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Meet the blended call centre

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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Veeam passes $1bn, prepares for cloud’s ‘Act II’

The leader in cloud data management reveals how it will harness the next growth phase of the data revolution, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

Veeam Software, the quiet leader in backup solutions for cloud data management,has announced that it has passed $1-billion in revenues, and is preparing for the next phase of sustained growth in the sector.

Now, it is unveiling what it calls Act II, following five years of rapid growth through modernisation of the data centre. At the VeeamON 2019conferencein Miami this week, company co-founder Ratmir Timashev declared that the opportunities in this new era, focused on managing data for the hybrid cloud, would drive the next phase of growth.

“Veeam created the VMware backup market and has dominated it as the leader for the last decade,” said Timashev, who is also executive vice president for sales and marketing at the organisation. “This was Veeam’s Act I and I am delighted that we have surpassed the $1 billion mark; in 2013 I predicted we’d achieve this in less than six years. 

“However, the market is now changing. Backup is still critical, but customers are now building hybrid clouds with AWS, Azure, IBM and Google, and they need more than just backup. To succeed in this changing environment, Veeam has had to adapt. Veeam, with its 60,000-plus channel and service provider partners and the broadest ecosystem of technology partners, including Cisco, HPE, NetApp, Nutanix and Pure Storage, is best positioned to dominate the new cloud data management in our Act II.”

Veeam has been the leading provider of backup, recovery and replication solutions for more than a decade, and is growing rapidly at a time when other players in the backup market are struggling to innovate on demand.

“Backup is not sexy and they made a pretty successful company out of something that others seem to be screwing up,” said Roy Illsley, Distinguished Analyst at Ovum, speaking in Miami after the VeeamOn conference. “Others have not invested much in new products and they don’t solve key challenges that most organisations want solved. Theyre resting on their laurels and are stuck in the physical world of backup instead of embracing the cloud.”

Illsley readily buys into the Veeam tagline. “It just works”. 

“They are very good at marketing but are also a good engineering comany that does produce the goods. Their big strength, that it just works, is a reliable feature they have built into their product portfolio.”

Veeam said in statement from the event that, while it had initially focused on server virtualisation for VMware environments, in recent years it had expanded this core offering. It was now delivering integration with multiple hypervisors, physical servers and endpoints, along with public and software-as-a-service workloads, while partnering with leading cloud, storage, server, hyperconverged (HCI) and application vendors.

This week, it  announced a new “with Veeam”program, which brings in enterprise storage and hyperconverged (HCI) vendors to provide customers with comprehensive secondary storage solutions that combine Veeam software with industry-leading infrastructure systems. Companies like ExaGrid and Nutanix have already announced partnerships.

Timashev said: “From day one, we have focused on partnerships to deliver customer value. Working with our storage and cloud partners, we are delivering choice, flexibility and value to customers of all sizes.”

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‘Energy scavenging’ gets funding

As the drive towards a 5G future gathers momentum, the University of Surrey’s research into technology that could power countless internet enabled devices – including those needed for autonomous cars – has won over £1M from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and industry partners.

Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) has been working on triboelectric nanogenerators (TENG), an energy harvesting technology capable of ‘scavenging’ energy from movements such as human motion, machine vibration, wind and vehicle movements to power small electronic components. 

TENG energy harvesting is based on a combination of electrostatic charging and electrostatic induction, providing high output, peak efficiency and low-cost solutions for small scale electronic devices. It’s thought such devices will be vital for the smart sensors needed to enable driverless cars to work safely, wearable electronics, health sensors in ‘smart hospitals’ and robotics in ‘smart factories.’ 

The ATI will be partnered on this development project with the Georgia Institute of Technology, QinetiQ, MAS Holdings, National Physical Laboratory, Soochow University and Jaguar Land Rover. 

Professor Ravi Silva, Director of the ATI and the principal investigator of the TENG project, said: “TENG technology is ideal to power the next generation of electronic devices due to its small footprint and capacity to integrate into systems we use every day. Here at the ATI, we are constantly looking to develop such advanced technologies leading towards our quest to realise worldwide “free energy”.

“TENGs are an ideal candidate to power the autonomous electronic systems for Internet of Things applications and wearable electronic devices. We believe this research grant will allow us to further the design of optimized energy harvesters.”

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