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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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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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Creativity: The Secret Sauce for Successful Consultants

One of the challenges we’re seeing in business today is the need to re-learn the problem solving process. This need is increasing demand for creativity as a critical competency of the consultant of the future – driven by how businesses capture value harnessing the connectivity and intelligence enabled by the Internet of Everything (IoE). Read More »

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Better Customer Service through Collaboration

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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