Changes in the customer experience journey are happening fast. There is no slowing down or stopping the convergence of technology and the increasing demands for quick, relevant and personalized customer interactions. The stakes are high when it comes to the customer experience and it is not just the Contact Center that needs to take notice – the customer experience is a whole company issue.
What if we could tell you the contact center can be better, faster, smarter and more successful in creating loyalty with your customers that is long lasting? Creating a better customer and agent experience has been a goal that businesses have been chasing for decades. It is finding the delicate balance between agent efficiency, self-service performance and customer expectations that continues to be the challenge for most businesses. How do you create a smarter experience for customers and agents without sacrificing something?
All this talk about modernizing the customer experience can quickly get overwhelming. You have many options to enhance the customer experience today with natural language speech, incorporating other channels like SMS, chat and even visual IVR or go all the way to leveraging the power of artificial intelligence.
Release 7.7 of Blueworx Voice Response for Linux
Contact centers today are actively looking for opportunities to leverage enhanced self-service as well as proactive outbound interactions that drive customer loyalty and reduce the cost to serve. In today’s competitive market, where maximizing customer loyalty while reducing costs are key business metrics, offering a proactive approach to common reasons customers call in is imperative. The dissemination of time-sensitive or personal information delivered quickly and consistently is a requirement to meet today’s customer demands. The essence of outbound calling or text messaging is being proactive, preemptively contacting a customer before they have to contact you for information. That is why Blueworx continues to make features like outbound calling more efficient and effective for businesses.
Touchpoints are vital to the overall customer experience. It is during these moments, when a customer reaches out to you to conduct business, that your company has the opportunity to really put its best foot forward and leave a lasting impression. When too much emphasis is placed on these moments, though, it can actually have a negative impact. It will leave the customer feeling like the only time you truly care about them is when there is something to be gained by you.
What You Really Need to Focus On is the Entire End-to-End Customer Journey
Chat automation and other forms of artificial intelligence are effective in boosting customer engagement. The micro-experiences these tools create, however, do not account for even a fraction of a customer’s entire experience with your brand. If your company defines the customer experience by only a series of touchpoints, you’re missing out on a valuable source of information.
Leveraging real-time data analytics enables a faster, more precise and effective ability to make decisions over those evaluations made with conventional data reporting. Today, Contact Centers must ensure that they are gathering and analyzing data at a fast pace in order to deliver on the ever-changing customer demands. The amount of data that is being collected from the contact center can be overwhelming and how to take advantage of that data for improving each and every customer interaction is even more challenging. That is why Blueworx continues to focus on developing key integration points for new services from artificial intelligence like IBM Watson to delivering a foundation that can enhance the delivery, collection and ability to report on key metrics and activities.
New Release of Blueworx Voice Response 7.6 for Linux
Blueworx Voice Response version 7.6 introduces a new communications infrastructure that forms the foundation for continued development around event management and reporting.
The event manager offers a new approach to the distribution, storage and sharing of events from various Blueworx components. These broadcasted events are received from an entire cluster and delivered to various applications using a high-performance Producer-Consumer Event Pipe powered by Apache Kafka.
Our team recently attended the IBM THINK show and demonstrated the power of artificial intelligence in the contacts center leveraging Blueworx Voice Response with IBM Voice Gateway and IBM Watson. In a recent blog post by Jay Zelter, Worldwide Hybrid Cloud Executive at IBM, titled “At The Tipping Point: Transformation in the Contact Center”, Jay states that we must take a different approach to meeting changing customer expectations. Combining the power of IBM Voice Gateway and Blueworx Voice Response, IBM Watson enables us to deliver a fresh and powerful cognitive contact center experience. Today, Blueworx releases BVR 7.5 for Linux which adds support for this integration.
New Release of Blueworx Voice Response 7.5 for Linux
Blueworx Voice Response for Linux 7.5 introduces a complete Cognitive Contact Center solution supported by the integration of IBM Voice Gateway and IBM Watson Conversation with Blueworx Voice Response.
Successful enterprises understand the importance of customer loyalty. 52% of people stop using a company’s products or services based on bad customer service interactions. And their opinion matters. Users take reviews into account 88% of the time when deciding if they should start doing business with a company.
The Blueworx team is wrapping up our presence at the IBM THINK event in Las Vegas today. The massive show provided excellent intel on why artificial intelligence will significantly change the way we work today, across every industry on a global scale. AI is a technology that will most definitely change how we view self-service and every kind of customer engagement with businesses. During her on stage opening at Think, Ginni Rometty, President and CEO of IBM, talked about the significance of this time in history and how we are on the verge a major shift. The time where process and technology surge at the same moment has only occurred at two other periods in history – and the impacts are still with us today.
So, the question becomes “What are you doing about it?” How will you embrace this new era of intelligent interactions, cognitive self-service and the balance of man with technology?
We live in a world where pizza delivery gets to your home faster than the police. No offense intended members of law enforcement. Rather, kudos to all those technologists out there that have enabled the consumer to consume their company’s product via a myriad of channels. Just the other day, I had to scramble to get a gift for a high school senior for his birthday. In a matter of moments I found a restaurant near the campus of the university he’ll attend in the fall, and was chatting on-line with someone at that restaurant about getting a gift card out to me ASAP because his party was in 3 days. This wasn’t some mega-chain restaurant, but rather a single location, local business. So, if you work for a company that doesn’t have an omni-channel contact center presence – get moving…quickly, because if Fatback’s Smokin’ Racks in Quincy, IL has web chat, and you don’t…well, you can draw your own conclusions.
Compared to even 5 years ago, technology has never before been so integrated into our daily lives. Look around you, how many internet-connected devices are within arm’s reach? These things are only going to become more important with each passing day. So yes, start stocking up on power strips now. As we rely on our devices for our everyday needs, the lines between online and real life are blurred. Because of that, people are going to need more than one type of experience to stay engaged, an Omni-Channel Experience.
Let’s face it, contact centers are not that exciting – but times, they are a changing. This next year the focus across the board will be on the customer journey. Customers are not just buying products anymore, they are buying experiences. We’ve put together a list of facts to show you just how crucial the customer experience is and will continue to be, both now and in the future.
“Few technologies are more despised than interactive voice response (IVR).
It doesn’t help that big companies have largely replaced the dreaded ‘press one for sales’ with voice recognition technologies. Instead of repeatedly pressing zero, we can all now repeat the word ‘representative’ until we finally get a human on the line. Is this progress?
It’s no wonder, then, that IBM decided to exit the IVR market a few years ago, selling off its WebSphere Voice products to a holding company that rebranded its new offering Blueworx in early 2016.
Out of the gate, Blueworx faced multiple challenges: not only does IVR top consumers’ most-hated list of technologies, but established incumbents like Avaya , Cisco Systems, Genesys, and Aspect dominate the space.
To make matters worse, Blueworx had no choice but to leverage older software that IBM had optimized for its own hardware, as well as AIX, its aging flavor of UNIX.
Playing ball by the incumbents’ rules was a losing proposition. The only way to compete was to reinvent the IVR game.” Continue reading on Forbes.com.
So, who are we exactly and what is it that we really do? I mean of course besides being an awesome team of people who might play ping pong between conference calls and rattle an employee in the hot seat once a month by asking them absurd questions (“you’re an ordained minister?!” True story.). We are more than that, we do actually work. Well most of us anyway. And not only do we work hard, but we love what we do. So, while some of us may wear socks with sandals or choose Batman over Robin, we’d like to share with you what Blueworx is all about.
Over the course of the next 12 days we will be showing you who Blueworx is. By day #12, we are confident you will not only choose Blueworx for your business, but shout out to all of your friends (real or Facebook) all of the reasons why you think we rock (and not because most of us really do believe in aliens).
The holidays are in full swing and even if you couldn’t tell already by the Christmas lights that adorn the many homes, you definitely can tell by the wait times, especially when calling into customer service. Two days before Thanksgiving I received text messages notifying me that packages I had ordered from an online giant had been delivered. Awesome, I thought. I love how technology has advanced so much that I knew the exact moment to leave my warm office chair to open the front door. Only this time as the chill blew into my face, my porch was empty. No package, and definitely not two that were clearly marked as delivered just minutes before.
In my last article on virtual assistants and bots improving CSAT by cutting down on boredom (http://www.blueworx.com/do-you-hate-waiting-in-line/ ), one thing I didn’t address was how to add automation to the contact center without it being perceived as just an extension of the IVR. Because, let’s face it, most people don’t like IVR, and few of them understand that without IVR, product costs would increase. So, how do you use chatbots and virtual assistants without adding to the frustration of the customer?
I bet you can recall the last time you had a really terrible customer experience. It was probably pretty recent and could still be as fresh as day in your mind. But are you able to remember a good customer experience, or even a great one? Perhaps it was in a store. Or maybe something as simple as an online purchase. Whatever it was, great customer experiences seem to stand out more than bad ones. And sadly, because those over-the-top-genuinely-want-to-help experiences are few and far between.
User Experience (UX) Design is intended to develop clear, efficient, user-friendly interactions between customers and businesses through a variety of applications. It is more than just recording prompts for your IVR with a voice that “sounds good” or designing a call flow that gets the customer where they need to go. An effective communication interface is intuitive. It is efficient, saving customers’ time and keeping their frustration levels down. A connection is made that is clear and easy to understand, giving the customer a positive experience.
Do you hate waiting in line? On hold? Most of us would certainly answer, “yes.” However, the psychology behind waiting in line says that most of us don’t hate waiting in line – we hate being bored. That’s why there are floor to ceiling mirrors in most large buildings near the elevator. It gives us all something to do (check other people out). In addition, one of the first people who studied the science behind waiting in line was AK Erlang. Some of you may recognize the last name – that’s right, he worked the probability and statistics behind the calculators that allow us to determine the lines/agents/bandwidth needed in a contact center based on busy hour traffic and average handle time.
“So what?” you ask.
With the increase in technology making competition for customers more fierce than ever, banks have a huge incentive to improve their customer experience. But just how important is the customers experience to a bank’s bottom line?
According to Forrester Research, the overall monetary impact of customer experience (CX) on a business, defined by how customers perceive their interaction with your company, is measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Poor customer experiences are a huge source of wasted money for businesses, which can be quantified in terms of tens of millions of dollars for a typical financial company. Combined with spikes in dissatisfaction due to the changing structure of banking fees, failure to implement and modify top-notch customer service solutions will have devastating consequences. In fact, among all businesses, banks have the highest correlation between customer experience and the likelihood of switching businesses.
Many of the people I talk to every day seem to think they’re going to stop investing in IVR. They think that in this day and age of intelligence that an interactive device slows down the transaction or may turn their customers away all together. At this point, I do my best Lee Corso imitation and respond with a glib, “Not so fast my friend.”