The coronavirus may have triggered the world’s largest work-from-home experiment. A few days back, NTT urged 200,000 employees to work from home fearing the virus spread in Japan. For leaders in Macau, Hong Kong, and Singapore, working from home is a sensible option to stave off a crisis while keeping employees safe. Of course, not all jobs/roles are aligned to work-from-home. Reports show that jobs within shipping, factories, and education, are struggling to adapt. However, call centers, especially those run on cloud telephony solutions will not have a problem. Can I temporarily switch my call center to a work-from-home model? Yes. Switching your cloud telephony solution to a work-from-home model on a temporary basis is easy. It’s something a team lead can organize while sitting at his/her own house. Instead of the calls landing in the call center, the call gets routed to the agent’s desktop or mobile. As far as the customer is concerned, he or she will not even know that the agent is working from home. (Note: in case you have a legacy call center, please read my colleague's article on how a legacy call center can switch to work-from-home mode) Online versus Offline Mode. In fact, since you can log in to your cloud call center account from anywhere, agents can simply log in to their system and get back to making and receiving calls as usual. Agents can function in what is known as an offline mode. What is an Offline Mode? Offline mode means that you can route calls to agents’ mobile phones or even landlines, instead of them taking calls via desktop. This is important when your agents may not have access to good headsets or speakers at their residence. How does the team lead reroute calls? The team lead needs to go to the reporting portal and change the logic as to where the call will land. Agents can take calls on their mobile phones, landlines or their desktops. Security & Privacy Issues Some businesses do not want the agent to be able to access customer details from their home because of data privacy issues. This means agents may not have access to their CRM data while logging into the call center. But with this limited functionality, the call center can function efficiently from home. This partial capacity is definitely preferable to the call center being down. Customers are aware that there is a problem, definitely appreciate this partial service to a complete outage. Conclusion The Coronavirus is not the first emergency situation when call centers have to switch to a work-from-home model. We have faced multiple situations like this. For instance, when there was a strike in of the Indian cities, many of our clients enabled their call center agents to take calls from home. Massive rains or snow could also cause call centers to declare a "work-from-home day". Note: We're proud to say that all our clients were easily able to switch to work-from-home in all these emergencies. In [...]
Over the past two years many AI-based tools have entered the call center. This includes AI-based Voice Bots, Digital Assistants and Speech Analytics tools. This year, we can expect these technologies to continue to grow and mature. Three AI-based trends that will grow within sales and support call centers this year are: AI-driven Voice Bots AI-driven self-assistance Live and Historical Analytics to improve performance. AI-driven Voice Bot Compared to a voice-enabled IVR solution, an AI-based voice bot isn’t limited to simple, monosyllabic responses. Using tools such as intent analysis, it understands, for instance, what a person means when they say, “I’m busy!” or “not really!” These bots can be set up in about 10-20 days and are increasingly taking over L1 tasks in the call center. Last year, we launched our voice bot, and its uses ranged from serving simple cancellation requests to reminding customers about payments. These bots have reduced agent workloads by nearly 90%, leading to faster resolutions, lower wait times and happier customers. As customers and call center managers get more familiar with this technology, we expect to see widespread applications for voice bots in the call center. AI-Driven Self Assistance Self-service is a growing trend in customer support. Last year, call centers who implemented self-service reported 3 to 5 times increase in productivity. 40% of customers also prefer self-service for simple transactions and queries. And, since self-service frees your agents to attend to escalations and other complex interactions, it improves the overall customer experience. Unsurprisingly then, this year we are seeing a surge in the demand for AI-driven self-assistance to answer FAQs or manage quick transactions such as giving order status, and booking or canceling orders. This includes AI-driven chatbots and voice bots across websites, phone calls and other digital channels. Live & Historical Analytics to improve performance This year we can expect speech analytics and sentiment analysis to be the new tool for measuring performance. These tools can measure customer happiness from their tone of voice. It can alert supervisors when callers or agents use curse words. It can alert supervisors and managers if callers or agents raise their voices for extended periods during any ongoing call. Speech analytics can be used on historical data too. It can analyze every single call recording within a given timeframe—something that no human Quality Assurance team can realistically achieve. Since it is virtually impossible for any call center manager or supervisor to otherwise access such information, we expect these speech and sentiment analysis dashboard to be invaluable to them. AI within the call center is now less about hype and more about implementation. The expectations have been set over the past few years. I look forward to 2020 being a year of reckoning.
Answer that phone and do it quick! When the success of your business depends on your customer’s experience with your contact center, this should be your number one mantra. We have all been on the other side of that phone line, waiting for the IVR to stop repeating itself and for a human being to ask, “Hello, how may I help you?” And we know there is nothing more frustrating than waiting endlessly for this to happen. Little wonder then that the Average Speed of Answer which, simply put, is how soon an agent answers a customer’s call, is probably the most important contact center metric. What is Average Speed of Answer or ASA? ASA or Average Speed of Answer is the average time an agent takes to answer an incoming call. How do you calculate it? You divide the total wait time for all calls by the total number of calls in a day. So, ASA (in seconds) = Total call wait time for calls answered daily Total number of calls answered in a day So if the total time callers have waited for in a day is two hours or 120 minutes or 7,200 seconds, and the total number of calls answered in the day is 200 then the ASA would be: ASA = 7,200/200 = 36 seconds Which means each customer calling your contact center has to wait for at least 36 seconds before he or she can speak to a customer service agent. That can be a long time for a customer in a hurry or an irate customer with a complaint. This means the aim of a contact center should be to keep the ASA to a minimum. The faster your contact agent answers a call from a customer, the better it is for your business in many ways. How can a low ASA help your business? Higher customer satisfaction – It gives a customer immense relief to hear a human voice at the other end because they feel they are a step closer to a solution to their problem. And the faster they hear that voice, the better they appreciate your service. Better agent productivity: If an agent answers a call quickly, the call queue moves that much faster, and agents are able to handle a higher number of calls. Also, the chances of resolving the issues that the customer has called with are better with a low ASA. This improves agent productivity and keeps the contact center’s operating costs low. Higher customer loyalty: Often, customers hang up because the waiting time is too long. They not only abandon the call but, in the long term, may end up abandoning your product or service. A low ASA is a good way to hold on to customers. Better brand image: When you answer calls quickly, it shows customers that their time is important to you. This helps build your brand image as a business that puts its customers above all else. How can you reduce [...]
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 [...]
Shopify lets your business set up an online store in minutes. Have you considered a helpdesk, a customer support center or sales channel for that store? You should. Because 61% of your visitors want to speak to someone before making a purchase.* To make this possible, you need to activate a voice + chat channel for them. You can do this easily in a matter of minutes, by linking to our readymade contact center solution. Just place our widget on your Shopify store, and when your visitors have a doubt, they can just click to speak to one of your staff. Here is how: Sign up for a KOOKOO Cloudagent account. Our team will give you your API Key and Phone Number. Go to your Shopify online store ->themes->(Action = Edit Code)->Layout->theme.liquid. The widget code will be as below. Place the API key and phone number given by our team within the code as shown: Ask your agents to login to your KOOKOO account and start receiving calls. That's it. Now your Shopify store visitors just click to speak with your agents. They can also chat with your agents instead of talking, as this is an omnichannel widget. What features does this support widget give you? Synchronized chat window. During conversations, it’s often easier to type things down instead of repeating them over the phone. For example, people prefer typing email ids rather than speaking them out. We understand this. That’s why you can open a chat window during any phone call. The customer can type out email ids, names, phone numbers, in this window while you’re still on the call. (Yes, ours is the only widget to allow this simultaneous call+chat). Plus, you can just switch to a chat mode if that’s what your customer prefers (if they’re shopping while in office for example!!) Better workforce distribution amongst your staff. Our ACD calculates how much time your staff spends on call/chat, and automatically sends calls to the staff member who has spent the least amount of time answering customer calls/chats. Complete CRM/Ticketing Integration. Our complete CRM integration ensures that tickets are automatically created against each phone call, notes get added into the CRM directly, and your recordings are neatly organized against your ticket numbers too. Advanced Analytics. Keep track of your agents with live monitoring. Along with regular updates of various metrics that measure your customer experience and agent performance. Complete Contact Center Support. The same platform supports your toll-free number, your outbound calls, and even lets you create outbound IVR campaigns.See a demo of the widget at https://getkookoo2.myshopify.com/ or contact us to get started. *Think with google researched 3,000 shoppers in the age group of 18 – 74 in Travel, Restaurant, Finance, Retail, Technology, Local Services and Auto sectors: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/click-to-call/