Getting off the grid: COVID is pushing business leaders to change their perspective on contact centers
Twilio welcomes Simonetta Turek as the new General Manager of Twilio Flex. Born from APIs, Twilio Flex is a contact center platform companies trust to execute their differentiated customer experiences for competitive advantage. Simonetta joins us from AWS and a long career in enterprise software and communications, with a passion for and extensive knowledge of the customer engagement space. Welcome aboard, Simonetta!
I like to get off the grid. Finding some head space away from the notifications, emails, and cell service is just as important to my productivity as actually crossing off items on my to-do list. It makes me think differently, look at problems and solutions from new angles, and ultimately, be better at what I do.
I’ve spent several years working in the contact center space and the past nine months working remotely. In that time away from the office, I’ve noticed that alongside the new necessity of …
Leveraging technology to empower refugees: How the International Rescue Committee helps populations in crisis during COVID-19
“How do you stay indoors if you don’t have a house?" asks Henry Tbilisi, a resettled refugee working to help others during COVID-19.
Henry works as a moderator for the International Rescue Committee (IRC)’s project Signpost, an online platform that delivers vital information to newly arrived refugees. With misinformation threatening people’s safety, Henry is motivated to connect displaced people with trusted information on the virus as well as support services for housing, health care, and racial discrimination.
Henry is just one of many refugees who have stepped up to help their communities during COVID-19. With many refugees in crisis around the globe, IRC as a whole is committed to using technology to scale the number of people the organization can help through the pandemic and beyond.
This year for World Refugee Day on June 20, IRC is highlighting the contributions of refugees on the front lines of COVID-19.
Refugees are …
Scaling contact tracing: What tech does—and doesn't—solve
Contact tracing is among the most powerful tools in public health to break the cycle of disease transmission by identifying and alerting those who may have been exposed.
While contact tracing is an age-old tactic for public health practitioners, the timing of the COVID-19 pandemic has created unique realities that both complicate and improve effective contact tracing.
In an ongoing series, we’ll examine those unique realities, including:
- how new technology can serve contact tracers,
- the impact of public perception of contact tracing,
- and how agencies can model the investments required in the coming 12-18+ months to face this public health crisis.
To start, let’s look at the benefits and challenges posed by the use of technology for contact tracing.
Scaling contact tracing and implications for human engagement
The scale of the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented, and traditional strategies for epidemiologists to individually call those who have been exposed simply cannot …
How a pandemic accelerates the demise of on-premise contact centers—and why that’s a good thing
Picture yourself 20 years from now looking back to this year and saying, “There’s nothing like a global pandemic to teach us….” (And then finish the sentence.)
This is what I’d say.
During the coronavirus pandemic, we learned we needed to redefine the term “business continuity.”
Back in the day, the term solely involved contract terms and service level agreements (SLAs) that dealt with disruptions caused by down-time, caused by computer or telecommunications system failures.
Today, we know better. The pandemic exposed points of failure in processes and faults in network topologies that arose when so many people were forced to conduct conversations and commerce within the friendly confines of their homes.
The disruption was driven by new processes and workflows, not technology and processor performance. Today, those disruptions are permanent. Reliance on “intelligent endpoints” was accelerated in the form of smartphones or smart speakers used for online shopping or …
How COVID-19 is impacting retail and how it will shape the industry’s future
As the effects of the coronavirus continue to unfold, retailers are adapting their business continuity plans to suit current and anticipated changes to rapidly changing consumer preferences and spending patterns.
E-commerce is dominating retail
Industry-wide, the global pandemic is accelerating e-commerce’s takeover of retail. A recent UBS analysis predicted that COVID-19 will immediately increase the online portion of total retail sales from 15 percent to 25 percent per year.
Brick-and-mortar storefronts are finding their direct-to-consumer (D2C) footing as online shopping across all products and services grows in popularity: one-third of Americans bought groceries online in March, and tens of millions of them did it for the first time. Similarly, American restaurants now make more than half of their revenue from delivery, drive-through, and takeout.
As retail further transitions its sales and engagement to e-commerce, consumers continue to expect communication on …
Learn how to quickly create a modern IVR to empower your workforce and deliver meaningful customer experiences
Today’s consumers are familiar with Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems—commonly referred to as “phone trees''—and their benefits and downfalls. A well-constructed IVR feels seamless and gets a consumer right to where they want to be… but a bad one can lead to non stop tapping of the 0 or 1 key, all the way to shouting down the phone when the automated robot just doesn’t get it.
Read 6 ways building a modern IVR propels your business to new heights.
Those in the contact center or customer care community know that the technology has actually been around since the early 70s. When IVRs were first released as a feature, they promised great things, such as massive call deflection and call steering rates.
However, they were often really difficult to both configure …
Customer experience happens in the contact center. Is yours set up for success?
Customer loyalty hinges on the customer experience, and because of that, the contact center—where the customer experience is shaped—is now the proving ground for brand differentiation.
From account authentication to delivery notification; from customer service experiences to product and experience reviews, the contact center is the hub of trusted communications that engages customers throughout the customer lifecycle.
A younger workforce, process automation, and customer expectations are fundamentally shaping the future of enterprise contact centers. The next generation of contact center employees expect easy access to a 360º customer view. Chatbots and machine learning are allowing for 24/7 service that simultaneously frees up more time for agents. And customer expectations demand maximum flexibility to communicate with brands on the channel of their choice.
To suit every customer, your contact center needs to provide self-service and the option for a direct line of communication to live agents across SMS, email, …
How AI can help contact centers resolve issues faster during crisis
With the disruption caused by coronavirus comes new challenges for customer service and support. In times of crisis, it’s important to stay focused on best practices and reinforce the capabilities of your contact center—not necessarily rip-and-replace them. In addition to being prepared with business continuity plans and the right infrastructure, businesses can ensure their contact center agents are able to manage increased call volumes by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to help scale support.
Traditionally, customer satisfaction (CSAT) has been regarded as the ultimate measure of customer loyalty. However, according to recent Gartner research, a more telling indicator of customer loyalty, especially amidst the stresses and sense of urgency surrounding COVID-19 and other times of crisis, is customer effort: the ease of customer interaction and resolution during a request. In fact, customer effort is 40 percent more …
Best practices for contact centers to manage customer service in the midst of a crisis
Amid the new reality of social distancing and ‘shelter-in-place’ orders brought on by the coronavirus, businesses worldwide are scrambling to adapt to change.
Nowhere is this more evident than in call and contact centers, who bear a massive burden of inbound calls and messages. Effective crisis communications, both within an organization as well as between a company and its customers, requires a delicate balance between providing relevant information in a timely manner without contributing to panic or already heightened states of stress.
Below is a list of practical steps we’ve seen Twilio customers implement to manage this unique time and circumstance we all find ourselves in:
1. Check-in with your team early and often: Run 15-minute stand up meetings with a different group/team of agents every day. Get a sense for how overwhelmed they possibly are –– not just from call volume, but from managing emotional conversations and their …
3 ways to augment the contact center for greater customer loyalty
As the hub of communications across the entire customer lifecycle, contact centers are modernizing today with tomorrow’s customer experience in mind.
Market-leading companies are putting the needs of their customers at the forefront, transforming their legacy call centers into intuitive, omnichannel contact centers. How? The adoption of cloud communications as part of their CX strategy.
Cloud platforms are enabling companies to build applications at unprecedented speed and flexibility. These platforms:
- Are global, scalable, and cost-effective;
- Don’t require massive budgets or lengthy installations, and;
- Empower businesses to create custom contact centers tailored to their customer and business needs.
Cloud APIs—or, the routines, protocols, and tools developers use for building software applications—offer new approaches to building contact centers that do not require expensive systems integration or a ‘rip and replace’ rebuild. Instead, these building block APIs provide the …