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Better Customer Service through Collaboration

February 6, 2013 at 11:16 pm PST

Good news: Customers are becoming people in 2013. It’s prediction season. The blog world is ripe with posts of premonitions and predictions for every horizontal, vertical, and diagonal cross-section of business, science, and life in general.

The year’s predictions for customer service have a strong focus on people and experience. Look back just two years and you’ll see a greater emphasis on the process and operational pieces of the puzzle. Then, customers were essentially the sum of their activities and accounts. Today, they’re people and need to be treated as such, especially with the power that social media affords them to share opinions, feedback, and feelings about their interactions as your customer. (Feelings? Not those! Can I even mention those in a corporate post?!)

Some common phrases pop up in this year’s predictions: experience, multichannel, social media, differentiation, personalization, collaboration.

Contact centers are moving beyond transactions to relationships. Service is becoming a competitive differentiator. Creating more interactive and collaborative customer relationships is making a difference. Customer satisfaction is about more than making sure the customer gets the product and that the product works. It’s about creating loyalty so that customer comes back and becomes your advocate.

How can collaboration technology help along the way? The following use cases provide several options and benefits: Read More »

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Predictions for Customer Care in 2013 and Beyond

In the past year, we’ve seen how social, mobile and video have presented new opportunities to deepen the way companies and customers interact for more efficient and intelligent customer care. As we begin 2013, I wanted to offer up a few predictions on how technology innovations will continue to help organizations build strong relationships and better consumer experiences in 2013 and beyond.

This year, mobile and video will come together to simplify customer service interactions– As video is becoming commonplace, we’re seeing companies look for ways to bring in the right customer service expert instantly. Cisco is currently trialing technology to connect consumers with video experts via mobile devices both in-store or on the road. By pulling intuitive information based on location and what detail the customer has recently looked at on the web or mobile device, this technology will route customers to the right expert to help them get the additional detail they need in a simpler and more efficient manner. Imagine, accessing a paint or decorating expert with just one click in the paint aisle at your neighborhood hardware store or even while you’re outside painting your house.

In the next few years, marketing and customer service responsibilities will merge – Consumers are talking about brands all over the web in places like Twitter and Facebook, sites which have over 500 million and one billion active users respectively. Traditionally, social media has been owned by marketing but with people asking service questions in new social channels, companies will need to merge some of these responsibilities between the call center and marketing. Read More »

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Riding the 3 Waves Through the Holidays

As many of you know, the term “Black Friday” is commonly used to describe the Friday immediately after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday--the busy shopping day when many retailers begin to turn a profit for the year. Black Friday signals the start of the holiday shopping season, with its accompanying surge in the need for customer support. We can all think of examples of the latter: the frantic web searches to get our childrens’ gifts working properly, the calls to return a sweater that was the wrong size--sound familiar?

The holiday season is the acid-test of customer care in many industries. Businesses that fail the test will lose customers--often in droves--while those who delight their customers can surge ahead of the competition.

So how can businesses succeed--and excel--in providing world-class customer service even during this most challenging of seasons? The answer lies in properly leveraging the 3 Waves of Customer Care:  Cost, Relationship, and Experience. You can read about the details in this Read More »

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Valued Partner Ecosystem is Key in Quest to be #1 in Customer Collaboration

In today’s changing marketplace, Cisco continues to invest in an aggressive plan to become the #1 vendor in contact center. In the last year, we’ve made huge gains toward this milestone, with Cisco ranked as the #1 worldwide IVR vendor by a wide margin. And in the last four years, Cisco has closed the market share gap on Avaya/Nortel by nearly 23 points worldwide and by over 33 points in North America.

On our march towards #1, our valued partner ecosystem plays a crucial role. When customers choose Cisco Customer Collaboration solutions, they base their choice not only on our innovative products, but also on their ability to collaborate with established Cisco partners who have a wealth of experience in the contact center market and our solutions. By partnering with Cisco, Cisco channel partners are able to provide customers tremendous value add services, including sales and technical support.

Cisco is continuing to invest heavily in training, supporting and growing our partner ecosystem.  And the investment is clearly paying off.  Read More »

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Cisco Announces New Cloud Collaboration Capabilities and Deployment Options

In meeting with customers and partners, I hear repeatedly how key market transitions – mobility fueled by the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend, cloud as a delivery model and the pervasive use of video – are dramatically shifting how organizations communicate and collaborate, both internally and externally.  They want to collaborate from anywhere, at anytime, and on any device — with a superior user experience. For maximum business benefit, they want to accelerate collaboration services across their organization. They want options and they need agility.

Today, Cisco unveiled multiple enhancements to our Cisco Collaboration portfolio — delivered via public, private, hosted/managed cloud models — that provide customers access to an expanded set of market-leading collaboration offerings.  Customers have greater choice in how they deploy collaboration offerings based on their specific needs or requirements.  They also have new options for accelerating collaboration across their business quickly, securely, and reliably. Read More »

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