Please login to view our members-only information and resources.

Member Login

Forgotten your password?

Not a member?

To apply for membership, please select the correct membership type below, then fill in the application form online.

Industry News

July 2017

Carpeo & Rated People Extend Partnership

The UK's leading online marketplace, Rated People, has announced it is extending its contact services partnership with Swindon-based, Carpeo, for a further three years.

Carpeo, a multi award-winning customer contact services firm which has recently opened a new site in Newport, Wales, represents some of the biggest blue-chip clients in the education, automotive, insurance, logistics, restaurants, hospitality, energy and retail sectors.

Rated People, the online home services marketplace that helps homeowners manage, maintain and renovate their home by connecting them with local quality rated tradespeople, chose to work with Carpeo's sales team, which has grown from five to a 50-member strong team, following a trial period. Working together, the firms have created an innovated service by joining up the web and customer contact experience seamlessly. 

After great success in economically growing its tradespeople base to support the overwhelming demand it has had from homeowners, Rated People has announced its intention to also source all of its service and retention work with Carpeo, growing the latter's Swindon team by a further 20 people.

Celia Francis, CEO of Rated People said: "Our partnership with Carpeo demonstrates the commitment we have made to substantially scaling the number of quality tradespeople in our network to further strengthen our position as the UK's most trusted online marketplace for homeowners looking for tradespeople."

She added: "Carpeo bring big business capability, including a disciplined FCA regulated approach, together with a refreshing bespoke personal service, which is why we are consolidating all our contact activity with them." 

Mike Minahan, CEO of Carpeo said: "It takes a lot for a client to entrust one of their most precious assets, their customers, with an external agency. So it is always with pride and a great deal of care that we accept this responsibility. Like us, Rated People is a business that is going places and we're delighted to be part of its growth journey."

The partnership, has already been recognised externally for the services that it has provided, being shortlisted as finalists for the South West Contact Centre Forum Awards for the Best Client Partnership. The team has also been recognised for their hard work with Carpeo's very own Liam Short, a sales person on the Rated People team, winning the Sales Agent of the Year Award for 2017 at the South West Contact Centre Forum Awards. Last year, Rated People significantly grew its membership base and handled around 1,000,000 home improvement jobs valued at £2 billion in its market. This year, the Company is on track to hit aggressive targets.

For more information visit: www.carpeo.com

March 2017

Expolink rebrands contact centre as WeAnswer

 

Expolink, the leading Wiltshire-based provider of multichannel customer contact services, is rebranding its contact centre business as ‘WeAnswer’.  

 

The company, whose 300-seat capacity contact centre serves a wide range of clients including Crew Clothing, The Entertainer, Cotswold Outdoor and SES Water, was the subject of a successful management buyout in August 2016 by members of its existing senior team and a group of external investors.

 

The new WeAnswer brand will remain part of Expolink Europe Limited, which also includes a global whistleblowing hotline business that will continue to trade under the Expolink brand. 

 

Managing Director Dominic Mehta believes the change in name will more accurately represent the company as it is today. He commented: 

 

“Expolink is a well-established name in the outsourced contact centre business, having launched almost two decades ago. Last year’s management buyout presented us with the opportunity to reconsider our long-term goals, and the direction in which we wanted to take the business. We believe that rebranding ourselves as WeAnswer reflects the responsive service we offer clients who are keen to overcome their customer service challenges, and helps showcase the modern, energetic customer contact business we’ve become.”  

 

Chief Executive John Wilson added: “This rebrand symbolises the many changes we’ve been making to our underlying service over the past six months. As we continue to develop and improve our client proposition, I’m looking forward to an exciting future for WeAnswer and our clients.”

September 2016

Carpeo Welcome New CEO – Mike Minahan

Customer contact company Carpeo has appointed a new chief executive to lead it through a period of projected growth and expansion into new sectors.

The Swindon company, which employs up to 337 people at peak times of the year, has announced Mike Minahan as its new CEO. 

Mike joins the business from motoring services giant, RAC, where he was sales and service director. Prior to that he spent seven years working at professional services and business processing group Capita, culminating in his role as COO of its insurance arm. He is also a current board-member of the Wales Contact Centre Forum.

He takes over at the helm of Carpeo as the business aims to build on its rapid growth of recent years and pursue new opportunities in previously untapped markets. 

Director David Williams said: "It is a real coup for Carpeo to be able to attract someone of Mike's experience and talent. We have seen significant growth over the past few years, and we're now at the point where Mike can take us on to the next level in terms of scope and capability.

"His knowledge of running a large business will be of great value as we roll out our expansion plans over the next couple of years. Mike is a great fit; we're an entrepreneurial company and he's a rare breed who has a corporate background with entrepreneurial talent."

Mike added: "This is a very exciting time for Carpeo and I'm delighted to have the opportunity to lead it on the next phase of its growth. I'm really excited to be joining Carpeo. As a client I experienced the great results that Carpeo's fabulous culture and operational capability bring. There are some strong foundations that I will build on as we forge ahead with our ambitious plans."

Carpeo represents some of the biggest blue-chip clients in the education, automotive, insurance, logistics, restaurants and hospitality, energy and retail sectors. The Company has a variable workforce in response to client needs and, at its peak in Summer 2016, had a total of 337 staff. It was established in 2008's recession and has doubled revenues year on year since 2012 by partnering clients and challenging them to think and work smarter in customer contact. Its services are delivered with the support of innovative cloud-based CRM technology.

For more information visit carpeo.com

Intelecom – Contact Centre as a service launches on G-Cloud 8 September 2016

Cloud-based contact centre solution supports public sector drive to improve customer contact and service levels while meeting cost and efficiency targets

Intelecom Group AS has announced that its contact centre solution has been accepted onto the Government’s G-Cloud 8 digital marketplace. Intelecom’s Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) solution enables organisations to manage multichannel customer interactions -across voice, email, chat, SMS and social media, including Twitter and Facebook. With nearly two decades of experience in the provision of cloud based contact centres, Intelecom was positioned as ‘Challenger’ in the Gartner 2015 Magic Quadrant for Contact Centre as a Service, Western Europe².

The latest version of Intelecom, released in June this year, includes structured instant messaging capability for Web Chat and Web RTC, enabling agents to handle calls directly from their computer. The new features support the latest real-time interactions that will help public sector organisations to meet next generation customer service. 

Thomas Rodseth, VP of Product & Marketing at Intelecom UK commented, “It is a great achievement to have been accepted onto the Goverment’s latest G-Cloud service as a trusted supplier. As public sector organisations are increasingly looking to provide high levels of customer service, a cloud based contact centre offers them a flexible, scalable solution to adjust easily to demand. Our investment in product development ensures that Intelecom incorporates the latest consumer technology to enable the public sector to deliver outstanding customer service. By incorporating Web Chat, computer to computer communication and socia media, public sector organisations can offer multiple and easy ways to interact with customers and service users, along with standard phone and email.”

Intelecom is a complete contact centre solution in the cloud, independent of any operator or technology.  It offers closer customer contact and improved service levels, as well as enabling agents to be more productive with access to more information and no need to switch between applications. Intelecom’s modular, pay-as-you-go structure provides a cost effective way to meet demand with no capital investment, maintenance or upgrade fees. 

For more information, Intelecom customers should contact their account manager or visit www.intele.com

Intelecom Update June 2016

Extends Web Chat Functionality in latest release of its cloud-based solution

Intelecom Group AS has announced the latest release of its multi-channel cloud-based contact centre which includes structured instant messaging capability for Web Chat. This latest enhancement continues the company’s investment in real-time interactions for next generation customer service. 

 

The inclusion of structure Chat Messages means that Intelecom users can give Chatters one or more alternatives when it comes to the confirmation of a conversation.  The options are presented as a menu in the dialog to provide more commitment and clearer feedback when confirming transactions than a simple text-based yes, no, maybe or OK.  This feature is also available for mobile usage where a concise way of communication is particularly valuable.

Thomas Rødseth, VP of Product and Marketing at Intelecom commented, ”We are constantly working to help our customers create the best possible solutions for customer service.   The inclusion of structured Chat messages in Web Chat conversations follows the recent addition of WebRTC softphone capabilities into Intelecom as part of the company’s strategy to improve real-time interactions using its cloud-based contact centre solution. Meanwhile, the latest integration to Oracle’s Siebel CRM and launch of our predictive dialer helps to simplify the everyday lives of agents and improve productivity.”  

Other highlights of the latest version of Intelecom include:

Standard Integration to Oracle’s Siebel CRM – continuing Intelecom’s focus on standardized integrations with leading customer relationship management (CRM) solutions such as Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics and Unified Service Desk for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the latest release includes standard integration with Oracle’s Siebel CRM.  Integration between an organisation’s CRM and contact centre solution saves agents’ time switching between applications and helps to provide an improved customer experience. 

  • Outbound Predictive Dialer – replacing the existing automatic dialer within Intelecom, the latest release includes a predictive dialer which takes into account the average number of calls answered, the amount of time to answer and the length of calls in order to reduce agent waiting time and increase productivity.

With nearly two decades of experience in the provision of cloud-based contact centres, Intelecom was positioned as ‘Challenger’ in the Gartner 2015 Magic Quadrant for Contact Centre as a Service, Western Europe[i]. For more information, Intelecom customers should contact their account manager or visit www.intele.com

Win a free massage for your centre! May 2016

Therapy Solutions Competition

To celebrate their shortlisting as finalists in the Wales & South West Contact Centre Supplier Awards – CCSA16 – Therapy Solutions are delighted to offer all members of the South West Contact Centre Forum the chance to win a free massage (worth £325!) at your site. All you have to do is tell Therapy Solutions why your colleagues should be treated to one of their Call Centre Massage Days, and who ever gives the best answer wins – simple! 

To enter please email hello@therapysolutions.co.uk or visit www.therapysolutions.co.uk

So get thinking, the more inventive the better! You have until 31 May... Good luck!

2016 South West Contact Centre Awards April 2016

Shortlisting Underway!

The deadline for entries to the 2016 South West Contact Centre Awards has now closed and the shortlisting process is underway. Jane Thomas, MD of the South West Contact Centre Forum said: "This year we are delighted to have seen a record number of organisations taking part in the awards, which is particularly pleasing as it reflects both the growth of the industry in the South West, and also the development of the Forum as an industry-led organisation. I'd like to thank all those who entered and wish everyone good luck."  

The shortlist will be confirmed on Friday 29 April and the winners announced at the gala awards ceremony Thursday 14 July. Click here for details.

The real state of contact centres today

December 3, 2015

Results from Intelecom's latest survey highlight future growth with exponential rise in multimedia channels such as Web Chat, Video and WhatsApp

Intelecom, a provider of cloud-based contact centre solutions, has released the results of its latest survey of 400+ contact centre professionals regarding where they are today and what lies ahead for their contact centres in the next two years. According to the results of the survey new multimedia channels in the contact centre are set to rise exponentially over the next two years with Web Chat anticipated to grow by 82% and Video and WhatsApp expected to increase dramatically by 311% and 470% respectively. 

In September and October this year, Intelecom asked for feedback on six critical areas designed to find out what really matters in the contact centre, from people, customers and technology to the key trends to watch out for in the foreseeable future.

Borge Astrup, managing director of Intelcom Contact Centre Division commented, "Surveying leaders at the very heart of the contact centre revealed positive evidence to support our own experience of the industry as well as some interesting new findings.  The results show that the contact centre is very much alive and kicking with customer service as a priority.  There is plenty of scope for technological advances and business growth as the contact centre transitions to a truly multichannel environment and transforms itself into a highly interactive customer engagement forum.” 

Highlights of Intelecom’s survey, published today, reveal that:

  • Voice is still the predominant channel in contact centres (88%) followed by email (82%), mail (65%) and even fax (47%).  The rise in social media is supported by 41% of respondents who claim Facebook is the most popular communication medium followed closely by Twitter at 40%
  • The three most important metrics for today’s contact centre are customer satisfaction (61.5%), service level (57%) and first contact resolution (40%) with call abandonment (22%) and Average Handling Time (20%) still actively used to measure the performance
  • Traditional premised-based contact centres are still the most prevalent at 47% with cloud-based contact centres accounting for just over 10%.  However,  the trend points towards a blend of both traditional and cloud (34%) infrastructures as a more realistic option.
  • The majority (69%) of applications used by agents are in-house developed systems followed by Oracle (20%) Salesforce (19%) and Microsoft Dynamics  (15%) thereby supporting the need for integration capabilities in the contact centre.
  • Most contact centre professionals still rely on their own customer satisfaction surveys (82%) followed by email surveys (37%) and post-call IVR surveys (23%) to acquire the ’voice of the customer’ or find out what they really think.  Surprisingly, nearly 10% of respondents claim to never ask for customer feedback with a further 10% using speech analytics to gauge reactions from customers. 
  • Top priorities for contact centre leaders in the next two years are improved customer satisfaction (68%), agent training and satisfaction (62%) and technology transformation (58%).  
  • Nearly one third of respondents (31%) are looking to reduce their costs to serve customers despite revenue per call, cost per call and sales volume being cited as the least important metrics (5%, 7.5% and 13% respectively) in their contact centre today.

Percentages have been rounded up or down as appropriate and to see the full results of Intelecom’s latest survey, please visit https://www.intele.com/industry-research/survey

Follow @Intelecom on twitter

Celebrating a successful new partnership!

This year we teamed up with the Welsh Contact Centre Forum for two successful events... AgentFest and 50 Team Leaders

Both dedicated to rewarding, inspiring and further developing the skills of Contact Centre employees. The prestigious setting of the Celtic Manor Resort, along with a combination of engaging workshops, inspirational speakers and huge amounts of enthusiasm, certainly made for two very memorable days! Feedback showed that 98% of delegates found it beneficial liaising with people from different companies and 100% of attendees took back valuable insight to their workplace!

Reward your Contact Centre Stars in 2015 when AgentFest and 50 Team Leaders return.
 Keep an eye out for more details.

Our Quarterly Forum meetings stood out in 2014!

New dates announced

All four meetings have been highly attended and have received positive feedback as a way of sharing best practise and innovation within the industry. September’s event provided the perfect platform to showcase the best. The winners of Contact Centre of the Year, Screwfix hosted the event and gave an exclusive insight into how they’d achieved their success. Plantronics played host to the final event of the year which proved to be a great opportunity to show our members their fantastic facilities. Dates for 2015 have been released so get them in your diary now!

Venues and agendas to be confirmed

Employment Success in the South West!

Three Contact Centres in the South West offer employment following a successful pre-employment training academy.

The South West Contact Centre Forum is dedicated to securing a strong future for the contact centre industry, including an ongoing effort towards the improvement of customer service standards. A major part of this is providing prospective call centre agents with the relevant customer service skills, not only to prepare them for a role in a contact centre but to provide employers with a talent pool from which they can recruit.

As part of our ongoing pre-employment training scheme, we recently trialled the first Contact Centre Training Academy in conjunction with Weston College, and have been delighted by its success.

This bespoke course was developed by members of the South West Contact Forum and is always delivered by trainers who have direct contact centre experience. It is shaped specifically to develop the vital skill required by a contact centre agent. Throughout the week, the candidates not only enhanced their employability levels, but built confidence and completed the course engaged and passionate about a future career in a contact centre. 

Of the eight delegates who completed the course, six were offered employment on the spot by Agilisys. The other participating employers, RAC and Castelan also offered 6 of the candidates the opportunity to progress to the next stage of their interview process meaning that a number of candidates were offered multiple opportunities. This high success rate really is a testament to the benefits this customer service focused course provides employers and candidates alike.

Following feedback from the training academy it was noted that all learners found the course ‘extremely valuable’ and their success with the participating employers reinforces that this intense programme equips them with essential customer service skills.

This initiative is an ideal addition to your recruitment strategy so if you are an employer looking to get involved please contact: Jane@swcontactcentreforum.com

Or perhaps you have a work programme or have funding to get people into employment. We would be happy to administer a course for you click here for more information.

 

2014 South West Contact Centre Award Winners in the News!


Bristol Evening Post

Western Daily Press
Call Centre Helper

Click on the links above to view the recent news coverage of the 2014 SWCCF Awards!

Intelecom adds Silent Monitoring and Enhanced Media Archive Functionality to Connect its MultiChannel Cloud Contact Centre

New features for supervisors and managers
Intelecom Group AS, today announced the latest release of Connect, its multichannel cloud based contact centre solution. The new release sees enhanced functionality for Connect Control the management and reporting portal of Connect, which now includes Silent Monitoring of agent telephone calls in real time.  In addition the Connect Media Archive module has been extended to cover the storing and retrieval of web Chat Conversations to help resolve customer queries and identify required service changes. 

Christian Thorsrud, Product Manager at Intelecom Group AS explained, “As more customer engagement channels are handled by contact centres the added complexity this introduces means there is an increased requirement for monitoring, coaching and training of agents.  Contact centre managers need to have the right monitoring tools in place to maintain quality, resolve escalated queries and coach agents so they can improve and gain job satisfaction by delivering exceptional customer service.”

The new Silent Monitoring feature allows managers to listen to calls in real time by selecting agents, time slots and the number of calls required.  When a manager is listening to a call Connect Control displays the caller’s number, access number, agent name and queue name. There is an option for agents to be made aware the call is being listened to as a headset icon appears on their screen. Real time monitoring quickly identifies any process change or training requirements. Likewise agents can be praised and excellent service rewarded boosting employee morale. 

Managers are also able to use Connect Media Archive to retrieve Chat conversations in the same way as voice calls. The archive includes information about how long the Chatter waited in the queue, the name of the agent, how long the conversation lasted and more.  In addition a log of the chat between the agent and the Chatter is available showing the content of the Chat conversation.

Christian Thorsrud continued, “Connect Control provides advanced management and reporting in the contact centre with a high level of administrator functionality.  Intelecom customers tell us that the ability to monitor, manage and control the contact centre online and from within a single interface is a major advantage.  With added functionality to Silent Monitoring and Media Archive, within the new release of Connect, managers will have the information they need to concentrate on helping agents provide an exceptional customer experience regardless of the channel used.”   

Connect from Intelecom is a complete, multichannel cloud contact centre solution. Its rich functionality is available in modular form which means customers specify the tools that are right for their business. Connect’s cloud technology and open Web Services allow integration with third party applications and its contact-centre-as-a-service (CCaaS) framework ensures customers achieve operational and cost efficiency on a pay-as-you-use basis which requires no capital investment or maintenance costs. Intelecom has over 15 years’ experience of providing cloud contact centre solutions.

UK Challenges and Opportunities For 2014: A Leadership Perspective

Introduction
A number of UK customer service, experience and engagement leaders have pooled their insight based on the themes that preoccupied their own communities during 2013. This is a first time collaboration. We hope you enjoy the rich diversity and also notice the many common themes that shine through. This is our way of completing the year and setting 2014 agendas. Please use it to refine your own.

Jane Thomas, Managing Director, South West Contact Centre Forum
Despite the challenges of most recent years, 2013 has seen our member base grow, and become very active, conscious and eager to take part in the many initiatives and events throughout the year.

This has been particularly evident in centres wanting to share best practice, hungry for tangible evidence of what the best in the industry are offering their respective customer base. This appetite has also been driven by many centres re-structuring and aligning their work force to embrace the challenges they face in serving their customers’ needs.

Efficient, lean operations doing the basics right, has led to key areas of interest in specialist training and people development especially addressing the ‘right behaviours’ for maximum customer experience.
The agent behaviours and customer interaction has been an interesting one when many organisations are then applying the principle to the hot topics of 2013 which have been Social Media, cloud technology, which because of the flexibility associated with such, has led to many organisations implementing a home working strategy. 

Key for the members in the South West, has been for them to firstly identify their strategy, and then the implementation piece. Whilst there are many companies leading the way in these areas, there is still much work to be done.

Many organisations still need to deliver an omni-channel experience across the customer journey; a single view of the customer is still daunting to many businesses, which are challenged by working in silos. Marketing, sales and service are somewhat still distant in many businesses, yet the forum is starting to see many more Marketing Managers accompanying their Head of Operations.

It is with this in mind, that in 2014 we will underpin this enthusiasm and positivity to embrace change, by continuing to highlight best practice and top performers. Key to success for many will be the requirement for continued Investment in resource and technology – tracking customer and employee engagement will ensure competitive advantage. 

There will also be great benefit to continue to offer organisations timely benchmarking and research, both regionally and nationally, in order that they may continue to gain cost efficiencies from improved processes, and staff engagement.

Sandra Busby, Director - SWCCF and Managing Director, Welsh Contact Centre Forum
The challenge of efficiencies and productivity made 2013 an interesting year. If the past twelve months has been characterised by one issue, it has been customer retention. Now this feels like something we’ve been saying for the past few years but the penny seems to have finally dropped with contact centres both realising and rising to the challenge of leaving corporate messages to one side and putting customer experience at the heart of their operations.

At the crux of this, as ever, is the customer agent. Against the balance of budgets which have loosened but remain tight, centres have had to multi-skill agents to ensure the customer feels they are having a real conversation with a human being.

While a handful of trailblazing contact centres really cracked fully integrated omni-channel communications in 2013 (and I hate the word ‘omni-channel’!), 2014 will put the customer at the heart of everything. Contact centres need to start from the building blocks of recruitment, training, motivation, attrition - all those issues that you need to master in order to ensure you’ve got the best people engaging with the outside world.

Success will be about building strategies which enable these people to deliver a quality experience every time in a way that fits with the customer’s lifestyle and expectations. Yes, contact centres need to create an environment which integrates voice, Facebook, Twitter, email and web chat, but it’s absolutely vital that within this agents have the skills and the confidence to put the customer and not the technology at the front and centre of the experience.

Organisations are trying to get their heads around keeping Mrs Jones who wants to speak on the phone happy, while at the same time being proactive about how her teenage daughter wants to buy a mobile package. But it’s not always as simplistic as that- industry experts are focusing on Generation Y, but I’m convinced there’s a smart generation in their 40s who want to engage with brands via mobile communications. If we want to ensure we’re equipped to please not just the next generation of consumers but the current one, then we need to nail this. 2014 seems like a good place to start.

Jonty Pearce, Editor, Call Centre Helper

We have based this information from regular polling of our extensive community of contact centre professionals. It is based on conversations that we have through our Online web chat, Webinars, Web Site (160,000 visitors per month), LinkedIn group (6,440 Members) and Twitter (over 7,000 followers).

What’s Hot
• Web Chat
• Net Promoter
• Customer Effort
• Emotional Intelligence
• Speech Analytics
• Social Customer Service
• Flexible shifts
• Multi skilling
• Web self service

What’s Not
• Slow IT systems (we really out to do something about this)
• Average Handling Time as an agent metric
• Under-staffing
• Email response times over 1 hour
• Scheduling by Excel
• Answer Machine Detection
• IVR
• Outbound Telesales

What’s Next
• Video Chat/ Skype in the contact centre
• Net Easy
• Removing commission based incentives
• Outcome based metrics
• Multichannel technology
• Home Working
• Web RTC
• Automatically feed answers into FAQs on the web site
• Merging Marketing and Customer Service

Martin Hill-Wilson, Founder, Brainfood Consulting
I have found 2013 a particularly lively year for getting on with it. Relative to previous times, we are definitely in a period of transition. Quite a radical one in fact. My two outstanding themes have been Social Customer Service and Performance and Quality.

Experiencing consistent feedback from webinars, workshops and roundtables throughout the year, I’m clear that 2013 will go down as the one when ownership for service issues via social channels moved from Marketing to Customer Service/joint ownership. At least here in the UK.

From informal polling, at least 60 percent of audiences kept saying they were now operationally involved and in the driver's seat. That said, the topic remains new and quite unnerving for many. Particularly for those not personally active on social channels.

What does this suggest for 2014? I would guess that given increased stories of consumer activism and clear signs of general growth, social customer service will keep moving up the priority list. For some, it will no doubt become an urgency.

Also keep an eye out for the first early examples of engagement hubs in which marketing, sales and service agendas are operationally unified and underpinned with smart customer analytics.

My other focus for the year has been the P&Q Challenge. This is an industry wide effort to fast track an improved return on the way contact centres undertake their performance and quality activities. It’s a crowd sourcing approach and everyone involved has contributed to the pot.

As a result, the ‘Strategic Quality Framework’ was born and around forty companies are now involved in pioneering work getting it implemented in their own organisations. It’s a six month programme.

Two things stand out from me. First is the obvious benefit of having time out from the operational environment. This has been a unanimous opinion. It seems reflecting, planning and testing ideas with others is something the industry needs to find more excuses for in times of rapid change.

Secondly, everyone's next generation version of quality management has put much greater focus on the voices of both customer and advisor. In other words, we are finally building an outside-in view of how we perform.

Taken together, I see 2014 as a period of sustained creativity for our industry.

Steve Hurst, Editorial Director, Engage Customer
2013 has been a defining year in the world of employee and customer engagement – and is setting the scene for further rapid changes during 2014 and beyond.

When Michael O Leary chief exec at Ryanair said in a TV interview after issuing two profits warnings that his job was to ‘change customer behaviour’ he clearly had got it wrong – and deep down inside he’s an intelligent enough person to know he’d got it wrong -which is why it is Ryanair who is changing.

Customers will no longer tolerate having two fingers continually put up to them by organisations such as Ryanair, those days are well and truly over. And the 50 per cent increase in profits this year at Ryanair’s arch rival Easyjet who base their business model on a robust customer service offering is testament to that.

So we have a sea change in the dynamics of the relationship between organisations and their customers and the employees that serve those customers. This is the change that we forecast back in 2009 when we (Chris Wood and I) formed the Customer Engagement Network.

• A perfect storm of financial meltdown leading to the need for sustainable customer retention strategies, new customer communication and interaction channels to market
• The now ubiquitous mobile channel
• The proliferation of social media tools such as Twitter and many more as customer and employee communication channels

All these have all come to pass. The game has changed Michael old son and changed forever.

It’s true to say that for the first time in history our customers – and our employees – have access to, and are using, more advanced technology than the organisations that purport to service them. This fundamental shift in the dynamic of the relationship is acting as a catalyst for customer and employee behavioural change – and that pace of change is accelerating.

My ten year old daughter is typically on four given communication devices at any given time – and none of those is the telephone! The telephone will of course always be an important communication and customer service channel – indeed it is increasingly being used as a ‘last resort’ when other channels have failed, when failure demand kicks in.

It is my strongly held belief that the customer of the future, indeed of now, is not in the least bit interested in your internal silos. They will expect the organisation they are interacting with to be on the channels of THEIR choice at times when they want to use them. If as an organisation you do not live up to that expectation they will leave you and find a competitor that does – and never ever come back.

And it’s important to remember that whatever else happens customers HAVE ALL THE MONEY. Yes folks, HR has got to be talking to Marketing if you are to have a realistic chance of long term survival. It’s as simple as that. And deep down Michael O’Leary damn well knows it!

--------------------------------------------------

Intelecom adds enhanced social media handling to Connect, its contact centre in the cloud

Intelecom Group AS, a provider of cloud contact management technology, has added enhanced social media handling capabilities to Connect, its flexible, multichannel cloud contact centre solution. Connect currently has an integration to Facebook which involves agents logging onto the Facebook network. In the latest version of the product, social media enquiries from Facebook and Twitter are integrated fully with traditional communication channels which means agents can deal with them quickly and efficiently from within the same application.

The way in which people are communicating is rapidly changing. The use of multichannel communication is becoming commonplace in contact centres. As organisations expand their use of new communication channels for business purposes there is a shift away from social media purely being handled by the marketing department towards it being utilized for customer service and to improve the customer experience. Christian Thorsrud, Product Manager at Intelecom Group AS said, “Analysts predict that by 2016 as many as 50% of enterprises will utilize social media as a customer channel. Social media will be the new servicing norm in just few years. This new version of Connect deals with social media networks in the same way as traditional channels like telephone, email, SMS and Chat enabling improved operational efficiency and social customer service.”

Intelecom has applied its new corporate profile and logo to Connect. The new look and feel of the product reflects the company’s focus on providing integrated, effective contact centre solutions in the cloud that enhance customer interaction and promote customer intimacy. The new logo underlines Intelecom’s association with communication and its heritage as one of the first developers of cloud-based contact centre solutions. The bird image, associated with air and flight, symbolizes the growing adoption by the industry at large of agile, flexible, multichannel contact centre services in the cloud.

Connect from Intelecom can work in any location, independent of hardware, software, platform or device. Its cloud based technology and open Web Services allow integration with

third party applications and its contact-centre-as-a-service (CCaaS) framework ensures customers achieve operational and cost efficiency on a pay-as you-use basis which requires no capital investment or maintenance costs. Intelecom has over 15 years’ experience of providing cloud contact management technology.

Christian Thorsrud concluded, “The latest version of Connect, with enhanced social media handling capabilities, is currently being deployed at Intelecom customers and the feedback is very positive. The agents like the new modern look and colours of the product and appreciate the ease of dealing with all enquiries, no matter how they are received, via a single queue. Agents no longer have to switch between applications and can respond to customers from one fully integrated platform enhancing the customer experience.”

The latest release of Connect is now available and includes integrated Facebook and Twitter enquiries. For more information on Connect please visit www.intele.com

Page: 1 2