ICMI Contact Center Expo and Conference Summary (Part 1)

The 2015 ICMI Contact Center Expo and Conference brought executives,  managers and supervisors together at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort in Orlando, FL from May 4-7. The event provided diverse educational and networking opportunities, a comprehensive exhibit hall displaying the latest products and services, case studies, and site tours.

After an opening night reception on Monday, ICMI Contact Center Expo kicked off with a Tuesday keynote address by Dennis Snow, a long-time Disney executive...

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Creative Virtual Designated a “Cool Vendor” in Gartner’s 2015 Smart Machines Report

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO, Creative Virtual

On 10 April 2015 Gartner released their Cool Vendors in Smart Machines, 2015 report from analysts Tom Austin, Kenneth F. Brant, Magnus Revang, Earl Perkins and Brian Manusama. In the report, Gartner takes a look at the present and future of smart machine technologies and explores five Cool Vendors in the space, including Creative Virtual.

The vendors selected for the ‘Cool Vendor’ report are described by Gartner as “innovative, impactful and...

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WFO Can Be More than the Sum of its Parts: Don’t Forget the Human Side

As a frequent keynote speaker on workforce optimization at tradeshows and conferences, Roger Lee (AKA Dr. WFO) is always a little surprised when some of the contact center professionals in the audience don’t know what the acronym “WFO” means.

Most people are more familiar with the term Workforce Management (WFM), which is actually a component of WFO. Workforce optimization is a more inclusive technology that not only incorporates staffing requirements, but usually includes tools for strategic...

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PACE National Convention & Expo Summary

PACE, the Professional Association for Customer Engagement, is a non-profit industry trade organization dedicated to helping companies that take a multi-channel approach in engaging their B-to-B and B-to-C customers. PACE held its annual national convention and expo at the Atlanta  Marriott Marquis from April 19-22, 2015. Delegates from the full spectrum of contact center operations and businesses turned out to gain insight on the latest evolving technologies, and to stay on top of...

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Our Choice of Metrics Can Lead to Operational Dysfunction

by Ric Kosiba, Vice President, Bay Bridge, Interactive Intelligence

When you spend a lot of time on the road talking to customers and prospects, you start collecting stories, and the stories I’ve gathered usually come from the mouths of contact center planners and workforce managers.  And these stories are often about how things in call centers can get messed up.

Organizations and operations can become dysfunctional for a lot of reasons. I’m always fascinated when the dysfunction is brought about...

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Improving Cusotomer Experience with Self-Service Options

Self-service options give customers the chance to fulfill their needs through their preferred channel. According to NewVoiceMedia.com, 60% of customers will change their contact channel based on what they’re doing and where they are. Consumers who would normally call for help may opt for self-service troubleshooting if they’re watching TV or at work, for example. Thanks to location features, language can be adjusted to suit the user’s geographical area, making self-service solutions even more...

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Callback Queuing: Features and Benefits

At first, callback queuing (CBQ) sounds counter-intuitive: why would a customer call a company just to talk to them later? Nobody wants to wait in a queue. 

Actually, this type of “return later” queuing has been used for years. This is the same idea as taking a number at the DMV and passing time in the lobby, sipping a cocktail at a restaurant bar while waiting for a buzzer to alert you that there’s a table, or having fun in a theme park until your scheduled time to ride a popular attraction.

In...

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Why You Should Make It Easy for Customers to Complain

Every contact center needs a complaint management strategy. The truth is that you have fewer satisfied clients than you may think. Many of those customers are keeping quiet despite having something to say, which is troublesome for everyone. If you don’t hear the complaint, there’s no way you can fix it; if customers aren’t satisfied, they’ll take their business elsewhere.

According to Entrepreneur, there’s a simple reason why many customers don’t complain: griping is hard on everyone,...

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Understanding Empathy and Your Brand

Today, many businesses operate under the “If we build it, they will come” marketing strategy. Although this may have worked in the past, the most successful business are those who are actively engaged with their customers. At InMoment, a customer service software provider, they believe the key to developing strong relationships with customers is through empathy.

Not to be mistaken with sympathy, empathy is described as the act of projecting one’s self into another’s point of view to gain greater...

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Handling Customer Complaints

Customer complaints are par for the course when you run a business. Though it may sound bad, this can be good news. Ultimately, customers understand that mistakes are inevitable. Every complaint is a key to creating a better way to do things.

According to SalesVantage.com, companies without quality customer service skills will sometimes focus too much on the process. The complaint is pushed through quickly so that the next complaint can be heard. However, the customer never feels that their...

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New Survey: Calling All Customer Experience Professionals!

Are you involved in the research, development, implementation or maintenance of your organization’s customer support strategy? Is your business focused on improving customer interactions through contact center communications, customer service inquiries, social media or mobile? Then we’d love to hear from you!

Creative Virtual has created our 2015 Customer Support Outlook Survey to better understand how corporations are creating successful customer experiences. The survey takes only about 5-8...

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7 Questions to Ask Yourself About Touchpoint Effectiveness

After you’ve mapped the customer journey, look closely at each touchpoint. Mastering each touchpoint makes a brand a great competitor while improving customer loyalty and enthusiasm. Ask the following questions to make sure you’re being as efficient as possible.

1. What specifics are occurring at each touchpoint? What are both the brand and the customer doing at each touchpoint?

2. Are the touchpoints addressing the customer’s needs and concerns? Are questions being answered?

3. Are the touchpoints...

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5 Best Voice of the Customer Best Practices

Voice of the Customer (VOC) programs are an asset to contact centers. According to CRMSearch.com, when VoC isn’t correctly taken into account, customer experience goals, as well as marketing and sales objectives, suffer. Below are five VOC best practices.

 

1. Add VOC data collection to the customer experience strategy.

 

According to the American Marketing Association, customer-focused organizations routinely conduct surveys and hold focus group sessions; ask for comments, including complaints;...

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How Creating Value and the Customer Experience Affect Business Outcomes

Often, people confuse the customer journey with the selling process. While the sales process is focused on how to get a buyer to purchase a product or service, the customer journey provides value and takes into account all of the questions and needs that must be answered and met along the way. According to Forrester, 21% of businesses base how well they’re handling customer experience on the business outcome (if they make a sale, for example). However, customers have to go through their journey...

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Using CRM for Both the Customer and the Employee

Using CRM to benefit both the customer and the employee starts with understanding how both parties view the system. While vendors may have transactions as their priority, customers are usually more concerned with processes - how quickly their inquiries will be handled. Figuring out how to meet the demands of both sides is key.

Meeting Customer Expectations

Let’s say your business has a multi-step process for responding to customer concerns with a 90% success rate. That may be a high percentage...

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