Call centers compete for top agents and clients while also seeking to provide the very best customer experience. Virtual Call Center Solutions can help.
Call centers face many challenges. Agent attrition, tight budgets, and competition for market share are just the first few that come to mind. Yet, there are many ways virtual call center solutions can help keep your organization at the front of the pack.
Cloud-based contact center infrastructure is becoming increasingly common. Between 2016 and 2017, the number of seats “grew by a very strong 20.9%.” Further, this trend was “expected to continue for the next five years.” This trend reflects companies of all sizes embracing virtual call center solutions, which are today offering “increased reliability, flexibility, scalability and security.”
But what is driving this widespread embrace of cloud-based call center technology? In a general sense, businesses are adopting the new infrastructure to keep up with an ever-evolving industry. Yet, specifically, these forward-thinking call center managers are appreciating the several competitive differentiators virtual call center solutions offer. Let’s discuss four in more detail.
Competitive Advantage with Virtual Call Centers
1 Workforce Optimization Tools.
The top agents want to work when and where it is convenient for them. With virtual infrastructure, your contact center can have onsite staff as well as employees in different geographical areas — with virtual desktop capabilities, all your team members need is an Internet connection and a VoIP-enabled phone.
In addition to the ability to boost mobility, virtual call center software enables:
- Prioritizing calls
- Monitoring agents in real-time
- Call routing by time of day or IVR menu selection
- Queue callback.
Additionally, by deploying Jamisi Communications analyst-recognized contact center services with, your business can experience an average savings of 5-10% of your staffing hours.
More than 60% of call centers employ at-home agents — Customer Contact Strategies
2 Analytic Capabilities.
Dimension Data in 2015 suggested that analytics is the future of call centers, yet found that 40% of them have no analytics tools. The issues abound. For many call centers, disjointed data is often distributed across the enterprise. The addition of digital and social channels has only made the lack of integration more apparent.
With cloud technology today, the contact center can consolidate information from social media, calls, web chats, etc. in a single customer history, which is easily available to center agents to provide the best, personalized customer experience.
At the same time, virtual call centers are evolving, and it isn’t difficult to imagine a time when they will offer speech pattern analytics to help analyze customer emotional state and provide better support or reduce churn rates.
The Global CRM analytics market, which includes contact center analytics, is expected to grow from $4.18 billion in 2014 to 47.65 billion by 2019.
3 Outbound Enablement.
Proactive customer care and outbound capabilities are essential to meeting the customers’ needs at all steps of their journey. Among the many features offered with the virtual call center solution, many are well-suited to reaching out to customers for greater success. These functionalities include:
- Auto-dialing to expedite customer contact
- Post-call surveys to gauge customer experience
- Caller tracking to accurately measure ROI.
4 Business Continuity.
With virtual call center software, your organization gains a reliable data center with extensive backup management. Your solution provider will be responsible for securing, upgrading, and maintaining your sophisticated network.
At the same time, should something disastrous happen at your particular place of business (or even a simple outage), you can continue with business as usual. Virtual call center technology ensures that your communications are available regardless of onsite conditions and that key data and services are easily regained via multiple points of entry to the cloud. Queued calls can be sent to alternative locations, queues, or agents until you’re back up and running onsite.
It’s difficult to improve — let alone take the lead in a competitive market— without the full technological advantages offered by virtual call center solutions. Partner with Evolve IP today to foster better agent-customer relationships and drive greater profits and revenues.
Today, organizations of all sizes are adopting cloud-based PBX systems. In fact, Research predicts the number of seats for hosted business VoIP and unified communications services is on track to more than double between 2012 and 2016. There are many benefits to a hosted system over a premise-based system, and companies are more educated on these features than they were when the technology first started to reach wide-acceptance.
However, there are still some common misconceptions that we service providers encounter when speaking with prospective customers.
As part of our ongoing educational efforts, we have rounded up explanations of five of the misconceptions we most commonly encounter:
1. You don’t have as much control over your PBX when it is hosted as you do when it is on premise.
It’s understandable that many people have the misconception that you lose administrative control of your PBX when it is not physically hosted in your own building. However, the reality is with an enterprise-grade PBX that is delivered from the cloud, you have remarkable control and greater flexibility. For example, if you want to make changes such as re-setting a voicemail password, or turning on your holiday schedule, you can do it with the click of a mouse.With a cloud-based IP phone system, customers enjoy unmatched control and point-and-click configuration over all services. Through the exclusive, award-winning web-based OSSmosis Portal, Evolve IP’s customers can control telephony features, moves/adds/ changes, conferencing, security, and email, plus they can get insight into network status, performance updates, and account/billing detail.
2. Sound quality is poor on hosted phone systems.
This is completely untrue. When properly architected, hosted voice for business on an enterprise-grade platform – such as the Broadsoft platform – has incredible quality. In fact, Evolve IP guarantees its SLAs. Through constant monitoring customers’ Mean Opinion Scores (MOS), Evolve IP is able to correct any potential issues before quality could ever be compromised. A decade ago poorly executed consumer-grade VoIP likely started this misconception.
3. Cloud is just a fad.That couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, according to a recent study, the desire to share content and to access it on multiple devices will motivate consumers to start storing a third of their digital content in the cloud by 2016. In a recent Microsoft surveys of businesses, 30 percent are already using paid cloud services and another 48 percent plans to move to the cloud model within the next 2-3 years.Although the term cloud is relatively new, the technology has been around and constantly advancing for many years, and more businesses adopt it each day.
4. Moving to the cloud means IT staff loses job security.
One fear that IT Directors have when moving to the cloud is that it will jeopardize their job security. In reality all companies will need professionals that understand evolving cloud and IaaS technologies. The best part of the equation is that the menial tasks that tie up too much of your time are eliminated and will allow you to engage in more strategic projects that provide opportunities to improve the business.
5. The cloud only benefits small businesses, not Enterprises.
Because of the per-user monthly fee and absence of expensive upfront equipment cost, cloud solutions have mistakenly been thought of as intended only for small business. It’s true that small businesses tend to adopt new technologies before Enterprises. But, cloud adoption is expanding rapidly across the Enterprise landscape, as Enterprises have begun to understand that the benefits are the same for organizations of all sizes
While working from home is not for everyone, working from everywhere soon will be. As digital innovation continues, the differences between working in the office, a coffeehouse, your own backyard or even at the beach will soon fade away. People won’t have to work remotely if they don’t want to, but the office is already becoming just one of many locations where work occurs.When you’re working with your team, even in different locations, what’s most important is a shared state of mind. That state of mind is much more important for productivity than shared office space.
Here’s what makes it possible:
Services first: The “cloud” is a new buzzword but the real revolution is not the fact that things are stored differently, but it is about making services universally available. While many workers still love their physical spaces, and there are good reasons for it, the digitization of all work services makes work more flexible.
Mobile only: The term ‘mobile first’ is another popular buzzword but the real breakthrough is going to come when we are ‘mobile only.’ Once every service is available for people on the road and those in the office, we can finally break the chain to the physical world. This change will not come without challenges, though. Not every job will be suitable for remote work. Some employees need to be physically near every aspect of their job; others simply need that stability to feel emotionally engaged with their organizations.
In any case, technology provides a unique opportunity to bring us closer together than ever before. We’ve come a long way from mandatory physical meetings — with real-time mobile connectivity, we can finally be “near” each other no matter where we are. We’ve come a long way from phones and intranets to real-time mobile connectivity.The key to this innovation will be optimizing how people work together. If you think the last five years were filled with change, just wait for the next five.
Research offers four strategies to make better use of digital technology and bring your office into the future:
Eliminate barriers. “Digital availability and workplace mobilization make it easier for us to access our work at any time — and to act on the information available. IT professionals too often have the urge to control, but the more effective strategy is to give employees the tools they need to take control themselves.”
Eliminate fear. “New technologies bring fear and apprehension: fear of change, fear of risks, and fear of control or competency. While it’s wise to not dive in headfirst without proper research, acting on fear could prevent your company from realizing its innovative potential. Today, mobilization is such a massive disruption to every industry that a failure to embrace the change would be a terrible mistake.”
Eliminate wastes of time. “Time is our most valuable resource, yet we allow so much to be wasted. Technology makes standard activities like processes, approvals, communication, and accessing information fast and simple, meaning people can spend less time on tedious administrative functions — and more time using the skills that make them valuable.”
Eliminate wastes of attention. “Humans have short attention spans, and the longer you waste their attention, the more disengaged they become. Mobile technology allows for continuous engagement, but that power can be wasted if the information provided is not valuable. Every action, process, or piece of information should be designed to maximize both engagement and productivity.”
Most schools have slogans that give their audience an idea of what they stand for and what they can offer potential students. In today’s virus-quarantined world, if you’re an educator, your slogan should read a bit like this:
It’s all happening, and it’s all online.
And yet not everyone is comfortable with the online classroom format. Even though there are thousands of schools where you can seek out an online education, there’s still something to be said for the interactiveness that a live classroom offers
It would be shortsighted to ignore the need for building engaging virtual classrooms. In a technologically advanced world, we don’t have to stop educating ourselves when geography (or even a global pandemic) stands in our way. In reality, the need to reimagine the classroom couldn’t be more necessary.
So now it’s time for educators to get creative and brush up on their digital classroom skills, because this format, while not yet a 100% replacement for the “real thing,” is not going anywhere. If you could offer an engaging classroom experience in the virtual world, why wouldn’t you?
And what if we told you that it really isn’t that difficult?
If you have a computer with a camera (which most people do), you’re already on the right track to teach others online.
In this post, we’re going to help you become more confident in your understanding of how to set up a virtual classroom.
Here’s what we’ll look at:
What exactly is a “virtual classroom?”
Virtual classrooms: techniques and class types
The key benefits of having a virtual classroom
5 virtual classroom tools that benefit both teacher and student
Setting up an interactive and engaging virtual classroom
What is a “virtual classroom?”
Like the name suggests, a virtual classroom is an online learning environment where experts can teach in their area of expertise to students hoping to learn a new skill.
These classrooms can be as formal as a collegiate professor teaching to doctoral students or as informal as a hobbyist taking a watercolor class. They can also include various technologies, like LED whiteboards or live video, that can contribute to the interactiveness and inclusivity of the class, depending on the goals of the teacher.
Virtual classrooms: techniques and class types
Now before we go deeper into creating a virtual classroom, let’s better understand what makes one truly interactive. (And a primer on virtual meeting etiquette probably wouldn’t hurt either.)
Look at Masterclass, the popular streaming service of classes taught by experts in their field. For a flat fee, you can learn photography from fashion photographers on YouTube.
These classes are fantastic resources, but because they are asynchronous (as in they’re not live, but prerecorded) they’ll still ultimately lack the intimacy and interactiveness of a true classroom. To create a more interactive class, try to run it live and not prerecorded—you can still do it online, but it gives you the opportunity to answer student questions in real time.
The flipped classroom style creates more independence for students and the opportunity for more one-on-one time with the teacher and students. Most of the learning is done independently by students, often through pre-recorded videos, presentations, and reading set up by the teacher.
The live classroom environment is then a time to ask questions and take a more Socratic approach.
Socratic approach: A style of teaching where the teacher is more of a supervisor who asks students how they came to their conclusions and guides them on how to process the information they consumed on their own time.
This is a great style for teachers who are instructing students on different levels of learning. More advanced students can be mixed in with beginner and intermediate students, and it allows the teacher to play more of a devil’s advocate role, allowing the discussions in the classroom to unveil the student’s overall needs and create a community of learning.
The key benefits of having a virtual classroom
The best part of the online classroom is, of course, the online part. There’s no need to find commercial real estate or desks, paying for utilities is a thing of the past, and there’s no commute. Most online classes have curriculum that’s software-based, so the need for physical books is often not necessary.
When there’s no overhead, that means more money in your pocket to make your course truly incredible, rather than fretting over heating a large building in the middle of winter. This way, your students are truly paying for you and your expertise (and not their parking spot).
More possibilities for distance learning
When you have an online course, the only thing students who aren’t in your time zone have to concern themselves with is showing up when the course starts. You could be teaching in Los Angeles but have students on the East Coast. Being able to learn from a particular teacher is now no longer limited due to geography.
Having students who are distance learners means that your classroom can also be larger and more diverse. Rather than catering directly to your region, you can open your course up to students from all over or even having two or more sessions where you might otherwise have only had one.
Equitability in the classroom
In a virtual classroom setting, it’ll be incredibly important to maintain equitability in each class, and when everything is online, that’s easier than ever. As long as the class starts and ends at the same time, the student can control where they learn best, making the classroom a place of maximum comfort and a place where they can best cater to their own learning styles.
Having a more controlled physical environment is helpful for younger students as well. The student’s guardian can help set their young learner up to succeed with physical requirements they may not have been given in a physical classroom. Being able to utilize a desk that allows a more hyperactive student to sit or stand, or a fidget spinner to quiet their hands will help keep their eyes on the screen but won’t be a distraction to their peers.
Students who are easily distracted can also change their video settings so that they can only see whoever is actively speaking. This helps with distractions that might have occurred in a live classroom—the student still gets the live classroom benefits without the distractions of what is going on around them.
Take away the physical distractions of the traditional classroom and what do you get? No gum popping, principal drop-ins, paper rustling, weird smell distractions and an environment where students (as well as the teacher) can get. things. done.
A psychologically safe learning environment yields better learning outcomes, higher performance, better focus, and the opportunity for the teacher to create a space that is truly equitable, where everyone’s voice is heard equally. Feedback can become very personalized, and through the use of classroom management software, the feedback students receive are tailored to them and not just the overall class.
5 virtual classroom tools that make life easier for both teachers and students
There are armloads of both hardware and software tools that make the virtual classroom more engaging for students and teachers.
1. Digital whiteboarding and annotations
The ability to make virtual annotations is great for teachers who want to create a more interactive online classroom. It allows you to mark up documents and record what was written so that the notes, once erased, can be recalled again for further study:
Understanding how to use all the features in live video conferencing is one of the greatest tools that a teacher can use. Rather than lecturing at a screen the entire time, teachers can send students into breakout rooms to work out problems and discuss questions that they can then share with the class as a whole.
2. Screen sharing
Screen sharing is another important feature when you’re teaching a virtual class. It makes it easier for students to follow along and see what’s happening on your screen as you’re scrolling, highlighting, and pointing details out
3. Chat box
If you have students who are shy or still building up the confidence to speak up in class (it can still be intimidating even if it’s online), a chat box can be a useful way to get them to come out of their shell.
For example, in Jamisi Video, you can write messages to your entire class—or privately to a specific student to give them feedback:
4. Integrations with other education software
Whatever virtual classroom software you choose, one of your considerations should be whether it integrates with other education software you’re using.
For instance, Jamisi also integrates with other learning management software, to let you schedule virtual office hours, see upcoming class meetings, and see which lessons have been covered.
5. Real-time messaging
Once your online class is over, what happens if a student has questions? Virtual meetings typically only last an hour or two, so make sure to have other options for students to get in touch with you.
Having a class team chat thread would be helpful here. It lets you and your students message each other in real time, share files with each other.
Things to consider when setting up an interactive and engaging virtual classroom
So. We now know what a virtual classroom is, the different types and styles of classrooms, advantages of teaching online, and tools that can benefit both the online teacher and student.
What’s the next step to creating your online classroom—and making it interactive and engaging? Here are some things to consider:
—What demographic of students will be taking the class?
If your target demographic is young and tech-savvy, rolling out the red carpet of integrative software we outlined above not only might be something that your students enjoy, it’s also likely something they’ve come to expect.
If your demographic is less tech-savvy, on the other hand, start slow and let them have a chance to pick up the software at a more manageable pace.
—What are you hoping to teach?
Some subjects are more suited to certain types of software integrations. Think about how hands-on your class is and cater your software tools to the subject matter. Just because you have whiteboard capabilities doesn’t mean you’ll always need to use them—but it’s good to know it’s there if you do need it.
—What’s the best way to reach and communicate with your students?
If you’re teaching a class, consider organizational and communication software integrations that’ll allow your students to feel connected to you even when your class isn’t meeting.
Whether you’re looking at video conferencing software, screen sharing apps, or communication tools that allow you to easily receive, critique, and resend student’s work back to them, find ways that allow for easy and efficient communication.
Ready to step into your virtual classroom?
There are so many tools out there that are designed for (or can be easily adapted to) what teachers need.
Understanding your student’s needs, your goals as a teacher, and what technology is available to you will help you create a learning environment that is creative, inclusive, and always ready to accept new ways to expand your knowledge of online learning.
Despite lockdown measures being relaxed, industries and businesses are still under considerable strain to try and cope with the added pressures: whether it be staff shortages, supply chain issues or working through the complications of remote working.
Staff shortages continue to be a particular challenge for contact centres, especially as this is a time when they are arguably at their busiest. Customers are seeking crucial information, looking to cancel contracts, save money, or even just find out where they stand on an issue. The last thing they want is the additional stress of not being able to speak to someone, waiting hours on hold, or not having their questions answered.
The importance of customer analytics to help find the pain points customers are experiencing and to address them quickly, cannot be overstated and needs to be used more widely. Over the last few months, customers have been at their most vulnerable and liable to look for alternative services if they are dissatisfied with their current service. As PWC found, 32% of customers would stop doing business with a brand – even one they loved – after just one bad experience.
The importance of customer experience
Customer experience is, of course, a priority for contact centres. Agents are on the frontline, both being the first representation of business and having control of what that first interaction with the customer will be like.
Because of this, the pressure sits on their shoulders to ensure that customers have the best experience, their questions are answered and they leave the interaction more than satisfied. We just have to look at the impact of bad customer experience, which costs UK brands alone, £234 billion a year in lost sales, to understand just how important customer experience is.
Understanding what the customer wants, and just as importantly, what the customer does not want, is crucial. This can be achieved through effective evaluation of all forms of customer interactions: from email and SMS to Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and customer calls.
Even combining omni-channel text platforms with voice data from customer calls can provide a rich data set for contact centres. It gives contact centres access to unfiltered data on the voice and tone of the customer and can help to improve the customer experience. However, improving customer experience is challenging to do efficiently. The need for analytics is the key here as this data can inform front line customer service agents to adjust their response to the customer in real-time.
The need for analytics
By using voice technology to transform call recordings into a rich text format makes it easier to search for specific information, to derive sentiment from the customer’s voice, and to make voice data immediately accessible. Transcripts from calls not only enable analytics but make this process possible at scale.
However, despite the clear advantages, contact centres still only analyse less than 3% of interactions. The reasons for this are two-fold: the cost and complexities of analysing so much data and the capacity to action the findings. But by only analysing such a small percentage, companies are missing out on a wealth of information provided by the voice of the customer.
To improve customer experiences and engagement, contact centres need to make the most of the data they have to make data-driven decisions. Analytics can help with that and also provides considerable efficiencies for contact centres, such as giving a 360 view of the customer, helping to speed up disputes, and improving customer satisfaction.
Voice analytics systems can even pick up spoken keywords to assess the topic being discussed and the emotional character of the conversation, and thus identify areas where the contact staff may need additional training, especially with handling difficult calls.
These systems can also isolate frequently used words and phrases within a given duration and pick up on changes in consumer behaviour during an interaction. This then helps organisations to better address where customer vulnerabilities lie and adjust interactions and outputs accordingly.
This automation could be transformative for contact centres. Besides speeding up interactions, the technology has the ability to understand exactly what someone is asking regardless of native language, dialect or context.
By analysing the voice of the customer to agents and internal processes, analytics empowers contact centres to improve customer experience. Analytics enable brands to transform bad experiences into good ones to improve the overall experience and crucially, retain customers.
Customer relationship management (CRM) solutions can do much more than organize contacts and act as a digital rolodex. With the right features, CRM software can also help you boost sales by keeping an eye on customers, from nurturing leads to closing the sale and maintaining customer loyalty. It can also save you tons of time and money through sales force automation.
Here are 12 features to look for in CRM software.
1. Workflow automation
CRM software can make your life easier by automating your workflow. Look for software that lets you set up custom rules and comes with sales force automation to help you and your team be more productive.
By using rules, you can set your CRM software to automatically perform a specific action based on triggers or events, such as these:
When a potential customer fills out a contact form on your website, the CRM software automatically directs the message to the right sales representative or department.
When a sales representative receives a message, the CRM software automatically sends a preset response to acknowledge the message.
If a lead, prospect, or opportunity doesn’t respond to your message or proposal, the CRM software automatically sends a follow-up message after a preset amount of time, such as 48 hours or two business days.
When a sales representative makes calls or sends messages to a contact, the CRM software automatically logs hours and keeps track of all communications.
As sales representatives complete tasks, the CRM software automatically reports them to supervisors and upper management for performance reports.
Workflow automation features can also take the time and legwork out of tedious sales tasks, such as order processing, order tracking and inventory control.
No two businesses are the same, so the best CRM software can cater to your business’s unique needs. Some CRM solutions let you choose which features to include in your package, and some also allow you to customize basic areas, such as with the abilities to add contact fields, choose which data to show on your dashboard and create custom reports. You can also customize with extensions, plugins and other add-ons to expand your software’s capabilities.
If you need even more customization to truly tailor the software to your business, many CRM software providers offer more advanced options using APIs. This gives developers access to all technical specs and coding for full customization of your software. The API also allows you to integrate the software with existing business solutions your company uses to streamline processes.
3. Third-party integration
Connecting your CRM software to other solutions you already use can save you tons of time and money. Most CRM programs offer third-party software integrations; the key is choosing one that’s compatible with the software you use and easy to implement. For instance, popular CRM software Salesforce has its own marketplace called AppExchange, where users can easily connect Salesforce to solutions such as QuickBooks accounting software, Mailchimp email marketing software and DocuSign electronic signatures.
Here are a few things you can do with the right third-party integrations to make your life easier:
Run CRM software straight from Outlook, Gmail or other email clients so you don’t have to keep switching between apps.
Automatically sync sales and order information with your POS system and accounting software to eliminate manual data entry.
Automatically build email lists and launch email marketing campaigns from either your email marketing software or CRM software so you don’t have to open both.
Back up and sync data with Dropbox, Box.com and other popular cloud backup storage services.
Depending on your software, some integrations may require IT administration.
4. Customer service
CRM software can help you acquire and retain customers by providing excellent customer service. Look for the following capabilities that will allow your sales reps and customer support team to perform their best:
Gives you a 360-degree comprehensive view of customers that shows everything there is to know about a customer from the first point of contact
Automatically tracks all points of communications, from lead acquisition to closed sales and sales histories
Logs all incidents, website visits, purchase histories, and other activities for future reference and to keep all reps on the same page
Uses customers’ first names to personalize all correspondence
Has unique reference numbers for each account, customer and help issue
Automatically sends customers acknowledgments of their inquiries and messages so they don’t feel ignored
Supports premade email templates and call scripts that answer the most common questions
5. Employee tracking
CRM software is a great way to track employee activity and performance. Choose software that gives employees their own accounts where they can individually track their hours, tasks, meetings, sales numbers, goals and other items. The software should also give supervisors and upper management access to dashboards that let them view individual employee goals, completed tasks and other metrics of productivity. This can help managers write employee performance reviews, create incentives, reward strong employees, and identify those who are struggling and address areas of improvement.
6. Social media
A CRM with built-in social media monitoring features can save your marketing team time, because they won’t have to switch platforms to perform the essential task of monitoring your company’s social media.
Salesforce, for example, has tools for you to perform these social media tasks:
Get in tune with what people are saying about your brand through social listening.
Gain insight into the numbers of social media actions your brand gets, such as comments, shares and mentions.
Check every social media channel (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) to customize your social media strategy accordingly.
Get insight into who your customers are.
Identify and leverage https://www.businessnewsdaily.com.
Manage the day-to-day tasks of posting to your social media accounts.
7. Lead management
A lead management feature will help you to identify your leads and the actions they’ve taken along the sales cycle. Through the lead management process, you’ll be able to score your leads and, if needed, filter them off to a different member of your team to turn select leads into customers.
Sometimes dead leads sit in a CRM for weeks or months. A smart sales manager stays on top of leads and redistributes quiet or seemingly dead leads to different members of their team for reengagement.
8. Real-time data
Starting in 2017, real-time data became the main driver for CRM systems, according to CMSWire. As noted in the article, CRMs can pull real-time data from devices, applications and even appliances.
These are just a few of the benefits of pulling real-time data:
It helps you make better-informed marketing decisions about bidding price and placement of online advertising.
You get an instant snapshot of market demand, so you can update your marketing plan accordingly to yield better results.
You can identify which of your products and services generate the most revenue, and which generate the least and may need a boost in exposure.
9. CRM analytics
CRM analytics, also known as customer analytics, offer insight into customer data. This data is important because it can help you make better decisions about the types of products, services, marketing and overall communications you distribute to your customers.
Look for these specific analytics in a CRM:
Customer segmentation that is simple to read and understand
Clear profit and loss data to help you determine your ROI
Informative web analytics that illustrate customer website use and behaviors
Reporting is the feature that brings the results of your sales and marketing efforts all together, and it comes standard with all the CRMs we’ve researched. The more of these report types you can access, the better:
The number of leads that come in during a certain amount of time
The number of sales generated during a certain amount of time
Which of your sales agents closed which leads and how many they closed in a certain amount of time
The number of outbound calls being made
The effectiveness of your emails
The stage at which your leads converted, helping you identify opportunities to close leads in a shorter time
11. Sales forecasting
A CRM with this feature predicts your future sales based on data from your current pipeline. You may need to alter your marketing plan based on the sales forecast. For example, if you thought your toy store was going to sell a lot of girls’ dolls during Christmas but learned through sales forecasting that building blocks are more popular, you can cater your campaigns accordingly. Sales forecasting can also anticipate market changes to mitigate your business risks.
Tracking emails through a traditional inbox can get overwhelming and confusing. Lifewire noted that, as of 2015, the average office worker received 121 emails. It’s important for every single sales email to be received and addressed in a timely fashion to increase the probability of generating revenue.
An email feature in a CRM helps keep your sales reps organized and productive. They can integrate their calendars to schedule appointments and engage prospects and customers accordingly. Another great email feature is the ability to automatically pull in email templates so reps spend less time crafting email content. You can use this feature to create several email templates, such as these:
Basic information about the company, segmented by industry
Follow-up after a phone call
Follow-up after one email has been sent
Follow-up to a proposal that reps are waiting on customers to return
CRM software can be a useful tool for businesses of all sizes, but it’s important to select a truly effective platform that can scale with your needs. We at Jamisi Communications can provide these solutions to your business.
Contact us today!
Many studies have emphasized the importance of body language in meetings. For example, slouching in your chair can be seen as unenergetic and lethargic, and not making eye contact shows lack of confidence. While subtle, these differences in your positioning can have huge impacts on the productivity and success of your meetings.
However, many of these studies used in-person meetings as reference points. With the rise of flexible work and distributed teams, meetings are increasingly moving online. The question becomes: does body language still apply when you’re in a video meeting?
The answer is: yes. While traditional face-to-face meetings have a lot in common with video conferences, there are certain aspects of your body language that you may want to think about and modify when you’re facing a screen.
Here are some body language tips you should keep in mind to help ace your next video call.
1. Wear clothes you would wear to an in-person meeting
You don’t need to wear a ball gown or a three-piece suit for your next video call. But if you typically feel a little anxious or awkward in video meetings, taking the time to look and feel your best can definitely boost your confidence and help you make a positive impression on your attendees.
In fact, many studies have found a connection between how we look and how we’re perceived. This is a cognitive bias known as the “halo effect,” which suggests that people who look good tend to also be perceived as having other positive qualities. Don’t be afraid to use this to your advantage!
2. Sit back from the camera so colleagues can see your gestures
Hand gestures can help you boost your charisma while you’re on a call. For example, you can wave hello to welcome your meeting attendees to the call, use explanatory gestures while you’re speaking to clarify your talking points, or simply rest them in your lap to show your colleagues that you’re actively listening (and not scrolling Twitter).
If you’re sitting too close to the screen, your attendees will miss out on these important nonverbal cues. When you sit down for your next call, remember to push back your computer or phone or camera so your hands and upper torso are showing.
3. Make eye contact by looking into the camera
One of the biggest mistakes people make on video calls is that they look at themselves and not at the dot (aka your camera). While it can be a little tricky over video, looking directly into your camera will give the impression you are making eye contact with the people you are meeting. This can help build trust and rapport with your meeting attendees, which, in turn, can help strengthen your relationships with them.
Speaking to your camera instead of the faces on your screen can definitely take some getting used to, so take a few minutes to practice before your next call. You could even record yourself so you can see the difference between looking at your screen and looking at your camera. This can also be a good time to check your room’s lighting and the angle of your camera to ensure you’re well lit and centered.
4. Show engagement by refraining from looking down
While most of us wouldn’t look at our phones or openly check our email during an in-person work meeting, it’s a little easier to succumb to these distractions when you’re working remotely. However, just because your phone may not be in full view of your attendees, doesn’t mean they won’t see when you look down to check it.
The best way to show you’re listening is to remain focused on the discussion or presentation. Try not to look around the room too much and use nonverbal signals like nodding or smiling to show the speaker that you’re interested and engaged in what they’re saying.
5. Sit straight to project energy
It can be tempting to take a call from the couch when you’re working from home, but it can make you appear uninterested and a little lazy on a video call. On the other hand, good posture signals to your meeting attendees that you’re energized and ready to be an active participant.
During a video conference, remember to sit up straight, put both feet on the floor, and then take a deep breath and exhale through your mouth to relax your neck and throat. You’ll also want to lean forward slightly to the camera to show that you’re fully present.
Similar to your physical appearance, your posture can shape the way you feel and how you think about yourself. In other words, when you sit up straight, it doesn’t just make you look more engaged—it’s also a physical reminder to your brain that it’s time to listen and participate.
6. Calm your nerves by avoiding face-touching
Research by the University of Cambridge found that nervous people tend to comfort themselves by engaging in face-touching behaviors like smoothing their eyebrows, tugging at their earlobes, itching their nose, or chewing on their lower lip.
Therefore, if you want to convey to your fellow meeting attendees that you’re calm, cool, and collected, try to avoid touching your face. If you need help breaking the habit, you can keep your hands occupied with a stress ball or other object. You can also try practicing meditation and mindfulness exercises before a call to calm your nerves.
7. Use hand gestures to show warmth and agreement
Want to present like a pro? Use your hands. A recent analysis of the most popular TED talks found that viral speakers used an average of around 465 hand gestures—nearly twice as many as the least popular TED speakers.
Studies have also shown that people who use their hands are even seen as more warm, agreeable, and energetic compared to those who remain still or have robotic hand gestures. If you’re not used to talking with your hands, you can start with basic listing gestures (like counting on your hands) or a pinching gesture to indicate something small.
Set yourself up for video call success
You don’t need to be a professional actor or speaker to get comfortable on camera. All you need to do to put your best “foot” forward’ is to be a little more aware of your posture, facial expressions, and general mannerisms. And don’t forget to smile.
Cloud contact centers are the future of customer service success and the only way to create the ultimate customer experience.
Today, businesses have to meet ever-changing and constantly growing customer demands. Even more than good products or services, customers want quick, intuitive, and personalized experiences. To keep up with these requirements, businesses have to utilize cloud solutions for their contact center software.
Cloud contact center software is the only tool that allows contact centers to pivot and adapt their strategies to meet shifting customer satisfaction needs. The scalability and opportunity provided by cloud-based contact center software supports and empowers remote work capabilities, offering access to cost savings and increased growth. Additional features, such as data analytics and artificial intelligence, can further benefit both companies and their contact centers.
Before you can enjoy everything the cloud can offer your contact center, of course, you first have to know what you need to make the switch.
Building your remote-managed, cloud-based contact center
As with any decision regarding your customer service tools, you first need to ask the important question: “What hardware and software is required to remote manage a cloud-based contact center?”
For both inbound and outbound contact centers, your agents rely on the resources you provide for the work they do. The business systems you choose will determine the level of satisfaction you can achieve and the effectiveness of your customer journey management. You depend on your contact center agents for customer relationship management, so do your best to equip them for success.
What hardware does your contact center need?
All types of call centers — including virtual call centers, on-premises call centers, and inbound and outbound call centers — and contact centers use a basic set of tools. Though a cloud platform requires a significantly less amount of hardware than an on-premise solution, you still need some equipment for your remote contact center infrastructure.
Phones or Softphones
For all contact centers, and call centers in particular, handling customer interactions over the phone is a must. When connecting with customers over the phone, even if you use cloud call center software systems, your agents need a phone to make and receive reliable phone calls.
Physical phones, such as those used with traditional IP PBX phone systems, may work for some solutions, but softphones are usually the best option for a cloud call center or contact center, especially if you want to give agents the flexibility to work from home. These phones connect seamlessly with your software, ensuring high call quality and reliable connections for every interaction. We recommend giving agents additional training with these phones to guarantee proficiency, but their ease-of-use creates an easy transition.
In our digital age, every call center agent needs a computer or internet-connected device. When running a remote contact center, however, this tool is even more important. Your agents need the ability to take and make phone calls through their laptops, computer or mobile device.
A company-issued computer, phone, or tablet offers access to your contact center software and tools, keeping agents connected from anywhere.
Your devices also allow employees to connect and collaborate without needing to meet face-to-face. They can connect over video, live chat, and email to accomplish tasks efficiently, even across time zones.
When your entire contact center runs on the cloud, your contact center agents need the ability to connect to your tools and data from anywhere. When hiring or transitioning agents to work from home, check their home internet connection and speed. You won’t be able to improve customer engagement if their interactions are spotty or slowed by a poor internet connection. Instead, check and upgrade internet support as needed to maintain quality service.
Headsets are vital for agent comfort and efficiency. If your remote workers are making phone calls, provide functional microphone-enabled headsets to use for these interactions. The headsets you choose may vary depending on the devices your agent uses, so pay attention to the compatibility requirements. It’s also a good idea to have agents check the headsets before their first shift to avoid problems during customer interactions.
In the first week of March, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon began encouraging employees to work from home for their own health and safety
As far as big tech is concerned, business operations haven’t really changed much. In fact, companies like Apple and Microsoft continue to hire throughout the pandemic.
Most organizations in the country, however, don’t share the same luck. A survey found that only 12% of organizations were ready to manage disruptions caused by COVID-19. Many simply didn’t have the infrastructure, training, or experience to support prolonged remote work, resorting to panic buying and implementing technologies left and right with unprecedented urgency. Businesses simply weren’t prepared for a crisis like this, and they’re paying the price.
As the initial shock wears off and businesses stabilize, leaders have started to re-evaluate their remote work and business continuity plans to avoid future periods of disruption. A survey by PwC found that finance leaders are planning to pivot toward measures that improve business resilience and agility, with 68% of respondents putting work flexibility as their number one priority.
Remote work drives business operations through tough times
Remote work growth increased 159% between 2005 and 2017, with a 78% increase in job listings posted on LinkedIn within two years that offered flexible work perks. The reality on the ground was much different, however. Only 7% of workers had the luxury of regularly working from home, and 94% wanted more flexible work options.
When COVID-19 struck, however, remote work transformed from an employee privilege to business necessity overnight. Employees everywhere suddenly had their traditional in-office work schedules turned upside down.
To many experts’ surprise, the shift to remote work has actually exceeded expectations. Organizations have been able to continue business operations despite being distributed. According to a Deloitte survey, 75% of CFOs say their companies are operating at 80% capacity or higher. While it’s no stretch that businesses are struggling during the crisis, findings show that the mass remote work situation isn’t as bad as leaders anticipated. In fact, leaders are now the true value of remote work, going so far as to announce permanent work from anywhere flexibility.
From the employee perspective, working from home isn’t so bad either. A CNBC survey found that 38% of employees are happier with their jobs now than they were in previous months. Employees with flexible work schedules show less stress and burnout while being happier, more engaged, and more productive. Organizations with highly-engaged employees have 59% less turnover and achieve 21% greater profitability than their competitors.
The intersection between remote work and business continuity
As shelter-at-home restrictions ease across the world, the return to work won’t be sudden. Organizations will have to enact safety measures to prioritize employee health or have employees continue working from home. In many cases, the latter might be a better option. Cubicles and open offices cram as many employees into small spaces as possible, and it’s simply not feasible with the virus still floating around.
Business leaders have realized that, in order to continue operations, remote work is essential to their business continuity plans. A survey on 317 CFOs revealed that 74% of companies plan to permanently shift to more remote work post-COVID-19, with nearly a quarter planning to move 20% of their on-site employees to permanent remote positions.
The shelter-at-home orders gave managers and executives a first-hand look at the advantages of remote work. Seeing operations continue and employees productive, leaders became much more receptive to work flexibility. In fact, forward-thinking organizations such as Facebook and Twitter announced that employees can work from home until the end of 2020—a monumental step toward the future of work.
Unified communications are vital to the future of employee collaboration
As companies geared up for remote work, demand for cloud communications tools reached a critical mass. Business app downloads increased by 90% in March compared to the previous year, with video conferencing and team messaging tools taking the spotlight. Organizations realized that these tools are essential for employees to effectively collaborate with their teams from home.
The issue, however, is that most organizations were forced to cobble together temporary technology solutions that aren’t optimized to work synergistically or match with long-term IT goals. These disparate solutions might have been solid short-term Band-Aids to survive the pandemic, but don’t make sound solutions down the road.
One of the biggest concerns is the overabundance of technology. Having an app for each mode of communication—team messaging, video conferencing, and cloud phone—means employees need to manage several different apps at the same time. Studies show that 68% of employees toggle between 10 apps in a single hour, with some even juggling up to 15. Workplace technologies are ripping employees’ attention spans apart, leading to lower productivity, fatigue, and stress.
At the same time, disparate apps can cause major long-term headaches for IT teams. Organizational needs are constantly changing, and scaling several solutions to match one another can be a technical nightmare. IT teams would also have to work with several service providers whose products might not cooperate.
That’s where unified communications come in. Unified communications solutions allow employees to effortlessly switch between team messaging, video conferencing, and cloud phone with a single click—never having to leave the app. With everything under one roof, IT teams can easily manage compatibility, scalability, and support issues with a single provider.
Businesses with unified communications thrive in the future of work
As organizations look toward recovery and continuity plans, a major priority for leaders is to ensure the continued productivity of their remote workforce. COVID-19 proved that employees can deliver results and drive positive business outcomes even amidst a national health crisis and enforced office shutdowns. Returning to normal will require workers to stay remote and productive, and organizations must do what they can to support them.
When times change, you adapt or die.
If you’re a business owner or contact center manager, digital technology and a renewed focus on serving the shopper has resulted in an increased emphasis on customer experience, or CX.
64% of consumers expect companies to respond to and interact with them in real time
1 in 4 associates feel unprepared to connect with shoppers
Since late February, some companies have seen a 14% spike in their average weekly customer service ticket volume, compared to the same period last year
With “longer-than-average hold times” the new watchword, businesses must find creative ways to meet customer demand.
The reasoning behind this is simple: The longer consumers wait to reach a customer support agent—and more than 50% of customers won’t do business with a company after a bad experience—the more likely they will leave you for one of your competitors.
So, how do you deliver the service your customers expect—if you have to rely on customer-service agents working from home?
In this post, I share solutions that are helping retailers navigate the current economic uncertainty.
Adapting to a changing marketplace: why retailers must prepare
With more and more people turning to online shopping, the question is: How will retailers handle the corresponding rise in the number of customers needing support?
In a world that is increasingly on-demand and real-time, taking care of customers is paramount.
Of course, when customers call for help, you want to deliver a great customer experience. However, as many agents are forced to work from home, organizations are left looking for the best ways to continue supporting their customers using remote agents.
What does it take to deliver a top-notch CX?
The only way to succeed in the face of uncertainty is to face challenges head-on.
This is not the time to be uncertain about your next move.
Yet that’s exactly what many retailers have done in the face of the current situation. Netflix and Roku are just two examples of brands who’ve scaled back customer-service.
When customer requests are up across the board and agents are getting a crush of support calls, customer service is not just a business process, it’s one of the most important elements of your business.
However, don’t simply stand back and copy your competitors’ strategies. The mark of a thriving business is that it is constantly evolving.
Now is the time to adapt quickly to meet customer demand and safeguard customers’ trust, especially for companies in the sectors that have been among the hardest-hit. Naturally, we have a few tips for you.
4 ways you can create better customer experiences
If you’re using at-home agents for customer service during these unprecedented times, here are four ways you can deliver a great retail experience:
Enhance shopper engagement: Today’s consumers have more choices than ever so it’s important to engage shoppers during their shopping journey. You can leverage technology to connect with customers via their channel of choice whether that’s chat, SMS, messaging, email, voice, or video. There is an opportunity to improve every interaction that shoppers have with your company.
Empower your customer service staff: It’s no secret that customer service reps are typically the first line of communication for frustrated customers. That’s why you should give virtual call center staff everything they need—from the latest information about merchandise and inventory to policies for returns and exchanges—to help customers feel happy and satisfied.
Facilitate effortless experiences: Did you know that research shows reducing the amount of effort customers expend—the work they must do to get their problem solved—builds loyalty? The same study found reducing customers’ effort also lowers customer service costs and decreases customer churn. When your customer service agents can oversee merchandise delivery, exchanges, repairs, and returns and provide shoppers with real-time notifications through their channel of choice, then you’ll be offering what consumers are craving.
Expand self-service options: Today’s consumer wants everything on-demand, customized, and fast. But, increasingly they also want simple self-service options. This could take many forms, from an online help center or online chat support to using chat, messaging, and conversation bots. Something your at-home customer service agents and your customers may find valuable is a knowledge base with relevant, easy-to-understand answers to commonly asked questions.
This is how Jamisi Communications can help
In recent months, a lot has changed. Jamisi Communications wants to help your organization continue its customer engagement activities during difficult times by making it easier for your work-at-home agents to serve your customers until those agents can return to the office or contact center facility.
There are a few ways we can help, depending on what you need. For example, Jamisi contact center can help support your efforts with:
Inbound call routing—When a customer calls in, their call is directed to the appropriate agent (Spanish-speaking agents; the customer has a specific question about their item or how to set up their item, etc.), which saves time and helps avoid frustrated customers.
Collaborative contact center—This feature connects contact center agents with the entire organization. Too often agents are siloed away from the rest of the company (especially now with everyone working from home). With a collaborative contact center, agents can reach out to subject matter experts throughout the organization to better serve customers.
Digital platform—With our technology, your customers can reach out on the channel of their choice. Plus, associates, agents, and fulfillment personnel are connected and can coordinate merchandise delivery, exchanges, repairs, and returns. That means increased shopper satisfaction.
Stay up and running with Jamisi Communications
Today, technology allows people to work from anywhere…on any device. But delivering a frictionless shopping experience is not an easy task. It takes the right tools, the right customer service reps, and the right approach (check out these tips and insights on servicing your customers with at-home agents).