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Welcome to The Evolution of Call Centres where I round up some of the more interesting and appealing news stories from the world of Call Centres, Cloud Computing and Hosted Contact Centres, sometimes adding a little commentary but always grouping the stories together in easy to digest snippets of information, knowledge, insight and ideas.

IVR versus Human

Interesting research here by Stella Service looking at the customer experience when customer phone in to the top 100 retail companies. Interestingly 79 of them use IVR systems to route calls and 21 of them answer directly in person.

There's some speculation as to why IVR systems are used in the first place and why customers don't like them, but the key take-away for me was that those who interacted with an IVR were on hold (i.e. not speaking to an agent) for about 1 minute longer than those who were answered directly.

In the fast paced world we live in, where everything is being streamlined and tweaked for efficiency it's becoming more unusual to hear of machine aided (automated) processes taking longer than full human interaction. What the study didn't conclude though, was how many of the IVR routed calls were solved without someone speaking to an agent.

Guarding the security guard…..

This is a very interesting user case for IVR systems. In a nutshell, an IVR system calls a security guard and asks the security guard to punch back in a random number the IVR mentions. Alert security guards will mostly get the number right (and answer the phone); sleepy security guards might not. The system will phone the guards each hour (or half hour) and store the results so you can, in essence, score the guards for their alertness.

At a high level, this is a good idea and could be used for a number of other industries, but I can't help but think this is solving the wrong problem.

Public Versus Private

Interesting article here on Public Clouds and Private Clouds and how as an industry we need to get better at coming up with a clear definition of each. For those interested in Cloud Computing, it's an interest read but it's a view point from an analyst and consultant, hence it's looking to segment an industry which, to be fair, is still evolving. Saying that, there is no better time to start thinking about what we should be calling and defining as the cloud.

You work in IT. The year is 2012. What skills do you need?

An interesting article here on what skills will be needed in 2012 for people serious about working in the IT industry

Cutting Costs

Nice little article about how to approach cost cutting for any business with a contact element.

Sticking on the budget theme, here is another article on how to budget for 2012.

Direction of Customer Empowerment

Here is a Questions and Answers session on Customer Empowerment and where this element will sit in the future of Customer Service.

The French have customer service sorted

This one is doing the rounds in many Call Centre and Customer Service groups and channels. It's an interesting article, not groundbreaking though, but it does add a different perspective to the idea of The Customer Is Always Right.

Scripted responses don't work

Neat little article on why scripted responses to customer don't always work. The article is based around face to face customer service, but the same could be inferred in the Call Centre industry too. The sentiments is the same for anyone interacting with Customers.

The Age of The Customer

Another good article by Kerry Bodine about customer service. She mentions the term "Age of the customer" which in itself is an interesting element (worth following the link). Good article on why customer experience is so essential today.

Are you engaged?

Engaged staff is the answer to providing excellent customer service; according to Marks and Spencer HR Director Tanith Dodge.

It's all in the name

Your job title is just a title….right? Maybe it shouldn't be. Maybe you need a title like Chief Amazement Officer?

They're complaining, but they could become fans

Interesting article here on how to turn complaining customers in to fans by Helen Ruttherford of 2e2. . The answer lies in people and performance.

CCExpo Winners Roundup

Nice roundup of the winners from the Call Centre Expo last week in London. There's also some photos of the event. There's some photos of the NewVoiceMedia stand and even one with me talking all things Call Centre and NewVoiceMedia.

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About Rob Lambert

Rob has been with NewVoiceMedia since March 2010 and works as our Test Manager within Development. His blog will feature software testing with various posts about the hosted telephony market and changes to our domain. Outside of work he loves nothing more than spending time with his wife and three children. He also helps run an online testing community and is the editor of "The Testing Planet".

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