Last week we hosted a webinar, The Insurance Contact Center and the Affordable Care Act- Preparing for the Unknown, featuring insurance analyst, Ellen Carney of Forrester Research. Ellen had recently conducted research around the transition of the health insurance industry as it relates to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). One of the key takeaways from the event was to stress to contact center directors and managers, the importance of the contact center being prepared for major change come the October 1st go live date for enrollment. Ellen pointed out that as a result of a lack of resources such as informational websites, [...]
Small businesses have many disadvantages when going up against larger competitors – smaller budgets, less name recognition, smaller customer base, fewer resources – and that is just the start. But enter in the great equalizer – the ability to deliver a better customer experience.
Maybe your bigger competitor has 5,000 support people in their contact center and you have 12. Any given customer, at any given time, is a one-to-one relationship. Your agent helping your customer. And as a smaller business, you actually have some advantages – less bureaucracy, increased flexibility, more personalized relationship with your customers, shorter paths to [...]
We are in the midst of a new wave of innovation as major disruptive forces – mobile, social, cloud and big data – charge down the road. I would argue that we’re not on a convergence course, but rather a collision course that, once all the pieces are put (back) together, will completely change the way we think about customer service. While it won’t happen overnight, there will likely be more innovation and disruptive change over the next few years than we’ve seen the past twenty. Every day good ideas are forming as hunches mature, collaboration increases and missing pieces are found. [...]
You’ve heard the phrase “the tail wagging the dog.” This usually means that something viewed as less significant is driving the behavior of something more significant. In this context, which should drive the purchase decision of a new communications system — the contact center technology or the business unified communications (UC) system?
A couple of clarifications…first, I say UC instead of IP PBX because nobody is still buying just an IP PBX any longer (at least nobody who would be reading this). Second, the question gains more relevance when the buyer is considering a single vendor -as prescribed by most [...]
Currently in the contact center industry, the big buzz is around anything and everything cloud. Trade shows and industry conferences are packed with sessions and panels focused on organizations moving their communications and data to the cloud. Companies in every industry are moving all or part of their infrastructure to cloud solutions, but not everyone is moving to a public cloud model. Some organizations are looking toward a private cloud as the next evolution in their communications infrastructure.
Private clouds can deliver many of the benefits and savings that a public cloud solution can offer. Some of the most common [...]
The last time I blogged, I mentioned a dissatisfying personal experience with a major retailer, which will impact my choice in future purchases. (Read “How Can Broken Business Processes Damage Customer Retention?“) In this blog, I’ll discuss two major problem areas and how business process automation technology can address them to improve the customer experience and the firms’ bottom line.
Problem Area #1: Lead Management – Many firms leave follow-up to the discretion of salespeople, and have little insight into how a lead progresses through the sales cycle. If the firm cannot follow up in a timely and knowledgeable manner, [...]
About a year ago, I had the opportunity to sit in a planning meeting at a very large insurance provider. In this meeting they were looking at the contact center network’s performance in order to forecast expected performance, and develop new resource plans going forward. It was neat—the center managers, the capacity planning team, the customer service VP, and the finance manager were all on the conference call.
This was a regular weekly call and I was both encouraged and discouraged by a lot that I heard. Here are a few observations, with my take on best practices:
Best Practice [...]
I had a terrible web chat experience last week that set my thinking in motion (BTW I’m looking for a new home alarm system).
After getting a not-too-intrusive invitation to chat, I accepted and the conversation went like this:
Joe: Can you tell me if you carry 2GIG products?
Agent: In case we get disconnected, can you give me your name and email address?
Joe: Nope, just looking for the answer to my question.
Agent: Have you contacted us previously?
Joe: Seems like you don’t have an interest in answering my simple question. Thanks. Bye.
I guess I could have [...]
For some non-forward-thinking contact centers, the satisfaction of the associates, or agents, isn’t relative. For these centers it is all about efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction. What we’ve found is that the best producing contact centers also look at the satisfaction level of the associates or agents. This metric is based on the premise that more satisfied agents will offer a better service experience to the customer, and that more satisfied agents will lead to reduced turnover and in turn create a more experienced workforce delivering a higher level of service. WAIT, before you stop reading with a thought of, [...]
A few weeks ago, Joe Staples chatted on this blog about the trade-offs between efficiency and customer experience. In his post, The Answer to the Contact Center Debate Over Efficiency vs. Customer Satisfaction, he discussed a personal experience with an airline that seemed to value efficiency over customer experience. His observation is that companies tend to gravitate toward one primary goal while relegating other goals to a secondary place; in the airline’s case efficiency was the primary goal and customer experience seemed to take a backseat.
But there are always exceptions to the rule (and Joe posited this in his [...]