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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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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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