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Chatbots Are helping Small & Mid-Sized Firms Compete With Big Businesses

Small and midsize businesses are regularly challenged to compete with enterprises that have deeper pockets, larger contact centers and more options to serve their customers.

By embracing chatbots, smaller firms can improve their Customer Experience and compete head-on with larger companies. Here’s how…

  • Basic question-and-answer functions. When customers start an online webchat they can get routine information such as overnight mailing addresses, product information, links to knowledgebases and physical location hours. Customers get their information faster – via their preferred device – and your business doesn’t need to rely on more costly employees to answer basic questions.
  • Addressing complex, customer-specific inquiries. These include looking up account balances, linking to extended warranty terms and scheduling service calls. The chatbot asks for information to confirm customer identity and then accesses the appropriate database, knowledgebase or apps to complete the request.
  • Delivering scripted information. By directing a customer to a chatbot, companies can ensure there is no human error that may result in potential industry compliance and regulatory liabilities.
  • Making recommendations. By asking customers a few questions, the chatbot can make product or service recommendations, thereby increasing sales. Further, analytics tools can track customer preferences and make proactive recommendations in the future.
  • Assisting human agents. Chatbots also can listen to conversations between agents and customers, offering real-time suggestions on upsell opportunities. Or, if a customer becomes upset, the chatbot can summon a supervisor to join the call.

Once trained and implemented, chatbots cost roughly 10% to 20% of a human agent, and leading AI platform vendors like Google, IBM, Amazon and Oracle are teaming up with contact center providers like Mitel to make chatbots even more intelligent.

Looking for more innovative ways to improve your customer service? Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Using Contact Center Metrics to Boost Customer Experience in the Real World

No surprise… Your customers want personalized service and consistent answers when they speak with multiple reps in your business. Further, they don’t want to wait on hold or repeat themselves when transferred. Here’s how three organizations are leveraging the Cloud today to benefit their customers…

  • A Medical Supply Company, which serves its market with 45 agents, gains actionable insight into call center operations. By monitoring system performance in real time, managers can identify heavy call-volume periods, so staff can be allocated in ways that keep wait times to a minimum. Historical reporting reveals patterns so managers can determine if they need additional staff at certain locations or during specific days or times.
  • A Non-Profit that provides temporary assistance to those struggling to pay their energy bills can now move representatives from one queue to another based on call volume. That reduces wait times for customers during peak hours. Call monitoring allows managers to review calls for quality and service levels, improving training and accountability. Call recording comes in handy when a customer and agent have different recollections of a conversation, allowing any miscommunication to be resolved quickly.
  • A Government Contractor implements a nationwide energy efficiency program with a new always-on cloud contact center, allowing 24/7 support to be offered to customers. While remote access had been an issue with the old system, now remote agents have seamless access from satellite offices. Improved call quality translates into fewer dropped calls, which makes customers happy. Real-time call handling metrics let managers analyze the level of service customers receive. Issues can be identified immediately and lay the foundation for future training sessions.

New technology is providing the tools and insight you need to turn your call center into a well-oiled machine.

Let’s talk about more practical ways a cloud contact center solution can help your business serve and support demanding customers… Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

Improving Your Customer Experience… Consumers Want More Human Interaction

According to the latest research, 8 in 10 consumers want more human interaction from businesses, yet 64% believe companies have lost touch with the human element of the Customer Experience, especially as they add more technology into the mix.

Here’s some practical advice on how you can humanize the Customer Experience in your business…

  • Create an engaged workforce by investing in more self-serve and automation options for customer service. By using chatbots, for example, to answer routine questions, customers can resolve issues on their own more quickly. Employees are then free to focus on the more unique and challenging customer interactions where their performance can add real value to the relationship.
  • Empower your workforce. Frontline employees know first-hand what irks your customers. Yet, many companies fail to tap this vital source of business intelligence. One way to fix this problem is to empower employees to suggest process improvements. As they become more invested in making customers happy, they’ll become more engaged and welcome opportunities to use their skills and creativity to solve problems and stretch further.
  • Provide tools that help employees succeed. Contact center agents usually bear the brunt of customer ire. And they get hit with a double whammy: Agents who can’t solve a customer issue on the first call find themselves on the wrong foot with the customer and their supervisor. To change this situation, an agent can deliver a more personalized and human interaction when CRM data is integrated with the communications solution.
  • Make collaboration easy by reorganizing the workplace to enable employees to collaborate on demand. They’ll not only be more productive, they’ll have the tools to build stronger internal working relationships with each other and with remote colleagues. Tools like web chat or video conferencing make the distance between home and office disappear.
  • Invest in training by incorporating tools such as personalization and self-service into internal portals and dashboards. Making it easy to access knowledge bases and subject matter experts will improve employees’ interactions with clients.

When employees are happy and engaged, they bring that outlook to every client conversation. Companies that focus on the employee experience first will deliver a stellar Customer Experience every time.

Let’s talk about next steps to improve your Customer Experience. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Mitel Partners with Google AI to Develop the Intelligent Customer Experience

By 2020 Customer Experience is expected to overtake price and product as the key differentiator used by customers to influence their brand, product and service decisions.

Responding to this reality, Mitel has partnered with Google to deliver new AI-driven customer experience capabilities across all Mitel core contact center solutions, including its cloud-based MiContact Center.

Download: The Impending Contact Center Disruption

Accelerating customization

With a traditional chatbot, a contact center team is responsible for predicting what their customers are going to ask, and painstakingly scripting each interaction. With Mitel/Google’s AI solution, the customer is connected directly to your company’s knowledge base, shifting chatbot implementation time from months to days.

Using NLP – natural language processing – Mitel’s intelligent customer experience solution understands what your customers are saying, chatting or texting – without requiring specific phrasing – and a virtual agent responds in real-time whether a human agent is available or not.

Whenever the virtual agent reaches a question or situation it cannot handle alone, it can involve a human agent in the conversation, feeding its conversation details directly to that agent.

Leveraging machine learning, the AI solution will continue to observe the customer-agent interaction, suggesting relevant options or content to the agent and monitoring which responses come to a successful conclusion. This real-time coaching from AI Agent Assist enables more accurate, more responsive follow ups and an improved customer experience.

The Video Demo: How it Works

This Mitel video explains how the technology…

  • Uses the virtual agent chatbot and AI analytics to respond to common customer needs
  • Stays with each call, SMS or chat to find the best information for each customer
  • Learns what works and what doesn’t to improve future interactions
  • Simplifies agent workflows with smart virtual agent assist

Ready to improve the experience of your customers with AI? Contact TCI today: (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

Meet Your Customers Where & How They Want with Omnichannel Contact Centers

The term omnichannel refers to connecting your customers to your business across all available channels – web, voice, smartphones, social media, PCs, email, text, etc. – with a consistent experience and message.

In our digital world, customers want to choose the method of contact that makes the most sense for them at any given time.

Using new technology, a well-executed omnichannel Customer Experience connects the dots between each available channel. To keep pace with this trend and increase your customer loyalty, Mitel’s MiContact Center solutions provide the tools your business needs to deliver a smooth Customer Experience across all media types.

Empower your Contact Center Team

  • Set your customers’ expectations and guide their actions, offering helpful information like their wait times for inbound calls, emails, Web chat and callbacks.
  • Online access to real-time and historical reports provide the insights you need into daily operations and agent performance.
  • When it comes to control and coaching, a simple interface provides a single point of administration for configuring omnichannel workflows.

Mitel’s portfolio delivers everything your small or big business needs…

  • MiContact Center Solidus: A rich suite of seamlessly integrated Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC) and contact center applications for intelligent interaction in your enterprise.
  • MiContact Center Workgroup Edition: Designed for the MiVoice Business platform, this solution helps your informal contact centers deliver excellent customer service.
  • MiContact Center Enterprise Edition: Designed for the MiVoice Business platform, this solution is ideal for sophisticated contact centers of all sizes.
  • MiContact Center with Skype for Business (formerly Lync): The only true end-to-end multimedia contact center today that utilizes both Microsoft back-office and desktop solutions.
  • MiContact Center Business: An enterprise-grade, omni-channel customer experience management platform designed to power your customer-centric organization.

Ready to meet the omnichannel demands of your customers? Contact TCI today: (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

The 5 Most Important Contact & Call Center Trends

We’ve seen a lot of changes to the call center and Customer Experience landscape in recent years. Cloud communications and a distributed workforce have been on the minds of many our clients. The need to integrate social media channels is becoming more important than ever.

Here are 5 of the strategic trends shaping up to influence businesses and their call center operations…

1. Digital transformation

Businesses are turning to truly digital contact centers that redefine the Customer Experience from start to finish. Seamless integration of technologies across the business provides full customer context with each interaction and leverages system data to provide proactive service.

2. Two-way social media conversations

When customers interact with a business online via social media, they expect a personalized and immediate response. More importantly, the two-way conversation is public, so other customers will be watching to see how the business addressed the problem.

3. Omni-channel communications

While a customer journey may begin on one channel, valuable insight and feedback may be taking place on a completely different channel. Unifying customer communications across channels gives businesses better context for their customers, helps resolve issues faster, and assists agents in identifying better opportunities for future sales.

4. Better contact center analytics

Sophisticated analytics turn data – like call and screen recordings, chats, SMS messages and more – into useful feedback for agents. Analytics programs are being used to build statistical dashboards so agents and managers can get real-time updates on customer experiences.

5. More remote call center agents

With constantly improving unified cloud communications, remote workers have become a permanent and beneficial part of the contact center environment. With collaboration tools, contact center agents can take their work mobile, with access to real-time analytics and customer context.

Need help figuring out how to apply these trends to your business? Contact TCI today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

5 Ways to Take Your Customer Experience to the Next Level in the Digital Age

There’s a lot of pressure to provide a great experience each time customers interact with your brand. Businesses are responding by prioritizing the Customer Experience as a competitive differentiator.

Your business needs to consider the full range of your Customers’ Experience: not just the call they make to sales or support, but all the different departments and technologies that your customers interact with to make a sale or resolve an issue.

Here are five ways to deliver exceptional Customer Experience in the digital age:

  • Be holistic – Review your current Customer Experience; it doesn’t start and stop with one phone call. It’s important to take a 360-degree view, including chat, social media, direct messages and beyond.
  • Respond immediately – To avoid customer frustration with misdirected calls, a unified communications and collaboration system can allow your agents and staff to collaborate on customer issues without leaving the call.
  • Consider IoT – Implementing IoT automated responses to certain triggers can prevent problems before they take place. For example, a customer’s air conditioning unit can signal your business when the unit is not running properly so you can arrange a tech visit. The customer can respond within their own messaging app.
  • Go beyond voice – When you’re looking at your own contact center, make sure you’re not relying too heavily on voice call metrics; factor in responses and workflows via alternative media.
  • Push for high availability – Your Customer Experience doesn’t stop when there is a disaster or system malfunction. Push for high availability by keeping a physical or virtual replication of your main contact center server.

Let’s talk about using new technology to boost your Customer Experience. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.