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“Hold Me Closer, Tony Danza” Customer Experience and Cisco Context Service

Due to a middle school crush, I became a fan of Elton John during the most prolific point in his career, releasing a series of records I still enjoy today.

Always looking to impress, I’d listen to the albums again and again looking to memorize the lyrics if the chance for a sing-along ever presented itself.  If a verse was hard to understand, I’d take my best shot, which occasionally produced comic results.

Little did I realize there’s a cottage industry of misheard song lyrics, with one of the most common being, “Hold me closer Tony Danza” from Elton’s song “Tiny Dancer”. Wow, talk about ruining the context of a song!

Context is an increasingly critical element of customer experience. The historical process of identifying and qualifying a customer during a real-time experience can backfire without context. Take my friend who called to report an outage on his cable service and was repeatedly upsold for an “enhanced” package during his queue time and agent interaction. We call this “doing the wrong thing right.”

Context provides the foundation for more personal, relevant and differentiated service – the battleground in the Experience Era.  Read More »

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Enterprise Connect 2015 – it’s about communication, not technology

Let’s step into the “way back machine.” It’s 1985, and my friends and I are waiting in a long line to purchase U2 concert tickets. We are beyond excited; they are coming to the Worcester Centrum and we are determined to score tickets for this momentous event! It’s a very, very long line at the local record store, the only one in town that sells concert tickets.

Remember those days? Not many choices and lots of in-person interactions that were time-consuming, but we didn’t know the difference back then.

It took a long time to make it to the front of that line, and you never knew if the tickets were going to be sold out before you got there. It was a wait-and-see game with very few choices.

EC Lenore blog

In 2015, most of us couldn’t imagine dealing with that. We have grown accustomed to having many choices on how and when we communicate. This has greatly changed the research and purchase process, which in turn has driven the need for the highly-responsive customer care companies are starting to provide.

How does this relate to Enterprise Connect 2015? Read More »

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Track the Customer Journey with Cisco Context Service

I was on a weeklong business trip to London last month, and as I made my way to purchase a ticket for Heathrow Express train, I realized that I had left my corporate credit card at home. It was close to midnight in London, and Heathrow Express was the perfect option because I was going to stay at Hilton Paddington.

I reached the hotel rather quickly and, like always, thought to myself, “Why don’t we have something like Heathrow Express in New York?” At check-in, I offered my personal credit card and within seconds of the swipe, I received a text message from my bank:


I responded in affirmative and received a confirmation. I was very impressed that my bank was looking after me. Read More »

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Context is Everything in Customer Care

“Let’s eat grandma!”
“Let’s eat, grandma!”

Punctuation makes a difference, doesn’t it? So does context.

Photo by Takkk, Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Takkk, Wikimedia Commons

If you’re a basketball fan with March Madness on your mind, “Drive the lane!” might make you think of something a coach yells to his players. On the other hand, if you’re teaching your teenage son to drive, it means something else entirely. Context matters! (By the way, march madness also refers to the breeding season of the European hare; context is a tricky thing.)

What’s one of the most annoying things about calling a contact center? For me, it’s entering my account number to an interactive voice response (IVR) system and then having a customer service agent ask me to repeat it moments later. In his recent blog, Zack Taylor refers to this as a “Do It Again” moment. Come on, people! We put a man on the moon in 1969 (or not, if you’re a conspiracy buff), but we can’t get an IVR system to send account numbers to agents? Actually we can. But most businesses don’t because it’s been too difficult or costly. We’ll get back to that shortly. Read More »

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Context Matters: Announcing Context Service for Better Customer Care

“Hello, Mr. Famous, and thanks for calling 1-800-WeCanHelp! I see you bought three items from us last week, and you IM’d with our agent Chet yesterday when you had some questions about set-up. Are you calling about that same issue, or can I help you with something else?”

Calling customer service is never this painless or this easy. I usually start what can become a long, frustrating phone call by entering my account number into an interactive voice response (IVR) system. Typically, a customer service agent asks me to repeat it moments later. My call becomes a painful process of repetition. I provide numbers, ordering history, past calls to customer service, and loads of other information. And that’s before ever getting to how to solve the problem I called about in the first place.

But fast, painless, personal customer service is no longer just a dream.

Introducing Context Service for Cisco Contact Center

Today, we’re announcing Context Service for Cisco Contact Center, a cloud-based solution that tracks a customer’s critical contextual data and immediately delivers it to the service agent. Context Service integrates data from the various ways a customer can interact with your business – such as voice, chat, social media, email and web – to help the agent be better informed and make that service experience more appealing.

Context Service Diagram

With Context Service for Cisco Contact Center, a customer service agent has Read More »

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