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January 22, 2013

The Two Biggest Trends to Impact the Contact Center This Year

By Allison Boccamazzo, TMCnet Web Editor

The contact center industry was pinned for much growth last year, with even more growth ahead in 2013 if all goes well. Much advancement was made, such as the U.S. Call Center and Consumer Protection act, which was introduced last year to help counter the effects of call center outsourcing, and thus, job loss. For 2013, telecom executives are predicting many things to contribute to the growth of the contact center this year, including big data, IT and video customer service; however, it seems that two of these factors are expected to most heavily impact the contact center this year.

According to industry expert Miguel Noronha, VP Operations North America at Altitude Software (News - Alert), these will be social media and the cloud. Both of these factors will definitely make a dent in the way call centers “invest in improving the customer experience and customer information,” according to Noronha.

Altitude Software is an independent contact center vendor for unified interaction solutions, with its Altitude uCI suite serving as a cost-effective application suite aimed at improving the overall productivity of the contact center.

Cloud Computing

Companies of every kind and size have been altering the way they do business to accommodate the rapidly evolving cloud, and Altitude Software is no exception. “There is a very close link between how we operate our business, technology evolution and customer needs. With today’s technology and infrastructure, it is possible to have contact centers operating smoothly in a cloud environment. So, our solutions have evolved and are now available in the cloud,” Noronha divulges to TMC (News - Alert), explaining that under the Altitude cloud brand, for example, the company has developed a cloud offer where servers, communication and call center solutions are available at a monthly fee.

Noronha also touches upon security as well, which is, of course, the most staggering cloud-related concern right now. He explains that while these are plenty of tools out there for just this (ie. encryption protocols, VoIP encryption, firewalls, SSL, HTTPS), “security is definitely the highest concern of organizations, and probably the major inhibitor for cloud adoption. It’s also the reason that organizations, like banks, prefer private cloud solutions.”

Despite this, he is confident that the market is doing a fine job in addressing these security concerns, so it will hopefully “become less and less of an issue.”

Social Media

The unprecedented growth of social media has definitely changed the way customers view the call center. For example, Altitude uCI is touted as a unified contact center management solution that can also handle social media interactions, Noronha emphasizes. “We have some customers that are already offering social customer service and effectively blending this channel with voice calls and e-mails. They also routed Facebook and Twitter (News - Alert) interactions [to] leverage the resources, training and procedures already established in their operations,” he notes.

This has gone on to directly impact one of if not the biggest element of the call center – the customer experience. “Customer Experience” has certainly become a culture of its own in the call center, and 2013 may very well be characterized as the “Year of Customer Experience.” Companies are therefore tirelessly working to ensure that their customer service is sterling.

Altitude Software, for example, provides a unified customer interaction solution, which its customers can use to improve the customer experience of their own customers, Noronha says. With Altitude uCi, customers can get many things, including higher first call resolution, reduced waiting time, self-service while waiting, multimedia, intelligent routing, natural language processing on self-service (IVR) applications and reduced nuisance calls (on proactive calls).

“As a solutions provider in this area, we ‘eat our own dog food,’” says Noronha. “For several years we have had in place a customer ‘meeting point’ system. Our customers can contact us by various touch points, and an Altitude representative (using Altitude uAgent interface) has access to full customer information, pending tickets, etc. The customers can also access their information via a Web portal.” Even more, the company’s customer service team has won TSIA awards two years in a row.

The company clearly knows what it’s talking about when it comes to providing excellent customer service, as Altitude Software’s Product Marketing Manager, Teresa Botelho Jose will be speaking during two panels at this year’s upcoming ITEXPO (News - Alert) Miami 2013 taking place at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami, Florida from Jan. 29 to Feb. 1.

The company is excited to meet a variety of other people in the technology and communications space, to learn and to share experiences. 

Miguel Noronha, VP Operations North America at Altitude Software

To find out more about Miguel Noronha, Teresa Botelho Jose and Altitude Software, visit the company at ITEXPO Miami 2013.Taking place Jan. 29 - Feb 1, in Miami, Florida, where Jose is speaking during “How to Give Good Social Customer Service” and “Customer Service: The Organizational Imperative.” For more information on ITEXPO Miami 2013, click here.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey
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