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Nick Kennedy

3 Technologies You Didn’t Know You Could Use for Customer Care

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canstockphoto30262513When you’re focused on delivering an amazing contact center experience for your customers, you’re always on the lookout for new technologies that can help make this happen. Sure, there are countless new innovations being released all the time, but not all of them are positioned to deliver an improved customer experience. And there are always those valuable technologies that somehow slip under the radar, yet can be incredibly beneficial in achieving your customer service goals while differentiating your contact center from the competition. The following are a few options worth considering:

Skype
Yes, Skype! That free online platform that you use to call your cousin in the UK can be a tremendously advantageous tool for your overseas (and even some domestic) customers. It’s certainly a free, low-cost voice channel for any contact center. Yet it’s far more versatile than just that! It can be used as an instant messaging alternative for those who don’t want to use your chat feature on your website. It also provides presence information by broadcasting to your customers when your contact center is open or closed, and it can be used as an easy-to-set-up video chat option.

One of the primary advantages of Skype is that many customers already have the online service on their mobile devices and are familiar with using the platform. However, it’s important to keep in mind that if you’re going to be adding the video feature to your agents’ workstations, they will need to look presentable on camera (no pajamas, please!) and lighting needs to be appropriate so that it doesn’t wreak havoc with the quality of the image that the customer views.

Hootsuite
The social management platform, Hootsuite, has long been a favorite of social media managers and marketing departments that are responsible for publishing content on Facebook, Twitter, and other channels. Thanks to Hootsuite’s acquisition last year of Zeetl, a startup that enables social to phone connections, the platform has become a valuable tool for contact centers to manage social media for customer service.

Zeetl’s technology has been integrated into Hootsuite’s enterprise solution to help users manage customer service complaints. Here’s how it works. A customer complains on a company’s social media channel. The company can then reply with a link publicly. Although everyone can see the link, only the complainer can access the page that displays a local support number. When the customer calls in, he or she will receive an agent who has access to the original posted complaint. The result is a proactive response to a complaint and transparency that is seen by the other members of your online community.

Speech Recognition
Although speech recognition technology has been around for many years, it is still in its infancy when it comes to being integrated into contact centers. The first frontier for speech recognition in the contact center setting has been to handle incoming customer calls. Many IVR systems now use some amount of speech recognition technology to enable customers to interact with the system by speaking words instead of pushing buttons on their phone.

However, there are many other applications for speech recognition that could be beneficial for improving the customer experience. These include speech-to-text, voice dialing, voice search, and even IVR-based surveys. Speech recognition-enabled phone systems offer the additional perk of helping to lower costs and automate the handling of many incoming calls. With greater efficiency, service quality improves while freeing up contact center agents to work on more complex issues with customers.

As technologies continue to evolve, it will be interesting to watch how they will be leveraged in creative ways to provide better service, reduce costs, and generate higher quality data. For those who are trying to stay on top of these advances, it’s important to not just choose the latest and greatest but also to search specifically for those technologies that really make improvements and add value.

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