Advantone offers quality Automated Call Distribution (ACD) services, which will simplify and optimize the self-service and call routing experience for your valued customers. Our skill-based routing helps businesses like yours meet and exceed corporate goals. Check out our new video below to learn more about our Automated Call Distribution module!
Various industries are benefiting from gamification and the purpose of this concept is to engage web users through the introduction of game mechanics and applications. The gamification process is being widely adopted around the globe by an abundance of online businesses, and it is predicted that by the year 2016, more than $2.8 billion will be spent directly on this business technique. So, why is this concept becoming so popular for businesses? Well, gamification is proven to boost a person’s engagement because of the simple fact that people like to play games.
Using Games to Make Agents Console Interesting
Over 77 percent of American households own a game of some sort, whether it is a board game, a puzzle or a video game. However, it is not just young children that enjoy playing games because the average age for gamers in the U.S is actually 37, meaning that by applying games to various areas of a business, such as contact center, it is possible to influence the behavior of agents.
The human psychological disposition is targeted during gamification and for experienced marketers to effectively use this approach, it is important that the non-game application is as appealing as a real game application might be. Typical elements that are introduced into gamification include:
- Progress bars
- Activity feeds
These are just a few examples of the techniques that can be applied to game mechanics with this approach; agents can enjoy game play while focusing on their daily task at the same time. Rewarding the agent with virtual items in the form of prizes and trophies enables the company to influence agents by increasing agents’ productivity and broaden brand recognition through positive word of mouth.
Boost Business Conversions
The most desirable thing about gamification is the fact that this technique could potentially boost business conversions up to seven times. More than 55 percent of Americans would prefer to work for companies that use this marketing process and because regular engagement can lead to higher motivation among agent, businesses will be able to heighten customer service.
Casual gaming applications like FarmVille are reaping the rewards of gamification and it is clear that this concept will soon rule the business world. Known as being the next big step in marketing, this method is powerful for generating new business and not only will it increase employees productivity which will lead to better customer service but also, it will sway new consumers to provide valuable survey answers, constructive feedback and higher overall revenue.
Many websites use gamification, including Mint.com, which was one of the first websites to adopt the idea. When you introduce this technique into your agent’s console, boosting productivity among your agents will be easy. When using this form of engagement wisely, you can expect the following benefits:
- Great customer service is the key to a successful business and with gamification you can attract a dedicated stream of agents.
- Influence the behavior of your agents and as they cooperate more, they will invest more time and effort in your business.
- Clients are routed to the most appropriate agents based on the previous call dispositions scoring.
Entertain your employees in a simple, yet effective way with rewards, challenges and status building.
Multi-, cross-, and omni-channel: these terms are thrown around all the time, sometimes even used interchangeably. However, each is distinct from the others in terms of what it refers to. Here’s a quick guide to what these terms really describe.
Gone are the days where brick and mortar stores were the only places clients could purchase products or obtain more information. Multi-channel allows for transactions across a wide variety of channels or mediums. Examples of the types of channels that may be used in multi-channel communications include physical stores, online websites, telephone interactive voice response (IVR), e-mail or mobile apps, fax, and more. Any platform that offers more than one channel for transactions and information is considered “multi-channel.” Even smaller retailers that allow for transactions through a website are engaging in multi-channel retail. Although such a system is often convenient for the customer, multi-channel retailers often do not offer a seamless transition between channels.
Cross-channel is, in essence, a logical evolution of the multi-channel system. Customers utilize multiple channels in order to make a transaction: for example, the customer might read about a product in a catalog, research and purchase it online, and pick it up from an actual store, effectively interacting across several channels in order to make a purchase or obtain information. The idea behind cross-channel is that the message marketed to the consumer will be exactly consistent across all channels, providing an easier experience for the customer. This means the same promotions, deals, and prices from the call center to the web page to the mobile app to the store.
Although each channel exists as independent from the others, the cross-channel platform is able to use different modules to interact with the customer. As an example, when a customer calls a store/locator IVR, the platform will be able to send an SMS back with the directions requested, therefore using two different channels, SMS and voice.
Some consumers prefer to utilize multiple channels, oftentimes employing many simultaneously. The omni-channel method makes the customer the center of the process, with the ability to act across “touch points,” rather than simply channels within a brand. It offers the customer the ability to receive information in whatever way is most convenient.
Functionally, this might mean that the same information is available to customers in multiple formats – from cell phone apps to websites to wireless devices like tablets. Omni-channel also offers the ability to market to a customer based on his or her preferred touch points, social networks, purchasing history, website visits, and so forth. In addition, the most evolved omni-channel platform may develop intelligence about consumer preferences, for example based on his contact habits. Typically, a customer contacting a company through their cell phone will receive voice alerts, as the platform identified it as the preferred medium.
Numerous contact centers and large organizations are now introducing cloud routing, which is a routing platform that designates certain calls to specific call centers; cloud routing eliminates the problems that come with allocating calls to multiple call centers. This strategy enables each caller to experience the best possible customer service and as a result, company recognition and productivity can grow. The relationship you have with your customers is the foundation of success, therefore by focusing on call routing techniques like this, it is possible to manage thousands of calls continuously without compromising customer satisfaction. To stay on track when dealing with seasonal demand and call spikes, it is worth familiarizing your company with cloud routing and its benefits.
- No call disruptions: There is nothing worse than transferring customers to a line that is busy. With cloud routing, calls are spread evenly among the customer service department so that the chances of a customer being placed in a boundless queue is low; the cloud service guarantees business continuity and operates consistently 24/7/365.
- Advanced call analytics: Unlike when taking calls in the standard way, cloud routing will make it easier for business owners to understand how their efforts are affecting their customer base. By monitoring call analytics, strategies can be put into place to ensure customer retention is at its height.
- High performing workers gain acknowledgment: It is not just the customers that call routing benefits but also, the workers. This is because employees who have a better understanding on particular subjects can receive their calls first. As a result, the customer gets their questions answered accurately.
- Agents are always prepared: Cloud routing will alert agents before a call is taken, so that they have time to formulate a plan before speaking with the caller. This eliminates hassle and saves time for both parties.
- Operating costs will be reduced: The call routing software is simple to install and the set up fees are minimal. Flexible tariffs and better call handling means that business operating costs will lower significantly. Money can then be freely invested into other company improvements.
- Make your business stand out from the competition: While other companies may transfer their customers to different departments in order to clear call backlogs, you can promote customer relationships by linking representatives with customers they have spoken with previously.
- Improved call prioritization: Calls can be transferred to multifarious contact centers or alternatively, distributed to concentrated skill groups or backup queues. This is ideal for businesses that focus on various departments, because customer needs can be dealt with directly.
Cloud routing will help your contact center better perform by helping decrease call abandonment and increase overall efficiency and profitability. At Advantone, you may even integrate cloud routing seamlessly with an VPD, IVR and/or VACD module to further increase your customer service and call centers productivity.
Interested in this technology? Learn more here or comment on this post!
Predictive dialers have been in use by businesses that run call centers for a long period of time, they add efficiency to the process of making calls to the potential clients with removal of manual number input and reduction in time, waiting for a response. Agents can make thousands of calls within hours using predictive dialers. Despite being highly efficient, they still require the agent to be physically present the certain call center.
In case of a Predictive Dialer, however, agents are not required to be physically present at the same call center; a predictive dialer allows a formation of virtual call center and agents to carry out their dialing notwithstanding their geographic location, provided they have access to a stable internet connection. With access to the a predictive dialer, callers are given access to all the features of a predictive dialer at a remote location, opening an opportunity for great savings.
- The Cloud Helps Eliminate Overheads
By adopting this new cloud software, you can easily reduce some of your major overheads including maintenance of the supporting call center equipment, and associated utility expenses. Due to the ability of the software to be operated as a cloud, the costs for the acquisition and maintenance of expensive machinery are completely eliminated. Other eliminated costs are new releases or upgrades of the software since they are automatically updated onto the browser. The software also allows you to pay for what you receive. No fixed expenses and or fees are made and all charges are in accordance with the traffic of dialed and received calls; this is true for most companies.
- Cloud Allows for Virtual Contact Centers, Satisfied Customers, Saved Assets
With this new software, you are not required to hire locally; you can build a virtual contact centers by merging agents from different locations. In this way, if any one of the contact centers is busy, the calls are forwarded to the virtual contact center; you can handle all calls without wasting any time or money on relocation of the agents or hiring additional employees. With the elimination of the barriers confining your employees within the bounds of the office, the possibilities are limitless.
Only few of the means, how Predictive Dialer located in the Cloud can help you save company’s assets, are presented above, and with highly tense global market situation, every asset saved is a great investment. What is even more appealing, with Predictive Dialer, opposed to most ‘saving’ infrastructure upgrades in today’s business world, you don’t need a large investment for upgrade – simple access to software tool is enough to start saving today!
Agents in a traditional outbound call center dial one call at a time until a call is answered. Only a portion of the calls is answered. Typically, agents are actually engaged in conversation about 40 minutes per hour. Predictive dialers contact multiple numbers at a time, connecting answered calls to waiting agents. Predictive dialers use statistics to determine the dialing time and number of calls to be dialed at once to effectively match available agents to answered calls. This process maximizes agent utilization. Should there be a connected call when no agent is available, a prerecorded message will be automatically activated as prescribed by law.
An automated call distribution system, or ACD, routes calls to specific queues of available representatives based on rule-based instructions programmed into the software. For example, agents may be required to have state-specific certification or licensing. Calls can be matched by area code to qualified agents. While this method is not fool-proof, its level of inaccuracy is negligible and easily corrected by transferring those few incorrectly routed calls. This ensures that qualified agents are matched to specific calls with less time wasted by operators trying to determine accurate routing.
An additional function of the system is the enabling of CTI, or computer–telephone integration. This means that the agent’s computer will produce an automatic pop-up of relevant information according to pre-established rules. An example would be a system recognizing the client’s telephone number as an existing customer and pulling up his account information as the call is connected. This provides the agent with valuable background information allowing him to readily tailor the call to the client. Learn more about ACD here.
Using a predictive dialer to maximize the agent’s time in conjunction with an automated call distribution system maximizes his time and allows him to be permanently on a call with a customer.
For example, let’s say that you are an agent among many in a call center working at Company A. A person calls the Company A’s toll free number (TFN) and you receive that call. While you were on the phone, the predictive dialer, which had anticipated your call time, started calling different people based on another campaign. Once finished through the call, the predictive dialer will see that you have just become available and will connect you with a customer. Therefore you never get to be bored waiting for a call!
Typically, a predictive dialer will increase agent utilization by about 42 percent, or to 57 minutes of utilization per hour. Maximized efficiency and the elimination of staff to route calls spells a huge benefit for the company: increased revenues and lower costs. Isn’t this the goal of every company?
In any call center, the amount of total time spent on the phone by your reps versus down time can spell the difference between a profitable business and a doomed one. The use of automatic dialers revolutionized the industry when they were introduced but the features and benefits of automatic dialers pale in comparison to those of predictive dialers.
Originally an auto-dialer was an electronic device that automatically placed calls and either played a recording or connected the call to a company representative. As the technology matured, the auto-dialer concept was migrated to computers and became a software based solution. It was successfully used for many years until the emergence of the more efficient predictive dialer.
Unlike an automatic dialer which mindlessly places one call after another, a predictive dialer uses a sophisticated algorithm to minimize the amount of “dead” time spent by call center agents. Typically, the algorithm is preprogrammed to a standardized setting that takes into account the average number of calls answered, the amount of time to answer and the amount of time usually spent on a call.
With these facts in mind, the predictive dialer will then place additional calls before the representative is actually finished with the current one. In this way, the agent can always have an active call waiting when they are done with the current one.
The algorithms are also customizable and their parameters can be adjusted for such things as the time of day that the calls are made, the demographic of the customer base and the real-time pace of the agents. Predictive dialers have proven to be far more efficient than auto dialers with “dead’ time falling from almost 33% to less than 5%.
Learn more about Advantone’s Predictive Dialer here.
Advantone crafts competitive-edge technological solutions that are customized towards your company’s consumer or employee contact needs. We have developed thousands of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) applications with access methods ranging from basic touch-tone (DTMF) to Automated Speech Recognition (ASR) and Text-to-Speech (TTS). Check out our new video below to learn more about the Interactive Voice Response solutions.
In the past, IT infrastructure was complicated; the need to purchase, install and maintain hardware and supporting software was an expensive undertaking. Companies now have the option to enjoy the same technological advancements offered by complex, expensive in-house hardware and software packages. Using SaaS, also known as Software as a Service, companies can plug into a centrally hosted software. The service is accessed by simply using a web browser or other compatible client software. Software as a Service has become a household name in the technology sector and enterprises are gravitating toward it for several good reasons.
Lower upfront expenses
Prior to the emergence of Software as a Service, companies invested significant sums of money into purchasing, planning and developing typical hardware-based systems and software. SaaS applications are employed on a subscription basis, or on a pay-as-you-go basis depending on the hosting provider. Since the provider assumes the responsibility of hosting and supplying software services to the client, there are no licensing fees. The service provider owns the software application, owns the servers running the software, and also owns the employees needed to maintain the applications. In a typical hardware-based IT setup, the company invests those costs upfront to build and maintain the infrastructure, with no guarantees on reliability or uptime.
Trouble free upgrades
In a conventional hardware-based setup, deploying updates and patches can be cumbersome and demanding of otherwise time-strapped IT staff. Service providers manage all patching and updating, so the client company will not need to update or install anything. Problems normally related to decreased bandwidth are easily addressed as the service provider also manages bandwidth and service availability, and can easily upgrade the bandwidth upon demand.
Lower overall cost to maintain
The cost to utilize SaaS varies depending on the provider and the usage needs. Application access is usually sold under a subscription model, in which clients pay a regular fee to continue using the application. Providers vary in how they structure their costs and service packages; some providers allow unlimited application access at a flat rate access while others grant limited access at a flat rate.
Some providers charge rates that depend entirely on the clients’ usage and subscription package. Although the subscription fees to use SaaS may appear higher than using in-house software, the expenses associated with customizing, upgrading, patching, securing, maintaining and supporting applications is substantially lower overall, using the Software as a Service model.
Companies that haven’t yet adopted Software as a Service would benefit by considering such a service. After making the switch to SaaS, customers realize improved risk-management, increased flexibility, enhanced security, and better allocation of IT resources overall. As the future heads in the direction of more technology being based in-the-cloud, integrating your current IT infrastructure with a SaaS model will ensure unrealized gains and easier adoption of future technologies as they emerge.
Atmosphere, Advantone’s multi-channel platform, offers the perfect marketing automation tool to support your Predictive Dialer campaigns. Atmosphere Predictive Dialer, a built-in module of Atmosphere, makes traditional call/contact center technology obsolete by connecting your called parties with agents at any location, anywhere, in any geographic location where a telephone exists. Check out our new video below to learn more about the Atmosphere Predictive Dialer features.