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Meet the blended call centre

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The risk of using and outsourced contact centre is having agents idle during periods of low demand – resulting in a loss of revenue. The solution however is a bended approach where a company has operators operating in an inbound and outbound approach.

The risk of having an outsourced contact centre is having agents idle during periods of low demand. Every second that employees are sitting around waiting for a customer to get in touch means the loss of revenue. So how does a contact centre address this challenge in order to keep productivity high and maximise on profitability?

“A blended contact centre which operates as both an inbound and outbound contact centre is the answer,” explains Henry McCracken Regional Sales Director for Aspect Software. “This enables the dynamic workflow management so that skilled agents are always either making or receiving calls depending on the requirements at any given moment,” he adds.

In order to achieve this, a blended contact centre strategy needs to understand where opportunities lie for creating time and ensuring that employees are always in the right position at the right times. This is essential in creating a positive customer experience. There needs to be a balance to ensure that when there is a large number of agents making outbound calls that there is not a sudden influx of inbound calls.

“Predictive analytics is a solution that can play a major role in reducing the likelihood of an imbalance. It also helps to recognise when the organisation is expected to be at its busiest and when there will be periods of ‘dead time’ that needs to be filled. It is however important to keep in mind that having an effective blended contact centre goes beyond front-line agents. It is therefore essential that monitoring and planning incorporates back-office functionalities, as this is often where bottlenecks arise impacting performance,” he continues.

Wasted time is a major problem for outsourced contact centres. “Customers become frustrated when their issue is not resolved on the first interaction. This frustration grows when they are passed around to a number of agents until they eventually reach the most appropriate person to assist them. This is equally as frustrating for the contact centre as they need to devote and allocate more resources than necessary to a single call,” he says.

A self-service offering and a strong omni-channel is key in addressing time inefficiency. This is not only beneficial for the contact centre but it also appeals to the growing number of younger customers who are dependent on services such as social media, text and mobile. Encouraging the use of self-service reduces the pressure on contact centre agents, freeing them up for other activities.

Intelligent use of planning and workforce management tools is particularly valuable to outsourcers, as this allows contact centres to offer their clients a wider range of value-added services which in turn improves customer satisfaction and boosts productivity. Blending back office activities with front-line activities ensures that agents gain a good insight into the customer’s circumstances and current situation which helps them to resolve queries effectively and faster.

“Whilst this not only increases customer satisfaction, it also develops staff morale as employees that have the right information are likely to be more confident within their roles. In turn this leads to higher productivity and employees that are able to perform a much wider range of activities which is critical if a blended contact centre strategy is going to be successful,” says McCracken.

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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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