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The contact center and omni-channel communications

The contact center and omni-channel communications We’ve talked in other blogs about the value of contact centers over traditional, one - dimensional call centers, but we haven't talked yet about the need for contact centers to be designed on the omni-channel model. This blog explains what omni-channel means and why this is a critical part of the contact center design. Omni-channel refers to a specific model of multi-channel communications. We already know a contact center makes use of many different modes of communications in order to best meet all of your customers wherever they choose to be. But we haven’t talked about the fact that contact centers need to be omni-channel. In the omni-channel model, all of the channels are integrated. The idea here is to allow for cross channel “communication” so that the information and customer data that is accumulated on one channel is immediately communicated to all the other extant channels. The goal: whenever a customer connects on any touc…

4 reasons customers prefer contact centers

4 reasons customers prefer contact centers You may have read that call centers are beginning to take a back seat to contact centers, where customers and prospects can interact across a wide array of communication modes. Today we’re discussing four big reasons customers prefer contact centers. As a reminder, contact centers offer customers a variety of communication channels: voice, email, text, chat box, social media, and others. New generations are very familiar with non-voice communication channels and may prefer these channels over voice. People now are accustomed to using non-voice channels for most of their personal and business communications needs. Voice has become a secondary method, at best, for many users.Self-service has become the norm. Customers have become accustomed to self-service options that require no interaction and are available on-demand.Social media has become an important channel of customer interaction. This is a particularly important issue. People use social me…

What is a contact center?

What is a contact center?

We hear that the contact center is the preferred channel communication model, but what is driving this? Before looking at that question, let’s define “contact center.” The contact center is kind of a call center on speed. Instead of communicating with customer and prospects via one channel only (voice), the contact center is equipped to communicate across a wide variety of channels. It takes the phone center communication model and layers on all of the additional varieties of voice and data communication channels that have appeared over the last two decades. Contact center channels may include VoIPIn-app chatChat botTextEmailSocial mediaIVRUnlike call centers, contact centers have become a single hub for all the methods of interaction that customers choose to use. So why is this necessary? The answer is new technology. Customers have many communication channels available to them, each of which is better suited to particular situations than the others. As a resul…

4 Reasons call centers are becoming outmoded

4 Reasons call centers are becoming outmoded

Call centers have been around for decades. Everyone is familiar with how they work and almost everyone has had at least one bad experience with using one. Did you ever put off calling an 800 number because you didn't want to deal with an annoying phone tree (IVR), waiting on hold, or just the tedium of slowly spelling out your name, address, email, and credit card number? You are not alone. Historically, call centers have had some serious limitations when it comes to customer satisfaction. Of course, that reputation may be unfair. There are many well-run call centers, but the call center model is becoming outmoded. Much of it has to do with the one-dimensional nature of the call center; it is a single channel communication tool. Call centers are primarily, or even solely, places where customers can communicate with a business via voice channel. (At the start, this meant traditional telco lines; now it likely means VoIP.) Below are 4 fund…

Is your Business Safe from Virtual Threats?

Did you know that 50% of small business owners think their businesses are too small to be targeted by the thieves of the virtual world? Contrary to popular belief, 72% of hacker attacks often happen to smaller firms - firms with less than 100 employees! So how prepared is your SMB? Here’s a checklist to help you find out how vulnerable you are to these attacks. 1. Do you have Antivirus protection? - An antivirus software program can protect you from threats that originate from emails such as phishing and virus attacks. However, the most striking fact is that 61% of small businesses don’t install any antivirus software! If you are one of them, then it’s time to change! 2. How sturdy is your Firewall? - A good firewall system protects your computers from the variety of threats that exist in the virtual world. Examples include harmful cookies, viruses, worms and other such malicious programs used by hackers. 3. Do you use a Spam filter? - Using a simple spam filter for your emails keeps jun…

Is That Email a Phishing Scheme?

Research has revealed that over half of all users end up opening fraudulent emails and often even fall for them. Phishing is done with the aim of gathering personal information about you, generally related to your finances. The most common reason for the large number of people falling for fraudulent emails is that the phishing attempts are often so well-disguised that they escape the eyes of a busy email reader. Here are a few tips that help you identify whether that email really came from your bank or is another attempt at defrauding you… 1. They are asking for personal information - Remember, no bank or financial institution asks you to share your key personal information via email, or even phone. So, if you get an email where they ask for your ATM PIN or your e-banking password, something’s a miss. 2. The links seem to be fake - Phishing emails always contain links that you are asked to click on. You should verify if the links are genuine. Here are a few things to look for when doing…

How Much Does Downtime Really Cost Your Business?

Many SMB owners think IT downtime only costs them a few productive hours, but there’s a lot more at stake when your systems go down. Customer satisfaction and loss of brand integrity are just two of the key losses apart from the more evident costs such as lost productivity and a temporary dip in sales. Here’s a few other ways downtime can hurt your business: 1. Customer Loss - Today’s buyer lacks patience !important; They are used to getting everything at the click of a mouse, at the tap of a finger. Suppose they are looking for the kind of products/services that you offer and your site doesn’t load or is unavailable—even if temporarily-- you are likely to lose them to a competitor—permanently.2. Damage to Brand Reputation - Customers are now using Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter and blogs to vent their bad brand experiences. Imagine an irate customer who doesn’t know if their card was charged on your site, or not, due to a server error. If it’s your bad day, they could…

Has Your Website Been Optimized for Mobile Users?

Did you know that this year there will be more mobile web surfers than stationary ones? That means more prospects are accessing your business website more through their smart phones, tablets or other mobile devices than with a laptop or PC. If you thought you had time to make the switch this year, you may want to reconsider in light of new research. A recent study revealed that around 40% of prospects move on to a competitor if they have a poor mobile experience. How prepared is your business for this change? Well, if you are just starting out, the following checklist will help... 1. Make sure your mobile site is different from your regular website - While you must stick to your branding standards, your mobile website should be simpler than your web version. The reason being is that complicated designs that load well and look good on computers are often distorted when accessed through a mobile device. Plus, mobile surfers don’t really have the time to sift through a lot of content. Bot…

Five Ways Your Business Can Improve Its Search Engine Rankings

In an age where most business happens online, not showing up in Google search results can really hurt you. While there’s no real shortcut to showing up consistently on web searches, there are a few quick fixes to get your site to show up on your potential customer’s search results... 1. HTML tags - Important HTML tags include the title tag, meta description and meta keywords. Make sure each page of your website has appropriate HTML tags. The title tag of each page should be unique and relevant to that particular page. 2. Alternative text images - Ensure that most of the images on your website have alternative text tags. Alt tags are basically descriptions for images. By adding relevant alternative tags to images, you are allowing search engines to recognize them, which will improve the likelihood of your page showing up in search results. 3. File hierarchy - How simple is your HTML file hierarchy? Check to see if your website’s pages are logically situated and avoid too many unnecessary …

Five Things You Should Do Right Now to Preserve Your Network and Systems

1. Backup Files Every Day - As catastrophic as data loss is, the number of businesses that still are not backing up their network is unbelievable. According to the Symantec Small to Medium Size Businesses (SMB) data, only 23% of SMBs are backing up their data on a daily basis and fewer than 50% are backing up data weekly. Any number of events can result in data loss, so the importance of frequently backing up your network cannot be overstated. 2. Ensure Backup Procedures Are Checked Regularly - Many times business owners think that they have a backup system in place only to find out after it’s too late that it hasn’t been working properly. It may seem like your files are being backed up daily, however, the backup could have become corrupt or it is not backing up huge chunks of critical data. Check your backup procedures regularly to ensure they are working properly in order to be sure that ALL of your data can be recovered. In the age of BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Devices) it is also importa…

Data Loss Can Cause You to Shut Down

Small and medium sized businesses today are relying more than ever on IT systems to efficiently run their business, support customers and optimize productivity. These systems house sensitive digital data ranging from employee and customer information, to internal emails, documents and financial records, sales orders and transaction histories. This is in addition to applications and programs critical to daily business functions and customer service. While corporate-level data losses and insider theft are well publicized, many smaller businesses have also become casualties of data loss and theft. Following a significant data loss, it is estimated that a small-to-medium sized business can lose up to 25% in daily revenue by the end of the first week. Projected lost daily revenue increases to 40% one month into a major data loss. According to The National Archives & Records Administration in Washington, 93% of companies that have experienced data loss, coupled with prolonged downtime for…

Can You Really Afford Not to Have a Backup Plan?

According to Symantec SMB, 50% of SMBs admit to having no backup and disaster recovery plan in place. 41% of those surveyed confessed that they had never even given much thought to implementing a disaster recovery or business continuity plan. If you are one of them, then you really need to think about whether you can afford the status quo. Answering these questions will help you decide. 1. How often is employee productivity and customer accessibility or service stalled each day from a downed network or system? 2. How much downtime can your business truly afford and what kind of backup or recovery solutions are in effect when systems are unavailable? 3. What level of IT support can be accessed? Can it be accessed quickly enough to minimize damage? Are you confident that your business can either be back online or be able to access lost data with minimal disruption, no matter what? 4. Is your most critical data frequently backed up? Is the data on the personal laptops, iPads or Blackberrys o…

The contact center and omni-channel communications

The contact center and omni-channel communications

We’ve talked in other blogs about the value of contact centers over traditional, one – dimensional call centers, but we haven’t talked yet about the need for contact centers to be designed on the omni-channel model. This blog explains what omni-channel means and why this is a critical part of the contact center design.

Omni-channel refers to a specific model of multi-channel communications. We already know a contact center makes use of many different modes of communications in order to best meet all of your customers wherever they choose to be. But we haven’t talked about the fact that contact centers need to be omni-channel. In the omni-channel model, all of the channels are integrated. The idea here is to allow for cross channel “communication” so that the information and customer data that is accumulated on one channel is immediately communicated to all the other extant channels. The goal: whenever a customer connects on any touchpoi…