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7 Contact Center Trends for 2014

Posted by at 12:07 pm on December 18, 2013

As 2013 draws to a close, I think about the incredible year we have had, not just with the SoundBite acquisition by Genesys, but at what was hot in 2013 and what is trending and expected in our industry in 2014.  One trend that I thought was rather fitting was the broad rise of the word Showrooming which, of course, is popular to our retail customers.  Showrooming was one of the new words in the running for the Oxford English Dictionary Word of the Year, but ultimately was beat out by Selfie.

Recently, Genesys hosted a webinar with Frost & Sullivan Analyst Nancy Jamison to discuss contact center trends for 2014.  Nancy shared her rich industry perspective on best practices that contact center leaders not only should look at, but absolutely need to address and incorporate to stay competitive and deliver a great customer experience (CX).  If the word Selfie and its 17,000% growth trend since this time last year is any indicator of what consumers are looking for, you can expect your customers to want, and expect, a personalized experience – one that is a true reflection of who they are and how they choose to do business with your brand.

Here are seven contact center trends to expect in 2014:

  1. Moving to the Cloud: Early adopter companies started their movement to the cloud in earnest in 2012 – two years earlier than predicted. Companies across all industries and sizes are now adopting the cloud as standard. Every IT RFP now has a cloud provider requirement.
  2. Self-Service in the Contact Center: People are fed up with bad IVRs – and who can blame them?  Contact Centers need to use big data and smart analytics to develop better call workflows. This will achieve an improved self-service model – one that puts the customer at the center.
  3. Growth of Mobility and Mobile Apps: A rich two-way mobile experience expands your customer service, extends your marketing reach, and improves capabilities within the contact center. Business apps will continue to grow, causing customers to interact better and embrace mobile – especially for customer care – becoming cross-channel mobile conversations.
  4. Socially Accepted:  Although social media for customer care hasn’t taken off just yet for contact centers – in 2014 it will.  Companies will start embracing social customer care and engaging on more of their customers preferred communications channel.
  5. Big Data Gets Bigger: Incorporating multiple sources of information, like mobile phone number and preferred channel of messaging, into contact center data will drive premiere customer engagement and improve the customer journey.
  6. Omni-channel experience: Carrying the context of a customer interaction across the channels in a convenient, competent, personalized and proactive way takes your CX strategy from multi-channel to an omni-channel experience.
  7. M&A Activity: Merger and acquisition activity will continue in 2014 with companies like Genesys expanding their offerings and bolstering vertical expertise.

So, as you take your own selfie this holiday season, reflect on the year’s past and get ready to kick off the New Year with these 2014 trends that deliver a great CX.

I invite you to learn about other trends in our Frost & Sullivan webinar with Nancy Jamison available on demand.

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The Seven Golden Rules of Customer Experience: Guest Blog by Bruce Temkin

Posted by at 7:45 am on December 11, 2013

Temkin Group’s research shows that six out of ten large companies have a goal to be customer experience leaders within three years. That’s a lofty goal considering that only about one-third of companies earned at least a “good” rating in the 2013 Temkin Experience Ratings.

How can companies come close to achieving their ambitions? By following the golden rules of customer experience. We’ve all heard a version of the Golden Rule “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In a recent webinar, I translated that concept into The Seven Golden Rules of Customer Experience. Here’s a summary of the rules:

#7 – Only ask if you plan to act.  Treat customer feedback as a limited asset; don’t waste customers time by asking survey questions that you do not plan to, or have the ability to, act upon. (more…)

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Mobile Was the Gravy on the Turkey Day Weekend [Infographic]

Posted by at 12:41 pm on December 3, 2013

This past holiday weekend, American families gathered for their traditional turkey, football and apple pie.  This year, with the controversy over the increasingly early shopping hours encroaching on family-time, retailers held their collective breath to see if consumers would respond to the earlier store openings and leave their families if the sales were enticing enough.  And they did! 45 million shoppers headed out on Thanksgiving Day.

But as many shoppers were out contributing to the retail foot traffic on Thanksgiving, online and mobile shoppers turned out to be the gravy on Thursday.  Black Friday, the granddaddy of shopping days, had impressive mobile results as well with more than 21% of all online sales coming from mobile devices.

Overall, the four day shopping weekend continued to show online and mobile growth with consumers opting to surf their tablets and smartphones — showrooming, webrooming and jumping on mobile delivered deals.

We pulled together an infographic to capture some of the many stats that make up this shopping holiday that has become as American as apple pie. (more…)

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Thursday Shopping is Gobbling up Black Friday

Posted by at 7:44 pm on November 26, 2013

There has been quite a bit of controversy this holiday season with some brick-and-mortar retailers opening on Thanksgiving Day. Can’t deny that the holiday shopping weekend is expanding: first it was Black Friday, then Cyber Monday and now Brown Thursday has entered the lexicon. But why should consumers battle crowds and inclement weather when they can shop from the couch!  Retailers and marketers are leveraging the mobile device delivering deals to the palm of their customers hand while the turkey is still on the table.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) consumer spend this holiday season is up 3.9% from last year to $602.1 billion. That spend is highly competitive too as consumers showroom, webroom, and review products for the best deals. Retailers compete with the biggest advertising spend for a final push to put them in the black (fun fact: that’s where the term Black Friday comes from). Marketing is catchy and kitschy, but overall meant to catch the consumer’s attention, getting them to buy, either online, smartphone, or in store. Omni-channel marketing is catching on as 83 percent of marketers said they planned on running coordinated, cross-channel marketing campaigns during the holiday season (Experian). (more…)

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I Want To Know What Customer Love Is [Dreamforce]

Posted by at 3:29 pm on November 21, 2013

Service Cloud Expo at Dreamforce 2013If you were one of the 130,000 attendees at Dreamforce ‘13 this week, there was no doubt left in your mind about knowing what customer love is. There were 350 cloud vendors showing love by raffling off a flower power VW bus, or dressing up as superheroes. Over 1,250 sessions were held across downtown San Francisco educating about being a better customer company. The customer love message was musically reinforced as salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff’s keynote address kicked off with Huey Lewis & the News playing their classic, “Power of Love”.

The keynote focused on how we are in the new era of computing – the “Internet of Things”.  Why is it the Internet of Things you may ask? Because everyone and everything is on the Internet; from products  as simplistic as light bulbs and toothbrushes to high-priced, complex machinery like MRI machines and cars. What combines them as well is that they are all powered by the cloud. According to Benioff, we are going through a technology renaissance driven by the cloud. Here are some interesting stats on the Internet of Things: (more…)

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Genesys New Offers Unleash the Power of Great Customer Experience

Posted by at 9:09 pm on November 19, 2013

Today was a big day for announcements on cloud customer engagement technology. Genesys announced three new offerings and at Saleforce’s Dreamforce they launched their Salesforce1 Customer Platform.  Our announcement encompasses not only new Genesys capabilities, but platform integration from the recently acquired Angel, Utopy and SoundBite Communications.

Below is an excerpt from Genesys president and CEO Paul Segre’s blog about the announcement:

From pure cloud contact center solutions for smaller companies to tailor-made solutions that can support massive deployments, we are excited to bring three new contact center offers to market – all available now. The new offers include: Genesys Premier Edition for small to mid-sized contact centers, Genesys Business Edition for mid-sized contact centers, and Genesys Enterprise Edition for large contact centers. These new editions of Genesys represent the most comprehensive set of contact center solutions ever made available in the market. They also introduce some cutting-edge new Genesys capabilities, including intuitive analytics, which provide visual dashboards and interactive reports for real-time monitoring of contact center operations and performance. (more…)

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Join the Customer Experience Revolution at Dreamforce

Posted by at 8:59 pm on November 12, 2013

Customer Experience RevolutionSalesforce’s Dreamforce 2013 conference takes over San Francisco next week and the theme of the event is Join the Customer Company Revolution, we are excited to be an exhibitor, sponsor and speaker at this year’s event expected to have over 100,000 attendees.  Today, CRM tools like Salesforce are shaping the very dynamics of customer–company relations through enhanced integrations that place the contact center front and center of how clients interact with you across all channels such as phone, social media, mobile applications and SMS. The end result?  A Customer Experience Revolution–Turn it on by unleashing the power of great customer experience.

At the event, Genesys will discuss how to create positive customer experience by implementing omnichannel communications on a fully integrated customer engagement platform. Genesys will also demonstrate how cloud-based contact center solutions work seamlessly with Salesforce.com to deliver 1:1 customer engagement.

Are you going to Dreamforce? Come by the Genesys booth #N313 at Dreamforce to learn more about our cloud-based virtual contact center benefits and how we work seamlessly with Salesforce to deliver great CX.  We’ll be presenting at the following sessions, sharing ideas and best practices:

“Social Selling: Rethinking Sales With Social at the Core”
Wednesday, Nov. 20, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m., Marriott Marquis, Yerba Buena – Salons 4, 5, 6

The Virtual Contact Center for Service Cloud to the Rescue”
Wednesday, Nov. 20, 3:00-3:15 p.m., Partner Theater North

Wanna Know What Customer Love is? It’s True Ominchannel Communications”
Wednesday, Nov. 20, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Pacific Heights Room, Palace Hotel

Not attending Dreamforce? Follow our event updates on the Genesys Blog and our social media channels. Or contact us today to schedule a demo of how our platform seamlessly integrates into Salesforce.

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Webrooming: New Addition to the Retail Marketing Language

Posted by at 9:28 am on November 5, 2013

Holiday Shopping Mobile We set the clocks back on Sunday, and while I enjoyed an extra hour of sleep, it didn’t last long as the sounds of glee came from my kids when they saw all the big toy books in the newspaper. They still hadn’t eaten all their Halloween candy yet, but Christmas lists are hot on their minds. It’s not just the kids, holiday marketing is in full force. Decorations were up in stores, while last minute candy was bought on October 31st.

The fourth quarter has always been the biggest time for retailers. This is the time of the year when many will pull out all the stops to get you to buy from them, as they all make their play for their “unfair share” of your wallet. For many retailers, this is the time to go from being in the red to the black – hence the term Black Friday.

As consumers experiences are always evolving with new technology, our vocabulary expands to describe their activities. The latest addition to the retail marketing vernacular: showrooming and webrooming. (more…)

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Customer Service with a Digital Smile

Posted by at 6:19 am on October 29, 2013

Have you ever wondered where the term Service with a Smile came from?  Being a marketer, I kept thinking it was a company slogan saying good customer service. It harkens back to a time not so long ago when people dealt with sales people, in brick-and mortar stores, and terms like the customer is always right and service with a smile were the mantra – and with good reason.  A smile greeting you behind a counter starts the communication process off on the right foot.

Now, with most customer service happening over the phone or via a screen, companies need to practice their digital smile. And they can do that with proactive customer care messaging which delivers a great customer experience.  And it works – because people love a smile, even if it’s done virtually through the type of proactive engagement and communications you offer.

The Yankee Group’s recent whitepaper, Drive More Valuable Customer Experience With Proactive Engagement Across the Life Cycle details best practices to deliver proactive engagement to drive a better overall customer experience. Communication strategies that take advantage of cross-channel customer engagement to deliver a better overall customer experience and establish long-term, profitable relationships with consumers are essential. It is also crucial to move beyond reactive customer response to more proactive customer treatment that not only strengthens brand loyalty and retention, but  also lowers the cost of customer service in your contact center. (more…)

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7 Challenges in Writing Outbound IVR Scripts

Posted by at 2:37 pm on October 22, 2013

Everyone agrees that a good first impression is key to starting a relationship off on the right foot.  Today with all the channels available for customer communications be it email, social media, text or instant message, or voice, the window of opportunity is mere seconds before we delete, click away or hang up. Outbound proactive messages can increase sales transactions, reduce inbound call volumes, increase customer self-service, or when warranted, connect customers to customer service representatives in your contact center.

Organizations today still rely on outbound voice messaging (IVR) or automated voice messaging (AVM) to proactively communicate with their customers through all stages of the customer lifecycle. But there are many pitfalls in writing a script. See below seven common challenges for writing an outbound customer script. (more…)

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