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call centres

Are you ready for the Call Centre & Customer Services Summit?

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It’s now less than a month until the Call Centre & Customer Services Summit, which takes place on April 29th & 30th.

Simply click here to register.

This unique event takes place at the Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted.

The Summit will give you access to innovative and budget-saving suppliers for a series of pre-arranged, face-to-face meetings based on your requirements. You can also attend a series of seminars, and network with like-minded peers.

Plus all hospitality, including meals, overnight accommodation and an invitation to our gala dinner, is included.

But you should register your FREE place now to avoid disappointment.

Or contact Tiffany Cox on 01992 374087 / t.cox@forumevents.co.uk to find out more.

To attend as a supplier, call Gayle Buckland on 01992 374063 or email g.buckland@forumevents.co.uk.

For more information, visit www.callcentresummit.co.uk.

Do you provide Technology Solutions to call centres? We want to hear from you!

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Each month on Call Centres Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the customer care market – and in March we’re focussing on new Technology.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help customer care industry buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re a supplier of tech to call centres and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Gayle Buckland on g.buckland@forumevents.co.uk.

Here are the areas we’ll be covering, month by month:

Mar – Call Centre Technology
Apr – Automated Customer Satisfaction
May – Social Media
Jun – Artificial Intelligence
Jul – Virtual Call/Contact Centres
Aug – Training & Development
Sep – Knowledge Management
Oct – Web Self Service/Chat
Nov – Display Boards
Dec – CRM

For more information on any of the above, contact Gayle Buckland on g.buckland@forumevents.co.uk.

Vodafone Call Centre

Vodafone pledges £2bn customer service investment over next two years

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UK-based communications giant Vodafone has pledged to invest over £2bn in its customer service over the next two years, starting with the announcement of over 2,100 new UK call-centre jobs.

The new roles will be on shored from South Africa, where the company currently uses an agency, and spread across existing Vodafone call centres in Scotland, Wales, Manchester and the Midlands.

The company will continue to use some of its customer service operations overseas, including technical staff in Egypt.

Locations include Stoke-on-Trent, Newark and Cardiff, with nearly half of the new roles sent to the company’s Manchester call centre.

A fine of £4.6m was imposed by Ofcom in October 2016 due to issues with Vodafone’s billing systems in 2015, with Ofcom accusing Vodafone of ‘mis-selling, inaccurate billing and poor complaints handling procedures.”

Cheaper overseas customer service roles have been used traditionally by telecommunications and technology industries, with countries such as India and South Africa benefiting from the work. However, recent wage inflations and the continued frustrations by customers at being routed overseas to discuss issues has motivated more and more companies to on shore customer service departments.

EE claimed to be the first operator to in-source all call centre rolls back in 2014, bringing over 1,000 customer service operator jobs to sites including North Tyneside, Darlington, Plymouth and Merthyr Tydfil.

Parent company, BT, which bought EE for £12.5bn, has also started the process of bringing back jobs from India, with 1,500 call-centre staff being hired across the UK and Ireland.

 www.vodafone.com 

7 ways Generation Z will change the working world

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A new study has revealed a number of key ways that the next generation of workers will affect the landscape in 2017.

Traditionally described as being born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s, ‘Generation Z’ represents the new wave entering the workforce this year.

Communications specialist 8×8 has released a study in which full-time and part-time employed Generation Z, Millennials and Generation X workers were surveyed on their preferences, and here’s a rundown of how Gen Z are presenting a new hope in the workplace.

 

1. Email & Landline Decline

A huge number surveyed saw email as a dying art, and just 5% of Generation Z said they prefer landlines, as the smartphone continues to become the new communication hub. When taking the survey, twice the amount of Gen Z used a smartphone compared to other generations.

2. Embracing the Bot

Almost 70% of all participants in the survey agreed that many current jobs could be replaced with automated services, with even more agreeing that bots will continue to take over jobs in the future.

3. Blur the Lines of Personal and Work

56% of respondents admitted they’d rather use the same tools for their work as well as personal lives, such as phones and laptops.

4. Value Communication

As more and more conversation becomes digital, the value of genuine conversation is growing, with one in four Gen Z preferring talking in person. This is contrary to Millennials (aged around mid-20s to mid-30s), who believe face-to-face communication is becoming less important to business.

5. Smart Workplaces

Across generations, over half believed that connected devices and applications, such as wifi-enabled cars and smart fridges, could have untapped workplace applications, as many believe work environments need to catch up with the constantly evolving leisure landscape.

6. Less Tech Dependent

Generation Z hasmore in common with the older Gen X (aged around 35-50) when it comes to technology in their life, with only around 26-27% owning wearable tech such as smart watches, or wireless appliances. With the generation still being young and many of these applications being fairly expensive, however, it’s yet to be seen if these statistics will change in the years to come.

7. Effectiveness over Efficiency

The majority of Millennials admit to wanting to use the communication tools that save them the most amount of time, such as messaging and chat apps. Gen Z is  the least likely of all generations to embrace informal methods of communication for work, instead admitting they would prefer to use tools that are the most effective for the job, even if doing so takes more time.

If you’d like to learn more, you can read the full study, “Rogue One: How Generation Z is Going to Bring Balance to the (work)Force,”

Top tips for workplace recovery

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Business continuity is critical for building resilience within your company by allowing you to work through a disruption and giving you time to recover.

Most understand the need for business continuity, but it’s often seen as too expensive or time consuming to address, but this doesn’t need to be the case.

IT and recovery specialist DSM has compiled its top tips to avoid disaster:

 

1. Carry out regular risk assessments

Taking steps to eliminate or minimise potential threats is a vital step in the operation of your business.

2. Consider possible scenarios

Planning and analysing threats to determine the impact on your business is a simple and straightforward way to protect yourself.

3. Compile an action plan

Maintaining business as usual makes a huge difference during a crisis, and putting formal contracts in place will enable fast recovery of essential operations

4. Document key business processes

In case of emergencies involving staff either being absence or busy, having basic processes on paper helps maintain the situation. Making sure no critical activities are operated by a single individual will also help.

5. Review supplier resillience

Are your suppliers capable of meeting your Service Level Agreements? A quick review and multiple sources help reduce reliance on any one single supplier.

6. Protect company information

Ensuring it can be accessed and rapidly restored will help during a disaster, but not at the risk of security, which should be a top priority.

7. Regular tests

Proving you can function should you lose a vital service, or even your entire business environment, will help prepare you for a future need for adapting.

8. Get employees involved

Encouraging all employee involvement with preparation and testing helps for staff to buy in to the importance of keeping your business ticking over, as well as providing lifelines if a senior employee is absent.

BLUECREST HEALTH SCREENING TO BOOST CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE USING 8X8

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Bluecrest Health Screening is introducing cloud-based communications technology to improve the service for its customers. Adopting 8×8’s Virtual Contact Centre and Quality Management solutions will give the company’s customer service agents the tools to provide an excellent experience at every stage of an interaction.

A leader in private health screening sessions for signs of illness, Bluecrest Health Screening needs its staff to be fully equipped to deal with customer enquiries effectively and sensitively.

Bluecrest needed one unified platform that lets its staff communicate with customers using their preferred method. 8×8’s Virtual Contact Centre offers staff the ability to respond via phone or email and with space for 30 staff on the system, Bluecrest can easily increase or decrease the numbers of agents based on service demand. As all cases are fully updated in the cloud after every interaction, agents can pick up from one another without needing to ask customers repeated questions.

bluecrest

 

Analytics is key to measuring and improving agent performance; however, the incumbent reporting system needed manual input, which drained managerial time. Now all communications and cases can be tracked from just one place, saving time and ensuring that staff performance is always outstanding.

8×8’s analytics tools are also integral to Bluecrest to be able to track the success of marketing campaigns. Bluecrest uses more than 100 non-geographic numbers as part of direct mail campaigns and the ability to record call volumes and responses has been crucial in evaluating their effectiveness.

Angela Rodbourne, Contact Centre Director at Bluecrest, said: “We’re always looking at how we can improve our customer service using the latest technology. It’s important as a leading provider of healthcare that the level of service we provide in screenings is not only first class but also consistent, which is just as important when our customers reach out to speak to us. Next year, we’re hoping to achieve ISO 9001 to demonstrate our ability to provide excellent services to customers; we’re confident 8×8’s Virtual Contact Centre will help us with this.”

Kevin Scott-Cowell, UK MD of 8×8, said: “It’s important that companies like Bluecrest can rely on their chosen technology to work effectively and improve customer service in a sensitive space. We’re looking forward to working with them to improve service standards and support their bid to achieve  ISO 9001 accreditation.”

 

For more information visit Bluecrest via http://www.bluecrestscreening.com/ and 8×8 at https://www.8×8.co.uk/

5 trends transforming Call Centres in 2017

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The Call Centre industry is “evolving at a very rapid rate”, according to leading industry analyst Peter Ryan. “Whether it is new technologies, alternative points of delivery or taking on the growing multitude of channels needed to communicate with today’s mobile consumer, enterprises need reliability and quality,” he claims, whilst offering his predictions for 2017

 

1 Location and languages spoken will become less important

The rise of automation will see a change in how people interact with call centres. As computers and voice recognition continues to impress, new business models focussing this way will change current opinions and concepts on off-shore and nearshoring.

 

2 Central and Eastern Europe will provide huge UK opportunities

In the post-Brexit world, studies are already showing countries such as Romania and Poland are increasing as top outsourcing destinations, as the countries are building reputations for customer service and financial attractiveness.

 

3 Data Security is more important than ever

As technology becomes the backbone of the industry and payment options become quicker and easier, security has to keep up with the evolving world in order to prevent dangers such as data and identity theft.

 

4 The boom of Apps, Chatbots and Mobile

It is predicted that around 85% of customer interaction will be entirely automated by 2020, and the companies that can more quickly make that switch will be leading the pack.

 

5 The departure from traditional voice

In the world of instant messenger, digital interaction is becoming the communication of choice for younger generations. Call centres will need to open up more channels in order to appeal to as many customers as they can, including emails, live chat and a broader range of social media if they want to stay relevant with an increasingly tech-savvy customer base.

Positivity Pays in 2017

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Almost three quarters of Brits anticipate a more positive 2017 than 2016, which could see an increase in public spending.

A study by the Institute of Customer Service showed customers are 69% more likely to spend if they are surrounded by positivity, which could lead to good news for businesses as 73% expect this year to deliver more good news than 2016.

The last year’s controversial headlines polarising public opinion has left many feeling negative, and the Institute of Customer Service poll revealed companies could increase profits by 30% if customers were engaged in ‘friendly conversation’.

Other factors likely to encourage more consumer interaction and spending were by employees remembering a customer’s name, personalised offers and employees taking longer to understand their needs.

“Consumers are willing to pay a premium for a genuine and authentic experience,” explained Jo Causon, chief executive of Institute of Customer Service, emphasising that while the business world is currently filled with uncertainty, helping understand employees “could pay dividends.”