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The Steely Dan Contact Center: When “Do It Again” Isn’t a Hit

In 1973, the group Steely Dan burst onto the music scene with two hits from their first album “Can’t Buy A Thrill.” Setting the standard for obscure lyrical references, a loyal following for the band endures even in 2015.

One of the hits, Do It Again raced up the charts as a pop-music rarity – a hit song in a minor key. Most Steely Dan fans have concluded that it’s about a gambler that must return to the tables. For a vintage rendition of the song, check out this link:

I had a recent experience that highlights just how much Do It Again resides in today’s contact centers. After being unable to locate the answer to my question on their web site, I engaged a long-time financial-service provider supplier for live help. Read More »

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Prove Your Collaboration Expertise with Cisco Certifications

The way we work – and where we work – has changed immensely in the past decade alone. That transformation will continue with the ongoing proliferation of communications devices.

According to Gartner, an estimated 40% of the workforce will be mobile by 2016. In addition, more organizations have employees in different buildings, cities, states, and even countries.

Collaboration is critical to business success and innovation, but the changes in the workplace require new ways to collaborate. No longer can you rely on being able to huddle at the cubicle down the hall.

Fortunately, advancing technologies have empowered people to engage and innovate anywhere, anytime.

To support this transition, today’s IT staff must wear multiple hats. Gone are the days when you’d have a dedicated voice guru, a specialized video expert, and someone else to support collaboration tools. Multiple trends are converging and with them, IT job roles are blending. In many organizations, video and voice specialist roles have converged to become a single specialty.

As a network engineer, how do you convey and prove that you have the skill set to deliver business value using Cisco collaboration solutions? Through Read More »

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Simplifying Midsize Collaboration Deployments

feb 2015 midmarket blog image - guy walkingIn my last post I talked about the impact that low-effort experiences can have on customer satisfaction.  I singled out my home broadband provider for criticism, and so thought it only fair that I talk about a recent great experience I had with them.

Last month, my provider sent an email telling me that they’d proactively upgraded my home broadband service to 50Mbps.  All I had to do was replace my old cable modem/router.  The process couldn’t have been simpler.   The new modem was delivered with pre-configured settings. All I had to do was connect it, power up, and enter the network ID and password onto my devices.

Contrast this experience with lengthy and complicated installations that customers often face when installing multiple communications and collaboration solutions from multiple vendors.

For small and medium-sized businesses in particular, with smaller IT teams, it is critical that solutions are easy to deploy, manage, and use. So we’ve taken a different approach.

The Cisco Business Edition 6000 consolidates multiple virtualized collaboration applications into one server solution that is right-priced and right-sized for small to medium sized businesses.  IT departments can rapidly deploy voice, video, messaging, or presence solutions, starting with their highest-priority use cases — and add additional functionality later. Read More »

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Back to the Future in 2015: Marty McFly’s Contact Center

In the 1989 movie Back to the Future II, Michael J. Fox’s character Marty McFly travels to the year 2015. He sees a future with hover boards, holograms, flat-screen TVs, and video calls. Not bad for predictions made over 25 years ago!

But the movie didn’t give us a glimpse of what a contact center might look like in 2015. Based on the trends over the last year, let’s consider what Marty may have seen had he traveled to a contact center in 2015 instead of Hill Valley.

Moving from Multichannel to Omnichannel

And 2015 will be the year that the “omni” will be cemented into omnichannel. Multichannel customer care has been around for some time now.

Customers can reach out to contact centers via the channel they choose: voice, video, web chat, email, or social. But what if a customer uses more than one channel to complete a single transaction over a period of time?

Each time the customer makes contact, all the information and context from previous contacts, regardless of channel, will be available. Each subsequent agent or resource can get right to the issue at hand to complete that customer’s journey and fulfill their request.

Speaking of customer journeys, omnichannel allows you to Read More »

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4 Ways Video Conferencing Makes a Difference

4 Ways Video BenefitsIt’s not an industry-specific thing. Video conferencing can provide business benefits no matter the industry. Retailers and financial institutions are employing video to interact with customers. Medical professionals are consulting with one another across distance. Manufacturers are addressing production issues more quickly and thoroughly.

Where the need for interaction exists, so does the potential for video conferencing to add value. Once upon a time, suggesting a meeting over video was folly. It was too complicated, expensive, and it required equipment housed in the hallowed halls of the executive wing (and maybe an IT guru).

Now it’s on my smartphone, tablet, and laptop. My kid can figure it out. Hurdles cleared. Check.

A recent Forbes Insight article, “Boost Innovation with Video Communications,” outlines eight ways video can provide business advantages. Here’s my take on four of them.

1. Reduce travel costs.
Making video conferencing available up and down the org chart not only reduces travel, but it removes distance as an impediment to collaboration. Although I’ve decreased my personal business travel, I work with far more people outside of my primary work location than I ever have before. And our collaboration is more successful.

Read More »

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