City Communications can be a resource for dealing with the mandated work-from-home situation that we all face. Many clients are scrambling around to implement a new strategy or shore up the one that they had in place. Below are a few of the things that we might be able to help with:
Video Conferencing Meetings Collaboration
We have a number of stand-alone solutions available including: Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, If you have (or are interested in) a hosted phone solution, many of them include a conferencing option with the seats. We work with top companies such as: FluentStream, CityHosted, Nextiva, 8x8, Jive, and many more. There is a ton of promotions out right now and a lot of support.
We also have some providers that can provide turnkey solutions to working from home for your employees. The solutions could include: mobile wifi devices and plans, tablet devices, laptops, etc. Even more important is the fact that they can configure them and lock them down so that your employees are only using them for work functions and not other stuff. They can be pre-configured and dropshipped to your employees for an easy touch-free deployment. Typically there is a minimum of 25 devices for this type of service.
We have a number of solutions that would allow you to turn up a new group of agents working from home using their own internet connections while still giving you visibility, reporting, and remote listen and barge capabilities.
Backup and Restore
As we are having more people work from home, it is more critical to make sure that you have your services backed up and that they are easy to restore if you have a user accidentally (or intentionally) delete files. We have a number of providers that can help you with the configurations and policies necessary to work in a remote environment.
Bandwidth for VPN, MPLS, or SD-WAN
If you have an existing solution extending your local network, you may find that it was not built to have 100% of your employees working remotely. If you need to upgrade your current bandwidth or add additional redundant connections, we can help.
If there is anything else that you are working on that I might be able to help with, please let us know. We would be happy to help try and run down a solution for you.
So many of us are navigating how to remain working and keep ourselves safe (and do the right thing for the greater society). When face with any of the three significant business impacts of our new working reality, there are numerous technologies and services (sometimes free or low-cost programs) to help you.
We are available to help you. All of City Communications is available to help you.
Call us, email us, or request a 30-minute call with us about anything related to your communications, remote-worker, call-center, or expense management concerns. We're here to help.
Call Us at (800) 289-1828
With the recent concerns about the impact of Coronavirus on businesses of all shapes and sizes, we have been getting calls and emails from customers asking what they could do now to prepare. We put together a few things that you can do to help your employees continue to be productive while working at home, and to minimize any impacts to your business or customers while they are working at home.
Get a Hosted Phone System
Hosted phone systems allow you to plug your phones into the internet and work from anywhere. You might use it for your entire organization or just a specific group such as customer service, sales, or a contact center. We represent a wide range of hosted phone providers and can help you find the solution that meets your needs and fits your budget. New systems can be implemented in as soon as 2-4 weeks.
Have a Call Center?
If you have an existing call center, your agents are often working in close proximity to each other and therefore potentially more at risk of community spread. We recommend setting up a least a few work-from-home seats set up in a queue and then be able to point traffic to the queue for any agents that you will have working at home. We have a number of providers that can handle this type of situation with out needing to replace your existing call center solution. The cost per agent is typically under $50/month/agent and will allow you a viable solution should you need it.
Already have a Hosted Phone System from CityHosted?
1. Download Mobile App
Each employee that may be working at home can download the the Mobile app to use on their mobile devices or computer. This will allow them to continue to make and receive calls as if they were in the office and also to be part of hunt groups and queues.
2. Bring Phones Home
Employees can take their hosted phones with them and plug them into their home broadband connection. They will need to power the phones by plugging them into a PoE (Power Over Ethernet) adapter or an AC power adapter. If you need to purchase additional power adapters, please contact your sales rep. Most brands are approximately $25 per adapter.
3. Order Additional Phones
Some employees may want to have a phone at the office and one at the house rather than bring their exisitng phone back and forth. Their phone number can then be setup to ring both phones so that regardless of where they are, they are still connected.
Hopefully you won’t be impacted, but we want to be prepared in case you are. Please let us know if there is anything else you need help with including internet access, wireless access, networking offices together, and more.
Are you trying to figure out how to leverage AI for your organization or select the best solution? If you are, I think I can help.
Here's what can AI do for you?
City Communications has an AI partner that has consistently delivered the industry's leading results. Their team comes from Google, Oracle, Amazon, and are award winning CX leaders with proven case studies in conversational commerce, customer service, and consumer sentiment understanding, to deliver meaningful results. Their success comes from experience as does ours and they have processed +20 billion messages that align enterprise or SMB objectives with effective AI for companies like Netflix, Facebook, Toyota and Capital One. The ‘smart’ system delivers tangible results by taking care of the integration entirely or turning your team into AI experts. So why not talk to the Experts?
And the best thing is our partner can easily implement a low cost pilot into your existing infrastructure in four to six weeks!
Schedule a meeting to discuss your current environment and see how we can work together on any of your upcoming projects.
Are you going to Customer Contact Week in Vegas?
Tuesday, June 25th
Mirage VIP Suite
Las Vegas, NV
If you are attending Customer Contact Week in Las Vegas, come join us in our luxury suite in The Mirage for a VIP Cocktail Social. AND Agency, City Communications, and Assero Security, are hosting this VIP, invite-only, event. Enjoy free cocktails and snacks, peer networking in a casual environment.
Please RSVP below to be added to the guest list. You will be entered to win a $25 Starbucks Gift Card just for registering, even if you do not attend the VIP Social.
For attendees, there will be drawings and winners will receive Amazon Gift Cards, Starbucks Gift Cards and other exciting prizes.
We will email and text you the exact Suite # when it gets assigned to us at check-in.
Not currently registered for CCW?
Register today and get an additional 20% off your pass when you use the code 20CCW_PACE.
Can't make it?
If this time doesn't work for you, let's make sure and touch base regardless. Simply fill out the form with some days and times that would work for you so we can discuss any upcoming projects you have.
When we build scopes of work for client projects, Artificial Intelligence (AI) inevitably comes up. It’s typically phrased as a requirement. “Any new system must use AI.” But what exactly does "It has to have AI" mean?
What makes an AI-powered technology special in comparison to other software programs is that it can ‘think’ for itself. In business, AI is being used to enhance and supplement human interaction between customers and businesses; to provide automated self-help in customer support and service centers, to create a web or chat-based sales platform, to mine data sets and provide the kind of rich intelligence a business can act on.
Just like any computer program, AI receives input, and then does what it’s programmed to do with that input, and creates an output. Type the word ‘hello’ on your keyboard into a word-processing application (input), and ‘hello’ appears in a document on your screen wherever your cursor was at the time (output). The difference between AI and a standard computer program is that standard computer programs require their input to conform to the rigid structures it has been programmed to expect. AI can take input that doesn’t follow a strict set of rules and first interpret it into something meaningful, then execute against that understanding. Think of how you interact with Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant versus a phone menu where you have to press a number key to select an option. That's AI.
AI is so powerful because rather than it being a single software program called AI with limited capabilities, the technology is a set of computing capabilities that when bundled together create the simulated natural interaction experience.
These key AI components allow integration into present systems and also can work independently to create the capabilities Call Centers are looking for today.
Here’s a summary:
Natural Language Processing/Natural Language Understanding - Natural Language Processing (NLP) is just as it sounds; computing technology that takes input from a human being, in the form of speech or text, and interprets its meaning into something useful. Making NLP computing work involves recognizing speech, understanding natural language, and being able to generate natural language responses. Allowing customers to navigate automated self-help using commands in their natural language rather than have to follow strict response rules is an example of NLP in the business AI stack.
Sentiment Analysis - Sentiment Analysis detects, classifies and analyzes the tone, wording, volume, pitch and other characteristics of a human speech (voice or text). Sentiment analysis is widely used in the contact center world to analyze recorded calls between customers and agents for quality assurance and training purposes. Sentiment analysis is also being used to drive routing and service decisions during live interactions (transfer callers who are exhibiting frustration with an automated system to a live agent, for example).
Machine Learning – Straight from Wikipedia: Machine learning (ML) is the scientific study of algorithms and statistical models computer systems use to effectively perform a specific task without using explicit instructions, relying on patterns and inference instead. Machine learning algorithms build a mathematical model based on sample data, known as training data, in order to make predictions or decisions without being explicitly programmed to perform the task. AI is fed examples of interaction to follow, then ‘learns’ the most successful responses so it can achieve greater and greater success at handling the interaction.
Object Recognition - Object recognition allows the camera (and other sensors) on any device to recognize and categorize objects. It is the genesis of facial and fingerprint recognition. Human beings are object and pattern-recognition machines; we can recognize all kinds of objects without much effort, even objects in differing conditions, lighting, orientation, distance, motion, etc. Computers equipped with cameras and other sensors can ‘see’ objects, but still struggle to interpret what they’re seeing. Object Recognition is a discipline in computer science that tackles this challenge, a vital component to replicating natural human interaction in the AI stack.
Augmented and Virtual Reality – Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive computing experience laid over the top of a real-world environment. Objects that reside in the actual-world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information. Imagine pointing your phone’s camera at a shopping high street and seeing offers and deals floating above the shops in view. Virtual reality is a fully-immersive simulated environment that replaces the real world. Both are being used in the AI stack to create richer digital interaction experiences for customers.
We hope this brief rundown of the computing power that’s driving the business AI revolution has been helpful. Next, we’ll walk you through products and services that are available now through our vendor partners so you can leverage the AI stack to create all kinds of automated workflows.
If you’ve been contemplating the implementation of AI technology into your contact center, contact us at City Communications. We can help you make the right decisions to maximize your return on investment and explore new technologies for your contact center
The subject of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has come up a lot lately. Some people fear it intensely. Some executives want it. Some IT and telecom managers want to understand how to deliver and manage it. And a thousand companies want you to believe they can deliver it.
When we drill into what AI means to these various people, one of two operating perspectives is usually at play.
The first perspective is gloom and doom. AI is coming to take your job. AI will be used to trick and con people. AI will gain awareness of itself and begin to act with its own survival and interests in mind, turning against human beings in the process. These fears are stoked in the media, in movies and television, and especially in our social media feeds.
The second perspective on AI says that the technology will enhance humanity, raise us a level up the evolutionary scale. AI will make smarter business decisions than us. AI and Machine Learning promise to improve customer experience infinitely, making interactions between customers and your business so natural that customers will prefer it to working with your human staff. This version of AI is served up to us in ads and the think pieces our bosses are clipping out of magazines and dropping on our desks when they say “get me some AI.”
The truth is, AI isn’t either of those things. Sure, AI and machine learning is already having a positive impact in customer interaction, bringing efficiencies and competitive advantage to those who insert it into the right places in their workflow. But AI is not the second coming. It can’t solve all the world’s problems. It is a burgeoning technology that still needs time to evolve.
AI you can actually buy
Understanding what AI is and how to take advantage of it as the modern business tool it is means understanding two things.
The first understanding is that AI is not a single thing. AI is not an individual technological instance. It is, instead, a stack of software programs and technologies used in different configurations. Properly combined, this stack of capabilities can automate workflows to either reduce the amount of expensive human labor involved, or increase productivity and efficiency beyond the capacity of your human employees. We’ll be posting more about this in our next blog entry, but the stack includes natural language processing, sentiment analysis, machine learning, object recognition, and so on. Well executed, these tools can create automated interactions that can look and feel like a natural, albeit augmented, experience.
The other important understanding about AI is to know the difference between the fact and fiction of AI. Rather than expect the technology to deliver false promises, it’s better to understand the realistic, ready-to-use AI applications that exist today, that you could apply to your business if you wanted to. Bots, robo-dialers, intelligent interactive voice response (IVR) systems, virtual contact-center agents, speech analytics (keyword detection and sentiment analysis, and AI-powered data analysis are all available if you know how to build a scope, find partners who specialize in delivering the AI stack and can properly manage an AI project. Which, by the way, we do ;-)
So what do you think? What do you want to know about AI? What do you want out of the technology? How do you see it used in your business?
Stay tuned for more posts on the subject of AI (we’re going to drill into the AI stack so we can all understand it better, and spend some time breaking down the different AI-powered solutions on the market).
If you’ve been contemplating the implementation of AI technology into your business, contact us at City Communications. We can help you make the right decisions to maximize your return on investment and explore new technologies for your contact center
Contact center data is fricking fascinating. Most contact center systems come with reporting and monitoring tools that come with almost every contact-center system. Some are better than others, but most give you the kind of standard and custom reports, supervisory dashboards, and wallboard data to help you manage your contact center. The challenge for most of us is that the data is too exhaustive to digest and make sense of.
Advancements in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and modern understanding of the psychology of our ability to interpret massive data sets visually (rather than in text, tables, or simple graphs), your current contact center reporting system lets you understand your business about as well as a mechanic can diagnose a poor-running car by looking at its license plate.
We recently connected with an innovative service provider that has adapted a data visualization and consumption tool whose original purpose was to help military leaders consume massive amounts of data generated by modern, interconnected warfare systems. By representing complex data sets in visual, pattern-based presentations, they can be consumed and understood at a significantly higher level than the raw data contained within them.
Now adapted to visualize contact center (and other business) data, their system can improve your understanding of your organization in three powerful ways.
Empowered and engaged agents strive for personal achievement.
At the agent level, this new data visualization tool provides a desktop dashboard applet/assistant that gives agents real-time feedback about their performance. Data is presented in a compact, visual way. Agents who strive achieve the goals and KPI’s set by their employers (agents who want to ‘win’ the contact center game and elevate themselves) can use the tool to measure their performance against goals and see how they rank against KPI’s and their colleagues. Think of it like a Fitbit for agents. Empowered agents achieve more. Empowered agents are more engaged with their work. An empowered agent workforce is more productive. Successful agents are more likely to stick. Empowering agent leads to efficiencies that lowers contact center labor cost.
Operation Intelligence improves supervisor-to-agent ratios and lowers workforce costs.
At the supervisor level, this powerful data visualization tool offers dashboards and triggers using pattern-recognition technology, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning to give supervisors the ability to spot where they need to coach their teams on the fly. This powerful assistive technology allows supervisors to serve more agents. A higher agent-to-supervisor ration means lower contact center labor cost and happier, more productive supervisors.
Real-time feedback loops offer drive contact center strategy and performance.
At the management/executive level, this category-establishing system visualizes the big picture. You’ll identify patterns in data and behavior that allow you to make quicker strategic and tactical and yield greater possible results. Imagine being able to look at one screen and know, from a pool of 1,000 agents, who your low performers are? Or imagine being able to ingest thousands of data points and identify a new opportunity for efficiency gains instantly? How could you drive results with that kind of insight?
Have you ever seen a video of a child receiving hearing aids or glasses for the first time? That’s the same ‘Wow!’ moment we had seeing this system in action the first time. We’d like to share it with you.
Fill out the form below, for a short introduction.
The contact center is the primary point of contact with customers in the after-sales field, and in some cases, it serves as a point of contact in making before-sales decisions and even making some sales outright. This makes quality management in the contact center especially vital, and knowing how to address some of the most significant issues of quality in the contact center can represent new sales, kept — or even recovered — customers, and a better bottom line.
Taking Care of Issues of Quality Management in the Contact Center
Addressing issues of quality management in the contact center can deliver some significant benefits, but it's all about understanding how these issues impact operations.
No One Wants to Work a Call Center Job. Less-than-pleasant working conditions, low pay, and a perception that the job itself is a career dead-end add up to make employee attrition a severe problem. There are several options to address this, including raising pay, limiting total numbers of calls handled, and instituting gamification options to take advantage of natural competitive urges. Which is best will vary by office.
The Customers Aren't Happy Either. Dissatisfied customers are likely planning to leave, by some reports, and this makes first-call resolution vital. To get there, you need the best in call center agents — see the previous entry on how to get those — and you need to improve the quality and quantity of information available to those agents. Be ready to empower agents to do what it takes to satisfy a customer and if an agent ever has to explain to a caller why his or her hands are tied, scrutinize those circumstances.
You Have All the Tools You Need, and Then Some. It's important to have the right tools for the job, but having them intermingled with every other tool in the hardware store will make them tough to reach when they're needed. Consider consolidation, slimming down the total tools you have on hand to focus just on what's needed. Look into new software that combines tasks and puts the right tool close to hand.
The Best Way to Address Quality Management in the Contact Center
These points will help you address several significant issues of quality management in the contact center. For those who haven't found their particular problem discussed, however, there's always more help available when you reach out to us at City Communications. Follow that link to check out our free download whitepaper explaining issues of cloud contact centers, then check out our other offerings to help fill in the gaps from there. Your contact center can be a powerhouse for your business, so get in touch with us to make it all it can be.
When it comes time to take advantage of developments in cloud-based technology and build a cloud contact center, the good news is that there are plenty of alternatives out there to choose from. This is also the bad news; with so many options, the chance of picking a sub-optimal one increases dramatically. So how can a business make the distinction between a cloud provider that will make it rain and one with its head in the clouds? A few key points will help determine the best in the field.
How to Identify the Best in Cloud Contact Center Providers
Knowing the difference between good and bad providers can help keep many problems from ever arising. Since you count on your contact center being operational to handle customers, that makes the selection process that much more vital to your company's health.
Consider Your Needs. There aren't really “good” and “bad” providers, so much as there are ones that work better with what you need than others. Knowing just what you want to accomplish with a cloud provider can better help you distinguish among the various options in the field. For instance, some providers will put a particular premium on data security above many other attributes.
Start with Cloud Native. Even as you consider your needs, it's a good plan to start your search with “cloud native” operations. These have historically worked well with cloud contact center operations. Research from the Aberdeen Group found that CLTV rates improve 17% on average, and first-call resolution (FCR) improves 10% over other alternatives. Even interactive voice response (IVR) systems get a 14% better completion rate this way.
Continually Update Your Considerations. In the same way you'd give an employee a regular review, do so with your cloud provider. Determine if it's had issues in uptime availability, or if it hasn't introduced the features you're looking for. In so doing, you can tell fairly rapidly if you're not getting the most out of the cloud contact center and if you need to make changes.
What to do When You Need Help Setting Up a Cloud Contact Center
Picking the right provider for your cloud contact center can be a challenge, so it's useful to turn to a firm that has plenty of experience as a cloud service provider. Start by getting in touch with us at City Communications. Not only do we have a wealth of cloud contact center experience, but we can offer immediate information as a free download— just click on the preceding link — that will show you exactly what we can do in response to your needs. So click the download button, and then reach out to us to make the cloud contact center process that much easier.
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