Home > Columns > CRM Columns

The Future Contact Center Summit Review – Part 1


Presented By: CrmXchange

The Future Contact Center Summit, the year’s first major industry gathering, took place at the Omni Orlando in Champion’s Gate, FL from January 26-30. Focused on the core concepts of Transformation and Collaboration, the five-day conference brought together speakers from leading end user companies, as well as analysts and suppliers. In a series of reports, CRMXchange will present revealing perspectives and insights from a cross-section of the nearly 60 solution providers on the exhibit floor. Our first installment looks at training and agent support.

In Part 1, BrainX, Facilis, and Support.com were interviewed. 

What are the most significant recent developments that enable businesses to better engage customers and consistently provide superior customer experiences?

brainxBruce Lewolt, CEO, BrainX Call center executives may be surprised to learn how far training technology has advanced. Better-trained agents are the fastest way to improve the customer experience. The additional benefit is the direct positive relationship between the quality of training and reducing turnover. In one call center that switched to modern training technology, agents’ monthly sales level were spread over a typical bell curve with a few top performers. Several months after the implementation of better training technology, 93% of the agents were selling more than the top performers previously sold. 

facilisFrancois Bellavance, Vice President of Operations, Facilis As more people use mobile devices for their communication needs, businesses are now developing applications to support these users. Screen share programs used to require specialized downloads or complicated plugins in order to work effectively. Facilis has developed SOSrep which allows organizations to instantly collaborate using screen share, audio or video over the web with no applications to download or update. The tool works on any device (PC, tablet, Smartphone), and can be accessed using any web browser. The product can be easily integrated into a call center, sales environment, or for use among internal employees.

support.comSusan Cohen, Vice President, Partnerships and Alliances, Support.com Many elements of today’s contact center have already been optimized, such as ACD and IVR. But at the most crucial point of the process, much of that intelligence and automation drops away and it’s just the agent and the customer talking. And if the live conversation doesn’t go well, you’re very likely to end up with an unhappy customer. Support Interaction Optimization (SIO), is a recently identified contact center software segment that represents a set of applications and processes that enable tech support organizations to resolve customer support issues in a highly streamlined and efficient manner. SIO solutions ensure high levels of customer satisfaction and agent performance by providing step-by-step guidance to agents, automated technologies and interactive analytics. 

There is still some confusion in the marketplace over the definition of “omni-channel service”. How does your company view it and in what ways are omni-channel approaches reflected in your solution?

Bruce Lewolt, BrainX Regardless of how you define it, the trend must be seen in the context of a larger picture which is of a more informed customer who uses internet research and social media to learn more about their options before engaging with an agent. For sales, this means that the customer is often a long way down the buying process before interacting with your people; Your salespeople need higher knowledge and skill levels. More important, they need Rapid Adaptive Reasoning Ability – the ability to rapidly recall the right knowledge, combine it with the right skillset (sales skill, tone of voice etc.) to respond effectively during a customer encounter. 

Perhaps the biggest obstacle to achieving this level of performance is the fixed mindset executives have about the limited effectiveness of training. This limitation has been reinforced by years of disappointing results from traditional group or one-size-fits-all online training methods. BrainX takes a modern approach that personalizes training to each agent and reinforces learning until each rep reaches the level of mastery required to dramatically improve performance.

Francois Bellavance, Vice President of Operations, Facilis  Organizations nowadays are looking for better ways to deliver information over the same channel as well as across multiple channels. Our SOSrep solution allows a live agent over the phone or a web chat agent to instantly share their computer screen to visually show a product, offer support, have a co-browsing session, or initiate a live videoconference. This can be done without the customer being required to download any software or plug-in; it is a one-click instant collaboration.

Susan Cohen, Support.com Customers now use a variety of methods such as search, web self-service, email, chat or phone to find answers and resolve their issues. Providing a seamless or omni-channel experience across these touch points is important. Currently, the Support.com Nexus solution supports the live agent-customer interaction, and we are evaluating self-service and other capabilities to enable an omni-channel experience in the future.

How can agent performance be monitored and improved in voice interactions as well as on other touch points?

Bruce Lewolt, BrainX It can be a really time-consuming and difficult process if you try to listen to live conversations. At the same time, typical role playing in weekly meetings does not provide the frequency of targeted perfect practice needed to improve performance. The answer is a system that provides each agent with targeted practice for each point of inflection in a typical conversation. This starts at the reps’ current ability level and then ramps up the difficulty over time as the agent builds their skills. The system must prompt the manager on exactly what to listen to and provide coaching suggestions, so that the manager’s time is spent on actual coaching. 

Francois Bellavance, Vice President of Operations,  Facilis Businesses need to ensure their agent activities will produce the proper results. With its built in capture feature, SOSrep enables organizations to examine and analyze previous sessions in order to provide necessary coaching or resolve any issues. This will ultimately improve their customer service and customer experience.

Susan Cohen, Support.com Monitoring agent performance and problem resolution during a call has remained a “black box” and currently requires time-consuming call recordings and other, largely manual means of quality assurance. For best results for the agent and customer, every live interaction should be monitored and measured in real time. This includes each step taken by the agent during issue resolution. With this type of detailed insight, process bottlenecks can be identified and eliminated and new best practices can be implemented quickly, resulting in improved agent consistency, higher customer satisfaction and happier agents.

What specific benefits does your solution provide that differentiates it from other offerings in the marketplace?

Bruce Lewolt, BrainX To create a sustained increase in performance, training must be personalized to each agent. Knowledge and skills are taught together so agents learn to use knowledge in the context of the skills required to effectively deliver that knowledge. Personalized spaced practice must be provided to assist each rep in mastering skills. Finally, training must be proactive in helping line level managers coach each agent. BrainX does all of these things and incorporates the latest research on accelerated learning so that each agent reaches mastery in the shortest period of time. 

BrainX is primarily a platform for delivering a company’s current training in a way that is personalized to each agent and that produces mastery that lasts. This is why we like to say that BrainX “makes training stick.” We also have a library of best practices content on topics like sales skills, verbal delivery skills management and mental toughness. 

Francois Bellavance, Vice President of Operations, Facilis SOSrep is very simple to use and can be integrated easily with any existing corporate system. Since there is no application to download the tool, users can avoid any potential network issues or firewall restrictions, allowing an organization to focus more on their business and less on technical issues. SOSrep is also a tool that can improve the overall sales cycle. With screen sharing a sales person can make a more appealing presentation to a potential customer by demonstrating key features in a live environment.

Susan Cohen, Support.com Current solutions in the market are built to optimize multiple areas of contact center operations (such as infrastructure, ticketing, workforce etc.), but not necessarily the support interaction portion, which has remained a “black box.” Support.com’s Nexus has Guided Paths functionality which brings the right knowledge to the agent at the right time, and integrates agent interaction data, device data and remote processes to provide insights and continually optimize support interactions.

CRMXchange also posed solution-specific inquiries to each of these vendors

(BrainX) How do you tailor your customer service training to meet the needs of individual organizations?

Bruce Lewolt First, our intelligent system builds a learning profile on each learner that includes elements such as the best way to present instruction and the ideal spacing for repeated practice. Then at the start of each course, it gives each agent a robust assessment of their current knowledge and skills related to the topics taught in the course. Finally, it combines the learning profile with the results of the assessment to build a personal course plan for each agent along with a personalized strategy for delivering the training. The result is greater agent engagement, more efficient training and since learned information is reinforced over as many different days as each agent needs to achieve mastery – sustained increases in performance.

(Facilis) How does your screen-sharing solution enable companies to both improve technical support and better train and communicate with their employees?

Francois Bellavance, Vice President of Operations  By instantly sharing their screen, a technical support agent can provide real-time troubleshooting for simple products as well as for large complex systems. The visual benefit minimizes back-and-forth discussion which reduces the length of the call, thus improving customer experience. The solution also allows for remote access, enabling an agent to control an individual`s computer in order to provide assistance. Internal employees can now collaborate instantly on projects without physically being in the office, VPN access is also no longer required. Employees can connect to a web conference session using any device on any web browser. The application can also be quickly mass-deployed across an organization and requires virtually no training to use.

(Support.com) Why is Support Interaction Optimization (SIO) emerging as a high-growth contact center segment and how does your solution provide actionable insight to improve live customer support transactions?

Susan Cohen  Market trends, including IoT, mobile-first adoption and increasing support complexity, are driving the need for robust solutions that provide an integrated approach. As evidenced by the Frost & Sullivan SIO study, there is a clear need and high growth market opportunity. Contact centers care deeply about increasing efficiency and lowering costs, all while improving customer satisfaction, increasing brand loyalty and reducing churn. SIO solutions enable contact centers to deliver value over and above existing solutions. 

Nexus is like GPS navigation for agents, telling them what they need to know, when they need to know it and guiding them step-by-step through the customer interaction. Plus, new best practices can be edited and published live within minutes, and all of this can be done without help from IT.