Using Cloud Contact Center Technology to Improve the Customer Experience

A positive Customer Experience depends upon a few critical elements. Having a streamlined Customer Journey process in place to effectively segment and route customer inquiries, to staff members (agents) that are best skilled and equipped to render the appropriate service or support, the first time. This results in an outcome (resolution) that should require little Customer Effort.

Sounds easy enough, yet businesses continue to struggle in making it easy for customers to conduct business with their organization.

The belief that having someone… anyone… partially skilled to answer a customer call was sufficient enough, is the new recipe for churn.

Today, 89% of companies compete primarily on the basis of customer experience – up from just 36% in 2010. But while 80% of companies believe they deliver “super experiences,” only 8% of customers agree. In other words, companies have a long way to go. And, that means there is tremendous opportunity to disrupt a competitor or gain market share in an industry. Shep Hyken – Forbes

For customers, the reasons really don’t matter. If it is deemed cumbersome and the Customer Effort is HIGH, the Customer Experience will be low, which of course can easily erode Loyalty and your revenue suffers. Customers want answers fast and in the most efficient way. That’s the American Way!

What’s driving the rate of change with respect to incorporating a Cloud Contact Center with an emphasis on Customer Experience (CX) within organizations today?

Some of the most common responses from speaking with Customers and channel partners over the past 3 years include: Business Growth by means of Customer Retention, Growth (Upselling/Cross-Selling), Referrals. Reduction of Staff (Agent) Turnover, Leveraging Data Insights to Handle More with effectively Less. Customers are seeking to Monitor/Manage by way of Business Outcomes and not legacy only Metrics.

Some Customer Experience (CX) observations that I think you’ll relate to/with:

A few interesting things.

  • It started with the early adopters, before Digital Transformation was a thing.
  • Cloud Contact Center initiatives propagated from being a Future IT Project Consideration to a Business Sponsor’s Speed to Market Weapon of Choice
  • Digital Transformation continued to surge as top planning initiative amongst executive leadership (CEO/CIO/COO/CFO/RO)
  • Speaking of surge, the pandemic (COVID I & II) accelerated the Cloud adoption model and gave most businesses a taste of WFH (Work from Home)
  • Schools and Parents learn about Distant / Online Learning really fast!
  • A frenzy of UCaaS/CCaaS acquisitions and strategic alliances emerge in the market
  • Some of the remaining blue chip hardware centric manufacturers of communication systems (PBX) exited the scene. A few limiting procurement through a subscription-based only model to further attempt to isolate them from future churn
  • We witnessed an additional wave or two of acquisitions and strategic alliances amongst Cloud Contact Center Technology (CCaaS) and UCaaS providers. Primary focus to balance and strengthen their portfolio and GTM strategies centered around single-pane of glass (unified applications)
  • Work from Home (WFH) adoption continues to grow, as employment of skilled “Available” staff (agents) become harder to source (hire). We’ve learned that Talent demands Tools.
  • Logistic Challenges to Supply Pent Up Demand compounded by Inflation makes for some interesting Customer Reviews. The Power of Online Reviews and the Suggested Customer Experiences of others (Good or Bad) impacts the bottom line
  • The Battlefield for Customer Loyalty affects ALL Businesses

CX Cliff Notes

Every Business wants Happy Customers and Profitable Growth
Loyalty of these Happy Customers is what drives Profitable Growth
Customer Experience drives Customer Loyalty

So… What Drives the Customer Experience?

Making it EASY and EFFORTLESS for Customers to Conduct Business with You (Customer Effort)

Through Effective Planning to Optimize the Customer Journey

By Enabling Staff / Agents with Appropriate Tools and Relevant Customer Information, that support Personalized Customer Interactions

Via Trained Staff / Agents that can easily Collaborate with Co-workers to Quickly Address Customer Inquires, the First Time.

Customer Effort Score (CES) is a single-item metric that measures how much

effort a customer has to exert to get an issue resolved, a request fulfilled, a product

purchased/returned or a question answered.

So where do customers go to find CX enabled solutions that better meet customer expectations while making their operations more efficient.

Customers typically have several channels when contacting organizations—email, chat, phone and even social media. Despite the choices, research shows that the phone call is still the preferred method of communication.1

A positive customer experience depends on having a streamlined process in place to handle incoming calls. Customers want answers fast and in the most efficient way.

Several common reasons cause a business to either mishandle calls or fail to answer calls altogether. Unexpected or seasonal volume can mean there’s not enough staff to handle the calls. Live agents might not be available after hours. Or perhaps the areas of responsibility of “who handles what” are not clearly defined.

For customers, the reasons really don’t matter. The customer experience suffers if they hear an annoying busy signal, get put on a long hold, or worst of all, get disconnected before their questions can be answered. Luckily, new technology is available to help organizations manage these and other issues while also enabling a more improved and often a more personalized customer experience.

Setting Up Call Queues

Call queues offer a way to handle incoming calls more efficiently. As part of a Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solution, call queues give the contact center a means to segment and route incoming calls based on information provided, such as reason for the call or priority level.

Specific queue segments can be configured to offer callback options or enable callers to leave messages on a specific voicemail box for after-hours inquiries. Pre-recorded messages can provide general information, including business hours, current outages or promotions. These multiple call queue options help organizations better meet customer expectations while making their operations more efficient.

Self-service Options

Intelligent call routing (ICR) is another way of effectively handling incoming calls. These options ensure the right agent answers a customer’s call. Using Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems, contact centers can optimize the flow of customer interactions. When configured correctly, these systems help boost sales, reduce churn and increase customer satisfaction by making sure interactions are quickly and efficiently routed, handled and reported.

The automated IVRs interact with callers to gather information and route calls to the appropriate recipient. Examples of self-service prompts include:

  • Initial greetings and welcome messages
  • Options for language preference
  • Answers to common questions (hours of operation, location, access to personal account data)
  • Choices for customer actions (cancel an appointment, place an order, speak to someone in a specific department)

Giving customers a straight-forward way to address tasks, such as checking an account balance or paying a bill, enables customer self-service without using a live agent. It can also provide customer access to information during off hours, such as personal account data. If a problem or question goes beyond the offered menu options, an IVR system quickly leads the caller to the most relevant agent available, providing more personalized service.

Benefits of Contact Center Automation

Automated contact center systems benefit companies as well as their customers. Improving customer interactions through call queues and IVR, creates more efficient contact center operations, saving time for customers and contact center agents alike. Self-service options help eliminate the frustration of long hold times and enable a company to serve customers after hours and on holidays. Companies won’t miss a customer call, which ultimately help sales and creates a better customer experience benefitting your company as well as your customers.

NEC offers UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE, our cloud-based contact center solution. ENGAGE uses IVR to give your customers options on how they want issues to be resolved and enables them to obtain the right information or to engage with the right agent for a personalized experience. What makes UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE different from other offerings is that configuration and deployment is simple. Using the user-friendly and intuitive wizard, Easy-IVR gives organizations the power to build highly customized IVRs that drive business and improve customer interactions. Non-programmers can either build an IVR or enhance an existing one through simple, easy steps.

To learn more about NEC’s contact center offerings, fill out the Contact Us form below or visit our website .

Source:
40 Customer Service Stats to Know in 2021,” Swetha Amaresan, HubSpot, 6/9/21

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NEC Maintains Top Rank in 2022 NIST FRVT Report

NIST Ranked #1 Globally

  • #1 in Mugshot Identification
  • #1 in Border Security Identification
  • #1 in Mugshot Identification over age differences

At NEC Corporation, we take great pride in our legacy of creating the best technology in our field and our biometric authentication algorithms are no exception. Our #1-ranked National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) algorithms are trusted every day to provide accurate and secure results across sectors including commercial aviation, hospitality and the United States government.

Adding to this legacy, we are excited to share that NEC’s facial recognition algorithm earned the top ranking from NIST’s most recent Face Recognition Vendor Test across multiple categories.

NEC earned top recognition in the categories of Mugshot Identification both globally and in the United States, Global Border Security Identification, and Global Mugshot Identification over age differences, as well as Mugshot to Webcam Identification here in the U.S.

These rankings match the very real, positive impact our technology has on society every day. For example, U.S. CBP Deputy Commissioner, Troy Miller, recently shared in an interview1 that facial recognition technology, including our algorithm, has identified more than 1,000 imposters attempting to enter the country with false documents since 2018 – decreasing potential crime and creating safer communities.

For more than two decades, NEC has consistently surpassed competitors’ algorithms in the categories of accuracy and speed. This remains true even when demographic differentials including race and sex are accounted for and when subjects wear protective face masks. Our algorithm passed internal tests with a rate of over 99.9% in 1:1 verification when face masks of various colors and patterns were worn by individuals – ensuring security and supporting public health.

The latest NIST results showed NEC’s algorithm outperformed the entire field of 329 entries submitted from all over the world on mugshot identification. Our NEC-005 algorithm demonstrated a False Negative Identification Rate (FNIR) of just 0.0017 at a False Positive Rate (FPIR) of 0.001, respectively.

This same algorithm outperformed a field of 289 entries on Mugshot to Webcam identification with an FNIR of .0120 at a FPIR of .001.

NEC’s facial recognition algorithm is called upon by professionals across a diverse range of use cases in critical moments and is counted on for its reliable and accurate results. These use cases include criminal investigation, immigration, military security and national identification within the entertainment industry.

We have implemented more than 1,000 systems with our top-ranked fingerprint and face recognition technologies in more than 70 countries and regions around the world.

Our team works to create the most accurate and reliable product possible to ensure safe, accessible and enjoyable experiences for every person who uses our technology. While navigating access points can often be a hassle, we see a touchless and frictionless future made possible through our first-ranked biometric authentication algorithm.

To read more, you can access the full NIST report, here.

Learn more about our #1 ranked algorithm’s use cases here.

1. https://about.bgov.com/news/facial-scans-catch-impostors-at-border-as-agencies-embrace-use/

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How Today’s Touchless Technology Gives Customers Options and Control

Creating a digital profile streamlines online shopping in significant ways. The convenience promotes future orders and customer loyalty. Imagine how delightful it will be when brick and mortar stores enable the popular option for in-person shopping. Today, creating a Digital ID is possible with NEC’s I:Delight platform.

For example, when a shopper saves their preferences and payment information to a personal profile accessible from their mobile device and provides authorization with rapid and accurate facial recognition, stored customer loyalty information can be instantly applied. Thus, empowering customers to control their digital data and how it is used, while their customer experience is enhanced with fewer touches and less risk.

All of this can be achieved with NEC I:Delight, a highly secure and scalable Digital ID management platform. Using NEC’s award-winning face recognition algorithms, this robust, cloud-native platform streamlines ordering and payment at quick service restaurants; facilitates check-in at next-generation hotels; and provides expedited entry and payments at entertainment venues and stadiums.

NEC I:Delight also enables touchless passenger checkpoints from curb-to-gate at airports, provides streamlined access to office buildings, and verifies patients and authorizes staff at healthcare facilities. The platform is interoperable, scalable and can be used by many industries to provide long-term value, transforming the customer experience.

Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline alliance, which includes a coalition of 26 member airlines, uses NEC I:Delight to power its growing biometric passenger processes and modernize its entire travel ecosystem. In addition to curb-to-gate verification, passengers who opt-in through the Star Biometrics app will be able to use their Digital ID for VIP lounge access, wayfinding, airport purchases, transportation fares, hotel check-in, attraction passes and more. All without showing a boarding pass or opening their wallet.

With NEC I:Delight, the customer maintains control of their Digital ID and its uses. Customers can change profile settings as needed and opt-out just as easily.

For more detail check out this three-page preview our whitepaper that provides more in-depth information about NEC’s Digital ID platform.

Click here to learn more or fill out the form below to download the entire whitepaper.

See how Digital IDs can work for you. Take a guided virtual tour and discover the frictionless, touchless capabilities of I:Delight by visiting our Virtual Customer Experience Center.

Hitting the Customer Journey Fairway with NEC I:Delight

It was exciting to join Dan Shube on the “Golf and Travel Show” to talk about the latest innovations making travel safer and airport security more effortless.

Most golfers enjoy traveling to take on new challenges at golf courses in the U.S. and around the world. Unfortunately, air travel has been chaotic and challenging the past couple of years, which has impacted these avid golfers’ ability to enjoy their favorite activity.

Safe and seamless air travel

i:DelightDan and I discussed advancements in Digital ID management, biometric technology and touchless transactions to make traveling safe and seamless.

Instead of fumbling with bags, tickets and passports, NEC’s biometrics and Digital ID management elevates the customer experience from curb-to-gate. Frequent flyers can eliminate paper boarding passes, as well as reduce wait times at airport security using our opt-in advanced face recognition technology.

NEC is continuously upgrading the biometric algorithm to meet health and safety guidelines, including face recognition while wearing masks. On the show, we shared a laugh about the innovations enhancing the customer journey and leaving the tech from “Star Trek” and “The Jetsons” in the dust. So, while air travel may never be “fun”, we are working hard to make it as stress free as possible.

Specifically, we talked about NEC I:Delight, a complete Digital ID management platform that enables touchless traveler verification and secure transactions. Using I:Delight, airports and airlines increase:

  • Privacy controlled by passengers who opt-in and choose how their Digital IDs are used.
  • Safety for travelers and employees, verifying identity with face masks in place.
  • Efficiency enabled by processing passengers faster with fewer touches and interactions.
  • Interoperability with existing technologies at airports, as well as iOS and Android apps.
  • Scalability to expand capabilities, including retail and restaurant purchases at the airport to car rentals and hotel check-in.

Listen to our conversation on the Golf & Travel Show here.

Learn more about the ways NEC is reshaping the aviation experience with a seamless, safer customer journey.

See how Digital IDs can work for you. Take a guided virtual tour and discover the frictionless, touchless capabilities of I:Delight by visiting our Virtual Customer Experience Center.

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NEC National Security Systems Showcases Digital Identity Solutions

NEC National Security Systems (NEC NSS) showcased its robust, cloud-native digital management platform, body worn solutions and iris recognition capabilities at the connect:ID 2021 conference, October 5-6 in Washington, D.C.

Enlightening Speeches & Future-Focused Conversations

NEC speakers presented and participated in illuminating interviews and discussions during connect:ID, including company leaders: Dr. Kathleen Kiernan, the newly appointed president of NEC NSS; Raffie Beroukhim, SVP and Chief Experience Officer and NEC NSS board member; and Kris Ranganath, Chief Technology Officer.

  • Dr. Kiernan delivered an opening keynote focusing on “Putting a Face on the Digital ID Generation.”
  • Ranganath presented “Decentralized Identity” during a summit speech regarding the benefits of decentralized identity management solutions.
  • As a board member of the International Biometric Identity Association (IBIA), Raffie participated in a panel discussion on key topics in advanced recognition for government agencies.

In addition, Allen Ganz, Vice President of Customer Experience, was interviewed on the topic of “The Future of Digital Travel.” Ganz, who has implemented biometric solutions in the aviation industry, shared information about the first curb-to-gate system for a commercial airline in the United States, which was unveiled at Atlanta’s Terminal F in 2019.

Authentication & Digital Identity Solutions

At the conference NEC NSS hosted a prominent booth showcasing their digital identity management and body worn solutions, that provide identity intelligence, by combining NEC’s best of breed matching algorithms with cutting edge wearable cameras.

They also displayed NEC Digital Platform, a highly secure and scalable digital identity management platform that effortlessly brings touchless experiences to countless use cases. The platform provides a unified experience for a variety of services and transactions by using a unique, multi-factor Digital ID based on biometric authentication and AI technology. It streamlines both physical and digital identities into a secure, privacy-driven ecosystem for a seamless, secure, more personalized, and intuitive customer experience.

Also featured was the new iris-face combo kiosk that seamlessly matches a user’s iris or face—or both modalities simultaneously—against an existing document. Using NEC’s proprietary eye detection technology and remote gaze detection, this solution provides biometric authentication under a variety of conditions.

To learn how NEC NSS provides vital biometric, AI and computer support to U.S. government agencies, please visit the website. You can also follow NEC NSS on Twitter at @NECNSSFed and on its LinkedIn page.

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