Enterprises embarking on a digital transformation plan often have many competing voices when it comes to determining which technology upgrades to prioritize. Developing a modern contact center is often a step that every line of business manager can buy into, because it affects every area of business and may be the element that most critically enhances the customer experience.
There are many features and tools that can be included in a strategy to create a modern call center. There are solutions available that include all of them, and it may be possible to implement them incrementally or do a transition based on call center divisions or locations. Consider the following key elements in your future call center:
Omnichannel communications: This set of features enhances customer experiences with your company. Customers can not only call into your contact center, but also text, email, chat or video chat, and the various formats are integrated. This means that when a customer calls about an error on their invoice, you are able to see that the error also happened in the two previous months and it may be time to offer the customer some kind of discount for their trouble and to prevent losing their business.
Analytics: The modern contact center not only records conversations for training purposes, but also for analytical purposes. You’ll be able to look for recurring themes in customer complaints, find out if a desired feature is coming up in conversations and gain key insights into customer preferences.
Automation: This can take a variety of forms, from better routing of customers to the right contact to pre-screening of callers to gain information before offering self-help options.
Staff management: New communications technologies not only serve the customer better, but also help you improve your business processes and reduce costs. Forecast analytics from a digital solution can help you refine your agent scheduling based on customer demand.
Older private branch exchange (PBX) systems work fine for basic office communications. When it comes to the modern contact center, specialized features make a difference and offer a healthy return on investment. Before beginning to choose a specific solution, there are three questions that the contact center must consider:
If you’re looking to build a modern contact center, it’s time to consider a cloud solution. Contact us at City Communications to begin evaluating your priorities and to leverage the right technology for your company.
Digital transformation is an all-encompassing term that may initially intimidate managers charged with its integration. Defining the term is challenging because it may differ depending on what line of business is applying its concepts, but digital transformation in your contact center simply means using the latest technology to improve your business processes.
This is a general definition of digital transformation that works well in many settings. To remove the mystique around it, consider that this recent term is describing a process that’s been in motion for decades. For instance, imagine you want to tell a family member some information, and they live in another state. While a century ago, it may have taken several days for the information to reach them through the mail, the introduction of the telephone meant that, for a fee, you could relay the information much more efficiently. Now, you’d simply send a text message or call on your cell phone.
The newest advances promoting the influence of digital transformation in your call center often have to do with a collaborative approach to communications with the goal of a better experience for the customer or end user. Take a look at several ways that technology is improving call center processes:
Integrated communication formats: When you contact customer service, whether it’s through chat, email or a voice call, you can soon expect that subsequent communications will be informed by your prior interactions with the company. Integrated, collaborative unified communications tools make it possible for the contact center to be fully engaged with both current and past customer interactions.
Speech analytics: Contact centers often inform the customer that the call may be recorded for training purposes, but those calls can also be converted to a digital file for analysis. That means your contact center can analyze customer interactions to gain critical information about their preferences, their complaints and even which words spoken by a contact center representative were mostly likely to result in a positive resolution.
Chatbots: Companies are getting closer to digitally transforming the contact center agent. With technological advances that include context and memory in Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities, look for chat bots to gradually become fully functioning virtual assistants in the contact center.
SMS Applications: Soon, contact centers won’t need to send a letter or make a call about overdue bills. Even now, some enterprises are beginning to send a personalized text alert with key information about the invoice that needs payment. It even includes a “click to call” link that allows the customer to make a payment by phone.
Digital transformation in your contact center isn’t likely to follow a predetermined pattern. Instead, you’ll implement technology that’s prioritized for your own business processes and the needs of your customers. At City Communications, we can help you in your process to move from legacy communications technology to a cloud solution, identifying the options that bring you the best return on investment. Contact us for more information.
As more and more modern enterprises choose to migrate their contact centers to the cloud, traditional call centers are gradually becoming a thing of the past. Yet many reluctant businesses continue to cling on to their on-premise contact centers — and their customer service is suffering for it. Cloud-based contact centers can improve a company’s customer service in several significant ways, yet most business owners aren’t aware of it. So to help you understand why you shouldn’t wait to make the move to a virtualized call center, here’s a look at six ways the cloud can supercharge your company’s customer service.
There are several compelling reasons to consider migrating your contact center to the cloud. From simplified scalability and a worldwide workforce to superior visibility and round-the-clock support, the advantages of a cloud-based call center are undeniable. But not all cloud providers possess the same degree of expertise, nor are they all equipped to deliver the best solutions for businesses in all industries. That’s where City Communications comes in. When you’re ready to take your contact center to the cloud, our team of experts will ensure you enjoy smart and smooth migration. We’ll empower your team to deliver a heightened level of customer service while your business benefits from everything else the cloud has to offer.
When it’s time to upgrade your contact center, you’ll likely consider both on-premise and cloud options. The two approaches to the delivery of contact center technology have different advantages and drawbacks.
For example, a cloud contact center allows users to access all communication formats through your private data connections or the internet. As long as there is bandwidth to cover user activities in the contact center, employees can access the technology from anywhere.
By contrast, an on-premise contact center is hardware-based and requires regular updates and maintenance. That means that while a cloud contact center can be completely upgraded and maintained by a managed services provider, your on-premise contact center might require your IT team to handle installation, troubleshooting, and maintenance of the system from end to end.
Let's take a look at other areas of consideration when deciding whether to deploy an on-premise or cloud-based contact center technology:
Set-up and installation: The set-up of an on-premise contact center can take several months as you procure hardware and necessary licenses, get the infrastructure in place, and build out the programming. Some cloud contact center software is as simple to setup as opening an account and selecting a few standard options. Because the infrastructure lives in the cloud and is managed by the service provider, you could start up (or add additional resources in the future) almost instantly.
Cost: The main differentiation between on-premise and cloud contact centers is how costs are categorized. An on-premise system requires a large cash outlay at implementation, which is categorized as a capital investment. With a cloud contact center, the monthly subscription is treated as operating expenses. At first pass when reviewing pricing, an on-premise system may seem cheaper. But the lifetime cost for a cloud contact center (when a proper total cost analysis is performed) is often lower than that of an on-premise solution.
Features: Most modern contact center systems, be they cloud or on-prem, come with core features such as:
- the ability to queue incoming interactions so customers get self-help options and fair treatment of their call, email, or text.
- intelligent distribution of interactions to agents.
- analytics to help you manage your contact center.
The advantage cloud has in the application game is that cloud providers can deliver continuous upgrades and improvements to all their customers without the need to adhere to rigorous release schedules, force customers to buy upgrades, or leave some customers behind as their systems age.
Integration options: While it’s possible to integrate on-premise contact centers with certain other software solutions, this category is one of the big advantages that a cloud option has over the on-site contact center. Cloud solutions easily integrate with other technology and provide opportunities for streamlining workflows. In general, cloud-based contact center providers offer wider integration portfolios with the current wave of cloud-based business services (like customer relationship management software and help desk ticketing systems). This cuts down dramatically on cost and friction in getting your contact center and other critical business systems talking to each other.
System reliability: By placing infrastructure in the cloud, contact center providers deliver a more stable, more reliable service that the risk you take running your contact center off a server located in your private office or data center. If you invest in the right data connectivity for your business, cloud contact centers put you in a stronger position to withstand service interruptions and other outages.
Contact us at City Communications to discuss how a cloud contact center could benefit your enterprise or to run a total cost analysis between your on-premise solution and the latest cloud-delivered contact center systems.
Investing in a cloud contact center produces all the benefits that come with any cloud solution: scalability, flexibility, cost savings, and access to world-class features. You’ll improve productivity and customer service. But how do you successfully migrate to a cloud contact center?
Focus on business needs, not features. Before you look at a single cloud contact center demo, take the time to document your business processes and all the ways your cloud contact center will touch your daily activities. Have a detailed record ready before you begin considering specific solutions. Otherwise, you’ll soon find yourself dazzled by features, bells and whistles, and you may discover you’ve purchased a solution that has more tools than you need or doesn’t have the right tools at all.
Solution providers approach the vital functions of the contact center (managing and distributing interactions, tools for agents and supervisors, reporting and management options) differently. It’s likely that each provider's approach won’t translate easily to the next. Being clear about your requirements can make the process of researching and selecting potential providers cleaner. You'll also be in a stronger negotiating position when you know exactly what constitutes a deal-breaker, and where it’s easy for you to give in a little.
Your business is also unique. A contact center solution should be customizable to fit your exact needs. Prioritize your needs so you know when a solution is coming close to your ideal: key performance indicators, agent skill sets, and call flows are just a few of the factors that will be important for making your choice.
Choose your provider carefully. Evaluate what a cloud contact center provider can deliver, when they can deliver it, and at what cost. Review the provider's proof-of-concept terms, warranties, and service level agreements (SLAs) with a professional who specializes in these types of documents. Pay special attention to the provider penalties that exist in the SLA if support expectations are not met. Understand how these guarantees are impacted if you plan to self-manage any part of the solution!
Work with an expert. A third-party expert can help you with all of the above, from evaluating your needs to ensuring proper delivery of your cloud contact center solution. A partner with expertise in both cloud and contact center technology will not only help you through the process of selecting the right solution, they will help you after the technology has been installed to make sure it's working for your business.
At City Communications, we understand that evaluating contact center solutions is just one of many tasks on your plate. We can help you determine the right cloud contact center that meets your requirements and produces the return on investment you need. Contact us today to get started.
If you are building a medical or dental practice, or any other business, you know what it means to be busy. So you don’t have time to negotiate with voice and data carriers. But how do you ensure you get the best rates for phone, Internet and data services? After all, you would have to consider dozens and dozens of alternatives. The answer is CityCom.
CityCom Negotiates with over 60 different carriers.CityCom negotiates with over 60 different carriers nationwide to get the lowest possible rates on voice and data. We consider your needs, find the best providers, do all the negotiations, and then get you the best deal. There is no cost to you and no markup. No Kidding. You get the best pricing. It is that simple. We provide our service to you free because telecom carriers pay our fees.
At CityCom, we serve companies in every businesses sector. We work with dentists, doctors, law firms, manufacturing companies, builders and retailers. That means we understand business owners just like you, so we can find the right services and the lowest possible voice and data fees. That’s because we know their needs and can lower costs with our sourcing and negotiations.
Get Started Right Now.First of all, get the process going now by completing a simple online technology audit. Just click here. Once you finish the audit, we will follow up and then begin negotiations that will start lowering your costs.
Next, we’ll assign a City Communications Project Manager to your business. They ensure your services are installed correctly and on-time. Your Project Manager will coordinate everything with your carriers. They will also communicate as necessary to your staff.
With CityCom, you can check and make sure you are saving money every month. We can send you free billing audits. It’s like getting a free checkup at the dentist with no copay – or pain!
Start your savings now!Take a couple minutes right now and complete the audit of your current service and providers. Then sit back and relax while we take care of everything.
Get started paying the lowest rates now!
SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Networking) is the new buzzword in telecom. But what exactly, in simple terms, is it?
One of the leading companies defines it this way:
“a transformational approach to simplify branch office networking and assure optimal application performance… the underlying principle of which is to abstract the network hardware and transport characteristics from the applications that use the network.”
Is that helpful? Does that help you understand what is is and how it might “transform” your business?
Let’s look at it in simpler terms.
Networking is the packaging together of data into bundles (packets) and transporting those packets across a network. The networks we use most of the time are the Internet and the private networks within our homes or businesses.
The data that comprise applications input and output, emails, files, images, websites, and YouTube cat videos, are moving on these networks all the time. Data is then like cargo loaded in the back of a truck being driven between two points. And the trucks are rolling 24/7.
For businesses that need to move a lot of data between multiple locations create and manage their own Wide Area Networks (data connections between offices). Deploying a WAN for your enterprise is like sending trucks onto the highways between cities.
The cheapest and most freely available network to move your data is the Internet – which would be like using the public interstate highway system to transport your cargo by truck. But, like the freeway system, the Internet is rife with congestion and subject to disruption based on all kinds of forces out of your own control. Construction, accidents, bad information on routes, can all delay, disrupt, and even derail your data. This causes unreliability in knowing when your cargo is going to land on the other side of your wide area network (or insecurity that your data will arrive intact and unmolested). In data terms, this unreliability expresses itself as jitter, packet loss and down time.
Traditionally, the way around this problem has been for enterprises to build their own highway system using costly private carrier circuits (T-1’s, DS3’s, fiber and wireless direct links). Imagine paying to build roads only you can drive your trucks on! Sweet and complete control over your haulage but nightmarishly expensive.
For a hybrid solution, companies might instead invest in access to toll roads (like a carrier service called MPLS). Still expensive but at least it offers a level of reliability to the movement of cargo.
But what if you could use those inexpensive public networks but get the level of reliability that only comes with private networks?
SD-WAN could be the answer. It manages the routing of your traffic across multiple links as a software layer of service (independent of the physical network layer), always looks for the most-efficient link to route data, and can be ready at a moment’s notice to drive around problems.
So, SD-WAN is like GPS with auto traffic routing. Instead of expensive private connections (highways), you install two Internet connections (multiple freeway on-ramps) at each location on your Wide Area Network. The SD-WAN service then manages your data traffic to make sure that your cargo travels along the most efficient path (as well as allowing you to set rules to determine which data, which applications you share across a network, get priority when there is conflict or congestion).
With SD-WAN, The chances of disruption are greatly minimized. You practically eliminate packet delays and jitter. And, you can cut WAN costs to nothing more than the price of Internet connections and the service itself.
If you want to learn more or explore the options to deploy SD-WAN on your data network, contact me (use the form to the right of this article).
Steve Medcroft is the author of The Telecom Manager’s Survival Guide and a Senior Telecom Analyst at City Communications in Phoenix Arizona. City Communications procures and delivers best-in-class telephony and wide-area networking technology for businesses nationwide.
Get a Free Try & Buy.
It is really important that you have uninterrupted connections to the cloud and your customers. Get rid of interruptions and disruptions – within your company or with other important audiences. You should check this out.
How the SD Wan ‘Slam Dunk’ works.SD Wan automatically routes traffic across multiple connections and re-routes the traffic as conditions change so you have the best possible connection. Your network will utilize the best possible paths based on routing requirements and security needs in a way that increases efficiency and lowers costs.
When you only have one connection coming into your business or location – no back up – there is obviously only one point of success or failure for your network. You have to have SD Wan to get the fluid ‘magic’ that happens with this great technology. Even if you have more than one connection.
With SD Wan you can bond together up to four different connections to ensure that your business stays connected, up and running. It keeps your speed the best that it can be. Managing the WAN traditionally has been one of the most expensive and rigid aspects of running an enterprise network. It’s a slam dunk now by making use of programmable network devices. It can be modified remotely and through dynamic best-path routing. Both of which improve cost and agility.
Get a FREE 30-day Try & Buy.What you do is important enough to need SD Wan, so you should get a FREE consult and 30-day FREE Try and Buy.
First, click here to get more info. Then connect with a City Communications professional consultant. After you click through a simple technology audit, then you’ll have all the options and answers.
Check it out now.
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, a major government agency turned to City Communications and Windstream to get their contact center stood up as quickly as possible to help the people of Houston.
Thanks to an “all hands on deck” approach, City and Windstream were able to successfully stand up the Avaya contact center seatswithin 24 hours.
“We typically don’t need to set up call centers that quickly, but it is nice to know that we can in an emergency,”
said John Casas of City Communications.
The center will continue to support relief efforts for Harvey victims and potentially future disasters as well.
All incoming calls are not created equal. Some calls are more important than others. And, when you have Simultaneous Ring, the important calls get the attention they require.
Simultaneous Ring is a great solution. Someone on your team can respond immediately to each important call.
Simultaneous Ring – Calls Ring at Multiple Phones at the Same Time.It’s easy. In fact, Simultaneous Ring is set up free if you are a CityHosted customer. You simply input important customer and client phone numbers into your CityHosted™ system. Then, you set the priorities. You select the important numbers. That way, whoever is available first when a call comes in can pick up the call. It means you will deliver faster responses.
Simultaneous Ring is a great feature. When phones are spread out across a wide ares, it is really helpful. But it doesn’t matter where the phones are located. You control how many phones ring at once.
The Sales Manager’s phone will ring if she is in Buffalo. Your Sales Rep will also get the call down in Houston. The call will go to the company Customer Service hotline. And, you can have all important calls sent to your phone as backup.
You won’t lose a potential sale. You won’t miss inquiries from new prospects. So think of it like this. You are ‘copying’ your whole team on incoming calls. All the options are yours.
Simultaneous Ring is a FREE feature.The only technical requirement for this free service is an active CityHosted™ account. And of course, Simultaneous Ring is included in your services if you are a Virtual Call Center customer. You can learn more about Simultaneous Ring services here.
Want to learn more about Call Center environments? You can get more information about having a Virtual Call Center here. If your company is small, it’s a great way to play bigger. And, it’s a great way to extend your incoming call coverage.
You can probably utilize lots of other CityHosted™ services. So, you should get in touch with a City Communications Representative today.
Call 1-800-289-1828 right now. Your call is important.
The City logo and icon are registered trademarks owned exclusively by GJ2, LLC doing business as City Communications (CCI) which reserves all rights thereto. Products and services offered over this portal are provided by the Carrier or affiliate identified in your services agreement.