Execs In The Know- A Global Network of Customer Experience Professionals

Tag Archives: IVR

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

Better Customer Loyalty Through Personalization

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The following is a guest blog written by Kathy Juve, SVP, Global Marketing and Product Development at Convergys. Learn more about Convergys by visiting their website.

Among CX professionals, interest in personalizing customer experiences is always a hot topic, but companies often invest too much time and too many resources in things that don’t matter much to customers.

Why? Because most companies lack the necessary research data and analytic insights to know with certainty when personalization works, when it doesn’t, and how to make it have the biggest payoff.

To help contribute to the industry’s understanding of personalization in customer care, Convergys has surveyed over 3,000 customers across a variety of industries. The results have given us an accurate picture of the current state of personalization today, and clear answers to the questions of how customers want their service experiences to be tailored to them.

We share some of the key discoveries here.

Most Personalization Attempts Miss the Mark

In customer care, personalization should be about making attempts to establish an authentic, timely, and mutually beneficial connection with a customer based on what is known about their individual needs and preferences.

Our research shows that most companies are struggling to do this.

When we surveyed customers about their most recent phone interaction, for example, the most commonly identified personalization attempt (47%) was that the agent mentioned the customer’s name. Unfortunately, we found that mentioning a customer’s name ranks near the very bottom in terms of importance to the customer.

So, how do you deliver personalization in ways that matter the most to customers? Our research points out that it’s not simply a matter of training the right agent behaviors or supporting agents with the right technology, but rather a strategic blending of the two.

Here are the top four components of both agent-owned and technology-enabled personalization factors, according to customers: Continue reading

How Customer Experience Is Changing

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The following is a guest blog written by Amit Shankardass, Executive Vice President of Marketing for Teleperformance. Learn more about Teleperformance by visiting their website.

Sometimes the world moves so quickly that it is difficult to see which changes and developments are really important. Progress just happens and we often forget how things used to happen, even in the recent past. How customers relate to brands is just one example of an area of business that is moving faster now more than ever, especially in terms of how the customer experience shapes how customers feel about brands and companies.

In order to predict the future, it’s impossible to just extrapolate from the past, but it’s possible to step back from the rapid change, to take stock and evaluate just what has changed. With a deeper understanding of what has changed the customer experience and why, it is easier to understand how customer interactions may change in the coming years.

The industry analyst Gartner recently published a research paper suggesting that 89% of the companies surveyed are now competing with the customer experience as a key differentiator. Managing the customer experience has become the single most important task for executive managers, now with a higher priority than other traditional areas of focus, such as reducing costs or increasing revenue.

Why has this happened?

The simple answer to this is that the way customers communicate has changed in a short period of time. Two specific innovations arguably made the largest impact on mobile Internet access:  (1) launch of the Apple iPhone in 2007 and (2) rise in popularity of online social networks. Customers are now comfortable publishing their views on products and services for the consumption of friends, family members, and followers, and they have immediate access to prices, reviews, and the ability to make purchases 24/7.

How did this happen?
Continue reading

Why IVR? Why Now?

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The following is a guest blog written by Abhay Prasad, Senior Director, Product Management, Self-Service, at Aspect. Learn more about Aspect by visiting their website.

Did you know your customers probably don’t want to talk to you?

This is one of the surprising discoveries we made while conducting primary consumer research on customer service preferences across generational groups, including Millennials. Instead of talking to an agent, 70% of Americans would rather solve product and service issues themselves and 91% would use self-service if it were available. And the demand for self-service is growing. This year, 42% of survey respondents told us they would rather do just about anything else (like clean a toilet) than talk to customer service – a 27% increase over last year’s survey results.

By tapping into consumer’s preferences for self-service options, businesses stand to save millions of dollars in operational costs, but only when self-service is convenient, appealing and customer-focused. IVRs, which have been considered a mainstay of customer self-service for years, are designed more to keep customers from reaching an agent than to help them resolve their issue in an efficient manner. As a result, most customers who find themselves in an IVR will do their best to find their way out again.

There IS a better way to meet customers’ self-service needs. In fact, we can think of at least eight better ways. Here are two of our favorites: Continue reading

Mobile Disruption and the Future of Customer Care

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This is a guest blog written by Dan Gordon, SVP Strategy and Development at West, Interactive Services. Learn more about West at West.com/Interactive.

It’s estimated that we spend 177 minutes (nearly one-fifth of our waking day) on our phones daily — habitually checking them for updates around 150 times.[i] Furthermore, it’s predicted that mobile commerce will account for almost half of all e-commerce by 2018.[ii] Seasoned Silicon Valley gurus have even asserted a probable P.C. extinction as a result of the increasing functionality of mobile devices.

Digital disruption is transforming our lives and the brands we touch. Organizations need to put more power in customers’ hands. We need to free consumers to interact on their own terms and treat every interaction as a piece of an ongoing conversation. We need to enact thoughtful strategies to… Get. More. Proactive.

This whitepaper on the mobile shift from West and Execs in the Know is a good place to get started.

We’re now living in a world where 87 percent of parents use texting — 72 percent of which hold a positive perception of companies that offer text messaging customer care.[iii] It’s estimated that in 2018, mobile search will generate 73 billion calls to businesses across every industry.[iv] Luckily, knowing this puts brands in control of their own destiny! Continue reading

6 Reasons Why Your Chat Business Model Could Fail

 

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The following is a guest blog written by Nicholas Klisht, Contact Center Strategist at Nielsen IT Consulting. To learn more about their solutions visit their website www.nielsenitconsulting.com.

If you are launching a chat initiative, then this short blog carries a big lesson. Uncover the six common traps that cause chat business models to fail.

Chat provides a mechanism for customers to obtain assistance online when browsing a website/mobile app. Based on experience with various chat implementations, and speaking with multiple businesses, it’s clear that the business case for chat is not simple.

The original theory was that chat would mirror an IVR/Automated Phone System and deflect calls. Because agents could service multiple customers concurrently, the model appeared to be a win-win. Customers are serviced in their channel of choice and agents are twice or three times as productive. WRONG! It’s been proven across multiple industries that if this is your sole objective, then your chat business model will fail.

Here are the six reasons why your chat business model could fail:

Reason #1: Lack of clarity on the value proposition
If the ultimate goal with chat is to reduce expenses by avoiding calls, take a hard look at this approach. This is not a valuable add to customers. Your value proposition should be focused on providing assistance in the customer’s channel of choice, possibly by making the sales and acquisition process more convenient for customers. Continue reading

NextGen CX For The Digital Age – It’s Key to Business Survival

 

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The following is a guest blog written by Ted Hunting, Senior Director, North America Marketing and Global Demand Generation, at Genesys. Learn more about Genesys by visiting their website.

To hear more about this topic and others like it, join us at Customer Response Summit Seattle, September 28-30th, 2015.

Gartner’s CEO has proclaimed that Digital Business is Upon Us. Companies that think they are not digital businesses will be out of business and the companies that will win in this era of digital transformation are those companies that make the most of every business moment. What Gartner is proclaiming is key to every company in every industry is essentially “customer care for the connected consumer” – the key topic of the Customer Response Summit Seattle. It’s also why I encourage customer care and CX leaders to attend what I have found in the past to be an extremely enlightening event, attended by smart, energized customer care executives and luminaries. From speakers, to networking, to innovative new ideas in the “Idea Lab”, it will be a fun few days of learning and “eureka” moments.

As CX and contact center leaders in our companies, we are now squarely in a position to help our companies make the most of every business moment and create the connected customer. The business moment occurs via customers hitting web chat, social channels, webpages, IVRs, mobile apps, text messages, and of course good old fashioned phones and email. These business moments, which historically started with the phone, have now changed 180 degrees with digital being the first and preferred communication channels for today’s connected consumer. Continue reading

Omnichannel: Taking it From Vision to Reality

 

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The following is a guest blog written by Daniel Hong, Senior Director of Product Marketing Strategy, at [24]7. Learn more about [24]7 by visiting their website.

To hear more about this topic and others like it, join us at Customer Response Summit Seattle, September 28-30th, 2015.

Show of hands…how many times have you heard the word ”omnichannel” in a meeting, and like reflex action, you let out a slightly muffled grunt, just loud enough for the person sitting next to you to hear and acknowledge your sentiment with a “we’re totally on the same page” eye roll. And then later on in the meeting, when the “how would we implement omnichannel” is discussed, a flurry of questions is posed, by multiple meeting attendees, with sharp tones of tactful skepticism accompanied with cocked eyebrows. This seems to be a common scene unfolding in conference rooms today.

While omnichannel has been wildly heralded by vendors as the ultimate panacea for broken customer journeys, it’s no secret that there’s a certain degree of incredulousness among enterprises when it comes to actually making omnichannel customer engagement a reality. At the same time, all enterprises are sold on the vision and promise of omnichannel.

After all, it makes perfect sense that customers should be able to start their journey in one channel on one device and continue their journey, in a seamless fashion, on another channel and on a different device. All the while, the customer’s experience is continuous because context is maintained, regardless of the touch point. Matias Duarte, the former lead designer of Android at Google, sums it up well “…but when services actually work seamlessly across all these screens that are available, you’re going to be like, OMG, obviously.” Continue reading