of many contact points

– Improved speech recognition and dynamic personalization have made navigation easier

– New interactive voice solutions (Amazon Echo, Siri, etc…) emerged that are redefining how we interact with and our expectations of today’s IVR

– It is all about customer experience, ease of use – and containing costs Continue reading

Optimizing your call center to provide excellent customer experience and make more money

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The following is a guest blog written by Michael Cho at Next Caller. For more information on Next Caller, visit their website

“Say please and thank you”

“Smile while you dial”

“The customer is always right”

As a customer experience executive, more likely than not, you’ve trained your call center reps to assume these proverbial pieces of advice. After all, having friendlier reps translates into better experiences for your customers. Right?

Not always.

No less than a month ago, I was on the phone with a popular eCommerce brand, trying desperately to figure out why my Christmas gift to my parents had not shipped. The agent with whom I was speaking was delightful; he did everything right, asking me about my day and apologizing after every turn of the maze that my order was quickly becoming.

Alas, after nearly 10 minutes of hold time and countless questions, he figured out that my name had been improperly spelled in their system. Upon hanging up, I was annoyed: not enough to make me want to cancel my order, but enough to make me second-guess my loyalty to the brand.

It turns out. I’m not alone. According to a study conducted by American Express, “78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience.” In addition, “59% would try a new brand or company for a better service experience.”

Clearly, there is enormous financial upside to providing exceptional customer service. But as having well-trained agents is not nearly enough, what steps can you take to transform your call center into a well-oiled machine?

1) Identify Your Callers

According to Contact Babel’s Contact Center Decision Maker’s Guide, 61 percent of callers are unknown in real-time. For the call center agent, this means more time spent on gathering customer information.

“What’s your name, sir?”

“Benedict Cumberbatch.”

“Can you repeat that?”

“Benedict Cumberbatch. C as in cowboy, u as in umbrella, etc…”

On average, these cumbersome back-and-forths take call centers anywhere from 30-60 seconds per call. When you’re dealing with thousands of calls per day, the hard cost quickly accumulates. But more importantly, this cost transfers over to your customers, who more likely than not do not want to be spelling their names repeatedly just to find out the status of their orders.  Continue reading

Bringing stakeholders close to the customer experience

The following is a guest blog written by Simon Herd, Director of Design Research at Sutherland Labs.  

Traditionally, user-focused activities have been conducted by specialists who either move from research to design directly themselves, or who pass the baton to others. This is partly a factor of history, but with UX now in the business mainstream it’s increasingly important to bring others closer to customers and their lives. Collaboration with stakeholders is king, but how do you do this smartly when we all have too much to do and too little time to do it in?

Why is collaboration so important?
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Often product managers and those responsible for success are primarily understanding their customers via metrics such as CSAT and NPS. These are deliberately simple, but create a challenge in understanding the why behind the what, which is crucial for identifying low-level change that makes a difference.

Involving users is the key to overcoming this, but techniques for doing so owe a huge debt to an academia and rigour in experimental design. Anything involving real users or customers is moderated by specialists, with stakeholders disconnected behind a one-way mirror or getting their understanding from an after-the-fact synthesis. There are very good reasons for this, as anyone who has seen stressed product managers observe their ideas being casually dismissed in a user session can testify.

However as UX moves out of labs and into mainstream business, UX activities can’t be solely conducted on this basis. There are too few UX professionals, who are in evermore demand as it becomes a mainstream concern. Also, an increasingly multi-touchpoint world means that knowledge needed to make products more effective for their users becomes increasingly diffuse.

So why doesn’t it happen more?

Continue reading