Essential Guide

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Modernization in today's contact centers

This essential guide examines the components necessary for a modern contact center, focusing on infrastructure, technology, multichannel practices and ways to impact customer experience.

Introduction

The telephone used to be the primary device to connect companies with customers. If a problem arose with a product or service, a customer often picked up the phone to get the issue resolved. As new communication technologies become available, it's imperative for companies to broaden their capabilities.

In today's high-touch, constantly connected world where information spreads instantaneously, the term call center is limiting. Many companies have replaced theirs with a contact center, where agents must adapt to new technologies and communication channels that extend beyond the phone. Companies need to service customers regardless of the communication method they use, including voice, text, email, live chat, the company website or social media.

This guide examines the upgrades and strategies contact centers need to navigate this challenging terrain. Whether it's a new infrastructure or a plan for integrating multichannel CRM or just making sure your customers have the best possible experience when interacting with you, taking steps to create a modern contact center is essential for surviving in today's business world.

1Strategies-

Upgrading contact center infrastructure and technology

Infrastructure is the engine of modern contact centers, the thing that makes everything run. With new technologies comes the imperative for contact centers to adapt and upgrade their capabilities as necessary to keep pace with customer demand in an ever-connected world. But there are still myriad questions about the best way to staff and outfit contact centers for maximum efficiency, productivity and high-quality customer service.

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Challenges of achieving a seamless, connected data stream

Customers now determine which communication channel they will use to contact a company. Modern contact centers need to make sure their infrastructure is upgraded and can communicate with customers across all channels. Continue Reading

Tip

Hosted vs. on-premises contact centers

Would your business prefer a do-it-yourself approach to building a contact center or outsource all the work? The big question is cost and, depending on the company's size, this factor will drive the decision to go with a hosted or on-premises structure. Continue Reading

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Legacy applications in the modern contact center

CRM systems are evolving, and contact centers' software must be upgraded so they can understand customers better. But how should legacy applications be integrated? Some experts advise just leaving them in place. Continue Reading

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Agents wield emotion analytics to improve customer service

Beyond Verbal software measures speakers' vocal intonation to determine their emotional state. It can do this for both the customer and the contact center agent, and display the visual data in real time, tracking the mood of their interaction with advanced analytics. Continue Reading

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Debating the value of virtual call centers

If your goal is cost-cutting and flexibility, moving to a virtual call center may be right for you. But these centers' merits when it comes to providing good customer service are still up for debate. Continue Reading

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Is outsourcing right for you?

For companies unsure on how to navigate the labor-intensive realm of contact centers, outsourcing might be a viable option -- it's whether, what and how to outsource that is the hard part. Continue Reading

Quiz

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Think you're an expert on modern contact center technology? Test your knowledge. Continue Reading

2Trends-

Tips for success for modern multichannel contact centers

The telephone is no longer the only device that connects customers and companies. Rather than one single channel, modern contact centers need to be versatile in their scope as they communicate with customers across a broad range of channels, from voice to text to social media. Metrics and strategies for success with this new mandate can be difficult to pinpoint.

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Embracing multichannel realities

Contact centers' value increases when they support more new technologies. It's a world dominated by multiple channels, and modern contact centers' strategy must be proactive. Continue Reading

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Making sense of multichannel through metrics

Meeting customers on their preferred channel of choice is a no-brainer, but what determines success in those channels? It's the metrics the business uses that will determine the quality of the customer service it provides. Continue Reading

Podcast

Shift to multichannel requires clear planning

In the rush to convert to multichannel customer service, companies are jumping headlong into the fray without considering how this new strategy will integrate with their existing structures. It's hard enough to connect data between different channels, but a company's inability to communicate information between departments could be the death knell for its reputation. Continue Reading

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Examples of modern-day multichannel CRM

Multichannel customer service is all about reaching customers when and how they want to be reached. Our expert runs down a few companies that are leading in the race to multichannel conversion. Continue Reading

Podcast

Omnichannel as the holy grail of customer service

A step forward from multichannel customer service is omnichannel, or the ability for companies to quickly pivot among channels -- whether social, phone, email or a company's website – to communicate with customers. It's a difficult concept to achieve in practice, however, as both vendors and companies still have a lot of work to do to make it a reality. Continue Reading

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Community forums foster customer engagement

Community forums have replaced focus groups as a means for customers to communicate actionable product information to companies, which then use that feedback to solve issues and impact other areas of business. Find out why these forums have become powerful in today's customer age. Continue Reading

3Best practices-

Customer experience and modern contact centers

The customer experience is paramount to the objectives of any modern contact center. Customers come to contact centers through many different channels but seeking one thing: quick, positive solutions to their problems. A negative experience can have far-reaching repercussions in today's interconnected world, where a single social post can go viral instantly and hurt a company's brand. Automation, hosted contact centers and practices to keep employees engaged can all have different impacts, positive or negative, on the customer experience.

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Automation still no substitute for human contact

Automation has streamlined processes and brought new efficiencies. But in the era of high-stakes customer service, automation can also be tone-deaf to customer needs. Continue Reading

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Getting it right the first time

First-contact resolution can be a difficult goal to achieve as companies chase this "uber metric." It can be even harder to measure, too, as advanced practices tend to differ greatly. Continue Reading

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Customer service still largely phone-based

Contact over the phone is still the method of choice for many customers when they want to interact with a company, especially if something has gone wrong with a product or service. Continue Reading

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Customer experience unaffected by moving to hosted contact centers

The cloud is an enticing feature that has caused enterprises to move to hosted contact centers. This requires ceding control to an external entity, a move that makes some companies gun-shy. On the positive end, there is no discernable difference in the customer experience inherent in employing a hosted model, and there are advantages to those who do. Continue Reading

Podcast

Employee engagement coming to the forefront

Keeping customers engaged is the lifeblood of any CRM system. Similarly, keeping contact center agents engaged and happy is seen as an emerging trend that pays dividends on the customer satisfaction end. Continue Reading

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How a call center social network made an impact

BSkyB, a London-based satellite TV and telecommunications provider, wanted to connect its 15,000 global employees who had trouble finding answers to difficult questions. It found a solution in an employee social network that improved internal communication and consequently improved customer service and satisfaction. Continue Reading

Podcast

Letting people be people

If agents depend on a script, modern contact center interactions can become depersonalized. Our expert implores managers to make customer interactions genuine and human by trashing prepackaged scripts and encouraging a looser, free-flowing conversation. Continue Reading

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