Archive for September, 2019

Clearing Up the Cloud: the Difference Between SaaS, IaaS and PaaS

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

With the rise of cloud computing, “as a service” abbreviations became the new buzzwords in the business world.

The cloud is slowly becoming the norm among businesses, as the majority of companies have already started to move at least some of their operations from on premise to the cloud.

If you haven’t done so already, and are considering moving your operations to the cloud, you’ll need to get familiar with the main types of cloud computing that exist: SaaS, IaaS and PaaS.

In this article, we’ll explain the difference between SaaS, IaaS and PaaS, these often confusing abbreviations. Make sure to read on to find out which one is the most ideal for your business solution!

SaaS: Software as a Service

SaaS, or Software as a Service, is the most utilized form of cloud computing used by businesses. As its name suggests, SaaS refers to software solutions that are available over the internet via a third party. Businesses that use a SaaS solution rely on a third-party vendor who is responsible for hosting and maintaining the software.

As the software is hosted by a third party or provider, your company can gain access to the tool without having to install the application on your computers. Furthermore, the provider is also responsible for ensuring the software is always up and running, allowing you to significantly reduce maintenance costs.

SaaS solutions are becoming more and more popular among businesses as they are affordable, easy to use and scale, and don’t require IT knowledge in order to set them up.

Some examples of SaaS solution include Salesforce, Microsoft Office 365, and of course, our solution VCC Live.

IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service

Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS, is another form of cloud computing that offers virtualized resources over the internet, meaning a provider utilizes their own hardware to host anything from software to servers and storage, and lending it out to users.

Similar to other forms of cloud computing, one major benefit of IaaS solutions is that they’re highly cost-effective. As we all know, maintaining an on premise IT infrastructure requires significant investment and maintenance costs. IaaS solutions, in contrast, allow businesses to only purchase resources they need, instead of having to buy physical hardware. In addition, IaaS solutions can also be easily scaled up or down when needed, bringing significant flexibility to businesses.

As it becomes less common to rely on on premise solutions, choosing an IaaS software is getting more and more popularity. And as they operate on a pay-as-you-use model, IaaS solutions are ideal for the majority of business, regardless of shape or size.

A great example of an IaaS provider is Microsoft Azure.

PaaS: Platform as a Service

The third main type of cloud computing is PaaS, or Platform as a Service, which also offers services to your business over the internet.

PaaS is very similar to IaaS, however, while IaaS delivers an infrastructure (for example servers), PaaS delivers an entire platform for businesses to build and develop their own applications. PaaS providers host hardware and software tools over the internet, which can typically be utilized by developers.

Again, the benefits are similar to other forms of cloud computing. Just as with other options, PaaS is also charged on a pay-as-you-go basis, allowing businesses to cut the costs of constructing their own physical servers and infrastructure. Furthermore, as everything is accessed via the internet, easy usage and flexibility are also characteristics of PaaS solutions.

One popular example of PaaS providers is Google App Engine.

Let’s recap the differences between SaaS, IaaS and PaaS: SaaS offers ready-to-use software solutions over the internet, IaaS delivers infrastructure and hosts virtualized resources (like a server) over the internet, while PaaS allows you to focus on app development instead of infrastructure management.

The Benefits of Computer Telephony Integration in the Call Center

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

Exceptional customer service is the backbone to any company, as it paves the way for significant business growth.

Considering the increasing demands of today’s customers, however, providing an exceptional customer experience is no small feat.

Luckily, rapidly advancing technology tools are here to help out. Computer telephony integration, in particular, is a technology that helps call center agents to win the battle for customers. Check out how below!

What is Computer Telephony Integration?

Computer Telephony Integration, or CTI, is a technology that allows computers to interact with telephony systems and forms of digital communication. A CTI system can handle both incoming and outgoing communications such as phone calls, SMS, email, fax and video chat, and route them to the appropriate person or device.

A Cost-Effective Solution

Call centers managers are always on the lookout for cheaper solutions for their call center. And a computer telephony integration system is one tool that allows call centers to help cut their expenses.

A CTI system doesn’t require a PBX and key system telephones, meaning that agents only need their computer in order to be able to work. By adopting a CTI system, you can forget about the costly purchasing, maintaining and replacing of physical hardware solutions.

CTI systems also support remote work: a VoIP system, for example, matches a session to every agent, so agents can use different computers remotely from home, allowing the call center to significantly reduce costs related to office space and IT infrastructure.

As such, computer telephony integration is not only more cost-effective but is also highly flexible, enabling call centers to easily scale up by hiring remote agents when it’s needed.

Improved Agent Productivity

A CTI system allows agents to take and receive calls on their computer with a single click, saving significant time in picking up phones. Agents can also leverage call control functions, including call answer, call hold, hang up call transfer and call mute on a single screen, without having to switch between applications and leave their desks while on the phone.

 Furthermore, good-quality CTI systems come with handy features that enable call centers to improve their productivity. The “interactive voice response” feature, for example, filters customers and route them to the most skilled agent, boosting first call resolution and customer experience. And features such as “click-to-call” allow agents to start a call without having to dial a number.

Last but not least, the fact that a lot of customer information is available even before a call begins (more on this below) means that call duration times can be reduced, as agents do not have to start calls with questions they already have the answers to.

Provides Valuable Customer Information

They say you need to know your customers in order to be able to provide them with outstanding customer experience. It’s no surprise, therefore, that collecting customer data is now crucial for any call center that strives to shine in the long run.

With computer telephony integration, agents can assess all customer information they have from a single platform, making customer interaction far more efficient.

Important customer information such as name, company and previous interactions or purchases can be made available to agents, allowing them to add personalization to customer interactions.

Furthermore, CTI not only helps make your agents’ jobs easier, but also makes your call center supervisors’ job easier as well, as it supports call monitoring, call recording and real-time statistics.

Amongst other things, supervisors can track agents’ performance and even use call monitoring to assist them in real-time if necessary.

Moving forward in our ever-competitive business environment is a major challenge. But if you leverage CTI technology, you’ll be able to take customer excellence in the call center a step further. 

3 Easy to Implement Tips to Building Employee Loyalty in the Call Center

Posted on: September 18th, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

Call center turnover is a constant challenge for call centers. At the same time, finding new agents is becoming increasingly difficult due to the advanced language skills, long working hours and high levels of flexibility call centers expect of agents.

So, here’s the ultimate guide on how to build employee loyalty in the call center!

Try Call Center Gamification

Due to the high demands call centers set, their employees often quickly lose motivation, leaving the industry to explore less stressful career opportunities.

Therefore, for any call center striving to keep their agents loyal, it’s essential to create a less stressful and more fun work environment.

Leveraging call center gamification is a great way to help create a collaborative atmosphere and better work culture. Adding some games into every day work will create a sense of community and increase engagement, encouraging agents to build long-term loyalty towards your business.

Offer Them Career Opportunities

Who said you cannot build a career in the call center? Still, most people (including agents) think it’s not possible to move up the career ladder in a call center.

The truth is, however, that there are a wide variety of career opportunities in call centers. Responsibilities vary greatly, depending on the nature of the company, agents’ experience and personality, so don’t leave agents stuck in their position once they’ve outgrown it.

Offering continuous training opportunities will encourage agents to plan for the long term. When it comes to training call center agents, there are a number of best practices. Reviewing recorded calls together with your agents, for example, will allow you to provide them with a crystal-clear example of what is and what is not appropriate during a customer call. 

Also, when training your agents, set your creativity free. You can, for example, create a common knowledge base, and encourage your agents to contribute to it with their own knowledge.

Recognize Them through Rewards

The biggest challenge for agents working in a large team in a call center environment is to stand out from the crowd, and for their work to be acknowledged by management. It’s no surprise then, that call center agents often feel they are nothing more than just another cog in the call center wheel.

As such, if you want to increase employee loyalty your call center, make sure you create a workplace environment in which they feel they are valued by the company.  Recognizing your agents through rewards is a great step in creating this kind of workplace environment.

There are a number of ways you can do this. For example, you can create a coupon book and give out coupons for 15 minutes of time off or a remote working day. Whatever you do, always make sure to award prizes that make the winners feel special. You can be sure your agents will, in return, stay loyal to your call center.

Employees stay loyal to businesses that treat them well. Make sure you follow our tips to help keep employee loyalty high in your call center! 

Cold Sales Call Strategies to Sell More Effectively

Posted on: September 13th, 2019 by Péter Málhai No Comments

People tend to say cold calling is dead, but in reality, there’s still a lot of potential in cold sales calls. But only if you do it right.

When it comes to cold calls, getting it right means thoroughly planning your conversations in advance.

Using my 15 years’ experience in sales, I’ll bring you an article every month to show you how to plan and execute cold sales calls effectively, so that you can make more sales and close more deals. Don’t miss out on the first article of our cold sales call strategies article series!

Build trust and gain sympathy

Imagine the situation: you’re at home and hear your cell phone ringing. You check your phone and don’t recognize the number. You think maybe it’s the feedback you’re waiting for from that job interview last week, so you pick it up excitedly – only to find out it’s a cold call from a company. As soon as the operator starts speaking, you already know they will want to sell you something, and you immediately begin to feel negatively about the call. That’s why building mutual sympathy and trust is the first and very (if not the most) important step in any cold call.

Pro tip: when making a cold call, the first sentence decides everything. Don’t start by asking “is it a good time to talk”, since it’s not only vague but also indicates the call might be long and therefore reinforces the receiver’s negative feelings towards the company you represent. Instead, try and introduce yourself quickly, ask them if they have 2-3 minutes for the call, and promise them you’ll be very quick. By doing this, your customers will know from the very beginning of the conversation that the call will not take long and you’re not going to take their valuable time for too long. 

Assess needs and make an offer

The goal of customer needs assessment during a cold sales call is to understand what your customers want and how your product or services can meet their expectations. Assessing customer needs is a vital part of the sales process. Put simply, if you don’t know what your customers want, then it will be difficult (if not impossible) to meet their expectations.

Pro tip: In certain occasions, customers don’t have any specific needs. In such cases, it is the sales rep’s task to generate needs for them. Let’s look at an example: “I understand that you like your smart TV, however, I’m sure you would enjoy watching your favorite movies even more on a device with higher resolution (of course, it only works if you manage to gain information about their favorite movies before.)”.

Once you manage to build trust with a customer, it’s time to thoroughly assess their needs. The best way to do this is by preparing a series of questions and selecting the most relevant ones, based on the current conversation. After having got an overall picture of the customer’s needs, make sure to summarize what you’ve heard, and the make an appropriate offer.

Pro tip: when you summarize what you’ve heard make sure to apply the ‘three yeses’ rule, meaning if you ask three questions and the customer’s answer is yes to all three questions, then it’s 90% that they will say yes to your next question as well.

Handle customer objections

No matter how good a product or service is, every customer will have objections which will make them hesitate before buying them. And in order to make more sales and close more deals, sales reps will have to learn how to successfully overcome these objections.

Objection handling means responding to the customers’ concerns in a way that changes their opinion and encourages them to proceed with the purchase. The best way to handle objections is through active listening, asking follow up questions and responding to customers’ comments in a thoughtful way. When it comes to responding, reacting too impulsively, arguing with a customer, or pushing them too hard to proceed with a purchase will only make things worse, as customers will easily lose the trust you’ve built with them so far.

Also, don’t forget about the golden rule of commerce: the customer is always right. So, even if you don’t agree with what they are saying, try and respond in a way that makes them feel they are right. 

Pro tip: when customers are not sure about a purchase, they usually refer to the easiest and most common type of objection, which is objection based on price. In such cases, however, they might actually have every intention of making the purchase, therefore, it’s worth asking a few additional questions to discover what the customer’s real objections are and start handling them.

Cold sales calls can be frustrating both for your reps and customers. But if you follow the steps mentioned above, you’ll be able to build trust, gain customers’ attention and as a result close more deals. 

Strategies to Turn Customers Into Brand Advocates

Posted on: September 5th, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

Acquiring customers is important but retaining them is what makes a business grow in the long term. Still, 44% of companies rather focus on customer acquisition than customer retention.

But did you know that it costs five times as much to acquire a customer than to keep an existing one? So, instead of focusing only on customer acquisition, make sure you put just as much energy into retaining your customers, and even turning them into brand advocates. Here’s how!

Offer next-level customer service

This might be obvious but, if you thrive to turn your customers into brand advocates, start by providing each of them with exceptional customer service because you never know who may later turn into your most loyal brand advocates.

Providing an overall good customer experience is a good first step, but chances are it won’t be enough for turning customers into advocates. Instead, you’ll need to take things further and know what your customers want, before they even know it, for example, by exceeding their expectations with proactive customer service.

Seeing your company is willing to go the extra mile to solve problems before they even occur will definitely make your customers feel that they are valued and respected, encouraging them to turn into loyal brand advocates.

Know your customers

What better way to show customers you value them than remembering their name? It makes customers feel like an individual and it also demonstrates that you actually care about them as a person.

In fact, thanks to today’s advanced technology, you can do a lot more than just greeting customers by their names. It’s no secret that customer service departments store a huge amount of customer data. And by leveraging data analytics instead of only storing your data, you can actually make good use of it. Proper analysis of customer data is the first step in understanding your customers. In fact, data analytics will allow you to better understand your customers’ behaviors and needs, and thus add personalization to your customer service.

By showing your customers that you know them, you’ll be able to make them feel treated as special customers and thus encourage them to commit to your business.

Ask for Feedback

Customer feedback is one of, if not the most valuable resource for your business. It is also an excellent way to gain insights into your company’s processes. After all, it is customers who use your products or services, so you better take their opinion seriously.

Customer feedback is giving you the opportunity to realize what you’re doing wrong and how you can improve your services. This allows you to better serve your customers by taking their feedback on board.

Furthermore, by asking for feedback, you can show your customers that you care about what they think and consider changing your product or services based on their thoughts. As a result, chances are better they will stick to your business and become brand advocates.

Create a community

Another great strategy to turn customers into brand advocates is by providing them with a platform (such as a forum) where they can interact with each other. As already mentioned in a previous article, one major benefit of creating a community around your brand is that it can significantly increase customer retention and engagement.

In order to create an online community, consider building as many social media platforms as you can manage, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Quora to serve as communication hubs where your customers can interact. You might want to consider creating a forum, as well, which is typically an ideal platform to create a community.

Giving your customers platforms where they can talk about your product will give you the opportunity not only to join the conversation and create a relationship with them but also listen to their feedback and deal with their complaints.