Wednesday, October 26, 2016

How to Lower Average Call Handling Time

Call center agents should always look for ways to striking a balance between delivering excellent customer service and ensuring they do not waste too much time on a single client. When an agent spends too much time with a single client, it becomes expensive for both the business and the client.

Here are some practices can help reduce average handling time.

Have all the relevant information at the start of the call
The agents should collect all the necessary information at the start of the call with the client. The business should invest in customer service software or operate with a cloud based call center that connects the agents to other sources of business information and the CRM database. This prevents the customer from wasting time by asking clients they’ve answered with your business before.

The customer care representatives should have deep knowledge of the company business model, products and services, and any promotional offers. They should also know the possible problems with the products and what solutions should be applied if they are to arise. Agents should be able to use CRM, and any other customer service software with incredible ease, which helps them give accurate answers to the clients.

Share relevant customer information with the team
Sometimes it is necessary for the customer call to be transferred from one team member to the other in order for a satisfactory solution to be communicated to the client. In this scenario, the second agent should have all the customer information that is necessary for him or her to give a quality answer. This prevents him or her from asking similar questions as the ones asked earlier. This not only wastes time but also lowers the customer experience.

Allow agents to learn from each other
To improve the efficiency of the agents with high call handling time, allow them to listen to the call recordings of those with low call handling time. This provides constructive feedback that is positive to the agents who have not caught up with others.

Identify the pauses
It is important to know what happens during the pauses. This could be that the agent is struggling to get information that is necessary to serve the customer or the call switching is taking up too much time. There may be other technical issues that are slowing the agent such as changing the software or breaks in the call connection. Handle each problem as it arises and maintain communication with agents to assure they are up-to-date.

4 Best Practices for Call Quality Monitoring

Most companies are thinking of social media and messaging services when looking at customer experience, but they often overlook the voice channel. The voice channel remains the most trusted channel when it comes to solving complex customer needs. Older customers also prefer the channel to other methods. With call quality monitoring, the customers are assured of great experiences in line with other channels. Try the best practices below to monitor the call quality effectively at the contact center.

Invest in call recording tools to aids in call analysis
It is important to have outbound and inbound call recorded for the proper analysis. Invest in call center software that has call recording capabilities. This kind of software enables you to monitor the call quality performance and assess the performance of your agents. Try to analyze a few calls one after the other rather than sampling calls at random.

Define what makes an ideal call
Your team of contact center agents should know what makes an ideal service call. After carrying out the analysis described above, list the main strengths and weaknesses of your team. Look at practices that can be amplified and those that should be changed in order to achieve the ideal call.

You may need to revise the call script, look at the tone of the agent conversations, or even add more languages to your contact center service. You should also consider better CRM software, such as that of a cloud based call center, to enable seamless integration of the contact center with the customer information and the company resources. Sometimes the agents would need additional agent training to get them on par with the new requirements.

Ask for agent feedback
Think of your agents in the quality call delivery process. Seek their insight on how to improve the voice practices. Include them in the script revisions, simplification of the technical language and the trial process for the new software. Do not shy away from asking what should be done to improve their skills at the call center.

Reward the agents for good work
Rewards are great motivators and help encourage workers to improve their performance. Design an evaluation process to rate the skills and quality of performance for your agents. You should also empower agents to self-evaluate their performance and make the necessary improvements. Brilliant contact center agents should be recognized and rewarded accordingly. The reward should be enough to encourage others to put in the effort to achieve the same success.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Planning on Disrupting the Market? 3 Things You Must Avoid

Disruptors have the potential to make it big in the market. They go after the market goliath and make a killing. However, it is not such a simple thing if not well planned. Are you planning to be a disruptor? Here are three things that you must stay away from.

Do not let them know you want to disrupt them
In most, if not all of the cases, you will be going against the big fellows in the industry. They have the financial muscle and market to play around with. Your best strategy is to avoid head-on competition with them. Do not expose yourself to them as they will become interested in what you do and how it affects them. Build your empire silently so that you have the time to do what you want without spending so much effort on defending your territory. Remember the big kahunas are great at buying off great ideas in the market. Your business should not be one of their possible targets.

Do not respond to their maneuvers
If you light up emotional fires in the industry, you are likely to cause the bigger fish in the industry to come out firing and mess with you as they furnish their ego. They may actually crash you. Even if they will not crush you, they are likely to hurt you as well as your great ideas. Try to keep temperatures low in the industry so that the bigger businesses act rationally. Most disruptors are tempted to respond to every move by the competitor. They forget that in doing so only distracts them from their mission. This also exposes the good ideas to copycats and alternatives.

Use a critically inferior product
Your product should be inferior in some way or the other that is critical to the product features of the competing product. The large competitor will ignore you if your product does not touch on the core customer base. In fact disrupting is offering a product that is the best alternative to what the business is offering. Do not try to create a better product than the competition in all the attributes. This is simply copying the competition and not actually disrupting them. Disruption is all about fresh ideas and alternative thinking. Play your cards well so that the product you make becomes a simpler faster or better way to satisfy the needs of your client without necessarily looking similar to the competing products.

Friday, October 21, 2016

5 Creative Ways to Use Instagram for Your Business

Instagram, a popular photo-sharing mobile app, has around 80 million users and it’s still growing. Purchased by Facebook in 2012, Instagram is a great platform for businesses to earn more visibility and engage with the larger Instagram community to drive sales. Most business owners do not know how to market on Instagram. Here are some great ideas.

Let your customers see your products
People love to browse the products, especially their photos. Give your customers this opportunity by displaying high-resolution images of the products that you sell. You can engage your followers to explain how to use the product or benefits they find in the product. For service-oriented businesses, they can display some of the equipment they use for service delivery.

Show the process of making the product
Customers are always curious about where the products come from. Use Instagram to show your customers where and how their favorite products come to fruition. You can take shots of items in various stages of production and make posts that follow the products as they are being manufactured. It is an indirect way of selling the actual products by satisfying the curiosity of the customers.

Give the customers a view of behind the scenes
Are you planning to launch a new product or host an end of the year party? Are you shooting a commercial or a media briefing? Your clients love the juicy behind the scene news. Take snapshots of the preparation especially those goofy moments. Such stories get a lot of shares from people and help push the brand visibility.

Show the products in action
Can your product do more than one thing? Use Instagram to show the customers some new and novel ways to use the products. Use this opportunity to invite the users to show other ways they use your product. Post the best ones on Instagram. You could also reward the best product use innovators.

Take your Instagram followers with you
Are you having an event or a trade-show? Use Instagram to take your Instagram followers with you wherever you are going. Followers love being part of your business life, especially details that you do not give to the mainstream media. Invite your followers where possible. If you are doing a charitable event, invite them to play a part by sponsorship or support. As you engage your followers more, you keep the name of your brand in their minds. Therefore you are likely to be considered when they have a need.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Facebook's Workplace is a Serious SaaS Contender

For years, Microsoft has been the market leader in Enterprise collaboration software services. This has led to their crowning as Enterprise SaaS leaders. However, Facebook is set to challenge its dominance after releasing its Workplace cloud-based Enterprise Collaboration service. Facebook Workplace is the final name decided on after long being referred to as Facebook at Work.

The Microsoft Enterprise Software as a Service previously only had a rival in Salesforce. However, it unseated Salesforce’s dominance with its ambitious Office 365 product. Salesforce later bought Quip, a word processing software, to help it compete with Microsoft. However, the product has been slow to catch up given the high adoption of the Microsoft Office 365 among many enterprises.

The real long-term threat to Microsoft is Facebook. Its Workplace enterprise collaboration service could end up being a serious threat to Microsoft online productivity tools such as Sharepoint and Office 365.

Facebook may entice the customers away with its cheap pricing. While the Office 365/ Sharepoint has user subscription monthly plans of $5/$10/$20, Facebook Workplace offers its software at monthly plans of $1/$2/$3. With as low as $1 every month, you receive an unlimited photo, file and video storage. The closest equivalent of this service is Google’s Alphabet at $10/ month per user.

The only thing that is deficient with Facebook is the lack of as many apps as those found on Microsoft Office 365. Currently, it integrates the Google’s G Suite (Google integrated services) to assist in the productivity.

Facebook may be working on an app that works similarly to Quip so that it can get rid of the G Suite in the future. In the past, it dropped Google Adsense from all its developer partners.

There is a lot that is in the future of Microsoft SaaS future. The combination of its cloud-based services such as Dynamics CRM, SharePoint, and Azure have contributed tremendously to the annual revenue figures. It will take notice of the Facebook.

According to Synergy Research ERP Q2 2016 report, Collaboration software is the fastest growing department in Enterprise SaaS from ERP. Collaboration has grown by 37 percent while ERP has grown at 49 percent. Microsoft leads in Collaboration Software, but soon we may find Facebook coming in strong in the area.

The popularity of the ad blocking software has made Facebook diversify into other areas of revenue to boost its revenues. Soon we may find it engaging in CRM. It has a global network of data centers that can service any requirement for SaaS services by any size of the organization.

Friday, October 14, 2016

A Third of Time Online Spent on Social Media

According to a global report, social media takes up more than a quarter of the total time spent online. According to the report, most people have up to five social media accounts and spend more than one hour per day on these accounts. Typically, one in every three minutes an individual is online is spent on a social media site.

Facebook is the site estimated to have the most active users daily and report shows that a massive amount of the world’s population has Facebook accounts. A large percentage of people worldwide continually check their Facebook, Twitter, and other various social media accounts for updates and messages throughout the day.

The introduction of social media apps for mobile phones has also contributed to people spending more time on these sites. This is mostly common among the young people who have their phones in their hand a majority of the time. The time spent online has also overtaken the time that is spent watching TV. Many people are spending more time socializing online than watching TV. Studies show they would rather browse through their social media pages and connect with friends on Facebook or Twitter rather than watch television. Others who do watch TV will keep pausing what they’re watching to check their social pages.

Social media usage has grown significantly over the years as these sites have continued to grasp ahold of the population. Marketers have taken advantage of the wide usage of social sites to advertise their products and keep in touch with their customers. Many companies have taken their business to social sites, and this has become a key marketing channel in the world today. Companies are even hiring social media experts to run campaigns and promotions for them on these sites and many have been successful in getting new customers and reconnecting with old ones, all thanks to social media. Especially now knowing that roughly a third of time spent online is spent on social media, businesses can now realize the importance of marketing, advertising, and having a presence for customers on social media. As it becomes more integral in their customers' daily lives they must follow suit. 

People, however, are advised to watch their usage as excessive usage has the potential to lead to an addiction, and this may negatively affect their lives. Cases of reckless driving, walking into obstacles, and other accidents have been reported as a result of using social media inappropriately while engaged in other activities. For the young ones, it could be a big cause of antisocial behavior.

However, social media has so many advantages and can be a benefit if used appropriately. The sites are good channels, to chat, stay entertained, and even get goods and services. If you are a business owner, you can take advantage of that opportunity to grow your business. Just don’t spend too much time on it!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Apple and Deloitte Partner Up

Deloitte and Apple recently announced a strategic partnership which will see the two companies reap the benefits of each other’s strengths going forward. Apple is a leading tech company with innovative devices being used by professionals world over. Deloitte is the 4th largest professional services provider in the world with an army of 244,000 professionals. In an interview, Mike Brinker, the Global Digital Leader for Deloitte Digital, explained the wisdom behind this partnership and its strategic goals.

Brinker said that since the establishment of Deloitte’s mobile agency in 2010, they have helped 10,000 clients better serve their customers using mobile technology with a cumulative 1 billion Apple devices involved. The potential of iOS in transforming business processes makes Apple a natural partner for Deloitte, whose customers are interested in streamlining business operations. Deloitte is already using 100,000 Apple devices with 75 custom apps for its own staff.

Apple, on the other hand, has been leading in hardware innovation but lagging behind in enterprise solutions. There are no Apple servers or professional enterprise solution, and they are also lagging behind in cloud solutions. The partnership with Deloitte promises deeper market penetration with Deloitte as an entry point for Apple devices.

This partnership involved training of 5,000 Deloitte professionals by Apple on its products’ usage. These consultants will help craft solutions for customer businesses using Apple devices and iOS. The consultants are also tasked with overseeing the digital transformation of their customers’ workforce.

Brinker said that digital transformation involves having the workforce improve their productivity using everyday digital devices. Many people are on their devices first in the morning and right before going to bed. However, the digital element is largely lacking in the workplace. Digital transformation involves the integration of digital lifestyles with workplace productivity. The two companies have come up with a platform called Enterprise Next that will:

  • Create value maps for Deloitte customers that will help identify the best areas for deploying Apple devices, align mobile opportunities and look at digital resources.
  • Create workshops where iOS can use established prototypes to make custom built solutions for Deloitte customers
  • Have iOS architects, designers, and engineers housed in Deloitte offices worldwide where they can be deployed to make iOS native apps that will integrate into Deloitte’s enterprise solutions in CRM, HR, and analytics.

Brinker said that the world is at a great turn just as it was in 2002 when the internet grew rapidly. Digital transformation where the line between the workplace and lifestyle becomes blurred is the next frontier.