CRM Trends, Customer Service Tech for 2012, IVRs and Biometrics, IVR and Customer Service Staffing

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CRM Trends, Customer Service Tech for 2012, IVRs and Biometrics, IVR and Customer Service Staffing



End customers are increasingly aware of what CRM systems are capable of. So says industry observer Ian Whiting, who adds that in 2012, customers “will be even more insistent that businesses deal with them as they expect.”

Writing in CIO magazine, Whiting offers some CRM trends CIOs should watch for in 2012.

Anywhere, anytime. Anywhere/anytime computing offers benefits in the CRM space, Whiting says: “In 2012, mobility and the cloud will continue to create opportunities for businesses to engage with customers in intelligent ways across all touch points.”

This doesn’t mean they need to go hand-in-hand -- Whiting predicts some businesses will be too concerned about the cloud’s security issues. But customers expect you to be able to check what’s in the pipeline and for any outstanding issues before speaking with them, especially since they’ll expect services via mobile and tablet devices as well.

Any insight. CRM systems generate and collect a great deal of data -- as those tasked with administering them realize -- and the majority of it always goes to waste. It’s a CIO’s job to improve the value their businesses can extract from their CRM data, especially for marketing, market insight and customer engagement opportunities. Whiting sees CIOs “driving” this in 2012, and thinks CRM vendors “will also have a role to play in educating businesses about what’s possible.” As any good CRM vendor should be doing already.

Read more here.


Well there you go -- in case you were wondering, Sabio, a contact center and unified communications systems integrator, has identified what it sees as the Top 10 key technology trends in customer service for 2012.

Place your contact center at the heart of your corporate social networking. You should be monitoring relevant social media channels, using them as self-service knowledge bases and engaging customers in real time on key networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

Your website needs to be optimized for mobile/smartphone access. Sabio notes that 46 percent of U.K. smartphone customers used their device to access the Internet over the last three months.

Consistent customer interactions across multiple channels. In 2012 consumers will expect their interactions to be handled consistently regardless of the channel they’re using, whether it’s mobile, a social interaction, traditional voice, webchat, e-mail or other emerging channels.

Read more here.


At the Voice Leadership Forum in Wellington, New Zealand earlier this month, delegates heard that “voice recognition of keywords” and “the use of voice as a biometric for identification” are becoming central to interactive voice response (IVR) systems.

The forum offered first-hand reports of user experience of service from New Zealand’s Inland Revenue (IRD) and Ministry of Social Development (MSD) as well as BNZ and Westpac banks.

According to industry journal Computerworld, IRD’s first modernization feature, a phone interface in 2008, was “virtual hold,” in which a customer faced with a long wait can hang up and be called back.

Now the department’s system recognizes key words in the caller’s speech, routing them to the person best able to handle the inquiry. Customer-service group manager Heather Daly told the conference that if a customer calls about, say, Working for Families close to a public holiday,
we’ll play them a message telling them when the next payment will arrive in their account.”

Read more here.

How can SMBs improve revenues without hiring more people or expanding in a way that increases expenses? So asks telecom blogger Ron Fischer, who suggests that Voice over IP (VoIP) has several great ways to do that by “doing more with less or the same.”

Fischer identifies four specific ways VoIP can help your SMB do more with less.

You can gain another employee without having to hire one. Does that sound too good to be true?

Using the network Automated Attendant capability, “your telephone receptionist can now be used to perform other functions your business needs to grow,” Fischer says. How does it work? By allowing the network to route calls to the proper person or department, your “previous receptionist” now becomes a customer service rep or an outbound caller.

You’ll never miss another order. We don’t have to be the ones to tell you that SMBs can’t afford to miss an order. This is why -- well, one reason why, anyway -- making sure that every call is answered by a qualified person is so important. With VoIP you have that -- the capability to reroute any inbound call to another number if not answered, inside or outside your business.

Read more here.


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