02 April 2018

Physical Cybersecurity in the Contact Center

Written by Nicole Robinson, Posted in Unified Communications, Contact Center

 

Modern businesses are obsessed with cybersecurity. And with good reason. By 2021, the damage caused by cyber crime will exceed $6 trillion annually.

You’d be crazy not to protect your business from cyber attacks. We are so concerned, however, with protecting ourselves that we forget about the most vulnerable target of all: humans. Contact centers are extraordinarily susceptible to data breaches caused by human error.

Vulnerability in the Contact Center

Contact center agents use empathy to create successful and positive customer interactions. They frequently make concessions so that customers are left with positive feelings about the business. Customers know this, and they take advantage of it. Sometimes this manifests in relatively innocent ways, when a customer uses anger to score a discount on their phone bill. Many agents are tasked with making customers happy, so they will offer discounts, coupons or even product and service upgrades. The alternative manifestation, however, can be significantly more malicious.

Cyber Attacks Take a Physical Form

Imagine a customer calls in on behalf of their elderly parent. They claim that their parent just set up a phone plan with a new device. The elderly parent has forgotten their password, and the caller needs to login and configure their services. The customer apologizes, but seems exasperated and just wants to help their parent. An agent would imagine that helping this caller is a harmless endeavor, but the reality is much more sinister.

This caller is a type of cyber attacker that uses physical means and takes advantage of human error to steal sensitive information. Using a tactic called social engineering, the caller takes advantage of agents’ empathy, and use the power of conversation to gain access to the personal information of unsuspecting victims. This new type of cyber attack can’t be prevented with firewalls and encryption, so how do you protect your organization and your customers from this?

19 March 2018

The Personalized Contact Center Experience

Written by Martin Borowski, Posted in Unified Communications, Contact Center, ComputerTalk

In today’s digital world, customers expect flawless experiences across every touchpoint with your organization. The key to a flawless customer experience is relevance.

Your customers are looking for information and interactions that are relevant to them, and they don’t want all the fluff. The last thing they want to do is dig through webpages and IVR menus to find the right person or the right information. Relevance doesn’t just apply to information though. Customers also need relevance in the context of time, place, device and more.

The solution to the relevance problem is personalization. Personalization is the most powerful tool you can use to deliver a relevant experience for customers. At a high level, personalization consists of demographics and behavior. These two categories are then broken down into numerous data points that you will use to better understand the customer. In the digital age, this information is so readily available that we no longer ask the question “Why should I personalize?” The question now is “Why not personalize?

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.