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.
“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 (https://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?
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.
Customer expectations when it comes to convenience is higher than ever. Without having to look up from your screen or even leave the house, life is happening right at your fingertips. Swipe here, touch there, within seconds groceries can be delivered, appointments can be scheduled, and reservations can be made. Convenience has been raised to an art form and more and more consumers are becoming accustomed to a smooth customer experience.
We all know that big banks have cashed in on technology. Customers can make deposits from their phones and get real time information round the clock. But what about credit unions? How can they maintain their traditional business models that emphasize community focus and still meet the growing needs of today’s member?
Artificial intelligence, or AI, has gotten record breaking smart. It has outsmarted world champions in poker, chess, and even won jeopardy (we all thought for sure it was impossibly rigged, who knew?!). But does AI use its membranes and actually think?
The definition of intelligence is actually pretty complicated. For instance, one can be book-smart, emotionally gifted, rational, wise etc. It’s pretty rare to be more than one. Our brains respond to things differently, which further complicates our question, does AI actually think?
With Hurricane Harvey demolishing many homes across the Texas coast and now the widespread flooding that’s extending hundreds of miles inland, it’s a good time to reflect on the capabilities of our emergency management systems. Whatever the natural disaster, the number of people calling into their local 911 operations center is constantly exceeding the amount of live agents by more than a hundred-fold. Imagine being trapped in your house with rising water and your only method of help is to stay on hold for hours upon hours.
There is a solution: Recently, AI has been “listening” to some emergency calls. The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO), which has an excess of 29,000 members, brought Watson into their software. By using Watson Speech-to-Text and Watson Analytics, the system can provide guidance to the 911 operators with what questions to ask to more efficiently gather essential information to access specific emergency call types (trapped on your roof verses trapped on the second floor with food and water). AI helps operators provide rapid and personalized instructions so that callers get the fast and appropriate information they need and depend upon in any emergency.
By now you have heard the hype about IBM’s Watson and its platform for artificial intelligence integration into a variety of business applications. You have also likely heard the commotion from Facebook about chatbots and the many ways to capitalize on these bot companies. Revamping voice as a new user interface, Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Echo have both brought intelligence into everyday life bringing a new family member into many households.
With the explosion of artificial intelligence, we have really only begun to see the beginning of it’s capabilities and one specific area AI can make more than a spark of a difference is in customer experience.