by Maddy Hubbard on October 5th, 2015
Over the past 15 years or so, mobile phones have become ubiquitous while home landlines are disappearing. In fact, today 55% of households can only be contacted via a wireless device. This creates a challenge for contact centers trying to connect with their customers.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) has strict regulations about contacting consumers’ mobile phones and devices. That means sending a reminder, delivering an important notification, or collecting a debt without explicit consent for wireless number communication could result in huge financial exposure.
But how can you be sure you’re compliant with the TCPA?
Aspect leads the outbound dialing market with multi-channel contact options and a full set of advanced list and campaign optimization compliance capabilities that make it easier for you to comply with regulatory dialing requirements. We can help your business identify and manage wireless numbers, adopt strategies for capturing and maintaining consent, and improve efficiencies when dialing with or without captured consent – with a primary focus on addressing regulatory restrictions.
Join us for an online event, October 21st at 1:00 PM EDT to understand how Aspect can help your business facilitate compliance with outbound engagement solutions that:
#1. Remove the capabilities that trigger the TCPA “autodial/auto-message capacity” criteria while maintaining the efficiencies lost when using other vendors’ manual dialing systems.
#2. Use advanced list and campaign management for precise routing control of consent vs. non-consent wireless numbers within the same record.
#3. Maintain your ability to take advantage of routing, tracking, and recording capabilities that are needed to meet the many non-TCPA legal requirements.
Don’t be one of the uninformed call centers that attempt TCPA compliance by opting for systems that are inefficient, costly to the business, and devoid of the tracking features necessary to comply with non-TCPA regulatory requirements. Attend this webinar to understand how Aspect solutions can help.
by Tim Dreyer on September 30th, 2015
App fatigue sounds like the quintessential first world problem doesn’t it? “Oh I have way too many apps to open and close on my iPhone 6s. My thumb is sore and I’m burning…like many seconds opening and closing all these things. This is unacceptable.”
And yet, in a productivity driven world, we constantly want faster, more efficient lives. Combine the rapid growth of messaging apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat with the maturity of social apps like Facebook and Twitter and throw in texting and emailing and you could literally hold 10 conversations on 10 different platforms with just a single person. Imagine then the challenge brands face. How best to reach and engage customers in the era of everything? The answer? Robots. Or bots to be exact.
A great article by the Teamchat CEO in TechCrunch this morning on the rise of messaging bots which could be just what the doctor ordered to cure us from our suffering.
Messaging bots can understand and create messages just like people do and can tap into any data cache to answer questions and actually execute actions automatically. Which for brands, creates automated, accurate and incredibly quick service responses to customers who prefer text and messaging interaction anyway.
Bots can automatically respond to questions like “Where is the power cord I ordered?” or “Can I add international roaming to my plan next month?” Aspect calls this technology “Interactive Text Response” because it automates conversations, transactions and workflows over text-based channels. Consumers get faster answers using channels they prefer and companies deliver convenient service at an ultra low cost.
As I wrote back in July, messaging apps are rapidly becoming a greenfield engagement opportunity for brands. The user bases are growing by the millions and these consumers are increasingly looking for easy self-service options for engaging the companies they do business with. An automated customer service bot that can handle all simple transactions and service queries may just be the perfect addition to your customer service team.
by Maddy Hubbard on September 29th, 2015
Today’s tech-savvy customers aren’t afraid to abandon their shopping carts or move along if they can’t quickly find the help they need. They know all too well that finding other options are as easy as a click or a swipe away.
What if you could always be at the right place at the right time to give your customers the help they need directly from your mobile app or website?
You’ve likely heard of WebRTC, but do you know why it should be a part of your integrated contact center strategy? Read our new whitepaper, Q&A: What You Need to Know About WebRTC and find out!
And, if you’d like to see WebRTC in action, register for the CRMXchange Tech Showcase, How WebRTC Resolves the Conflict of Increasing Customer Touchpoints While Decreasing Cost, presented by Aspect on October 15, 2015 at 1:00 PM EDT.
by Michael Kropidlowski on September 28th, 2015
For decades companies big and small have been trying to figure out how to provide customers with better service. One theory is that the better service your company provides, the happier your customers are and in turn they reward you through their loyalty.
That’s probably because many of you feel like today’s customer service expectations are like shifting sands – always changing and difficult to keep pace with – making it challenging to plan for and strategize about service improvement and differentiation.
Today’s consumers are different. They are smarter and more powerful than ever before. They have greater expectations of the organizations they do business with. The challenge is meeting and then exceeding these expectations to build a meaningful relationship with customers.
Consumers are defining the service standards for brands. And the scary part is that brands, in turn, are not able to define their customers or even recognize them…and that is a big problem because their very market success depends on delivering service experiences that drive customer loyalty.
The good news is we are starting to see patterns in survey data that definitely give us solid information about what today’s consumers are looking for when it comes to service. In our own Aspect research in conjunction with the Center of Generational Kinetics, we looked at consumer attitudes, expectations, preferences and customer service priorities by generation and found the following:
- Customer Service = Customer Experience
- Communication Preferences Drive Customer Experience Expectations
- The Future of Customer Service is Self-service
This research is important because never before have CEOs, marketers and customer experience leaders been responsible for navigating such a challenging set of customer expectations colliding with rapid technological innovation. Today’s leaders are grappling with how to serve four generations of customers and integrate mobile, digital, social media, in-person and content strategies—all at the same time! Omni-channel is the channel.
There is light on the horizon however. In a September 3, 2015 Huffington Post article, 2015 State of Service – 15 Key Business Findings, Vala Afshar summarizes the recent Salesforce.com annual survey of more than 1,900 global customer service leaders into 15 key business findings to better understand and highlight service trends in 2015.
Similar to our research around consumer attitudes, expectations, preferences and customer service priorities by generation, Afshar wrote of the 2015 State of Service report that the research found customer service leaders are realizing that Omni-channel customers drive a service sea change and stated, “Not surprisingly, the research found that customers today expect service on their own terms: whenever they need it and in whichever digital channel they inhabit. The challenge for service providers is to ensure delivery of consist customer experience, across all channels, at all times.”
In addition to Omni-Channel, self-service was reported as surging due to the changing customer mindset and a preference by Millennials for self-service options and online support over live service. Again, service leaders report that they understand that today’s consumers want self-service options that are personalized and available how and when they want it.
To learn more about consumer expectations and gain insight from global leaders of service organizations, I encourage you to reference the above mentioned resources to understand today’s consumer and how service leaders are planning to stabilize shifting sands and build a strong service foundation for better customer experiences in 2015 and beyond.
by Tobias Goebel on September 24th, 2015
Enterprises right and left struggle with a number of strategic imperatives around customer engagement. One among them is “avoiding the call.” Competitive pressure and an ongoing desire to cut costs drives organizations to look for ways to automate customer service and elevate the role of their contact center agents by leveraging them for more sophisticated inquiries and complex problems. Automation however cannot come at the price of customer alienation. And it doesn’t have to as it presents an opportunity to differentiate.
Research shows us that customers, among them the millennial generation (Gen Y), now the largest group of the current workforce, actually prefer to self-serve. They even tell us that many of them would rather clean a toilet (ouch!) than talk to a customer service representative. And if they had a choice, they would pick texting as the preferred method to communicate. And they prefer other mobile channels to phone calls.
I hear the contact center managers among you counter: “But voice traffic isn’t actually going down as much as you think! Our customers are still calling us, so what are we to do? And besides that, we already have a mobile app for customer care, but it isn’t being used!”
I believe the answer lies in two things: psychology and technology (in that order).
Psychology For decades, customers have been trained that the only meaningful way to get in touch with a business is to pick up a phone and dial a number. “That’s how we’ve been doing it for almost a century now! It’s worked great, why change!?” I see “human inertia” at work. So changing that behavior requires some training and re-education. And that’s where we need to come in and become proactive.
Technology In a previous post (Innovation and Connecting the Unconnected), I pointed to some showcases of how connecting existing technologies can actually produce innovation in customer service. Most mobile apps have been developed in silos which is problematic because there are always cases where the mobile customer needs live help. Forcing customers that are already using a mobile app to call and go through an IVR that then asks them to pre-qualify for their agent contact or offering them a list of phone numbers to dial is throwing away all the precious contextual data from the app experience (authentication, usage, navigation history). Keeping the entire interaction in one location like the rich environment of the mobile app or a website brings all that context together for a far better experience.
Here’s how organizations can ‘Avoid the Call’ while actually improving the customer experience:
Integrate your mobile app with your contact center
Leverage the assets you have. Adding contact center integration does not require rebuilding your app. It just requires some re-factoring as well as a redesign that prequalifies the call where it belongs, thus bypassing the IVR completely and equipping the agent with everything they need to know before the first word is spoken. This helps reduce Average Handling Time (AHT), increase First Contact Resolution (FCR).
Integrate your Website with your contact center
Add contact center integration and turn your static phone number into an actionable button for help. As a next step, add collaboration and co-browsing to your website so your agents are enabled to help the customer in ways not possible before. “Let me show you what I mean” suddenly becomes a reality. As the final step, introduce video where it makes sense. Video can translate to trust, which is what you need in an eCommerce environment.
Offer callbacks vs. wait times
Stop forcing customers to remain on the line. It costs you money and them time. The alternative? Tap into the contact center queue for wait times, communicate those wait times on your website and mobile app (hide it behind an authentication wall if necessary), announce it in your IVR, and let your customers schedule or ask for immediate callbacks. There are even ways to predict the best time for YOU to call your customer back – you still have a contact center to manage after all.
Gracefully lead your customer from phone to mobile channels
There will still be those customers that pick up the phone and call you. So what can you do? Help them. Show them what’s possible. Offer them a callback when they “zero out” of the IVR or get to the point of transfer. Better yet, suggest mobile self-service to customers to try while waiting for the callback. Customers won’t lose their position in the queue, and chances are they might resolve their issue in your self-service application. At Aspect, we call this InQueue Self-Service. The app gets sent via a link embedded in an SMS text message (no download required) and it works across all smartphone platforms, and it is fully context-enabled: no tedious login screens or long menus to navigate; the app continues the experience from the IVR application seamlessly. The best part? If it thinks it could resolve your issue, it asks you to cancel the callback. If you still think you want to talk to someone, it rewards you for having tried self-service by putting you in a higher-priority queue.
Bottom-line: Engage your customers where they are. Show them the art of the possible. Do good, and then talk about it. Tell your customers what you are doing to improve their experience. They will thank you. And save you costs.
by Bob Trine on September 22nd, 2015
During the throws of day to day operations, nurses, medical secretaries and physicians are often facilitating communication between physicians and patients. Patients call daily with triage questions, inquiries about medical instructions, updates on changes in conditions, and to receive test results. Patient calls are typically categorized by a clerical operator and in turn sent on to nursing staff or the physician for further action.
- Clerical operators and secretaries use roll over and voice mail when they are busy assisting other callers.
- Patients often call the offices repeatedly until they hear a live voice.
- Patients invariably complain that they do not receive a return call from their physician’s office.
- Office managers use anecdotes or word of mouth to measure the call volumes by provider.
Call volumes to the doctors’ offices have increased since the discussions around the Accountable Care Act began to circulate.
At a time when consumers are spending less time on the phone overall, patients are phoning their doctors more than ever, medical professionals report: Phone calls to physician practices have increased between 25 and 50% since 2008, estimates Mary Pat Whaley, president of Manage my Practice, which advises doctors across the country on running their offices. Between the economic downturn and rising insurance co-pays and deductibles, “People are really trying to avoid going to the doctor if at all possible,” Whaley says. Instead, they pick up the phone, looking for free medical advice: Physicians “have seen a drastic change in how many phone calls the practices are getting,” she says.
With the changes in Healthcare, workforce management is a necessity not only for call centers but for the doctors’ offices as well. In order to accommodate the rise in phone communication; tracking of call patterns as well as the seasonal ebbs and flows is a must. Trends must be analyzed and forecasted by specialty. Average handle times of calls can also be documented. A practice can examine the types of calls and their length in order to restructure their staffing matrix. Practice administrators must alter their staffing to allow for clerical and clinical staff to focus on inbound and outbound calls.
Workforce management will allow for proper staffing to enable the back office staff to manage the coordination of the physician’s schedules based on the patients’ demand for communication. There will be accountability for responding as well as standard turnaround times depending on the type of call that was placed by the patient. With the addition of workforce management in the doctor’s offices, physicians can ensure that none of their patients are forgotten. Aspect’s Workforce Management has the potential to become the new patient advocate in the back office!
by Tim Dreyer on September 18th, 2015
Ahoy Matey, Its’s the Eve of Talk Like a Pirate Day but shiver me timbers no one talks anymore. Everyone texts.
Find Your Pirate Name. Text ‘Sail ho’ to: 407-902-2226.
It be a good thing then that arrrrr CXP platform makes it easy to design, implement and deploy yer customer contact applications across multiple communication channels, like voice, text, mobile web, social networks and them smartphone applications. So we be invitin’ ye to experience how Aspect CXP works on Talk Like a Pirate Day. You’ll be wantin’ ta TEXT like a pirate ta learn yer real pirate name and hear a few good jokes over the phone if yer feelin’ jolly.
Go ahead and text ‘Sail ho’ ta 407-902-2226. And if ye be bold enough ta share yer name on Twitter you’ll be wanting to use the hashtag #TextLikeAPirate.
by Super Agent Erica on September 16th, 2015
When you think about improving the customer experience, the back office might not be the first thing that comes to mind. After all, most customer-facing interactions happen in the front office. But without the speed, efficiency and quality of effective back office operations, your front office agents can be left answering to unhappy customers.
If a front office agent makes a promise to your customers, make sure your back office has the processes and performance in place to back that promise up. As we all know, it’s not “promises” that keep customers coming back… it’s results!
Take a look at the infographic below for back office strategies behind keeping some of the most common customer promises.
by Michael Ely, VP Technology R&D on September 14th, 2015
The day of connected devices is here. Mere possibilities with IoT (Internet of Things) a few short years ago are today’s realities and wearables like the Apple Watch or connected home devices like Nest are just a few examples. While the majority of IoT attention goes to consumer devices, the most critical market for IoT has yet to reach its full potential: healthcare.
Healthcare has a great opportunity to improve the patient experience and even more incentive to do so as The Affordable Care Act (ACA) placed a new emphasis on the patient experience with a greater focus on decreasing avoidable readmissions after patient discharge. Readmissions are not only detrimental to patient health but also represent a huge cost to care providers. Healthcare experts estimate that in 2013 about $17 billion was spent on potentially avoidable readmissions. This is where The Internet of Things can make an impact with remote patient monitoring through connected devices.
Aspect’s latest research shows that health care is the industry most likely to adopt changes to technology in the next two years. In fact, 91% of health care professionals believe in the positive impact of cloud technology investment. But what exactly does the future of healthcare look like in a connected world?
Here’s a few examples of how IoT can help improve patient health and lower healthcare costs.
- Wearable connected devices. Patients recently discharged from the hospital can be issued a device to monitor vital signs (heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, temperature) and other necessary readings such as glucose levels. Data would be sent to the healthcare provider over a secure connection and an alert would be triggered if the readings were outside the acceptable range. This information can also be used by the doctor during follow-up visits or for patient education on better lifestyle choices.
- Connected household device. In a similar way, families may choose to keep a simple device in their home and use it as needed. Think of a more sophisticated internet-enabled thermometer. Parents of a child feeling ill may have their child wear the device and have his/her vital information sent to their healthcare provider to determine if an appointment is necessary. And with WebRTC, this child may even have a consultation with his/her doctor before deciding whether or not to go in for a visit. With the video-capabilities, the patient can even show their healthcare provider visible symptoms to help with a diagnoses. These type of consultations can be helpful to stop the spread of contagious diseases as it will keep the infected patient out of populated areas like the emergency waiting room.
- Prescription drug monitoring. Makers of prescription drugs are already using IoT to monitor the integrity of their prescriptions. One company placed sensors under the labels on pill bottles. The bottles are monitored prior to arriving at a pharmacy to ensure that they have not been tampered with. Imagine if the monitoring continued into a patient’s home? Alerts could be sent to patients if their medication has not been taken on time or if too many pills have been taken.
Getting patients on board with using connected devices will be making them patient-controlled. Patients should be able to take the devices on and off at their will and control the data they are sharing. Many might feel more comfortable wearing a device and knowing that if their readings go outside of the expected range, a healthcare professional will be alerted and the patient would be followed up with via the channel of their choice. And at the patient’s request, family/friends can be alerted if needed. Patients have been embracing wearable technology for years, like First Alert. IoT is just taking it one step further.
These examples are realities with technology today. Customer service has gone beyond basic phone calls and can have a positive impact on patient health.
Incremental Improvement Is Not Enough: Companies Need To Rethink The Entire Customer Service Experience
by Stewart Bloom, CEO on September 10th, 2015
A recent Aspect study found that 70% of consumers don’t want to talk to a customer service agent if they don’t have to – they’d rather have the ability to solve product and service issues on their own. They are also increasingly frustrated with the service they are getting, so much so that over half quit doing business with a company last year because of poor customer service. Let’s face it, when one in four consumers would rather change a dirty diaper than speak to customer service, it’s clear that the delta between customer service excellence and consumer expectation is wider than any of us could have imagined.
As a company that supplies consumer interaction solutions to more than half of the Fortune 500 companies, Aspect is obsessed with helping our customers close this gap. Today’s consumer is mobile, tech-savvy, self-reliant, and wants to do things their way, on their schedule and on their terms.
With customer service increasingly being THE competitive differentiator in today’s brutally competitive marketplace, the contact center can make or break a company’s ability to retain and recruit customers.
Without a doubt, it is a challenging but exciting time in consumer engagement. And with these challenges come opportunities and our job here at Aspect is to help our customers make the most of those them.
There are 3 significant shifts taking place today that can help companies do just that:
First, the Cloud. Companies moving their enterprise transactions to the cloud are realizing better business economics, reallocating CapEx expenditures to core investment areas, and enjoying faster time to value than companies who have not. Those companies who are exploiting the cloud have the ability to scale their businesses up and down to the demands of the market.
The second shift is the Internet of Things. Countless companies are bringing new capabilities to healthcare, to consumers, to transportation, and to public infrastructure through IoT. In the next 5 years there will be 28 billion new connected devices in the marketplace. We are going to have a level of access to data and information real-time or near real-time across business processes in a way we never had before. How well we acquire, aggregate, analyze and act on that information will largely determine industry winners and losers over the next several years.
Lastly, disruption. New companies are not only disrupting old companies but they are disrupting entire markets and industries in ways we couldn’t image just a few years ago. Look at companies like Uber, Airbnb and Lending Club who are wreaking havoc on traditional business models. Any company not continually looking for new and different ways to deliver better customer value is simply at risk. Significant progress only comes from such disruption and companies who seize this opportunity will thrive in their ability to produce superior outcomes to customers and shareholders alike.
At Aspect, we dedicate ourselves to helping customers understand these drivers of change, the implications to their daily business processes and the consumer-engagement solutions that build long-term customer loyalty and sustainable value. Because it’s not enough to incrementally improve in customer service, today’s consumer is in control. So whether that experience is in the cloud or on premise, through automated self-service or with an agent, each and every channel of customer interaction must be rethought, reworked, integrated, and reimagined. Companies who do this will survive and thrive. Those that don’t, won’t.