Monday, September 24, 2007

Virtual Observer phone systems compatibility

Virtual Observer (VO) connects to most popular phone systems. The following constitutes a partial list. Please feel free to contact us about other phone systems VO may connect to. VO also connects with any t1 line, any analog line, and many more.

Avaya - VO offers recording connectivity to all Avaya systems.

Cisco - VO offers VoIP connectivity with Cisco.

3com - VO offers VoIP connectivity with 3com systems.

Nortel - VoIP, digital, analog/tdm

Siemens - digital, analog/tdm

Mitel - VoIP, digital, analog/tdm


News feed of the sources we read

Everyone in our industry reads the major telecom news vendors. I read all of them in my news feed reader. I've created a feed of the latest news items from the main call center news portals. You can bookmark this page and it will always be a fresh list of news. If your reader or email client doesn't support JavaScript, chances are you won't see this news feed. You can always click back to this blog post.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Do you offer customer service via web chat?

More and more businesses are offering web chat on their company website as an alternative method for contacting customer support or sales. I suspect as more and more college students graduate into the workforce, this will become the norm as opposed to an emerging trend. They're used to using Instant Messengers to communicate with their social networks. They will expect to be able to contact businesses in the same method. Most retail e-commerce sites are offering instant web chat as an option for talking to some one. Forward-thinking businesses have been using it for their b2b interactions for a few years now.

It's true that's there is nothing like talking to a human, and we stress that on our website, but we also offer the web chat option for people looking to talk immediately. It's great for sending website links, or bringing up slideshows or pdfs.

I'm looking to collect information on different web chat applications and services for managing customer support via a company's website. Our company uses Boldchat, a popular and reliable service which allows us to respond to both customer support requests and new sales inquiries.

I'm about to embark on researching new vendors, more to see what else is out there as opposed to experiencing any pain with Boldchat. It's really a very good, inexpensive tool. I turned to my LinkedIn connections for some of their experiences with website customer support. I've only received a few responses thus far:

"I like PHPlive, it's inexpensive and has a very strong feature set. It's PHP based, so it's relatively easy to put it into most sites. I've linked the feature set, so you can see if it matches up to your needs. Now if you want something free, you can also look at moodle. They have a little flash based doodad that you can add to your site. Sounds like you want to do some significant marketing, so I'd go with PHPLive."

"One of the most notable is Liveperson and depending on your goals and objectives, they are worth taking a look at."
Note: I have experience with LivePerson. They are probably the industry leader and offer a very robust solution. I really liked it, but in the end I chose Boldchat because they offered a similar feature set at a more competitive price.

"I use CraftySyntax -- this product and can say its one of the best in its category. Lot can be said about the features but an experience is always welcome. If the end user can spend and needs a managed environment LivePerson is good. Best wishes and have a very nice day."

Another web chat tool I've used in the past is LiveHelper - a very professional offering.

Smaller businesses should consider using Google Talk or Yahoo Instant Messenger's web version, which you can embed in your website. They do the job but lack some of the customer service/support features found in the professional services described earlier.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Create virtual training libraries from recorded events

Did you know you can create virtual training libraries using Virtual Observer?

You simply have to create a media list of your highest rated events and publish them to your company's web server. Make sure it's a secure server or directory, of course. You could then create several sub-directories from which to populate content: "Best handled cancellations", "Best upsells", "Best ways to handle irritated customers", "Best use of our CRM to locate customer information", "Five star calls", etc...

Using our E-learning module, you could set Virtual Observer to automatically deliver an email with a link to the website address for "Best handled cancellations" to anyone who does not score well on that specific evaluation criteria.

You can also publish media lists to cds or dvds and distribute them to new hires or present them to training groups. You may need to get your IT team involved in order to publish to your company's secure web server or intranet.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Recent feedback from Virtual Observer users

We've seen a recent flurry of testimonials in our inbox. They're short and sweet, but they can really brighten the day, reaffirming the great jobs everyone on our support team accomplishes every day, even on the smaller tasks. It'd definitely great to get this kind of email in your inbox:

"Thanks for your great support to RTD," - Edward Fay, RTD.

"Thanks for the prompt service as always," - Mark Glynn, Connecticare.

"Greetings from Colorado..............Thank you - I really appreciate you doing this for us. Have a great week!" - Loretta Turner, Anpac.

For more comprehensive testimonials, please visit our customer success stories page on the website.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Speech Technology Basics, part two: Speech Analytics

"Speech Analytics": In relation to call recording, let's use an example of a Call Center Manager tracking spikes in call volume. In order to help figure out why, an advanced Speech Analytics tool would allow the manager to query a database for the highest used terms and determine what the customers are saying during these calls. Quickly the manager can realize most callers are talking about a recent “Increase in monthly bill”. Another example of Speech Analytics would be to query a database for how many times last month did a caller said the word “Cancel” versus how many accounts were actually closed. This would reveal a “Save” rate for the agents. Let’s say 1,000 Customers called discussing “Canceling their account” yet only 100 accounts were actually closed. This is a 90% Save Rate. These two examples use the concept of “Indexing” to determine what words were said for later query and analys

Speech Analytics can be broken down into two categories: The “Dictionary” based and the “Phonetic” based. The dictionary-based systems require users to define words and phrases in advance so the speech engine can look for or “spot” those words as the engine is analyzing the audio. When these words or phrases are spotted they are indexed for later analysis. The phonetic-based systems make a “Phonetic Track” of the audio as its being analyzed and index all words and phrases for later analysis. At this point you can probably realize that the “Phonetic Based Indexing Engines” are much more robust than the “Large Vocabulary Dictionary Engines”.

From the Wikipedia:
Speech Analytics

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