Work from Anywhere is the New Normal – Is your Contact Centre Prepared?

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As a second wave of the pandemic becomes more of a reality in many countries, organisations have rushed to working from home, and are now evaluating what to do about their workforce. But in the long-term – with uncertainty over when staff can return to the office, and how long that might last – the new reality is that contact centre leaders and their staff require the flexibility to #WorkFromAnywhere without compromising productivity or security. Meanwhile, the need to deliver consistently excellent customer experience in order for organisations to stay competitive remains.

The industry has also seen disruption caused by the offshore activities serving contact centres in the ANZ region. This exacerbated the number of inbound enquiries that could not be attended to – and many contact centres are still battling this issue. This disruption has created a rise in onshore activity, driving the employment of freelance or part-time agents.

With agents working from anywhere, many factors must be considered to drive agent engagement and customer experience.

Dave, along with Chris Main, Solutions Sales Consultant from NICE, will be in discussion with Audrey William, Principal Advisor, Ecosystm as they discuss trends and strategies for contact centres navigating in the new normal in ANZ.

Trends that will be discussed in the webinar include:

  • The current state of the Contact Centre Industry in the New Normal
  • The acceleration of Cloud contact Centre adoption
  • Managing Security and Compliance in a Work from Anywhere world
  • Enabling Effective Training and Coaching through Analytics
  • Making sure that contact centres build more self-service and digital capabilities
  • How contact centres are keeping agents motivated and engaged, especially for remote agents







How contact centres are delivering best in class CX in these times

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In the current economic climate, most contact centres are facing much higher call volumes. At the same time inhouse agents have been forced to work from home, and overseas contact centre providers may not be able to provide their services due to local lockdown rules.

As a result, contact centres have been finding it hard to cope with the huge inflow of customer enquiries, and calls are taking longer than expected to be answered. The long wait times have led to contact centres offering a variety of different solutions to reduce the inbound load to their contact centres.

Ecosystm’s research finds that prior to COVID-19 nearly half of organisations in Australia allowed 10-20% of the agents to work remotely. That number has now grown exponentially in the past few weeks and most contact centres in Australia have moved their agents to the home.

With most contact centre agents working from home due to COVID-19, contact centres have a lot to do to make sure that operations are running smoothly. Against this backdrop, Ecosystm and NICE would like to invite you to a Virtual Roundtable on the 11th of June.

This Live Virtual Roundtable will be hosted by Ecosystm Principal Advisor Audrey William, and include Rod Lester (Managing Director, NICE ANZ) and Cameron Adams (Solution Consulting Director, NICE ANZ) who will share real world experiences based on customer interactions over the last few weeks & months.




VendorSphere: NICE Interactions – Key Takeaways

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I was a guest last week at the NICE Interactions Summit in Sydney and it was great to hear from executives from NICE talk about the journey the company is taking their customers on. Australia and New Zealand are witnessing good adoption of cloud contact centres and many organisations (as covered in some of previous blogs) are at the inflection point of investing in a cloud contact centre, machine learning, customer journey mapping and predictive analytics technologies to drive greater customer experience (CX).  Across Asia Pacific and in the ASEAN region, more organisations are at the verge of embarking on transformational CX projects to help them raise the bar on CX in a highly competitive environment. We can expect the adoption of cloud contact centres to grow rapidly in the next few years across the Asia Pacific region as companies move from expensive and traditional legacy environments to agile platforms.

Investing in Analytics and Cloud

Darren Rushworth, NICE’s Managing Director APAC, talked about how NICE has moved from being an infrastructure player to become an analytics company and talked about the acquisitions that are helping them alleviate their game in CX. Key acquisitions since 2016 have been instrumental to shaping their offerings and these include Nexidia, an Interaction Analytics software company and InContact, a cloud contact centre vendor. In 2019 NICE acquired Brand Embassy, whose technology brings to CXone a full range of integrated channels, enabling any digital channel to be integrated into customer service operations. In a Mobile First economy where customers want the applications of their choice, allowing customers to use the social media or messaging application of their choice in their contact centre interactions, will be critical. The Brand Embassy platform supports more than 30 channels and these include Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Apple Business Chat, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, SMS, email, and live chat.  This is an important acquisition and not many contact centres have addressed the issue of allowing multiple forms of messaging to be used when customers want to communicate an issue or get answer to a query. Customers are gravitating towards social media platforms and messaging apps for daily communication and being able to integrate those channels to the contact centre is important.

The Move to the Cloud with NICEinContact

It was interesting to hear  Tracy Duthie, Head of Service Development at 2degrees Mobile talk about why they deployed a NICEinContact solution. She talked about 2degrees having too many legacy systems that were not all integrated. The problems with not having the systems integrated drove the team to think hard about embarking on a journey with NICE. The objective was to grow their market share and to drive greater contact centre efficiency. She mentioned that 2degrees were keen on a SaaS option and it was not just about replacing the legacy solution. The move to the cloud as many organisations are starting to tell me, is to drive transformation and further innovation including deploying agile methodologies to deliver great CX. Also because this was a cloud deployment, they invested heavily in the network. This is an important aspect for an organisation when embarking on a cloud journey especially for mission critical applications such as voice, video and collaboration applications where latency and jitter can spoil the experience. Many times, I have heard customers blame the vendor for the technology. For cloud voice, video and other contact centre applications to work well in real time, the investment in the network must not be compromised especially when working on a tight budget. When this aspect is ignored, the problems  discussed early are bound to arise.  She also highlighted how important it was to eventually get the agents on board the new deployment and they adopted an open culture of allowing the agents to provide feedback and an open dialogue was initiated. As this was a big change from when they were running the contact centre in a  traditional environment, the change management aspect was critical for the agents.

Compliance is something that has to be adhered to seriously

Efrat Kanner-Nissimov from NICE presented on driving a proactive compliance culture. This is a highly talked about area in the contact centre, given the  increase in legislation around privacy and all countries having strict legislation around customer data and data privacy. Contact centres store sensitive customer information and knowing when to dispose off that data or for how long the data can be kept is an aspect that cannot be ignored. With what the banks have been through in Australia in recent times with the Royal Commission, serious questions around compliance and how compliant the agents are cannot be ignored. Ecosystm research finds that several organisations fail to identify what could be sensitive information. The journey towards a compliant environment starts with data classification, long before security roadmaps and solution implementations.

There is a greater emphasis on compliance and whilst many contact centres will claim that they have the processes in place, some of these have not been looked at for years. Compliance impacts the IT Manager, the agents, the Supervisor and ultimately the business. An automated compliance solution will help detect violations, prevent errors and allow for better visibility across different systems.  She presented how Macy’s claims to have reduced their infrastructure and storage costs by 40%, through automating and deleting interactions that were no longer required. This helped lower IT costs and reduced time on audits.  With the emphasis today on data privacy, data storage, data deletion and being compliant when you talk to your customers,  the CX agents have a critical role to play in ensuring compliance.

Ecosystm comment:

Organisations across the Asia Pacific region are re-inventing how they look at CX as mentioned in my previous blogs. Banks, airlines, retailers, telcos and organisations from other verticals are investing in projects to drive transformation in CX. Applying deep analytics along every step of a customer’s journey will help the contact centre and the wider organisation better serve customers. The traditional methods of just looking at inbound and outbound interactions and setting KPIs for that, are no longer enough to drive this new vision. Machine learning, customer journey mapping and analytics, as well as shifting to the cloud is needed to drive transformation and agile ways of running  CX.  The Brand Embassy acquisition is an important one for NICE given one of the challenges not addressed by contact centres is integrating the various social and messaging applications and making them available to customers as a way to interact with the brand. This is an area contact centres have been looking to resolve.

In a highly competitive CX market where CRM, analytics, cloud and machine learning technologies are important aspects of a CX journey, NICE is investing in these areas to further strengthen their cloud contact centre value proposition. Compliance as highlighted earlier cannot be ignored and it is an area contact centres will be looking to invest in due to the multiple strict regulations underway across the Asia Pacific region surrounding how customers data is treated.