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In Queue

               The fun, informative, and unique newsletter for the call center industry
Welcome to the August 2016 issue of the NACC In Queue newsletter!
Interactive Intelligence Interactions 2016: The NACC Perspective
Brian Burke, Senior Vice President, Garden City Group, LLC, brian.burke@gardencitygroup.com 
(Note from Paul: This is the second in a series of NACC member-authored reviews of major industry customer conferences.  Brian Burke is an active NACC member as well as Senior Vice President at Garden City Group, LLC, a leading legal administration firm with offices in Lake Success, NY; Seattle, WA; and Dublin, OH)

  Brian_Burke  Greetings, National Association of Call Center members!   

I recently attended the Interactions 2016 Conference hosted by Interactive Intelligence (ININ), a software company providing technological solutions for call centers. 

The conference opened June 6 at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis. The moment you arrived at the hotel, Interactions signage was everywhere, and ININ staff was on hand in the lobby to greet people, answer questions, and make all attendees feel welcome. The conference kicked off with keynote addresses from Interactive Intelligence founder and CEO, Donald E Brown, M.D followed by Salim Ismail.  The theme of these addresses– disrupting the status quo with new technology is the future – set the tone for an informative and enjoyable time, with many worthwhile topics and concepts to bring back home.
Each day began with breakfast, which was a fantastic opportunity to network and discuss thoughts about prior sessions and upcoming daily events. Breakfast was followed by a meeting in the convention hall, numerous 45-minute breakout sessions throughout morning, a break for lunch (which again offered networking opportunities) and still more breakout sessions after lunch until the dinner hour. 

The breakout sessions covered diverse topics, ranging from introductions to new call center technology, such as PureCloud’s Interactive Voice Response (IVR) application, to customer service case studies and call center best practices and strategies, such as the CX for Millennials session which dealt with Millennial customers and employees. In fact, the biggest challenge of the conference (for me, anyway), was determining which sessions to attend! Thankfully, some sessions were offered multiple times throughout the conference to ensure interested attendees had the opportunity to take part. You can view the entire agenda here

Great topics aside, one of the highlights of the Interactions conference was the Developer Zone: an interactive forum for hands-on questions and answers provided by the ININ staff.  Not only did the Developer Zone staff provide answers to questions, they also provided guidance on implantation of new technology or other organizational changes. The staff was well versed in various areas and could provide answers to questions ranging from simple product inquiries to cloud base complexities. Most importantly, the entire Developer Zone team was welcoming and proactively looked to speak with people. Even if you didn’t have a technical question, they were genuinely interested in how the conference was going and if you were enjoying your day.

In keeping with the theme of disrupting the status quo through new technology, another fun highlight of the conference was the focus on conference social media and mobile apps. In fact, there were prizes offered for attendees with the most posts and comments submitted via the conference mobile app, ININ Events.  

The conference closed on June 8, with a celebration concert by Saint Motel and The Bumbys, plentiful food and drink and a relaxed atmosphere.  This last event was a great way to blow off some conference steam and say farewell to new friends. 

Not only was this a relevant conference for people using and/or shopping the products offered by Interactive Intelligence, it would be a great model for other conferences. During networking events and meals, I met many people across many industries all with the same goals: to learn, connect, and have fun.  In one person’s opinion, they achieved all three.
Light A Spark In Your Customer Care
Jeff Campbell, Marketing Manager, Cisco Collaboration Product & Solutions Marketing Group,  

JeffCampbell - CiscoI'll admit it--I'm a bit of a techno-grouch. I still play vinyl records on a stereo system, I can hunt with a longbow, and I won't even tell you how recently I got my first smart phone. It's not that I don't embrace new technology--I do!--but I need to be convinced why it's worth the time, effort, and expense to change what I'm doing.

Businesses are like that, too, and perhaps particularly so when it comes to their contact centers. Those of us who deal with customer care tend to be a conservative bunch, because if we blunder we're sure to hear about it from unhappy customers--not to mention the front office.

Yet new technologies hold tremendous promise for improving the customer journey as consumers connect with businesses and organizations over time and across channels. The question then becomes, how can businesses take advantage of these improvements with acceptable investments of time, effort and expense--and with minimal risk?

Cloud-based services certainly offer an attractive approach, which is one reason why Cisco offers Spark. Within literally minutes of our first announcement of Spark, my fellow Cisco marketers and I started getting questions like, "Can I use Spark in my contact center?" or "How can I use Spark for customer care?" Let me try to address those sorts of questions.

Cisco Spark--as it exists today--offers customer care capabilities. For example, Spark's built-in auto-attendant and hunt groups help connect callers to businesses. These features are especially attractive to small and mid-size companies that might not need a formal contact center, but businesses of all sizes can benefit from them.

Spark's existing messaging capabilities can also augment team collaboration within contact centers and with knowledge workers in the extended organization in a number of ways, including:
•    Discussion of care-related topics
•    Sharing news
•    Facilitating agent training
•    Scheduling swap requests
•    Water cooler talk
•    Aligning on objectives
•    Social activity tracking
•    Collaborating to solve customer issues

Spark's intrinsic ability to maintain conversations in user-defined rooms makes it particularly well-suited to team-based collaboration among agents and supervisors.

More Spark care capabilities are on the way. Soon, Spark Care Assistant will facilitate automated and human-assisted support via Cisco Spark. Care Assistant is a "bot" (i.e., a web robot) that acts as a virtual assistant to pair Spark users with expert resources based on the user's request. It doesn't require any special administration, and indeed it's designed to be user-implemented. Care Assistant is ideal for internal support and help desks, and like Spark's auto-attendant and hunt group capabilities, Care Assistant will be included as part of Spark licensing at no extra cost.

Spark is just getting started in customer care. We plan to extend Care Assistant to support consumers who connect to a business through a web page or chat session. As Spark evolves, Spark's care capabilities will continue to grow. And because Spark is cloud-based, businesses can easily take advantage of new capabilities at their own pace, using the secure foundation that's already in place.

There's never been a better time to start experiencing customer care with Cisco Spark. Even if you're a techno-grouch like me.

About the Author:

Jeffrey Campbell is a Marketing Manager in Cisco's Collaboration Product and Solutions Marketing group, where he is responsible for driving market awareness of Cisco's Customer Care solutions. 

Mr. Campbell has worked as a systems engineer, product manager, and marketing manager in the telecommunications industry for over twenty years.  As a product manager, he introduced the award-winning Cisco Unified Customer Voice Portal to the market, and he is an industry thought-leader in championing customer care.  He holds two U.S. patents on automated self-service technologies, and was a finalist candidate for NASA's space shuttle astronaut program.  

Mr. Campbell earned a B.S. from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, and he holds advanced degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.  He is the author of two published novels and plays a mean guitar.

Speech Analytics: Debunking The Myths
Paul Stockford, Research Director, NACC & Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research, 

Over the past several months as I have attended various customer conferences and other industry events, it has become abundantly clear to me that there exists a number of misconceptions about analytics, and especially about speech analytics.

While speech analytics is anything but a plug-and-play solution, it is by the same token not nearly as demanding on contact center resources as many customer service professionals think.  The return on investment (ROI) for speech analytics is fast and tangible, similar to the ROI that is typically experienced after the first implementation of a workforce management (WFM) solution.  While WFM is well understood in the contact center industry today, speech analytics is not.

In order to introduce a dose of reality into the speech analytics discussion, I recently authored a guest blog that specifically addresses exactly what speech analytics is, and what it isn’t.  The blog can be found here, on the Verint blog site.  I invite you to take a minute and perhaps gain a different perspective on this practical contact center solution.
Call Center Comics
If you like this comic and would like to see more, write Ozzie at callcentercomics@yahoo.com and visit his website at http://callcentercomics.com or just click on the comic to tak you to his page. The NACC appreciates Ozzie letting us use some of his comics in our newsletter.   
In This Issue...
  • NACC Member Brian Burke Reviews Interactive Intelligence Interactions 2016
  • Guest Commentary - CISCO Spark In The Contact Center
  • Debunking Speech Analytics Myths
  • Call Center Comics!
Pearls Of Wisdom
“To improve is to change, so to be perfect is to have changed often.”
~ Winston Churchill


Reports From NACC
The NACC has been burning the midnight oil and typing until our fingers are sore to bring out reports to our members. Each is listed below. If you are interested to see what we are writing about, click on the links below and download the executive summary of each. If you like what you see, join the NACC so that you can view these reports and others that will be coming out soon on our website. These reports will ensure that you know the latest trends in the industry.
HireIQ Candidate Optimizer Disrupts The Status Quo, Powers Revolution In Customer Service Human Capital Management: May 2015 
Verint Jumps Into The Gamification Game: April 2015 
Research Update - Strong 4th Quarter Tops Year Of Growthj For The 2014 U.S. Contact Center Industry Employment:  March 2015  
Geo-Fencing: Expanding The Contact Center Boundaries?: November 2014 
Neural Phonetic Speech Analytics: The Brains behind Nexidia Interactions Analytics 11.0:  July 2014 
Nexidia Pushes Speech Analytics Envelope with Nexidia Interaction Analytics 11.0:  July 2014 
The Time is Now: Workforce Optimization Becomes Reality for the Small-to-Medium-Sized Contact Center: July 2013 
Finding the Silver Lining in the Contact Center Cloud: May 2013 
The At-Home Agent Movement - A Benchmark Quantitative Analysis: January 2013 
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 2nd Quarter 2012 Data 
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 1st Quarter 2012 Data 
Contact Center Mobility Study:  May 2012 
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 4th Quarter 2011 Data 
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 3rd Quarter 2011 Data 
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 2nd Quarter 2011 Data 
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 1st Quarter 2011 Data 
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 4th Quarter 2010 Data 
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 3rd Quarter 2010 Data 
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 2nd Quarter 2010 Data 
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 1st Quarter 2010 Data 
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 4th Quarter 2009 Data 
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 3rd Quarter 2009 Data 
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 2nd Quarter 2009 Data 
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 1st Quarter 2009 Data 
North American Contact Center Industry 2008-2009: The Year in Review and a Look Ahead 
State of the Call Center Industry Report: 4th Quarter 2008 Data 
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