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Connected Contact Centers in the Era of the Internet of Everything

November 18, 2014 at 1:38 pm PST

The contact center came into being nearly 25 years ago and is now the de facto communication channel for organizations to connect with their customers. A lot has changed since then. And there’s much more change to come with mobility, big data, collaboration, and the Internet of Everything making their collective mark on the user experience.

Recently Paul Stockford, founder and chief analyst of Saddletree Research, and I discussed the evolution of the contact center and our predictions for what’s next. You can listen to the Future of IT podcast episode via iTunes.

Our top predictions: Read More »

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Effortless School Holidays Thanks to a Great Customer Experience

customer experience blog AJ 11_2014Last week I was at Westminster Central Hall in London for the EMEAR and UK&I Customer Collaboration Sales Summit.   It was great to hear about some of the successes that our partners and customer are having, and some of the new developments in Cisco Customer Collaboration solutions.

One of the highlights of the summit was listening to my colleague, Zack Taylor talking about customer experience.  He outlined some of the ways businesses are measuring customer satisfaction and building cross-functional programs in which the contact center plays a key role.  In his session, Zack discussed three popular metrics that business leaders are tracking:

  • Effortless Experiences: Proponents of the Low-Effort measure argue that customers will become loyal to companies that deliver low-effort interactions over those who strive to provide a dazzling experience but are more difficult to engage with.
  • Net Promoter Score: Developed by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company, the Net Promoter Score provides a simple way to measure a company’s performance. It provides qualitative data that can help companies improve their customer experience by assessing the willingness their customers to enthusiastically promote (or not) their product and services to friends, colleagues, or family members. Read More »

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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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