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CRMIT Solutions is a leader in transforming businesses with cloud based Customer Experience (CX) solutions on sales, service, marketing & social cloud. Recognized amongst CIOReveiw’s "20 Most Promising Cloud Computing Companies”


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How Call Centers Use Technology to Improve Customer Service

Whether we receive a call from a telemarketer, or have a problem with a product or service, chances are we will all have an encounter with a call center. How the call center representative responds to us helps determine our loyalty to the brand they represent. One negative experience can taint our opinion and even affect future purchases and decisions.

Call Center solutions

Call Center solutions

I have a friend who was very loyal to one of the most popular brands today. She not only purchased several products under this brand, but was saving money to purchase a new tablet and computer manufactured by this same company. She ran into an issue with one of her current products, which was still under warranty.  To make a long story short, the “call center” representative provided misinformation on how to return the product and receive a replacement. Thus, a two-day process took over two weeks. She has since decided not to make any future purchases from this company. And, she made sure to discuss this experience in online reviews and across Social Media outlets. This bad experience cost the company future business and a loyal customer. What went wrong? Most likely, there was a break down in communication and training at the call center.

Consumers expect quick solutions and exceptional customer service. Whether a company has their own in-house call center or chooses to outsource these services, it is imperative for call center representatives to be provided with the latest technology and armed with correct information to accurately and effectively represent the brand. A call center with outdated technology is like trying to make an antiquated computer operating MS-DOS run like Windows 8!

Below are some ways call centers are using technology to boost performance and improve customer service:

Cloud

Even call centers are catching on to the cloud! Not only can cloud services improve functionality, they can drastically cut costs. Most cloud platforms can be easily integrated and updated, eliminating the need for costly hardware and software upgrades. Cloud systems tend to perform faster and are often more reliable than physical networks. New components can be added easily at any time, and maintenance costs are virtually eliminated. There are plenty of cloud providers to choose from; research which one offers the services which best fit your needs.

Online Training

Keeping call center representatives up to date with the latest policies, offerings, technical support tools and procedures is imperative. Giving outdated or incorrect information reflects badly on the brand and may cause a significant decrease in customer loyalty. Call centers can keep agents up-to-date using online training modules. This convenient and effective form of training does not require participants to sit in a class and can be completed at any time from anywhere.

Multiple Contact Methods

A call center should run more like a contact center. Provide customers with multiple ways to make contact. This can include a traditional phone call, online chat, contact through Social Media or intelligent call back, where a customer can enter their telephone number and a representative will call back at a certain time. Some companies are even offering support via video. Offering a customer a variety of contact methods allows them to choose the option which makes them most comfortable.

Smart Agent Plug-Ins

Offering the wrong product at the wrong time can frustrate a customer. A number of companies offer Smart Agent desktop plug-ins to help agents determine when and if any product offerings are appropriate. They gather information from current and previous calls and make recommendations to agents. I recently called my cable/internet/telephone provider for technical support. Upon the end of the conversation they asked me if I was interested in their home monitoring package.  Their “Smart Agent” desktop knew from previous contact with me this would be a service that would perhaps interest me.

Customer Service Management

CRM++ is an example of a Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) product which

Computer Telephony Integration Framework

streamlines resources and helps maximize the customer experience. Its seamless integration with Oracle® Fusion CRM makes it easy to learn and use.  Inbound agents are provided with relevant information about each caller, adding to the ease of interaction. Over 3000 sales, marketing and service & support organizations are using this product to help generate an increased return-on-investment (ROI) and improve their bottom lines.

These are just a few of the many technologies available to call centers. Today, being in the game means staying ahead of the game. Quick, fast, efficient, reliable, and accurate information can make or break your brand!

Gina Smith writes freelance articles for magazines, online outlets and publications including Global Response. Smith covers the latest topics in the business, golf, tourism, technology and entertainment industries.


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Customer Experience and Application Security – Requires a fine balancing act

There are people who are annoyed about poorly secured applications and equally good number of people annoyed about too many security measures in the applications leading to poor user experience. It is a common sense that neither security / nor experience has absolute limits and it is going to be a challenging job to achieve perfection on these measures and balance them too.

My experience with State Bank of India – Mobile banking application is a perfect example to discuss how unbalanced it is.

State Bank of India – Mobile banking application

State Bank of India – Mobile banking application

I am sure there are hardly few who know about State Bank of India mobile banking application and even if you are one among few, I am not sure how many of you are successful in installing and using the application. The primary issue over here is too many security measures at the expense of great user experience

Application Awareness …

First and foremost I am not sure why SBI doesn’t advertise / promote their mobile application in par with many of the private sector banks like ICICI Bank, HDFC etc. as mobile is seen as the way forward as a leading customer touch point and it no more seen as an optional service. May be they are not quiet sure about how well the application performs?

Knowing the general conservative perception about the bank, it could only be few technically savvy people who would have made attempts on their own (without any awareness) to search for SBI mobile application in Apple / Android market place and install the application.

First banks and organizations should not have second doubts about the acceptance of mobile applications and they should be aggressive in developing, deploying and promoting these applications to delight their customers

Activating the application ….

Assuming you are such a lucky person to do it (the application definitely offers great features at the tip of your fingers), your real issue starts in activating your mobile banking. There are three steps you have to do as a user to do this application

Step 1 – In first step of your activation after installing it from your application store, you get a cryptic alpha numeric username for your mobile banking application.

Step 2 – As step 2 you have to send another cryptic SMS containing the above username to a given phone number. This also returns you a 6 digit numeric password for application username your received in step 2.

Step 3 – Even after step 2 with a username and PIN, you can’t use the application as what you got is only a temporary PIN and to change the temporary PIN you have to visit one of the ATMs of SBI or Branch. In the ATM you have reconfirm your mobile number (It never worked for me)/ in the branch you have to let them know that this your current mobile number (I went three times in three consecutive weeks to remind the bank person to do it and meanwhile in three weeks time interval the username got expired and I have to go through the same process again….terrible experience)

If anyone after going through this thinks that it is reasonably acceptable to do all the above to ensure security, I believe he / she should be an outlier J

Can’t it be made lot more user friendly?

Why there is a need for a new user name? Why don’t it use by registered web banking user ID as the application User ID and Web banking password as the password to provide access to the application?

Knowing the bank already knows my mobile number (I have given at the time of account creation) if I key in my ATM PIN correctly in my mobile application, shouldn’t map the mobile number / PIN to my account and provide direct access to the application?

Assuming there is a catch here as there is a probability of you not having updated your mobile number and worst case the mobile number is recycled by your telephone operator to someone else, I understand there is a security issue, but still I believe it is ok as there is near zero probability of that person knowing by ATM PIN number. Worst case if required you can ask for your debit card number as well as ATM PIN number  as an additional security measure as that is exactly you do in the ATM except that you are not inserting your physical card in the ATM machine…which is ok…

Just thinking one step beyond wouldn’t be great if these mobile service providers provide a web-service that the mobile banking application can use to match and check whether it is the current mobile number for the user and provide seamless access to the application as the mobile service provides can provide by Name / Address to cross check and revalidate without any user intervention?

Application Usage Experience ….

Assuming you are all set and you are now ready to use the application, the second set of issue starts in application usage.

Every time it asks for the cryptic username it provided me. I don’t have an option to change it. Considering the fact that it is difficult to remember you don’t have an option that storing somewhere in your mobile.

Second it asks for the PIN for every transaction even if you haven’t switched to other applications. This is real nuisance. I am ok to re-key the PIN if I have switched to some other application or mobile went to idle state for some-time before I use it again but I believe it is too much if you have to key-in the PIN every-time for every request right from balance enquiry to funds transfer.

Customer Experience B/w Application Security

Customer Experience B/w Application Security

And the list doesn’t stop there. There are other issues like, it not able to fetch by linked accounts, payees etc by default. The synchronization doesn’t work and you may end up setting the duplicates again in your mobile though personally I expect everything I have already set up in my web banking made accessible in my mobile without any further steps / actions.

The funny thing on security side is it sends an SMS on every action I do and this SMS contains confidential details that are right in my SMS folder which can be accessed by others without any protection measures. I believe this is a flip-side on the security front and I am not sure why they do so.

Finally …

I believe as I stated in the opening balancing security and user experience is a fine act and unless you leverage technology / put your thoughts in have a secured but user friendly customer centric process, you might end developing a secured robust application but there may not be anyone to use it ….

Venkatesan Sundaram
Senior Director, CRMIT

Originally Published on Venky’s Blog


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The New and Improved Right Now

The first time I heard about RightNow CX few years back was, when we considered it to be a competitor (being a Oracle partner we looked at all products outside the Red Zone to be competitors ;)) I was just dumbstruck by the features it provided and did some research and came to know that the reason why RightNow CX is a great product with quick adoption of the customer requirements. RightNow CX has kept this culture post Oracle acquisition and possibly it may influence Oracle policy of the customer requirement adoption culture.

Looking at the presentation by Chris Patterson (Sr. Director Product Strategy, Oracle) the enhancements were spread out rather than focused on only certain areas. Starting with web and social to their strong contact centre, engagement and finally also their cloud or lets just say the Fusion strategy.

Customer support via any mobile device browser

Customer support via any mobile device browser

The term “web” enhancements could have been called mobile enhancements, because the main features concentrated on the simple browser (Mobile Browser) compatibility of the customer portal and also tight integrations to the Mobile image attachment. I think this was a true world requirement because even I have used my mobile to take pictures of issues with things buy off the internet and send them to the store. Because I can’t walk into the virtual store, and yes these days we use mobiles to search on the internet and the mobile SEO optimization makes complete sense and it’s a tad bit faster than going to the company knowledge base and searching for it.

The icing for RightNow CX is their flexibility and ease of allowing customizing the

Web – Add­-In Support for Chat

Web – Add­-In Support
for Chat

agent interface to add content, links and actionable buttons (like mini Apps) and they have even extended it to their Chat interface #Talk about customization. I hope this is extended to the other Apps in Oracles Stable.

The social features were contended until last year but the way things are changing, we want more! Although they have not provided a flashy interface. For Oracle’s business fashion the Social Trend Analysis interface is a definite need. When the Cloud monitor was launched, I was amazed but since then it has been boring especially with companies increasing their social presence its become harder to pinpoint anomalies and this is just what Trend Analysis does gives us a graph to pin point anomalies. From the explanation Chris gave I think it is an early form of Topological Data Analysis which is a fast catching trend in analytics these days. Hope to see more on this side Oracle.

Social is just not the popular social media, We still have our community pages and guess what, all the crying and cribbing of community administrators has finally yielded the enhancements to community moderation allowing admin to easily monitor the site with dynamically ordered posts, some bulk moderation features. Also they have provided more reporting to communities mainly to analyze how the communities are accessed and posted from. So if Users are going to use mobile devices to post articles then probably we can see some more enhancements in this area.

Mobile, the revolution from the past decade and yes now the companies can give agents or super agents mobile devices and tell them to use RightNow CX than the boring PC. Oracle has a cool video on Oracle Fusion tap, But then all that is seen is still not within our reach (May be in the next release) but it does look a lot promising and not too distant.

I don’t know how much more you are going to read so let me be quick. HTML editor has better formatting options wherever they are used in the system. The report management has improved than the previous. And Yes! We definitely need to talk about the Cloud these days else you’re hardly going to be even glanced at. There are more API’s and enhancements so partners and developers can build apps and yes we can see RightNow CX fit into Oracle’s Fusion strategy better with the enhancement to API’s.

Until Next time…

Shyam Soundappan
Business Consultant- CRMIT Solutions

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