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Customer Care Enters the 21st Century

A friend of mine recently joined the rest of us in the 21st Century by getting his first smartphone. Although it was a long time coming, he’s now tweeting, checking Facebook, and tracking his favorite baseball team, the Colorado Rockies, like the rest of us.

Although my friend isn’t a techno-grouch by any means, the way consumers use smartphones to interact with companies is driving a transition in the customer care industry. Not only are consumers increasingly communicating with businesses via new mechanisms such as mobile, but they’re interacting for new reasons. Using the web and social media, today’s consumers learn much more about products and services before they reach out to a business to ask a question or resolve an issue. Gone are the days of “one size fits all” contact centers. Expert, personalized customer care is now the rule rather than the exception.

Modern Customer Collaboration (or Customer Interaction, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, or even “contact center”) solutions are meeting this challenge by evolving to address not only my friend’s new-found customer service requirements, but the ongoing needs of consumers who stepped into the 21st century long before he did.

Support for current and future mobile applications is critical. Just about every company Read More »

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Delivering in Customer Care

I recently watched the Belmont Stakes to see whether a thoroughbred named California Chrome could win horse racing’s coveted Triple Crown.  While viewing the race, I was struck by how it doesn’t matter how quickly you start, or how many competitions you’ve won before.  What matters is how you finish, or--in business terms--how you deliver.

Cisco is focused on delivering business-relevant customer care solutions that help companies succeed with their own customers.  That’s one reason why I was delighted to learn that, for the third year in a row, Gartner rated Cisco highest in “Ability to Execute” in the 2014 Contact Center Infrastructure Magic Quadrant.  Gartner bases vendors’ “Ability to Execute” on a number of criteria--including the quality, overall breadth, and maturity of their applications, customer support capabilities, and their ability to deliver solutions that enable contact center operations in formal contact centers in companies, outsourcers, and service providers.

What does this mean for you?  It starts with Read More »

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Is Your Contact Center Ready for the Cloud?

As we meet with key customers, partners, and industry analyst around the world, there continues to be growing interest in cloud-based services for contact center and customer care, among other technologies. At Cisco, our focus for the customer contact business is to enable companies to provide customer care, in a flexible fashion, to support their corporate brand and customer experience strategy, regardless of the deployment model.

Cloud-based contact centers have moved into the mainstream, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Businesses of all sizes and industries who move their contact center to the cloud are reaping the benefits, including rapid deployment, flexible scalability, pay-as-you-go pricing and access to the latest technologies and upgrades. In some cases, these are key differentiators between businesses that lag behind and those that thrive.

Migration to the cloud is not an all or nothing endeavor. In some cases, Read More »

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Batman and the Customer Experience Center

The concept of the Customer Experience Center (CEC) is gaining attention in the customer care industry as the next logical step beyond the contact center.  Although a precise definition of the CEC is still under debate, a good starting point is to think of it as a set of technologies and business processes that deliver (hopefully superior) customer experience management, which Gartner defines as “the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.”

batman blog picIn the movie “Batman Begins“, Batman tells Rachel Dawes, “It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.”  This statement offers an alternate way to think about the CEC--by considering what it does.  The emerging CEC encompasses Customer Collaboration by combining traditional contact center technology and processes with a range of collaboration technologies to empower businesses to forge deeper, more proactive relationships with their customers.  As such, the CEC moves beyond the traditional channels of interaction of the “contact center” to embrace new media and access methods desired by consumers, including video, mobile, and the social web.  Or the batphone.

The CEC has emerged because Read More »

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Customer Collaboration and the Internet of Everything

Those who read this blog regularly know that Customer Collaboration combines traditional contact center technology and processes with important innovations in social media, Web 2.0 agent workspaces, network-based recording and analytics, and video to empower businesses to forge deeper, proactive, more consistent relationships with their customers.  Three years ago, Cisco identified Customer Collaboration as a major market disruption, and our customers have benefitted from our leadership through this disruptive time.

More recently, Cisco identified another market disruption--the Internet of Everything (IoE)--which Cisco defines as the networked connection of people, processes, data, and things.  The true benefit of the IoE is derived from the compound impact of connecting all these elements--with a majority of the value derived by extending the connections of the IoE to people.

So what’s the relationship between Customer Collaboration and the IoE?  Simply put, Customer Collaboration connects the Internet of Everything to consumers.  Many of the touchpoints to the IoE run through businesses, and Customer Collaboration is what brings businesses and organizations closer to their customers--to us.  Let me provide some examples of how Customer Collaboration can connect consumers to the IoE:

Consider Amy, Read More »

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