Archive for February, 2019

Moving to the Cloud With VCC Live® – a Case Study

Posted on: February 27th, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

“We just recently started to use the system but we can already clearly see that our productivity has increased significantly.” – Krisztián Kardulecz, IMS Lead, DHL.

In an age of ever-increasing customer expectation, the race to own customer experience is officially on. And, with a presence in more than 200 countries, DHL, the largest logistics company in the world, definitely needs to keep ahead of the game.

These days, they say data is the new oil, and not without good reason. Data can be your best resource when trying to provide exceptional customer experience – but only if you rely on the latest technology solutions that allow you to leverage your data.

The Case

In order to ensure a consistent level of customer service in their contact centers across the globe, DHL always looks to utilize the latest technology solutions. That’s why they decided to choose VCC Live®’s cloud-based solution. 

Our latest case study describes how, since moving to the cloud with VCC Live®, DHL increased their agent productivity and reduced their maintenance costs. Check out our case study to find out:

  • how we helped DHL make the move from using on-premise software to the cloud
  • how VCC Live®’s real-time reporting tools enable DHL to monitor agent performance in real time
  • how we allowed them to easily upscale their business and utilize home-based agents

Introducing VCC Live®’s cloud-based solution has truly unlocked DHL’s potential, allowing them to see the whole picture by being able to monitor agent performance in real time.

Read our case study and learn more about the benefits of VCC Live®’s cloud-based solution!

From Healthy Call Centers to Socializing Chatbots – Reflections on the CCW 2019 Conference

Posted on: February 26th, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

Last week VCC Live® attended the CCW 2019 conference in Berlin, Europe’s largest trade fair and conference for call centers, customer service and customer dialogue. The latest call center technologies and the industry’s most creative minds – all in one place!

Year after year, the conference attracts thousands of visitors as well as the most innovative companies showcasing their solutions. This year 8,000 visitors and 270 exhibitors attended CCW 2019 to leverage networking and gain valuable insights into the call center industry from more than 50 speakers and 120 lectures.

Amongst other things, digital disruption, ‘healthy’ call centers, artificial intelligence and changing customer needs were all in the spotlight. And as the 21st CCW is now over, it’s time for the takeaways, so here are our key findings from the conference!

Know when to change your mindset

In our fast-paced world, everything is on the move, with technologies constantly evolving and customer behavior continuously changing. In such an accelerated business environment, companies not only need to stay ahead of the competition – they need to be able to know when to change their mindset as well.

One thing is for sure: what is a huge trend one day can become outdated in the blink of an eye. Just think of Kodak, the (once) biggest film company in the world that in 2012 filed for bankruptcy, after failing to deal with the challenges of digital technology.  

Where did Kodak go wrong? It’s simple: their mindset. They failed to recognize the huge potential of the digital age and refused to make the jump, assuming that their customers would remain loyal to them regardless.

An important lesson, reinforced at CCW 2019, is that making assumptions about your customers will result in you losing them. Instead, the advice is to try and focus on their (changing) needs and improve your products/services accordingly.

CX is still on the rise

In an age of exceptionally high customer expectations, CCW 2019 again confirmed that customer experience (CX) has emerged as the next game changer in customer service.

Craig Plamer, Director of CX Europe at Verizon, highlighted that in order to create a meaningful CX, companies need to have a user-first mindset, rely on engaged employees, and involve customers in the creation of the experience.

Why focus on CX? Amongst other things, it builds customer trust, aligns services to brand values, promotes loyalty and helps achieve business goals.

Another speaker at the conference mentioned that 44% of customers are willing to spend more time with an agent if that agent can actually help them. It is not surprising then, that CX is still on the rise and is expected to be even more important in the upcoming years.

Automation and socializing chatbots

Another major message at the conference was that the future of customer service will be the cloud, automation, data and artificial intelligence.

As Paula Bode from Salesforce said, when talking about AI: “Chatbots can already handle the first 5-10 minutes of a conversation, and customers are comfortable interacting with them if they know they can be switched to a live agent anytime.”

In addition, Darius Heising from Kyron Systems highlighted robotic process automation can help boost your call center’s performance. If you are not aware of it, robotic process automation (RPA) is the application of technology that enables computer software or a robot to capture and interpret existing applications to help process a transaction, manipulate data, trigger responses and communicate with other digital systems.

Repetitive tasks, for instance, are definitely a daily challenge for call centers. Robotics, however, can be used to deal with such issues, allowing your agents to work on more complex issues.

And what will the future bring for chatbots? As we all know, chatbots are usually good at one thing only. But what if they could talk and help each other answering customer queries?

Well, it seems that the age of socializing chatbots is coming: according to one speaker, chatbots will soon be able to look for an answer by talking to each other. For example, if a customer has an insurance-related question, but the chatbot they are communicating with is programmed to only be able to answer healthcare-related questions, the bot can simply connect to an insurance chatbot and ask them to answer the customer’s question. Amazing, right?

‘Healthy’ call centers

In the call center industry, everything is increasing: customer expectations, emphasis on CX, call volumes and issue complexity.

For call agents, the number one challenge they increasingly face is complex customer problems. And, with technology ever-advancing, it seems that things are only going to get more complex in the coming years. One of the results of this trend is that agents are increasingly struggling with technological issues with a resulting (negative) effect on their ability to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

As such, an important issue discussed at the conference was that agent well-being in a customer-centric era is more important than ever. In other words, businesses should try and run ‘healthy’ call centers.

And how is it possible to keep your call center healthy? Give your agents the right technological tools, customer data and training!

Furthermore, put your employees first! As one of the presentations highlighted, agents want a more flexible working environment, better technology, more training and data-driven feedback from their managers. So, the solution is in your hands: listen to your agents and focus on making sure they never have a reason to consider leaving their job.

CCW 2019 was an exciting experience for VCC Live®, not only in terms of doing business with potential customers but also in gaining industry knowledge and finding out more about the trends and changes that are shaping the future of the contact center industry. Keep these lessons mentioned above in mind, you too will be able to level up your customer service. We’re hoping to be able to bring you insights from next year’s CCW conference as well!

All You Need to Know About SIP Technology in Call Centers

Posted on: February 22nd, 2019 by Dr. Gábor Fehér No Comments

These days most call centers use VoIP technology to connect their calls via the Internet. In order to leverage VoIP, however, businesses need to establish connections with their providers in order to create endpoints that can communicate with each other. And to establish these connections, SIP technology is needed.

In this article, I’ll not only introduce SIP technology to you but also show you how your call center can benefit from using it. So, let’s dive in and find out all you need to know about SIP!

What is SIP technology?

SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) technology defines the messages that are sent between endpoints, while also dictating establishment, termination and other essential elements of a call. It can be used to transmit information between two or more endpoints.  

In addition to phone calls, SIP can also be used to set up video, instant messaging, media distribution and other applications, supporting the ever-more popular omnichannel communication trend.

Not surprisingly, SIP technology is an ideal solution for call centers, and an increasing amount of call centers now rely on this technology in order to handle their customer communication.

So far, so good, but what are the actual benefits of SIP technology for call centers?

Cost-effective

First things first: SIP technology is cost-effective. In fact, SIP has great potential for call centers, as instead of relying on physical wires, it can simply use VoIP technology, which is easier and cheaper.

In particular, SIP eliminates the need for expensive call center desk phones by reducing both space requirements and the cost of equipment necessary for physical hardware solutions.  

Furthermore, while most traditional phone calls are charged on a per-minute basis, with some SIP solutions available on the market you may even be able to pay a monthly fixed fee for the system. Sounds better, right?

Flexible

When it comes to running a call center, peak periods are a major part of the deal. As I’m sure you’re aware, during peak periods you either act quickly and scale up your business or potentially face a large number of angry customers.

One major advantage of SIP technology in call centers is that the solution is flexible and agile. As with cloud solutions, it is quick and easy to setup. In addition, once your SIP connection is in place, you’ll be able to quickly adjust capacity by adding new features through simple software updates rather than expensive and time-consuming hardware upgrades.

Furthermore, traditional phone lines are normally sold in batches and must be ordered well in advance of when they are required. SIP connections, on the other hand, can normally be ordered individually and accessed almost immediately, allowing call center managers to quickly upscale when needed, and only pay for the extra capacity that is required at any specific moment. Also, when you’re moving your business, it is significantly easier and quicker to move SIP connections than physical wires.

Ideal for remote working

Relying on remote agents is highly beneficial for call centers in terms of productivity, operations, and cost-effectiveness. And as SIP technology enables communication over the internet via computer and mobile devices, it allows call centers to utilize home-based agents.

As a result, call centers that leverage SIP connections can not only save on costs such as IT facilities and utility costs but can also access a global pool of high-quality talent unlimited by geographical factors.

This allows call centers to offer solutions covering wider geographies, taking advantage of native labor pools, specific agent skills and multiple time zones.

Security and data privacy

Security and data privacy remains one of the biggest issues in telecommunications. And with cybercriminals becoming more and more advanced, call centers need to be able to rely on 100% secure technology solutions in order to protect their data.

The truth is that any device that uses SIP technology (and which is thus connected to a public network) has the potential to become a major target for cybercriminals. SIP technology, however, is based on encryption (SIP-TLS) and authentication protocols that are able to address possible frauds and cyber-attacks. But they will only be effective if your call center has strong security policies in place.

However, by relying on encryption and endpoint authentication, and by also ‘fencing’ your network infrastructure with SBC (session border controller) technology, you’ll be able to successfully secure your SIP networks.

Convenience

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of speed and convenience in effective customer service today. And SIP technology has a number of specific benefits that allow businesses to provide convenient support to their customers.

What’s really important about SIP is that the technology isn’t just about voice communication: it can handle sessions covering a variety of media, such as voice, video and chat, and so support omnichannel-based contact center activity.  With SIP you really can do everything using one system.

Furthermore, SIP technology, through its ability to support multichannel IP communications, makes it possible for call center agents to set up innovative services such as a click-to-call button on their website or a voice-enhanced e-commerce experience.

With SIP technology, call centers can simply do things better, faster and cheaper, providing services that will drive customer satisfaction and agent effectiveness to a whole new level.

Top Benefits of Virtual Call Centers

Posted on: February 15th, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

The call center industry is experiencing major changes, driven by changing customer behavior and ever-increasing customer demands.

Businesses are moving everything to the cloud from customer data to call center software, paving the way for the virtual call center business model.

The virtual call center is no longer a physical location but a cloud-based process that allows call center agents to work from any place in the world and companies to rely on more flexible and cost-effective call center operations.

Without further ado, here are the top benefits of virtual call centers – both for agents and companies.

Agent benefits

Employees are the most important asset to any organization. And for call centers, often struggling with high turnover rates, agent retention needs to be a major priority. Luckily, call center agents can enjoy a number of advantages of virtual call centers, while also helping businesses keep turnover rates lower.

No commute

Did you know that the majority of workers spend 30 minutes on average on commuting? There’s no question, no one likes sitting in traffic on their way to work when they can spend this time at home. In addition, the possibility to work from home also allows agents to save on expenses, such as gas prices and cost of public transportation.

Flexible hours

These days, employees increasingly prefer flexibility at work, therefore the idea of working from home is appealing for most call center agents. And virtual call centers are just ideal for accommodating these changing employee needs. In fact, inflexible working environment can easily scare potential talents away, especially younger generations, who often struggle with spending their day in a cubicle at the call center. With a virtual call center, however, you can let your agents enjoy some flexibility in their job while also allowing them to get off the hamster wheel.

Reduced stress levels

As already mentioned, agent retention has always been a major challenge for call centers. However, by running a virtual call center and allowing your agents to work from home, you’ll be able to significantly reduce stress levels in your call center. Indeed, home office creates a more relaxing workplace than ever-more popular open plan offices. Amongst other things, your agents will not only be able to shut out office noises and minimize work stress but also set up their ideal work environment.

Company benefits

Similarly to agents, companies too can greatly benefit from leveraging a virtual call center. Since virtual call centers can be run from any place in the world, companies can save on costs, easily scale up their business and gain access to a global pool of talents.

Cost savings

One thing is for sure: running a (physical) call center is extremely expensive. If your business leverages a virtual call center, however, you’ll be able to save on housing expenses, utility costs, IT facilities and employee catering. Furthermore, a virtual call center will allow you to easily scale up your business by adding additional remote agents to your team only during peak times. This, of course, means additional costs savings!

Agent satisfaction

There’s no doubt, constantly looking for and hiring new agents is a real pain in the back. Therefore, you better try and keep the morale high in your agent team before they leave you. Luckily, a virtual call center can be the ideal solution for that. With the above-mentioned advantages of virtual call centers, chances are your agents won’t lose their motivation so easily, and you finally won’t need to worry about agent turnover rate. It’s a win-win!

No geographical limits

Finding the best talent has always been a challenge for call centers, especially for those, who provide multilingual services for a great number of countries. Another major advantage of virtual call centers is that they allow you to access a global pool of high-quality talent and hire agents without geographical limits. For example, you can hire remote native workforce instead of struggling to find multilingual local agents while paying the extra cost for their language skills.

Workplace trends are rapidly changing and it really does seem that both agents and companies can greatly benefit from adopting the virtual call center business model.

Connections Romania Chooses VCC Live® to Achieve Customer Excellence

Posted on: February 7th, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

Connections Romania is a growing BPO company, with headquarters in Bucharest, Romania and offices in Belgrade, Serbia and Sofia, Bulgaria. Established in 2005, the company, based on the Outsourcing business model, provides outsourcing services such as IT helpdesk, Customer Service, HR, and Financial Processes, to a wide range of international clients.

Recently, a German group of companies offering products and services in the Automotive industry asked Connections Romania to provide internal support to their employees located at several offices in Germany.

In order to successfully handle this request from their German client, Connections Romania needed to search for the ideal call center technology to help them live up to their client’s expectations. In particular, they required advanced inbound features that ensured that no incoming calls would be missed from their client’s employees. Furthermore, they needed to be able to leverage intelligent reporting and monitoring tools in order to get the most of their operations.

After the initial negotiations regarding the company’s requirements, the partnership between Connections Romania and VCC Live® began.

Dan Deschidar, Customer Success Manager at VCC Live®, said: “We are really delighted to be able to work together with Connections Romania. From the very beginning, we were on the same page and the implementation process went incredibly smoothly. We are looking forward to a fruitful partnership with the company, and are ready to help them achieve excellence in all their projects.”

VCC Live®’s team provided Connections Romania with customized inbound features based on their specific business needs. With powerful monitoring and reporting tools, Connections Romania also has access to 13 different reports that track their processes and measure their performance. In addition, thanks to VCC Live®’s highly customizable reporting tools, the company can simply add and customize further reports to the dashboards as required, allowing them to always see the whole picture of their business.

About Connections Romania

Connections Romania is a fast-growing and innovative technology company, offering businesses the possibility to improve and align with current digital trends, by using technology tools to boost their strategical KPIs and adapt to global market challenges. Connections operates four business verticals: IT Infrastructure Operations Support, Automation Services (RPA), Digital Business Process Management and Software Development. The company was founded in 2005 with the aim of becoming the market leader in business consultancy services, differentiating themselves from the competition by their quality, speed of reaction, ethics, talent and client focus.

Customer Service Innovations: Building a Next-Generation Customer Care – Part 2

Posted on: February 5th, 2019 by Ákos Philippovich No Comments

Innovation is at the core of any successful business. And in order to make your company innovative, you will need to explore new ideas that help you grow your business. And what better time to look for innovative ideas than now, at the beginning of a new year.

In my previous article, I talked about some of the latest customer service innovations being utilized in the call center industry. Now, as part 2 of my “Customer Service Innovations” series, I collected some further significant trends that most likely will gain even more popularity this year. Check them out and get ready to hit the ground running with the most promising innovations around!

Everyone is going mobile

Over the last decade, mobile usage has significantly changed the ways companies provide customer service. While 10 years ago mobiles were mainly used for phone calls and to send SMS messages, in today’s smartphone-defined world, we can pretty much do anything we want with our phones.

As already mentioned in a previous article, research has confirmed that the majority of customers, 70%, use their mobile when contacting customer service departments. This increasing trend towards widespread smartphone usage is one reason why businesses are pushing to level up their customer experience.

Utilizing mobile phones for customer service purposes has great potential, considering that smartphones make it possible to combine phone, chat, email, video, social media and self-service on one platform.

With most customers looking for companies via their phones, providing a customer-friendly mobile experience has become an absolute must for businesses.

Furthermore, more and more mobile applications are being integrated into call center processes, meaning that, while using their smartphones, customers can, for example, request a call-back or be transferred to live chat.

Proactive customer service

In recent years, providing outstanding customer support has been the main focus of innovative businesses, and not without good reason: if customers leave an interaction with your business satisfied with the service they have received, they are more likely to return and make further purchases.

Providing seamless customer experience, however, is these days the bare minimum expected of a business. And although call center agents may already have enough on their shoulders simply handling incoming customer queries effectively, the idea of proactive customer service is increasingly becoming the norm.

But what does proactive customer service mean? As its name suggests, proactive customer service means identifying and resolving customer issues before they become a problem. In other words, companies are increasingly aiming to offer solutions to customers before those customers even notice that they need a solution.

Companies can do this, for example, by monitoring customer interactions and notifying customers about relevant promotions, contract renewal issues or service expiry dates. This can make all the difference between good customer service and great customer service.

Another popular form of proactive customer service involves providing customers with gamified support experience. In fact, customer-focused companies are already exploring the concept of gamifying customer service by rewarding their customers for their efforts, for example, giving them tokens if they leave a review on the company’s website.   

Self-service taken to the next level

These days, businesses rely on self-service portals to empower their customers as well as their agents. Having a self-service portal is clearly a win-win situation for your business: your customers can resolve simple queries themselves, allowing your customer service agents to use the resulting additional time to handle more complex issues.

One thing is for sure, self-service portals have great potential for businesses: they can help not only increase the quality of customer service but can also be used to allow businesses to create communities around their products and services.

Having a web community, for example, is an excellent way of increasing customer loyalty and word of mouth for your business. A forum, for instance, can greatly help your business build a community by allowing your customers to engage on a daily basis with fellow customers.

However, as customer service is evolving at lighting-speed, customers are now beginning to expect even more. And it is becoming clear that the next step businesses need to take in order to improve their self-service experience is to implement chatbot solutions that can answer simple questions, instead of requiring customers to find information on their own or wait until a forum member replies.

By implementing a chatbot that is capable of answering simple questions, you’ll be able to take your customer service to the next level while also personalizing the self-service experience you offer to your customers.

So, there you go, a further three significant innovations currently happening in the call center industry. I’ll bring you part 3 of our “Customer Service Innovations” series in the next few weeks, so watch out for it!

5 Handy Tips for Training Call Center Agents

Posted on: February 1st, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

Motivated agents are the key to your call center’s success. Also, it is your agents who can keep your customers happy in the long run. Therefore, we collected some handy tips for training call center agents to help you get the most of your agent team. Make sure to check them and out and start using them today!

1. Provide agents with the proper tools

First things first: if you want your agents to perform well in their job, then pushing them too much won’t help you, but using reliable and up-to-date technology tools will definitely make a difference. A reliable call center software is fundamental to any well-run call center. Software options these days come with extremely smart features, such as a predictive dialer, CRM integration, or call blending. In addition, system integrations will allow your agents to rely on a single all-in-one platform, instead of having to navigate among several systems.

2. Make your agents handle real customer calls

Role-play exercises are an inevitable part of call center training. In fact, learning about possible customer service scenarios is a great way to prepare your agents for any future customer issues. Still, it is real call handling that pushes agents to perform 100%. Of course, throwing your agents in the deep end is not recommended but as they proceed with their induction period, you can slowly start allowing them to handle real customer calls. Just make sure to be ready to help them out if needed.

3. Offer feedback on recorded calls

Call centers often record their calls for training purposes, so don’t miss out on this great opportunity to use recorded calls to give useful feedback to your agents. Amongst other benefits, by reviewing calls together with your agent, they can receive a crystal-clear example of what is and what is not acceptable during a customer call.

4. Provide one-to-one feedback sessions

Our pro tip for training call center agents is to always allocate time for regular one-to-one feedback sessions with each of them. One-to-one sessions are by far the best way to discuss things, and much better than offering negative feedback publicly, which we would never recommend. Also, when it comes to giving feedback to your agents, always ensure all feedback you give is clear and specific.

5. Reward your best-performing agents

Agents have to work hard to hit their target KPIs. Of course, in such a competitive environment, they crave recognition from management. Therefore, another call center training best practice is to give away prizes each month to agents who successfully meet their targets. For example, handing out tokens or creating coupons for work-from-home days might be a great idea to keep them motivated. After all, motivation is the major driving force that keeps your agents going.

Do you have any call center training tips that you would recommend? If so, don’t hesitate to share them with us in our comments section!

Leveraging Speech Recognition Technology in a Call Center

Posted on: February 1st, 2019 by Roland Háry No Comments

Call center customer interactions contain a goldmine of valuable information. And thanks to recent technology advancements, there are now several technology solutions that allow call centers to make good use of their data. Speech recognition technology is one of them.  

In this article, I’ll tell you how you can benefit from leveraging speech recognition technology in a call center. Don’t miss out on this one!

Speech recognition technology in call centers

Speech recognition is the ability of a program to identify and analyze words or phrases in spoken language and convert them into digital analytics. In other words, when customers talk to your agents, the system analyzes what they say and can trigger specific actions based on it.

Already, customers have embraced such technology when looking for a simple and quick way to access information or carry out simple tasks. You just have to think about Siri, Apple’s technology that entered the voice recognition market back in 2011. Since the introduction of Siri, the competition has stepped up to the challenge, with Microsoft launching Cortana and Amazon launching Amazon.

Of course, call centers quickly recognized the potential of speech recognition technology when talking to customers: it’s capable of recognizing a huge amount of vocabulary in many languages, can identify relevant word and phrases, analyze the tone of voice, and even estimate the age of callers.

Amongst other things, call centers can use speech recognition technology to identify customers who need special attention, pinpoint industry trends, and analyze customer behavior and purchasing patterns, while also identifying problematic products or services and help low-performing agents improve their performance.

Identifying customers in a simple way

Most customer service interactions involve sensitive customer data. Of course, keeping this data 100% safe and secure is of the utmost importance for any call center.

Therefore, call centers often require customers to memorize long passwords and identification numbers in order to individually identify them. By leveraging speech recognition technology, however, it is now possible to identify customers based solely on their voice. So, all customers have to do is to say their name out loud and the system will identify them by recognizing and analyzing their voice.

Therefore, with speech recognition technology, customers can use their own voice as passwords, with each customer’s voice being as unique as their fingerprints. This, of course, allows call centers to significantly simplify their customer identification processes.

Furthermore, common interactions, such as checking an account balance or requesting shipping information, can be easily automated using speech recognition technology. This not only eases up your call queues but also allows your business to offer round-the-clock customer experience.

Real-time support for agents

Personalization is perhaps one of the most important trends dominating customer experience, with customers expecting companies to offer them what they want, when they want. It’s no surprise, therefore, that businesses these days really want to go the extra mile to personalize their customer interactions as much as possible.

And as speech recognition technology has rapidly advanced over the past few years, such solutions, by analyzing the tone of voice during customer interactions, can now provide call center agents with real-time support when dealing with customers.

As we all know, it can be difficult for even experienced agents to work out if a customer is frustrated with how a conversation is developing or if they are about to hang up. Speech recognition technologies, however, can now identify everything from anger or dissatisfaction to enthusiasm in the voices of customers.

In practice, speech recognition solutions make real-time suggestions to agents, encouraging them, for example, to make an upsell offer if they detect enthusiasm in the customer’s voice. Similarly, when the system identifies anger or frustration, it can warn agents of the situation.

Needless to say, by leveraging speech recognition technology, your call center will be able to increase its up- and cross-selling rates while creating better relationships with customers.

As you can see, speech recognition technology has great potential for the call center industry. Make sure you leverage this advanced technology, and don’t miss out on the positive effect it will have on your customer experience. You can be in no doubt that it will pay off in the long run.