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Building Social Into the Customer Service and Support Infrastructure
February 19, 2013
Surprisingly, many customer service organizations have yet to put their toes in the water when it comes to social media engagement. In fact, fewer than half of them actively respond to consumer complaints via Twitter and other social media channels. For companies that do actively engage in social media for customer support purposes, the average response time is an estimated 24 hours.
Rethinking the Service Paradigm
February 06, 2013
I just got off a phone briefing with Freshdesk, an Indian company with a subscription customer service and support system that it refers to as a "help desk." Freshdesk's got most of the bells and whistles you might expect to find in a solution like that, and it has gamified the business processes as well. That's what inspired this column.
See Customers Clearly Now
February 04, 2013
Customers expect call centers to know everything about them -- their order history, what they've posted about the brand on Facebook, and how long they've bought from the company. Increasingly, companies are beginning to keep up with that expectation, and the more they do, the better customer service they can provide.
With LiveOps, All Customer Channels Are Created Equal
February 01, 2013
LiveOps this week debuted LiveOps Engage, a browser-based desktop agent app that centralizes myriad channels -- phone, email, live chat, SMS, Twitter and Facebook -- on one screen. The screen also displays the history of past interactions with the customer. "This release is bringing together all of the channels of communication, both inbound and outbound," said CEO Marty Beard.
Customers Just Want to Be Tweeted Right
January 29, 2013
It's fairly common practice today for major brands to have a social media team at the ready to respond to customer complaints on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. The practice is so widespread that the Call Center Satisfaction Index report released last week by CFI Group found that call centers should perhaps be renamed "contact centers."
We'll Call You: Putting an End to On-Hold Misery
January 28, 2013
It's a universal reality: Customers dislike waiting on hold. Now call-backs and virtual queuing are changing all that. "Our basic mission is to improve the call center experience," said Shai Berger, CEO and cofounder of Fonolo. "The heart of what we do is replacing hold time with a call-back."
The Call Center in the Cloud
January 21, 2013
Call centers are increasingly migrating away from on-premises systems to cloud-based systems, which can save money and give greater flexibility. Everything from customer data to telephony software is making its way to the cloud, revolutionizing the way call centers manage their operations. "It's all the buzz now, " said Mitch Lieber, principal at Lieber & Associates.
Call Centers Jump on the Mobile Bandwagon
January 14, 2013
Mobile devices are changing both how customers get in touch with call centers and how companies respond to those calls. The days of customers sitting at kitchen tables on landlines waiting for agents to answer their calls are gone. Now, they're calling from smartphones and clicking on apps, and call centers are adapting to this new mobile reality.
Voice of the Customer: Analyzing What People Say and How They Say It
January 02, 2013
Call center software can now identify everything from anger to dissatisfaction in the voices of customers. Since call centers are all about voices, it makes sense to analyze those voices in order to provide better customer service. The field of voice analytics, in fact, has become a big business.
GoDaddy May Face Class Action Over Nickel-and-Diming Employees
December 20, 2012
Attorneys representing four former GoDaddy employees in a suit over unpaid overtime are seeking to have the suit expanded to a collective action. Michelle Matheson, a partner with Matheson & Matheson and the attorney of record on the suit, and Eric Epstein, an employment attorney in Los Angeles, represent the former employees of GoDaddy.
Predicting the Future Is Not for the Faint of Heart
December 19, 2012
I was doing some research in the Time Magazine archives -- the best ones I have seen, by the way -- the other day and came across this nugget from 1962: "Despite the discouraging results so far, many scientists argue that military-space research will ultimately produce an overflowing cornucopia of marketable consumer products, from supersonic planes to small nuclear reactors for home power."
Avaya Puts More Eggs in BYOD Basket
November 26, 2012
Avaya IP Office joined the BYOD revolution with the release of version 8.1 earlier this year. Now the company is gearing up for more changes, including a forthcoming release that will integrate video functionality into its feature set. It will continue to expand its functionality around mobility in 2013, said SVP Tom Mitchell, president of Avaya Go to Market.
Genesys One Gives Mid-Market a Second Shot
November 16, 2012
Genesys is making a play for the middle market with the release of Genesys One. The last time the company targeted the middle market was more than 10 years ago, when it was owned by Alcatel. Since then, the middle market has changed significantly. Both customer needs and buying behavior have changed considerably, observed Brian Bischoff, vice president of global offer management for Genesys.
Lithium Social Web Nudges Customers in the Right Direction
October 12, 2012
Lithium Technologies acquired Social Dynamx this week and moved immediately to bring a combined product to market: Lithium Social Web is available now. The two companies offer complementary functionality, which made the acquisition a natural fit, said Rob Tarkoff, CEO of Lithium. "They are aimed at the agent-based workflow, and we are aimed at the customer generated workflow."
Aprimo Shows Reps More Cross-Sell, Upsell Possibilities
September 17, 2012
Aprimo has released its second app for Salesforce.com's AppExchange, called "Aprimo Service to Sales." It is an inbound marketing app with real-time interactive features. The first Aprimo app destined for the AppExchange was released in 2010. The newer app, however, is written on a different code base, which was acquired last year with the acquisition of Helm Interaction's IP assets.
EPA Contract Reflects US Cloud-Based IT Ambitions
July 24, 2012
U.S. government agencies are trying to meet fast-track goals to improve the acquisition and management of information technology resources. In a government setting that inherently involves myriad checkpoints, protocols, policies, and an exasperating budget process, change does not come easily or quickly. One exception could be the Environmental Protection Agency.
Kana Makes a Move in Customer Experience Space
July 17, 2012
Kana plans to build out its customer service experience management bona fides with its recent acquisition of contact center provider Ciboodle from the Sword Group. The point of the acquisition is to weave together Ciboodle's chief strengths -- its process-based customer contact management platform, agent desktop tools and case management expertise -- with what Kana does well.
Avaya Mixes It Up to Give Customers a Seamless Experience
June 28, 2012
Avaya has added new products and enhanced existing ones in its Customer Experience Interaction Management portfolio. The overarching goal of the changes was to allow users to reach out to customers via any channel the customers chose -- for example, mobile application, social media or phone.
CRM Conference to Showcase the Retail Experience
May 14, 2012
CRM Conference is being held May 29 to 31 at the Chicago Hyatt Regency. This annual event offers a unique agenda for retailers, said Devon Wylie, CEO of CRMC. "It's specifically focused on case studies from topnotch multinational retailers. With this approach, attendees can get actionable learnings they can take home with them."
Making Customers the Object of Devotion
May 07, 2012
The proliferation of customer service channels can be both a blessing and a curse. It can be a blessing in that companies now have more ways than ever to address customer needs and resolve customer issues, potentially leading to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention. At the same time, the proliferation of customer service channels can be a curse.
inContact Smooths the Way for Better Customer Interactions
April 09, 2012
Cloud contact center provider inContact has released the first of what will be three major upgrades to its flagship product this year. New features in the release touch upon many areas, from agent scripting to a Web-connect module, new unified agent desktop tools and an expanded blended dialer. Most intriguing of all the new features, though, is a CRM plug-in agent, which offers a new streamlined interface for agents.
The Advent of Digital Customer Relationships
October 31, 2011
The explosive adoption of the Internet has created a new kind of Web-savvy customer who expects a rich, efficient, personalized online user experience that's accessible 24/7 via any online access point -- Web, mobile device or social media -- and that provides consistent engagement across multiple channels. In order to succeed in today's online-centric world, you have to create positive digital customer relationships.
Predictive Analytics Digs Deeper Into CRM
October 24, 2011
Predixion Software has introduced Predixion Insight 2.0, the latest version of its collaborative predictive analytics solution. The new release includes enterprise collaboration features, interactive visualizations and automated workflow capabilities, as well as an on-premises version of its predictive analytics solution.
Forging Strong Links in Your Customer Interaction Chains
October 13, 2011
What's the ultimate goal of CRM? As much as I and others of my ilk might talk about the positive interactions, good feelings and peer-to-peer relationships that result when CRM is done well, they're just happy means to an end. The end is, and always will be, inflating the bottom line.

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