CCW Gets 2019 off to a Rousing Start in Nashville
Like the ever-evolving industry it serves, the event
originally known as ‘Call Center Week’ has been through a lot of changes over
its 20-year history. Outsourcing that sent many customer care jobs overseas,
then a movement toward work-at-home agents that is shifting the balance back.
The ongoing shift from on-premise technology to cloud hosting and SaaS
platforms. How to seamlessly serve customers across the broad spectrum of
channels they choose. Better integration between CRM and contact center
solutions. Integrating automation, AI and machine learning while maintaining
the human touch.
Last year, the events were rebranded as “Customer Contact
Week.” as the year-long 20th anniversary celebration kicked off for 2019, the multi-event
series is now primarily referred to simply as CCW, with Customer Contact Week alongside
as a tagline. The organizer IQPC, a multinational producer of professional
conferences and expositions in a variety of fields, is also the company behind
the flagship event in Las Vegas in June and CCW Austin in October. There are
also CCW events scheduled in Australia and Asia. IQPC’s internal group, Customer
Management Practice, oversees the content and staging of all these conferences
CCW took place at the JW Marriott in Nashville, TN from
January 15-18, 2019, attended by professionals representing a broad spectrum of
organizations of all sizes and business categories. It got off to a rollicking
start with an offsite welcome reception at Ole Red featuring a line-up of top
country music performers. The 20th anniversary keynote “Design and Deliver
Happiness for Employees and Customers,” was presented by Jenny Lim, Chief
Happiness Officer of Delivering Happiness, a firm she co-founded with
Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh. The Engagement Keynote: “How to Build Passion,
Purpose, and Power in Yourself, Your People, and Your Brand” was delivered by Carla
Moore - VP of Sales Strategy, HBO. There were conference tracks on People,
Process, Technology as well as Executive Club and CCW University sessions
The Expo Hall was open the same days as the main Conference,
featuring more than 50 suppliers covering a variety of solution areas. CRMXchange
had conversations with selected vendors to discuss their specific applications.
PLEASE CLICK EACH LOGO BELOW TO READ MORE ABOUT THEIR APPLICATIONS
to its website, the company—originally known as Freshdesk—was conceived in 2010
in the wake of a negative customer experience precipitated by a broken TV.
Within months, it was up, running and attracting clients. It also swiftly
raised several rounds of funding for its ticketing/customer support software.
Since that time, its customer base has been on a steep upward trajectory and
its offerings have broadened to include an IT service desk, a video chat and
co-browsing platform, mobile engagement, a sales CRM, live chat and more. In
2017, Freshdesk rebranded itself as Freshworks. Alan Berkson, Global Director of
Community Outreach/Analyst Relations at Freshworks, gave us an overview of the
In the 18 months since you updated your corporate identity to
Freshworks, what significant changes, have been made in both product and
It’s been more than a year since we changed our corporate
identity, and one of the first changes we’ve had to make has been internal
rather than with external branding. To move from having our flagship product
also being the name of our company, to a house of brands under the Freshworks
masthead, has required that the organization change from the ground up.
In terms of product, the change in identity has also meant a
change in strategy for us. With the business landscape changing, and
organizations wanting to simplify the software they use, as well as gain more
from the advantages that accrue from having that kind of a system, Freshworks
is transitioning into a platform. With 360-degree offerings that incorporate
software bundles for Sales, Support, and Marketing, along with new AI/ML
technology that enhances products with context, Freshworks is transforming from
a product company to a platform that provides 360-degree solutions for
organizations of any size.
What do businesses need to do to improve in-context collaboration that
helps drives greater customer engagement in omnichannel interactions?
Business simply need to provide customers with a better
customer experience. The challenge is the definition of a better customer
experience has changed dramatically over the last few years. Customers don’t
want to be repeating their details five different times to five different
customer support people, and then have that followed up with a call from a
sales rep asking them to upgrade their plan or perhaps sell them an add-on.
Sales and support agents need to be able to collaborate better to make sure
that the customer in question is not annoyed by repeated requests or
context-less conversations. Business need the level of context they have for
all customer interactions and collaborate better to deliver better experiences.
How does your Freshcaller software enable organizations to set up an
effective cloud-based call center more quickly, easily and inexpensively than
Freshcaller is a modern-day reimagining of our everyday
phone system for customer support, sales, IT, and HR teams. With Freshcaller’s
cloud-based architecture, it brings together the best of legacy features like
IVR and advanced capabilities like Smart Escalations, Custom Call Center
Analytics to help you set up a state-of-the-art business call center.
With traditional on-premise phone systems, a business needs
to spend thousands of dollars on basic setup even before a single call is made.
Freshcaller comes with zero setup charges and a feature-driven, pay as you grow
pricing plan. A company can start its call center in minutes using Freshcaller
with nothing but a web browser.
Freshcaller is a globally distributed solution unaffected by
local outages without a single point of failure. It offers phone numbers in 90+
countries, requires zero phone hardware, and is extremely easy to use.
What new directions do you see Freshworks going in over the next
Freshworks aspires to be the leading customer engagement
company in the world, enabling organizations to provide great customer
experiences for their customers. As we work to bring in more visibility for
organizations to serve their customers better, AI and ML will also play their
parts in our evolution. With more automation kicking in to help organizations
achieve their goals, Freshworks will evolve from a product company to a
platform that provides 360-degree solutions for enterprises.
living paycheck to paycheck often must pay a cost--a “Fin-Tax” if you will-- to
access their own money when needed between paychecks. And let’s not forget the equally
damaging emotional cost driven by the financial stresses they experience. PayActiv--
which claims it invented real-time access to earned wages—has eliminated
timing-related fees and penalties for over 650K employees. By removing costly fees millions of times
over, reducing worker stress and helping to increase employee retention by up
to 30%, PayActiv has created a comprehensive financial wellness platform that
benefits employees in numerous ways. Beyond simply providing access to wages,
PayActiv also offers bill paying, savings programs, discounts and even
financial counseling. Sabina Bhatia, VP
Strategic Alliances for PayActiv, offered added insight.
In what ways does giving your employees timely access to the wages
they’ve earned help diminish churn and improve productivity?
Financial stress leads to lower productivity, job loss, and
poor health. Timely access to earned but unpaid wages enables people to plan,
use, and save money while avoiding late fees, overdrafts, and expensive loans.
PayActiv helps people regain control of their financial lives freeing them to
concentrate on the job at hand.
What factors make using PayActiv a particularly attractive option for
the contact center market?
Contact center businesses employ a large percentage of
workers who are living paycheck to paycheck resulting in high financial stress
between paychecks. Our friendly app comes with an unmatched ecosystem financial
services for employees:
How does creating a financial wellness program result in cost savings
- Instant access to earned wages – even on nights, weekends
- Cash pickup with Direct2Cash at any Walmart store
- Electronic bill
pay directly from the appVISA debit card – use at ATMs, stores, and online
rides using Earned Wage Access even without a card or bank account
- Budgeting and
- Financial counseling and financial literacy resources
According to 2018 study by Mercer, employees spend 10-20
hours a month worrying about money. Absenteeism, lost productivity and
stress-related health issues result in increased expenses and high turnover
rates for business. By implementing a holistic financial wellness program that
includes earned wages access, bill pay, budgeting and savings features, and
financial literacy resources, businesses experience significant cost savings
through increased employee engagement and improved retention by 30%
What differentiates your solution from the other offerings in the
- Our friendly app comes with an unmatched ecosystem of
- Employees don’t have to change or even have a bank account. Employers
don’t have to provide employee banking information.
- PayActiv adds no cost to the
business and requires no change in the payroll process
- PayActiv is fully
integrated marketplace partner of ADP and others
- PayActiv is in all 50 states,
implemented in businesses of all sizes, including Walmart - the world’s largest
SingleComm is a
contact center technology solution provider whose team utilizes the latest
development tools to create intuitive solutions that enhance a business’s
inbound and outbound multichannel customer engagement initiatives for its
customers. Its blended platform offers Dynamic Script Building, a powerful
analytics platform, advanced reporting capabilities, WebRTC technology, and
more. Ross Krisel, EVP Sales and Marketing, elaborated on the solution’s
How does your blended contact center solution enable companies to optimize
employee performance while providing superior engaging customers across a
variety of channels?
Our omni-channel communications platform enables our clients
to communicate seamlessly across channels in real-time with their customers
while also guiding the interactions to ensure the best outcomes. By utilizing
WebRTC, we can efficiently switch from chat to voice to email in real-time.
Agents using our solution can handle the most important or profitable task at
any time – whether it be an inbound call, an outbound call, one or more chats,
etc. We distribute these communications
using a routing system that is able to prioritize calls, chats or emails based
on different criteria (such as the profitability or importance of each
interaction) based on each agent’s skills and performance. The result is that
agents are utilized more efficiently and they are also engaged with the
communications that are best suited to their skills. Our proprietary CX Create
tool allows our clients to create bespoke desktops which dynamically change
through the journey with the customer. In a sales situation, this typically
creates a quicker sale and higher average order. For service interactions, this typically
results in a quicker resolution as well as additional add-on sales
opportunities which increase lifetime value.
In what ways does employing advanced WebRTC and web technologies allow
both agents and supervisors to more effectively monitor interactions?
WebRTC allows us to make super-quick connections and as such,
all interactions are tracked in true “real-time.” Gone are the days of a
several second delay in reporting. Our
clients are now able to view all interactions across media channels in one
simple-to-use dashboard. This allows them to ensure all agents are productive
and most importantly, that all customer needs are being met in real-time. Our
use of WebRTC allows any supervisor or other user with appropriate permissions
to monitor or assist in calls or other interactions using any device that has a
suitable browser and Internet connection.
In addition; our platform uses WebRTC to seamlessly switch between
voice, chat, email, etc. hence there is no need to have agents log in and out
of different tools to handles specific types of communication.
What are the advantages of disseminating information through Real-Time
Dashboards and Historical Reports?
Real-time dashboards are critical for the modern contact
center. The modern contact center needs to adapt to their customers and support
different modes of communication (such as email, Web chat, Facebook messenger,
etc.). This creates a reporting
nightmare for contact centers that don’t use a unified platform such as the one
provided by SingleComm. Our integrated
Real-time dashboards enable our clients to see all demand across all types of
communications and adjust staffing accordingly to prove the highest level of
service. Likewise, historical reporting helps our clients evaluate how their
agents performed over a period of time which is useful for ongoing education
and iterating on performance.
What differentiates your solution from other contact center platforms
available in the market?
Our solution was built 100% in the cloud from day one and
has been exclusively WebRTC from the beginning.
Many of the platforms we compete against have evolved over time and have
some design limitations which make the experience less than ideal for both the
contact center and the customer.
SpeechIQ is an
AI-Driven speech analytics and Quality Assurance platform that believes its
ease of use and cost-efficiency makes it an ideal cloud-based solution to drive
agent productivity, operations efficiency and improved customer engagement. It
offers Automated Scorecards to make it easier to monitor agent performance,
enabling companies to score every call. The solution also allows companies to
apply filters to call data and quickly target keywords or phrases to target or
flag important calls. Sentiment analytics, using the power of IBM Watson, gives
companies the capability to assign a sentiment score on each call for customers
and employees. Nick Bandy, Managing Partner at SpeechIQ, took a deeper dive
into what sets the company apart.
Can you outline the three steps you believe that companies need to take
to gain actionable performance insight?
I’m a big believer in the “if you can’t measure it, you
can’t improve it” mentality. The key is to make certain that you’re measuring
truly meaningful data points that-- if improved--can have a substantial
positive impact on operations and/or the customer experience. With that in
Identify meaningful KPIs – This will likely include things
like Hold Times, Abandonment Rates, and AHT, but can be enhanced with elements
such as Talk-over time, Silence Time, Use of Key Sales/Compliance/Service words
and phrases, average sales/collections per call, and more.
Consistent Measurement and Communication – Choose the proper
measurement cadence (daily, weekly, etc.) and look for meaningful trends and
opportunities. I believe the companies that are most successful using KPIs to
improve are the ones that communicate results consistently to every level of
Constructive Improvement – It’s not enough to communicate
results relative to what is expected. The key is to provide meaningful, helpful
tools and training to pave the path for improvement.
Why is it important for businesses to be able to get customized daily
notifications on agent performance and create flexible scorecards to measure
Agents have varying strengths and weaknesses, especially as
they address diverse customer needs and opportunities. The ability to receive
daily notifications and have customizable scorecards enables managers to keep a
pulse on the best way to optimize their workforce.
How does employing sentiment analysis help to provide a clearer picture
of agent performance?
While all other metrics (AHT, silence time, talk-over time,
etc.) may seem normal and in “the range,” sentiment analysis can give you a
deeper look at how your agent is interacting with your customer.
What differentiates your solution from other call review/performance
optimization solutions available on the market?
I think the primary points of differentiation are that we
offer a very robust speech analytics and quality management combined, we have
an exceptionally easy user interface, and a very granular and accurate call
driver/disposition capability. I also think our company culture is such that
we’re more nimble and agile in addressing customer needs.
Teckst offers a
comprehensive messaging solution that enables enterprise businesses to receive,
send and track customer messages from their CRM or customer service platform.
The platform allows real time, human-to-human communication between brands and
their customers. Teckst imports messages from multiple channels into a single
view so customers can use their preferred messaging app to contact a company.
Agents can respond quickly without the need to interrupt their current
workflows. The solution also allows organizations to gather business
intelligence by capturing what their customers are asking for and seeing where
they are in their journeys. It’s easy to set up and implement, simple to
onboard and train agents on using and launch with the buy-in of all
stakeholders. Kenneth Watson, Vice President Sales and Partnerships at Teckst,
Inc. provided more details.
Why is it important for companies to be able to link their CRM with a messaging solution, allowing agents to respond directly to SMS and other messaging applications?
The consumer’s personal experience with SMS and other messaging channels (FB Messenger, Whatsapp, WeChat etc) have reset their expectations for customer service. It is no longer acceptable to say “we will not respond to you there” or “we will not answer you now”. Amazon, Uber, Tesla, and others innovative marketers have demonstrated that investing in full-press engagement with customers pays hefty dividends in fostering customer loyalty and creating revenue opportunities. Accordingly, enterprises have realized that there is great value in using SMS and the new messaging channels to engage and service their customers. Capturing all of these conversations and data in the enterprises’ system of record (usually a CRM) is crucial to provide context and insure effective and substantive responses for your customer.
How can using call-to-text save companies money by deflecting calls that would otherwise need to be handled in the contact center?
On average, there is a 39% cost savings when an enterprise
is able to deflect a voice customer service call and pass it through to an
agent using a messaging channel. When messaging is deployed, an agent is able
to handle more than one inquiry at a time.
Additionally, the agent can forward information to the consumer via email
or text collateral that can address or solve the inquiry involved. We are also
seeing our clients using the content of the conversations they capture to
create more effective prophylactic tools such as better FAQ’s or product
A few years ago, your founder, Matt Tumbleson, predicted
that there would be a tipping point that would turn b-to-b messaging into the
predominant method of customer communications: do you believe that has happened
yet and if so, can you point to examples
Matt correctly anticipated that messaging would emerge as an
important channel for customer communication.
While the overall tipping point is still ahead of us, some of the most
millennial-focused brands are already funneling the majority of their customer
inquiries through a messaging channel. Brands such as Disney, Pepsi, Lyft,
Casper, Jet, Amazon and more traditional retailers and service providers are
prominently displaying links to their SMS, Facebook, Whatsapp, and WeChat
channels. We expect that contact centers will be devoting more resources to
training teams for messaging and this will help accelerate adoption.,
What differentiates your solution from other messaging platforms
available in the market?
Our total focus is on optimizing the experience between the
Agent and the Consumer. While we believe
the native CRM software is best for maintaining the enterprises’ system of
record, a platform devoted to the messaging channels offers great enhanced value.
At Teckst, our offering includes procuring secure access to the SMS and OTT
channels and then seamlessly integrating with Salesforce, Zendesk, Dynamics,
SAP, Oracle, Freshdesk and others. We do not believe that agents should have to
learn a new system or feature set. By piggybacking on the existing
infrastructure, we can provide the most effective and scalable solution at an
offers help desk software that makes it
possible for businesses of all sizes to better support their customers. In
addition, they can gain valuable insights, empowering informed, data-driven
decisions. Companies can set up their help desks in minutes by choosing a
template, customizing it to suit their brand, add articles and click publish.
The knowledge base software lets businesses easily create and manage FAQs,
step-by-step guides and more. Whatever way customers get in touch— whether by email,
phone or social media, organizations can manage, track and prioritize support
tickets. Naomi Rozenfeld, Head of Strategic Marketing for Wix Answers filled in
some of the blanks.
Why is it important for help desk software to be integrated with a
robust knowledge base?
This is exactly where our journey with Wix Answers started
because years ago we were looking for a beautiful and integrated help center
that had content as an integral part of the help desk solution and we couldn’t
It is important to provide a robust knowledge base so that
customers can easily help themselves. Many customers will have simple questions
- shipping prices, return policy, hours - and will want to be able to find the
answers quickly with a simple search.
Integration is important to best utilize the strong
analytics backend provided by Wix Answers. By linking articles, feature
requests and known-issues directly from a ticket, agents are able to give users
better answers, provide more efficient support. The data allows a business to
see which articles are helping users and which are leading them to contact it.
Knowing which responses prompt further calls and understanding common search
terms that require more in-depth articles, will help to improve the overall
knowledge base and improve customer satisfaction.
In what ways does your solution enable companies to easily manage,
track and prioritize support tickets from multiple channels?
Our approach is very simple - no matter how a user gets in
touch, every single communication is part of one singular conversation and timeline.
Here’s an example - let’s say a user is looking in the help center for an
article but can’t find it, so they start a live chat with an agent, that agent
then asks the user if they want to talk on the phone, the user agrees, so the
agent calls, and then sends an email with all the information. If a ticket
needs to be assigned to a new support team or have a higher priority, that is
easy to mark and the correct people will be notified.
This entire correspondence is in one single ticket for the
agent. And the user gets a unified experience. The agent can always access the
timeline history, see what the user read in the Help Center - and all of this
helps businesses give more personalized support that is also more efficient. If
the customer changes communication channels, the correspondence is still
reflected in a single timeline.
How does the built-in call center software in your platform provide a
big-picture view not only of all inbound and outbound activity, but wait times,
what customers are calling about and speed of resolution?
Wix Answers is very data-driven, and it also provides an
analytics dashboard that we call “top issues” that gives you a high-level view
of the user’s pain points, what users are asking, and lets you see where you
can improve your product. Inherent in Wix Answers is a strong analytics backend
that gives a total view of the whole platform. The data includes call center
activity that has real-time analytics and all the information a company need to
manage its teams, queues, and all lines. This enables customer service
executives to get a full picture of where there may be gaps in information,
more clarity in content, or simply more resources.
What differentiates your solution from others available in the market?
Wix Answers is a DIY platform and does not require a
developer to set up. A business owner or customer support manager can
intuitively set the design and content of the platform to match their brand,
set up a call center, and immediately begin better serving their customers
across multiple channels. The close integration of the knowledge base,
ticketing system and call center inside Answers makes it much easier to manage
than using multiple vendors would be. Related to the integration, the powerful
insights that come from the analytics platform allows businesses to work more