Monthly Archives - January 2020

What is Call Center Performance Management

What is Performance Management?

Call Center Performance Management is a program, generally led by a contact center operations manager, dedicated to calculating and improving the performance of contact center agents. Performance Management generally requires a number of tools like call recording, quality monitoring, coaching and gamification.

How Call Center Performance Management Improves Customer Experience

When a customer reaches out to your contact center for help with an issue, what do they expect? Do they want personal, friendly customer interactions, or do they want an effective call center agent who can provide fast resolution of their issue? The answer is both. In a recent customer experience survey by Customer Contact Week, consumers reported the following priorities:

  1. Easy handling of their problem
  2. Fast issue resolution
  3. Friendly, personalized service

While contact center managers can rely on key performance indicators (KPIs) to track metrics like average handle time, after-call work time, customer satisfaction scores and service level, using a quantitative number to evaluate overall agent performance between customer interactions and meeting business goals is key for maintaining high levels of customer experience. That’s where leveraging contact center performance management software can help.

Challenges of Performance Management

Traditionally, call center managers have used a combination of quality monitoring, team trainings, and one-on-one coaching to address employee engagement and improve agent performance. However, gathering enough data to decide where to direct resources to improve performance requires a huge amount of time and managerial energy. What’s more, scaling up your team requires more workforce management resources directed toward even more performance and quality management personnel.

Contact center agents may also take issue with the performance metrics being used to assess them. Quality assurance reviewers may give feedback based on only one or two recorded calls, which the agent may not see as representative of their overall performance. Inherent bias can become an issue, as one call may be seen in different ways by different reviewers.

Performance Management and Customer Experience

Call center agents, like retail workers, are on the front line of customer interactions, and often face frustrated or angry consumers who are upset about a situation and place the blame firmly on the person in front of them. Team leaders report high levels of call center attrition and agent burnout after certain periods of time. Ensuring a quality customer experience in the face of this can be a huge challenge for managers and agents themselves.

Also, the caller simply does not care about whatever internal call center metrics you are using for performance management. All they care about is results, and different callers will have different opinions about their interactions. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Scores (NPS) can help inform you about customer opinion trends in your particular customer base.

How to Measure Contact Center Performance

The best way to assess agent performance in your call center is through a mix of quantitative and qualitative KPIs. Determining whether or not you are meeting your business goals is simple enough, and modern contact center technology is well equipped to give you all the data you need about conversions, average handle time, customer wait time, schedule adherence and more. These kinds of call center metrics can help you to make informed decisions about workforce management and service level.

However, measuring customer satisfaction and overall quality of the customer experience is more difficult, as CSAT and NPS scores can only tell you so much. A high CSAT score might come from someone who felt that their customer interaction was hurried and would have preferred more friendly service. A low NPS score could come from a caller who experienced wonderful agent engagement but didn’t get their issue resolved.

Fortunately, call center AI technologies such as real-time speech and desktop analytics are available for today’s omnichannel contact center. Along with personal observations by the agent, these tools make it far easier to collect data on subjective factors such as a caller’s emotional state.

Next Steps

Knowing where to direct performance management resources is one of the biggest challenges for the modern call center. Agent performance must be assessed between objective measurements like call handling time and more subjective ones such as the quality of customer interactions and customer satisfaction with the results of their call. Call center management must rely on a more holistic assessment for shaping their performance management solutions beyond just numerical KPIs, CSAT and NPS scores.

This article was first published by Mitel.

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Webinar & LIVE Demo Replay | MiContact Center Business 9.2. – Powering Customer-Centric Organizations

Panelists: Mark Anderson, Sales Engineer at Mitel and Paul Arigho-Crockett, Enterprise Solutions, 4Sight Communications

MiCC 9.2.: Enterprise-grade, omnichannel customer experience management platform designed to power customer-centric organisations.

One-third of the population is comprised of millennials, and there are now almost 5 Billion mobile phone users in the world. These shifts have brought new challenges to the way your business delivers customer experience. 90 percent of consumers check your website before interacting with your company, and most customers would instead communicate through digital channels like email, chat, and social media.

Mitel’s MiContact Center Business platform is designed to give your customers the freedom to interact with you on their preferred device, using the media that works best for them while giving agents and supervisors the tools to manage today’s omnichannel customer journeys.

MiContact Center Business reduces the cost and complexity of deployment by leveraging your existing infrastructure.

Watch our webinar replay featuring experts from Mitel and be the first to see the LIVE DEMO and hear about the latest updates to MiContactCenter Business 9.2.

Mitel’s MiContact Center Business platform streamlines your contact center operations with technologies that seamlessly integrate with your existing infrastructure investments, including virtual data centers, and deployment across multiple sites.

This webinar is a must-see and not to be missed! Watch today!

Mitel Top Services Partner
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Artificial Intelligence: The Next Frontier for Contact Center Customer Experience

The past few years have ushered in the “modernize movement” within the contact center industry. Companies are recognizing the need to upgrade their systems, but often create a new problem while fixing an old one. How do companies modernize without over-complicating their contact centers? The answer is artificial intelligence (AI), which is an answer dripping with irony: fixing a new problem – created by trying to bring a contact center into the 21st century – with a futuristic solution! But, as we marked the 50th anniversary of the moon landing this summer, we embrace the Apollo spirit of solving problems that didn’t exist before we embarked on a seemingly impossible task.

The Digital Era is Here

Just as the 60s was the “race to the moon” era, the 20-teens is the digital era for the customer service industry. Digital transformation is impacting the business landscape faster than ever with notable heavyweights dropping rapidly. According to ZK Research, half of the current S&P will be replaced in the next 10 years. And, more than half of the Fortune 500 since 2000 are already gone.

As has always been the case companies that move fast, innovate and stay ahead of the proverbial curve are the companies that survive or replace the ones that do not. Driving change is the overarching theme and key concept behind digital transformation. It underscores the importance of being agile and adaptable. In fact, digital transformation may be the single biggest issue that permeates all corners of the business world since the Y2K mania.

Are you curious about what AI can do for you?

Customer Experience Reigns Supreme

Consumers have evolved beyond simply comparing products on price. Price wars can be won through a few extra clicks, but customer experience (CX) is the intangible that sets companies apart. According to studies in 2013 and 2015 from Walker and Gartner respectively, CX will overtake all decision-making factors – including price – as the top brand differentiator by 2020. When these reports came out a few years ago, many companies scoffed at the idea that price would not always be the most important component in the buyer’s choice equation. How many companies on this list of retailers affected by the Retail Apocalypse, including retail titans like Abercrombie & Fitch, Dress Barn, Gap, J.C. Penney, Macy’s, RadioShack, Sears, Shopko and Toys “R” Us, held onto to their dependency on price?

Consider the hotel industry. Location is key and so is price, and in some situations that can still make a difference; but CX and reviews on sites like Yelp are often the difference-maker. When booking a one-night stay in San Francisco for meetings at our headquarters, I chose to stay at a national brand hotel near the airport rather than one of several “boutique” hotels within walking distance of our office. While the prices were comparable, the boutique hotels had the clear advantage on location. However, user reviews were abysmal and were ultimately the deciding factor for me.

If you are waiting to overhaul your CX, or are a slow-moving enterprise, you will be left behind (if not already) and competitors are pulling away while you play catch up.

This article was first published by Mitel.

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Work Versus Life: It Doesn’t Have To Be a Trade-Off

The conflict of work and life events is an age-old conundrum that faces us all. It’s the choice between a project meeting and a daughter’s soccer game; a work conference or our best friend’s birthday party.

As much as you want to say that, you’ll prioritize your daughter’s soccer game or your best friend’s party, that can’t always be the case. You may realize that if you miss this project meeting, you won’t be able to present to your boss, and then you may not be able to go to that conference in Florida. Or that if you bypass a conference you might miss out on networking opportunities or new skills for your job. That’s when the choice can feel impossible. Advance your career or celebrate your daughter/best friend?

Well, you’re not alone in this struggle. 80 percent of today’s workforce is deskless. Every working person has tried to balance their professional and personal demands. In this fast-paced society where we’re running all the time, most of us don’t even know what down time is anymore. We need a way to communicate and collaborate easily, no matter where we are, so we can keep up.

Go Mobile, First

Instead of letting the conflict of life versus work take its toll, take this opportunity to put mobility first and find a communications system that enables you to work from anywhere. With the right system, you can stay productive, even while being there for those important to you.

MiCloud Connect focuses on ease of use and was built for the mobile workstyle, empowering users to work more efficiently and productively, no matter their location. Collaborate with others seamlessly by leveraging the power of unified communications, so you can work from your smartphone on a project while on the sidelines of your daughter’s game or while setting up your best friend’s birthday party.

Make Balancing Life And Work Easy

An easy to deploy system with plug-and-play functionality, like MiCloud Connect, is a critical part of your team by managing your move to the cloud. Look for a solution with streamlined features and intuitive interfaces so users can easily interact with each other and not have to focus on making the software work.

Have It All

Get more done faster and with less hassle by looking for a fully-hosted, end-to-end communications solution that blends traditional phone system features like call transferring and extension dialing with instant messaging, conferencing, video and even screen sharing, allowing you to save time, reduce travel and efficiently collaborate. You can stay connected wherever you go with a system designed to increase productivity and bring teams together, like MiCloud Connect.

Beyond standard communications tools, make sure your solution includes a mobile app. With the MiCloud Connect Mobile App, you can view your dashboard for upcoming events, recent activities and join meetings with a single tap. Plus, with cross-launch capabilities to Mitel Teamwork, you are always available for instant messaging and conferencing.

Work isn’t a destination anymore. It happens wherever you happen to be. Today’s modern professional is working from home or while on the go. You have to be able to respond to your colleagues quickly and your business communications should be able to support real-time collaboration, securely. How you work is more important than where you work.

You have the ability to work from anywhere and be even more productive with a collaboration and communication system like MiCloud Connect.

This article was first published by Mitel.

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Great Expectations For Even Greater Customer Experiences

Everywhere you look, businesses are undergoing digital transformations, from virtual storefronts to artificially intelligent shopping assistants—all driven by a desire to improve the customer experience. In fact, in a 2017 Mitel-commissioned global survey of 2,500 IT decision makers, 59 percent of businesses reported being more than halfway through their customer experience improvements.

We wondered if their customers agreed, so we asked 5,000 adults around the world to rate their customer experiences across different industries. The results, captured here in this research paper, present an eye-opening midterm assessment that reveals many businesses still have a long way to go toward improving the buyer’s journey.

Download this white paper now to find out what your customers expect, and whether you’re accomplishing it.

This content was first published by Mitel.


See how 4Sight can help you provide a great customer experience. A seamless, omni-channel experience drives revenue by improving customer loyalty.

If you want to find out how 4Sight can help you redesign your current contact center or to just find out more information, please contact us on + 44 (0)20 3668 0444 or email info@4sightcomms.com.

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How to Build an Effective Emergency Communications Plan

Originally published on syn-apps.com

A strategic and well-tested emergency communications plan is pivotal to helping your staff respond well in a crisis. However, day-to-day responsibilities and distractions often get in the way of this critical business planning, making disasters even more dangerous and expensive and putting staff at undue risk. Build an effective plan now – no matter what else crops up – to ensure you and your team have the right elements in place to respond to the masses.

Critical Elements Of An Emergency Plan

Start with the people involved. In an emergency situation, it’s important to ensure you are communicating to all stakeholders effectively. This includes staff, customers, visitors, members, contractors, the media (depending on the situation) and the general public. What information will you need to communicate to them during a crisis? How will you need to keep them safe or reassured?

Then, look at your facilities and infrastructure. What might happen to your physical environment during specific types of crises? Will your technology infrastructure – both on-site and off-site backups and redundancies – continue to serve you and your stakeholders? What physical and technology tools should you have on hand to communicate effectively?

Finally, consider any compliance or regulatory issues that may come up during a crisis. These will vary based on your location and industry.

Emergency Planning Steps

1. Recruit the appropriate people and form a designated team.
Emergency planning teams should include all major areas of your business, including front-line staff, IT, HR, facilities, risk management and communications. To keep things moving smoothly, limit the meetings to a specific time period that respects everyone’s schedules, while ensuring the emergency plan will benefit from the broadest perspective available.

2. Brainstorm the types of emergencies that could happen.
Run this like a typical brainstorming session. Everyone contributes their ideas and all get captured. From there, prioritize the potential emergencies by their likelihood to happen, the time of year and the potential severity. For example, if you live in an area where floods are more common than earthquakes, go through a flood-related scenario first.

You may already have some processes in place. In this case, assess whether they need to be refreshed before moving on to new, brainstormed ideas. Look at what is working, what you can improve on and which automation or tools would help your team respond better, faster and more appropriately. For example, your communications system may allow you to broadcast alerts from weather-related government organizations to your stakeholders. Integrating those alerts with your emergency notification system enables your organization to automatically share weather alerts with little-to-no intervention from staff.

3. Look at each of the constituent groups and what they need during an emergency.
You may have to send multiple messages about the same event, depending on the crisis and the needs of your stakeholder groups. Ensure your communications plan addresses this and your system makes it easy to manage. For example, if you need to remotely activate notifications during an after-hours emergency, you’ll want to make sure authorized personnel can securely access your notification system both on- and off-site.

Also, check that you’re in compliance with industry regulations and best practices for gathering, storing and broadcasting stakeholders’ email addresses, mobile numbers and other contact information. If your team remotely accesses the emergency notification system, confirm that security for off-site systems matches security for on-site systems. Additionally, make sure your emergency communications systems provide accessible options for users with visual and hearing impairments, keeping you in compliance with standards set by regulatory agencies.

4. Inventory the physical systems to provide service and communication during a crisis.
Examine your existing communications technologies, such as IP and analog systems, beacons, digital signage, messaging services, notification software (hosted or on-site) and any other resources used to communicate in a crisis. Assess whether they are reliable, scalable and effective.

What to consider:

• Can your existing communications technologies provide the right information to your stakeholders in a timely manner?
• Are they scalable to support the number of alerts you need to send without crashing?
• Do they help your organization efficiently save time and effort during emergencies?
• Do your current technologies and procedures provide an effective way to manage simultaneous notifications across single and multiple sites (if necessary)?
• Are you able to alert people located on- and off-site (if necessary)?
• Can you simultaneously activate notifications containing information targeted to different groups?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, read the following section for how to address your communications deficits.

5. Invest in additional systems, as necessary.
Investing in a unified notification solution can help fill the gaps in your emergency communications procedures, whether they stem from system incompatibility, network limitations, lack of scalability and more. For example, Mitel’s next-generation mass notification solution (Mitel Revolution) was built for today’s modern organization to improve network-wide communications, security and emergency responsiveness. With it, organizations can facilitate enterprise-wide communication for virtually any communications need, including real-time and automated notifications for emergency alerts and mass notification.

6. Assess the training level of your staff.
Your team may need training to effectively use your notification systems, especially if you’ve added new equipment and processes or have experienced staff turnover. Your vendor partners should be able to provide helpful resources and organize these training sessions. Also, consider providing periodic refresher training sessions after the initial sessions.

Your team should become familiar with the benefits automated and pre-recorded notifications can provide during stressful situations. As one example, they can take the burden off an already-stressed person by rapidly communicating information that is clear and easy to understand—no shaky, unintelligible audio or confusion about what to say during a live emergency broadcast.

7. Run through a sample of the crisis scenarios as a group to test your planned response.
Make sure you’re covering internal and external communication, physical needs, technology needs, the potential for injury to people and damage to structures―and what needs to happen in each scenario.

Use a spreadsheet to ensure you’re covering all potential needs for every possible crisis. Many columns may simply be marked “not applicable” during the discussion, but it is better to be thorough than miss a critical tool or resource your stakeholders need.

8. Do a physical test of one or more critical emergencies.
A physical test or drill allows for team members to act as if the crisis is actually happening. Include all team communications methods and physical systems in this test to make sure everyone knows how to use vital tools when needed. Inform staff about the test and what their role will be.

When testing during normal work hours, keep it confined to a small group or location to protect vital services. If you need to coordinate across multiple locations, consider running a larger test after hours to ensure systems and processes work across remote locations.

Follow Up After Your Test

Here are some questions to ask after your physical tests and drills:

1. Did we follow the plan?
2. If not, why did we deviate? Was it a failure in following procedure, or do we need to alter procedure?
3. Were enough team members trained to provide physical and emotional support (e.g., enough CPR-certified staff in each location, enough IT support, etc.)?
4. Did our physical resources meet our needs (e.g., emergency and first aid kits, IT backups, pre-formatted closure signs, communications infrastructure)?
5. Do we need further training from any of our system vendors, management or local emergency responders to align emergency procedures with our tools and resources?
6. How often should we conduct tests, and how many staff members should we include?

Conduct Periodic Reviews

After you’ve completed your full emergency communications plan, continue to keep the document alive. As you add new tools and systems, you will need to revise your plan. New locations, stakeholder groups and regulatory requirements will also necessitate revision.

Set a time period during which you’ll review your emergency plan, re-test if needed and disseminate revisions. This time may be covered by an industry regulation or best practice. If not, consider doing a full review annually.

The goal of an emergency communications plan is to provide solid guidelines and ongoing practice to ensure staff can confidently respond during a crisis. The steps outlined here will help you make sure your team is ready—no matter what life throws your way.

This article was first published by Mitel.

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8 Top VoIP Trends You Need to Know In 2020

If you’ve been thinking about replacing your business phone system, it’s worth brushing up on the latest VoIP trends. Even if you’re not, things are changing rapidly enough that your competitors may be getting an edge by taking advantage of the latest advancements in VoIP and VoIP-related technology.

Business communications and collaboration has been undergoing a huge transformation recently. According to Harvard Business Review, Telecom is the #2 industry undergoing digital transformation.

What does this mean for you? That depends on your business. We’ve assembled the latest VoIP trends below so you can assess which ones give you the most opportunity to make an impact with your technology choices.

1. Increased VoIP Security & Compliance Demands

As hosted and cloud VoIP gain wider acceptance, companies are demanding more security out of their VoIP solutions. Hosted VoIP is not just a curiosity anymore. It’s no longer the exclusive domain of startups and businesses willing to take risks. Serious businesses are relying on hosted VoIP to carry vital communications and sensitive information.

Leading hosted VoIP providers are responding by ensuring higher levels of security to keep customers’ data and communications safe, away from the prying eyes of hackers. At Mitel, we’ve done this in part by hosting our flagship cloud VoIP communications system on Google Cloud Platform. It means our customers get the resources of one of the world’s largest tech companies to help keep their hosted communications safe.

In fact, it’s not just general security that’s getting attention in the hosted VoIP sector lately. Companies in highly regulated industries like healthcare are interested in the advantages hosted VoIP can provide—demanding greater security and compliance from providers who want to serve them. This is especially true in smaller healthcare organizations like doctor’s offices, dentists, clinics and specialists.

We’re glad that some hosted VoIP phone systems like MiCloud Connect have been updated in a way that’s brought their security standards up to the requirements of the likes of HIPAA and SOC2 compliance—ultimately giving customer a choice they didn’t have before.

2. Accelerated Adoption Of Hosted VoIP

Analysts have been predicting a steady rise in hosted VoIP for years, but recently adoption is increasing at a faster rate than analysts previously expected.

What does this mean? Essentially, better choices for you. Since leading hosted VoIP providers have lots or resources due to customer growth, they can invest in more robust, reliable, inventive hosted VoIP phone systems and the applications that go along with them. Or they can invest in an improved user experience. Or better support. The list goes on.

3. VoIP System Value Vs Lowest Price

It’s easy for any technology provider to claim it offers a price advantage. But as hosted VoIP becomes more ubiquitous and product/service offerings become more mature, fewer companies are focused on simply procuring the cheapest option. More companies are looking to get good value for the money as the shortcomings of budget systems rear their heads.

Cheap VoIP phone systems are typically just that—cheap. They’re designed to minimize costs, so cheap providers can’t spend time developing and delivering quality products and services. They typically have minimal features, clunky interfaces, poor customer support and little-to-nothing in the way of integrations with business-critical third-party applications, like Salesforce or Google Office apps.

You may get a pat on the back for saving the company money when you first sign a contract with a cheap VoIP supplier, but you’ll be dodging angry looks a few months in, when nobody can get work done because they’re using a glitchy, sub-par system.

That’s why more and more companies are looking for a good value in their VoIP system—that is to say that they feel like they’re getting a lot for the price they pay.

That can include things like reliability, features, security, service, ease of use and more. Even though you won’t see it on a lot of feature lists, something as simple as time saved and hassle avoided can be major factors in customer satisfaction and how a company intuitively calculates the value they get from their phone system. Smart companies don’t let price be the only decision factor.

4. Proliferation & Consolidation Of VoIP Providers

As the barrier to entry drops, small VoIP providers are popping up everywhere. However, this element of choice doesn’t necessarily help customers, as most of those offerings are ubiquitous and undifferentiated.

On the mid-large side of providers, vendors are consolidating, putting market power behind their innovations. This is typically where you’ll see more unique features, packages and complete offerings. At Mitel, for example, we’re able to put more effort and resources into making our flagship hosted VoIP system easy to use, simple to manage and smooth to implement compared to a new startup VoIP company that may be struggling just to build basic functionality.

What can you do about all this choice? The main thing you can do is research your options. VoIP providers that customers love typically earn a number of awards from respected analysts who have tested and judged their services against their main competitors.

Finally, going with a smaller VoIP provider during this time of industry consolidation means that there’s a good chance they’ll be acquired by a larger provider. That’s not necessarily the end of the world, but it does mean that things you liked about that smaller provider may change once they’re acquired, and you may still be under contract. Mitel is the #1 cloud provider worldwide and the #2 UCaaS (aka, hosted cloud VoIP) provider worldwide, so it’s a pretty safe bet the parts of our hosted VoIP you love the most will remain for a long time (while we continue to make enhancements, of course).

5. VoIP Playing A Bigger Role In Customer Contact & Customer Experience

Hosted VoIP started out primarily as a tool for companies to communicate internally, but as offerings become more sophisticated and niched-out, and as focus on delivering great customer experience rises, hosted VoIP is pushing into this space.

Here are a few examples from iPerceptions:

  • 67 percent of customers say they’ll pay more for a great experience
  • 57 percent of customers have stopped buying from a company because one of their competitors provided a better experience
  • 71 percent of people recommend a product or service because they received a “great experience”

Call center and customer experience platforms started out separate from companies’ hosted VoIP systems. But to take advantage of full customer/prospect lifecycle data and create experiences that are as frictionless as possible, the two have become much more integrated.

Hosted VoIP today, in fact, is often being packaged up into a single omni-channel solution that also handles the diverse channels customers use to communicate with companies and organizations like yours.

Regardless of the customer experience platform you ultimately choose, it’s useful to think about how it integrates (or doesn’t) into your hosted VoIP system—because lots of companies are squeezing competitive advantages out of the right combination of technology.

6. Adoption Is Growing Among Mid-To-Larger Companies

Hosted VoIP really got its foothold with small business, and for good reason—they typically don’t have a ton of expensive legacy systems to rip and replace and they typically have fewer business-critical systems that have to integrate seamlessly with their phone systems. This allowed for relatively simple systems without a lot of bells and whistles, or options, to proliferate.

However, as the core functionality becomes more commoditized and undifferentiated, and as even these same small businesses become more sophisticated, some hosted VoIP companies are offering more in order to attract additional kinds of customers.

Offering more features and integrations to align with more advanced needs. Offering multiple tiers of service. Mitel even offers mixing and matching of service tiers, which most competitors don’t – so you don’t have to pay for features you don’t need for every user. Providers are also bringing different kinds of functions into the hosted VoIP ecosystem, like collaboration and call center / contact center functionality.

Which leads us to our next trend.

7. More Levels Of Service & Customization

One-size-fits-all simply doesn’t work for hosted VoIP anymore. Larger companies are moving to hosted VoIP. Companies with more complex needs are moving to hosted VoIP. Even small companies can have users ranging from expert power users who rely on advanced VoIP functionality every day to rare users who need things as simple as possible.

That’s why some VoIP providers like Mitel are offering multiple services or plan levels so that companies can get what they need at a price that makes sense. At Mitel, we have a basic plan that keeps costs and features simple. We have a standard plan that keeps things affordable while giving users more capabilities. We have a premium plan with plenty of bells and whistles.

In fact, unlike most hosted VoIP vendors, we even let you mix and match plans on a per user basis so that you’re not paying for premium functionality for a user who only has basic VoIP needs.

Check out our hosted VoIP plans and pricing here >

For enterprises and companies who need next-level sophistication in their cloud communications systems, we even have a whole other level of offering. That way, everyone can find what they need without compromising.

8. Companies Are Coming At VoIP From All Different Directions

Acquisitions, mergers and partnerships are popping up everywhere as companies try to combine VoIP and related collaboration and customer experience technologies to give their customers a single unified experience across channels.

Videoconferencing companies are trying to buy hosted VoIP providers, collaboration-only companies are integrating with phone system vendors, and hosted VoIP providers are partnering with contact center companies.

What does this mean for you?

In the long term, it means that all the different facets of communications and collaboration technology should become less fragmented and better integrated over time, making this kind of technology purchase simpler down the road.

In the short term, it will probably pay off to choose a company who has already integrated many of these technologies under one roof and has deep integrations with any third-party partners to avoid disconnects. Of course, we’re a little biased, but Mitel fits the bill.

Want to see how our all-in-one hosted VoIP phone, collaboration and contact center solution works? See the demo >

Which of These VoIP Trends Can Mitel Help With?

Essentially, all of the above. There are plenty of companies out there publishing posts about shiny VoIP trends they have no way of helping you with. But we know you need to make an impact now—not in five or ten years. So decided to focus this post on trends you can action now, or in the very near future.

How? We have a great range of VoIP phone systems available for different needs, including our flagship hosted VoIP system, MiCloud Connect and our sophisticated private cloud VoIP system, MiCloud Flex. You can also extend and expand capabilities with our hosted VoIP collaboration tools and hosted VoIP customer experience solutions.

This article was first published by Mitel.

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5 Questions to Ask Your Vendor About Secure Communications

Are your communications secure?

Secure communications can protect your business from the damage and destruction of a data breach. And it’s not just for healthcare providers – even daily office emails and phone calls can contain confidential information that matters to your customers.

A business that fails to secure its communications is in danger of losing consumer confidence, meaning customers, and future customers, won’t be likely to trust that business.

To ensure secure communications, look for a communications system that can protect the data shared within your business and beyond. Here are a few questions you can ask your vendor to ensure you’re getting the best security:

1. What Infrastructure Is Your System Hosted On?

A strong cloud communications provider will be leveraging a best-in class infrastructure to ensure the highest level of security. This saves you time and resources that can be focused on performance and innovation rather than management and maintenance. Look for a secure communications software system, like MiCloud Connect Built on Google Cloud, to integrate with the programs you already use.

2. Can Your Communications Software Handle Mobile Securely?

Working on the go is a growing norm, meaning mobility is even more important for a communications system. However, a mobile system doesn’t always mean it’s secure. Ensure you can take your system on the go to keep working while away from the office, without sacrificing your in-office functionality and security.

3. Is Your Communications Software Certified HIPAA-Compliant?

Certified HIPAA and SOC 2 compliant software guarantees that your data is encrypted in transit and at rest, with anti-virus protection and security protocols that adhere to the most stringent data compliance standards. In creating MiCloud Connect, we worked with third-party auditors to meet regulatory compliance requirements and passed strict safeguard and confidentiality tests to ensure the privacy and safety of your information.

4. How Do You Monitor Your System?

Your cloud communications provider should have a Network Operations Center, a location that continually monitors a telecommunications network, all day, everyday. Do they support it in-house or out-source? What tools and analytics are they leveraging to stay ahead? Top providers are predictive and proactive, not reactive.

5. How Do I Get Informed Of Any Issues?

No system is perfect, issues can pop up, but if they do occur with your communications system, you need to know about it quickly. Transparency is everything. Is your provider proactive in their own communications? How do they alert you when problems arise? Is there a public site where you can stay up to date about any issues and their solutions?

In all, you want to look for a communications system that’s built for security, like MiCloud Connect Built on Google Cloud. Because it’s built on Google Cloud, MiCloud Connect features the security, reliability and scalability of Google Cloud, with the intuitive user experience and flexible service of a top-notch Business VoIP system.

Take advantage of Google Cloud’s industry-leading system to deliver the uptime and compliance on which you can depend. Your communications system will be secure and easy to use with MiCloud Connect, a trusted remedy to meet the needs of any highly regulated industry with specific privacy or security requirements.

Whether you’re in health care, finance, education or just interested in an additional level of security, look for a communications system that keeps your customer and sensitive data secure. And make sure you can connect to sensitive client information from anywhere, while ensuring your client’s privacy needs are met.

This article was first published by Mitel.

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What is Call Center Average Wait Time and 3 Ways to Reduce It

“Your Call Is Important To Us”

When your customers hear that, do they really believe it?  The longer you make them wait, the less important they feel. Knowing how long it takes to answer customer calls can help you answer that question, and Average Wait Time has become a contact center key performance indicator for just that reason. But just what is Average Wait Time, and what are some of the ways you can reduce it to help ensure that customer calls are being answered quickly and effectively?

What Is Call Center Average Wait Time?

Definition: Average Wait Time (AWT), also known as Average Speed of Answer (ASA), is the average time an inbound call spends waiting in queue or waiting for a callback if that feature is active in your IVR system. This differs from Average Handle Time, or AHT, which is the average time an agent takes to complete a call or customer interaction. AWT can be measured globally across the contact center, by queue, skillset, agent group, agent or phone number. The traditional call center industry standard service level is 80/20, or 80% of calls answered within 20 seconds, but there are a few reasons why this might not always be an optimal number.

“Acceptable Waiting Time And Customer Satisfaction”

In 2014, a study by American Express found that the maximum amount of time callers were willing to wait was a whopping 13 minutes. A similar study just three years later by Arise found that while around two-thirds of consumers would accept hold times of less than two minutes, 13% said that no hold times at all were acceptable. What’s more, about 34% or one-third of callers hang up and never call back if their call is not answered quickly. This is also known as Abandonment Rate, another important call center metric.

This data shows a rapidly increasing trend toward customer expectations of service that is very fast if not instantaneous. In the age of e-commerce and social media, where consumers are used to having real-time service at their fingertips, it’s important that the call center keeps up with that demand.

3 Ways to Reduce Average Wait Time

AWT is a key indicator of the health of your contact center, giving you a big-picture number that speaks to IVR optimization, agent performance and more. Addressing any of those factors can help reduce AWT and abandoned calls, but sometimes the answer isn’t as simple as just getting your numbers down. Here are a few general tips that can help any company reduce long hold times:

1. Optimize Your Contact Center Call Queue

People often report having a frustrating customer experience with ineffective IVR which might give them confusing option trees, route their call to the wrong places, or misread their inputs. Test your IVR to make sure your callers can get through quickly to the right department, minimizing the amount of time they spend waiting for call center agents who may end up having to transfer the call anyway.

2. Change Up Your Workforce Management Strategy

Agents who can handle their calls faster and more efficiently can better resolve their callers’ needs, leading to higher rates of first call resolution and customer satisfaction. Additionally, if call center representatives are empowered to monitor their own number of calls in queue, they can be incentivized to reduce call times when queues are above a certain threshold. Of course, if you feel that your contact center’s quality management is already as good as it can be, it might be time to hire more staff.

3. Relax Your Call Center Service Level

Sometimes the key to improving customer experience is not actually reducing average wait time, but providing a superior experience to fully answer questions and not hurry the call. If your contact center metrics show that you can relax service level from 80/20 to, say, 80/30, 80/60 or more with negligible impact on abandonment rate, then there might be other factors your customers are interested in than less waiting time. Studies show that 75% of consumers are willing to spend more money with a company that provides positive customer service, and callers expect their customer service representative to be friendly, knowledgeable and effective, as well as fast.

Improving AWT In Your Contact Center

Reducing average wait time for your callers is just as important to customer satisfaction as the amount of time it takes for agents to resolve their needs. Whether that means optimizing your IVR system and ACD, hiring more representatives or giving them additional training to work through queues faster, there are as many techniques available as there are metrics to assess their success.

This article was first published by Mitel.

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The Ultimate Chat Toolkit to Maximise Your Contact Centre Efficiency

A simple chat box isn’t enough to compete in the contact centres of 2020. The fact is, like any good contact centre system, the effectiveness of a chat solution is often determined by how it works with your existing systems and the functionality it can offer agents to allow them to do their jobs to the highest standard.

Here are five features of the Talkative solution which are designed to maximise your contact centre efficiency, and support your team members to help them vastly improve the service they can provide to your customers.

1. Mitel Contact Centre Integration

The purpose of chat is to make customer service faster and more efficient- that’s why it was invented and its ability to achieve that is why it has become such a popular contact channel. But chat is only one channel out of a whole contact centre system, and for it to work effectively it has to be well integrated and have expertly design functionality which allows agents and supervisors to manage their workflows seamlessly. It’s no good having chat interactions coming through if they are separated from your Mitel Contact Centre for your phone calls and emails.

With Talkative’s integrated chat piece, agents have the ability to swap from calls to chats to emails through a single pane of glass. In addition to that, customer service teams are also making use of more advanced features and functionality to elevate their customer experience and improve their overall efficiency. Chat interactions can be escalated to a voice, video or cobrowse session at the click of a button, securely, and all escalations are logged and recorded in the same place.

2. Customer journey mapping

A great feature to work alongside your chat solution is customer journey mapping. This gives agents an overview of the customer’s website journey during their current session, and the agents can see which pages on your website they have visited and how long they have spent on them. This helps to contextualise your customer services, sales, and general enquiries, and allows your agents to offer more tailored and helpful advice.

Agents can see what web pages the customer has visited during historic sessions too. If the customer is a returning visitor, their previous journeys are stored on the system and can be retrieved quickly and easily.

Customer journey mapping is also great for digital marketing teams, too. Talkative’s solution can be integrated with Google Analytics, and chat interactions can be set up as events. By correlating the customer journey maps with chat events and type of enquiry (which can all be found within the system) you can determine which pages are generating the most chats, highlighting pages which may be confusing to customers. On the other hand, this could also highlight your most effective landing pages for conversions and lead generation.

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3. Real-Time Language translation

One of the key benefits of having live chat as a customer contact channel is its accessibility. Live chat enables instant response and support for customers regardless of their geographic location, completely free of charge. Often, companies can support a 24/7 live chat on their website, through outsourced fulfilment or with their own contact centre shifts.

Of course, many customers may not speak English confidently or as a first language, but their needs as a customer must be met regardless. In the past, customer service teams would hire specialised agents with the ability to speak multiple languages. This is where real-time language translation comes in.

Talkative’s live chat solution offers translation into 21 languages in real-time by leveraging Google Translate. This allows both the customer and the agent to type in their native languages and have a fluid, frictionless conversation without the need for additional 3rd party tools or specialised team members.

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4. Supervisor dashboards

A strong dashboard with key metrics and analytics is vital to understand the effectiveness of your contact centre. With Talkative Engage platform, supervisors are able to see and manage agent workflow from a centralised dashboard. This allows supervisors to view their agent’s activity and queues in real-time, to gain a better understanding of their team’s efficiencies. If Talkative has been integrated with Mitel Ignite, it can also give insight into the teams performance across different channels, such as chat, calls and email.

Account holders and supervisors can view current users, if they are online or not, how long they have been online or offline for, and how many interactions they are dealing with at that moment. They can see the interactions that are active, waiting or recently ended in real time, so they can monitor how agents are doing.

They have data which shows the amounts of interactions, which is split per user, so you can see how many interactions the user has handled in that date, and their feedback rate, it also shows an overall count of interactions, and if they were abandoned, waiting or handled, as well as the feedback rate. For example, which agents have the most positive or negative feedback, which is good to understand for agent training ongoing development.

5. Complete call and chat logs

Managing your interactions is all well and good, but having a complete log of all chats and calls within the system is essential if you want to be compliant. When looking for a chat solution, it’s important to consider how your interactions will be stored, and for how long. With Talkative, chats are stored within the system for 30 days, or longer if you need, and are exportable.

Another benefit of having interactions logs within the system is that agents have access to previous records, fast. When handling a complaint, for example, this means that the agent can easily see the history of the customers’ interactions, which makes it easier for agents to contextualise their complaint and offer a more helpful service.

To find out more about Talkative and how their solutions can benefit your Mitel Contact Centre, speak to your account manager today.

 

This article was first published by Talkative.

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