Thursday, December 29, 2016

5 Mistakes You Should Avoid with Your Customer Service Scripts

Somewhere along the line, the customer service industry envisioned that it would be a great idea to start scripting everything. On the surface, it seems as though a script allows little room for error.

Read the full article:
5 Mistakes You Should Avoid with Your #CustomerService Scripts:

Monday, December 19, 2016

Call Center Employees: The Superheroes of Customer Experience

Call center employees are the secret superheroes of every brand. These agents wield incredible power when it comes to customer experience, with the ability to build long-term brand loyalty and shape the customer journey. Positive outcomes for every customer interaction is critical.

Read the entire article here:
Call Center Employees are the superheroes of #CustomerExperience

Monday, December 12, 2016

5 Amazing Customer Service Lessons From Father Christmas

Christmas is fast approaching, and it’s one of the busiest times for different sectors all across the world. 

Even when you’re rushed off your feet, you can’t afford for your customer service to take a back seat. As a business, the customer is your main reason for existing, and you shouldn’t be afraid to pull out all the stops to keep them happy.
Given the time of year, there’s one person in particular that we can look to for inspiration on giving excellent customer service, and that is Father Christmas. We’ve taken a closer look at the work that Santa does, and chosen five of his best customer service lessons that businesses everywhere should be following.

1. Be friendly
There are certain traits that embody Father Christmas and are as synonymous with the name as the red suit.
While we’re not suggesting that you take a leaf straight out of his book, there’s certainly nothing wrong with injecting a little more friendliness into your customer service.
“Smile while you dial” is a well-known phrase amongst call centre workers, as the smile on your face comes across in your tone of voice. If you’re more customer-facing, be helpful every time you see a customer in need.
They may say no, but at least you’ve acknowledged their presence and shown them that you are willing to help.

2. Have the right team around you
Even the very best at their jobs need support around them; after all, Father Christmas doesn’t do it all alone! Throughout the year he has elves making the toys, and on Christmas Eve it’s up to his reindeer to fly him and all the presents around the globe to make millions of deliveries.
Your employees and co-workers may not have pointy ears or antlers, but they have the exact same value. Providing great customer support is a team effort; it isn’t just down to one single person, and it starts as soon as your customer first comes into contact with your business. From the first “hello” from a receptionist to tweets from a company’s Twitter account, every employee they come into contact with from that moment on should all be pulling in the same direction.

Read the rest of the lessons:
5 Amazing #CustomerService Lessons From Father Christmas

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

5 Technology Trends That Are Improving Customer Experiences

Technological trends have set the stage for a new level of customer support and satisfaction. In fact, the way that companies interact with their customers has changed just within the last ten years due to the invention of certain apps, smart phones, and other such things that have made our society and businesses more technologically advanced. 

Technological trends have set the stage for a new level of customer support and satisfaction.

Source: 5 trends shaping #CustomerExperience

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

How 3 Nonprofits Approach Customer Service

By and large, nonprofit organizations depend on a different set of motivations to stay afloat than those in the private sector do — i.e.

How 3 non-profits approach #CustomerService

Monday, November 21, 2016

Nordstrom's Customer Service Is Legendary

Have you heard the story about the guy who walked into a Nordstrom store to return four snow tires? In 1975 a man pulled up to a store with four snow tires in the bed of his truck. He had bought the tires at this location several weeks ago and needed to return them.

Legendary #CustomerService

How to Make Customer Experience a Priority for the Whole Company

In my exclusive column for CustomerThink last month, I shared my “top tips” for creating the right culture to enable an organisation to become genuinely customer centric.

#CustomerExperience an entire company's priority

Friday, November 18, 2016

How to turn customers into brand evangelists: a customer experience guide to the promoter economy

Can a single tweet topple a great company? It hasn’t happened yet, but a chorus of unhappy tweets from a group of unhappy customers can do a lot of damage to a company that isn’t providing the kind of customer experience that consumers now demand.

#CustomerExperience and Brand Evangelists

5 Ways to Keep the Modern Workforce Engaged

We're in the midst of a major workplace transformation. For centuries, the focus was on task-oriented laborers, whose primary output came from their hands.

#EmployeeEngagement and Workforce Transformation

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Listen Clear Realizes Rapid Return on Investment with Virtual Observer’s Cloud U-wfm solution in Their Growing Five9 Environment

SMB Cloud #WFM solution from CSI yields fast returns for ListenClear

Facing a challenge due to their surging growth rate, Listen Clear set out to find an affordable and scalable workforce management solution which would handle their spiking staffing numbers and help them field all calls. They were missing 20% of their call volume.

Top 15 Tips for Workforce Optimization at your Contact Center

For a call center to function properly, you will require trained and competent professionals, the best call center software and implementation of proper protocols and workflows. Now, finding the best software is easy.

#WFO tips for your contact center

Thursday, November 10, 2016

3 ways to extend customer service across the enterprise

When customers deal with your organization, they don’t care which department they are communicating with – they simply want the best possible experience and service.

3 ways to extend #CustomerService across the enterprise

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Chick-fil-A is beating every competitor by training workers to say 'please' and 'thank you'

For comparison, KFC had a "thank you" rate of 84.9%. McDonald's rate was 78.4%, putting it in 14th place out of the 15 chains analyzed.  In 2015, Chick-fil-A generated more revenue per restaurant than any other fast-food chain in the US.

Chick-fil-A excels at #CustomerService

Customer Experience Through the Eyes of a Child

I’ve lived in Oregon for a year now and I can say without a doubt that the summers here are incredible. For those that love the outdoors, it stays green and doesn’t get too hot or humid.
#CustomerExperience through the eyes of a child

Monday, November 07, 2016

6 Themes For The Future Of The Contact Center

The contact center community tends to gravitate toward mantras, buzz phrases and movements. Over the years, concepts like “the customer is always right,” “the multichannel revolution,” and “the age of the empowered customer” have functioned as cornerstones for contact center strategy.

6 themes for the future of the #ContactCenter

Thursday, November 03, 2016


Having worked in contact centers installing OMS and ERP systems in hundreds of multichannel companies, we know the value they bring to your business. Here are some of the ways: In stark contrast, many ecommerce pure plays largely don’t see or haven’t experienced the value of contact centers.

9 ways to improve #ContactCenter operations

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

The new rules of customer engagement and the role of communities

Disruptor. It’s a digital-era buzzword that usually applies to companies leveraging new technology and introducing new business models that are leaving incumbents in the dust. But armed with the power of the Internet in their pockets, today’s true disruptors aren’t companies, but people.

New rules of #CustomerEngagement

Monday, October 31, 2016

10 Ways You Can Improve Customer Service Today

The quality of your customer service is directly related to your level of customer satisfaction, which — of course — is ultimately tied to your profits and business success.

10 ways you can improve #CustomerService today

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Customer Experience Management: CX Vision Statement

Companies today have articulated mission statements that guide the organization. In utilities, many of these mission statements include language about providing a superior customer experience.

#CEX Vision Statement

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Your Customer Contact Center Isn't A Cost: It's a Priority

Customers are unique — and your contact centers should reflect their diversity. When you go to your local grocery store do you notice how many kinds of the same products there are? How about the fact that many cars now look the same? This new shopper reality is called commoditization.
Customer Contact Center Is Not a Cost

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Why Chat May Be King Of The New Mobile Landscape

Like tens of millions of teens across the world, 15-year-old Emma rarely surfs the web or tries out new apps. Instead, she conducts her digital life through a collection of social apps, from Facebook to iMessage to Instagram to Snapchat. On all of them, she’s messaging.

Chat is the king of the mobile landscape

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

CSI Extends Advantage of Virtual Observer Call Recording and WFO to Support Avaya IP Office 10 Platform for Contact Centers

Our new recording method has been developed with customer value in mind, providing an affordable licensing model and an extremely robust WFO feature set which has never previously been available for IP Office customers CSI extends advantage of Virtual Observer call recording and WFO to suppor
Call recording and WFO for Avaya IP Office 10

Monday, October 17, 2016

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Contact Center Vendor Consolidation: What It Means to You

The contact center and unified communications (UC) markets have undergone a major market consolidation, dramatically reducing the number of competitors, during the past 12 months.

#ContactCenter Vendor Consolidation

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The analytics machine: Why contact center technology is changing the customer experience

For a long time, the contact center was nothing more than a place where customer complaints went to die. An agent’s objective was to simply note the issue and try to resolve it as quickly as possible, and metrics were nothing more than call duration and first call resolution.

Contact Center Technologies and #Analytics change the customer experience

5 Technologies To Jump Start Your Customer Service

One of the blessings and curses of being a contact center leader is that you become the target of sales people vying for your time so they can sell you on the next big thing to improve your operation. The blessing is the opportunity to learn about some truly interesting technology.

5 technologies to jump start your #CustomerService

Monday, October 10, 2016

Outsourcing = Walking down the aisle

Outsourcing. It’s basically the corporate equivalent of walking down the aisle. You’re making a decision to trust someone else completely and you’re inviting them to build a future with you. Not a decision to be taken lightly.

#Outsourcing is like walking down the aisle

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Surviving Information Overload in the World of Customer Service

Monitoring service levels has always been a fundamental aspect of managing a contact center. However, advanced contact center and customer relationship software has led to an abundance of data and a growing number of reports that have become unmanageable.

Information overload in the world of #CustomerService

Friday, October 07, 2016

The Contact Center: Inexpensive but Crucial Considerations

While these axioms tend to be overused, they are nevertheless true. When it comes to the contact center, many business owners and managers settle for good when they should have the best.

#ContactCenter Crucial Considerations

Change your contact center for the better

By Steve Brubaker, InfoCision Chief of Staff Change is all around us. The leaves are falling. The air is getting crisp. As we turn the corner into fall, feed off of the seasonal energy and update your contact center strategy.
Change your #ContactCenter for the better

How to unearth the time to coach contact center agents

Practice makes perfect. We tell our children this all the time. There is no way to become an expert at a task without investing the time to practice.

#Coaching contact center agents and finding time

The Uberization of the Contact Center Workforce

Tech-driven innovation has spurred tremendous change across a broad range of entrenched industries in recent years, from entertainment (Netflix) to transportation (Uber) and everything in between. This disruption is evidenced in a myriad of everyday interactions we increasingly take for granted.

The Uberization of the #ContactCenter Workforce

How to Hire the Right People for Customer Service

Do you agree that exceptional customer service begins with the hiring process? Having the right people on board to do the customer service job is the first step towards delivering outstanding customer service at your business. Akio Morita, Sony Corp.

#CustomerService - How to hire the right people

7 Best Practices for Effective Call Quality Monitoring

These days, the words “omnichannel customer experience” evoke thoughts of social media channels and messaging apps.

#Omnichannel customer experience monitoring

4 Essentials for Going Global with your Contact Center

Providing support for global operations is a serious endeavor, but with the right contact center technology, it’s doable. Globalization presents a wide set of challenges, and approaching it right the first time around is crucial to long-term success.

Globalizing your #ContactCenter

Now Skype4B and O365 Cloud Contact Center

You want to move the contact center to the cloud. You also want to use O365 or Skype4B. You not only need the cloud contact center service, but you need to use a migration path that is easy, low risk, and fast to deploy. Jeremy Puent, Product Manager for Clarity Consulting

#WFO for the #SkypeForBusiness and #Office365 #ContactCenter

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Say you want a resolution (FCR, you know)?

A multi-thousand seat Business Process Outsourcer (BPO) in the east has seen an increase in repeat calls for similar issues. After doing some research and analysis, it was discovered agents were not properly trained in handling specific types of customer interactions and this was leading to repeat calls.

First Contact Resolution (FCR) is a common Key Performance Indicator (KPI) in contact centers. 

Resolving customer issues on first interaction is paramount to quality customer service, reduced costs and ultimately an improved bottom line. 

However, FCR is not easily measured. It's a common KPI but what defines a repeat call is not a static data element. 

Every contact center is different. Every customer is different. Every interaction is different. 

How then can FCR be measured?

The BPO's customer service department uses a workforce optimization solution (WFO) which gathers Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) statistics from their Unified Communications (UC) platform. Among the stats gathered include Agent State Changes and Computer Telephony Integrated (CTI) metadata for enhanced data points. 

Armed with all this data, the system is capable of detecting repeat interactions, and ultimately, FCR.

The organization implemented the FCR Service and created business rules and alarms to detect and notify supervisors of customer interactions that could be classified as repeat contacts. 

Since no two contact centers are the same, management mapped out data elements in their enterprise that signified repeat contacts. 

For them, this was easily defined by their ticket number. The Interactive Voice Response (IVR) unit requires all customers to enter their ticket number prior to being routed to an agent. The WFO system reads this ticket number through CTI and attaches it to each recorded interaction. 

The FCR Service monitors recorded interactions and ticket numbers and links interactions together. Multiple interactions with similar ticket numbers are flagged as repeat contacts.

The distributor has a strong leadership team and is capable of mapping their technologies together end to end. Not all contact centers are capable of capturing IVR information, such as ticket number, and mapping it to CTI data harnessed by other technologies, such as their recording system.

Their properly enacted data sharing plan allows them to simply use ticket number to determine FCR. However, for most contact centers, the task of measuring FCR is not so simple. 

With the power of WFO and the FCR Service, this task is handled effortlessly. The FCR Service allows for contact center managers to program it using any piece of data captured from the environment. This can be via claim number, case number, ticket number, customer number, account number, process id, or even un-mapped basic telephony information such as caller id, extension, agent or even date and time. 

At its most basic level FCR can be measured by caller id, date and time. 

Has this phone number called in within a recent period of time? If so, it’s a repeat contact. At its most advanced levels, FCR can be measured using mapped telephony data.

Once the BPO had configured the FCR Services to capture and flag repeat interactions, it was simply a matter of reviewing and evaluating those interactions to determine root cause. The Evaluation Assignment Services were configured to automatically assign all interactions flagged for FCR to the next available evaluator. Evaluations were performed on those repeat interactions and the system automatically pushed the proper learning materials to the agents.

The WFO system uncovered a lack of core competency by agents in a key portion of the BPO's processes. By revising their learning materials, the BPO improved agent knowledge and noticed a considerable drop in repeat interactions over the next 60 days. This reduced their overall call volume and ultimately improved their bottom line.

However, it doesn’t stop there. One workforce optimization solution, Virtual Observer, has extended FCR through to the Speech Analytics feature set to harness the power of the spoken word to uncover repeat interactions. 

Virtual Observer's "FCR Services" look for any number of configurable words and phrases to determine repeat contacts, such as, “I’ve called before”, “I’m calling back”, “This is the nth time I’ve called”, and many more.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How Avoidance Data Helps to Identify Trends in Your Contact Center

An enterprise healthcare provider in the Midwest has seen an increase in their average handle time and a reduction in the overall number of calls, chats,& interactions handled over the last 30 days by their customer service center. After doing some research and analysis, it was discovered there had been a spike in what we'll label as "Avoidance",

Avoidance has actually been defined a few different ways so it’s important to point out exactly which variation of avoidance we are referring to. 

In this case, we are referring to contact center agents purposefully avoiding calls, emails or chats to reduce workload. 

We're not referring to the act of building self-help tools and alternative ways for customers to fulfill inquiries without interacting with an agent and thus "avoiding" calls into a customer service center.

As satisfying and comfortable as management tries to make it, contact centers are notoriously difficult places for agents to work. Customers can be at times perceived as demanding or difficult. Leadership is constantly measuring, reviewing, evaluating and training to create happier customers, lower talk times and reduced costs. It’s a never ending cycle of increased expectations. 

Agents are human, and in the highly stressful environment of a contact center, they will inevitably try to fake out the technology and find a way to reduce the amount of work crammed into a work day. This is where Avoidance comes in. Avoidance is behavior agents use to purposefully avoid engaging the customer. 

"Bring on the chat bots!" they scream in a soft whisper.

Avoidance comes in many different flavors:

1) Agents might stay on the line for hours when the customers line did not disconnect. 
2) Agents have been known to simply hang-up on a caller as soon as the call gets routed to their phone. 
3) Agents might take a call, place it on hold for long periods, then either disconnect or resume the call until completion. 
4) Another example of avoidance is to shuffle yourself in queue. Agents will switch state to unavailable, then immediately back to available to be moved to the bottom of the queue and therefore wait longer for their next call. 

These are just a few examples of agent behavior that can be classified as Avoidance.

The enterprise healthcare organization, fortunately, uses a workforce optimization solution which records all customer service interactions including audio, video, chat, email, twitter, Facebook messenger and other social channels. The solution also gathers ACD Statistics and Agent State changes for scheduling, forecasting and adherence. Armed with all this data, they are able to detect Avoidance.

Management implemented an Avoidance Service from the Workforce Optimization solution and created business rules and alarms to detect and notify supervisors of agent behavior that could be classified as Avoidance. 

The avoidance rules implemented were limited to:
- calls much shorter than the average talk time
- calls much longer than the average talk time
- calls with 15% or more hold time
- calls with long hold times
- calls where the agent hung up first
- abandoned chats within the first minute
- deleted emails
- unanswered emails
- tweets which went unanswered
- frequent state changes
- very short state changes and long periods as unavailable. 

Now, when one of these conditions is detected, the supervisor is alerted through email of the agent behavior and even given the event to playback, review and act upon.

Over the next 60 days management was able to detect, and act on with evidence, many occurrences of Avoidance. 

After proper HR documentation and agent retraining, management used the Analytics feature to monitor and trend a decrease in average talk time and an increase in total number of calls handled and customer satisfaction scores.

If you suspect your agents of avoidance, find a robust workforce optimization solution which offers Avoidance reporting, simply build in your business rules, set up your alerts and wait for the results. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Utilizing Social Media Marketing within the Workforce Optimization process accelerates customer experience gains

social media marketingThis customer profile features a Fortune 500 clothing retailer, which includes a chain of popular women’s wear outlets and has multiple contact center locations in the eastern United States. They've been experiencing rapid growth and have added 5 new locations in the last 6 months. 

As their business grows the executive leadership team is most concerned with the quality of their brand that customers have come to love and expect. “Growth is great but maintaining that close personal touch with quality fare is our number one concern”, said the Director of Quality.

The retailer uses a state of the art Contact Center which accepts orders online and then customers can drop in and pick-up their merchandise at the nearest location. “The e-commerce store is what drives our business now to the brick and mortar. Customers expect their orders delivered quickly and accurately”, he added.

The contact center is built on leading communications technology and monitoring tools where orders are entered into the CRM (customer relationship management) software, from either the website or handled through the telephone, and immediately routed to the proper store location and designated for pickup as though customers ordered right off the rack.

Not only does the team of quality experts look to ensure order accuracy but they are also responsible for measuring the quality of the contact center interaction. Using a workforce optimization suite, the team plays back recorded events from phone calls, emails, web chats, Twitter, Facebook Messenger, SMS as well as any other active channels. The team of supervisors will then evaluate and score the events to ensure proper dialogue and resolution. The goal is to have their agents cultivate the ultimate customer experience.

The contact center supervisors also use social media monitoring tools to monitor their brand on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. and respond when they can. The tools also provide metadata which can be used to improve performance and responsiveness.

For example, if a customer had a bad shopping experience at a local store, they might be inclined to make their next purchase online. 

However, in a worst-case but likely scenario the customer took to Twitter to express their dissatisfaction. 

The contact center’s social media monitoring tools detected the Twitter activity and issued a reply via Twitter from an available agent. The agent expressed an understanding of the customer’s issue, and told them normally there would not have been an issue. 

They assured the customer that the next time they entered the store, they would have a more satisfactory experience, and a 30% off coupon may help them get what they are looking for at a fantastic discount. They told the customer to keep them in the loop on any future experiences. 

The Twitter chat was then escalated to a supervisor, who authorized the coupon and scored the agent’s response a decent 90 points out of 100. The only improvement suggested was the agent not addressing the customer’s Twitter handle in the response. The supervisor then scheduled a re-training of the Twitter Response procedures to be delivered to the agent via the WFO suite's E-learning features within an agent portal.

This is atypical of standard features found in Workforce Optimization Suites, but "social media monitoring" is available in the Virtual Observer suite.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Bots are coming! The Bots are coming!

Facebook seems to be heralding a new age of customer service with their recent announcements coming out of their big conference. Bots will be available for Facebook Messenger to help ease the transition of customer service to their channel. Were they satisfied with just becoming another channel in an omni-channel customer service strategy? No. They are interested in becoming THE channel.

Contact centers better prepare for this!

Fortunately, integrations have already been completed. For example, Skype for Business contact center provider Clarity Connect is capturing the flow of Facebook Messenger chats in their normal streams. Virtual Observer's Workforce Optimization solution provider, previously integrated with Clarity, can allow for these Facebook Messenger interactions to be recorded, played back, evaluated, trained on, analyzed and archived.

In essence, a new era of social quality monitoring has begun.

You're going to want to evaluate the bots' performance. Artifical Intelligence has been known to be a little quirky. Ask Microsoft.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Connect the dots with Workforce Optimization and Zendesk

Zendesk BlogOn the heels of yesterday's announcement of the integration between Virtual Observer and Zendesk, as well as Tuesday's blog post by Zendesk, it is important that we examine all the various data points which can be connected with this pairing.

  • Social Media Interactions > Zendesk Support Tickets
  • Zendesk Support Tickets > CRM Customer Records
  • Zendesk Support Tickets > Virtual Observer Recorded Events
  • Zendesk Zopim Chats > Virtual Observer Recorded Events
  • Zendesk Voice Recording > Virtual Observer Recorded Events
  • Virtual Observer Event Playback > Zendesk UI

I am sure there are many more data points connected which can and will be cross pollinated. This is an extremely powerful integration which extends the capabilities of all the support centers and contact centers who use this amazing Zendesk tool.

Just as the Clarity Connect integration allows Virtual Observer to be the WFO system of choice for Microsoft Skype for Business environments, our collaboration with Zendesk allows us to connect the dots for customers who are using Zendesk for support and CRM integration.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

New Alliance Brings Powerful WFO Capabilities to Skype for Business Contact Center Space

CSI is excited to announce details of an integration of the Virtual Observer Workforce Optimization suite with Clarity Connect, the leading Contact Center suite for Microsoft Skype for Business.
Clarity Connect is a full featured web-based contact center native to Skype for Business. This means Clarity Connect adds the missing functionality without duplicating or complicating the infrastructure or call control. Clarity Connect steps in and adds intelligence to the conversations needed regardless of modality to deliver the best customer experience on the market. Intelligent IVR, Skills Based Routing, Real-Time metrics, historical reports and more go into this first of its kind approach to a contact center for a true collaboration platform.
Virtual Observer enables contact centers with a wide range of features to improve employee performance and acquire a true Voice of the Customer. Together, the integrated offering will allow both Clarity Connect and CSI to deliver a complete and robust overall contact center solution to new and existing customers with full WFO functionality

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