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Contact Center Solutions Week in Review: Charges for Speaking to Agent is Bad Trend

November 01, 2014

With the holiday season approaching, the Contact Center Solutions Community was filled this week with interesting insights and advice along with some interest developments. 

Let’s get started on the advice and insights sides of things. Items of note included:

  • An article I saw about the gap between agent skills and expertise required in an omni-channel world, and my views on what it is going to take for them to provide really differentiated customer experiences.
  • The need for employers as part of having the best people, especially those on the “front lines” of customer interactions, onboarded correctly.    
  • A survey in the U.K. looked at the question of whether you music on hold choices were doing more harm than good and came up with an interesting list of the most annoying ones.
  • Deloitte released it the annual holiday shopping survey that found U.S. shoppers are optimistic which means contact centers and web sites need to be prepared.   
  • A survey sponsored by Netbiscuits is another of note as we approach the holiday season since it warns retailers that the mobile experience trumps band loyalty among members of GenY and Millennials.  

In a kind of hybrid category this week, there were two items I authored, which not because of who wrote them but rather their subject matter should be of interest.

In the first, while a case study that is vendor specific (in this instance Oracle), the steps taken by major U.S. retailer Kohl’s to totally transform its back office and customer facing capabilities to assure a differentiated and basically seamless customer experience whether online or in-store. While the second article, is a rant about how my experience being charged for speaking to a contact center agent by a major airline because I needed to do something that could not be done online and got charged $25 per ticket for the privilege is scary trend this Halloween.

In addition, there are two other events in the U.S. where contact centers are critical but are not exactly shopping holidays. The one next week is Election Day where predictive dialers are a mainstay of get out the vote efforts. This will be followed on November 15 with the start of the open enrollment period for “Obamacare” which should provide an interesting stress test for all involved in helping people enroll.

On the business side of the business there were the following developments:

  • WDS is leveraging work done with Xerox on a Virtual Agent that will soon be coming to market that will continuously learn about customer requirements as interactions happen as a means to speed up business processes and improve customer experience going forward.
  • Cyara, a provider of integrated, automated customer communication systems testing software, recently announced that GlobalNet, a company that provides customer experience innovation lifecycle services, has joined the company's Expert Partner Program.
  • Indosoft, a provider of multi-tenant call center software announced that its Q-Suite has been selected for use by VitalVox, a provider of hosted call center and PBX services.
  • UIL Holdings, the parent company of The United Illuminating Company (UI), has selected Accenture, Structure and Ventyx to help improve customer communications and reduce the impact of outages by implementing outage lifecycle management solution. 
  • VoIP solutions provider AltiGen announced interoperability with Polycom. 

Two other items are of note this week. In light of the global scare as a result of the Ebola contagion, contact centers are in many ways emerging a “life lines” and many places including the State of California in the U.S. are establishing Ebola hotlines for people to obtain timely information.  

Finally, and again as it relates to health, one of the big trends in healthcare is the ability to use modern communications and computing technologies across a broad scope of patient care needs to provide more personalized experiences. In fact, you are invited to participate in the forthcoming webinar, “Improve Patient Engagement and Profitability: Embrace Consumerism and New Technology,” sponsored by Contact Center Solutions Community host, Interactive Intelligence to be held Tuesday, November 11th 2014, 11:30AM EST / 16:30 GMT.

Weekend Reading

If you are so inclined, you can use your spare time you have this weekend to catch up on industry news and trends by using the community home page as your navigation tool to constantly up-dated industry news, eBooks, whitepapers, videos, insights and interesting demos. 

Plus, visit our affiliated channels — Accounts Receivable Management, Business Process Automation, CaaS, Cloud-based Contact Centers and Insurance Technology —which contain news and insights on specific areas  of interest. 

And, in case you missed them you can still access the archived version of the webinar, How Moving Your Contact Center to the Cloud Eliminates Risk: A New Way of Evaluating Cloud TCO, and the webinar Creating Effortless Customer Engagement.