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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.

Your company prides itself on its stellar customer service. Whether its on-boarding new customers or addressing an issue a current customer may be having, your employees understand the importance of making—and keeping—customers satisfied. But the tools you use to interact with your customers are just as important as how you treat your customers. If they frequently experience dropped calls, clueless customer service reps or trouble connecting with your company, it won’t be long before those customers look to your competitors to conduct their business. That’s why your communications system is a critical component of your customer service strategy. Through a robust, full-featured communications system, your employees can provide the best possible customer interactions and enable your customers to communicate easily with your company anytime for any reason. Utilizing the benefits of the cloud for your communications can advance your customer service even further, enabling your employees to offer a high-quality customer experience from any location using virtually any device.

Here are three ways cloud communications can help improve customer relationships:

  1. High Availability: Customers expect to be able to contact your company quickly and easily. Dropped dial tones and fuzzy connections don’t convey a professional image for your company. A cloud communications service can provide a reliable, high-quality communications experience, helping your company and your customers connect with little to no downtime should the unexpected occur.
  2. Because cloud-based communications is a hosted service, it is located offsite in data centers with redundant technology. That means even in the event of a disaster, your company communications is still up and running—your employees can work from anywhere and communicate with customers using the full suite of capabilities available to them, and customers can reach your company to hear important messages or speak with an agent.
  3. On-Demand Customer Data: When integrated with a customer relationship management or business intelligence system, your communications system can provide employees with a comprehensive view of customer information during a call. The information is brought up automatically when a customer calls in, reducing the chance customers have to wait on hold, which can lessen the customer experience. Instead, employees can provide the highest quality care with no delay and no gaps in customer service.
  4. Contact center technologies such as workgroups, hunt groups and flexible call routing can help enhance the customer experience, reducing hold times and ensuring calls are answered in a timely fashion.
  5. Ability to Connect Anytime: Employees today like work where they want, when they want. That shouldn’t impact the way they do their jobs. With a cloud communications system, your employees can work in a coffee shop, a hotel room, the airport — wherever they are — and have access to the same features they would if they were sitting at their desk in the office. They are not hamstrung by basic functionality or limited customer data.
Cloud communications is changing the way businesses today interact with their customers, optimizing the customer experience to mutual benefit. Is your company ready to explore the benefits cloud communications can offer?

May 12, 2016 – Business competition in today’s economy is fierce. Your customers expect the highest level of customer care, and you and your staff need to be reachable, professional and customer focused at all times – no matter where you’re located. If that’s your business model, is your phone system serving you like you serve your customers? Use this checklist to evaluate if your phone system gives your customers the experience they now expect from their chosen providers.  Any items you can’t check off may signal that you could be getting more out of your phone system.

Reachability and professionalism

  • Customers can access your sales staff anytime and anywhere with mobile capability that directs incoming office calls to be received on your sales staff’s mobile phones
  • Outbound calls look professional, coming from the main company number, even when your employees are using their smartphones
  • Customer focus is enhanced by connecting your CRM tools with Outlook to give you conversation history with your client
  • Employee productivity is increased by merging call records with customer records to improve sales trending projections and staffing optimization

Employee productivity

  • Employees and partners can communicate in ways that are easy and intuitive through audio and web conferencing, regardless of where they’re working
  • Employees use presence features to be reachable by establishing if they are in the office, out of office, or in a meeting by using presence features
  • Teamwork is made easy with voice and video calling, including screen sharing

Cost effectiveness

  • Ongoing administration, such as adding a new employee is easy, not labor intensive
  • Local support is available to train your staff to use features that improve customer experience
  • You have the option of outsourcing your phone system management to an experienced local company
How did you do? Depending on your responses, here are some things to think about.
  • If you scored an 8-10, you’re using your phone system to improve your customers’ experience as they work with you.
  • If you scored a 5-7, there may be some phone system features you can use to improve your company’s competitive positioning and your customers’ experience.
  • If you scored less than 5, it’s time to look at phone system capabilities you can bring to your company to help your staff be more reachable, professional and customer-focused.
You want your employees to function effectively while improving company productivity and increasing customer satisfaction. Your phone system should help you do all that – and boost your competitive advantage. If you’d like to discuss your phone system’s capabilities and see what’s possible for your business, give us a call at 630-577-2680.


Creating Better Customer Experiences One Call at a Time

March 7, 2016 – If you make money using the phone, then your phone system needs to be a business enabler, not an inhibitor. Your prospects must be able to reach you in a timely manner. Your customers need to find you wherever you are, at the front desk, in a meeting or outside the office.  That’s how you want to serve your prospects and customers. That’s how they want to be treated. Here are two ways an onsite phone system can better enable how your customers do business with you by eliminating latency and enhancing reachability.

Eliminating latency

When a customer or prospect calls your company and the phone rings endlessly without being picked up, or it goes to a general mystery voicemail box, they may question how capable your business is. You want to give the impression to current and potential customers that you can serve them the way they want to be served, whether your business is big or small. Phone system latency is sometimes referred to as the, “mouth to ear” delay. It’s based on:
  • The number of rings it takes for someone to answer the phone
  • The number of transfers that are required to find the right team member
  • The phone connection itself if it’s choppy, breaks up or has echoes
An onsite phone system allows you to address latency by routing calls using the power of work groups. Work groups can be created to respond to what’s happening in your business.  For example, you might have a new advertising campaign and you need more people ready to answer the phone. Perhaps there are changing weather conditions and you need to re-route how support is handled. Or you want to better enable how calls are routed to a call center team and establish a top down or longest idle calling pattern so your best sales person or available call center consultant gets the next call. You may even have a business that requires seasonal considerations like greetings or auto attendance during high call volumes. Addressing latency gives you speed and flexibility in how you run your business and respond to your customers.

Enhancing reachability

Some folks lament the current standard that you must always be reachable anytime, anywhere. But business reality is such that if you aren’t reachable and you aren’t set up to respond to your customers, then your customers are going to go elsewhere. Reachability is how easy it is for a customer or prospect to locate you or your team.  It’s not just how long it takes to reach them, but how easily a customer can access them. An onsite phone system can help you be reachable by allowing your phone to find you or key staff members wherever they are. It gives you the ability to use external assignment rules that have phones ring wherever an employee is – whether that’s in a meeting, traveling or at a client site. It can even mean having several phones ring at the same time, say, your desk and cell phone ringing simultaneously. World class phone systems using unified communications allow you to implement tools that make you and your staff more accessible through Microsoft Outlook integration, and desktop client and mobility features like find me/follow me.  These basic unified communication tools are a must in today’s business environment. This enables your staff to be reachable and findable, building on the capability of your business, not working against it.

Creating a better customer experience

You pride yourself on how you serve your customers. But if your current phone system isn’t helping you be responsive and reachable then it might be inhibiting your business – not enabling it. Is it time to consider how your phone system can help you serve your customers even better? If you’d like to evaluate your phone system’s latency or reachability, email us at or give us a call at 630-577-2651. Or lean about an onsite phone system that decreases latency here.