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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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“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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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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Connected Contact Centers in the Era of the Internet of Everything

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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