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“Who Can it Be Now?” is No Longer a Legitimate Question in the Call Center

blog image ZT call center 1_2015In 1982, the Australian group Men at Work reached the #1 spot on the Billboard music charts with a song titled “Who Can it Be Now?” The accompanying early MTV-era video proved to be extremely popular, portraying a visitor to an apartment peering through a keyhole. And it didn’t hurt that lead singer Colin Hay had a very interesting set of eyes to feature in the short. In case you haven’t seen this classic, check it out here:

Unfortunately, the very same paradigm hinders today’s customer-experience strategies. We invite customers to our businesses, and when they arrive we often ask the equivalent question: “Who are you?” This is still true in today’s contact centers, where customers are asked to self-identify through any number of authentication processes.

What’s difficult to grasp is that many Read More »

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A Magical Squared Moment

One of the problems we’re working to solve with Project Squared is to enable teams to work much more flexibly – any time, any place, any device. We believe that ad-hoc conferencing is a key part of this, which is why it features prominently in the application right now. I had a great experience – magical almost – with the app last week, and I wanted to share it with you.

A few developers, product managers, designers, and I were in a Squared Room, heatedly discussing the right user experience for a new feature we are considering adding to the app. The chat conversation was coming in bursts throughout the day. Around evening time in California, the discussion started up again. One of the participants was about to get in his car to drive home, so he took a gamble and hit the “call” button. It was actually quite late for me (I’m on the east coast), so I initially ignored the incoming invite, assuming others would as well. However, I saw that the call was still going on a few minutes later, so obviously something was going on. I was on my mobile, but figured I’d pop in and see what was happening. So, I clicked the join button.

When I joined, there was a heated discussion going. Four other folks were live in the call having an argument. The initiator of the call was still driving – thankfully his phone was lying down next to his seat and not in his hand! One of the others was outside a restaurant waiting to be seated. The other two were in a conference room in the office, working on some UX sketches on a whiteboard. We talked for about ten minutes, and actually made some good progress. The fellow in the restaurant reported a similar experience to mine – he initially ignored the request for the group call because he was at a restaurant. But seeing that the call was continuing, he jumped in to check it out.

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Ten Things to Consider for a Better Contact Center

The contact center is the front line for handling customer inquiries. Corporations large and small understand that it’s important to respond to inquiries quickly and effectively. A lot of money is budgeted for customer care departments to meet this growing need and respond via one or more customer contact channels. As evidenced by many stories in the news recently, one small, wrong move and your company could end up on the wrong side of a social media story gone viral. How many times have you heard of someone tweeting about being stuck in a plane on the runway for a few hours? It can make the nightly news and stir up bad publicity for the airline, potentially resulting in customer service headaches for months or years to come.

Many variables affect a contact center ecosystem including the underlying technology, staffing resources, real estate, etc. If your corporate contact center infrastructure is transforming or needs to transform, here are ten top issues you should consider: Read More »

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Technology and its Power to Transform Society – Where do you Stand?

Educators are using technologies like Cisco Webex to deliver anytime, anywhere learning, bring experts from across the country and the globe into their classrooms, and provide ubiquitous access to an astounding amount of resources on the Internet.

Now, educators, along with their students across the country, are using it to have conversations that transform society.  Today, at 12pm Eastern Standard Time, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, students from nearly every region in the nation, with a broad spectrum of socio-economic and racial backgrounds, will use Cisco WebEx to participate in a discussion on civil rights issues.  This event is being led and facilitated by the Rochester School District in cooperation with districts from across the country. Read More »

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Moustaches and the Customer Experience

Tom_Selleck

Photo by Alan Light

Remember when moustaches were cool? For those who weren’t paying attention, it was back in the 1980s when Tom Selleck–sporting that signature facial hair–ruled the T.V. airwaves as private investigator Magnum, P.I. Most guys old enough to shave (or who thought they were) tried to proclaim their manliness with a Magnum-style moustache. We thought 128 kB of RAM and the 5 1/4″ floppy drives on our IBM XT personal computers were pretty neat, too.

The early 80s were also the last time many consumers thought that contact centers–or call centers, as they were known then–were cool. People appreciated being able to call businesses if they had a question about their bill or needed product information (remember, those were the Dark Ages before the internet). But as related in a noted white paper, contact centers soon became more about minimizing costs than providing exceptional customer care. And of course we started getting annoying telemarketing calls in the middle of dinner.

In the last couple of years, however, customer care has begun to swing back in favor of the customer.

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