11 January 2018

Why do you need omnichannel agents?

Written by Christopher Liko, Posted in Unified Communications, Contact Center

Nearly every contact center uses more than one channel to provide services to customers.

Many modern contact centers even deliver services through three or more channels. If you aren’t delivering services on the channels that your customers use the most, you are missing opportunities to connect with them on a daily basis. The contact center provides organizations with the ability to unify customer experience across channels, but how can you ensure that your agents are also providing a unified experience?

Omnichannel agents

Enabling your agents to use all contact center channels is the key to unifying customer experience. Providing your agents with the ability to use all contact channels ensures that customers receive the same experience regardless of what channel they are using. Many customers use multiple channels to interact with organizations, so having the ability to obtain the same information and the same level of service across channels is crucial.

Omnichannel efficiency

Enabling agents for all contact channels means a significant increase in efficiency. Having agents handling multiple contact types means that no agent sits idle when the volume for a specific channel is low. If the contact center is not receiving many emails, this means that the agent can still handle voice calls while volumes are low. This means less idle time for agents, shorter wait times for customers, and a unification of contact channels.

Getting up to speed

Many contact centers have agents that handle specific contact channels, but are not trained to handle other types. For example, a voice agent may not be trained for social media interactions, or an IM agent may not be trained to handle voice calls. This training barrier can present a major issue in contact centers that handle a number of contact types.

ice Contact Center helps organizations overcome this. ice handles voice calls, emails and IMs in the same format they are received in. However, all other contact types take advantage of these three channels for agent handling purposes. For example, social media messages are handled by agents as IMs, as are SMS messages. Social media posts are handled by agents as emails. Any contact type in ice is handled as voice, IM or email. This provides a unique opportunity to organizations, as they can train omnichannel agents, simply by training them on three contact types.

To learn more about maximizing your organization’s efficiency by leveraging omnichannel agents, request a demo here: ice contact center demo.

11 December 2017

IoT: Smart Homes and the Contact Center

Written by Christopher Liko, Posted in Unified Communications, Contact Center, Technology

It’s no secret that the world’s biggest companies want their smart devices in every household, worldwide. With the release of the Amazon Echo, Google Home and the upcoming Apple HomePod, it will soon be as normal to have a smart speaker in your home as it is to have a smartphone in your pocket. Consumers and businesses alike can benefit from the use of these devices, but how does a business effectively integrate smart speakers into their business processes?

IoT in the Contact Center

We have known for some time that IoT is shaking up the role of the contact center.

Contact centers are adapting their operations to accommodate smart homes, smart cities and smart buildings. IoT nodes offer powerful data sources, and the interconnected nature of these devices provides a large-scale, holistic view of IoT networks. Feeding these data sources into contact centers gives businesses a unique opportunity to optimize their operations and report on key systems. Now, as consumer IoT devices become ubiquitous, a new opportunity arises for businesses.

02 August 2017

Embedding communications in mobile applications

Written by Christopher Liko, Posted in Unified Communications, Contact Center

Think about how much time you spend on mobile devices through the day. For many people, the answer is “a lot,” but the actual number might be more than you think. One study showed that the average U.S. consumer spends 5 hours per day on mobile devices1. Because of this, the mobile experience is becoming increasingly natural to consumers, with mobile apps dominating their focus. In fact, 92% of users’ time on mobile is spent within apps1. Consumers are so familiar with their mobile devices that switching to another platform feels unnatural- even having to switch to a mobile browser is an unusual experience, as mobile browsers only occupy 8% of mobile activity1.

As consumers use mobile devices more frequently, they expect to be able to do everything on mobile that can be done on desktop devices. While smartphone ownership experiences a massive uptick, desktop/laptop device ownership is beginning to slow2. With this shift, businesses need to be focused on mobile to provide an optimal customer experience. What does it mean to be mobile-focused? The answer is not so simple. Below, we will outline the three stages of mobile integration. The depth of this integration often corresponds with your customers’ adoption of your mobile application.

28 March 2017

Making sense of the upheaval in the UC market

Written by Christopher Liko, Posted in Unified Communications, Contact Center

As recent events have shown, there is no question that the UC market is in the midst of a rapid transformation. The market’s landscape is changing, as big players exit stage right, and new names come to the forefront. Clearly, the biggest news in the industry is Avaya’s chapter 11 bankruptcy declaration. Don’t forget that only two months before that, Genesys acquired Interactive Intelligence. This same Interactive Intelligence had seen a $41 million decrease in economic earnings over the previous 5 years after moving to the cloud. (Forbes) Earlier in the same year, Aspect Software also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, emerging quickly and repositioning itself in the market as part of the process. 

Despite this apparent turmoil for some of the longest-standing companies in the industry, the cloud contact center market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 22.9% by 2022.

So where is this growth coming from? We know that many of the largest players are struggling to maintain pace in the growing cloud sector of the market. 

27 February 2017

Amazon Chime vs Microsoft Skype for Business

Written by Christopher Liko, Posted in Unified Communications

How does Amazon Chime stack up? Chime vs. Skype for Business comparison.

The Challenger

On February 13, Amazon released a new unified communications service named Chime. This product has been in the works since Amazon's purchase of Biba, a meeting solution provider, in late 2016. Chime is hosted on Amazon Web Services, and has been framed as an attempt to compete with Microsoft's Skype for Business. Is Amazon's product truly a competitor? Will we remember this product as the Skype-killer, or will Chime be met with resounding silence? Here is how the two products stack up on the most important 5 metrics:

06 February 2017

Providers in turmoil: futureproofing your contact center

Written by Christopher Liko, Posted in Unified Communications, Contact Center

The technology world is evolving too fast for some companies to keep pace. Contact center solution providers are no exception in this. As companies file for bankruptcy or merge, it becomes apparent who will innovate and who will be left behind. Customers are left wondering if their contact center will be supported next year, next month, or even tomorrow.

A contact center investment is crucial to any business. The worst outcomes are that this key investment reaches end-of-life or end-of-support. Luckily for customers, there are alternatives: a select few solutions are capable of performing a fast, effortless upgrade to a futureproof contact center. With this in mind, let's look at what to avoid and what to look for in a solution provider:

  1. PBX Agnostic Solution: Some organizations cannot upgrade all components of a PBX solution at once, yet some contact center providers don't offer options to integrate with other PBXs. To prevent service interruptions, contact centers require full functionality during the upgrade process. It is crucial to work with a provider offering PBX agnostic compatibility with your current solution, to upgrade one piece at a time.

  2. Innovation: Does your contact center offer social media integration? Does the solution offer hybrid cloud/premises capabilities? What new technologies does your provider enable you to leverage? If the answer to any of these questions is no, the solution is not future-proof. These concepts are here to stay, and you need a provider that offers them now, not as roadmap items.

  3. Homegrown Solution: As companies purchase smaller providers and attempt to integrate multiple solutions, it has become clear that this approach simply doesn't work. Rather than a multi-functional product, it results in independent products masquerading as a unified solution. Find a provider with a homegrown solution to ensure that your products are seamlessly compatible.

  4. Preparation for the Future: Many contact centers cannot upgrade overnight, in 6 months or even in a year. If your supplier won't be around next year, neither will the upgrade. Look for a provider that can see an upgrade through to fruition- at your pace, not theirs.

One final question remains: how does one find a contact center provider with these capabilities? You've come to the right place! ComputerTalk does it all and more- our solutions are endlessly configurable to suit your needs. Contact us today and see how we can help you futureproof your contact center.