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Whitepaper and eBook Archive

Additional White Papers and Articles

4 Steps Toward Virtualizing Your Contact Center

In today’s world, practically all products and services are commoditized, leaving service as a key differentiator and making the delivery of excellent customer service an important part of your company’s strategy. Delivering excellent customer service requires an effective and efficient Contact Center organization. However, legacy infrastructures increase the complexity and cost of service processes; outdated technology is not able to support the level of service today’s customers want. Virtualizing resources across your Contact Center operations — front office, back office, and branch offices, both internal and outsourced resources — allows your organization to use economies of scale to drive efficiencies and customer satisfaction. A standardized and simplified virtual architecture will also reduce the Total Cost of Ownership of your Contact Center infrastructure. [more…]

5 Initiatives to Make Your Contact Center an ACA Customer Service Powerhouse

In the contact center environment, a market transformation like the ACA brings the excitement and possibility of technology advances, process improvements, and a new outlook to increase business. To capitalize fully, it’s important that these elements are preceded by clear and well-planned initiatives to improve the customer experience and credibility for the organization. For the ACA in particular, five initiatives, working together, can generate measureable improvements for the contact center and your organization’s approach to customer service. [more…]

6 Undeniable Reasons Why Utilities Must Think Digital for Customer Engagement

Customer engagement at utilities is undergoing radical change. Driving this change are heightened customer expectations for the ways a utility company enables customers to contact and interact with them. A customer’s aim, of course, is still to complete intended service tasks successfully — but to do so in ways that are faster and more convenient. These expectations for an improved service experience are being shaped largely by technology that enables multichannel communications. [more…]

7 Drivers for Buying an Integrated Contact Center Suite

New efforts to enhance customer experience (CX) involve exciting new technologies. But the keys to CX success and return on technology investments lie in the proper integration of capabilities, processes and tools. Study after study shows how improving CX leads to loyal customers who spend more, and recommend your company to others. At the same time, better managing your back office while continuously optimizing both the efficiency and happiness of your workforce has a huge impact on your bottom line. With a truly integrated contact center, you can have it all – top line growth combined with bottom line cost savings and productivity enhancements. The evolution from legacy tools and the days of voice-first interactions, to a breadth of digital channels and devices supporting a wide range of customer journeys, makes the choice of platform and capabilities critical. [more…]

Advanced Analytics and Actionable Intelligence: How Ambit Energy is using data analytics to deliver business value

Data and effective use of technology are prominent in the decision-making processes for Ambit Energy. In fact, data is at the core of new product development and initiatives to transform the customer experience. Find out how the company’s focus on data as a strategic asset touches every aspect of how it manages operations and customer relationships. […]

Best Practices for Contact Center Routing

Successful contact center routing designs optimize the customer experience while addressing internal business objectives for revenue, retention and operational efficiency. Careful consideration and planning are needed to architect solutions that effectively address both the customer side and the business side of the equation. The resulting designs must cost-effectively deliver low effort customer experiences while supporting all relevant touchpoints across both simple interactions and important customer journeys (e.g. new account, problem resolution, renewal, etc.). [more…]

Best Practices for Successfully Deploying and Using Speech Analytics

Speech analytics is a powerful technology, but is as much an art as it is a science. This whitepaper and how-to guide tells you how to successfully plan, prepare for, deploy, and implement a speech analytics solution. Learn industry best practices, how to avoid common pitfalls, and why context matters just as much as content when analyzing agent-customer interactions. [more…]

Best Practices in Customer Callback Strategy Design and Implementation

Customer loyalty is a focus for most business organizations… yet it can be hard to cultivate. These days customers are less tolerant of service that doesn’t meet their expectations. They express their dissatisfaction via social media. They’re fickle in the relationship they have with almost any company. In the pursuit of loyalty, implementing a customer callback strategy is one more tool to add to your customer service toolbox. [more…]

Best Practices in Process Automation

Most businesses have a greater need for business process automation than they realize. Learning how to successfully automate a process, however, takes practice. Read about best practices that can help your organization build success into each process it automates, from a process automation expert. [more…]

Beyond the Insurance Contact Center

Direct sales. Policy servicing. Claims. In the insurance industry, call centers have become increasingly sophisticated in terms of their business capabilities and enabling technologies. It’s an evolution that, according to Mark Breading of SMA Strategy Meets Action, can be characterized as: 1.0 the call center, 2.0 the contact center, and 3.0 the communications center. [more…]

Blueprint for Contact Center Modernization

Many organizations have identified the need to move away from their existing closed, proprietary call center infrastructure to a modern, multi-channel Contact Center that meets the needs of the 21st century customer. To do this, organizations need to transition away from traditional digital switching platforms such as ACD and PBX to an IP-centric solution – which can drive greater business value, improve agent productivity, virtualize agent resources, reduce infrastructure costs and, above all – improve the customer experience (CX). This eBook will help you evaluate seven potential areas of Contact Center modernization – based on best practices and industry recommendations – to provide the best return on investment for your business while delivering great customer experiences. [more…]

Building Customer Centricity through Expertise-Based Interactions

The demand for customer centricity is not only increasing it’s becoming the driving principle behind any successful customer service strategy. Learn more about the recommended approach to customer centricity. [more…]

Business Value of Consolidating and Centralizing Communications

Increasingly powerful servers. Robust IP infrastructures. Innovative architecture designs. For contact centers, it’s getting easier to consolidate and centralize communications architectures and realize the benefits. There are fewer applications and physical boxes to be administered and maintained. And costs are reduced. But according to Don Van Doren, president of Vanguard Communications and Brad Herrington, [more…]

Contact Center Crystal Ball

The best equipped contact center executives tame the uncertainty of their environment with good management and with the help of mathematical models. These models provide the next best thing to an operational crystal ball — they alert, evaluate operational risk, and propose business and resourcing solutions. And now, the best of these models determine expected experience delivery. [more…]

Contact Center Enterprise Analytics: Advances in Decision Technologies

Enable a whole new class of contact center analytics. How and why do executives make strategic decisions in contact centers? What is the standard process? Enter enterprise analytics, the application of specialized decision technologies to contact center performance monitoring, forecasting, scenario development, plan development and evaluation, business risk analysis, and ultimately, strategic decision-making. [more…]

Contact Center Planning: Agility is Key

Planning should be flexible, adaptive, automated, and optimized. That’s why leading contact centers are moving toward flexible plans to improve contact center performance: the organization, technologies, and business decisions that are current best practices. [more…]

Customer Experience: the Journey from Good to Great

For decades, customer centers have focused on providing an acceptable level of service by emphasizing efficiency and internal operational metrics. While this approach has long provided a sound foundation for meeting customer needs, the leap from good to great requires a different journey. In this paper we pose and respond to a series of questions to guide you through this journey. [more…]

Delivering Easy and Engaging Customer Experiences

Customer experience has become a significant element of C level executive thinking. There is a growing recognition that customer expectations for service levels are rising, and that there are ways to meet those expectations with new technologies and new philosophies.

Frank Tersigni of Altivon recently sat down with Debra Russell from Seattle Public Utilities, and Denise DiTrapani of Southwest Gas, to discuss trends and actions that their organizations are taking to ensure a great customer experience. [more…]

Deriving Value from Skills-Based Routing: A Guide to Implementing Skills-Based Routing Effectively

Basic skills-based routing lets a contact center exploit the benefits of a specialized workforce and harness the economies of pooled resources. But with best practices to add intelligence, consider degrees of capability within a skill, and adapt routing based on business criteria and conditions, contact centers can leverage agent proficiency at higher levels and realize [more…]

Driving to One Percent

In the accounts receivable management industry, automated dialing has become the most prominent tool used for consumer outreach. Call analysis is arguably the most critical capability of automated dialing as it directly impacts operations, overall account workflow, and profitability. So how much can be gained with every 1% improvement in call analysis? Let’s explore further. [more…]

Enabling Collaboration in Insurance

Technologies such as chat, real-time videoconferencing, SMS text messaging, skills-based routing, and speech analytics are examples of a range of new technologies employed for collaboration. These technologies are individually important, but will provide the most value for insurers when combined with foundational capabilities for process management, communications, and content management. Applying collaboration technologies and foundational capabilities to specific insurance business problems is enabling insurers to supercharge collaboration and realize the true promise of collaborating for competitive advantage. [more…]

Evolving Role of Process Automation and the Customer Service Experience

True, customer service usually starts in the contact center. But a customer’s satisfaction might easily come down to support staff and knowledge workers in other areas of the business. With advances in contact center automation, businesses are finding they can extend the same automation to service processes and touch-points throughout their organization. When they do, [more…]

Excelling at Mobile Customer Service

Smartphones and mobile apps have provided newfound freedom and convenience to consumers, yet businesses still struggle in determining how best to use these new tools to their advantage. Read how your business can gain that advantage by delivering the type of mobile experience users have come to expect, from Michael Finneran of dBrn Associates and [more…]

Executive Summary – Consolidating Infrastructures: IT’s New Call to Business

Information technology isn’t just about technology anymore. For CIOs and IT leaders, an emerging corporate objective is to generate new IT-based products, services and revenue streams — a business model that’s requiring IT to consolidate multi-point architectures into a leaner, more agile infrastructure able to execute at the business’s pace. Read about the various consolidation [more…]

Exceptional Customer Experience: It’s All About the Process

Effective business processes help create a positive customer experience. So why do processes break down, and why do companies continually incorporate them when they’re “broken”? Fixing dysfunctional service-related processes requires addressing four general problem areas first. Read how to identify and fix those areas, and service will consistently exceed customer expectations. [more…]

Executive Summary: How Much Staff Do You Need, and How Do You Know?

Knowing your contact center is staffed correctly requires having the appropriate service standards for each of your contact types. But what is “appropriate”? Should you run at 80% of all calls handled in 20 seconds? Should it be longer or shorter? Should it be different by season? Learn what goes into making these kinds of [more…]

Extending Contact Center Capabilities Across the Insurance Enterprise

IT strategies in insurance have traditionally been driven by business objectives and business strategy. But with technology advancements for mobile solutions, social media, analytics, content management (ECM), and process automation, insurers can now take a conjoinment view to evaluate opportunities and drive differentiation. [more…]

Finding Costs Hidden in Your Contact Center Plans

In a contact center, staff plans, budgets and overall costs are determined long before the workforce management software gets to work its tactical magic. That approach is backwards, and unproductive. Any real improvement to staffing efficiency comes by improving the contact center long term operational planning process, rather than the traditional workforce management process. [more…]

Five Initiatives to Make Your Contact Center an ACA Customer Service Powerhouse

In the contact center environment, a market transformation like the Affordable Care Act (ACA) brings the excitement and possibility of technology advances, process improvements, and a new outlook to increase business. To capitalize fully, it’s important that these elements are preceded by clear and well-planned initiatives to improve the customer experience and credibility for the organization. [more…]

Four ‘Must Have’ Utility Contact Center Enhancements to Improve Customer Service and Save Money

Merge dispersed call centers into a single virtualized operation. Offer a callback option to eliminate on-hold times. Leverage work at home agents for greater availability. And utlize workforce management tools to improve schedules and service levels. Read how these strategic changes can benefit any utility contact center, from Southwest Gas and industry [more…]

Holistic Customer Communications Management

For insurers, CCM is the key to maximizing every customer interaction — to capture more information about that customer’s needs, make timely offers, and enhance the service experience. Read how CCM is most valuable when insurers take a holistic approach, which allows them to create enterprise-wide flows of information from all voice and data communications, [more…]

Home Agent Series Part 1: Home Agents: The Big Game Changer

It’s a vast labor pool filled with unprecedented talent. They’re termed ‘at home agents’, and when an organization enables the appropriate flexibility for them, employee satisfaction climbs, the customer experience improves, incremental revenue is better — and agent loyalty is sustained. But to make at home agents a positive force, companies need to more effectively [more…]

Hadoop the Shard!

PureCloud is a true cloud platform, but what does that really mean? [more…]

Home Agent Series Part 2: Leveraging Technology for Remote Agents

The immeasurable success of remote agents can be traced to three things: Post-economic reset in customer contact organizations, high value technology to leverage the home working model, and business process revisions and best practices. This second installment of a three-part series takes a deeper look. From Michele Rowan, president, At Home Customer Contacts, and Tim [more…]

Home Agent Series Part 3: Next Generation Home Working

So the stage is set for the home working business model and the next generation customer experience. Now, organizations must consider the impact of mobile devices, demographics of leadership and front line support, and the architecture required to fully engage this new at-home work force. Read more in this final of a three-part series. [more…]

Hosted Contact Center Solutions – Setting the Record Straight

With their minimal up-front costs, quick deployments, favorable ROI and a “try before you buy” approach, hosted solutions like Communications as a Service (CaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) are steadily gaining ground. Unfortunately, misperceptions continue to hinder a more widespread adoption of such solutions. DMG Consulting LLC identifies five top misperceptions, and dispels [more…]

How to Leverage Quality Management for Regulatory Compliance

How quickly can you defend your organization and prove that your employees followed the law? Good question, but unfortunately many companies don’t ask it enough. For compliance, it’s imperative to continually train employees and measure their performance towards regulatory guidelines. Learn about best practices for monitoring, recording and scoring to achieve and substantiate compliance, including [more…]

How Omnichannel is Delivering on the Promise of Multichannel

When multichannel first began to take shape, the typical path of adding channels into a contact center was to start with one non-voice channel — such as email — and then add a other at some later time, and so on. This one-by-one approach made it easy to treat the additional channel as a separate work flow, often managed by different agents and often different supervisors. This mindset typically resulted in the decision to use a specialist application — or even a third party — to handle the new interaction channel. Over time it has become clear that this kind of “bolt-on” approach to interaction channel-handling is suboptimal. With an omnichannel approach, channels are effectively blended such that customers enjoy consistent and contextual experiences across all contact methods. [more…]

Insurance Contact Centers in the Cloud

Contact centers are major contributors to many key parts of the insurance business, especially the parts that require direct interaction with customers or agents. As a result, contact centers now play a critical role in an insurer’s journey toward becoming more customer-centric. [more…]

Insurance Contact Center: Optimizing Value Today. Positioning for the Future

Contact centers are widespread in insurance today and play a central role in interactions with prospects, policyholders, producers, and employees. The good news is that upgrading contact center capabilities to support new initiatives can be accomplished in small steps, often with capabilities that are already in-house and ready to be activated. [more…]

Integrated Mobile Customer Experience Vision

A truly integrated approach to mobile customer experience requires integration of both technology and process. It enables the customer to seamlessly navigate from self-service through agent assistance. Customers can transit from service to shopping and vice versa in a streamlined manner. The contact center and its agents interact with the customer using technologies that share data, so that agents are fully informed and efficient. [more…]

Keeping Pace with the Modern Customer

Perhaps more than any generation before them, the millennials are making a big impact on how business is done. With tech evolution happening faster than ever and expectations for early adoption rates high, customer satisfaction is an increasingly difficult puzzle. And the influence of new generations isn’t going to go anywhere. Demands will continue to grow and evolve – your business will have to find a way to adapt. From communication across multiple channels to ensuring timely implementation of new technologies, organizations need to step up their contact centers or risk alienating their most critical stakeholders. [more…]

Let’s Get Social: Best Practices in Utility Outage Communications

Utility outages are inevitable. And how utilities communicate with customers who are impacted by an outage can be a relatively positive or an incredibly negative experience. With a strategic and proactive social media plan, utilities can improve real-time, two-way communications with customers and entire communities, and can even gain a competitive advantage. [more…]

Mitigating Collections Risks for Utilities: A Toolkit for Process Transformation

Significant challenges confront utilities as they seek to maximize revenue and cash flow, reduce operational costs, decrease write-offs, and maintain positive relationships with customers. Tremendous opportunities exist to transform the process and improve performance. [more…]

Moving from Efficient to Effective with Workforce Management

With a growing number of executives realizing their business’s call center can become a revenue-generating “value center” if managed properly, the industry is experiencing a transition from operational efficiency to making agents themselves more effective in providing superior service. This transition also mirrors the call center’s move from phone-only capability to a multimedia contact center environment in which agents require expanded skill sets for e-mail and web chat as well as calls. [more…]

Multi-Cloud Customer Care and the Emergence of Cloud Brokers

Customer care is part of the hype about the cloud, especially with the Communications as a Service (CaaS) model for telephony requirements. Yet moving a customer care infrastructure to the cloud and navigating other applications that reside there can be tricky. Read what you can do to make your move successfully. [more…]

New Approach to Business Process Automation

Many of the tools for business process automation don’t offer a way to involve the people who actually perform each task in a process. Communications-based process automation (CBPA) is different. To involve people directly at every step, CBPA transforms the corporate IP communications system into [more…]

New Definition of Workforce Management

The increasingly complex service operations we deal with today demand a broader view of workforce management: a new one that fully embraces the concepts of strategic planning. Workforce management and strategic planning are not two separate processes or systems. They are two components that work together to solve a single problem in the contact center. [more…]

Optimizing Content-Centric Processes

When managers watch how their front line personnel work and the processes they have to follow, they’re stunned by all the conflicting systems and media channels many processes involve. More than that, managers are alarmed by the resulting inefficiency and poor service levels. The solution, says author Craig Robinson of BBW Consultants, is a content-centric [more…]

Patient Engagement Revolution: The Role of the Contact Center

Whether large or small, every healthcare organization has a customer service center that plays a critical role in helping expand patient engagement strategies. With the right strategies and technologies in place, healthcare organizations can create a plan that [more…]

Payment Compliance: Same Rules, Different Game

Explore some of the unique challenges faced by the ARM industry today specific to collections compliance. Learn about strategies and best practices that can not only mitigate compliance risk, but also improve operational efficiency. [more…]

PureCloud: Enterprise-Grade Cloud Services for Communications, Collaboration, and Customer Engagement

The PureCloud service suite is a way to get just about everything for effective communications, collaboration, and customer engagement from a single vendor. Gone are the seams, cracks, and fissures that create complexity and waste time and money. PureCloud is truly a revolutionary approach to these problems, and yet can be completely evolutionary in the way an organization deploys it. PureCloud can coexist with and even extend the useful life of many existing systems, while allowing almost any organization to more rapidly add applications, provide a significantly enhanced customer experience, and improve employee collaboration. [more…]

Rethinking Customer Experience

Customer experience has been getting a lot of attention lately and for good reason. In the increasingly competitive landscape, any advantage must be seized. Studies show an obvious connection between high customer experience scores and high relative stock valuations, as exemplified by the Customer Experience Index. It turns out, though, that there is another critical component to customer experience—‘Customer Effort’. This component carries the risk of disloyalty. It reflects the customer’s perception of the work required to complete a purchase, get an answer or otherwise solve a problem. Customer effort has a big impact on the customer experience and is measured by customers with every interaction. It drives their impression of your company and can drive them away. It is driving companies to rethink customer experience. [more…]

The Role of the Contact Center in the Patient Engagement Revolution

Patient engagement is no longer just about automated outbound calls for appointment reminders and refill confirmations. Providers are finding creative ways to reach out to patients. As technology offerings grow, providers are presented with the opportunity to leverage existing infrastructures and new options to expand how they communicate with patients, other providers, and payers. [more…]

Secret to a Lasting Relationship, or How Proactive Customer Contact Improves Customer Satisfaction

Businesses have called their customers using auto dialers and telemarketing for years. But with proactive customer contact (PCC), companies are now building creative applications that leverage customer and product information from across the enterprise — to extend personalized messages and sales offers that grow customer relationships and enhance loyalty. Read what companies are doing to [more…]

Success with Remote Agents – Is Not so Remote

Thanks to social media, expectations for customer service and support have sky-rocketed — and remote agents are the answer to keeping up. And thanks to the new breed of centralized all-in-one IP communications systems, companies anywhere, of any size, can successfully utilize remote agents. Read how from some industry experts: Blair Pleasant of COMMfusion LLC, [more…]

Taking Control: The Contact Center in the Cloud Offers Users More Control

Functionality. Resources. Deployment. Availability. Security. Control is an important issue whenever a business considers moving its communications applications to the cloud, especially those as mission critical as the contact center. [more…]

Think Strategic: Workforce Optimization – Get it Working for Your Organization

It’s known that a Workforce Optimization (WFO) solution can improve a contact center’s operations and efficiency. But there’s little discussion on the benefits WFO can have on strategic planning and execution. Read exactly what benefits you can expect, from an improved customer experience and increased customer loyalty to greater employee satisfaction and decreased operational costs. [more…]

Top 5 Considerations for Automating Key Business Processes

Business process automation — BPA — can help any business do more with less. However, successfully automating a business process requires more than just technology. Read how taking five straightforward steps to BPA planning can root out inefficiencies to improve key processes and give your business a clear competitive advantage. [more…]

Top 10 Customer Satisfaction Best Practices

It really does matter what customers think, and contact centers are increasingly using automated post-call surveys to better manage and improve the customer experience. Follow 10 best practices from industry leader CFI Group, and your surveys will produce the precise feedback data your contact center needs to improve satisfaction drivers and, ultimately, the service experience [more…]

Top Tips for Managing the Contact Center Strategy

A capacity plan is the best big picture decision-making device for a contact center executive. In many ways, this plan and the resourcing decisions it expresses is the overarching statement of how management wants to treat its customers and agents. Read how a well-managed and funded strategic plan can lead to a well-managed operation, and [more…]

Transforming Back Office Efficiency

Most businesses have invested in optimizing their customer-facing processes. But once customer work leaves the contact center for the back office, you might as well be sending it to the dark side of the moon. You don’t know when and how the work will come out the other side. [more…]

Transforming Customer Experience in the New Digital World

New digital communications channels are being continuously introduced. Customers are quickly adopting these new channels – including web, social and mobile – and want to use them to contact the companies with whom they do business. But this proliferation of channels makes it difficult for companies to provide effective, cost-efficient customer service. In their struggle to find the right way to handle new digital channels, many companies take a siloed approach such as setting up a separate group to manage social customer service, web interactions, or mobile customer engagement. As a result, companies that treat digital channels as independent interaction points handled by disparate systems and disconnected employees have no way to understand the full customer journey or to meet their customer’s needs with an outstanding, efficient and consistent experience across channels. [more…]

Transforming the Insurance Customer Experience with BPA

Claims. Licensing. Underwriting. For many insurance companies, each area can negatively impact compliance risk and associated costs as well as the customer experience and future revenues. Business process automation can help improve these areas, however, and make the customer experience more rewarding. [more…]

Using a Multichannel Strategy to Deliver an Exceptional Customer Experience

In a multichannel model for customer service, the technology, processes, people, culture, and information must work together so that nothing fails in the customer experience. This goes beyond having an IVR, CTI, or monitoring the customer’s call with an agent. It’s about having a complete multichannel strategy throughout the consumer relationship cycle. Read about 10 [more…]

Using Contact Center Strategic Planning to Optimize Customer Experience

Customer Experience (CX) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) are two of the benchmark measurements companies use to gauge customer satisfaction. To understand how budgetary decisions impact CX and NPS outcomes, companies are turning to advanced contact center technology for strategic planning and big data. Business requirements to manage these outcomes successfully must [more…]

What Will You Do When the Phones Stop Ringing?

It is quite probable that the phones will not stop ringing altogether. But the contact center that is prepared for such an eventuality will be better positioned to be responsive to customers no matter how they choose to reach out. Moving to a truly integrated multi-channel customer service paradigm can significantly elevate interactions. And after all, aren’t customer satisfaction and retention the mission of the contact center? [more…]

What’s Driving the Future Direction of Contact Centers: What you Need to Know

This white paper examines seven critical drivers that are aligning themselves and together will shape the future direction of contact centers. These drivers are the contact center value evolution, cultural evolution, technology evolution, Social Media, employee engagement, virtual workplace and the customer experience. [more…]

Work-at-Home Agents: A Case Study Review (Part 1 of a 2-part series)

There are two sides to the growing trend of work-at-home agents: the people side, and the infrastructure side. Part 1 of this case study looks at the issues one contact center faced and the benefits it realized from the people side of a work-at-home agent initiative. In the end, this particular contact center’s remote agent [more…]

Workforce Management: It’s More Than Just Software

To create a successful workforce management deployment, the first step is to evaluate your WFM product and determine how you’ll use it along with the processes and best practices that support it. Next, consider how your ACD is configured, what type of forecasting and scheduling practices you’ll use and goals for various metrics including schedule [more…]