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Contact Center Challenges and Priorities for 2021: A Year Like No Other

It’s our sixth year of asking two simple questions of contact center professionals: What are your biggest challenges today? What are your top priorities for the new year? If you are a fan of this series, you may remember 2020 was going to be “The Year of the Agent”! I innocently looked forward to “a […]

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COVID-19 Consumer Behavior and Fraud Shifts Continue to Challenge Contact Center Agents

COVID-19 brought numerous unexpected changes to consumer behavior that, ultimately, have had a ripple effect throughout every organization. Millions of Americans, many for the first time, were forced to rely on digital services as in-person transactions became unavailable. Ninety-three million Americans signed up for online services that were once carried out in person, and 75% […]

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Unexpected Lessons from the 2020 Contact Center

About a year ago, I tried something that we would all agree now was a bit foolish: predict what the 2020 contact center would look like. Before the COVID-19 pandemic sent agents home on a massive scale, before economic disruption reinforced the need for consistent, digitally enabled customer experiences (CX), I outlined several ongoing trends […]

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Top Seven Call Center Software Requirements for the “Now Normal”

2020 was already showing signs of being a transformative year for the call center industry—with growing interest in “all things cloud” due to the benefits of an OpEx model, zero-touch roadmap upgrades, and the beginning rumblings of moving away from the traditional brick-and-mortar facility to save on capital expenses and attract talent from a wider […]

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Equipping the Enterprise for the AI-Powered Human Agent Era

From 1990 to 2010, some 4,400 children in the United States 17 years of age and younger made trips to the emergency room annually for the treatment of injuries resulting from amusement park rides. What does this have to do with contact center agents, you ask? I think many would agree that working in the […]

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Speech Analytics and Modernizing Agent Performance Measurement with the Customer in Mind

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles on analytics trends and technologies by Scott Bakken, CEO of MainTrax, a speech analytics professional services company. Scott is a highly respected industry thought leader and a regular contributor to Contact Center Pipeline. In his role at MainTrax, Scott is continuously learning about leading-edge […]

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Seven Ways Next-Gen Knowledge Management Is Helping Organizations Respond at the Pace of Change

Since the onset of the COVID pandemic, customers have found themselves in completely different circumstances, and support organizations have had to field new requests and new questions—often unprecedented and even unimaginable. How support organizations react and respond is paramount to ensure delivery of a winning customer experience but also to keep employees engaged during chaotic […]

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What to Do After Migrating Your Contact Center to the Cloud

This year, we’ve seen much of the workforce shift to remote work as companies adapted to operating during a global pandemic. With this transition, businesses turned to digital technologies powered by the cloud to support their contact center operations. In addition, some organizations have taken it one step further by transitioning their contact center operations […]

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Evolving Challenges Require Evolving Solutions

Many articles written toward the tail end of 2019 pegged 2020 as a year of big change for the contact center industry. Predictions from a variety of industry experts included more adoption of digital interaction tools, greater automation of interaction evaluations and the growing importance of agent engagement and satisfaction. We couldn’t possibly have known […]

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The New World for Contact Centers May Be Where We Were Already Headed

So far, 2020 has been nothing short of challenging for businesses. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, we all scrambled to adjust to the new state of the world. Virtually overnight, hundreds of thousands of agents transitioned to working remotely and the approach, management and infrastructure of contact centers were completely restructured. In the […]

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Buyer’s Guide to Contact Center Technology: Scope and Sourcing

SCOPE: Unified Communications or Not? Often, buyers need to replace an aging PBX that also provides their contact center technology—perhaps from Avaya, Cisco or Mitel. Or, the company will keep the enterprise telephony platform but opt for a new contact center technology platform, often cloud-based. That all seems straightforward. Now, broaden the view from “phone […]

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How Intelligent Virtual Assistants Are Leading the Transition to the Intelligent Enterprise

Intelligent virtual assistants (IVAs) have proven themselves to automate the handling of customer and employee requests and tasks. They are quickly becoming a fixture in the organization’s customer service workforce, becoming the “MVP” of the customer care team. But IVAs aren’t content to rest on their laurels; increasingly, they are being directed to serve an […]

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Buyer’s Guide to Cloud Solutions

This article is a buyer’s guide to help you in the selection and procurement process for a cloud solution, as well as active vendor management. The point is not to develop a big RFP and have a drawn-out evaluation process. (You can read my views about that elsewhere—the gist of which is, don’t do it!) […]

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Cloud-Based Communication Tools Key to Maintaining Contact Center Operations

When workforce operations are disrupted, the results can have a serious impact on your business. This is especially true if your customer service operations are interrupted. With customer service as one of the top areas driving customer satisfaction, continuing to serve customers in a timely, convenient manner is of the utmost importance. Delivering top-notch service […]

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Analytics-Infused Training: How to Nurture Agent Growth and Customer Happiness

Contact centers are complex and unique businesses. Some are five agents strong while others employ thousands. And while each contact center has its own business strategy and objectives, one common goal spans the industry: keeping customers happy. In a service-based economy, positive customer interaction is more important than ever. According to a Blackhawk Network study, […]

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Knowledge Management: Four Selection Criteria to Increase Customer Lifetime Value

Knowledge management (KM) has become an important part of a contact center’s tech stack. In fact, according to Contact Center Pipeline’s 2020 contact center trends survey, of the top 20 challenges, “lack of, or bad desktop tools” (KM being one) ranked second. In that same survey, of the top 20 priorities, “improving knowledge access” ranked […]

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Want to Improve Employee Engagement? Technology Can Help!

It is no surprise that “Improve employee engagement and empowerment” was the top priority in our “2019 Challenges and Priorities” survey. Attrition, often a by-product of low engagement, is always among the top challenges. (I can’t wait to see what we find in the soon to be released 2020 update!) On the surface, engagement doesn’t […]

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Use Agent Voice DNA to Improve Contact Center Hiring Results

Providing a good customer service experience is more important than ever. One bad experience over the phone can lead to bad reviews, criticism on social media, and—the worst scenario—loss of business. Research from Accenture found that 68% of customers have switched providers because of bad customer service, which means that people are looking at their […]

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How AI Can Make the Holidays Bright

The winter holidays aren’t always “the most wonderful time of the year” for the contact center. Time-off requests and spikes in call volume, especially in the retail industry, can bring forecasting and scheduling headaches that rival those induced by too much eggnog at the office party. New technologies powered by artificial intelligence (AI) can change […]

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The Gig Economy Effect: Addressing New Expectations and Requirements for Contact Centers

Managing the contact center for maximum effectiveness has taken on a whole new level of importance as today’s agents are signing up for a very different social contract than what has been in place over the past decade when they predominantly worked traditional 8- to 10-hour shifts. Today, it’s not unheard of for agents to […]

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What, Exactly, Makes for Great CX?

We talk a lot about delivering an exceptional customer experience (CX), but the talk focuses on how to deliver it. “Improve first-call resolution,” or “Capture customer feedback.” In the confusion of how words such as omnichannel and digital transformation, we may overlook the end goal—the what we’re trying to achieve. If you’re over 40, you […]

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Important Trends in Workforce Management Technology

At Pelorus Associates, we have studied the workforce management (WFM) space for over a decade. Our biannual reports delve deeply into the size, composition, market shares, trends, drivers and obstacles. The reports are quantitative and qualitative. We examine 30 significant trends that impact the direction of management practices and WFM technology. Reports include over 50 […]

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The New CX Imperative: Serving the Values-Based Consumer with a Heaping Helping of Digital Empathy

There’s a lot of talk about the values-based consumer today—the preference for brands that do business in ethically positive ways or take a stand on moral issues. Winning over these consumers takes more than launching a Save-the-Whales drive or sending a team to the annual charity 5k. Today’s consumers look for companies that demonstrate exemplary […]

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AI and KM: From Knowledge Management to Knowledge Automation

When customers have questions for companies they do business with, they might get a set of FAQs to plow through. They might get an “I’ll get back to you” from a contact center agent. Or they might get a specific answer the first time around from the agent or self-service system. Such precision is the […]

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Accomplishing Call Center Transformation with Unified Communications Softphones

The contact center industry is seeing a growing need to improve operational efficiencies, enable increased flexibility and agent versatility, and deliver vastly enhanced customer experiences. As such, contact center execs are asking themselves, “Can we meet these goals with the communications solution we already have in place?” Moving to the Cloud— When, Not If With […]

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Transform Your CX from Good to Great by Treating Your Agents Right

Sitting on the front lines of the contact center, agents are the personification of your brand. They provide the human-to-human connection that makes lasting impressions and supports more engaging customer experiences (CX). But, while CX continues to play an outsized role as a competitive differentiator, best-in-class contact centers are increasingly replicating the same type of […]

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Why Online Scripting Is So Important to Your Call Center Success

Here is why: You can prompt them to ask the right questions on every call. They can capture all the required data fields online in the right format with data validation of each field. Complex branching based on customer responses can be built into the script to ensure the reps follow the right call flow. […]

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Things I Wish Someone Would Invent

As a kid, I enjoyed leafing through my dad’s copies of Popular Mechanics. One of my favorite columns was entitled, “Things I Wish Someone Would Invent.” This always included some outlandish ideas, but occasionally readers suggested simple ideas that solved real problems. Any of you who have watched “Shark Tank” probably also have been taken […]

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Boost ROI by Enhancing Agent Performance

An inbound customer service call center generated a 1,000% ROI in just four months of work. An outbound telesales call center doubled sales of a key product in just two months. These are just two examples of companies that generated significant ROI by changing focus and investing in their managers and staff. Calculating ROI for […]

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The Contact Center Trends to Watch Out for in 2020

When invited to compile this list of customer service trends for 2020, naturally the first thing I did was look back at all of the predictions made the previous year. The influence of AI in the contact center was strongly touted, but in 2020 (after a number of false starts), artificial intelligence will finally start […]