The Distributed Cloud Spawns a Unique Period of Innovation

Now that we’ve launched Interactive Intelligence PureCloudSM, I can finally talk about an area of innovation I’ve been excited about for the past year.

Like many, I used to think of innovation as a single discovery made at a specific point in time. A video by Steven Johnson, Where Good Ideas Come From, changed my thinking. He explains that important breakthroughs usually take time. That ideas have to incubate, smaller hunches need to collide, and missing pieces must be discovered before major breakthroughs and big change can happen.

When interviewing a few of the PureCloud developers a while back, it [...]

Wanted – Innovative Technology Ideas for the Contact Center

Recently, I was asked by an executive at Interactive Intelligence about how excited contact center leaders get over cool new technology. “How jacked up would they get over smart watches or voice biometrics? If we could give them what they wanted in future technology, what would be on the list of cool things they would salivate to get?”

Uncharacteristically, I was at a loss for words on how to respond. I came to the realization that it was because contact center people are mainly doers, executors, tactically-driven people that get things done. We’re not dreamers. We take action. Successfully managing [...]

Three Ways to Meet the Patient Experience Challenge

Patient engagement solutions and population management strategies have been at the top of the list for many healthcare providers. All of this is driven by recent regulations and changes enforced by the Affordable Care Act. At the end of the day, providers are looking to cut costs, reduce readmission, and avoid penalties. What many are missing is the power of the patient service centers (or contact centers) in assisting with these initiatives.

In a recent article I authored on the Advance Healthcare Network web site, entitled, “Improving Patient Engagement: Top five contact center initiatives for providers”, I outlined 5 areas [...]

Customer Experience Makeover – Contact Center Edition

Makeovers come in all shapes and sizes. New hair and makeup, new body curves, even a house transformation that makes those tired three bedrooms and 1800 square feet look shiny and new.

What if you took that same concept – out with the old and in with the new – and applied it to the experience you deliver your customers? And how about if that makeover goes right to the core of the customer experience — the contact center? Together with our friends from TMC we hatched the idea. Our plan is to do a complete, no-charge, makeover of the [...]

Learning Web Chat Lessons From Dell

Depending on the research report you read, chat looks to be the second most popular service communication channel, behind the ubiquitous telephone – and yes, ahead of email.

If that is the case, its no surprise that businesses are trying to figure out how to do chat well! Do I blend chat with my agents who also take phone calls? How many chats should an agent handle at once? What are the hiring criteria for a good chat agent? What tools do chat agents need in addition to what their phone counterparts have? What are the best KPIs to apply [...]

Racing into the New Year, What Trends will 2014 Hold for the Contact Center and UC?

Christmas will be over in just a few days. Vacations will be behind us. Family members will travel back home. And we’ll all be launching into a new year. For contact centers and unified communications, what trends can we expect to see and what surprises might lay in store?

Art Schoeller, vice president, principal analyst at Forrester Research and I (with added help from Sheila McGee-Smith, founder and principal analyst at McGee-Smith Analytics, and Don Van Doren, principal of UniComm Consulting) will be broadcasting a complimentary webinar, “Key 2014 Contact Center Trends and Priorities: How you can be ready,” where we’ll try and [...]

Self-Service and Customer Satisfaction – Do They Need to be Opposing Forces?

For years (and I suppose still for many a CFO), moving customers to self-service options was a cost savings measure, not a way to improve customer satisfaction scores. But it doesn’t have to be that way… if you do it correctly!

Let me start with a couple tips from the writers at www.softwareadvice.com in an article they published on the subject important features your self-service portals should include.

Couple their ideas about reducing customer effort and making the search bar the centerpiece of your self-service support, with a multichannel view of customer interactions and you’re off to a good start.

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Flexibility in the Cloud… What Does it Really Mean?

Anytime a vendor speaks of their cloud solution as “flexible.” It usually stops with not much more than a blanket statement that is seldom challenged, “Our cloud solution is flexible,” says the vendor. The customer might think, “It should be flexible. It’s cloud-based.” When in reality, that concept of flexibility isn’t that well understood. So what does flexibility in this context really mean and how beneficial is it to the customer?

I believe flexibility as it relates to the cloud has five main components:

Consumption flexibility – You’re not buying software licenses in the cloud world. Instead, you are paying [...]

Voice of the Customer – Are You Asking the Right Questions?

In a white paper that I co-authored with Paul Stockford of Saddletree Research on contact center metrics, ” Contact Center Metrics that Matter,” we included a focus on including the voice of the customer as a key measurement. We talked about net promoter scores and the challenges with getting a large enough sample size to make the results relevant. However, this week I was reminded of the core fundamental that while you might get the surveying process correct, if you aren’t asking the right questions, you’re missing the mark.

I presented at the Society of Telecommunications Consultants (STC) conference this week. [...]

The Consumerization of Customer Service

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. [...]