Monthly Archives: October 2018

Call scheduling for better sales and support

Question: When is the best time to call your customer? Answer: When your customer wants you too! When speaking to the customer, timing matters. How do you ensure that your agents call customers at times that suit them? Are they still jotting appointment times down in a diary? Does your telephony solution let you schedule your outgoing calls in an organized manner? A call scheduler is an important tool to ensure: You call customers/prospects at times they prefer. You demonstrate reliability, by sticking to your promise of calling back at a specific time. How to schedule your sales calls? During Lead Generation When someone fills out a lead form on your website, it's very very valuable. It has probably taken you significant marketing efforts to get them to sign up. Don't squander it all away by calling them when they’re bang in the middle of something else. Industry best practices suggest that you give a preferred callback time and date option on your lead form itself. I suggest giving two time slot options. You can integrate your form with your cloud telephony API and schedule the call to the specified time. During call conversation Sometimes, during phone conversations, your prospect/customer may ask your agent to schedule a follow-up call at a specified time & date. It is imperative that there is a process in place to ensure that the call back takes place at the agreed time and date. Businesses which are prompt, and keep their promise of a call back at a given time are naturally seen as more reliable and get better conversions from their prospects. Scheduling calls in your CRM If your agent has their CRM window open while speaking to the customer, they can use their CRM + telephony integration to schedule calls directly into their contact center software/ telephony solution. Scheduling retries using an auto dialer You autodialer may be set to dial a long list of contacts. What happens to the leads who don't answer in the first try? You need to reschedule these calls. Preferably, this should be automated. These are the different rules you can use to retry the call: Immediately. When a call goes unanswered, the auto-dialer redials immediately. After all primary data has been dialed. When all the contacts in the list have been dialed, the auto dialer will go back and systematically call the unanswered calls. After a specified time. You can set a specific time range for callbacks. For example, you can arrange a call back 2 hours or 4 hours after the call first went unanswered. The next day. Sometimes it's worthwhile to try the same number on a different day of the week. Set your auto dialer to retry the number the next day, and see if it improves your chances. KOOKOO has built-in advanced engine rules that help you experiment and find the time and date that suits your particular dataset/industry/prospect personna. Scheduling as per call history. If your prospect has a call history with [...]

Call scheduling for better sales and support 2019-06-17T17:10:30+00:00

Call Queue Management

Call centers exist to provide speedy customer service and issue resolution. Speed is key; achieved through efficient call queue management. What is call queue management? Simply put, call queue management is the management of call queues to ensure minimal customer wait time and fair workload distribution. When done right, call queue management ensures: Reduced wait times Lowered dropped calls Efficient workload distribution amongst agents Better customer experience Why is call queue management important? If you’re calling a call center, chances are you’re already frustrated. But, to have to wait for assistance, and listen to a recorded message or music only makes it worse! The average customer hold time is 56 seconds (Source: That may not seem like a lot, but after 2 minutes, customers hang up (Source: Small Business Chronicle). In this Inbound Queue Analysis, we can see that out of the 244 queued calls, 55 calls dropped. 70% of business callers in the US are put on hold (Source: Inbound/Outbound). How much lost business and disgruntled customers are we talking about? Substantial! Especially, as 40% of customers in the US attempt a phone purchase (Source: American Teleservices Association). Finally, something doesn’t add up: 90% (or more) of the marketing budget is spent to get customers to call, but only 6% is spent to handle the call (Source: Inbound Telephones Call Center)! By not managing their incoming call load or call queue, businesses are wasting marketing dollars and losing revenue. A good call queue management system is critical. It minimizes and manages call wait or hold times for customers. How to manage call queues efficiently? Good call queue management isn't difficult. Some of our clients’ customer support centers ensure that 90% of their callers connect with live agents within 10 seconds. How can you manage your queues better? Here are 8 ways: Carefully design your IVR and consider self-service. Consider what your IVR requirement is? Do you really need to give your customer multiple level menu options? Many of our clients connect callers to live agents directly. Others divert few customers to live agents and others to IVR, based on caller history/customer value. Consider self-service: For many routine tasks, it's actually preferable to divert customers to self-service. Popular use scenarios: While paying medical bills, customers don’t have to wait in line to be assisted by a live agent, but can follow IVR prompts to pay the co-pay, at their convenience. You can also read our case study on Treebo, a chain of boutique hotels that allows customers to reserve and cancel bookings via self-service. This IVR flow efficiently uses CRM integration and self-service to manage your call queues. Plan call distribution How do you distribute calls amongst your agents? Your ACD or Automatic call Distribution transfers calls to your agents. Broadly speaking, there are two ways of distributing these calls: evenly by number; or by talk time. You need to choose your method in such a way that it is fair to your agents. When you have a sales [...]

Call Queue Management 2018-10-29T04:02:31+00:00

All About CTI Screen Pops

A screen pop is one of the most basic and useful features of a good CTI integration with your CRM or ticketing software. This article explains what it is, the benefits of having one, and everything you should look for in your screen pop. What is a CTI screen pop? CTI or Computer Telephone Integration simply means integrating your phone system with your computer. It’s used by hosted contact centers to integrate and coordinate telephone and computer interactions. In cloud telephony, agents view and manage their inbound and outbound calls on their desktop via a CTI screen pop or call pop. The CTI screen pop is a display of the relevant customer information to an agent by drawing from an internal database/CRM or ticketing software. Screen pops give agents a snapshot of the caller’s call history, including who s/he spoke to last, the ticket number, etc. Agents can easily make notes, edit customer data and make updates (contact information, conversation, etc.) on the screen pop itself, post-call or in real-time. This improves sales, support and agent efficiency. Benefits of CTI screen pops CTI screen pops are a core feature in a unified cloud telephony platform when it seamlessly integrates with your CRM or ticketing solution. CTI call pops help: Improve agent productivity: Agents don't waste time fumbling around looking for relevant data Improve customer satisfaction: Personalisation and faster resolutions improves the customer experience Improve sales by giving agents information that helps them pitch their product/service better. Improves overall call management. How do Screen pops increase agent productivity? CTI screen pops let agents handle a call, message, take notes and view customer details in a single UI. They don't have to click through multiple screens to access or add customer information—this reduces cognitive dissonance and saves time. Generally, when you have a screen pop integration, call tickets are automatically generated for every call too. This gives the agent one less distraction from their main work (dealing tactfully with the caller at hand) This also ensures that no call is missed. The management reduces their dependency on agents. Since call recordings are also automatically saved against ticket history, its easier for managers and supervisors to review calls later too. How do Screen pops improve sales? Screen pops can help during outbound/sales calls too. The cloud telephony system will generally use autodialers to dial leads from a database— when the call connects, any existing lead records automatically display on the agent's screen. Agents can use this information to focus, personalize and improve their conversation. Screen pops enable better management of campaigns and leads. Agents have the relevant data about not only the call history, customer profile but also details such as which line of business they’ll be discussing or what language to use. The agent can easily add notes here during or after the call, and these automatically update in the CRM ticketing database being used. YOur business never loses track of important lead information, even if the agent leaves the job. The [...]

All About CTI Screen Pops 2018-10-22T19:24:03+00:00

Virtual Call Center Software Selection Guide

A virtual call center is one where agents are geographically dispersed as opposed to being in a brick and mortar building. Virtual call centers are popular thanks to the advent of voice over internet protocol (VOIP) technology and a chunk of the workforce opting to work remotely. Businesses set up virtual call centers to accomplish a variety of goals. To reduce overhead costs as employees work remotely. To reduce operating costs as virtual call centers usually charge per-monthly user fee; significantly lower than per-line charges of traditional phone lines. To service a geographically-dispersed customer base, 24 X 7 across time zones. To provide customers quick issue resolution in real time. To offer personalized cross-channel support that includes, voice, video, web, chatbots, and social media integration. To meet these complexities efficiently, virtual call center (VCC) software or a cloud telephony/contact center provider must have some core capabilities. It’s a no-go if any of these table stakes are missing: Easy setup and configuration across the board, as no hardware is involved. Easy interfaces, so agents get up to speed quickly, making training cost almost zero. No maintenance cost. Easy integrations with third-party applications like CRM/Ticketing systems Complete call tracking with insightful reporting & analytics. 24 X 7 customer support. While it's all good on paper, businesses often face issues like unintelligent IVRs, clunky APIs, and lags. So, get ahead of some of these irritants, by asking 7 pre-emptive questions during your evaluation: What’s voice quality like? Poor voice quality = loss of business. This is one of the most commonly faced annoyances. Voice quality issues arise mainly because of 2 reasons: Cloud telephony providers don’t always have a point of presence (POP) in more than one continent. Most POPs are located in the US. If your agents or customers aren't located close by, it could result in poor voice quality. So, check on providers’ POP. Depending on where your customers are, it’s important to pick a service with data centers in different parts of the world – US, Europe, the middle east, SE Asia, etc. That way, agents will be connected to the nearest possible POP for the highest voice quality. It also helps to look for a solution that treats voice and web (data) separately. This reduces packet loss and improves quality. Can you choose your own telecom provider? Or are you bound to the one offered by your contact / virtual call center provider software? What if you want to choose your own telecom provider? You should be able to exercise that option! This is especially important if you are an enterprise user. Or if you have big plans to expand. Some providers let you choose your own telephony trunks. That way, you pay call charges to your established operator and pay your virtual contact center provider only for its cloud /virtual contact center software. Is the billing transparent? Potential customers take fee structures at face value when they should investigate deeper. Ensure you get billing transparency. Look for essentials [...]

Virtual Call Center Software Selection Guide 2018-10-22T05:18:55+00:00

How can Speech Analytics tell if my customer is happy or not?

At the beginning and end of every call, your Speech Analytics system displays customer mood on your Agents dashboard. How does a machine understand whether your customer is happy or not? It uses two things: Natural Language Processing Sentiment Analysis Natural Language Processing. Conventionally, people used programming languages to “speak” to computers. But now, we see Alexa, Siri and Cortana, following instructions we give in our “natural“ language. This is thanks to NLP. NLP or Natural Language Programming is the ability of a computer program to understand natural human language. It is an aspect of Artificial Intelligence. Sentiment Analysis. People don’t just communicate information using language. We communicate emotions too. Sentiment Analysis is a layer placed over Natural Language Programming, where a program is “trained” to understand sentiment in a text passage. How does this work? The short explanation Very simply speaking, your SA first translates your call recordings to text. It then scans for positive and negative words. It relates each word to the surrounding 5 words. Then it uses these words as context to understand word meanings. Like humans, machines to get better and better at understanding language through exposure and experience. So the very short explanation would be: Your Speech Analytics system can tell if your customer is happy or not, because of experience. The slightly longer explanation What we mean by experience is that your Speech Analytics System has been exposed to billions and billions of words—until it’s learnt to understand meanings. This is similar to how a well trained, educated—and possibly middle aged— person gets good at understanding what others mean to say. It learns to understand slang, humor and sarcasm. For example, It learns to differentiate this sentence: That is so sick! From this sentence: I’m sick of you. It also assigns intensities. For example, in this sentence: I am very unhappy with your service. SA will consider this sentence negative because of the presence of unhappy. And then assign it an intensity of +2 due to the presence of very. And then gives you an aggregate. For example, in this sentence: I am happy with your service but your product is too costly. SA will be trained to assign costly as negative. It will add ++ for intensity. But then it will calculate for the positive emotions. Then, it will use appropriate aggregators— like sums or averages— to assign a final value to your sentiment. How accurate is SA at analyzing sentiment? SA is more accurate than humans. BUT, this statement comes with two disclaimers. Disclaimer 1: SA is only more accurate than humans over large quantities of data that have to be analyzed within tight deadlines. This is because humans get bored with repetitive tasks. Pressure to meet deadline, tiredness and boredom can affect human accuracy. Disclaimer 2: SA is not 100% accurate. On an average, SA can be said to be is 60-85% accurate. But, know this—within the professional setup of gauging sentiment from text, humans are not 100% accurate either. [...]

How can Speech Analytics tell if my customer is happy or not? 2018-10-22T04:52:39+00:00