Archive for September, 2018

The Pros and Cons of Outsourced Call Center Services

Posted on: September 27th, 2018 by Dániel Severa 1 Comment

To outsource or not to outsource: that is the question Managing Directors often ask when deciding whether to rely on outsourced call center services or keep them in-house.

Customer service is probably the most important part of any business. However, as it requires significant resources and doesn’t generate revenue, for most businesses it is seen as a “burden”. So, why not take that burden off your shoulders and outsource your customer care activities to a call center service provider?  

However, at the same time, your product or services may require special knowledge, and external parties may not have that knowledge. And since outsourced call centers deal with everything from telesales, debt collection to IT helpdesk in across a spectrum of industries, most of the time they do not specialize in one field.

So, as you can see, outsourced call center services have both pros and cons. In this article, I compiled a list of some of the most important pros and cons of outsourced call center services. If you are considering outsourcing your customer service activities, this will be required reading for you!

Pros:

  1.    Cost savings

Cost efficiency is definitely one of the major advantages of outsourced call center services. If you decide to run an in-house call center, one thing is for sure: you’ll need to prepare your business for a significant investment. First of all, you’ll need to install reliable call center technology and a team of agents who can take care of your customer queries. You’ll also need to invest in training programs. In contrast, external service providers absorb the cost of operations, including call center software maintenance and hiring, so you’ll definitely save money.

  1.    Around-the-clock service

If your business’ customer service operates internationally, outsourcing some of your activities that require a multilingual workforce and flexible working hours makes a lot of sense. Agent retention has always been a real challenge for call centers, and finding multilingual call center agents who are willing to work outside of normal business hours won’t make your job easier. Outsourced call centers, on the other hand, will be able to provide you with multilingual staff and around-the-clock customer service, so you won’t need to worry about hiring processes and irregular opening hours.

  1.    Increased productivity

As already mentioned, today it is simply not possible for a company to operate without having an efficient customer service department. Providing customer service, though, is no small feat, so it’s no surprise to say that setting up such a department is a headache for most businesses.

On the other hand, by leveraging outsourced call center services, you’ll have more time to focus on your core activities. So, why spend your valuable time-solving customer issues when you can assign a team of experts to do it?

  1.    Saving on hiring and training

Hiring is hard work in itself, and finding the right employees is even harder. I’m sure you’ve already experienced the ordeal of trying to recruit an expert team who can efficiently and effectively contribute to the success of your business. You may not know it, but employee turnover is extremely high in call center jobs, making it a constant challenge for any business that deals with customer service activities. However, by outsourcing your call center activities, you can cross this challenge off your list.

Furthermore, as we all know, employees need systematic training sessions in order to be able to excel at their job. Leveraging expert training sessions, however, requires a lot of investment. Luckily, an outsourced call center will without doubt have a pool of trained staff specialized at being the voice of your brand, and providing excellent support to your customers.

  1.    Peak season support

In every business there are peak times when calls to customer service rocket – just think of e-commerce companies during Christmas holidays. At times like these there’s no doubt that you’ll need either longer working hours or more employees to ensure there is no interruption in your customer care.

Outsourced call centers, however, are already prepared to take care of your customer service during these periods of high call volumes. By outsourcing your activities to a call center service provider, you’ll be able to easily scale up your customer service needs in peak times without the responsibility (and stress) of having to invest in additional employees.

Cons:

  1.    Lack of specialist industry and company knowledge

We all know the golden rule of customer service: always put your customers first! However, when your customer service reps do not have sufficient knowledge of your company and industry, the consequences can seriously harm your customer care.

As already mentioned, outsourced call centers usually deal with a great number of projects for a variety of companies from different industries, and often do not specialize in any fields. Depending on your industry, your call center agents may need special knowledge in order to best serve your customers, and chances are outsourced call center agents will lack this knowledge.

Furthermore, outsourced call center agents are often unfamiliar with your company’s culture, therefore they often fail to provide dedicated support to your customers.

  1.    Lack of control

If you decide to rely on outsourced call center services, you’ll need to take into consideration that personal supervision will be difficult. Therefore, finding a reliable external party, who provides transparency through technology tools and call center metrics, is essential.

When outsourcing call center operations to an external service provider, you are putting vital business functions into the hands of a third party. As a result, you will, of course, lose control over those outsourced activities, and therefore it’ll be more difficult to monitor for quality assurance to help increase customer satisfaction.

  1.    Language barriers

Language barriers are a common issue in outsourced call centers. Customers often need to communicate with agents who cannot speak their mother tongue very well. Of course, it’s annoying, and customers can often lose their patience. If you choose to outsource your activities, always make sure to find a partner whose agents have excellent language proficiency.

Don’t forget, poor language skills may lead to miscommunication and frustration that can seriously hurt your brand’s reputation.

  1.    IT Security risks

With GDPR officially in force, it is now more important than ever to process and store your data in a 100% secure way. If you choose to utilize an outsourced call center, you’ll be putting your customer data in their hands.  

However, it is crucial to keep in mind that compliance is your responsibility. Therefore, check carefully that the external service providers you use are 100% up-to-date and GDPR compliant. Handling customer data in a secure way is extremely important, both for your business and clients, so be careful!

  1.    Decreased customer satisfaction

There are two sides to every coin: an outsourced call center may help you boost your productivity by letting you focus on your core activities; however, it doesn’t mean your customer satisfaction levels will increase as well.

As we all know, high-quality customer service is the backbone of any business. However, bearing in mind the points above, outsourcing your call center activities may actually end up resulting in decreased customer satisfaction. And that would be the last thing you would want, right?

How Much Bandwidth Does VoIP Technology Require?

Posted on: September 20th, 2018 by Tamás Jalsovszky No Comments

The internet has revolutionized how businesses communicate with their customers like nothing before. There’s no doubt that the last 15 years have seen an astonishing explosion regarding internet access.

Indeed, the evolution of the Internet has completely changed our world, giving businesses the opportunity to now use multiple platforms to connect with their customers anytime, anywhere.

Times have definitely changed, and so have available call center technologies. Not so long ago call centers had no choice but to rely on physical telephone lines, but now they can contact customers via the internet using VoIP technology.

And since VoIP technology is cloud-compatible, call centers only need an internet connection in order to leverage it. 

For voice communication via VoIP technology, however, bandwidth requirements are essential, since voice data is a type of data that is much bulkier than conventional text.

In this article, I’ll tell you about how much bandwidth a VoIP call requires. Read on and make sure bandwidth issues are not stopping your call center from sending and receiving high-quality calls!

VoIP technology and Bandwidth – behind the definition

Communication has always been the core activity for any call center. As already mentioned, although call centers relied for a long time on PSTN, or Public Switched Telephone Network when setting up their telephone lines, today they use VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol, also known as internet telephony) technology to leverage their internet connection.

VoIP was created to allow businesses to switch from the comparatively expensive PSTN solution when sending and receiving voice calls and multimedia communications over the internet. With the fast evolution of technology, today VoIP technology can be used with voice, video, and text, as well as other types of data.

VoIP technology makes it easier for call centers to set up and expand their operations, so it’s no surprise that more and more companies are transferring their network operations from PSTN to VoIP. Furthermore, as VoIP calls are cloud-compatible, the new technology allows call centers to utilize home-based agents.

Finding the right system for your call center is no easy task. So, if you still have doubts, make sure to check out our article comparing call center technologies.

However, when it comes to transferring network operations to VoIP, the amount of bandwidth businesses need in order to send and receive high-quality calls has very specific requirements.

Before we immerse ourselves in the topic, let’s quickly define what bandwidth is. Bandwidth is the ability to transfer data (such as a VoIP telephone call) from one point to another in a fixed amount of time. The higher bandwidth speed you have, the more data you can transfer.

Bandwidth is measured by checking your download and upload speeds, in other words the rate of information traveling to and from your computer. Whichever of the two numbers is lower is considered your bandwidth.

Bandwidth requirements for VoIP calls

The amount of bandwidth (upload and download capacity) your call center needs per agent for your VoIP calls greatly varies depending on the call center software you’re using.

For example, if you use VCC Live®’s system we recommend on average 100kbps per call placed by agents, both for download and upload speeds. The exact number, however, varies by the codec (coder/decoder) used, but 100kbps is a good rule of thumb.

What is codec? Codec is used to encode audio from an analog signal to a digital signal, so that it can be passed across a data network Bandwidth handles this conversion and enables communications to be carried across applications almost seamlessly.

There’s no doubt that it’s best to turn to your solution provider for advice on your bandwidth requirements. There are a few general rules, however, that you should definitely take into consideration before switching to VoIP technology:  

1, VoIP is full duplex, meaning that it can both receive and send data at the same time. But while the average internet user requires high download speeds for streaming and downloading music and videos, for VoIP you’ll also need to be able to send data at a high rate, so you’ll need to consider the upload speed as your benchmark. Generally speaking, the higher your upload speed, the more reliably consistent the quality of your VoIP phone calls will be.

2, Upload speeds are usually slower than your download speeds, so don’t commit the mistake of calculating bandwidth based on the higher number (which will be your download speed). With reference to the amount of bandwidth for VCC Live®’s system mentioned above, this means that if your download speed is 10Mbps, but your upload speed is only 1Mbps, then your bandwidth will only cover 10 calls and not 100 calls.

3, Bear in mind that for VoIP calls a broadband connection is required. In fact, only a broadband internet connection can provide the minimum bandwidth for quality VoIP calls.

4, Over the last years we’ve become so used to having constant internet connection that it’s easy to fall into the mistake of assuming that a call center has the same requirements as for general internet use. The truth is that, due to the mass telephony and communication activities taking place at call centers, call center internet traffic requirements are considerably more demanding than general office Internet use.

5, In addition, these days most call centers leverage multichannel communication by providing customer service using a number of channels. And don’t forget that other applications, such as Facebook, Twitter or Gmail, use bandwidth as well. Therefore, you’ll need to assess the popularity and peak times of all your channels, as there may be periods of low-quality calls if all of your channels are burdened at the same time. Finally, don’t forget that while emails use very little bandwidth, attachments increase that bandwidth considerably.

6, Always make sure to rely on QoS or “Quality of Service”, which can reserve a proportion of your bandwidth and ensure that you’ll always have enough upload and download capacity to send and receive high-quality calls. While customers are willing to wait for an email to load, they are less tolerant regarding low-quality calls.

7, As we all know, an unexpected power outage can present a nightmare scenario for any business that does not have a backup solution in place. Therefore, consider installing two connections, which can operate in parallel but are also able to work independently in the event of a disaster.

Do the math and see for yourself!

If you’re considering switching to VoIP technology, it’s essential to use a bandwidth speed test to determine if and how many phone lines your connection can handle in order to sustain high-quality voice calls.

Generally speaking, the amount of bandwidth that is needed for VoIP calls depends on how many concurrent calls you’ll be making.

My advice is to always run your VoIP on a high-quality internet connection with at least 100 Kbps upload bandwidth available for each call in progress at the same time.

Using the table below, you can get an overall idea about how much bandwidth you’ll need for your calls.

Number of concurrent calls  Recommended minimum bandwidth
1 100 Kbps
5 500 Kbps
10 1000 Kbps (1 Mbps)
20 2000 Kbps (2 Mbps)

Take away

As VoIP technology solely uses the internet, your call quality depends on the internet service you choose. When switching to VoIP technology, always make sure to run bandwidth speed tests and do not forget about the above-mentioned factors that may influence your bandwidth requirements.

Why Your Call Center Needs an Integrated CRM System

Posted on: September 19th, 2018 by Roland Háry No Comments

Customer service departments have a bad reputation all over the world. The thought of contacting a company’s support team makes most customers roll their eyes in irritation.

But, with competition between businesses increasingly fierce, many of them already realized that one way they can stand out from the crowd is by providing exceptional customer service.

And in our ever-more connected world, where businesses need to rely on the latest technology solutions, one thing your call center can utilize in order to deliver exceptional customer service, is an integrated CRM system.

A CRM system allows your business to collect customer data, identify the most valuable customers over time, and even increase customer loyalty by providing personalized customer service.

But why is it essential for your call center to opt for an integrated CRM system, than just a simple CRM system? Read on and see for yourself!

The importance of using integrated systems in call centers

Most call centers use several technology solutions on a daily basis, and one of the biggest challenges they face is to integrate these systems, while keeping customer data consistent and up-to-date between the systems.

If your systems are not integrated, your agents, for example, will have no choice but to switch from one system to another during customer interactions. And it goes without saying that making your agents navigate among several systems will hurt both your team’s productivity and your customer experience.

Furthermore, it’s crucial for call centers to utilize data analytics in order to make good use of the tremendous amount of data they store and process on a daily basis. And with managing customer data manually no longer a realistic option, if your solutions are not capable of transferring data from one system to another, your employees will face a significant administrative burden, as they will be doubling the amount of data they deal with.

By integrating your solutions, however, you won’t need to worry about having to keep updating and transferring your data.

Establishing communication with API integration

Unfortunately, I still see that many companies focus on keeping data up-to-date in one system, while failing to do so in another. The consequence is inconsistent and outdated customer data, which typically results in customer complaints and frustrated employees overwhelmed with disorganized processes.

In order to ensure that agents have all the necessary information they need to make customers happy, you need an integrated CRM system that is able to communicate with your call center software.

If your systems are integrated, your customer data can be stored, processed, tracked and transferred automatically. As a result, your agents will be empowered to deliver an improved customer experience by accessing all the information they need using a single platform.

Of course, there are several methods possible for integrating your systems. Many companies choose to rely on third-party system integrators that develop an additional system, enabling integration between call center software and a CRM system.

However, having an additional system is not an ideal solution as it requires additional costs, time and resources. And as we all know, the more systems, the higher the risk of errors. There is a better way, though, to integrate your platforms without having to develop a third system. In fact, the best way to integrate your systems is by using API integration.  

An API (Application Programme Interface) is a tool that makes a website’s data digestible to a computer. With the help of an API, a computer can view and edit data, just like a person can, by loading pages. When call center software and a CRM system are able to communicate through an API, they are integrated.

Improve CX by using an integrated CRM system

By relying on API integration, you’ll discover new opportunities you never thought were possible. Amongst other things, you’ll be able to integrate your call center software with your Facebook or Google applications, and thus provide a unified customer service on multiple channels (If you’re wondering why your software should be integrated with your social media channels, make sure to check out our previous article on social customer service).

In addition, as we all know, automation has taken the call center industry by storm. Considering  IT security risks and the increasing number of cybercrimes, it’s essential for call centers to be able to easily transfer their data via a classified channel, preferably automatically without any human interface. And with GDPR already in force, it is also essential to ensure that data transfers are 100% secure and safe. Luckily, API integration makes it all possible!

In terms of performance, a well-structured API workflow can transfer thousands of pieces of customer data per second. VCC Live®’s software, for instance, uses Json rest API integration, meaning that, for example, after a closed deal the software automatically sends the customer’s data to the CRM system, while at the same time a third inventory management system indicates the purchased product.

Integration works best if your CRM is able to talk to your other systems, and vice versa, through API integration. Let’s say that your operator is closing a deal with a customer, but the purchased product is not available in your warehouse. If your call center software, CRM system and inventory management system are all integrated, they can immediately send a message to your operator, allowing them to inform the customer that the purchased product is not available while still in the call.

Another great advantage of API communication is that it allows your agents to deliver personalized offers to your customers by using up-to-date customer data stored in your CRM system. For instance, if you run an inbound call center, you can cross/upsell your products or services during wait times. An integrated CRM system will be able to send a message to your call center software informing your agent that the customer on the phone already purchased a TV subscription, thus your agent can offer, let’s say, an Internet subscription to them instead of wasting time on offering a service your customer already has.

With a well-structured API integration, you’ll not only be able to boost your team’s productivity but also increase customer satisfaction. For instance, if your service is down in one region, it’s very likely that calls from that region will immediately increase. In such cases, you can simply identify your customers from that region based on their phone number and display a message to them regarding the relevant issue without any human interaction.

The above-mentioned examples clearly illustrate that if your systems are integrated your business will be able to multiply its productiveness as well as deliver an improved customer experience. Ensure your call center leverages an integrated CRM system and make things easier for both your customers and call center agents. You’ll see it’s worth every penny.

4 Tips To Set Up a Truly Powerful Self-Service Portal

Posted on: September 18th, 2018 by Péter Krisán No Comments

Contacting customer support on the phone is, perhaps, still the most frequent way for users to seek assistance. But gone are the days when picking up the phone was the only option to get help with a product.

In today’s fast-paced world, people want their issues resolved now, not tomorrow. Spending minutes in a call queue only to have something fixed that may not even be broken — especially on a busy day — may feel like an eternity.

And Millennials (anyone born between 1980-1996) now make up a large percentage of today’s customer base. They started using Internet and mobile technology at a young age, so are tech-savvy, and are used to accessing a large amount of information anytime, anywhere.

With consumer behavior developing as it is, customers need answers quickly, demand personalized support experience, and are willing to solve their issues themselves.

That’s why there was a need for a solution beyond customer service and user documentation. And this solution has manifested as a phenomenon called Self-Service Portal. Read on to get a few tips on what you should consider when shaping your own portal. 

What is a Self-Service Portal?

A Self-Service Portal is a website that gives users access to a personalized customer service experience. It enables users to learn from custom suggested documentation, complete tasks such as password resets or bill payments, interact with other users on a forum, and report incidents while also being involved in the resolution process. And the best part: these resources are always available, and accessible via a single hub.

Without a doubt, both your company and customers can mutually benefit from a Self-Service Portal. Your customers can become empowered to resolve issues on their own, and your support representatives can focus on more complex tasks more efficiently.

To build a Self-Service Portal that allows for a new level of customer support that truly empowers users to do more, you need to construct a site that delivers a seamless, uninterrupted experience. 

Tip #1: Develop a strategy

Firstly, it’s extremely important to define why, how, and for whom you develop a Self-Service Portal.

The reason may be as simple as the aim of improving customer satisfaction, while also taking some weight off your support team. Also, you will probably need to address concerns like “Will the investment pay off?” or “How will efficiency be measured?”. While these questions may be difficult to answer, one thing is sure: offering a Self-Service Portal has definitely become a necessity, rather than a favorable option.

Tip #2: Shape a near-perfect user experience

We all know that nothing is perfect. Even if something is near flawless, there’ll be a better version of it. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aim for perfection. Because user experience is the core of a successful Self-Service Portal. Excellent user experience improves overall user satisfaction, and satisfied users will have an even better opinion of your company’s image.

To create an outstanding user experience for your Self-Service Portal, think on a large scale. What do users want to achieve? To find solutions as soon as possible. Make sure that navigating the portal is straightforward, and that finding relevant content is effortless. To improve navigation, make sure you structure the site thoroughly, and implement a reliable, indexed search bar. Not being able to find something can be terribly frustrating, quickly destroying an otherwise good initial impression.

And speaking of impressions… the look and feel of the website is also an important factor when it comes to impressing users. Take the time to create a website design people enjoy looking at. And a cross-functional team of designers and copywriters can do wonders, resulting in a site that feels personal, fresh, yet somewhat familiar to users.

Involving a few end-users in the planning process can also occasionally be a good idea.

Tip #3: Give it all you’ve got

You may be wondering what you can squeeze into an all-purpose Self-Service hub. Well, a lot.

Start by adding user documentation. Because delivering a solution is only part of your job, teaching your users how to get the most out of it should be the other part. User guides, tutorials, and a FAQ & Troubleshooting section not only shows your users how to use your products, they also teach them how to solve issues themselves. And if your Self-Service Portal can bring up content based on the users’ needs, your site will truly stand out.

And why not implement a community forum? Encouraging users to connect with other users is without doubt rewarding: chances are user complaints will get resolved before they end up in your ticketing system.

The next step should probably be to provide various options through which to contact your support team, but first consider implementing a chatbot! A well-trained chatbot can answer thousands of queries in a split second, and it’s always online, ready to assist your customers.

If a customer decides to contact your team, you can still provide further support: make calling agents and submitting tickets as easy as possible. Ideally, your users should be able to update and edit the certain details of the ticket, and also monitor the status of the request. Most importantly, assure your users that they are important, and that resolving their issues are your main priority.

Tip #4: Never stop improving

A great Self-Service Portal, even one thought through a thousand times, requires continual maintenance. Documentation must be kept up-to-date to continue delivering meaningful information. Because outdated and misleading information is often worse than no information at all.

A community forum must be monitored to moderate discussions and answer user questions. Keeping an eye on feedback is also well worth it.

And the list goes on: your chatbot may need to be refined, your IVR should be revised once in a while, and your support and marketing team need to continue distributing your content.

Verdict

It’s already clear that Self-Service Portals are of great value, and may have more potential yet to be unwrapped. Their profitability is also clear, but keep in mind: developing a Self-Service Portal is more than just a one-time project.

What do you think makes an ideal Self-Service Portal? Let us know in the comments section below!

Negative Online Reviews Are Not Always Bad. Here’s Why.

Posted on: September 14th, 2018 by dorarapcsak No Comments

What’s the first thing you do before you make an online purchase?  You probably check the company’s online reviews.

It’s no coincidence that online reviews have become essential over the last few years: in our ever-more connected world, it now only takes a minute to check a company’s reviews before you actually purchase their products or services. And you can be sure that any customers checking out your products or services will know this very well.

Positive reviews can have a great impact on your business’ reputation and help you build trust with your potential customers.

On the other hand, it’s inevitable that even the best-performing businesses will receive a handful of negative online reviews.

Although most companies worry about negative reviews, the truth is that negative comments are not the end of the world. In fact, they can be good for your business. Read on and find out why!

Negative reviews give you valuable business insights

Be it online customer reviews or feedback to your call center agents, negative reviews contain some of the most valuable information your business can later utilize.

Sure, no one likes to see negative comments about their products or services. However, bear in mind that it’s simply impossible to please everyone.

Negative online reviews help you understand what you’re doing wrong and how you can improve your services. And what better way to improve your customer satisfaction than by learning from your mistakes.

Since it is customers who purchase your products, their negative experiences will help you see things from their point of view, which is invaluable in the long-term for any business.

So, instead of thinking about throwing in the towel, try to consider your negative reviews as valuable feedback, and use them to improve the aspects of your products or services your customers are criticizing.

Turn negative reviews into success stories

Dealing with your negative reviews proactively is a great opportunity to show your customers that you actually care for them.

In most cases, you can even turn a negative experience into a success story by responding to the negative comments with a solution.

As we all know, online reviews are in the public domain, and customers definitely pay attention to how businesses react to issues and problems.

Just by making a public response in itself, you are showing your customers that you care about their issues. In fact, by addressing negative reviews and dealing with them in a positive way, you can even win your customers back and further build your online reputation.

(Check out our previous article on how humor can help you turn a customer complaint into a success story on social media.)

So, whenever you feel the urge to delete a comment, remember that a positive attitude towards negative reviews will not only help you win back unhappy customers but also attract new ones.

Never hide negative online reviews!

Many businesses either delete their negative reviews or respond to them defensively. Needless to say, both options are a huge mistake!  

One of the ultimate rules when dealing with negative online reviews is that once you receive them, you should never hide them.

First of all, it is not trustworthy to just keep your positive reviews and get rid of the negative ones. There’s no doubt that you’ll lose your customers’ trust if they find out.

Secondly, you can be sure that ignoring a complaining customer will do more harm than good. You may not think so, but many times customers start by checking negative online reviews. Customers these days want to have the whole story before proceeding with an online purchase, meaning that they also want to know what they can expect when things go wrong.

So, displaying your negative reviews to your customers will help you maintain transparency by showing that you have nothing to hide.

Furthermore, customers often like to compare the advantages and disadvantages of products or services before they purchase them. By letting them scroll down among a few negative reviews, you’ll help them make a fully-informed decision. However, if they cannot find any negative comments on your site, chances are they’ll navigate away.

Too good to be true

Too many positive reviews may seem fake to your customers, so be careful.  

Let’s face it, however well-organized your business may be, you’ll make mistakes every now and then. And when all the online reviews you have are positive, potential customers may get suspicious and think that you’re hiding something.

In short, only having positive reviews is too good to be true.

Furthermore, bear in mind that customers do not always agree on what makes a negative aspect of a product or service, so a nightmare experience for one customer may be a great experience for another. That’s exactly why it’s suspicious to have hundreds of good reviews and not one negative.

Last but not least, it’s the ratio of positive to negative reviews that matters. Having a handful of negative reviews probably won’t scare away your potential customers. However, if your business does not have any reviews mentioning your products’ flaws or at least one incident regarding your service, your potential customers will not only get suspicious but also lose their trust in your positive comments.

So, do you still think negative customer reviews are that bad? On the contrary, negative reviews can actually be good for your business because they allow you to improve your products or services, and also demonstrate to your customers that all of your reviews are 100% authentic.

Choose a Software Provider That Offers Call Center Consulting Services

Posted on: September 12th, 2018 by dorarapcsak No Comments

Ask any call center manager what they need most for their call center to operate successfully, and you can be sure they’ll tell you it is reliable call center software. However, what many call centers fail to realize is that leveraging call center consulting services is equally important for a call center to get ahead.

And you will see the best results if you can utilize both a reliable software solution and efficient consulting services from the same provider.

In this article, I’ll show you why you need to look for a software provider that offers proactive call center consulting services as well. Read on and make sure you are getting the most out of your business!  

The importance of call center consulting services

There’s no doubt that having comprehensive call center software in place is a prerequisite for any call center that aims to thrive.

However, call center software alone will not be enough to ensure that your call center runs successfully. Elevating your call center’s performance and your agent team’s effectiveness is also part of the game.

Amongst other things, KPIs, effective workforce management, strong process knowledge and reliable quality management are key to the successful operation of any call center.

Defining and optimizing these business processes is not an easy task, so it’s no surprise that more and more call centers are increasingly looking for consulting services.

Call center consulting services provide industry expertise, authenticity and consistency. They can use their industry expertise to help call centers overcome specific challenges and make suggestions for improving their products or services.

The goal of such services is to maintain the successful and long-term operation of call centers, and help improve their customer experience.

But if you think about it for a minute, call center software providers have some of the most valuable industry knowledge around, and luckily many of them are ready to share it with you.

So why look for a third-party consultancy, when you can turn to your software provider, who not only knows their software but also the industry like the back of their hand?

Improving customer satisfaction with consulting services

There are a great number of factors that contribute to the success of a call center, and customer satisfaction is definitely high on the list. One thing is for sure: in order to put your call center on the path to success, you’ll need to keep your customer satisfaction level as high as possible.

Nowadays, it is clear that the best way to win your customers’ trust is by providing them with a personalized customer service, in other words by offering them tailor-made solutions.

But it is only if you also offer continuous high-quality personalized service that you will be able to truly win customers’ long-term trust.

And this is exactly another reason why your business needs to rely on a call center software provider that offers call center consulting services as well.

A software provider’s call center consulting services will give you continuous support, helping you to listen more effectively to your customers’ needs, and offer them more appropriate tailor-made solutions. And, as well as helping your company’s profits to increase, your customers will also feel that they are contributing to the success of your products or services. As a result, you may even be able to turn your customers into brand advocates.

Choose a provider who can advise you

As technology advances faster than ever, so do the call center software options available on the market.

Today’s saturated market offers a wide range of call center software providers with cutting-edge technology and rich features. All you have to do is to find the one that is the most suitable for your business (if you need help in that, check out our article on how to choose a call center software).

Depending on your core activities, however, your needs may vary greatly. So you’ll need to make sure that the call center solution you choose is a personal fit for your needs and business expectations.

Ultimately, it should be the responsibility of any software provider to not only promote and sell their products or services but also continue to support the customer in the long-term. By assessing challenges, deploying action plans and drawing conclusions together as a team, business goals can be more easily achieved.

As already mentioned, the best way to keep your customers satisfied is to listen to their needs and provide them with tailor-made solutions. And what better way to ensure that then by choosing a software provider that offers consulting services as well.

A software provider with call center consulting services will be able to analyze your customers’ needs and help you get the most out of the software you use, as well as improve your business results by combining their industry knowledge and deep understanding of the software.

Furthermore, by sharing your knowledge with your provider while also relying on their industry expertise and best practices, you can mutually support each other.

Take away

As you can see, to achieve your call center’s potential it is highly advisable to turn to a software provider that also offers call center consulting services. Follow my advice, and make sure you place your business in the hands of experts! 

Contact Center AI: What’s Behind Google’s Latest Technology

Posted on: September 6th, 2018 by dorarapcsak No Comments

Call centers keep looking for smarter and smarter ideas that enable them to further improve their customer experience. This year, it seems that call centers may greatly benefit from the latest technology advancements released by Google.

The tech giant introduced not only Google Duplex earlier this year, an artificial intelligence that is capable of making phone calls and communicating as if it were a real person but is also building a complete solution which it calls Contact Center AI.

It’s clear that the aim of the Contact Center AI solution is to take customer service to a whole new level. But what’s behind the latest technology launched by Google?

In this article, we’ll show you how the latest tech solution works and how it will affect the customer service industry. Make sure to read on and keep up with the latest news straight from the tech world!

What is Contact Center AI?

There’s no doubt that AI is the future of most businesses, especially where a lot of customer interactions take place.

Luckily, by using comprehensive AI technology, customer service teams can now provide exceptional customer experience to their clients.

At this years’ Cloud Next conference in San Francisco, Google announced that it is developing a contact center AI technology that is able to interact with customers over the phone in the form of a human-sounding voice.

Considering its features, Contact Center AI may remind you of Google Duplex, but Google’s spokesperson confirmed that the two are distinct products that share some components.

As we already talked about in our previous article, as Google Duplex can conduct conversations without anyone ever knowing they were speaking to an AI, the new technology raises privacy and security concerns.

With Contact Center AI, however, it is customers who initiate the calls and then are connected to a smart bot that is able to understand them instead of making them wait on the line while listening to poorly-designed IVRs.

Consequently, chances are this technology has more potential to transform the call center industry in the future.

How does it work?

Call Center AI basically connects a caller with a virtual agent, which tries to resolve the customer issues just like any bot would, but with much more sophisticated natural language understanding. If the issue is too complex and requires human interaction, the AI passes the customer to a live agent and acts as an assistant to help them resolve the issues by providing information and solutions relevant to the conversation in real time.

Indeed, by using the contact center AI released by Google, businesses can build their own virtual agents that are able to speak with customers based on company knowledge. Customer conversations are automated with the use of Dialogflow, a feature created by Google to help companies build interfaces that offer engaging customer interactions.  

Furthermore, as we all know, however up-to-date your technology solutions may be, your customers will always need the human element in the customer journey. Luckily, Google has a solution: in case the virtual agent cannot handle the customer interaction, the Contact Center AI passes customers to live agents and provides valuable agent assistance based on previous interactions, helping customer service reps provide personalized customer service and relevant up/cross-sells.

In a previous article, we already talked about the power of data. And if you’re still not convinced why your business should make good use of the data it accumulates, let’s take a look at the new technology’s Contact Center Analytics feature, which uses company data and customer interactions to train virtual agents to better serve customers.

Take away

Businesses these days need to embrace emerging technologies to ensure that they deliver exceptional customer experience.

Fei-Fei Li, chief scientist for Google AI stated in a post that “the Contact Center AI is a flexible solution that adapts to the needs of each and every call and provides a seamless experience between live and virtual agents, playing as big or as small a role as the situation demands”.  

There’s no doubt that the new technology has the potential to reshape customer interactions, but it remains to be seen whether or not it’ll be a game changer in the call center industry.

What do you think of Google’s Contact Center AI technology? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section!