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Educators must get tech-savvy to talk to students

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Amidst the widespread disruption of tertiary education institutions across the country, contact centres in this sector are being relied on to provide accurate information and valuable support to students, writes JED HEWSON, co-founder and Joint CEO of 1Stream.

Mobile operators, including Telkom, Cell C and MTN, have stepped up to lend their support by zero-rating access to participating university websites to provide easier access to essential course material.

Education institution contact centres should be following this lead and embracing technology to offer the best support and customer experience for students, a generation of tech-savvy and mobile-driven individuals.

Give your customers  what they want

Customer experience management and customer satisfaction are always top of mind for contact centre agents and managers. At the base of this is making sure the customer receives the information they are looking for and in the format they need. For educational institution contact centres, this is no different.

With more than 30 percent of interactions with contact centres now taking the form of email, web self-service, chat and other methods, contact centres have had to adapt to the way in which customers want to engage. What’s more, with the widespread increase in mobile and smartphone use both locally and globally, it’s no surprise that contact centres are being driven to offer more platform options for communication. This is particularly true for the millennial generation who make use of this technology as part of their daily life.

When it comes to the educational sector contact centre, one which can be highly competitive in attracting talent and one which is directly geared towards this generation, catering for these trends is essential. This means making sure the relevant information is easily accessible, queries (whether submitted via phone, email, text or social media) are resolved appropriately and the overall interaction is positive.

A multi-channel contact centre is only the first step 

Implementing an effective multi-channel contact centre is not just about having all these platforms available, though. It requires both close integration of the various systems and platforms in use, as well as comprehensive measurement to assess and improve processes.

The risk of having many channels, is a contact centre not being able to manage and engage effectively across all of them. If agents are not able to manage a particular platform, it can be a wiser choice not to offer it at all – a customer not receiving the service they require can be more detrimental to a brand.

Having identified the customer need for a multi-channel contact centre, the next step is implementing an appropriate system, such as a cloud-based contact centre solution, that enables contact centre agents to respond appropriately.

With a managed, cloud-based contact centre platform it becomes possible to identify if an individual has made contact via two or more different platforms (a scenario that is increasingly common) and what response they might have already received. This information can then guide the response, making sure the most valuable and relevant information is offered.

As far as improving service goes, measurement is a must-have. Effective measurement and comprehensive reporting enables a clear analysis of processes and teams, and allows informed decisions to be made that will enhance the customer experience.

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Welcome to world of 2099

The world of 2099 will be unrecognisable from the world of today, but it can be predicted, says one visionary. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK met him in Singapore.

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Futuristic structures tower over the landscape. Giant, alien-looking trees light up with dazzling colours amid the hundreds of plant species that grow up their trunks. Cosmetic stores sell their wares via public touch-screens, with products delivered instantly in drawers below the screens.

This is not a vision of the future. It is a sample of Singapore today. But it is also an inkling of the world we may all experience in the future.

Singapore was the venue, last week, of the World Cities Summit, where engineers, politicians, investors and visionaries rubbed shoulders as they talked about the strategies and policies that would enhance urban living in the future.

As part of the Summit, global payment technologies leader Mastercard hosted a small media briefing by one of Singapore’s leading thinkers about the future, Dr Damian Tan, managing director of Vickers Venture Partners. The company’s slogan “We invest in the extraordinary,” offers a small clue to Tan’s perspective.

“We look as far forward as 2099 because, as a venture capital firm, we invest in the long term,” he tells a group of journalists from Africa and the Middle East. “Companies explode in growth because there is value in the future. If there is no growth, they won’t explode.”

The big question that the Smart Cities Summit and Mastercard are trying to help answer is, what will cities look like in the year 2099? Tan can’t give an exact answer, but he offers a framework that helps one approach the question.

“If you want to look at 81 years into the future, and understand the change that will come, you need to double that amount and look into the past. That takes us to 1856. The difference between then and now is the difference you can expect between now and 2099.”

Click here or on the page link below to read on: Page 2: Soldiers and Health in 2099.

  •    Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube

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Street art goes electric

Kaspersky Lab and British street artist D*Face have unveiled the first-ever “art helmet” design at the Formula E finale for electric cars in New York.

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The ‘Save The World’ helmets will be raced by DS Virgin Racing’s drivers, Sam Bird and Alex Lynn, as they traverse the New York street circuit during the final races of the Formula E season.

The announcement signals the first art helmet by a Formula E team, continuing the heritage of art in motorsport and the cybersecurity brand’s commitment to contemporary art, creativity and innovation. D*Face took inspiration from Kaspersky Lab’s tagline, “A Company To Save The World”, and hopes that his colourful work will inspire people to take positive action.

D*Face will announce his first-ever art car design with a custom-made livery for the DS Virgin Racing Team. Its design will be released at the “Art Goes Green” event after Saturday’s race. The helmets and art car are the latest installations in the “Save the World” collection, following a major permanent public mural that was installed in Brooklyn, New York, in May.

D*Face, whose real name is Dean Stockton, said: “It is exciting to work with Kaspersky Lab on this project and create art with a real message of hope for a better future. After all, this is our world and we need to look after it. It will take every one of us to make a real lasting, impactful change. I love the mentality of the DS Virgin Racing Team and that of Formula E by showcasing sport in a way that doesn’t harm the environment, but is still just as exhilarating and fun.

“It is time for us all to stand together and make a change… be that stopping data steals, climate change, plastic waste or using damaging fuels. I want everyone to make a pledge to do one thing that will help make a change.”

As a sponsor of DS Virgin Racing Team, Kaspersky Lab is responsible for protecting the team’s devices against cyber threats. The company sees the technical environment in the global sport of Formula E as the next frontier in furthering its research and development of new technologies to keep vehicles secure in the digital world.

Sylvain Filippi, Managing Director at DS Virgin Racing, said: “The whole team fully supports this great initiative and our thanks got to Kaspersky and D*Face for their collaboration. It’s an honour to have such an innovative artist bring his talents to bear in our team ahead of the season-finale; the car, drivers’ crash helmets and mural all look amazing.”

Aldo Fucelli Pessot del Bo, Head of Global Partnerships and Sponsorships at Kaspersky Lab added: “There is a need for innovation on a global scale, both in contemporary art and in the fast-growing sport of Formula E. Now, for the first time ever, Kaspersky Lab is proudly bringing together the two sectors in an effort to Save the World and unleash creativity, encourage freedom of expression and further innovation.”

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