Contact Center Technology Trends: Part 2

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1 Contact Center Technology Trends: Part 2 Language Interpreting Callback Technologies Workforce Management CRM and Analytics Information Brief July 2014

2 Introduction This information brief continues our review of the top technology trends highlighted at the annual Call Center Week Conference and Expo, held in Las Vegas in June Part 1 of our technology overview, featuring trends 1-4, is available on the Resources>White Papers page on the DATAMARK web site, For each trend presented in this paper, we have made an effort to identify vendors in that field who exhibited at the conference. However, it is important to remember that these vendor lists are not comprehensive they are meant only to serve as a starting point for your research. Contact Center Technology Trends: Part 2 explores current industry offerings for language interpreting services and solutions; callback technologies; workforce management solutions; and customer relationship management (CRM) and analytics solutions. Trend 5 Language Interpreting Over-the-phone interpreting service is still the mainstay solution provided to contact centers. Vendors typically have access to a worldwide workforce of interpreters (often independently contracted) and coordinate the connection between customer and interpreter as an on-demand service. A variation of this is direct response service, where the limited- English-speaking customer calls a contact center s number and is greeted by an interpreter. The interpreter connects with the customer service agent and begins interpretation of the call. Language interpreting companies compete on the basis of short connect times, around-the-clock service, and access to interpreters specially trained for industry sectors such as legal, financial and medical. The trend toward mobile devices is pushing innovation in the language interpreting sector. Tablets with two-way video capability are proving invaluable for sign language interpretation and medical interpretation. Video allows the interpreter and the customer to express emotion and other subtle facial cues that improve the quality and accuracy of the conversation. Language interpreting vendors are offering downloadable apps for tablets and mobile phones to make it easy for customers to select the type of service and language needed. Mobile apps also serve as the online portal to customers account information. Data such as interpretation-service usage, time-of-day language distribution allow companies to analyze performance and plan for contact center staffing. Language interpreting service vendors include: TransPerfect Remote Interpreting (TRI), CTS LanguageLink, Language Services Associates, and LanguageLine Solutions. Translation Nation 21% of Americans over age 5 speak a language other than English at home. 3.3 million American seniors are not fluent in English. Spanish speakers number almost 38 million in the U.S. Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, French, Korean and German each have over 1 million speakers in the U.S. Source: U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey 2014 DATAMARK, Inc. 1

3 Trend 6 Callback Technologies In a recent DATAMARK survey of consumers preferences when dealing with contact centers, one of the most popular services, by far, is the option to schedule a callback from an agent, rather than remain on hold. At Call Center Week, exhibitors promoting their callback solutions included Fonolo and Virtual Hold Technology (VHT). New in the callback services sector is the ability for customers to arrange for callbacks from agents through multiple channels: web pages, social media sites, and mobile apps, for example. VHT s solution is Conversation Bridge, a software solution that integrates with companies web pages and mobile apps. After a customer completes a one-time credential registration with Conversation Bridge, a callback can be scheduled, and the information handed off to an agent so they can quickly get up to speed on the customer s issue. Fonolo offers a similar solution through its Mobile Rescue and Web Rescue products. As its name implies, Mobile Rescue offers a way for customers to schedule a callback from an agent through a company s tablet or smartphone app. Web Rescue is a web page widget that lets customers schedule an agent callback when they ve hit a dead-end in their search for information online. What newer technologies would you be likely to use if they were offered by a customer service center? An option to be called back rather than remain on hold: 51% A smartphone app that allows you to communicate with a customer service agent: 16% A virtual customer service agent through a web site: 25% A real-time video chat with a customer service agent: 3% Source: DATAMARK 2014 Contact Center Preferences Survey; June DATAMARK, Inc. 2

4 Trend 7 Workforce Management At Call Center Week, it seemed that workforce management solutions popped up just about everywhere, in many different forms, making it a challenge to compare and contrast them all. In one industry trend, vendors are taking existing enterprise workforce management software and customizing it for contact centers. It s often bundled into cloud-based communication software packages. For example, incontact offers workforce optimization software powered by Verint. TantaComm, a provider of call recording and quality monitoring tools for contact centers, offers Manage, its workforce management software powered by Aspect. Then there are stand-alone workforce management solutions for contact centers, such as those provided by Teleopti and Pipkins. Regardless of how these workforce management solutions are packaged, they typically offer features for forecasting customer inquiries across all communication channels, based on algorithms that take advantage of today s cheaper and more powerful computing power. As expected in the era of cloud-based contact centers, these forecasting and agent scheduling tools are web based. Vendors of workforce management tools have also recognized that contact center managers and agents are no longer tethered to their desks. They offer mobile apps for managing schedules, processing time off requests and sending updates to individual agents or agent groups via chat features. Main Reasons Contact Centers are Turning to Workforce Management Programs To improve agent productivity and utilization: 65% To improve forecast accuracy in predicting volume of customer interactions: 43% To improve the quality of customer interactions: 32% Source: Workforce Management in the Contact Center; Aberdeen Group, June DATAMARK, Inc. 3

5 Trend 8 Customer Relationship Management and Analytics We ve saved the most exciting and fascinating trend in the contact center world for last: the development of extremely powerful, all-encompassing CRM tools, and the business intelligence and analytics capabilities they deliver. Companies today have access to vast, cloud-based data storage and computing power, ready to absorb and slice and dice customer data arriving by voice, , chat and social media. Several vendors see the opportunities in this space and are marketing technology that seems capable of doing it all, from multichannel contact to customer loyalty programs to deep analytics designed to improve the entire CRM cycle. These customer service solutions are meant to be seamless across channels and take advantage of mobile device features, such as the ability to photograph checks, invoices and other documents and send them via mobile app to a contact center. In one typical scenario, a customer will place a phone call to a contact center by pressing a button on a mobile app. The agent receiving the call will pull customer information from multiple databases into his desktop app, offering insight on the customer s background and transaction history. The desktop app guides the agent through possible solutions to resolve the problem, and suggests loyalty program offers for the customer. Pleased with the experience, the customer may send a positive message on Twitter or other social media channel, and this message is captured by the CRM system and kept as a customer record. Blended into the CRM technology are powerful analytical tools that sort through all the data produced by the customer and call center. Contact center managers can use these tools to identify what s working best for high-performing agents, or to uncover factors that impact sales, customer retention and customer satisfaction. Vendors analytics tools typically present the data with user-friendly visualizations such as pie and bar charts, and make them available on a dashboard. Other than investing in the cloud, what are the top investment priorities for contact centers? Customer Relationship Management: 40.5% Workforce Management: 31.5% Business Intelligence/Reporting: 31% Quality Management: 26.5% Multichannel/Chat: 25% Source: The Evolve IP and CCNG 2014 North American Call Center Survey Results Paper Vendors providing this kind of CRM and analytics software for contact centers include: Astute Solutions, Pega, and Transera. Organizations are also taking another approach to creating a seamless, multichannel CRM and analytics experience by integrating Salesforce CRM or Microsoft Dynamics CRM into their contact centers. Providers of cloudbased contact center software often provide these integration services. Vendors at Call Center Week with a specific focus on CRM integration included AMC Technology and InGenius Software DATAMARK, Inc. 4

6 Conclusion Cloud computing and storage, and the software as a service (SaaS) delivery model have opened the door to scores of innovative apps, tools and platforms for the contact center industry. A common thread in these technology trends for contact centers is the rise of mobile solutions. Consumers expect to reach agents by tablet and smartphone, and contact center managers expect to access management and analytics tools with mobile devices. One industry mega trend is the evolution of powerful CRM systems being marketed as end-to-end do-it-all tool for contact centers. These CRM software platforms are the power behind multichannel communication, customer fulfillment programs, social media monitoring and business analytics. About DATAMARK For more than 20 years, DATAMARK, Inc. has provided bilingual (English/Spanish) multichannel contact center services, mailroom management, data entry, document processing, business process improvement consulting and other outsourcing services for Fortune 500 companies across all industry sectors. If you have questions or need assistance in developing your organization s case for outsourcing and business process improvement, DATAMARK s business process outsourcing specialists are available for a complimentary initial consultation. Contact us at: Toll-free: Info: 2014 DATAMARK, Inc. 5

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