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8×8 integrates with Google’s Contact Centre AI

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

8×8 has announced its integration of 8×8 Content Centre with Google Cloud’s new Contact Centre AI

The Google platform combines multiple AI products to improve the customer service experience, as well as the productivity of contact centres.

“Contact Centre AI empowers enterprises to use AI to augment and improve their contact centres,” said Rajen Sheth, Director of Product Management at Google. 

“Google Cloud’s goal is to make the contact centre experience easy and efficient. By partnering with 8×8, we are able to deliver on that goal, as well as allow enterprises to maintain happy customers with faster call resolution. We look forward to our continued partnership with 8×8 to enhance contact centre capabilities as technology and customer expectations evolve.”

8×8 Contact Centreenables organisations to differentiate their customer experience in real-time with advanced analytics, reporting and predictive dialler.

Contact Centre AI (CCAI) allows enterprises with limited machine learning expertise to deploy AI in their contact centres. Key features of 8×8 Contact Centre integration with CCAI include:

  • 8×8 Virtual Agent – using a combination of 8×8 AI technology and Google CCAI, incoming voice calls on simple and routine questions (such as “what time will the repair technician arrive?” or “is part #7542 in stock?”) can be answered with a virtual, automated agent without the need for a live agent. This call deflection technology increases the efficiency of the call centre, often enabling 24/7 support, while reducing costs. For end customers, the 8×8 Virtual Agent improves the customer experience, increasing first call resolution and reducing call wait times
  • The virtual agent can also hand calls to a live agent, and with the Agent Assist feature, automatically supply the agent with articles and knowledge documents based on the conversation. This reduces call length and enhances the customer experience, ensuring customers don’t have to repeat their requests

“Improving efficiency and reducing call times are some of the most common contact centre pain points. Google AI together with 8×8 Contact Centre enables our customers to leverage the latest AI technologies to enhance the overall experience of their end customers,” said Dejan Deklich, Chief Product Officer at 8×8. 

“As a leader in contact centre and unified communications as a service, we are partnering with Google to put resources behind such an advanced solution. Other vendors in our space are focused on chat, not on a unified approach. Google has the expertise and underlying technology and 8×8 brings telephony and contact centre expertise for a perfectly integrated solution.”

8×8 Contact Centre with Google Contact Centre AI integration capabilities are in testing now.

Impact of bad customer service on retailers revealed

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Nearly six in ten (59%) consumers have stopped shopping with a retailer due to poor customer service in store, on the phone, or online.

That’s according to new data by 8×8, which 2,018 UK adults in October, finding that when asked about the bad service they had received, the most common issue consumers cited (78%) was being ‘passed around the houses’ or having to re-explain their problem multiple times to different people in order to get an answer.

The majority have had to speak to three different people on average, with some saying they spoke to 12 different agents for just one query. Nearly half of customers (49%) also said that staff had been rude to them.

Retailers struggling to join up their internal data is also impacting service levels. Over half (51%) of consumers said they are less likely to shop with a retailer if they can’t talk to the online customer service team about in-store purchases, or go into a physical store to ask about online orders.

95% also said that they found it frustrating when agents didn’t have any information about their previous calls or emails.

When asked what they consider the most important elements of good customer service, having queries resolved quickly is the most important factor for retail customers (48%), followed by getting a human response (47%), and  having one person being able to answer their query first time (44%).

David Rowlands, Director, Customer Success, UK & EMEA, 8×8, said: “For UK retailers, every customer counts and in a tough year for the sector, this has never been more important. Yet if customer service isn’t up to scratch, customers are happy to vote with their feet and shop elsewhere.”

8×8’s  research also revealed the UK’s top eight customer service frustrations:

  1. Being put on hold for a long time (86%)
  2. Automated responses or obviously scripted answers (85%)
  3. Customer service teams not having information about their previous calls or emails (83%)
  4. Customer service teams not caring (82%)
  5. Being told to go to a help section or FAQs instead of being helped on a call (77%)
  6. When I call a company for a specific query, but get asked to visit their website instead (76%)
  7. When staff try to sell them a product while they are still trying to get their problem solved (75%)
  8. Not being given rewards for being a loyal customer (64%)

8×8 confirms general availability of X Series

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Cloud comms specialist 8×8 has announced the general availability of its next-gen intelligent enterprise engagement system for customer and employee interactions, X Series.

The solution is now available in the US and UK, with 8×8 asserting that it will help companies deploy a single cloud solution for voice, video conferencing, contact centre, team messaging and collaboration across mobile and desktop devices.

X Series has already gained early adoption across mid-market and enterprise organisations across retail, healthcare, manufacturing, technology and the public sector, including Brent & Lewisham councils (which share services) and the London Government Association (LGA).

Meghan Keough, VP of Product Marketing at 8×8, said: “This is a combined offering. It is the first time on a cloud platform that you can have an integrated voice, video, collaboration and contact centre capability.

“We’re also very proud of the machine learning capability, as well as the integration framework that we have built out. This helps contact centres move away from a ‘I don’t know phenomenon’, to being able to access real-time data that is most relevant to the customer query.”

Prodromos Sarigianis, Head of Digital Services at Brent, Lewisham & Southwark Councils Shared Service, said: “We always strive to deliver high-quality services to residents to make our boroughs the best places in London to live, work and learn, and we could only do that with a robust communications infrastructure.

“8×8’s X Series meets our business needs and will help us not only improve customer experience for residents but also make it easier for staff to work remotely.”

Senior business leaders holding back on adopting new technology…

800 450 Jack Wynn

New research carried out by 8×8 and the Institute of Directors (IoD) has exposed a rift between attitudes of company directors and IT managers when it comes to embracing new technology.

Comparing the views of mid-level ‘hands-on’ IT managers with senior directors across more than 260 UK businesses, the research found 45 per cent of IT managers say their senior business leaders are holding back technology for reasons of ‘self-preservation’, whereby they are reluctant to embrace new techology that will disrupt their own position within their organisations.

In addition, IT managers were found to be far less optimistic than senior directors when asked if their organisation makes full use of the latest technology, with just 34 per cent believing they do, compared with 49 per cent of C-suite respondents.

Kevin Scott-Cowell, UK managing director at 8×8 said: “We frequently hear anecdotal evidence that IT managers face significant opposition from senior leaders when it comes to adopting new technologies such as cloud communications – this research suggests this is something which is widely felt.”

62 per cent of IT managers say UK businesses are too wary when it comes to adopting new technology, such as cloud communications, and only 56 per cent believe senior members invest sufficient resources to stay up-to-date with the latest technology.

An insufficient budget is also a significant factor felt by IT managers when it comes to new technology implementation (35 per cent), compared to just 20 per cent of senior business leaders.

Scott-Cowell added: “Certainly, many senior leaders fear replacing expensive legacy IT systems that they have invested in. Their reluctance to do so in order to preserve the status quo can be damaging to businesses who are losing out on the many benefits to staff productivity and, ultimately, the potential for business growth.”

To read the full report, click here

TDBC to apply 8×8’s cloud-based telephony system…

800 450 Jack Wynn

Taunton Deane Borough Council (TDBC) will introduce cloud-based technology provided by 8×8 from early December in a bid to improve the council’s staff productivity and service offering for its 140,000 local residents.  

The roll-out will give staff members access to advanced telephony features including intelligent call routing for residents to be directed to the most appropriately skilled agent first time. The new cloud system will also improve internal communications, and, as 8×8’s communications systems are based completely in the cloud, TDBC can quickly increase and decrease the number of staff working, based on demand.  

Fiona Kirkham, ICT and information manager at Taunton Deane Borough Council and West Somerset Council said: “We’re always looking at how we can innovate and improve our systems to help residents in Taunton and the surrounding area. It’s important for us to use cutting edge technology to make sure we are as efficient as possible and ensure local residents receive the best possible support. The 8×8 team is really supportive, working quickly and efficiently so that we can meet our very tight launch deadlines.” 

TDBC needed a provider that could quickly replace its existing legacy system to open an additional site in early December, before rolling out to further sites early next year. In addition, 8×8’s full compliance with PCI DSS standards and acquiring accreditation under the UK government’s ‘Cyber Essentials’ scheme gave TDBC the peace of mind that its system was secure. 

One fifth of customers directed through to a business on the first phone call…

800 450 Jack Wynn

As a result of research surveying 2,010 UK-based adults and commissioned by the provider of global Enterprise Communications as a Service (ECaaS), 8×8, the organisation has found that just one in five customer calls are directed to businesses the first time.

Furthermore, even when customers do manage to get through on the first try, 12 per cent has claimed to have started searching online for competitors during the call; rising to 26 per cent of young people aged 25-34.

Managing director of 8×8, Kevin Scott-Cowell, said: “A business only has one chance to make a great first impression and getting off on the wrong foot can destroy the customer relationship for good. That starts by making sure new customer calls are answered first time. With the right technology in place, it can be easy for businesses to make sure calls are routed to a manned phone and appropriately-skilled agent so new customers are never left to competitors.”

Research also concluded with 35 per cent of new customers could not get through to a business on the first try in regards to finding out new information on a product, transacting a purchase or opening an account and an overwhelming 91 per cent have claimed to of had a bad customer service experience over the phone.

Read more on the research here