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UCaaS
This article was written by ATI partner Zane Long, SVP Global Channel Sales, RingCentral

Today, engaging with customers over digital channels is crucial to business success. Almost 70% of the North American population is online. Social media, internet surfing, mobile and desktop messaging apps have woven themselves into our daily lives. In as little as five years, a customer’s options to communicate with businesses have increased significantly. Long gone are the days when you called a company, left a message, and never received a response. Nowadays, customers expect to communicate in a way that is most convenient for them.

With the world going digital, companies have no other option but to step into their customers’ preferred communication channels to engage with them. Furthermore, for contact center agents, the ability to have all streams of communication unified in a single platform is an absolute game changer.

There’s No Substitute for Knowledgeable—and Human—Service

According to Harris Interactive, 75% customers believe it takes too long to reach a live agent. Customers expect quality service in real time and through their channel of choice. The need for communication services and multimedia support will only increase as technology becomes more complex and expectations for customer service continue to rise. In short, there is no substitute for a live agent addressing a customer’s needs quickly and efficiently. Sorry, but the pre-recorded message no longer cuts it.

An Omni-Channel Digital Customer Engagement Platform

Companies need to engage with customers on multiple channels, but typically these different channels are supported through different tools. Over time, systems have become more sophisticated, and markets have adopted the concept of “omni-channel” customer engagement. An omni-channel digital platform allows agents to use one tool to support customers across all digital channels. This enables companies to focus on customer engagement depending on the customer’s need (through skills-based routing), without agents being limited to a single communication channel.

That’s why RingCentral Engage Digital is a must-have for enterprises. Engage Digital empowers agents to efficiently manage customer interactions across all digital channels via a single interface. With this new world-class product, businesses can resolve customer issues quickly and efficiently—all while providing a seamless experience. By leveraging our AI-based smart routing engine, agents will have the ability to elevate their real-time messaging communications, leading to faster resolution of customer issues.

Contact centers are among the front line of customer experiences, but really it’s a win for everyone. A complete contact center speaks to the satisfied customer who can reach their vendor or business partner efficiently and effectively.

This article was written by ATI partner Zane Long, SVP Global Channel Sales, RingCentral
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UCaaS

Article by ATI partner Gayathri Krishnamurthy of Nice inContact

We are entering an experience economy where exceptional customer experience (CX) is a true competitive differentiator; more than product and price. Today’s customers are not just looking to get assistance, they are looking for an experience that is immersive, engaging and proactive. With exceptional CX, customers stay longer with the brand, buy more and bring more customers via word of mouth, all resulting in a direct revenue uplift. But what does it take to go from where you are now to delivering CX your customers expect?

Here are four simple steps for transforming your CX:

1. Set a CX goal; work on incremental and continuous improvements

Improving CX is an iterative and incremental process. Start by envisioning your goal; what best in class looks like, and then follow a maturity model to move one step at a time. Contact center is definitely a critical piece in achieving CX since it facilitates and impacts customer interactions across the buyer journey.

2. Orchestrate people, process and technology within the contact center

Focus on the prime CX influence; contact center. Delivering exceptional CX involves aligning key aspects pertinent to contact center—agents, customers and real-time operations. Create personalized experiences across channels that matter the most for your customers. Happy agents make happy customers. Ensure agents are engaged and empowered with the right tools and that there is a continuous measurement and monitoring of customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and KPIs to drive correlated actions and next steps as it relates to CX.

Lastly, think about the right technology platform that can help achieve these with ease.

3. Build for the future

  • Choose a technology to build for the future, one that is open, extensible and scalable. Cloud native outweighs other cloud options here.
  • Designed for scalability and agility, companies can quickly adjust to changing customer needs in real-time without expensive, complex upgrades to an on-premises solution
  • Open architecture provides flexibility and future-proofs your technology investment.
  • Open application programming interfaces (APIs) enable easy application extensions, spurring innovation and driving business success

4. Build a business case to invest more in contact centers

Today’s contact center executives have a larger role to play in driving revenue and market share, not just optimizing costs. Contact center remains the epicenter for customer interactions, all through the customer journey from awareness, purchase, service and advocacy. Build a strong business case for investment in a robust contact center and quantify values of CX improvement through automation, migration to new technology and better KPI all of which not just drives costs downs but improves CX. Improving CX is not a big bang approach. It involves continuous planning with incremental improvements focusing on your frontline employees, customers, effective operations, right processes and technologies. A future-proof cloud native CX platform proves to be a critical and foundational element in achieving and exceeding your CX goals. NICE inContact is the cloud contact center leader with the world’s #1 cloud customer experience platform, CXone.

Article by ATI partner Gayathri Krishnamurthy of Nice inContact

Learn more about a Contact Center deep dive analysis here.
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UCaaS
Article by ATI Partner Tiago Paiva, CEO – Talkdesk

It’s an exciting time to be a part of the contact center industry as organizations are increasingly looking to use their service experience as the competitive differentiator.  At Talkdesk, we’re glad to see this shift happening for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, this is elevating the role of frontline agents to be more strategic and influential in providing a great customer experience. The highly repetitive and monotonous tasks are moving to self-service and artificial intelligence, which is enabling the people who provide live service to do more impactful work. We expect this trend to increase over time as Artificial Intelligence (AI) takes the lead in making service interactions easier for consumers while providing more robust data and business insights back to contact center leaders. Eventually, customers should be able to receive service that happens without any need for human intervention, if that’s what they really want. It will be up to companies to design the best blend of AI and human assisted service for their future customer experiences. This is just one of the many reasons that we’re excited about the release of Talkdesk iQ.

Second, it’s forcing organizations to streamline their processes and procedures by eliminating redundancy or reducing complexities. With many organizations focusing on improving the customer experience, they must look across their operations to find the most effective way to deliver service. In many instances, this is driving more ownership and authority to places like the contact center, field service representatives, or brick and mortar customer service employees. This is a problem for many companies, however, because their existing tools and processes are very disconnected and unable to support a mobile workforce. At Talkdesk, we just see this as an opportunity to empower these employees with the tools and resources that enable them to do their job anywhere, anytime. We developed Talkdesk Mobile, a solution that’s unlike anything else in the market, to enable people like sales and service representatives to access everything that they need to connect with and service customers right from their mobile device.

Lastly, this shift to focusing on the customer experience is driving a change in how organizations look at their metrics. Many of the contact center’s metrics are focused on efficiency (cost per contact, average handle time, etc.), which are important but do not tell the whole picture of the customer experience. As a result, there is an increased focus on other operational, customer satisfaction, and strategic value metrics. One thing that is essential to ensuring that the customers, employees, and business are satisfied is system uptime. When the system goes down, nothing else matters. For this reason, we recently announced an 100% Uptime SLA. We haven’t seen anyone else who’s willing to demonstrate their commitment to the industry in this way. For us at Talkdesk, we believe that it’s important to show our customers that what matters to them also matters to us.

As I look ahead to the future of the contact center, I see tremendous opportunities for organizations to use their frontline agents and tools like Talkdesk to deliver great customer experiences. The biggest challenge will be whether or not companies can move past the old perception of the contact center as a “cost center” and realize the possibilities of combining the best platform with their people and processes.

Article by ATI Partner Tiago Paiva, CEO – Talkdesk

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UCaaS
Article by ATI Partner William Rubio, Chief Revenue Officer – CallTower

A radical shift in business communication has begun. An industry once dominated by a desk phone is being reinvented. Business communication tools are evolving from one-size-attempts-to-fit-all products into tailor-made solutions for a dynamic workstyle. And why not? The solutions entering the market are designed for flexibility and efficiency and because they work better – they cost less. Today, it’s not a choice of when you are going to adopt Unified Communication (UC) solution, it’s a question of which solution works best for your business.

 

Here’s a quick peek at the market outlook for 2019 and beyond:

 

• Global UCaaS Market growing from $17.35B in 2016 to $31.3B in 2021 (source)
• Global UC Market size to reach $143.49B by 2024, with a CAGR of 16.8% (source)
• Microsoft and Cisco will take 68% of the enterprise UC Market (Wainhouse Research)

 

Let’s take a deeper dive into some of the solutions that will define 2019:

 

Microsoft Teams Calling Plans and Direct Routing

 

Teams is Microsoft’s next step in unified communication solutions and businesses will be making the big transition from Skype for Business to Teams in 2019. Teams can easily collaborate on files with built-in Office 365 apps and add-in Microsoft apps and third-party services to keep team members efficient. Microsoft Teams provides end-to-end security, administrative control, and compliance. However, Teams doesn’t offer contact center solutions and additional key integrations that many businesses will need in their UC environment. These are left to Microsoft Gold Partners, like CallTower, to fill in the gaps.

 

CallTower’s Microsoft Teams solution enables full teamwork with group chat, online meetings, calling, and web conferencing, plus implementation, training and support. As a native Microsoft voice enabled solution, CallTower’s Skype for Business solution delivers key integrations like contact center and interoperability with Cisco, plus much more. With Skype for Business 2019, MAC users and PC users will have the added benefit of the same client interface and functionality.

 

Customers looking to move to Teams will want to utilize CallTower’s Microsoft Teams Calling Plans with Direct Routing. Direct Routing is a Microsoft Teams Phone System that enables customers to bring their current voice serves into the Microsoft Cloud. Direct Routing ensures the ability to leverage a provider’s preferred rates and unlocks the full potential of the system.

 

CT Cloud Boost

 

In 2019, access to the cloud is too important to rely on a single vulnerable path. Organizations shouldn’t have to worry about Internet connections, they need their networks optimized for UC solutions. CT Cloud Boost provides the intelligence and performance networks should have in the modern workplace. It’s an easy-to-use solution that utilizes the multiple providers of your UC systems and enhances your Internet experience.

 

With UC Solutions, some organizations find recurring network issues affecting call quality and internet speed, limiting the benefits of their solution. Often, the ISP network is the issue. CallTower can establish a round of communication to monitor internet reliability and facilitate the installation of a CT Cloud Boost solution suited to your needs.

 

CT Cloud Boost delivers by connecting data centers directly to the domestic network backbone and POPs of CT Cloud Boost carriers. Customer traffic hops on at the closest POP, delivering a fully redundant architecture. This easy-to-install connection makes CT Cloud Boost quick and inexpensive to implement and optimizes internet performance and uptime – perfect for unlocking the potential of an organization’s UCaaS solutions.

 

When this solution is tailored to the needs of an organization, connectivity issues will be resolved and UCaaS solutions function at peak capacity. Without these issues, the power of UC can boost both internal and external communication to new heights to achieve strategic goals.


Article by ATI Partner William Rubio, Chief Revenue Officer – CallTower

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UCaaS
Article by ATI partner Michelle Burrows, CMO – Serenova

Forrester Research found that revenue can increase significantly when contact center index scores rise. According to the research, a 10-percentage-point improvement in contact center can translate into more than a million dollars in increased revenue. On the other hand, contact center missteps mean risking damage to reputation and bottom line. As organizations learn that reality the hard way, it leaves those getting it right at an advantage. Based on the article, 3 Customer Experience Mistakes You’ll Never Make Again, here are three common CX pitfalls. 

MISTAKE ONE: Failing to Connect Metrics

Some contact centers get so caught up in measuring performance that it negatively impacts contact center. Metrics like average handle time (AHT) are important measures of productivity, but they become problematic if not considered with an eye toward contact center. For example, if your customer’s first contact resolution (FCR) metric declines in line with AHT, the contact center effect is negative. Rather than track efficiency and customer satisfaction separately, contact centers should consider them together. DMG Consulting recommends identifying Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that measure customer satisfaction, agent effectiveness and agent productivity. You can deliver unique value to your customers by encouraging them to rethink their metrics and ensure their data directly measures and improves contact center.

MISTAKE TWO: Multi-channel Instead of Omnichannel

Consumers expect to interact with brands seamlessly across multiple channels, including web chat, click-to-call, SMS and social messaging. However, according to Nemertes Research, fewer than half the organizations it studied support these channels. In the rush to connect across channels, many organizations are not integrating interactions into seamless, omnichannel experiences. The result is customer frustration when agents lack the information and context to effectively deliver optimal service and resolution.

By offering your customers a fully integrated omnichannel contact center solution rather than one that simply handles multiple channels, they can give their customers a consistently outstanding experience regardless of channel—and can even pivot between channels while keeping that consistent experience.

MISTAKE THREE: Not Simplifying Agent Experience

How are you helping your customers enable agents to handle channel proliferation? If agents are struggling with multiple systems that don’t connect, the effect on contact center is negative. If critical contact center components are not integrated, agents must switch between multiple screens and applications to find customer data. This negatively impacts metrics such as AHT and can increase customers’ frustration over wait time.

A commitment to contact center means your customers also must elevate the agent experience. A smart approach is to empower agents to resolve problems quickly by integrating the contact center solution with the agent’s CRM. This means agents can easily drill down for details across all channels. Connecting to complete customer interaction data eliminates switching between applications while improving efficiency and delivering winning contact center.

Sign up for a no obligation Contact Center review today.


Article by ATI partner Michelle Burrows, CMO – Serenova
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UCaaS
Hosting a contact center with ATI eliminates the possibility of your on-site call center servers failing because the contact center would be hosted in multiple geographically redundant secure data centers. Speaking of servers, putting yours in the cloud frees up your IT staff to work on other projects and eliminates the cost for replacing and maintaining; ATI will take care of all that for your company. What if your contact center has peak months? Not a problem with a cloud solution contact center – you can scale up and down with ease, no need to buy all that equipment up front.

Sign up for a Contact Center cloud analysis today!
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UCaaS
Article by ATI Partner Bobby Beckmann, Chief Technology Officer – Lifesize

The presence and sheer simplicity of video in the consumer mainstream has fundamentally changed video in the workplace. People demand the same user experience from workplace technologies as they get from their personal technologies. So how does society’s progress toward smarter, faster and more scalable collaboration solutions redefine the future of video in the workplace, and what trends can we expect to permeate the way we work?

Five years ago, cloud architecture emerged as the biggest industry disruptor since the conception of HD. Today, companies offering a cloud-based video solution are taking advantage of new technologies to completely transform the way teams communicate. Here are a few technology trends shaping the future of video conferencing and leading to increasing levels of meeting productivity for everyone:

1. Office culture is transitioning to video-first
The availability of a seamless video communication culture in the workplace is now expected by the next-generation workforce. Video-first organizational cultures are finding new levels of competitive advantage with increased productivity, collaboration and employee engagement.

2. Meeting room technologies are converging
Another big trend we see taking over our everyday workflow is the consolidation of collaboration tools in the workplace. With the average business juggling 4.4 different collaboration technologies (audio, video, screen sharing, chat …) just to stay connected inside and outside of the meeting room, silo-style ways of working are slowly becoming a thing of the past. As meeting technologies converge, the end user experience will become even more seamless, making it easier to focus on the meeting at hand.

3. The rise of AI and machine learning
Features like voice recognition, echo cancellation and AI bot moderators are already making huge strides and disrupting how we work for the better. Not only is the rise of AI and machine learning freeing up resources, it’s also helping simplify the way we communicate. On the administration side, meeting-habit data and machine learning can do so much in aiding the monitoring of networks and endpoints for enhanced reliability and performance.

At Lifesize, we not only understand the power of connecting people to make the workplace great — we are also trailblazers in the video conferencing and collaboration industry. We were the first to introduce HD more than a decade ago, and we continue to pioneer the future of video communication to strengthen face-to-face relationships. Our app for desktop, mobile and browser delivers high quality video that you can depend on, and our industry-leading conference room camera systems provide the very best quality video and content in every sized meeting space.

Article by ATI Partner Bobby Beckmann, Chief Technology Officer – Lifesize

Learn more about the Lifesize cloud here
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UCaaS
By ATI Partner Nour Addine Ayyoub, CEO and Founder – ZaiLab

As organizations strive to differentiate themselves from competitors, many are investing heavily in developing a stellar, unified customer experience (CX) across all touchpoints and channels. And rightfully so, with research from the Tempkin Group finding that 86 percent of consumers were likely to make a repeat purchase from a company if they received great CX, while only 13 percent would return if CX was poor.

Customers are increasingly at the forefront of business decision making, and subsequently organizations are prioritizing the cultivation of positive brand experiences for every customer interaction, regardless of channel (according to Salesforce, 75 percent of people expect a consistent experience across all channels). While many are solely focused on online and in-person channels, companies should also include contact centers in their CX strategies, given that the phone is the customer service channel of choice in the US according to Microsoft’s 2017 report on the state of global customer service.

With this in mind, we wanted to examine the following trends in the contact center industry, and how brands can implement effective CX strategies by leveraging these tools and considerations.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning: Providing positive CX at every touchpoint relies heavily on AI and machine learning capabilities. On the contact center front, it can be used to route calls to the appropriate agent most likely to provide the best outcome based on past experiences, customer satisfaction scores and interaction data. It can also be used to prioritize calls based on business value and agent-customer compatibility. Given the projected growth of contact centers (5 -10 percent in the next year according to Forrester), organizations will continue to rely on AI/ML to keep contact centers sustainable.

Real time speech analytics: Effectively understanding customer sentiment and intent is a difficult task for brands (especially when interactions are over the phone) but it plays a significant role in cultivating customer loyalty. Voice analytics can empower organizations to read between the lines and extract insights from audio that would have otherwise been missed – enabling companies to predict and automate interactions, which can then be used to inform customer centric business decisions.

Consumption based pricing model: Traditionally, contact center solutions have been expensive, clunky and outdated. In order to truly strengthen CX, companies should adopt innovative tools that allow customers to pay for only what they use, rather than slapping them with a one-size fits all agreement. A consumption based model that gives customers access to all features, while only charging for what’s used, democratizes the technology for companies of all sizes and budgets.

As organizations finesse CX strategies, it’ll be important for them to look for contact center solutions like ZaiLab that facilitate positive experiences through technical advancements and flexible pricing models.

By ATI Partner Nour Addine Ayyoub, CEO and Founder – ZaiLab

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UCaaS

The Gartner 2018 Magic Quadrant for Meeting Solutions is out!

StarLeaf is one of 13 vendors to make it into the MQ. We believe this is a great achievement particularly as Gartner uses several inclusion and evaluation criteria for a vendor’s “Ability to Execute and Completeness of Vision”.

We see their inclusion as a testament to our customers’ endorsement of the StarLeaf experience. Ease-of-use and simple management of our premium meeting room solutions, coupled with our exceptional quality of service, is fueling the adoption of StarLeaf across the enterprise.

As of September 25, 2018, StarLeaf has received a 4.7 out of 5 rating for its meeting solutions platform on Gartner Peer Insights. In May 2018, an Assistant VP, MIS said, “Great solution, worked out of the box. Only solution tested that worked in the lab without any configuration”, and in July 2018, an IT Architect and Change Manager said, “Deployment has been very easy to work, user experience is very good, administration of the product is very simple.”


StarLeaf helps businesses around the globe increase productivity, accelerate decision-making and achieve better results, so that staff spend less time in meetings and more time focused on the business.

If you would like to learn more about StarLeaf in action please check this out.

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