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Keeping your contact centre at the cutting edge of technology

9 min read
Author Business Systems UK
Date Oct 15, 2014
Category Contact Centre Optimisation

CONTACT CENTRE GUIDE BLOG: 5/9 recently published ‘The Contact Centre Guide’ which was sponsored by Business Systems. For those short on time, we created a series of blogs covering the highlights from each chapter.
Please find the 5th in the series below.

If you’ve seen Tony Stark in action in the latest Iron Man movies accessing information using powerful touchscreens, voice control and gesture swipes, this isn’t far from reality. These technologies are real and increasingly relevant for the tasks being asked of agents says Paul White, CEO of mplsystems. With this in mind, this article gives a taster of the technologies you are likely to find in today’s leading edge call centres.

Speech analytics
Speech analytics has been around for quite some time now and enables contact centres to structure the data that comes in by indexing and sifting through call recordings to tap into hidden insights. This allows contact centres to identify the reasons behind repeat calls, identify when agents are doing well or not and tell managers why people are calling. From a marketing perspective it mitigates the need for relying solely on focus groups to better understand customer issues.

Real-time speech analytics, decisioning and monitoring tools
The technology has evolved further with real-time speech analytics making assessments during the conversation to flag up areas like positive or negative energy on a call. With this technology call centre managers should effectively be able to solve issues before they escalate and respond and adapt to changing conditions.

Related to this is real-time monitoring and guidance technology. Art Schoeller, principal analyst at Forrester comments “real time monitoring tools mean that you can look at the activity on an agents desktop and can flag up that it’s a great place to cross-sell another product, or a great place in terms of trouble shooting and analysis to ask the customer a specific question.” He adds “Overall 29% of contact centres are now listening to audio to identify spoken patterns between the agents and customers for root cause analysis.”

Voice biometrics
Voice biometrics or voice printing has also been around for some time and is typically used to mitigate and minimise fraud. As Donna Fluss, principal of DMG consulting puts it “It allows organisations to eliminate having to ask callers for their name, social security number and address, when sometimes all they might be phoning for is to ask what the operating hours are, for instance. It can save a tremendous amount of time – anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds per call because some of the verification processes are really involved. So there is real payback.”

For the last year or so, interest has also grown in video and how it can be used to capitalise on supporting the service experience. Forrester research indicates that almost a fifth of call centre managers are planning to introduce or upgrade video support over the next two years. Typical applications include how-to videos, video check-in and virtual receptionist to reduce contact centres costs, convert prospects to buyers and engage existing customers.

Some real life case studies according to Gartner Analyst Johan Jacobs include “Virgin Mobile TV in Australia, which is using video tutorials of 2-3 minutes to take customers through the entire set up process step by step, reducing support calls by 4%.”

NHS 24 is another good example of it being deployed and according Anne Marie Forsyth, Chief Executive of the Customer Contact Association “they have been using video a lot for diagnosis and saving time in travel.”

Mobile and mobile apps
As smartphone adoptions soars, mobile integration is emerging as a priority for an increasing number of contact centres. Forrester reported that 68% of call centre decision makers suggest that mobile is important for the long-term success of their customer relationships. This makes sense as smartphones are predicted to overtake PCs as the primary source of access to the internet by 2015 certainly within the US and this is driving businesses to explore how the device can support and improve the contact centre experience.

With so many smartphone studies showing that many users spend more time using their mobile apps rather than mobile internet browsers, there is growing interest in customer service apps. Air Asia has achieved some great success with its service app implementation, giving customers the ability to ask questions through their smart phone. Introduction of the app is said to have resulted in a 40% reduction in contact centre costs.

Paul Smedley executive director of the professional planning forum sums it up nicely “it’s a good way forward because more and more consumers have got their phones with them all the time.”

Desktop analytics
Lastly we draw your attention to desktop analytics which keeps track of everything taking place on employee desktops, analysing and reporting on activity to improve productivity and quality. At its most basic it allows contact centres to monitor systems and agents, identifying quickly when there are problems, such as underperforming staff and giving agents or back-office employees the information they need in a format that speeds up processing, accuracy and turnaround time.

Donna Fluss says “Desktop analytics is an emerging area. Very few companies are doing this right now, but there is a lot of thought going into it.”

Read the ‘Contact Centre Guide Blog 1/9 – The changing contact centre – and what you can do about it’ here.