Opening the Back Office/Contact Center Door

To gain insights into this issue, Customer Interaction Solutions contacted several leading experts and asked how the effect and degree back office performance has on contact center effectiveness and how can contact centers - and their organizations - respond. Here are the highlights of their answers...

Feature Articles

Innovation Solutions: Knowlagent

Keeping Universal Agents Universal: Effective time management for the multi-channel environment
Like the call center itself, the role of the call center agent is evolving. Often the “face” of the company, agents man the front lines, interacting with customers and providing them with an experience that they will ultimately use to judge your organization and brand as a whole.

Innovation Solutions: Infocision

Every Minute Counts: Are you getting the most out of your Web-generated leads?
As more and more people adopt the Internet as a standard method of communication, organizations are seeing Web-generated leads double or even triple. That’s good news. The problem arises when companies lack the capacity or strategy to effectively respond to increasing online lead intake.

Case Study

Q&A On Analytics With CSI's Rich Marcia
CSI's new Virtual Observer 4.0 (VO 4) features speech and enhanced dashboard analytics, integrated scoring, screen capture, performance and trending reports, along with e-learning and VO Live for real-time agent monitoring and assistance. VO 4 is also available via web browsers with all the same robust QM features as in the client-server version.


The Home Agent Handshake
The key to having hands shook on any deal is conclusively answering the objections by those whose buy-in is sought. This is especially critical when the agreement involves radical changes by the prospective customers in how they do business – to overcome their built-in inertia.


Continuing the Service
Contact centers are moving from the periphery to the core of organizations, serving as their interfaces with customers, thereby enabling them to stay in and grow their businesses. It is becoming increasingly imperative then to continue service to customers and if that is not possible to inform them what is happening when disasters threaten and strike. This is on top of protecting employees’ lives in the event of such events. Together that means firms may have to look again at their business continuity/disaster recovery (BC/DR) strategies.


2011 Customer Interaction Solutions TMC Labs Innovation Awards
This year marks the 12th installment for the prestigious TMC Labs Innovation Awards in Customer Interaction Solutions, where TMC Labs analyzes dozens of applicants to find the most unique and innovative products. Contact centers are constantly looking to increase agent productivity, reduce costs, and improve customer satisfaction through the utilization of innovative products, from all-in-one suites to targeted add-ons.


Publisher’s Outlook

Latest Trends in Speech Technology
At the recent SpeechTek 2011 conference in New York, I gained some great insight into the state of speech technology. For example, Jeff Schlueter of Nexidia told me his company's speech analytics solutions have been in greater demand in this current economy as the desire to control costs has led to increased adoption of speech analytics.


Is it Time to Cut Down the IVR Tree?
Several times over the past few years, I've detailed in this column the good and the bad about customer service experiences - and ways the bad can be transformed into the good. One of the most common technologies for enhancing service quality, especially in a time when many customers prefer self-service alternatives to having to wait in queues for agents to solve routine problems, is IVR functionality.

Ask the Experts

Q&A on CIC 4.0
VInteractive Intelligence's ( new Customer Interaction Center (CIC) version 4.0 is the latest release in the firm's long line of innovative contact center solutions. CIC 4.0 will give contact centers and enterprises significantly increased scalability, reliability and speech analytics capabilities, among other features.


Cleaning Off Telemarketing's Tarnish
This, specifically our, industry has long had a deservedly tarnished reputation on two scores. First: with many consumers and their advocates and lawmakers for pushy, annoying and sometimes lawbreaking live agent and automated messaging calling on behalf of its clients. Second: with communities for being terrible employers with low pay, minimal or no benefits, poor training and lousy supervision leading to high turnover, who shutter their doors as soon as the contracts end and/or the taxpayer-financed location incentives runs out.

Ask the Expert

The Social Alphabet: What You Need to Know About Social Media as the Ultimate Communication Channel
The possibility is mind-boggling. To a business, social networks can mean the potential access to millions of people who are constantly sharing and looking for information — or in more direct business terms, “far-reaching connections to consumers, customers and potential customers in the global marketplace, in virtually every demographic, in near real-time.” Fundamentally, becoming social also gives businesses and their contact centers an opportunity to build their brands — as well as pipelines, customer relationships, and more favorable reputations for the products they sell and the services they provide. That makes social media the ultimate communication channel for most any business.