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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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Cisco is the World’s #1 Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Vendor

As we announced at the recent Customer Collaboration Partner Sales Summit, the latest independent industry report from market analyst Tern shows that Cisco is the #1 interactive voice response (IVR) vendor by a wide margin, with over 41% market share compared to just 16% for #2 Genesys and less than 13% for #3 Avaya/Nortel.  Cisco enjoyed over 30% growth in our IVR business from CY2010 to CY2011, compared to just 4% for Genesys and 3% for Avaya.

These fantastic results are a testament to Read More »

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Collaboration: Top of Mind at Cisco Live

Last week we wrapped up the US version of Cisco Live in San Diego, California. Of all the events Cisco hosts worldwide, Cisco Live is potentially the most anticipated among our customers, partners, and staff alike. It’s truly amazing to have 17,000 users all in one place and it gives me an exceptional opportunity to hear firsthand about your concerns, interests, and strategies.

I heard two themes from you last week.  From Read More »

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Regional Momentum Fuels Global Growth in Cisco Customer Collaboration

Those of you who follow my blogs know about the tremendous, sustained growth in Cisco’s contact center business over the last several years.  For example, 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.  If this trend continues, Cisco will overtake Avaya for #1 market share worldwide within the next three years, and in less than two years in North America.

We began our drive to #1 in North America, but other regions of the world are repeating that success.  Asia Pacifc, India, and the Middle East represent key growth regions for us, and to help provide insights into those areas I recently spoke with the CEO of Servion, Mr. Balakrishnan “Bala” Kavikkal.  Servion is an accomplished specialist in Cisco customer care implementations, with over 1000 deployments at large enterprises, multinational corporations, and telecommunications service providers handling hundreds of millions of calls annually. 

Bala described some of the key transitions he’s seeing in the customer care market, which include the ever-increasing pressure on business’s gross margins as they strive to meet rising customer expectations on an explosion of customer interactions across a variety of channels.  Businesses are also starting to embrace Opex spending for cloud and as-a-service customer care solutions.  Cisco’s portfolio of customer care products helps Servion thrive in the midst of these market transitions and spending models.

I asked Bala why Servion chose Cisco’s customer care solutions to fuel its own business growth, and to share his perspective on why Cisco and Servion have achieved so much mutual success.  Read More »

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Evolving from Customer Service to Customer Collaboration

Like many people, I’ve raised my expectations of the products I use and the companies with which I do business, both personally and professionally. As my choices of vendors have expanded, so have the criteria by which I measure them.

At one point, the smallest price tag won the battle. I didn’t always get the best result, but I saved some money. I can get a whole lot more store-brand ice cream for my dollar, but it’s never as good as Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk. Never.

Product quality, convenience, brand reputation, price, previous experience, are all in the mix. Increasingly, customer service is taking a greater role. I want to work with companies that want to work with me.

Collaboration technology gives you more avenues to interact with and serve your customers. Make it easy to be your customers. The efforts are worth it. In a new white paper, titled “Turning Customer Service into Customer Collaboration,” ZK Research says “the time is now for companies to use collaboration tools to evolve customer service.” Read More »

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