11 December 2017

IoT: Smart Homes and the Contact Center

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

06 November 2017

ice Mobile SDK: The Mobile Customer Journey

Written by Christopher Liko, Posted in Contact Center, ComputerTalk, Technology

The power of mobile communications comes from the ability to interact anytime, anywhere. In a mobile-first world, your customers expect help when and where it is needed. The most effective way to meet this need is by integrating the contact center into your mobile app.

The contact center is the most powerful customer experience engine. Using intelligent routing and integrations, the contact center enables contextual interactions with your customers, saving time and frustration for contact center agents and customers. What if you could use your mobile application to enhance your interactions with customers? What if your customers could connect with you anytime, anywhere? How would that experience benefit your customer and your business? Watch this video to find out:


In this video, we see the insurance company leveraging a number of features made available through mobile contact center integration.

Mobile device functionality: Leveraging the capabilities of the mobile device can be extremely powerful. The insurance company can learn the exact location of the accident, view photos of the collision and move the conversation across media channels, using the power of the mobile device.

Cost and time efficiency: The insurer saves money and time in a number of ways here. The claim is processed more quickly because everything is filed electronically and instantly. The company doesn’t have to send a representative to audit the accident or the files. Furthermore, the company creates a happy, mobile-first customer that will be more likely to interact with them in the future.

Mobile context: The insurance company already has context about the user’s profile and history via their customer account. Further, the company can track the user’s progress within the app and prompt a conversation when necessary. The agent will know what pages the user viewed before beginning the conversation, allowing them to resolve issues more efficiently. You can even use context to proactively start a conversation using push notifications or popups within the app.

Here is an example of proactive engagement: Jack is in a car accident, and in his panicked state, he can’t find the “File a Claim” button in his mobile app. He is searching through several pages in the app, and the app detects that he has scrolled through several pages without clicking any buttons. The app then prompts him with a “Contact Us” pop up.

These are only a handful of benefits delivered via mobile and the contact center. Each business can gain unique advantages using this type of integration.

Getting Started

If you are interested in delivering a mobile experience to your customers via the contact center, we can help. The ice Mobile SDK is available to organizations that are prepared to take a mobile-first approach to customer experience. Whether or not you already have a mobile app for your customers, the SDK is able to integrate the contact center directly into any Android or iOS app. To learn more, you can contact us here: http://www.computer-talk.com/en/request-demo

If you would like to learn more about mobile communications and get a sneak peek of the ice Mobile SDK, sign up for our upcoming webinar here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/4103189764553141762

 

02 August 2017

Embedding communications in mobile applications

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

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.

19 June 2017

Facebook: Find your customers where they already are

Written by Christopher Liko, Posted in Contact Center

It’s no secret that most of the online world is on Facebook. With nearly 2 billion active users1, it is no longer a question whether you should communicate with your customers on Facebook. The questions now are “when” and “how.”


Conversing with customers

There is clear value for a business to be on Facebook, but simply having a presence on the platform is not enough. The true value arises from conversations between businesses and customers. Facebook reports that 2 billion messages are exchanged between people and businesses each month. This statistic includes automated (chatbot) and human-initiated messages. The company also reports that 53% of people say that they are more likely to do business with a company that they can message. Whether through chatbots or agents, businesses must provide instantaneous access to information and support.

Meet customers on their platform

Your customers are already on Facebook. So are you. It is imperative that customers can have a dialogue with your business, without ever leaving Facebook. Consider the ecosystem of Microsoft Office 365 or Apple’s device and application ecosystem. These platforms are designed so that users can perform all of their tasks in a familiar place, with a familiar UX, without ever having to leave the ecosystem. The same rationale applies to customer conversations on Facebook. Your customers are familiar with Facebook and they already use the platform. Enabling customer conversations on Facebook removes the perception that receiving support is an arduous or time-consuming process.

28 March 2017

Making sense of the upheaval in the UC market

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

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. 

06 February 2017

Providers in turmoil: futureproofing your contact center

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

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.