Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

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. 

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…

The Benefits of Building an Online Community

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

The Internet has given us many genuinely great things, one of them being a more accessible virtual marketplace offering loads of advantages to businesses.

Amongst other things, you can now easily build online communities within this virtual marketplace. And if you sell technology solutions, for example, an online community will be invaluable for your business.

Before we check out what the main benefits of online communities could be for your business, let’s quickly clarify what an online community exactly is.

What is an online community?

An online community is a group of people sharing a common interest who use virtual platforms to communicate and pursue their interest.

The most common platforms businesses utilize to build online communities are forums, instant messaging, email, websites and social platforms.

A forum is arguably your best option when building an online community for your business. By using a forum you can create as many topics as you want, and enable your community to share their thoughts on a variety of relevant subjects in a moderated environment.

Benefit No 1: Increased retention and engagement

As I’m sure you’ll be aware, these days it is actually cheaper to maintain existing customers than to acquire new ones. Therefore, customer retention is one of the most effective ways to grow a business.

And one major benefit of building an online community is that it can significantly increase customer retention and engagement.

If a customer is part of your online community, they’ll want to see responses and follow conversations they’re interested in – and they will keep coming back to your website to stay updated to those conversations. As a result, you’ll have the chance to turn one-time visitors into returning visitors.

In addition, your online community will be continually starting new conversations, sharing their experiences and opinions on relevant topics. This, of course, will help you increase your customer engagement.

Benefit No 2: Building trust

Building an online community is one of the most powerful ways to connect with your customers. Furthermore, a well-run online community will also help you build customer trust.

Be it a technology solution or insurance services, in our ever-connected world, generating high quality content is a must for any business. As such, creating educational content and using it to support your online communities will show your customers that you are an expert in the field, further increasing their trust in your business.

Furthermore, today’s empowered customers increasingly like to know that their concerns and ideas are being heard by the businesses they choose. So, if you listen and react to their ideas, it’s most likely that in return they will become more loyal to your business.

Benefit No 3: Improved customer service

Another major benefit of building an online community is that they will help you improve your customer experience by easing up your customer service lines.

As everyone knows, you have to work hard to provide your customers with exceptional customer experience. And I’m sure that every now and then – especially during peak times – you have a difficult time answering every single question your customers have. Luckily, your online community can provide a resource that will be happy to give valuable answers to simple customer queries.

And let’s also not forget that self-service customer service has been around for a while, and for good reason: customer support lines are often busy and sometimes customers cannot wait hours for a simple but important question. In such situations, an online community is again a great way to help them out with their questions.

If you want to turn your customers into brand loyalists and connect them with a community who can help them with their challenges, then it’s time to think about building an online community. In the upcoming weeks, I’ll show you how to do that step by step, so look out for my next article!  

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.

Screen Sharing: Level Up Your Customer Service

Posted on: January 9th, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

Visual engagement takes customer service to the next level. Luckily, thanks to ever-evolving technology solutions, more and more visual engagement platforms are appearing on the market, allowing businesses to level up their customer interactions with ease.

We’ve already talked about video for customer service and co-browsing in previous articles, so this time we’ll discuss the benefits of screen sharing for customer service departments. Read on, and you’ll soon realize it is something you need to put on your customer service list for this year!

Real-time problem solving

One thing is certain, speed has become vital to customers. They value their time, and expect you to resolve their issues as soon as possible, without any hassle.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of screen sharing is that it allows businesses to provide real-time support. By using screen sharing your agents, for example, will be able to guide your customers through an issue step by step, while also providing them with visual aid at the same time.

As a result, your first call resolution rate will improve significantly, while arranging call backs will become increasingly unnecessary. This, of course, will not only ease up your phone lines but also increase your overall customer satisfaction.

Improved customer engagement

Most people are visual learners, and understand you better when they can not only hear what you say but can also see your instructions.

By using visual engagement solutions such as screen sharing, businesses can add visualization to their customer service, thus helping agents and customers understand each other better, and so improve customer support.

In particular, by using screen sharing, users can access and see a customer’s entire screen, and can also control and make changes on the customer’s screen as well.

With customer attention span getting shorter and shorter, what better way to keep them engaged than by using a visual aid?

Convenience

Just think about having to explain a software setup to a customer who is struggling to keep up with your agent: it’s not convenient for your agent, or your customer. But with screen sharing, you can easily turn potentially unsatisfied customers into satisfied customers.

Screen sharing is an ideal solution for when your team needs to deal with complex technical issues. In such situations, phone calls are often long and complicated, with agents trying their best to identify specific problems and communicate the solution in a way that is understandable to customers.

In contrast, with screen sharing, your agents will be able to simply share their monitor with customers and show them how to solve the problem step by step. No more need for agents to send a bunch of screenshots to explain an issue!

Ideal for remote agents

Utilizing remote agents can be highly beneficial for customer service departments in terms of productivity, operations, and cost-effectiveness. With remote agents, businesses can employ highly-skilled multilingual agents anywhere in the world, without being limited by geographic factors. It’s no surprise then that more and more companies have started to leverage this beneficial workforce model.

However, making use of employees based around the world can be problematic in terms of team meetings and training sessions. Indeed, for a remote worker, weekly meetings can easily turn into a nightmare if they can’t see or hear anything.

Fortunately, screen sharing allows everyone in a meeting, whether on- or off-site, to see what’s going on. You can easily share your screen with remote agents and they in turn can also share their screens with you. As a result, no one feels left out of a conversation.

It is also possible to share a view with many users, which is a great solution when, for example, you need to share a presentation among a group of remote agents. Similarly, you can use the same technique to provide a group of remote agents with training resources.

 

Screen sharing is easy-to-use, convenient and quick. Amongst other things, it allows your business to solve problems in real-time, increase customer engagement, and utilize remote agents without much less hassle. So maybe it’s time for your business to give it a try?

Customer Service Trends to Watch Out for in 2019

Posted on: December 7th, 2018 by Elemér Erdősi No Comments

Anyone who works in the call center industry knows that it’s never too early for a company to start planning their customer service strategy for the following year.

Customer experience has a significant impact on business results, so if you haven’t already started to establish your strategy for next year, then now is the time. And if you are looking for some inspiration, here is my list of customer service trends you should watch out for in 2019!

Voice is not dead

Generation Z claims that ‘Phone calls are dead’. But are they really a thing of the past? It seems not. Although the volume of traditional phone calls connected with customer services has indeed dropped significantly over the last few years, voice will continue to be an essential part of customer service in 2019.

And here’s why: customers require a human touch in customer service interactions, and it seems they will continue to do so in the near future. Of course, businesses may try their best to leverage automated customer service tools in order to ease up their call queues, but customers will still expect to be offered the opportunity to talk to a live agent when needed.

Furthermore, speech recognition will definitely gain more ground in customer service in the upcoming years, as more and more advanced speech analytics technologies start appearing on the market. As a result, self-service IVRs utilizing speech recognition technology, allowing customers to resolve their own problems as well as seek help from a live agent if needed, will also become more popular.

Instant messaging will take over

The popularity of social media is skyrocketing, with more than 4 billion users worldwide in 2018. Among many other things, the rise of social media platforms over the past few years has completely changed the face of customer service, and is now paving the way for instant messaging as a customer service channel.

Customers don’t want to spend their valuable time anymore making phone calls or sending emails in order to contact a company. Instead, they would rather simply drop customer service a message on Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, while they are in the middle of doing something else.

As CX experts say, you need to meet your customers where they actually are. And it seems your customers are increasingly to be found on messaging apps, so that is where you’re going to have to meet them. As such, it’s no surprise that more and more companies have started to implement instant messaging for customer communication. And I strongly believe this trend will become even more significant in 2019.

Mobile customer service – putting mobile first

Mobile usage has disrupted customer behavior like we’ve never seen before. These days customers basically do everything on their phones: they keep up with their friends, plan their social calendar, arrange meetings, check their bank accounts and pay bills, research their queries, and the list goes on!

And what else do customers do on their mobiles? The majority of customers, 70%, use their mobile when they need help from customer service departments.

As a result, one developing channel that will most likely define customer service trends in 2019 is mobile phones. Besides leveraging social media (which can also be easily accessed from mobile phones), innovative businesses have already started to provide customer service via their mobile applications.

Indeed, more and more mobile applications are now integrated into call center processes, meaning, for example, that customers can request a call-back or be transferred to live chat via a company’s mobile application.

Providing customer service via mobile phone has great potential for organizations, so it should definitely be on your company’s radar in 2019.

Artificial Intelligence – from average to good

Over the past few years, we can safely say that AI has become an essential part of customer interactions, with chatbots, virtual assistants, speech recognition technologies and predictive analytics gaining ground in call centers. Indeed, AI technology now allows companies to figure out the reasons why customers make contact, as well as come up with suggestions about what to do and even actually resolve simple customer queries.

And this is only the beginning! This year, we have seen AI technologies powered by machine learning, such as Google Duplex and Google’s Contact Center AI, transforming the business world around us.

Until now, our experiences with AI technologies haven’t always been great. Machine learning, the latest AI technology behind recent advancements, however, has great potential for transforming AI technologies from average to good, and we’re definitely looking forward to that.

Furthermore, thanks to machine learning and natural language processing, we can expect significant improvements in chatbot technologies as well. While quick and easy bot solutions will continue to address common customer queries, more advanced bots are poised to enter the market. As such, amongst other things, customers will soon be able to initiate real-time payments via customer interactions handled by bots.  

Customer self-service will become the new customer service trend

Customer self-service has become a real game changer in the customer service industry, and for good reason.  

Self-service is a form of customer support that allows customers to perform routine tasks without having to interact with a call center agent at all. (For more info on self-service, check out our articles on how to set up a self-service portal and how to increase revenue with customer self-service).

Customers today are increasingly looking to solve their problems themselves, rather than dial customer service lines. As a result, customer self-service has become ever-more popular with companies, allowing them to provide a comparatively simple way to manage customer queries.

As self-service is cost-effective and creates satisfied customers, businesses quickly embraced the idea and are trying to get a grip on it. Needless to say, in 2019 we can expect a major increase in use of self-service in general.

From multichannel to omnichannel

Multichannel communication is nothing new in the call center industry. In fact, businesses already leverage a number of channels for customer service in order to survive in a saturated market.

And while providing customers with the opportunity to contact your business on a number of channels is great, it can easily backfire if your channels are not integrated. And this is exactly why forward-thinking business have started to shift from multichannel to omnichannel.

In 2019 call centers will be expected to deliver a seamless omnichannel customer experience to maximize personalization. Customers no longer accept that they have to repeat what they said previously to another agent through a different channel. Instead, they expect the agent they’re talking to know their interaction history and efficiently resolve their issue.

It’s simple: if you ensure that customer communication quality is the same for all the channels you use, you’ll be able to quickly resolve your customer issues without any hassle.

Real-time assistance will move up to a whole new level

Keeping up with ever-growing customer expectations calls for the implementation of new channels to provide seamless real-time assistance. Using video for customer service purposes is one of the most promising of these new channels.  

Video chat, for example, enables advanced real-time support, personalized customer experience, and an increased first-call resolution rate. Video also opens up new opportunities in call centers, allowing customers, for example, to request call-backs through video chat, and giving agents the opportunity to send tutorial video attachments via email or live chat.

Furthermore, video chat solutions work effectively with features such as co-browsing and screen sharing, allowing your agents to remotely guide customers and even gain control of a customer’s screen during a chat interaction.

There’s no doubt, video will be one of most promising customer service trends in 2019 as it helps businesses create personalization and build relationships with customers, potentially reducing the time they spend looking for answers to their question.

As you can see then, from mobile apps to advanced chatbots and self-service options, businesses are continuing to leverage technology in order to improve their overall customer experience. Make sure you follow these trends to stay ahead of the competition!

How WebRTC Is Revolutionizing the Call Center Industry

Posted on: August 7th, 2018 by dorarapcsak No Comments

There’s no doubt that ever-more sophisticated new technologies are shaping the world around us, turning seemingly impossible ideas into reality. While a few years ago many groundbreaking concepts – such as video chat, Wi-Fi routers, and 4G technology – seemed impossible, today they are part of our everyday lives.

Amongst other breakthroughs in the tech world, WebRTC is also having a profound effect on our lives. WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) is a free-to-use and open-source innovation that allows website browsers to communicate with each other in real-time, anytime, anywhere, using any device. This cutting-edge technology can be used via the web and mobile applications, and is compatible with multiple browsers.  

Considering WebRTC’s advanced features, it’s no surprise that more and more businesses want to get their hands on it. In this article, we’ll highlight some key aspects of how WebRTC technology is reshaping customer service. Read on, and find out why you need to ensure that your call center is ready to leverage this cutting-edge technology.  

WebRTC and Omnichannel Support

Omnichannel communication is no longer just a promising technology solution. After having proved itself for a number of years now, it’s definitely here to stay.

Before the digital revolution, if customers needed to speak to an organization, they simply picked up the phone and dialed the customer service number. In today’s connected world, however, when it comes to contacting a business, customers can take their pick from a number of communications channels, including phone, email,  SMS, social media and even webchat.

And, as a result of the growing popularity of omnichannel communication, customers are seeking the fastest and most convenient ways to contact businesses.  

As such, one common challenge customer service departments need to overcome as part of their omnichannel communication strategy is to keep their channels unified, and to be able to perform equally well on all of them.

This is where WebRTC comes into play: as this technology works on multiple platforms, it helps businesses smoothen their multichannel communication by allowing customers to interact with them with a single click.

Indeed, WebRTC takes customer experience to the next level by making customer interaction easier and more personalized. For example, using WebRTC, customers can contact customer service agents directly from the company’s website without having to install an additional application, allowing, let’s say, a customer who is browsing your website looking for information to contact your customer service reps via web chat.

Leverage new channels and technologies – and improve your CX

Despite the various communication channels available, customer service agents – especially those who deal with more complex technical issues – often struggle to understand and efficiently resolve customer issues. And, as we all know, customers get easily frustrated when they are unable to explain their problems to customer service agents, or have their problems quickly dealt with.

In many cases, considering it is fairly difficult to understand and explain (often complex) technical issues without having a deep understanding of the technology involved, no one is to blame.

Luckily, WebRTC’s screen sharing feature provides a great solution to this issue. By allowing agents to see what callers are seeing, agents can provide help more efficiently, and even make changes remotely on behalf of customers when necessary.

In our competitive business environment, another technology that is helping provide a new communication channel to organizations to stay ahead of the competition is video chat.

Engaging customers in the moment through video chat can significantly improve conversation and customer loyalty. And as WebRTC technology can be used as a video conferencing tool, there is no doubt that it will have an important role in shaping customer service of the future.

For instance, let’s say one of your customers is browsing your knowledge base to access some information. After a certain number of unsuccessful search attempts, WebRTC can offer them the option of contacting a customer service rep via video chat, turning a potentially unsuccessful customer experience into a successful one.

Increased data security with WebRTC

The core activity of any customer service department is to initiate and take customer calls. As a result, call centers accumulate an astonishing amount of customer data on a daily basis.

Keeping this customer data safe and secure is a prerequisite for any call center that values their customers’ privacy – especially since GDPR is now in force.

As cybercrime becomes an ever-increasing danger, businesses – including call centers – really do have to take all necessary measures to protect their data in order to prevent disastrous consequences.  

With WebRTC, however, there’s no need to worry about data privacy. Since the technology works on an individual browser basis, users don’t need to install any software in order to initiate calls, thus instantly reducing the risk of cyberattacks.

Thanks to WebRTC’s end-to-end encryption, communication is 100% safe, regardless of whatever server you’re using. Furthermore, WebRTC also offers DTLS (Datagram Transport Layer Security) and SRTP (Secure Real-Time Protocol) encryption methods, instantly reducing the risk of eavesdropping.

Thanks to its advanced data security features, customer service departments can rely on this new technology, ensuring that the customer data they store and process is 100% safe and secure.

Sum up

There’s no doubt that the technology behind WebRTC has already started to shake up the customer service world. Want to stay ahead of the competition? Then maybe it’s time to invest in WebRTC.

To VoIP or not to VoIP – finding the right system

Posted on: June 5th, 2018 by dorarapcsak No Comments

Oral communication via the telephone is at the heart of the telecommunications industry. Without the ability to transmit voices, telephone devices would have little or no use in business. But many people (at least, those outside the IT industry and contact centre management worlds) don’t really think about the complicated background and serious development needed to ensure telephone communication is seamless.

PSTN, FXO/FXS, ISDN30/PRI/PRA, ISND2/BRI, VoIP, VoLTE and so on show how far network technology has come, today offering many different options for telecommunication organisations and their clients.

But are companies today still asking themselves the question To VoIP or not to VoIP? Or have the majority already made their decision? Read our article, and see for yourself!

 

The past

PSTN, or Public Switched Telephone Network, consists of cables, telephone lines, optic cables, cellular and microwave transmitters, and other similar types of devices and technology that helps connect telephone devices with each other. Although a big part of this network today is now entirely digital, and includes mobile phones as well as fixed telephones, it was not long ago that the construction of such a network required the complex planning and laying of physical cables and switches to connect any two devices. The network operated by setting a dedicated circuit between two points, this circuit remaining busy for the duration of the subsequent call.

But as technology evolved, the Integrated Services Digital Network, or ISDN, appeared, its Primary Rate Interface technology allowing companies and contact centres to handle up to 30 circuits (in other words 30 simultaneous calls) with one ISDN at the same time, with the ability to link two or more ISDN modules together to handle 60, 90, or even more calls at the same time. And while this technology allowed companies and contact centres to enjoy a reliable and resilient telephone network for a number of years, the sudden appearance out of nowhere of VoIP changed the game again.

On the other hand, Voice over Internet Protocol (also known as internet telephony) is a technology used to deliver voice and multimedia communications over the internet. Even though internet technology is very advanced today, with many areas of the world leveraging the benefits of constant, stable internet connection, when VoIP technology first started to spread the biggest and most common issue was poor voice quality due to internet issues. VoIP became a better known technology after programs and applications using it, such as Skype, started gaining popularity, but these programs also required a stable internet connection at both ends and often did not provide high-quality voice service. Even today, many companies believe that VoIP goes hand in hand with poor voice quality, and is dependent on internet speed and network load. Despite this, though, more and more companies are transferring their network operations from PSTN to VoIP. Why?

 

The present

Even though VoIP has been around for a while, it has only recently started to be able to offer the level of reliability and stability that customers expect of it. In comparison to PSTN networks, VoIP uses packet-switching rather than circuit switching, meaning that one’s voice is divided into different packets that are transmitted to the receiving party on the other end of the telephone line using different paths over the internet. All of this happens in a very short time, and even though these packets travel separately, the voice is assembled again at the receivers end in a right and intelligible order. To make sure that the voice packets arrive in the exact order, and with only around 100-200 ms of lateness, a service with a high level of quality is crucial. To achieve this, VoIP communications within a network need to either be prioritised in comparison to other applications of processes using the same network, or a minimal internet traffic setting dedicated especially to the VoIP service needs to be specified, allowing the necessary background and environment for a seamless VoIP service.

Today, IT and service providers are more than able to provide a seamless VoIP service without the need for serious investment or infrastructure. As a VoIP service is packet-based and can travel via the network of any number of service providers in a number of different packets, it is always easy to route. If one of the service providers is down, the packets can simply be transferred to another, and will still arrive at their destination (you can read more about what to do in the event of an emergency or server breakdown here). This is something PSTN, which connects two points in a circuit, will never be able to do. In addition to this major difference between the technologies in question, what other differences are there between the two networks?

Feature PSTN VoIP

Extra services (caller ID, waiting, etc.)

At extra cost. Usually included for free.
Pricing No free calls. Prices depend on duration and location (international, local, etc) Free VoIP-to-VoIP calls. Mobile and landlines can be called at a minimal price.
Upgrades and updates Physical, including new hardware and lines. Software and bandwidth.
Resiliency and disaster recovery Stable and continue to work during any loss of power as phone jacks do not require electricity (unless the devices are wireless). System is down once an internet connection is lost, which can be caused by unexpected power outages. A VoIP disaster recovery plan is needed.
Emergency calls and traceability Enabled, calls can be traced to exact location. Not provided or very limited with no traceability.

 

The future

We live in a world where both clients and customers expect more from their service providers – faster operations, higher quality and wider choice, all at a better price. As we already talked about in a previous article, these days delivering the best customer experience is your best chance of staying ahead of the competition.

With the introduction of a new technology innovation, this constant motivation for service providers to achieve and provide more is about to bear new fruit. VoLTE (Voice over Long-Term Evolution) is a new standard for high-speed wireless communication, providing HD voice quality, reduced background noise, and many other important features and benefits of interest to those who believe in the importance of voice and data transfer quality.

The development and use of this technology started in Asia in 2014 and is fast spreading across the world. Even though specialists in the field believe that it will need at least 1-2 more years before it becomes an industry standard, VoLTE has been received extremely well so far and is already proving its benefits in comparison to 2G and 3G networks. For example, VoLTE offers:

– bigger capacities for data and voice, being able to process up to 3 times more voice and data amounts compared to 3G

video and content sharing. VoLTE allows for easy and immediate streaming of video and sharing of files immediately during any call. No need for third-party file sharing software or service, or video call programs and equipment – just drag and drop files within the call window.

more stable data. In today’s business world, people multitask, and in order to multitask efficiently they need a stable connection – not only phone but online as well. VoLTE allows users to connect their laptops or tablets to the VoLTE network and enjoy a fast internet connection while being on call at the same time.

Another important technology gaining wide acknowledgment and spreading fast is WebRTC. WebRTC is an open source project that enables real-time peer-to-peer communication over audio and video, as well as file and screen sharing over web. It uses Real-time Transport Protocol, and allows users using this technology to instantly start audio and video conferencing, transfer files, and share their screens without the need of any third-party programs or applications. It is anticipated that this technology will considerably influence telecommunications in the business world, and is a direction into which many companies are planning on venturing or are already developing the needed technological background.

 

Times change and with them so does technology. While years ago PSTN was (and in some cases still is) the stable backbone of every business, and VoIP was a synonym for low voice quality, today the preferred network standard is quickly shifting. Even though there are still regions in the world where the internet does not yet provide the needed speed and stability for a seamless VoIP service, in most locations a fast and stable connection is already a basic element of business. Regions lacking solid SIP services and a reliable connection can provide seamless services with the help of a solid PSTN solution. ‘But companies in areas where VoIP can be implemented should also seriously consider the benefits of today’s and tomorrow’s alternative telecommunications technology options.