Anita

About Anita

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

Call Center Trends in 2020

Everyone says 2020 is going to be a year of upgrades. And we don’t deny that. Call Center Trends for 2020 look at upgrading call center efficiency, speed of response and productivity. It looks at improving and playing an important role in shaping customer experience. Here are the top 5 trends we predict: Call Centers use self-service to scale up. Scaling up call center operations has never been easier. On one hand voice bots, conversational IVR, and chatbots have matured tremendously over the past year. On the other hand, customers are more willing than ever before to engage with these technologies for faster resolutions. According to CCW, more than 70% of customers are open to using bots. 1 The results are already beginning to show. For instance, last year call centers who implemented self-service IVR reported five times higher productivity. In other words, they were able to handle five times greater call volumes with the same number of agents. These interactions included checking their ticket status, bookings, cancellations, FAQs and other L1 queries. The Omnichannel journey matures. Enabling a 360-degree view of the customers is a strong priority in 2020. Customer Success leaders will shift focus from call centers to omnichannel contact centers. They will achieve this by integrating digital channels and enabling tight CRM integrations. As a result, agents will be able to access customer information with ease, leading to faster resolutions and personalized interactions across channels. New digital channels emerge. Phone calls continue as the most popular customer support channel. This is followed by live Chat. But new channels constantly emerge. This year, WhatsApp will be one such channel. This is because last year the backend technology for enabling large scale customer support via WhatsApp matured considerably. Procedures for getting a WhatsApp Business API number also became far easier and more streamlined. Smart speakers such as Alexa and Google Home may also be poised to become new customer support channels. In the US, nearly 60 million people use smart speakers. In India, these speakers have penetrated 20.9% Internet Households.3 Functionality and options keep improving on this popular channel. It is highly likely that by year-end, call centers could integrate their voice bots with these smart speakers so that customers can ask Alexa (or Siri) to update them on their delivery status or other such details. AI gives Call Center Data its due. Call Centers collect a massive amount of data. This includes customer complaints, pain points, desires, and suggestions. This kind of data is invaluable for improving customer experience, creating user personas, developing marketing programs, measuring product success or developing new features, products, and services. With new AI-based tools, it is now possible to structure and glean these insights from the call recordings where they reside. Speech Analytics and Sentiment Analysis tools will massively improve how call centers manage their operations. But more importantly, it will transform how they contribute to product development, marketing, and overall business growth. Customers willingly talk to your bots. Voice bot technology [...]

Call Center Trends in 2020 2020-01-21T19:19:21+00:00

Voice Bot Conversations: Hype or Reality?

This article spotlights the growth of voice in India, one of the fastest growing economies and the second most populous country in the world. 2019 was termed the year of the voice. In the United States, over 60 million people owned smart speakers by the end of the year. Says Sarah Peres, in Techcrunch " The growth in smart speakers is part of a larger trend toward voice computing and smart voice assistants — like Siri, Bixby and Google Assistant — which are often accessed on smartphones". With the lines blurring between voice bots and virtual assistants, AI and chatbots now have the power to bring 300 million Indians on the digital platform. Nasscom’s report shows that smart speaker growth is imminent in the country. Trends in voice technology Let’s take a look at the changes and trends predicted in the Nasscom report. Shift from text to voice At the beginning of 2019, chatbot technology was more advanced than voice tech. But voice has rapidly caught up. Voice bot conversations are becoming increasingly natural. As are result,  many users are showing a preference for voice. Already 3.5 billion Google searches are voice-based. Smartphones are the largest usage channel (81%) for these voice-based solutions. Users will prefer chatbots in public spaces such as offices or cafes when they want more private conversations. But as technology advances, and smart speakers become mainstream: voice conversations will be the faster, easier, more natural solution. People will adopt them for hands-free operations at home and during commutes or while exercising. India goes voice-first Both users and developers are growing within the voice space. In India, 51% of internet users access voice-enabled functionality. 2018 registered 11 notable investments in Indian conversational AI start-ups, allowing them to strengthen their tech capabilities. Research points to virtual assistants creating the highest impact on Indian businesses after Machine Learning. The maximum impact will be in IT, followed by BFSI, manufacturing, and education. Voice could also play a pivotal role in enabling e-governance. No wonder that conversational AI is the focus for nearly 1/4 startups in India. Improved customer service According to the report, voice has big potential within customer service. It will enable 24 x 7 customer support while reducing costs and improving experience. Service will become faster while simultaneously reducing the load and improving agent productivity. It will use data and intelligence to predict customer behavior and personalize service. Move from script-based to intelligent solutions Earlier, both chat and voice solutions such as speech recognition IVR depended on scripted responses and pre-defined questions fed into the system. The shift is now towards AI-based Voice bots and Chatbots. These bots can utilize AI technologies such as NLP, ML, to understand user intent, learn from past conversations. Acquisitions, Partnerships, Patents Partnerships will accelerate innovations. For instance the partnerships between Google and Qualcomm, Epson, Whirlpool, Kohler to launch voice-enabled headphones, printers, washing machines, bathroom lines, respectively. Or acquisitions such as Apple Siris acquisition of Laserlike and Pull string. In India, Flipkart recently acquired Liv.ai to provide [...]

Voice Bot Conversations: Hype or Reality? 2020-01-17T11:47:19+00:00

5 reasons customers (still) need your contact center

Do you expect to create a product or service so perfect that customers never need to speak with you?  Don’t overlook the critical role of customer communications when growing your business. Here is why. Customers don’t pointlessly want to talk to your business. The popular quote by Jeff Bezos states it best “The best customer service is if the customer doesn't need to call you, doesn't need to talk to you. It just works.” So why do businesses create call centers? Can’t they channel their customer service budget into marketing and product development instead? Unfortunately, not. There is an older adage by a certain Mr. Murphy that also holds true “Everything that can go wrong will”. And here is where your contact center comes in. Almost all of us know how flawlessly Netflix works. Yet even this seemingly perfect service can break. Last year, when someone hacked into my Netflix account, I really missed having a toll-free number to call. Earlier in the year when I ran into issues with Google Pay I simply couldn’t find a solution or a phone number to call, and eventually dropped using the service. In fact, I recently noticed a site called gethuman.com that gives you phone numbers to contact almost any business. Their tagline says it all: get a company on a phone faster, and get better help” 1 So why do customers want to call or chat with your business? Here are the top 5 reasons why: To research a product The first place anyone goes to research products or services is the internet. But sometimes, the information is overwhelming. As Mahesh Chaddah of reservations.com says “Even tech-savvy people have non-tangible, non-checkbox criteria that they want to search.”2 For example, a person planning a holiday might be looking for ways to make the trip more enjoyable for say an elderly parent. She has doubts and concerns she needs to clarify with a person. Or she might be too busy to do her own research. Because with so much information present online, getting a human opinion can really make things easier and faster for people. Having an agent available at this stage via live chat or phone could make a huge difference to both information-gathering and decision-making. To make a purchase Ideally making a purchase should be a smooth, seamless, single-step process. Nothing beats the convenience of a “click to buy” button. But considering what an important stage this is in your customer journey; it is prudent to have a customer support phone number at hand. The number should speedily connect customers to well-trained agents who are experts at allaying any concerns and quickly solving any last-minute hurdles for the customer. To ask a question No matter how much information you provide via tutorials and guides and videos, there will always be that one unique doubt that someone has. Asking questions about how a product or service works accounts for 10-20% of all call center queries. Sometimes, people find it easier to [...]

5 reasons customers (still) need your contact center 2020-01-21T13:47:40+00:00

4 Immediate ways Voice Bots can help sales teams

It has been quite a while since chatbots have invaded the customer service sector. Several big-name bots have taken up residence on different platforms to serve various purposes. Chief among those purposes is to let the users interact and communicate in real-time. This provides a level of self-service to the customer while elevating the customer experience. And customers are happy with the arrangement as well. Live chat software as a way for customers to interact with businesses has a 73% satisfaction rate. Voice bots go a step further as they use Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning. These technologies make it possible to have an interaction that is akin to talking to any customer care representative. These AI-powered bots, for instance, can help rethink the customer contact paradigm with natural conversations. They enable customer interactions not only on mobiles and landlines but also on websites. Read on to know what makes these bots’ conversations natural and how that can help your sales teams win: Qualify Leads - With these bots, telemarking and cold calling can be elevated to a new level. Bots can engage the prospect to find out who is your potential customers, what they are seeking, and how can they assist these prospects further. They not only qualify the leads based on the qualification questions in the database but also try to understand what they are seeking.  Do they want to learn more about a service? Do they want to get more information about a product? These bots can tell you who is ready for a demo for a particular product or a service based on various responses. Similarly, they can filter the respondents that need more nurturing and can engage customers who are interested in knowing more. By doing this, they allow sales teams to focus on later-stage demos and actions while the voice bots continue to handle the early-sales cycle tasks.  Schedule Appointments – Intelligent bots can make scheduling appointments a breeze. They can help fix the most appropriate and convenient times to talk to the prospects, thereby increasing the conversion chances. Without this, your potential customers or leads could be no-shows.  Emails are a great way to remind the leads of an impending meeting or call, but real-time, quick phone calls are even better. You can schedule multiple reminder calls. The bot will confirm the appointment or update rescheduling requests. This saves a lot of time for the sales teams.  Conduct Surveys – A 2017 survey by American Express found that more than half of the consumers have scrapped a planned purchase at some point because of poor customer service. The same study found that 70% of the consumers would spend more money when they know that a company offers excellent service. Of course, these numbers matter, in that they form a crucial input into sales and marketing strategy. But taking these surveys has always been a tedious, cumbersome, effort-intensive task. Until bots came along, that is. Voice bots can handle your surveys [...]

4 Immediate ways Voice Bots can help sales teams 2020-01-13T17:25:34+00:00

Can an IVR be part of a work of art?

Would you ever imagine that an Interactive Voice Response can be part of a work of art? Yes, the very same IVR, or voice response that greets you when you call businesses to book appointments (or complain).  In the right hands (and with the right voices) apparently, it can. Project “On Her Own” is one of the grant winners of the Gender Bender Project 2019— a joint venture by the Sandbox Collective and the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan.  The project encourages women to call a phone number where they can listen to a story, and then leave a story of their own. On 1st August, we got a tweet from Thejesh GN thanking KOOKOO for its reliable and affordable API’s that he used for the project. Now, when your company provides technology solutions, you know your chances of being part of an art project are slim to zero. So, knowing our tech helped actualise one, was exciting news for us. A nice break from thinking about sales and customer support issues. (Don’t get us wrong, we do love thinking about sales and support issues too!) Anyway, we didn’t waste much time in catching up with Thejesh about the project. Our first question was, why did you choose us? As in, why did you choose telephony to be part of an art project? Thejesh explained, “when we were thinking about the best way was to get women to tell their story, we thought: why not a phone call? The phone gives the caller both privacy and a feeling of intimacy.” It is, as he pointed out, a place where we are used to sharing stories — with our friends and family — about events that take place in our lives and others lives. Sure enough, when I called into +91-80660-84304 the story I heard, though fictionalised, was narrated like someone talking to a friend. And the sound quality is excellent. I hear every tonal nuance as my narrator moves between witty comebacks to her husband and anxious fears for her daughter. We’ve always wanted our KOOKOO API’s to free creative minds to develop and run innovative solutions. We love how easily Thejesh was able to whip together a solution with KOOKOO. The architecture is explained by Thejesh in his blog, and basically does this: When you call, the IVR captures your language preference, and runs you through the basic concept of Project On Her Own, encouraging you to leave a story of your own. It will then pick a story for you to listen to. After you listen, it will allow you to record a story you leave behind. When you press # your recording is accepted, and the line disconnects. The system, created over 35 days, accepts stories in English, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Hindi. “KOOKOO makes it easy and is friendly to work with” says Thejesh, who has worked with our platform before on the innovative Nextdrop campaign. You can catch our IVR’s brush with art “On Her [...]

Can an IVR be part of a work of art? 2019-08-09T06:15:11+00:00