Monthly Archives: December 2018

What ensures an intuitive, efficient contact center UX?

What ensures an intuitive, efficient contact center UX? Correct answer: You. Because it is only by looping in all users from start to finish, at every stage of the UX design process, that an intuitive, efficient contact center UX evolves. Right from the time a caller connects to a contact center with a query to the time that the query is resolved, a group of people armed with the latest technology work behind the scenes to ensure a hassle-free, pleasant experience. This is what UX or user experience design is about. It is an elaborate process involving a team of experts coordinating across business functions to create the entire product or service experience from start to finish. So let's play plunge in folks, here is your contact center’s design process —deconstructed and demystified: Step 1: Research What do users want? This is a million-dollar question (that often takes a million dollars to answer!) For any business model or new product to be launched, it all begins with what the product, service or feature should do for the user. When designing UX for a contact center, this research involves studying three stakeholders: the contact center agents, supervisors and, finally, those calling the contact center. The research includes Qualitative research: The UX design team interacts with the contact center leads, sales, and pre-sales teams to find out why a new product or feature is needed. They understand the issues and how the current workarounds being used.  This is crucial because, often, the temporary workaround methods give the UX design team valuable ideas on what the new product or feature should be able to achieve. The sales and pre-sales teams give insights into what customers expect. All this information is used to define the UX design goals. Quantitative Research: The UX design team collects all the data available at the product back-end to understand what product features are being used the most, what features are not serving the purpose as much, and what features are causing problems for users. The team also analyses the contact center metrics to understand product effectiveness. This data needs to be studied in the context of the qualitative research and one should validate the other. Step 2: Preparing and testing the prototype The UX design team, after studying what the research has thrown up, lists the design goals, which is simply what the product aims to achieve or is able to do for the user. The team brainstorms, and ideates, and sketches prototypes to indicate what the product might look like. Once these high-fidelity mock-ups are ready, they are tested on users, and feedback is collected - does the product or feature achieve what it intends to? Is it easy to use? Is there any other way of doing it? This “test drive” achieves two things – it tells the team if they are moving on the right track, and it tells users or consumers about the proposed change or new launch. User feedback at this stage gives [...]

What ensures an intuitive, efficient contact center UX? 2019-02-11T03:32:50+00:00

Predictive Dialer Vs Power Dialer

Most cloud telephony or outbound contact center solutions will give you a choice of dialing options. This will mean selecting either manual dialers/ preview dialers/ power dialers, aka, progressive dialers or power dialers. What you choose will depend upon how many agents you have available, how good your data is, and what your priorities are. When your call lists are small, you generally choose manual dialing or preview dialers. But when your call lists are large, making up your mind on whether to use a predictive or power dialer is often confusing. So we put together all the differences between the two on this single infographic. Basic difference: Power dialers are less complicated. Predictive dialer: A predictive dialer dials numbers from a database based on a mathematical estimation of agent availability. The estimations are based on factors like the number of agents available, average talk time, etc. Predictive dialer dials multiple phone numbers per agent. Power dialer: In contrast, a power dialer dials one number after another sequentially for each agent available. There are no complicated mathematical predictions. It dials one phone numbers per agent. (If you make a 1:1 dialing ratio in predictive dialer, it becomes a power dialer). Productivity: Predictive dialers are more efficient. Predictive dialer: A predictive dialer prioritizes agent’s time. It lowers agent idle time and increases productivity, that is, agent talk time. You can expect it to give an 80% or higher agent efficiency. This is because the next number is dialled even before the agent finishes the call they’re on. This leads to Predictive Dialer campaigns being completed faster. Power dialer: A progressive, aka, power dialer, is also efficient, giving about 60% or higher agent productivity, but it isn't as efficient as a predictive dialer in prioritizing agent time. This is because the next phone number is dialed only after the agent completes a call. This means that Power dialer campaigns take longer to complete than predictive dialer campaigns. Call Quality: Power Dialers give better CX. Predictive dialer: In a predictive dialer, agents are connected after a callee answers the call. This means that your customer or prospect may hear an awkward silence, a ringing tone or hold music until the agent connects. This could annoy them, and/or cause them to disconnect. Power dialer: A power dialer connects the agent before the call connects. This means that your customer/prospect hears the agent as soon as they answer. Training: Predictive Dialers need training to  perfect Predictive Dialer: Predictive dialers are more complicated. The manager/administrator needs to learn how to tweak many more settings like dial rate to get best results. Power dialer: A power dialer is based on a straightforward concept, is easy to use and needs no learning/training to use. Compliance: Power dialers are a safer bet when compliance is an issue In many countries, you need to be wary of compliance while using your dialer. For example, in the US, if your dropped calls are geater than 3% it could invite a heavy [...]

Predictive Dialer Vs Power Dialer 2019-02-11T03:28:13+00:00

Got a work-from-home sales team? 6 productivity rules to follow.

. Making sales calls isn’t easy. Making sales calls after waking up at the crack of dawn, riding an hour-long commute and then sitting cramped up in a cubicle – doesn’t make it easier. There are definite merits to letting your inside sales team work-from-home. But it’s important not to overlook the challenges. Are work-from-home sales teams productive? What ground rules should managers follow to ensure happy and productive remote workers? Can sales representatives be productive while working remotely?   “There is no question of remote workers being unproductive,” says Remya Lakshmanan, a senior program advisor at a successful Edtech startup. Over the past four years, Remya has managed profitable inside sales while working remotely, from home, both in the US and in India. She tells us that many employees at her company get the option of working from home, though they may check in to the office as and when they want to. “We’ve converted equally or far more than those who work from office.” “There is a lot of time saved. Even from the company point of view. One to one and half hours to commute, settling down, taking tea breaks and lunch breaks are something that you wouldn’t have to do. You’re in a much healthier state of mind when you are working from home, in your comfort zone.” Studies reiterate this. A Stanford research study found that there was a 13% increase in productivity when call center employees were allowed to work from home. What are the challenges of managing a remote sales team? When working from home, staying connected, motivated and consistent are the big challenges. Is your work-from-home staff feeling isolated, ignored or forgotten? What can a manager do to maximize the productivity of their sales development representatives? 5 ground rules for maximising your work-from-home sales team’s productivity Manage time efficiently. The most obvious point to start with is time management. A remote worker must learn to micromanage their time. It can take them a few months to learn how to do this. One key is to schedule calls to prospects when they are free to talk. This will depend on your geography and sector. For example, in her sector, in India, Remya found that it was best to talk to leads in their evening, on their commute home. Our contact center metrics support this. We found that answer rates for our outbound calls were highest between 5 to 7 p.m (45.77%). In the US and other regions, however, she recommends using text messages and emails to fix appointments.  Cold calling mostly meant that “you’re not even going to get a human on the other will go through to voicemail almost always. More formalized invites to talk are better.” She recommends sending calendar invites and fixing appointments before calling, to save time. (Also read: Call Scheduling) Be consistent Being home 9 to 5 gives you a lot of independence. There is no one to check in on you. If you are not consistent, [...]

Got a work-from-home sales team? 6 productivity rules to follow. 2019-04-30T11:23:20+00:00

UX Design in the Contact Center: Who benefits?

User experience or UX designing is important for your contact center. But it is important to identify your users’ needs first. Picture yourself as a consumer. Say you log on to an online shopping website. You browse through the menu, take your pick, order, pay and receive the package when you were told it would reach you. Easy, breezy. Another website has a complicated menu, you can’t find the item of clothing you liked in a colour you wanted, the customer care number put you on hold for 20 minutes and you eventually received a product very different from what you ordered. Frustrating, isn’t it? In a time when people shop for clothes, book hotels, buy grocery and even order medicines online, without touching or feeling the products, how do companies ensure a smooth experience for them? How do you, as a business, ensure everyone connected with your product has a good experience? Designing the entire user experience, or UX, means ensuring everybody interacting with a product, whether it is the consumer or seller, enjoys doing so. When you design the UX for a contact center solution, it becomes a little more complicated. This is because we don't just design for one end user, we design with 3 users in mind: The contact center agents The contact center managers or supervisors, admin, analytics and The contact center’s consumer. Our UX design has to  satisfy all these three user groups. But the needs or expectations of each of these user categories differ significantly. UX designers, therefore, need to keep the needs or goals of each user in mind. Let us understand what we need to remember when designing user experiences: Client’s contact center agents: Your contact center can make or break your business because this is your customers’ first, and often only, experience with your company’s attitude towards them. It becomes very important then that agents working in the contact center are able to use the system efficiently, and easily. Efficiency, therefore, becomes the primary goal when designing for the use of contact center agents. When designing the UX for contact center agents: The system needs to be simple to use. It has to be quick so that they can meet their KPIs such as average speed of answer and average handle time. It has to give them all the information they need, when they need it, in the form they want it by effortlessly extracting it from the CRM. Data should be displayed in a clutter-free format that is easy to understand. Reporting tools need to be simple and to-the-point. The system should keep the agents’ after-call work to a minimum. Contact center supervisors or managers – This group of users needs to know what agents are doing with the system created for them, whether they are making good use of it or not, and whether that is translating into higher customer satisfaction. When designing for this category of users, then, transparency and ease of monitoring become the key goals. [...]

UX Design in the Contact Center: Who benefits? 2018-12-16T09:19:45+00:00

Self Service via your Contact Center: 5 Guidelines

What can self-service achieve for your contact center? It can reduce call queues, agent workloads and costs. It can improve customer experience. Both of the above. No prizes for guessing the correct answer! That’s right, self-service isn’t just about cost-saving for your contact center; it’s often the more desirable option for your customers. That’s because in many cases, self-service transactions can be completed faster than interactions with your agent. Think about it. You want to make a simple cancellation request. Do you really want to explain yourself to a call center agent, wait till they check your ticket number, and then start processing your request? Well, neither does your customer. So where and how should you provide this self-service to your customer? This article suggests 5 guidelines. GUIDELINE 1: Choose the Right Channel for your Self Service The first thing you need to figure out is: Where will my customer access this self service? There are many options available. For example, in the physical world, there are self-help kiosks. Online, you have website FAQ pages, discussion forums or chatbots. Your customers may also be comfortable with using mobile apps or emerging channels such as digital assistants and smart home devices. As technologies change, your customers channel preferences will change too. Currently, some options such as mobile applications are decreasing in popularity. (According to Gartner*, by 2019, 20%brands will abandon their mobile apps). While digital assistants like Alexa and Google Home are becoming increasingly popular new channels. Businesses are also developing voice bots to interact with customers and deliver self service. For example, we are developing FAQ bots for some of our clients. It will be far easier for their customers to ask a bot rather than hunt through FAQ pages online. We are also developing “skills” for Alexa, so that customers can just simply ask their digital assistants to reserve, cancel or change an appointment or an order. A lot of clients are moving their self service to their modern IVRs. The big advantage of developing these self-service channels is that they are backed up by your contact center. This means that at any point, customers can easily escalate the issue to a human at the backend. GUIDELINE 2: Choose the right queries to automate Not all queries can be diverted to self-service. You need to study all calls coming into your contact center to decide which are best suited for self-service. Don’t just think of diverting calls, focus on improving customer experience. For example, one of our clients who runs a hotel chain—realised that about 5% of their calls were just general hotel enquiries; another 13-14% were hotel cancellations. They diverted both these to self-service. The customers can now complete a cancellation in 2-3 minutes less than when this was done via an agent. GUIDELINE 3: Integrate with your CRM to provide personalised solutions. The same clients used a CRM integration to segregate callers into customers and non-customers. When customers with existing bookings call, they are immediately routed to [...]

Self Service via your Contact Center: 5 Guidelines 2019-02-12T04:14:37+00:00