Archive for May, 2019

Popular Call Center Benchmarks You Should Keep an Eye On

Posted on: May 31st, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

These days our business environment is getting fiercer, with customers leaving businesses for the competition in the blink of an eye.

As such, companies have no other choice but to go the extra mile in order to retain their customers and stay ahead of the competition. And measuring competitive call center benchmarks is definitely part of the deal.

Before we dive in, let’s quickly define what call center benchmarking is. Call Center benchmarking is basically the practice of analyzing the competition while comparing your metrics to those who perform the best in the industry.

Indeed, if you want your call center to thrive, you need to know what your competition is doing. So, here are four popular call center benchmarks that will help you decide what metrics you should measure against your competition’s metrics.

Average Speed to Answer

As we already talked about in a previous article, it is essential for call centers to keep their customer wait times low in order to keep customers satisfied.

Average speed to answer includes the amount of time while the phone rings until the agent answers. Ideally, this number is as low as possible.

This metric helps call centers assess their efficiency and it also contributes to customer trust and overall satisfaction. As such, average speed to answer should definitely be a call center benchmark you constantly keep your eyes on and thrive to improve.

Abandonment Rate

Average abandonment rate indicates the number of callers that hang up before they are connected to an agent.

As we all know, these days customers want their problems solved today, and not tomorrow. As such, they are simply not willing to wait for a customer service agent to pick up the phone. In fact, recent findings show that most customers hang up after an average of two minutes on hold.

One thing is for sure, the longer customers are put on hold, the more frustration grows before an agent even handles the call. As such, abandonment rate of calls is another vital call center benchmark you should watch closely.

First Call Resolution

We have already talked about first call resolution in a different article, and for good reason: it is an absolutely essential KPI to watch out for in call centers. First call resolution is the main indicator of customer satisfaction, so make sure you think of it as a key call center benchmark.

First call resolution shows whether or not a customer’s need is properly addressed by the customer service team during the first contact.

Amongst other things, a proper first call resolution rate will definitely help you improve customer satisfaction and reduce operational costs.

Call Duration

In the business world, time is money, and this is why measuring average call duration is essential for any call center.

Average call duration is the amount of time your agents spend speaking to a customer on the phone. When it comes to call duration, finding the golden mean is key. Too long conversations might show that your processes are not efficient enough while too short calls might indicate that your agents were not able to provide all the information your customers expected.

Therefore, always make sure to keep a close eye on your average call duration, and provide training sessions for your agents if necessary.

By analyzing these metrics and comparing them to your competitors’ performance, you can not only master call center benchmarks practices but also apply necessary changes which will put your call center on the path to success.

How to Reduce Customer Wait Times in Call Centers

Posted on: May 29th, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

In our accelerated world, customers are simply not willing to wait for a customer service agent to pick up the phone. In fact, recent findings show that most customers hang up after an average of two minutes on hold.

One thing is for certain: the longer customers are put on hold, the more frustration grows before an agent even handles the call.

Finding ways to reduce customer wait times will not only help you improve your processes but also keep customers satisfied. Check out our pro tips to keep your customer wait times low!

Find the bottlenecks

Customer wait times often suffer from bottlenecks. In fact, even companies with the most efficient customer service experience chokepoints where their processes slow down.

In order to eliminate these bottlenecks, an essential first step is to identify these constraints and handle them accordingly.

Measure your processes by utilizing data analytics and ask yourself the following questions: Where do my processes tend to slow down? How does this affect my customers? How can I overcome these constraints and speed up my processes?

By eliminating bottlenecks in your operations, you will be able to reduce your average customer wait times by up to minutes, and you can be pretty sure that your customers will really appreciate it.

Be ready to scale up

Every now and then, customer service departments experience heavy peak times, usually resulting in increased call volumes and customer wait times.

And as calls can often suddenly skyrocket during such times, it’s no surprise that agents often struggle to deal with the resulting high call volumes, with customers being put on hold for large amounts of time.

Managing peak times is a major challenge, and if you can’t efficiently react to increased call volumes, chances are your customer wait time will increase significantly. Therefore, when it comes to planning your staff schedules, never settle for the bare minimum. Instead, ensure you can easily scale up your business by relying on trained reserve agents who are ready to help out when necessary.

Utilize self-service

These days, customers can choose to resolve their own issues by using self-service options without the interaction of a live agent.

In today’s fast-paced world, people want their issues resolved now, not later. Therefore, spending minutes in a call queue to have something fixed — especially on a busy day — may feel like an eternity.

Luckily, your business can now utilize self-service options, such a self-service portal or FAQ page, to help ease up your call queues.

The cost benefits of customer self-service are obvious: if your customers can solve their problems on their own, the result will be significantly-reduced customer service call volumes, and thus substantially-reduced customer wait times!

Go omnichannel!

Omnichannel customer communication is nothing new in customer service. In fact, the idea of directing customers to several channels that are effectively aligned is definitely here to stay.

And, during an extremely busy holiday peak season, omnichannel customer service may turn out to be your savior! As we all know, many customer queries can be easily resolved via email, SMS or live chat.

So, why overburden your call queues when you can direct your customers to your other channels instead?

Providing customer service via a variety of channels will definitely help you reduce your customer wait times, but only if you ensure that customer communication quality levels are the same for all the channels you use. Don’t forget, using a number of channels is one thing, but aligning them effectively is another ball game altogether.

Keeping customer wait times low is vital in your customer service. Make sure to follow our tips to keep your customers happy and satisfied!

Video Identification Is Now Available On VCC Live Desk

Posted on: May 24th, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

In an age of digitalization and increasing customer expectations, the demand for remote identification services is growing faster and faster. And video, which has shown continued growth over the past few years, is the ideal tool to make customer identification simpler than ever.

At VCC Live®, our mission is to constantly focus on innovation and look for new ideas to create an as convenient as possible customer experience. As such, we’re delighted to announce that video identification is now available as part of VCC Live®’s solution.

Video identification is a simple, quick and highly secure method of remotely verifying customers. It helps prevent identity fraud, speeds up customer service and increase customer satisfaction – and it’s definitely a technology that is here to stay.

How does video identification work on VCC Live Desk? It’s simple:

  1. An agent offers a customer the opportunity to be identified via video call
  2. The agent sends an SMS with instructions and a link to the video call
  3. The customer clicks on the link and the video call begins
  4. The customer looks into the camera and holds up an appropriate identification card
  5. The agent takes a photo and checks the quality
  6. The agent informs the customer if the identification was successful

Customers increasingly expect companies to provide them with a smooth and convenient customer experience. However, in the banking industry, for example, until recently, because of the need for personal identification, customers usually needed to go physically to their nearest bank to get their issues resolved.

Now, though, with VCC Live’s video identification, customers can verify themselves at any time, and from anywhere. This method of identification at VCC Live is not only highly secure, it is also recorded and can be replayed at any later date.

Interested in our video identification feature? Check out our demo video! 

How to Create a Forum to Promote Your Products

Posted on: May 15th, 2019 by Péter Krisán No Comments

In today’s world, e-commerce is more important than ever, and there are dozens of online channels you can use to promote your products. While it’s true that the more channels you use, the wider the audience you can reach, in fact, focusing your promotions on your true target audience is just as crucial as reaching a broad audience.

In a previous article, we already talked about the benefits of building an online community, and arguably a forum is your best option when trying to build an online community for your business.

Whether you are considering setting up a forum for your business or just wondering how a forum can be your business’ next promotion channel, here are some practical tips (and steps) on how to get started!

What is a Forum and What Are Its Benefits?

An internet forum is an online discussion site where people with common interests can participate in open conversations. Registered forum users can initiate new conversations on a specific topic by creating threads, and others can post questions or replies within the thread.

You may not think so, but an online forum has a number of benefits for business. Amongst other things, an online forum allows you to build relationships, earn trust, establish credibility, and even help promote your products to a community that is already interested in topics relevant to your business.

Tip #1 — Choose a Suitable Forum Solution

Once you decided to create a forum, you need to decide how you want to set up your site, technology-wise.

You can purchase forum software and host it on your own server, use a forum website service, or a website platform with a forum plugin. However, each option has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some options, while very customizable, are more complicated to set up, requiring server and coding knowledge. Other options are easy to implement, but are limited in terms of customization.

In brief: Find a forum solution that best suits your requirements, and is flexible enough to be future-proof in terms of customizability and functionality.

Tip #2 — Have Some Rules in Place When Create a Forum

In a forum where people are allowed to express their opinions, —which is why we love forums, right?— it’s probably a good idea to have some rules in place.

So you should create Community Guidelines or Terms of Service, outlining the terms when using your forum. Terms may include what activities are forbidden (e.g., self-promotion, using discriminatory or offensive language), what restrictions are placed on new users (e.g., new users cannot send direct messages), how certain users are rewarded (e.g., gaining badges for posting frequently), or what the consequences of violating the rules are (e.g., temporary restriction).

Whatever rules you have, make sure that new users are fully informed of them when signing up, and that the terms are easily accessible to every user.

In brief: It’s your forum, so you write the rules (literally). A forum is not an uncontrolled discussion environment – you own it, and as such, you are responsible for what goes on in it.

Tip #3 — Choose Interesting Topics (And Choose Wisely!)

A conversation is no fun without topics to talk about. So, before launching your forum, initially create a few threads that can help generate new conversations or keep existing conversations going.

For starters, you should definitely create some generic threads related to your business, so your forum can start growing. You should also open a few topics that are more specific to certain subjects, such as a complex issue or a controversial topic. This is a great opportunity for you to start conversations about your product, allowing your customers to become your brand advocates.

Your business forum can also be the perfect place for your clients to provide feedback on your products, so giving you ideas for future developments, as well as spreading the word about your products to others — sounds like a great promotion opportunity, right?

In brief: Creating generic topics can help your forum grow. More specific topics can attract potential core forum users and help your forum become a valuable information source while also promoting your products. And feedback-focused topics are great for consumer research purposes, while also letting users provide help and support to each other for your products.

Tip #4 — Breathe Life Into Your Forum

No matter how interesting your topics are, an uninhabited forum probably won’t be attractive to many users.

If you have a previously-established online community (e.g., on social networks or a subscription list), make sure you invite them to your new forum. An already-existing community can help breathe life into your new forum, potentially become your forum’s loyal members and helping invite other users to the discussion.

Additionally, an existing user base can help your forum grow and generate content for your website.

In brief: Empty forums are not cool. Make sure you let your existing online community from various social platforms know about your new forum — not only will they liven up the site, but they will also generate content for your website that will attract even more users to your newly-launched forum.

Tip #5 — Moderate Forum Conversations

As soon as your forum starts growing, you will quickly find out that moderating posts can be quite a challenge.

So, as well as you and other co-workers moderating posts, you might want to ask other forum members to join the moderators’ team in exchange for some small compensation.

Moderator tasks can include responsibilities such as reviewing posts to check they meet community guidelines, reviewing posts that were reported, approving new members’ profiles, or banning abusive users. Last but not least, welcoming new users, responding to other forum users’ questions, or keeping conversations going can be rewarding tasks as well.

In brief: You should definitely keep an eye (or more) on conversations in your forum. Not only you can prevent conversations being, well, too unmoderated, but showing that the forum is being actively kept taken care of is a sign of a healthy, vibrant forum community.

Tip #6 — Promote Your Products on Your Forum

In fact, on a well-established business forum, you don’t have to do much to promote your products. The forum itself promotes your products, or more precisely, the community on the forum do.

When a potential buyer searches the internet for your product, chances are they will run into your forum and find some valuable information about your product that will be key to their decision. Because existing customers’ reviews really do matter a lot. In addition, the more topics the user base creates, the higher the possibility of people finding your product when searching the web for related keywords.

In brief: Reviews and opinions spread fast on the internet—so do good product reviews. And if a forum gives the impression to a potential buyer that the community behind the product is trustworthy, then they will have the same impression about the product, too.

Takeaways

It’s no doubt that a business forum can be a very powerful tool in your long-term marketing strategy.

Because a forum is great for consumer research purposes. A forum community creates content for your website and provide product support for your products. And the majority of forum users are tech-savvy and are usually open to making purchases online. So, I guess it’s time to create a forum, right? 

Do you have any success stories about promoting a product on a forum? What you think makes for a great forum community? Let us know about your experiences or thoughts in the comment section below!

Digital Debt Collection: Self-Service With a Seamless Contact Center CX

Posted on: May 14th, 2019 by Richard Michael Blewis No Comments

Today’s customers increasingly leverage self-service and digital debt collection solutions when it comes to interacting with a contact center.

Self-service is trending upwards in debt collections and now over 50% of customers prefer self-service and more than 20% look to resolve their debt out of hours. One thing is certain: digital debt collection helps increase collection rates and make your business more efficient while improving your ROI.

We are evolving from Omnichannel to Optichannel, the key difference being that the interaction and call flow needs to use AI data segmentation to define rules, settlement offers, payment methods and live agent interaction.

Interactive IVR push campaigns

Until now, debt collectors typically relied on live agent interaction. In our digital world, however, debt collectors (virtual and live agents) need to apply customer segmentation in order to target based on the customer profile.

In fact, forward-thinking businesses have already started to use solutions that rely on live agents for certain parts of the debt collection process and digital self-service for other parts.

For example, based on a customer balance, amount of payments overdue, failed PTP or other criteria, the settlement calculation and the routing to a live agent can be defined.

How to increase your PTP payment rate

In debt collections we all know the dreaded Promise to Pay or PTP. We have heard of campaigns in which the PTP payment rate has been under 10%, so how can we increase this without incurring more expense?

Using the VCC Live® data segmentation module we can define a strategy in the workflow, so for example < €50 we might send an SMS reminder and > €50 we will launch a preview or predictive call.

With each transaction, we send an SMS confirmation which includes a webchat link, just in case further information is required.

There should be payment thresholds when using self-service, to establish a minimum amount and a cutoff date. Perhaps a partial payment should initiate a live call transfer to a call center agent. By using skilled based rules you’ll be able to improve overall CX and the results.

Contact Center Agents

As mentioned above, creating customer segmentation by utilizing customer data is vital in order to maximize digital debt collection processes.

For example, calls that do get transferred to live agents should be CTI enabled to identify the customer and provide account information fully integrated with the CRM, allowing agents to provide a fully personalized experience. This should be applied for calls and for live chat as well.

Furthermore, intelligent routing should use the same above mentioned criteria. For instance, if a high profile debtor is ready to interact, then they should jump the queue perhaps and be routed to a specific agent.

Debt Collection Outcomes

The customer disposition is the outcome for each interaction, this can be generated from the self-service interaction, from an agent interaction using the CRM outcome, making a payment either with the payment gateway or in the bank. Recently we have introduced M-CRM for field collectors.

At VCC Live® we develop technology and provide expertise to ensure success in debt collections and this involves an ongoing business relationship. We not only assess your campaign results but also make recommendations to improve results.

VCC Live® will help you find the balance and create the right strategy, for more info check out our Self-Service Debt Collector.

5 Reasons Why Your Call Center Needs a Customizable Solution

Posted on: May 10th, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

As these days business is powered by advanced technology solutions, choosing a reliable software solution is an essential and inevitable step for call centers.

Choosing the right call center software can be a difficult job. But it doesn’t have to be. First, check out our pro guide on what to consider when choosing a call center software.  

And once you’re familiar with the most important call center software features, it’s time to talk about the importance of software customization.

Below, we’ll explain why your call center needs a customizable solution in order to reap success.

Increased efficiency

If you choose a ready-made software solution that lacks certain features your business needs, then you’ll need to leverage additional systems in order to seamlessly manage your operations.

However, it’s as simple as that: the more systems you use, the more complicated your processes will be. By leveraging too many systems, your agents will have no other choice but to switch between these systems, resulting in reduced efficiency.

Switching to an all-in-one, customizable solution, on the other hand, will definitely help you use your resources more efficiently while allowing your agents to increase their productivity.

Competitive Business Advantage

Every business is unique in their own way and thus needs to utilize certain tailor-made features in order to get the most out of their operations.

One thing is for sure: an off-the-shelf solution will never perfectly fit your business. A customizable solution, however, is developed based on your own business requirements, allowing you to stay ahead of the competition by leveraging a system that is specifically designed for your business.  

As most businesses still go for ready-made software, choosing a customizable solution is your best choice to create a competitive business advantage for your business and a tailor-made solution for your customers.

Scalability

The success of your business lies in your ability to grow, and this is also where a customizable software solution will definitely come in handy.

Peak periods are nothing new to customer service, with call centers often experiencing increased call volumes in peak times. In such cases, the ability to quickly upscale is critical to any call center.

A „one-size-fits-all” solution won’t necessarily be able to accommodate your needs to upscale that come as a result of your company’s sudden growth. Also, requesting changes in a ready-made solution may require significant time and money.

On the other hand, a customizable solution is created with flexibility in mind, allowing your business to quickly scale up adding additional agents to your team only during peak times.

Security reasons

For call centers, often collecting and storing a huge amount of customer data, security and privacy need to be a top priority.

As we all know, on 25 May last year, the GDPR came into force, requiring businesses to implement several data protection measures into their processes.

A ready-made software solution may not contain the necessary features to comply with the new legislation. Therefore, again, you’ll have no other choice but to look for additional systems.

A customizable solution, on the other hand, can measure your company’s data protection requirements and develop your solution accordingly. Here at VCC Live®, during the last two years, we initiated a number of developments to ensure our solution is a 100% GDPR compliant.

Ongoing support

It is no coincidence that ongoing support is the last factor on our list. Perhaps the most important advantage of a customizable solution is that your company can benefit personalized and ongoing support from the provider’s development and customer service teams.

As your call center grows, your software solution will need changes too. In case you choose a customizable solution, instead of looking for a new system, you’ll be able to work along with your provider’s development team and add new necessary features to your solution.

At VCC Live®, after setup and a training period, our support team and dedicated account managers continue to offer ongoing support as required. Furthermore, our expert team provides call center consulting services using the expert industry knowledge they have acquired through the years.

The growth of your business will require constant changes in your software solution. VCC Live®’s agile development methods ensure that our clients enjoy the benefits of a customized and state-of-the-art call center software solution. So, using our pro tips, make sure to choose a customizable solution that is able to grow with your business.

The Future of Customer Service: Predictions For the Next Few Years

Posted on: May 9th, 2019 by Ákos Philippovich No Comments

Increasing levels of customer expectation is forcing companies to constantly focus on innovation and look for new ideas.

The last few years have seen the rise of AI, machine learning and automation in customer service, bringing major technological advancements to the industry.

These are just a few of the amazing technologies that have been developed in the recent years. And, in fact, the age of new technologies is only just beginning. While we may not know what the future will bring, here are a few of my customer service predictions for the next few years.

Integrated customer experience

As I’m sure you’ll be aware, if you want to sell effectively, you’ll need to support your customers through their customer buying process.

And while companies have already started to leverage customer data to support the various stages in the customer journey, just a small minority of them integrate their data effectively, with only 17% of companies using fully-integrated customer data across their organization.

Integrating your data will allow you to get a 360-degree picture of your customers and thus provide them with an exceptional and integrated customer experience.

Call centers, in particular, store a huge amount of data, so why not synthesize your business and customer data to offer your customers a more satisfying journey when engaging with your brand?

Customer data can come from customer service data, sales data, marketing data and so on, each of them highlighting a specific part of the customer experience. Sales data, for example, can tell you about purchasing history, marketing data will show you your customers’ preferred channels, while customer service data will inform you about recent issues. Ultimately, by combining this data you’ll be able to target your customers in the right place at the right time with the right offer.

Video identification

In today’s fast-paced digital world, organizations storing personal data have become a major target for cybercriminals. As a result of the increased number of data breaches in recent years, secure customer identification is becoming more and more important, especially in the service and banking industry.

At the same time, customers are increasingly expecting companies to provide them with an as convenient as possible customer experience. It’s no surprise, therefore, that the demand for remote services is firmly on the rise.

In the banking industry, for example, until recently, because of the need for personal identification, customers usually needed to physically go to the nearest bank to get their issues resolved. Thanks to the latest technology, however, it is now possible to identify customers using video chat.

This new technology, already available as part of VCC Live’s solution, identifies customers by requiring them to look into their device’s camera, holding their identification card next to them. And while for now only a few businesses leverage video identification, I believe it will become a major trend in the next few years, determining the future of customer service. 

Measuring agents’ psychological parameters

Working as a call center agent is not easy. Agents spend most of their time on the phone talking to customers, and resolving complex issues with often angry customers. It’s no surprise that they commonly experience high levels of stress.

And while call center agents are trained to effectively handle stressful situations, they may also lose their nerves every now and then, especially if they have to deal with a seemingly never-ending line of difficult customers.

But what if you could measure your agents’ emotional state by leveraging body measurement sensors? Several studies suggest that using technological tools to measure agents’ physiological parameters could greatly benefit call centers in terms of customer satisfaction as well as agent retention.

The tools work by detecting when an agent is experiencing extremely high levels of stress due to difficult customers, and as a response directing subsequent calls to other agents. Indeed, by measuring agents’ stress level, supervisors will be able to take action real-time and thus reduce the number of angry customer calls.

Call centers are notorious for being extremely stressful work environments, and agent retention is an important consideration. However, by allowing stressed agents to take a few minutes to calm down can not only help you keep agent retention levels low but also help guarantee high agent quality, with the resultant increase in overall customer satisfaction.

We’re entering a new frontier of technology that will change the customer service industry for good. Will these trends determine the future of customer service? Only time will tell…

Sun Finance Chose VCC Live® to Fuel Their Operations in Europe

Posted on: May 3rd, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

We’re delighted to announce that Sun Finance chose VCC Live® to fuel their 250-operator consumer lending operations in Europe.

Sun Finance is a fast-growing online consumer lending company with headquarters in Riga, Latvia, and several offices around the world. The company uses the latest technology solutions in order to stay on top of the competition, allowing them to ensure instant consumer identification and scoring.

As such, Sun Finance needed an innovative solution that was able to live up to their expectations, while also allowing them to offer exceptional support to their customers. In particular, the company was looking for call center software that could provide an all-in-one multichannel solution that was flexible and easy to scale up. And this is where VCC Live®, with all its advanced features, came into play.

As Sun Finance operates offices in several countries around the world, having unified communication with their customers on a single platform is of utmost importance to them. A major advantage of VCC Live®’s system is that all features required are available in an all-in-one solution. Therefore, agents at Sun Finance don’t need to spend their time setting up several systems and navigating around them. Instead, they are able to access everything they need by simply using VCC Live®’s all-in-one solution.

In addition, the company needs to leverage several channels in order to be able to reach their customers on their preferred channel. VCC Live®’s multichannel solution gives them the perfect opportunity to interact with their customers across a wide range of channels, including phone, email, SMS, chat and social media.

And as one of the fastest-growing online consumer lending companies operating on four continents, Sun Finance was looking for a solution that is not only flexible but also easy to up-scale. VCC Live®’s system is customizable based on unique customer needs, offering Sun Finance a high level of flexibility and scalability.

Dániel Severa, Customer Success Manager at VCC Live®, said: “We are constantly looking to explore international markets. We are delighted to be able to provide Sun Finance with our solution and we are proud that they will be using our solution in all of their offices in Europe. We’re looking forward to a fruitful partnership with them.

About Sun Finance:

Sun Finance is the fastest-growing online consumer lending company in Europe, utilizing the latest technologies to achieve excellence in their projects. With headquarters in Riga, Latvia, and offices in 4 continents, the company offers a fintech-friendly environment, a high-quality legal setup, as well as an extensive labour market of experienced online consumer lending, data science and IT professionals.