About Anita

Anita is a content manager at Ozonetel Communications. She interviews clients to keep a pulse on the latest contact center developments

Lessons from CES2019 for customer communications

If you are involved in shaping your business’s customer interactions, then the world’s largest consumer electronics show might have some unexpected insights for you. For managers shaping and measuring customer experience, CES means one thing: the all-important indexing of your Customer Effort Score. But there is another CES that customer communication leaders should watch closely—Sin City’s annual Consumer Electronics Show. This massive display of consumer gadgets isn’t just about the hottest technology and coolest gadgets. It is also a definitive forecast of how customer interactions will change. Observe closely, and it will deliver insights into how people will be able to—and will want to—communicate with your business. Because CES spotlights technologies most likely to shape your customers’ lives, and interactions. Like in 1970, when Sony’s VCR (Video Cassette Recorder) launch redefined home entertainment. Or in ‘75 when Atari’s launched its home gaming revolution from here. Or in ’77 when Apple introduced its first personal computer here. And it’s iPhone in 2007. Or in 2012, when Ultrabooks, 3d printers and ultra HDTV’s were unveiled here. 2019 too had its share of fancy gadgets too. The Bell Nexus Air Taxi (Yes, it flies). The Fight Camp (a connected home boxing workout system). The Segway Ninebot Lumo (a delivery bot), and even the fake Impossible Burger that’s deliciously authentic in every way.  But underlying the vast number of gadgets, what were the themes and trends? And what can they predict about your customer interactions in the near and distant future? Let’s investigate.  Voice is everywhere CES 2019 was abuzz with the popularity of voice interfaces. These interfaces have climbed out of the digital assistants and climbed into every home product you own. Think TV, toys, smartphones and even toilets! TV manufacturing giants LG and Samsung integrated Alexa and Google Home in their new roll-able OLED TVs—which incidentally roll into or out of a box when asked to! You can tell your Moen showers—via Alexa or Google—exactly what temperature and water pressure you prefer to shower in. Your Hi-mirror will analyze your skin, track your beauty regime and give you product recommendations. And, voice-activated companions like Cody will tell your kids stories, sing songs, relay your messages and answer their questions in a kid-friendly voice. As Fred Jacobs pointed out in his blog,*voice was everywhere. “(it) has moved well beyond smart speakers sitting on kitchen islands and nightstands.  Everywhere you journeyed at CES, you saw “Alexa” and “Hey, Google” voice technology baked into thousands of devices, gadgets, and appliances.” Fred Jacobs, Founder, Jacob Media Strategies What can this mean for customer communications? Voice will grow as a medium of communication. Digital assistants will be the new communication channel between your business and your customer. And devices may be next. People will expect to do less with their heads stuck in screens. With the growing number of voice-enabled products, phones may finally be put down in homes, cars, and offices. Also Read: Features your contact center Voice Bot needs Touchscreen won’t disappear either Voice isn’t [...]

Lessons from CES2019 for customer communications 2019-02-12T04:13:25+00:00

Contact Center Trends 2019.

How will technology impact and improve the contact center in 2019? 4 of our experts weigh in. “The success of assistants like Google Home and Alexa has shown that voice is the most natural interface. In 2019, expect voice channels to pop up everywhere. Inside apps, on websites, in emails, in chats. Bots will become an integral part of business communication. Assistants will enter the contact center giving new tools to both agents and managers. AI will monitor every contact center interaction. CRM, Support Centers, Contact Centers, Sales…all these systems will continue to merge. Boundaries will blur as information flows more intelligently among (erstwhile) silos, uniting the customer journey” Chaitanya Chokkareddy, Principal Architect, Ozonetel Communications Voice will dominate on brand new channels. Voice is the most natural, easy medium for most people to communicate. Technology changes, this fact doesn’t. Voice lets people effortlessly exchange information while walking, driving, cooking or carrying out any regular activity. And remains unbeatably fast. (Voice conveys an average rate of 80-120 words per minute while people type at an average rate of 30-40 words per minute). In 2019, you can expect new ways to enable to have these voice interactions with your customer. While the phone will continue to be a popular channel, here are 3 other options your inbound or outbound contact centers should look forward to: Live chat windows will merge voice support. Last year, we spoke about your customers’ need for switching between chat and voice on the same interaction. For example, chat windows may work for simple, quick interactions. But when people need to type in long explanations or get heated up about an issue —they’d really prefer to speak to and listen to a human voice. This year we expect KIA to enable more customers to do exactly that. Voice bots will appear in calls, texts, and chats. Wherever voice interactions can replace texting and keying in options, it will. Voice bots will make this scalable and easy. For example, expect voice bots to take over your IVR, chat windows and text messages. They can schedule appointments for your sales teams, qualify leads, ask your customers for feedback, give them reminders or help them to schedule, book or cancel their appointments, subscriptions, deliveries, and orders. Digital Assistant will emerge as a new voice channel in the omnichannel journey. Digital assistants like Alexa and Google Home continue to grow in popularity. Customers are already using “skills” to book their cab or place orders. We expect contact centers to take full advantage of this new channel, giving customers an easy means to reach them via their digital or even phone assistants. “As with every year, in 2019, we can expect some things to change, and some things to remain the same. We can expect people’s preference for the voice channel to continue. And expect solutions to continue migrating to the cloud. But in 2019, Contact Centers will also start using their data more effectively thanks to AI and machine learning. Voice Bots [...]

Contact Center Trends 2019. 2019-01-09T16:57:21+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?  Are there any ground rules managers should follow to ensure their remote workers stay productive and happy? 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 are given 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? Keeping yourself motivated, consistent and connected are some challenges of working from home. Your work from home staff may feel isolated, ignored or forgotten. What should a manager do to maximise 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 formalised invites to talk are better” She found that sending calendar invites and fixing appointments, rather than simply calling and leaving voicemails, saved a lot of time. (Also read: Call Scheduling) Be consistent Being home 9 to 5 gives you a lot [...]

Got a work-from-home sales team? 6 productivity rules to follow. 2019-02-11T03:33:45+00:00

Why your live chat needs voice support for better CX

What a story of a failed burger order tells us about good customer service. Building a great customer experience is a never-ending quest. You just finish deploying one new technology, and a user story pops up to show how it was simply not enough. Your live chat window is one such technology: Customers and or web visitors use chat very effectively on websites or apps as the fastest way to contact a customer service or sales team. But a recent customer story I stumbled upon on Twitter, illustrates its shortcomings. Can a "click to call" functionality combine with your chat window to make it doubly effective? We think it can. Picture this. It’s a Saturday night and four teenaged kids (Aargh, sleepovers!) are hungrier than usual. You order from a nearby burger chain using a popular app. And wait for the food to arrive. Two hours later, you’re still waiting. You tried chatting with the customer service using the app, wanting to know your order status but you’re only getting conflicting responses and requests to wait a little longer. You want to speak to a customer service executive. But you don’t have that option. And at the end of a long wait, no burgers either :( I watched this story unfold on Twitter. The frustrated customer (let's call him Mr.X) never received his order and ended up cooking for the kids that night. I couldn’t help thinking about how frustrating his situation was and how it could have been handled better. When should chat be escalated to voice? For a customer, there is nothing more annoying than having a problem with a product or service and not being able to speak to someone who can solve it. Here is when we think chat works, and when it should escalate to voice: Using chat: When its a one or two-sentence query, we think a chat window works better: Hey, my order is delayed, what happened? In this case, chat is so much faster—the customer skips dialing a number, listening to an IVR, waiting in the queue, greeting someone, and then explaining their problem. Since they're not on hold, they don't even mind when you take a minute or two to respond to their query: Really sorry for the delay, let me just call the restaurant and find out. Sure, no problem. Escalating to voice: But when things go wrong, chat loses its advantage fast. In the case illustrated above, the customer’s frustration increased, so did his average sentence length. This would have been the ideal time to switch to voice. It isn't surprising that at one point he even asked the agent if its possible to call him. But the agent couldn't. In most live chats, it’s a long drawn out process to switch from chat to calls. In complex scenarios, the customer just wants to ensure someone is listening, often literally. We’ve designed the KIA widget for cases just like this. Here are 4 ways we think you can use it [...]

Why your live chat needs voice support for better CX 2018-11-22T16:43:30+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