Satisfying Customers with Multichannel Communication

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As we become more mobile with widespread penetration of smartphones, customers seek new, fast, and multiple communication channels.

Enterprises constantly seek to improve customer satisfaction. While traditional customer service channels are used successfully by businesses, startups and established players always look for new and innovative ways to wow customers. Providing an edge over the competition’s service is the key—as it has been since the start of market competition. With contact centers, enterprises have exploited both traditional and new communication channels to increase customer satisfaction and user experience.

Contact center agents are still available through phones, fax, and e-mail. However, as we become more mobile with widespread penetration of smartphones, customers are seeking newer and faster communication channels. Advancement in smart technology has made personalized information accessible at the click of a button for customers, so agents have to be adept as well. It is only warranted that all agents should use latest technology to provide better customer service.

Maximize your RoI

All social media networks, e-mail providers, and even websites are easily accessible to a vast section of customers. Multichannel communication offers agents the flexibility to interact with customers using various media and these tools help companies maximize RoI while increasing customer satisfaction. The same set of agents can multitask on phones and social media and increase overall productivity at reduced—or the same—operational costs. When agents communicate through various channels, it drives higher response rates and ultimately, improves business results.

The use of multichannel communication barely requires any “extra” hardware investment. For once, the use of more communication channels saves costs and reaffirms to the customer that your company cares about them. For example, all issues/complaints which are registered can be expanded to include the ones received on the company’s Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ page. Make sure that your agents respond to such posts, saying that the enterprise has considered the complaint, and is looking to resolve it as quickly as possible.

Benefits of multichannel communication

multichannel communication shutterstock_70552813Social media cannot be ignored, so you need to interact with your customers there.  However, there are a couple of benefits of paying heed to your multichannel communication. Firstly, the audience you are reaching out to includes friends, family, and friends of friends. This gives you the chance to generate more leads much easily. Secondly, the likes of customer—both existing and potential ones—are easily visible on their walls. This makes cross-selling easy and gives you opportunities to provide value-add in your services.

Thirdly, you can know when your customers are online to initiate a chat and resolve their issue quickly. The same works for the customer’s ease as well—whenever they want to reach out to agents. Therefore, social media is a great tool which encourages instant connection between people and businesses.  It also gives you the freedom to share information in the form of text, icons, images, and even small-size documents.

Such gestures on social media will help create goodwill among your customers on a large scale and most importantly, increase brand retention. Enterprises should therefore, use a robust contact center solution to enable agents to also use chat, message, e-mail, or video call with customers, in addition to phone interactions. More communication channels are, after all, merrier.

What Celebrities Teach us About Social Media Marketing

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Social media marketing should be taken seriously as posts on social media contribute to the larger product/service aspect of the business and are a value-add.

How do you know what your customers and employees are talking about? Is there any other method which does not involve snooping instead ethically and analytically scans social media to know how much your enterprise is “trending”? How do you invest in such a strategy without spending huge amounts on manpower to analyze social media trends?

Well, you do it automatically.

Where the customers and what are they up to

One look at newsfeeds or Walls will give you a glimpse of how many businesses are being mentioned how many times. People talk about everything from their local nail salon to the supercar Bugatti Veyron. What customers and potential customers like are varied. But one thing is for sure: they will like and follow your feed as long as they trust your company and the products/services you provide.

The content your marketing team posts on social media contributes to the larger product/service aspect of your business and is a value-add. Your Facebook page is an extension of the company’s values and mission and should always be in the interest of the customers. Therefore, information about the company, offers, notifications of sales/discounts, viral videos, infographics, and relevant statuses make or break reputations. When your posts are great your followers will want to share it on their Walls.

 Learn from the celebrities

130611111015-phone-social-media-story-topVery few companies demand the respect and adoration that people reserve for their favorite celebrities. Under Steve Jobs, Apple was a celebrity and its customers and followers would wait with bated breath for images, updates, news, apps, and upgrades. Aim to achieve cult status, just like Apple once had. Additionally, learn from Apple’s mistakes that the fall from glory is short and not at all sweet.

Therefore, celebrities. Whatever they do receives a lot of coverage and the serious celebrities who promote charity causes, are kind to their fans and followers, and do overall good things are the ones most followed. APJ Abdul Kalam, Sachin Tendulkar, Arvind Kejriwal, Aamir Khan, AR Rehman, Dalai Lama, Nandan Nilekani, and numerous leaders and experts daily inspire their followers. Their tweets and posts are an extension of their persona, ideologies, and thoughts. They are promoting their “brand” and doing it quite successfully. They make sure the content they share is carefully measured, carries the right message, and does not offend or oversell. Those are also the key aspects of successful marketing.

A robust contact center solution like Social Interaction Manager helps organizations harness the power of social media by enabling them to keep a tab on what their customers and prospects are talking about. Solutions like this transform relevant social media engagements into result-oriented customer dialogues that promote a conducive environment for furthering sales. It enables smart routing of an issue to the right agent and works towards customer satisfaction.

So ask yourself: are you keeping yourself in your customers’ good books?

Welcome to the New Year!

New Year 2014The Drishti-Soft family would like to wish everyone a happy New Year! 2014 has arrived and goodbyes to 2013 have been said. As most of the countries have adopted the New Year on January 1, it has become the most celebrated public holiday. All over the world people greet each other and celebrate with fireworks, by throwing parties, and by making resolutions for the coming year.

Resolutions and how funny they are

Over the years people have made some resolutions that they have abided by, or sometimes ignored. Here are some funny ones we came across on the Net:

  • I will think of a password other than “password” or “hello”.
  • I will not bore my boss with the same excuse for taking leaves. I will think of some more excuses.
  • I will give up chocolates totally. 100%. Completely. Honestly….
  • I will read the manual…just as soon as I can find it.
  • I will balance my checkbook. (On my nose).
  • I promise to clean my room once a week even though I haven’t cleaned it more than once in the last year.
  • Play more computer games. Scientists say they are good for you and improve your visual skills. But I always knew that.
  • I will endeavor to remember my children’s names this year.
  • I resolve not to see any serial or movie in which any dead character is brought alive. (Except for serials or movies about zombies, of course.)
  • I will leave my brain at home while going to watch a Rajnikanth movie!
  • My New Year resolution is: 1024 by 968 pixels!

New beginnings for India

Closer home, India is getting closer and closer to APJ Abdul Kalam’s “India 2020” that aims to put the country in the world superpower leagues and truly become a citizens’ nation. This year let us pledge to make our country proud by being individuals who inspire each other to be better. The Drishti family has proudly supported and led the change last year. We will certainly continue to do so in the coming year.

Reviewing Reports and Analyzing Call Trends

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Reporting and analysis allows enterprises to get a graphical representation of productivity and how best to maximize it.

Businesses are in the habit of analyzing their sales and revenue trends at the end of each quarter and then again at the end of each year. This helps them make predictions and allocate resource accordingly for the coming year. Departments which are progressing are encouraged to follow trends that make them successful. On the other hand, departments which are not doing so well are put under review and changes are made to their work styles. This is done so that in time, they will have better turnarounds and contribute to the larger enterprise positively.

Likewise, in contact centers, campaigns are constantly in need of analysis. They collect data all the time in the form of customer information, reason for call, how many agents are present, how many calls were registered, how many were completed, calls that failed, issues resolved, among other details. This large data needs to be made sense so that supervisors and managers can identify trends and make informed decisions.

With the help of a robust contact center solution making the reporting process easy, enterprises can benefit a lot. Here are just a few benefits to be derived:

  • Configure reports accurately: Designing and generating business-oriented comprehensive reports is important to businesses. Reports relative to agent performance, campaign productivity, call details, call history, user session, and workforce should be analyzed in detail and reports generated thus, should adhere to high accuracy standards.

  • Generate reports automatically: Robust solutions allow enterprises to set schedulers to send out reports automatically on regular basis via e-mail/SMS/chat/fax, etc. A solution like AMEYO creates comprehensive reports either by choosing predefined templates, or configuring reports based on filters. Also it enables customization and scheduling of reports according to multiple parameters (agents, campaigns, statistics, call volumes, conversion rates, Answering Machine Detection, busy rates etc.).

  • Importance of real time and historical data: The reporting tool should be able to analyze marketing results across campaigns and lead to opportunity conversion, plan marketing strategies, and monitor distributed or centralized workforce in real time as well. This allows scope for quick changes to campaigns by removing aspects that do not work with successful aspects that work. For example, supervisors can quickly change greeting messages which agents use if responses to “Hi” are more positive than “Hello”.

  • Dig-up information quickly: The concise, detailed, and organized presentation of data allows supervisors to quickly fetch full reports, or relevant parts of the reports. A single-unified interface with drag-and-drop facility makes it easier to navigate as well. Additionally, filters define search parameters and give quick access to relevant information.

  • Use multimedia: As more contact centers become mobile or use different platforms, reporting by AMEYO allows the exporting of reports to CSV (Comma Separated) format as well. Supervisors can also view statistical data in graphical form, if they would prefer to do so.

  • Archive old reports: Automatic archiving stores reports not viewed for a long time to an external device such as a CD, tape, NAS, SAN or external hard disk, thereby ensuring optimal storage usage.

  • Secure data: Strong security features should be a must to ensure that only the management, supervisors, or analysts have access to highly confidential or sensitive information. This will prevent data from being used unethically by unauthorized personnel.

‘Tis the Season to Be Jolly!

christmas treeWell, it’s that time of the year again. The northern hemisphere is experiencing winter and in the midst of this cold weather, we are celebrating one of the joyous festivals. Merry Christmas cheers to you all!

Worldwide, people are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ by decorating their homes, exchanging gifts, singing carols, baking cakes, and having a good time. Santa Claus, the gift-bringing, jolly figure is widely regarded as Father Christmas. People dress up as Santa and give children various gifts, candies, and other goodies. Children believe that Santa brings them gifts as long as they are good all throughout the year. Santa Claus has been an integral part of the Christmas celebrations and has come to signify the festival’s message of being kind to everyone, to be happy, and to be amongst family and friends.

 Lights, trees, bells, and reindeer

tree lightsDecorating homes is a big part of Christmas celebrations and people take pride in doing so. In New York City, lighting the gigantic Christmas tree is an annual tradition which is viewed by thousands of people live and millions worldwide. People put up a smaller version of these trees in their homes and decorate it with trinkets like bells, stars, ribbons, lights, and Christmas figurines. Gifts are generally put around this tree and opened on Christmas morning.

With regards to the gifts, Santa Claus is believed to fly down from the North Pole on sleigh pulled by reindeer. He drops gifts for kids from chimneys while they are sleeping. Children leave out cookies and milk for Santa Claus as thanks for giving them gifts.

Looking back but moving ahead

dyn009_original_1280_1024_pjpeg_2568049_752f736f048173bb8db633191f715732Christmas is also a time to think back on the year and set plans for the coming year. As it is close to the New Year, celebrations often overlap. People are encouraged to contemplate on their goals and work towards achieving them in the coming year. The festival therefore, signifies moving on from the past and looking to the future with bated breath.

From everyone at Drishti-Soft, we wish our families, friends, clients, and well wishers a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

IVR to the Agents’ Rescue!

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To contact centers IVR is a boon which saves agents’ time and lets them provide quality service to customers with complex issues.

Businesses provide phone input options to callers so that inquiries can be streamlined and lead callers to the right automated solution or a human agent. Banks, financial services, education institutes, e-commerce websites, and healthcare services are among the few verticals that use an IVR (Interactive Voice Response System) extensively. As IVR is quick, it easily siloes customer calls based on their needs. For contact centers this is a boon as it saves agents’ time and lets them focus on complex issues instead.

This time we focused on the increased rush that ensues with each holiday season. The queries begin weeks in advance and customers call multiple times about information on different products. There are many shopping festivals, both in retail stores and on e-commerce websites and customers are willing to spend more but not before knowing extensive details about the products. How does one answer the same queries coming from thousands of customers with uniformity?

The answer: A heady mix of IVRS and agents

One thing that contact centers do during holidays is hire extra staff to answer the phones. The increase in call volumes cannot be handled with a limited workforce when calls are handled manually. Firstly, automation is needed, no matter what the scale of operation. Small and big enterprises both benefit from having an automated solution. After this step, contact centers do not need to hire extra people and increase operational costs. They can work quite effectively with the same number of agents.

Automation helps maximize productivity and efficiency by analyzing various aspects like average call times, average calls per hour, average agent availability per hour, average agent break time, office hours, peak hours, average calls per customer before reaching an agent, among other factors. With IVR, you can free up agents by letting the software answer queries for account information retrieval, flight information, pricing, record updates, new password or pin generation, and transaction processing.

A highly efficient IVR module provides Text-to-speech (TTS) integration, Automatic speech recognition (ASR) integration, database integration, scripting capabilities, 100% blind recording (with compression and multimedia operations), and e-mail/SMS/fax integration. Interactive services like TTS and ASR “speak” to the caller based on the input and automate functions that take up an agent’s valuable time.

Benefits of an IVR–agent balanced contact center

Overall, IVRS facilitates better resource utilization for call centers and reduced wait time for customers. It will also allow agents to spend quality time on lucrative business interactions. Enterprises can therefore, pass on the cost savings to their customers in terms of better services and tariffs, only when they have robust contact center software that allows for scalability and extensibility. Additionally, IVR solutions are increasingly being used to place outbound calls to deliver or gather information for appointments, past due bills, and other time critical events and activities. And that is why an IVRS makes the perfect holiday gift for your agents: it makes their jobs much easier.

Is Your Company “Liked” on Facebook?

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The vast reach of social media, especially Facebook, is providing marketers many innovative ways to promote products and services.

Social media marketing is an important tool which costs a fraction of what traditional strategies do. With 1.19 billion users and $5.1 billion in revenue, Facebook leads the pack. Twitter follows with 200 million active users and tie-ups with major TV networks and movies that allow viewers to “check-in” and comment live while viewing. This vast reach of social media is one of the innovative ways to promote.

The “like” and “share” button boom

The “like” and “share” buttons are present in around 7.5 million third-party websites. Clicks have increased by around 5% and the buttons are viewed by users more than 22 billion times per day. That is a staggering statistic. As an enterprise, the more clicks you generate on Facebook and other social media, the wider your reach.

Social media in APAC is at an exciting stage with increased internet mobility and widespread access to high-speed internet. Asia-Pacific along with Western Europe leads in clicking “Like”. Facebook revealed that 80% of their likes are from outside US and Canada, of which APAC and W. Europe generate about 21% traffic, each. As 83% of Facebook users are outside US, this statistic makes a lot of business sense.

Social media and customer service

In our earlier blog posts we have emphasized that increasing your online presence is the new marketing mantra. Social media is not only promotes but also encourages dialogue between different customers, helps them engage with companies, and provides an avenue for open communication. The quick responses also help resolve issues as soon as possible.

Even Facebook learned that listening to its users helps business. Through a rewards strategy they encourage users to find and report security flaws, bugs, and potential threats that may adversely affect the site. The aim is to quickly resolve issues so that it does not affect users because if users are affected then negative reviews will hamper revenues. For example, when a Facebook update was infringing on users’ privacy many accounts were closed. Since then, Facebook has carefully tread the thin line between customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction.

Are you there yet?

Marketing assets like content influence customers and help companies build and sustain their reputation. Sharing customer-driven content helps in brand retention while client-driven content spreads relevant market and product data. Social media should therefore, be used extensively to advertise, address customer queries, resolve complaints, and to reward customers for their loyalty. Just like customers mention your company on their news feeds, posting shout outs to loyal customers will ensure that they feel special and cared for. Like regular users, post about special events, company milestones, daily activities, and about your employees. Instant reach allows customers to easily provide feedback and direct interactions with them are invaluable to your enterprise’s growth.

A robust contact center solution like Social Interaction Manager helps organizations harness the power of social media by enabling them to directly reach to customers and prospects alike. It transforms relevant social media engagements into result-oriented customer dialogues that promote a conducive environment for furthering sales. It enables smart routing of an issue to the right agent and works towards customer satisfaction.

So explore the limitless possibilities of social media and do it now! One “like” for your effort!

How to Market Your Product Without Really Marketing

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There is a shift in the marketing and advertising world which is towards word-of-mouth personal promotions instead of grand ads which customers do not appreciate.

There is a shift in the marketing and advertising world. It is no longer about spending big bucks to tell consumers about the “greatness” of a product over its competitors. Consumers know that most advertisements are grandly exaggerated and some are even outright lies. As the users of a product, they prefer to test all competitors before deciding which company to put their trust in. This is exactly the lesson for all marketers: consumer loyalty cannot be bought; it is earned by serving them a great product and providing an experience.

Change your strategy to “service”

Marketing-ModelIf it is “sales” you are chasing after, you will probably not go very far. Take a look at Apple: when Steve Jobs introduced the first iPod, iPhone, and iPad, he emphasized on innovation and what all the customers could gain from Apple. All these products were clearly not the first of their kind in the market but they were promoted keeping the end user’s needs in mind. An Apple product makes people’s lives richer, that was the hook that boomeranged Apple to stratospheric heights.

However, people are now starting to see beyond the glossy advertisements and know that Apple has only so little to offer customers. This is why Samsung and other Android-run technology have taken over the smartphone/tablet race. Samsung offers more on the free OS and is cost-effective compared to Apple’s iOS. The company is at the Steve Jobs’s stage of evolution. They are bringing out innovations (Samsung Gear, the phablets, and numerous models of both high-end and affordable phones) which target EVERY segment in the market, ensuring Samsung’s reign over the global market.

Even with all the lawsuits that Apple has taken out against Samsung, the people are with Samsung. Apple being the bigger and richer player is being viewed as the bully crushing the more accessible Samsung. But Samsung’s sales are increasing each day and their engineers are on overdrive with new technologies. They have the consumer at heart and word-of-mouth marketing attests their dedication to deliver the best products.

Flip the traditional marketing model

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Beyoncé

Last week, one of the biggest pop stars in the world, Beyoncé released a complete album solely using social media sites Twitter and Instagram to announce the news. She ditched traditional forms of advertising and reached out straight to her fans and followers. With this strategy, 1.2 million tweets were posted about “Beyoncé” in 12 hours. Within the first 24 hours more than 430,000 albums had sold for $15.99 on iTunes. In a press release, Beyonce said, “There’s so much that gets between the music, the artist and the fans. I felt like I didn’t want anybody to give the message when my record is coming out. I just want this to come out when it’s ready and [send the message directly] to my fans.”

Many enterprises are turning to word-of-mouth marketing as it is more credible. When friends and families recommend individuals to try the products they love, people are more likely to believe the message. Advertisers are therefore, analyzing this and not over-killing with the marketing language. The era of the gigantic billboards blocking the skies is still not over, just not yet. But more and more players are moving closer to what matters most to their customers: direct engagement instead of ad bombardment. So, as enterprise ask yourself this: Are you there yet?