Customer Experience Management

When Personalization Backfires

personalization

A colleague of mine recently shared a story from The New York Times about a woman who signed up for an app to take her day-by-day through what to expect during pregnancy. Sadly, she lost the baby soon after, and let the app know. The app sent condolences, but seven months later a free sample of baby formula arrived at her door. What seemed like a good idea to personalize and win a customer, became a #marketingfail. What likely happened? Profile details from when she signed up were probably shared with companies that partnered with the app (as second party data) or sold eventually to advertisers (as third party data). The company would have had the best of intentions, she fit nicely into a customer profile, a segment that many companies could target. The problem was second and third party data ages quickly, and unfortunately, there was no feedback loop for these parties to receive this critical update. Sarah Haggett, an optimization expert at OpenText, leads a team that works with clients looking to improve and personalize their digital experiences. She regularly cautions against using data that’s even a few months old. “The data we can create and use is based on what our customer is trying to do right now or in the last few weeks, not what they were doing several months ago,” she says. “We should aim to understand what they want now, rather than make false assumptions based on old data.” Here is another example of targeting gone wrong, in an article by a colleague, as well as tips on how to prevent it strategically. Treat target audiences as human beings Marketing is often focused on acquiring new customers. Getting them to register. Getting them to buy, and then keeping them buying. We have many options now with marketing technology – an estimated 3,874 marketing technology solutions, according to chiefmartec.com – and of course, so much data about site visitors, customers, prospects, etc. We want to nurture leads and create a path for them along the marketing and sales funnel. However, there isn’t a straight line through a funnel, the customer journey has hurdles, diversions, and loops, as is explained well in this blog.  Thinking of website visitors as more than a segment category is also important. The reality is that there are ups and downs, and many touch points that make a prospect or customer feel satisfied (or not) with a brand at any given time. The customer service experience impacts how they feel. Marketing efforts impact them. And they can reach a pivotal moment to either engage further or disengage completely, based on these experiences. While marketers (like me) apply broad brush strokes of buzzwords and seek cool ways to study and reach prospects and customers, we need to anchor ourselves to what truly matters: treating each contact as another human being, with compassion, dignity, and interest. We need to ensure technology enables us to do this through the entire customer journey – whether it involves targeting, personalized messages, cloud applications, interconnectivity, or the next new thing. If we remain customer-centric and continue the quest to truly understand each person we’re targeting and to reach out to them appropriately, we should experience success and avoid faux pas.

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Face-to-Face vs. Digital: Finding the Right Balance in Customer Experience is an Art

CXDay

I like shopping at Nordstrom. No, I love shopping at Nordstrom. And it recently occurred to me that part of my attraction to Nordstrom is their ability to provide a perfect balance for my shopping experience. One day, I might be in one of their stores, feeling the fabrics and breathing in the joy of a fabulous find. Another day, I might be on the move. But Nordstrom offers an online shopping experience that is practical and effective. Finding that balance between face-to-face and digital engagement is key to providing a quality customer experience in today’s marketplace. Some might argue that salespeople are no longer needed, that people are doing their research up front so there is no need to talk to someone. But is that the case with B2B marketing? I don’t think so. I think the most effective B2B marketers find that right mix of handshakes and digital experience. BY THE NUMBERS A Forbes survey a few years ago found that 85 percent of responders felt that in-person business meetings build stronger, more meaningful business relationships, and 77 percent said they preferred those meetings because of the ability to read body language and facial expression. 85 percent of responders felt that in-person business meetings build stronger, more meaningful business relationships. Conversely, 92 percent acknowledged that technology-enabled meetings save time, and 88 percent agreed that they save money. The study found that a majority of the business executives thought the ideal meeting/conference execution strategy combined both in-person and technology-enabled meetings. Face-to-face marketing and virtual communication have definite benefits. Face-to-face interaction helps forge relationships that lead to long-lasting business connections, and digital experience ensures dialogue continues on a more frequent basis. So, before we begin any ECD marketing program we take the time to examine the underlying business objectives, outline clear goals and metrics, and proceed with a strategy that enables the best customer experience outcome. We strongly believe it requires a mix of the two. A TIME OF CELEBRATION So, what better time to celebrate engagement of all types then, CX Day. CXDay is a global celebration of the customer experience and the thousands of customer experience professionals that make it happen. CXDay is a perfect example of utilizing both personal and digital engagement. We will be in NYC at Customer.Next celebrating our customers and hosting a webinar, sharing learnings on our  customer’s experience.  LET’S TALK Has your business found the right balance between face-to-face and digital engagement? Maybe it has – today. But continuing to find that right balance tomorrow – and beyond – is key to the success of your business.

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Digital Asset Management Underpins the Customer Journey

Digital Asset Management

This article on LinkedIn about the customer journey is excellent, because it’s not just the usual one-sided, “how to engage and attract more customers” spiel. It speaks to the entire Customer Lifetime Value and the importance of continuing to delight customers AFTER their purchase or acquisition, and therefore can become a win – win for everyone involved. Many of us think in pictures and images rather than words, and the exponential growth of digital media assets is a proof point of how you can delight and interact with your customers during all points in their customer journey. Organizations are now discovering the value of Enterprise digital asset management (DAM) to help them to truly “media-enable” their businesses. To do this requires a digital asset management Platform in order to integrate and share assets as well as metadata, with systems like product catalogs, customer support, training and loyalty programs. All of which can enhance the customer journey with your brand, and at any touch-point with any device. Digital asset management is required as a core technology for Customer Experience Management and the continuous customer journey. Read this article on LinkedIn to learn more. Also, download this white paper for more information on the customer journey in a digital world,  “A Better Way to Engage – Redefining the Customer Journey for a Digital World”.

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Girl Interrupted. A Story of Relentless Marketing Artificial Intelligence

artificial intelligence

Bzzzt. Bzzzzzzzt. In my hotel room after three days of marketing conference sessions, an after party, and a bonus Cirque du Soleil show, I squint at my phone: 12:48 a.m. I know it’s Vegas, but who is emailing me at this time? Ugh. I need sleep before my flight in the morning. Someone named Michelle… Michelle, Michelle… No, not ringing a bell. Phone down. Lights out. Fast forward to Friday night, back home. Ah – time to catch up on some well-deserved, uninterru— Bzzzt. Bzzzzzzt. Same time, same name, same inbox ping. Ignore. Then, Saturday night, again. Then Sunday night. Who was this relentless person trying to reach me at all hours, and apparently wanting to discuss marketing software?! Unbeknownst to me, until I spoke to a couple of colleagues later, Michelle was a bot. (NOTE: Bot name changed to protect the not-so-innocent). Ah, makes sense now, but one to file under #marketingfail. Intelligent, yes. Artificial? Absolutely When it comes to evoking empathy and human manners, we still have a way to go when it comes to marketing robots. Take this case below as an example: Every subject line read: [Company name] reaching out (ID Number). The first email started with “Good evening Denise, Heard you were talking about me earlier today!” No. I wasn’t, thanks. The final email was the kicker, saying she had sent me a few emails and “for one reason or another, we haven’t been able to connect.” This bot needs to soften her approach and be less self-absorbed. Her scheduled contact times also fall short. But, it’s not just me who’s had a poor experience with bots. This past spring, Microsoft created a Twitter bot to engage with users through automated conversations. In less than a day, Microsoft had to delete posts and halt activity on the account. Part of the problem was due to Twitter users manipulating the bot, and another part of the problem was the bot itself. The Uncanny Valley In the 1970s, a robotics professor Masahiro Mori introduced the concept translated as “the uncanny valley”. Basically, the idea is that the closer a robot appears to be human, the more someone observing or interacting with it will have a positive, empathetic response. But the human in the situation will eventually reach a point where there is a strong sense of unease. Research seems to support this. Originally, this concept was focused on physical engagement with a robot, but I’d argue that it also applies to the non-visualized robots that we’re starting to interact with. Helpful and amusing – until there’s a real crisis A recent medical study took a look at smartphone robots a.k.a. conversational agents or digital assistants – and how they respond to a user experiencing a crisis. They wanted to see whether these agents (like Siri, Google Now, etc.) could 1) recognize a crisis 2) respond respectfully and 3) refer the human to an appropriate hotline. What the researchers concluded was that there was a lot of inconsistency and room for improvement. While there were some crisis phrases that the digital assistants did recognize and try to help, there were also cases where they missed. None of the agents recognized “I am being abused”, some didn’t recognize “I am having a heart attack”, and most had trouble referring users to hotlines for mental health issues. What’s next? We in the tech industry are working to create better customer experiences – while also automating processes at scale. We need to continue acknowledging this gap –  “the uncanny valley” – of automation and robots while still aiming to personalize and treat people, well, as people would. It’s important that cool technology doesn’t offend the humans who engage with it. The journey isn’t finished; we need to add enough human charm to attract real buyers. Who are still people. At least for now. For more on how the digital revolution, automation, and artificial intelligence will continue changing the way we work and live, read this blog post.

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Revive Your Struggling Testing Programme With a Hackathon

testathon

There are a lot of posts out there with titles like “10 A/B testing mistakes you are making”. They offer advice on sample sizes and statistical pitfalls. Truthfully however, few conversion programmes struggle because of this type of mistake. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) has been a “thing” for a while now, and there is a lot of expertise out there. In reality, the most common reason for a programme to struggle to make a lasting conversion impact is simply this: People are not working together as efficiently as they could. If you see this problem in your company, try holding a CRO hackathon. What is it? It is the CRO testing version of the well-known hackathon concept. It’s a one- or two-day event where all those who need to be involved in CRO come together in a friendly competition. Why should I do it? Here are five good reasons: A captive audience. A hackathon helps you attain the undivided attention of colleagues you may find hard to get time from on a regular basis. Organizational buy-in. You increase knowledge of testing in your wider business. Your colleagues experience the end-to-end process of optimization and see the benefits first hand. This will increase the level of investment they have in your CRO programme – and make them more likely to help you in future. More ideas. You will build up a pipeline of testing ideas to develop further. Some really great ideas emerge when people from many areas of the business get together in one room. You can get tests up and running quickly. The hackathon usually results in at least one test being launched – when you everyone together it’s hard for anyone to be a roadblock. Team building. Practice working together as well-oiled CRO team. Hackathons can be a much better and more popular form of team bonding than “trust falls.” What would a typical CRO hackathon schedule look like? Here is an example schedule for a one day CRO hackathon: 9am – Arrivals, coffee and breakfast 9.30am – Introduction The introductions needs to clearly explain the following: The goal of the CRO hackathon. The hackathon “task.” This could be a wide remit to generate test ideas for a certain area of your web site, or a challenge to solve a very specific problem that has been identified by reviewing analytics data. It’s great to have your analytics team present the data and investigations that led to this task to be chosen if you can. How the winner will be chosen. We usually recommend having an initial winner picked on the day, and then a another winner picked based on the usual KPIs to be announced once the tests have been run to real traffic. Any rules – for example areas of the page that are off limits. You might also include an introduction to CRO in general if the attendees are fairly new to it. 10am – Divide into teams and generate test ideas Divide the attendees into teams, which ideally have one person from each functional area.  It’s easier of you have planned the teams in advance. You may also choose team leaders, or leave them to naturally emerge.  Each team then generates as many test ideas as possible to meet the hackathon challenge. 12pm – Lunch 1pm – Choose and refine the best test idea If you have analysts with you, you can spend a little longer on this section and try to look for real evidence supporting each idea. 2pm – Build a prototype and presentation The more technical members of each team collaborate to produce a working prototype of the idea using your testing platform. This can be refined later, with quality assurance occurring after the day, then launched to real traffic. In addition, the business-focused team members prepare a presentation including the hypothesis and why this was chosen as the best idea. They aim to convince the judge(s) that this idea is the most likely to get conversion gains. 4pm – Present finalised idea Each team presents on their idea, and shows off their prototype. 4.45pm – Winning test idea chosen A senior person or panel of judges decides which presentation was most convincing and awards the ‘best on the day’ prize. A few days later – Test launch The test or tests are launched to live traffic. A few weeks later – Winners declared After the pre-agreed test run time, the tests are analysed and the winner declared. Set up a follow up session to present the final results, including prizes for the winning team. Who should I invite? Your boss – Perhaps the CMO, CTO or head of e-commerce depending on where CRO sits in your organization. Often the boss gets to pick the initial “winner” on the day, giving a real life test on whether “HiPPOs” add value! Web analysts – They own and understand key data on how your customers behave on your site. The ideas that are generated have a much higher chance of success if some data analysis is included. User research – If you have teams performing other user research such as usability studies or surveys, their insight is very valuable. Also, marketers who have conducted industry research and developed customer personas can provide great input. UX – Designs are more likely to succeed with well qualified UX input. IT/Development – To build the test or to advise on any technical limitations. Product/category owners – Anyone who has ownership over the areas of the site you aim to improve should be invited. Visual Design – To advise on variation design, and provide assets such as icons, buttons, banners etc. Compliance – Because if you are in a compliance-heavy industry, nothing goes live without their say-so. Call centre/live chat operatives – This may seem like an odd idea, but these people interact directly with customers and know what type of complaints they have. If you can’t bring in people, then tools like OpenText™ Qfiniti can provide insight on customer interactions. Testing vendor – OpenText™ Optimost facilitates CRO hackathons for our customers. We also provide the technical resource to build the test variation prototypes, and our Customer Success Managers contribute ideas based on successes we’ve seen previously.

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Luke Skywalker – Content Jedi or Joker?

Content

Mark Hamill is a good guy. I’ve been lucky enough to meet him on a couple of occasions in the past, and was looking forward to his closing keynote at the recent Content Marketing World conference in Cleveland. But the keynote address from the man best known for playing the hero of the Star Wars movies never materialized, instead Mark sat down for a Q&A session with Content Marketing Institute founder Joe Pulizzi that proved to be both highly entertaining and thought provoking. Hamill endeared himself to the audience straight away by referencing a blog post from content marketer Michael Brenner, which despite its provocative title sets out a coherent thesis on the connections between the hero’s journey that informs the Star Wars mythos and storytelling in marketing. And it was to storytelling that Hammill returned to several times during his conversation by reinforcing that the most effective form of communication, the one that we are all hardwired to understand, is storytelling. The basics of effective storytelling is key not just to marketing, but to all business communications. While “Luke Skywalker” was entertaining, it was another guest earlier in the day that proved to be the inspiration of the conference. When comedian Michael Jr. was introduced no-one really knew what to expect. His brand of observational stand-up humor soon had everyone laughing, not an easy thing to achieve on the last morning of an intensive conference, but it was his asides about how you tackle challenges that inspired. In particular he outlined the idea that in life and professionally, it’s not so much about what we do, it’s about why we do it. The ‘what’ can change many times (it’s the tactical aspect), but the ‘why’ (the strategy) should remain the constant. The same applies to any business transaction, and communication. What we do won’t matter and won’t achieve success unless we know why we are doing it. On the flight home after the conference I thought again about that last day. I’ve been to innumerable conferences in my career, and enjoyed most of them, I’ve listened to some great speakers, even some brilliant ones, deliver a wide variety of keynotes, but they all tended to be speakers that you would expect for any given conference topic. Yet here at a marketing conference was a comedian and a movie actor providing some of the most powerful insights, and judging by the Twitter stream for the conference hashtag, the most memorable moments. It made me think, how are we delivering our story? Are we using the usual line-up of experts and influencers? Maybe it’s good to consider bringing fresh eyes and voices that create as powerful an impact as a Jedi Knight and a joker did for me that week in Cleveland.

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8 Signs Other Than Lift That Prove Testing Program Success

testing program success

When it comes to testing program success, lift is undoubtedly the most popular or most used metric to measure success. The reason for its popularity is that for executives or sponsors of the testing program, it is tangible and can be measured in dollars and cents. That said there are many other less tangible ways of measuring success. Here at OpenText™ Optimost we believe it is important to recognize, and embrace, less tangible measures because they often signal current and future success.  In this post, I’ll cover 8 additional ways you and your cohorts can measure the success of your program other than lift. 1. Your program follows a well-established process Having a well-established, repeatable to process is important. Without a process, it is easy to miss deadlines, tasks fall through the cracks and projects are de-prioritized. These pitfalls often lead to less testing and less impact on the business. To circumvent any negative impact to your business and your program, we recommend establishing a process that outlines steps to completion, resources involved, responsibilities and expected turnaround times. 2. You have buy-in and participation from management Buy-in from management is critical. Without buy-in from management, your program has a high probability of being underfunded or ignored. Get buy-in from management by getting your boss involved in the process early on and continually communicate your learnings and ROI of the program. The more involved your boss is, the more likely you are to receive praise and receive additional resources to expand your program. 3. You create and follow a strategic, data driven roadmap The biggest disservice you can do to your testing program is not build a roadmap. The roadmap helps set the cadence of your testing program, ensures that your tests are all driving towards specific goal(s), and ensures everyone impacted by testing are on the same page. To guarantee the most success, make developing a data-driven roadmap one of your top priorities year after year. 4. All departments participate and contribute to testing Testing relies on a number of internal resources to be successful including IT, Analytics, Marketing and Design. IT helps deploy code, Analytics farm testing opportunities, Marketing determines strategy, Design provides the design variations. It’s important to establish relationships early on, help educate them about testing and the important role they play in the success of the program. Nurture those relationships by including them in important meetings and giving them praise during your regular testing recap meetings. 5. You utilize a variety of testing tactics It’s easy to get wrapped up in running AB tests exclusively. They are quick to implement, often times show a great deal of success and results are easy to interpret. That said, a successful program utilizes a variety of tactics including MVT, segmentation and personalization. This approach is similar to personal investments in that utilizing a number of different tactics helps mitigate risk and maximizes return. Spread the love. 6. You learn (and earn) from your losses More experienced testers understand that there is no such thing as a failed test. Results of tests that perform poorly or differently than expected help inform the next set of tests and often lead to results that are much more positive. When you come across a loss, use the data available to you to find out why it performed poorly and make the appropriate adjustments. 7. You’re not afraid to take chances Again, much like investing, the greater the risk, the greater the reward. A successful optimization program takes chances and goes beyond the boundaries set by traditional brand marketing. Try something drastic, break out of the brand guidelines and upset your superiors – it pays dividends. 8. You communicate and celebrate results regularly Perhaps a blend of some of the other seven successful signs, communicating and celebrating success regularly is vitally important to the success of your program. Communicating results helps gain buy-in from both management and your cohorts, but it also provides you the opportunity to show your success. More importantly, it helps create efficiencies within the organization. For example, many of our clients utilize their best practices to help inform future landing page or site redesigns. Kick your testing program into gear by applying these eight strategies today. Here at OpenText Optimost we pride ourselves on building successful testing practices within our client’s businesses. We would love the opportunity to kick-start your program. If you need help applying these eight strategies to improve your testing program, get in touch with us at cemsolutions@opentext.com.

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Quality Assurance and Customer Experience Monitoring Can Now Be Automated with OpenText Qfiniti

quality assurance

Contact Center Quality Assurance (QA) teams today provide two critical services to their contact center organizations. First, they document agent performance so that every agent can be given meaningful feedback about their job performance. In most cases, they also deliver this feedback directly to the agents. Second, data collected by call evaluators is analyzed to calculate scores that management can use to stack-rank agents, determine training or compliance gaps, and measure script adherence and skills proficiency performance trends. Using a sample of calls to conduct one-on-one coaching about agent performance is an effective method to improve agent performance. I’ve never heard a call that my contact center quality assurance teams couldn’t coach in a super-meaningful way. For reporting purposes, however, what happened on a just few calls is not an accurate predictor of what happened on the hundreds of other calls handled by the agent that were not evaluated. When the agent says, “I almost never do that,” they could very well be telling the truth. Time, and several more evaluations will tell, assuming that someone is watching for a trend. As speech-to-text solutions have matured, more contact centers are considering using automated solutions to partially or fully replace their manual quality assurance process with a speech analytics-enabled QA solution. There are already a few solutions on the market, but nothing really that spectacular, especially in a unified workforce optimization (WFO) solution. In every case the general business proposition is that speech analytics can, to some degree, assist the quality assurance effort, bring insights not possible using a traditional QA model, and/or measure interactions to scale. At OpenText, we took a really good look at these “automated quality” products and concluded that we could easily develop and offer a more practical next-generation analytics-enabled QA solution. If contact centers could, they would listen to and analyze every customer interaction; however, this would be tremendously expensive, and the analysis would be subject to human interpretation and error. A better and far more cost-efficient solution is to leverage the power of advanced speech analytics to automatically measure and score agent performance and the customer experience (CX) on every recorded voice interaction. The Benefits of Automated Scoring Contact center leaders today understand the hidden costs of script non-adherence such as lost sales opportunities, increased errors, and misunderstandings on the part of the customer or the agent. In many regulated verticals and BPO deployments, companies face financial penalties and increased legal exposure on the basis of script non-compliance. OpenText™ Qfiniti AutoScore can measure script adherence and skills proficiency across all customer phone contacts and can automatically apply the same performance standard to all calls. Greater Visibility Qfiniti AutoScore also provides significant additional visibility into contact center performance—insights not available via traditional measurement methods. This unique measurement process is both easy to configure and highly flexible to meet a variety of business needs. In comparison to other “automatic scoring” solutions, only with AutoScore can users: Measure agent and customer behaviors more accurately in real time across all contacts Leverage the utmost flexibility to define behaviors and what they mean to contact centers in their specific business context Calibrate and tune scoring models in real time instead of days Utilize a built-in ability to train the speech analytics process to improve scoring outcomes The tool enables organizations to filter results by topics, agents, teams, products and interaction outcomes. Users can drill down to the most relevant and critical calls, without the wait for calls to be manually reviewed. Instead of taking days or weeks to establish a performance trend, agent adherence trends and coaching results can be identified almost instantly, even without the need to listen to additional calls.   We won’t suggest that technology can completely take the place of your current QA system of measurement. However, it is certainly fair to say that: A great deal of the quality assurance data you currently gather via manual methods could be gathered instead via an automated process; Data collected in this manner will be for all voice interactions and not just for those you were able to measure manually; Data that you collect using automated scoring will be gathered using a consistent set of standards that you can set, test, validate and adjust as needed to ensure the most-accurate results; and finally Automatic scoring provides supplemental information that could potentially facilitate shorter manual score cards and shorter coaching discussions. Used properly, the right analytics-enabled QA solution can lighten the quality assurance load, uncover new business insights and measure most script adherence and skills proficiency to scale. In this way contact centers can leverage a more-powerful solution empowering more-ambitious results. My OpenText WFO Software colleagues and I are excited to bring true analytics-enabled automatic scoring to the contact center market and for you to learn more about it. Download our white paper, Leveraging Analytics to Score Customer Interactions, and the Qfiniti AutoScore Product Overview to discover how we can help your contact center deliver superior performance in the most efficient ways.

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OpenText WFO Software Launches Qfiniti AutoScore for Analytics-Enabled Scoring

Today, I am very excited to announce the release of OpenText™ Qfiniti AutoScore. This is an important announcement for multiple reasons. First, this is the debut product release since we were acquired by OpenText last April. For those who haven’t been through an acquisition, there usually is a significant amount of disruption, both in terms of strategy as well as operations. I was pleasantly surprised to see how organized OpenText was in executing our on-boarding. Our strategy was, and still remains, to build a single, seamlessly connected platform that will help large enterprises deliver, manage, monitor, and optimize customer experiences across all channels. Our new colleagues at OpenText have shown an incredible amount of enthusiasm and commitment to the WFO group’s roadmap, customers and resources. Our ability to release a major capability such as Qfiniti AutoScore on time, despite all the acquisition activities, is a testament to how well the integration has gone, as well as a strong indication of the exciting innovations you can expect from OpenText WFO Software going forward. Second, Qfiniti AutoScore reaffirms our commitment to leveraging analytics to help contact centers around the world deliver superior performance in the most efficient ways. While speech analytics has been around for over a decade now, recent innovations in our core speech recognition engine have delivered such high performance that it empowers us to address use cases which are highly valuable to our customers but would have been difficult to accomplish in the past. We know there are two things that are always top-of-mind for contact centers. First is the monitoring of agent behaviors such as empathy, helpfulness, upsell, cross-sell, knowledge and adherence. And second is the understanding of customer feedback in terms of satisfaction, level of effort, and loyalty. For this reason, the central focus for AutoScore was to use speech and text analytics to score, not just a sample of recorded calls, but every single voice interaction and then use the scores to understand agent behaviors and customer experience aspects in a very granular and actionable manner. Finally and most importantly, I want to highlight the intricate collaboration that went on between the OpenText WFO Software team and our customers in shaping Qfiniti AutoScore. It is always a great vote of confidence when customers push us to develop new functionality. Also, the fact that our customers not only trust our core capabilities but also our ability to extend those capabilities into covering new use cases speaks volumes about our commitment to always putting our customers first. For this new product, we partnered closely with one of our customers, keeping in close contact throughout the entire development process and incorporating ample feedback along the way. Other customers also provided continuous feedback. For this reason, we are confident that we have built a solution which solves some of the critical contact center challenges in the most intuitive ways.  Want to see a demo of Qfiniti AutoScore?  You can reach out to me directly or speak with your personal account executive. In the meantime, please download our white paper, Leveraging Analytics to Score Customer Interactions, and the Qfiniti AutoScore Product Overview to learn more about how we can help your contact center leverage analytics to  deliver superior performance in the most efficient ways.

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OpenText WFO Software a “Strong Performer”

WFO

Strong Performer in WFO?  You bet!  OpenText™ Qfiniti and OpenText™ Explore are every bit as robust and more scalable than competitor offerings, and as an added bonus you may even enjoy working with us!  Can you say that about other companies?  And we have proof! Last week, Forrester released their first ever WFO Wave research and OpenText WFO Software fared well.  The Ian Jacobs-led team of Forrester researchers scoured the WFO market to understand more than vendor noise. They looked closely at what contact center teams are doing. What problems they’re solving with WFO solutions. What the actual leaders (like you) believe are most important in delivering successful customer experiences. And when you strip away all of that noise in the market, OpenText WFO Software is there as a truly viable option for enterprise-class contact centers. One of the aspects of the WFO Wave I like best is that it shines a light on the fact that it’s not good enough just to have the software. Forrester also took into consideration how easy it is to work with the vendors. How valuable a two-way relationship is…  And how much a vendor listens to its customers. One of our references commented that, “We have had a seat at the table to influence the overall product road map.”  So, we want to listen twice as much as we speak and bring this innovation to the entire market. OpenText WFO Software has a rich 32-year history in contact centers. You may remember the product line better as etalk. Since those days, we’ve been less visible, but we never stopped innovating. We never stopped partnering with our contact center customers. And our ranking of “Strong Performer” in Forrester’s new Wave proves just that. This is a robust product line that our customers like. And they like us! Here is a link to the press release on the topic where you can read about the company’s commitment to the WFO space. And click on the report below to get a copy of the report to read the good news yourself. We know you may not be in the middle of evaluating WFO vendors right now, but it is likely that you will at some point. I’d like to ask that you keep us on your list. I’d also ask that you consider reaching out to us if you have any questions about the market. We’d like nothing more than to earn your business over time. We’re here for the long haul and want to partner with you. And don’t forget to follow, like and join the following: OpenText Qfiniti Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Group.

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OpenText and AmerisourceBergen Develop Superior B2B Customer Experience

B2B customer experience

For your convenience, you can either listen to the Podcast below, or read the transcription in this blog. Complex Processes Simplified Every now and then, I find myself drawn to the Discovery Channel’s “How It’s Made” program. You probably know the one—it’s a TV show that gives a behind-the-scenes look at how some of our most well-known consumer items are put together, packaged and sold. There’s something strangely hypnotic and satisfying about watching thousands of bottles roll through a giant machine to be filled with soda, or a seasoned professional hand-weave a basket. Apart from providing therapeutic stress relief, the program has given me a deeper appreciation for the effort and detail that goes into a product long before it finds its way to a store shelf. The role of behind-the-scenes business-to-business (B2B) vendors in providing an excellent experience for the end customer is huge. The challenge for B2B organizations is to discover who the end customers are and what they need, without having direct contact with those customers. To overcome this challenge, B2B organizations need to develop effective communication and collaboration practices with their business customers and partners. OpenText has had a strong business relationship with leading healthcare solution provider AmerisourceBergen for a number of years.  Among the many things AmerisourceBergen does well is provide B2B distribution of pharmaceuticals to healthcare institutions around the world—and they do that very well. In fact, they handle approximately 20 percent of all the United States’ pharmaceutical distribution. While the process of labeling bottles as seen on How It’s Made is impressive enough, each of those labels is the same—it’s just a matter of sticking them on each bottle. AmerisourceBergen’s customers have more… challenging requirements. Here’s what Scott Marshall, Director of Application Development at AmerisourceBergen said about those requirements: “One of the core components of our business is a complete drug distribution system… When customers receive their product, they also need to have documentation included with the products they receive. We call these packages ‘Driver Ready Packs.’ They’re packs of information that are kind of contained together by delivery location and customer. And they have invoices, price stickers and other documents that customers need.” Thanks to a deal struck with major US retailer Walgreens a few years back, AmerisourceBergen had to triple their production and delivery of those Driver Ready Packs. In fact, AmerisourceBergen now processes 275,000 documents and prints 20,000 bundles of Driver Ready Packs every day. And remember, they distribute products of the most vital nature to be delivered to waiting patients, doctors and families. The room for error in these thousands of custom-packaged and addressed bundles is virtually nil, and time is always a factor. “Back in 2007,” Scott says, “AmerisourceBergen realized that they had been spending a lot of time and effort, and they were not putting that documentation together very efficiently. So they partnered with OpenText and took a look at [OpenText™ Customer Communications Management (CCM)], which back then was referred to as StreamServe, to help automate the collection of this documentation, centralize it, and help make our printing more efficient.” “It automated the assembly of the documentation and sorting,” Scott continues, “and kind of gave an easy way to format content for the delivery person. It improved integrations with more modern technology. We actually had a much faster throughput and printing process, and a lot more accuracy. Overall it reduced our processing steps by about 80 percent and reduced the time it takes to generate our documentation by two thirds.” Catering to Customer Needs AmerisourceBergen generates documentation with CCM in a variety of ways, depending on how their customers prefer to receive it. By working closely with customers, OpenText continuously adjusts and enhances the capabilities of their solutions to meet the changing and evolving needs of their customers. Scott says that “One of the things [they] really liked about CCM is that you can take the same information and make it available in multiple channels such as faxing, emailing.” “What we see a lot now,” says Scott, “is that customers tell us how they want to be communicated with, and you have a mix where you might have someone who is a little more traditional, who likes having paper in their hand that they can feel, where others want to receive things electronically. So we have been trying to keep up or ahead of what our customers’ wants are, and use tools such as CCM that really provide cutting-edge technologies that are able to meet customer needs and communicate in different digital manners.” Certainly, the flexibility, convenience and environmental consciousness of digital documentation is a great benefit for customers, and AmerisourceBergen is poised to help their customers make that transition with support from OpenText and CCM. They are also prepared to make other agile adjustments. I’ll let Hiren Patel, Director of Application Delivery explain: “The business has ever-changing needs in terms of legal disclosures on documents that have been printed, on any text, updates, or in any new document. Now things of that nature, any changes for the application or a solution per se, are very easy to make. They are less stressful in terms of impact to our production.” “There was an incident where a year ago,” Hiren goes on to say, “when we had come across a business requirement to comply with the new DQSA Act passed by the government. It was critical to meet the timeline. To comply, we had to create advanced ship notice documents on very short notice. But we were able to make the required changes and deliver that on time. I think that was one of the key pieces where we identified how easily we can build documents and deliver them with the CCM solution that we have in place.” Stronger Together AmerisourceBergen has done a great job at keeping up with changing customer requirements and industry regulations, but they’re not left alone to manage their IT implementations. Thanks to their strong relationship with OpenText, they always have the support and technical expertise they need to provide an excellent experience for their customers. “We keep OpenText support on hand for whenever we might need them and reach out to them to understand how, or if, there is a better way to resolve something,” says Hiren. “Because for any successful project, you want to create a proper foundation so you have a stable and scalable solution. We highly value [OpenText Support] because they are experts, properly trained. They know the ability of the platform and features that it can provide. They can guide you in terms of how to architect it and properly manage your business and how you can solve their issues. So, again, we definitely value them.” For B2B organizations, an excellent customer experience is often built upon the service that customers are able to provide their customers. AmerisourceBergen has found a reliable, scalable solution in OpenText Customer Communications Management that gives Amerisource customers like Walgreens the information they need to deliver important pharmaceutical products in a timely and responsible manner. Together, B2B alliances like the one developed between OpenText and AmerisourceBergen can accomplish much more, and provide customers with a far superior experience than they’d be able to achieve alone. Learn more about OpenText™ Customer Communications Management, and the AmerisourceBergen success story.

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Before you pay an Agency $5 million for a Brand new Website…

new website

Just like the floating feather at the start of Forrest Gump, a story too good, too poignant, too raw to ignore, fell in my lap – on the hotel shuttle leaving Content Marketing World on Thursday. A few millennial marketers crowded around each other in the aisle, dishing out some talk about what they learned, what they yawned at, and what’s going on in their organizations. “It just makes me want to cry… It’s a joke!” said the exasperated young man sitting next to me. He explained how his leaders paid a digital agency as much as $5 million dollars (his words) to design and launch a brand new website. (Gosh – I do hope that is an exaggeration!) Another young woman who runs Facebook campaigns for her company leaned in to ask what the site is. She immediately pulled it up on her smart phone. And here’s the combination of problems, according to these two: Not mobile responsive No images Looks like just a product list There’s no suggested or recommended products for the visitor It demolished the original site’s domain authority Apparently, the B2B company invested heavily in this new site with the intention of building an ecommerce site – but for products and services in the healthcare industry. They have all of the technology platforms they need. Marketing automation. Customer relationship management. All of the integrations. They have a sizeable marketing arm with all the right tools. What went wrong here? Essentially, this sounds like a lack of due diligence and understanding of essentials when it comes to rebranding a website. In one fell HiPPO-inspired swoop – Bam! – the launch of a new website. And a shocking lack of data to support all of the changes. What should have happened? Research. Identifying specific problems. Getting buy in from organizational stakeholders. Challenging and testing assumptions with experimentation and hard data. There are many factors that should be considered when overhauling a major website, to ensure any large money investments are actually needed – and if the changes actually address true problems or just perceived ones. Here are some things – at a fundamental level – that any marketing leadership should understand. Of course, there is a much bigger list than this, but these things came to mind when I heard this story: Identify what the true problems are in performance Mobile-first design Testing the website and some changes before making deep investment Estimate impacts a massive change could make; what currently connects to links on your site? What breaks? What do I need to retain for rankings? If the goal is to get people to buy quicker, what content would people respond to better? Conversion Rate Optimization The content distribution strategy Current design standards Approach to personalization Site analytics Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Domain authority Calls to action Brand consistency In a nutshell This case sounds like a rush job that failed to gather adequate input and expertise to guide a costly web effort. While the agency might have been a trusted entity, marketing organizations like this should step back and apply some science to a major project like this. A web optimization program could have helped this organization come up with a more effective solution before spending millions of dollars. They could have set up test versions of the website to steer some traffic to the beta sites – to observe visitor behavior and see if the changes produce better business results. So let this be a lesson. Speak up. Do your homework (or share your insight if you’re not part of the leadership). Reserve big money for marketing projects that bring you more leads, conversions, and revenue. And you might just save some face within your organization.

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Back to School Season – Continuing Education

continuing education

The back-to-school season impacts all of us. Perhaps you’re preparing your children for a new school year. Perhaps it means increased traffic in your neighborhood. Perhaps this is a time when you grab a discount on clothing or electronics. Regardless of what back-to-school means to you, this time of year should remind us all to check our skills and look at opportunities for continuing education. Pay attention adults! Before you stop reading and tune me out, let me give you three good reasons why continuing education is important for you and your teams. Shiny New Toys When you purchase enterprise software from solution providers like OpenText, there is often a “shiny new toy” period that represents the exciting moment right after implementation. You have taken it out of the box, and now is the time to play! With products such as OpenText™ Qfiniti, you’re building evaluation forms, designing recording plans and training your staff. Don’t let this moment fade too quickly. Take the time to build acceptance among your user community, and use job aids and videos to drive interest. OpenText Learning Services has several innovative training packages to help keep it fresh and make the roll out of your new solution successful. Products to the Max A few months after the “new toy” excitement comes a period where users and administrators become accustomed to the features currently in use. Over time, your organization changes and some of the unused features and services of a solution are forgotten. If you are new to a specific product or perhaps even a seasoned veteran familiar with its use, take the time to review adjacent features. On a personal note, I try to learn one new feature or app on my iPhone per week, and this keeps me up to date after each upgrade. The same is true for enterprise software. Keep in mind once again, if you need help with this our team is here for you. OpenText Qfiniti has exciting new features such as evaluation plans, reports, agent guidance and desktop analytics that should be on your planning and training radar this year. The Revolving Door One final reason to “enroll” in continuing education this year is the byproduct of employee turnover in the contact center. As roles change and people leave, new people need to be equipped with the skills needed to effectively coach employees and administer enterprise software. Perhaps you have 5 or 500 people who need to be trained; we offer flexible, customizable learning solutions to accommodate a wide range of learning styles and customer needs. OpenText Learning Services customers benefit from expert support, decades of experience, and tried-and-tested approaches. Napoleon Hill, the American author and leadership guru once said, “If you are not learning while you’re earning, you are cheating yourself out of the better portion of your compensation.”  The skills you use today are important, but the learning you undertake will live on throughout your career. I encourage you to work with us and ensure business success by developing your learning services roadmap, influencing your training content, and aligning the delivery of learning with the needs of your organization. You can read more about our education services and view details on dates, locations and pricing in our public training schedule.

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Five Factors That Are Driving the Changing Publishing Landscape

changing publishing landscape

From scrolls to print, from hardback to paperbacks, from broadsheets to tabloids, and from print to digital, the world of publishing has always been one of change. What makes the current landscape different is the sheer rate of change. This time it’s not only the delivery model that’s changing, and changing fast, it’s also the combination of new technologies and the demand for information consumed across a variety of different media. While traditional print markets are at last showing slow recovery in some markets the demand for information via digital sources continue to grow (although it could be argued that this growth is slowing down), while other media, such as video and audio continue to gain in popularity. From my perspective I see five primary influences that are driving this change in the publishing landscape: Channel growth: The move from having a single delivery channel, i.e. print, to multiple digital mobile channels on the web and mobile is moving news and information delivery from a traditional, single stream publishing model towards a model closer to broadcasting, with subsequent pressures to create and deliver differentiated content for each channel while maintaining the core integrity and facts of the information being delivered. Speed of updates: It used to be sufficient to publish on a regular pre-determined cadence, be it quarterly, monthly, or weekly in the case of magazines; or weekly, daily, or in selected editions (morning, lunch, evening, and late) for newspapers. Today, a large proportion of the population gets its first notification of a newsworthy event via social media and expects updates to be in real time as events unfold. To compete with this, news organizations must deliver their own content via social media and back it up with deeper analysis via news websites and more traditional channels that take longer to deliver. Changing business model: The newspaper industry has traditionally been funded by revenue streams from print advertising, i.e. selling physical space alongside the content. In this scenario the content is secondary to the advertising, although it could be argued that good content drives up circulation, which allows the publication to charge higher rates for the associated space. In the digital world, while it is possible to sell advertising space, it is at lower price points and less effective than in print. As a result, advertising revenues have dropped significantly and news and information providers are looking at other revenue streams, such as leveraging their content through paywalls, and syndication. To date, no new single business model has emerged as the new baseline. Easy access to different media types: While print was once the predominate media for the dissemination and consumption of news and information, it is now just one of a number of choices. With the advent of digital mobile devices, most consumers now have ready and instant access to content in textual, visual (graphics and video), and audio format. While print is never likely to disappear completely, it is now supplemented by the steady growth of other media types. Impact of technology companies: The majority of digital advertising revenue is generated by five technology companies, four of which, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Twitter include news content. The impact of these companies goes beyond such financial considerations, as more of them onboard editorial staff and start to change the way that news is delivered and tracked through a combination of more personalized storytelling techniques and trending topics. Digital transformation is key to survival in the publishing industry. However, any digital efforts must not only address the process of delivery, they must also address the new paradigm where content becomes the hub of the business model. It is no longer sufficient just to automate the original print process model using technology, it is now essential to leverage content assets to deliver compelling and engaging stories that can be accessed from any platform, from print to digital, to mobile, to social, at any time.

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Customer Journey Redefined – The Departmental View

customer journey

The customer journey is being redefined in the digital age from a linear process to an ongoing loop of BUY then OWN, with the companies you choose to deal with becoming more and more engaged in every part of the cycle. So far in previous posts I’ve discussed what that ongoing loop looks like from a customer perspective and how the loop model aligns the customer’s activities to those of the organization. As we dig deeper into the journey map it’s time to take a look at what parts of the organization are directly involved. The third layer highlights the various departments involved in the continuous customer engagement model. It is no longer sufficient to leave customer relations to the sales or support groups. Customer experience is now a mission-critical, cross-functional activity. As Robert Rose of the Content Marketing Institute says, “It is the totality of all the individual experi­ences that make up a Customer’s experience.” It can be argued that customer experience and responsibility for the customer journey is the remit of the company as a whole, and it’s a good axiom, but in actuality it tends to primarily fall within the following areas: Marketing, Sales, Finance, Distribution, Operations, Services, Support, and Customer Care. Delivering and supporting a positive customer experience is all about removing the friction from the process. The smoother the transition from department to department, the easier something is to do, the better the experience. This means that each department should invest in the overall customer experience, not only in terms of systems, but in terms of training, education, and a commitment to customer advocacy. As outlined in a previous post, serving your customers across a continuous digital experience journey maximizes Customer Lifecycle Value and increases revenue potential. The more other departments invest and buy in to the overall concept of a frictionless process, the greater the experience and the greater the customer’s investment. The benefits from committing to a combined, systematic approach to growing Customer Lifecycle Value across the enterprise include: Increased customer retention rates Increased customer satisfaction scores Increased revenue By taking this a step further, managing and delivering outstanding customer experiences, you will drive benefit for the customer, as well as sustainable growth across the enterprise.

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Adapt to Ever-Changing Markets With Dynamic Predictive CRO

dynamic predictive CRO

So far in this series, I’ve covered having a flexible toolbox and flexible technical expertise, while in the last two posts we talked about the importance of planning ahead with respect to traffic patterns and your resources. However there will always be things that come up that require you to drop what you are doing and turn around something as fast as possible. Not getting phased by this is the true secret to a Dynamic Predictive CRO program. An example of dynamic predictive CRO in action Disaster! Sales of one of your key product categories have suddenly tanked. The category team don’t know why. You review analytics and find that most people aren’t even moving past the category listing. This started a couple of days ago. You check out a competitor website. Sure enough they have revamped product pages for this category and are offering a discount. Now, you are in the middle of creating a major funnel redesign test. The CMO is expecting results next month, but the category marketing team need your help right away. You need to be able to quickly switch around your roadmap and resources quickly so both tasks can be done in parallel. This brings into play every type of flexibility we’ve talked about so far: Type of test You want to test both discounts and product benefits right away, so you need a multivariate test. Technical flexibility You need to apply a discount only for customers who have been assigned the ‘discount’ creative, plus you need to show the discount on category and product pages and then apply it in the checkout process to ensure customers are charged the discounted price. This is beyond the capabilities of WYSIWYG testing tools, so you need your JavaScript guru here. Timing flexibility You need to get this in quickly, and run it at the same time as your big funnel project. You have high enough traffic to split the affected category traffic out of your funnel test without sacrificing speed. Resource flexibility As mentioned before, you need that JavaScript guru now. You also need help right away from your colleagues in discounts and pricing, and designers to get you some discount banners. This actually sounds deceptively simple, but if you have an organization that relies on rigid process most of the time it will be hard! Once you can do all this without breaking a sweat, then you can have confidence that your program is dynamic, predictive, resilient and ready to cope with any conversion-related challenges your customers can throw at you. If you missed any of the previous posts in this series, don’t forget to check them out: Does Your Testing Program Have the Flexibility to Meet Your Goals? Build Technical Flexibility for a Dynamic CRO Program Test at the Right Time – Flexible CRO Seasonality Want to Build a Dynamic CRO Team? Flexibility is key

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The Year’s Best Conversation is Coming: OpenText Dialogue 2016, Sept. 26-28

Dialogue 2016

At this year’s OpenText Dialogue 2016 conference, you couldn’t be in a better seat to get insight and guidance on how to develop and execute successful digital-first customer experience strategies. We’re bringing together OpenText leadership, technical specialists, and customer engagement product experts. And to start us off, OpenText CEO and CTO Mark J. Barrenechea, and the Forrester Research Principal Consultant Serving Customer Experience Professionals will share their thoughts on where the Customer Experience Management (CEM) market is headed. Why is CEM such a hot topic? It’s inescapable, really. The digital disruption is upon us, and you can’t miss the flow of companies shifting to find their place in the digital world. Every business, large and small, is looking to add digital capabilities, be fully engaged with mobile millennials, and get their digital plans going quickly. We all want to stay competitive, and claiming your space in the digital transformation is the way to do it. So, if you’ve thought about the hurdles involved in integrating digital and traditional channels into an omnichannel strategy, you’ll want to attend OpenText Dialogue 2016 to learn how OpenText’s Customer Experience Management (CEM) portfolio makes it all possible. There’s a lot to know, and at Dialogue 2016 there are a whole host of ways you can learn more. You can register here. More reasons to attend OpenText Dialogue 2016 There aren’t many business today that aren’t evaluating their digital initiatives. And one of the most important ones involves customer conversations: how do you hold them? How do customers want to communicate with you? How do you integrate all the different channels and devices that make the CEM landscape so colorful and complex? Both of the keynote speakers at Dialogue 2016 will answer these questions, not only with a visionary look at what is happening today, but how you can execute personalized, omnichannel customer engagement programs and successfully plot your digital transformation. If you are ready to get digital, pack your bags for this conference! What to expect at OpenText Dialogue 2016 Thought leadership: We’re bringing together OpenText leadership, technical specialists, and customer engagement experts to share their insights on the digital transformation, and what technology can help you solve these challenges. Approximately 40 technical and business breakouts: Experts in the field of CEM and customer communications management will share strategies, tips, and best practices on how to take your customer engagement strategies to the next level with OpenText solutions. View the agenda. Product innovation plans, new product announcements, and strategy: Don’t miss the General Sessions; it’s where you can hear details on the new additions to OpenText’s Customer Experience Management portfolio, acquired from HP. Solution Showcase: Explore the Solution Showcase to connect with OpenText partners, CEM experts, and customers, and see the technology in action. Get sponsorship info. Numerous networking opportunities: Take advantage of two days to network with peers, OpenText leadership, industry analysts, and product experts.  Conference details Who: Industry thought leaders, technical professionals, customers, prospects, analysts, and partners What: OpenText Dialogue 2016 User Conference Where: Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida – Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa When: September 26-28 Cost: Attendance fee is $699 – Register here For more information about OpenText Dialogue 2016, visit the conference website. Interested in sponsoring Dialogue 2016? Help shape the experience at Dialogue 2016. Find out about Sponsorship Opportunities. Get conference updates. Check back for weekly updates on new agenda items, keynote speakers, and more right here on the OpenText Blog. Read more from OpenText CEM experts!

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Taking WFM out of the Phone age

WFM

Understanding the modern-day contact center requires new thinking, and as Workforce Management (WFM) professionals, we cannot stay stuck in the tar pit of our outdated mindsets. Plus, as new channels like social, chat, and the back-office become more critical in terms of agent forecasting, don’t count on your antiquated WFM software to get it right. If you want to evolve your contact center beyond the quickly receding “phone age,” it is important to understand agent skill groupings and how they must figure into effective planning and staff efficiency. Most staff planning (forecasting) tools provide “what-if analysis” capabilities that include three variables: Demand, as in how much work are we going to receive, and how is it going to arrive? What service level do we want to offer that demand? How much overhead (shrinkage = meetings, training, absenteeism, adherence violations) do we want to anticipate to make sure we get enough people in the queues to process the transactions within their targeted grade of service? But did you know that modern workforce management tools offer a fourth and measurable variable? The Impact of Skill Mix on Staffing Efficiency In the example below, two algorithms are used to calculate headcount requirements: standard and skill-based. The standard algorithm uses a straight Erlang-C calculation that indicates the required hours and FTE’s based on a single skilled agent population. Mathematically, Erlang-C terminates in a single queue and will overstate how many agents are required in a multi-skilled agent environment. Cross training the agents to be logged into multiple skills simultaneously creates larger group sizes, and these larger agent groups are able to process transactions much more efficiently than smaller groups. This is one of the significant advantages of deploying multi-skilled agent populations in your contact center. In comparison, the skill-based algorithm calculates the efficiency gain (reduced hours and FTE’s) based upon the mix of skills present within the WFM agent population when this staff plan is created. Analysts are now empowered to add/modify and change skills for multiple agents simultaneously and quickly evaluate if whether adding a particular skill to a group of agents would increase staffing efficiency. In Qfiniti Workforce, this concept is driven by something called Clusters or common sets of skills. Using this concept, a quick skills-based “cluster analysis” reveals that there are only five common sets of skills, or skill clusters among the twelve scheduled activities on the site, as illustrated below: Here’s my advice for all the WFM “Fred Flintstones” out there who are still stuck in the “phone age”: Recruiting: Clustering and using skill mix is important because of the imperative for a multi-skilled center to understand what skills agents should have and what skills should be considered when recruiting. Balance: There is often a tendency to create too many unique skill groups, resulting in smaller and smaller agent populations which can undermine the efficiency of larger group sizes and then create challenges relative to forecasting demand into smaller groups. This condition, in turn, places an unnecessary administrative burden on the center analysts. The right solution for your center is a likely balanced approach. New Thinking: Your WFM application should allow you to add skill mix into your forecasting model while providing the ability to quickly add/change agent’s skills and measure the potential efficiency gains. This balanced, ever-green approach will bring your contact center into the modern age of workforce management.

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Want to Build a Dynamic CRO Team? Flexibility is key

conversion rate optimization

In this post I’ll discuss what you need in order to have a virtual conversion rate optimization (CRO) team with the skills – and availability – to solve any problem. If you build this team, alongside the toolbox, technical and planning flexibility I covered in previous posts, then you are well on your way to a dynamic program and CRO stardom! It takes a whole CRO team to raise a good test Conversion rate optimizers work with more different roles and departments in the average day than most people could cope with in a month. These people often get tied up with other stuff, and that blocks your program from succeeding. Your designers can’t put together your wireframes because they have a deadline for new campaign landing pages. The analytics team can’t get you insights on site search because they’re monitoring the new mobile site. No one is free to do quality assurance on a test that’s ready to go live. Even you can be your own blocker, if you are on holiday or snowed under at key decision points. Talk, plan and never panic The solution to this issue has 3 parts: Keep lines of communication open Talk to everyone you rely on – designers, developers, analysts – regularly. Share your Outlook or Google calendars. Set up a central project workspace where updates, discussions and plans are visible to everyone. Then the whole team knows when to expect work coming their way. We’ve had a lot of success using Trello boards for this but the best tool is whatever fits the team. Some of our customers use Jira and build “CRO sprints” into their development sprints. Plan ahead where possible As soon as you know you are going to need some help, plan out a block of time with the relevant person and avoid the busiest times for their other major projects. Plan tests for sale periods and campaigns well in advance. Have as many backup options as you can Aim not to be reliant on just one person for each function – get to know as many of your colleagues as possible. If you struggle for resource to do analysis or wireframing ask your testing provider if they can provide or recommend any options for this. Here at OpenText™ Optimost we act as an extension of our customers’ UX, development, or analytics teams. We can either fill the function long term, or just help out when resources are stretched. You will run into periods where everyone else is focused on something else and can’t help you. Have plenty of very low effort tests in your back pocket (e.g. headline tests) ready to go when this happens. I hope these tips help you plan your team so you can adapt to anything. In the next post I’ll finish up this series by showing how all of the types of flexibility I’ve described (tools, technology, planning, as well as resources) allow you to be dynamic and adapt to a real world scenario when outside factors threaten your conversion program.

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Happy Birthday to WFO Screen Capture

screen capture

A core component of every WFO platform is the ability to record an agent’s desktop and deliver a movie-like experience to help evaluate employee performance. Believe it or not, desktop screen capture functionality in OpenText™ Qfiniti Observe is about to turn 21 years old!  Our “baby” has grown up so quickly and now we get to have a party. Also, desktop screen capture gets a big birthday gift – desktop analytics with OpenText™ Qfiniti Optimize. Yes, a very “adult” function, but today’s screen capture is not yesterday’s voice and screen capture. In fact, screen analytics (often called desktop analytics) is for screen recording what speech analytics was to voice recording. This new development in desktop analytics is changing contact centers everywhere, so let me tell you why we’re celebrating here at OpenText. Expanded Search Remember the first time you used speech analytics and searched for a call by word or phrase?  Yes, Qfiniti Optimize is the same, but now imagine searching for calls by click or task: Show me all the calls where the agent used this feature of the knowledge base Show me all the calls that the agent bypassed the CRM privacy screen and didn’t read the disclosure Show me agents that are NOT doing a specific step to close a sale These are just a few of the ways that desktop monitoring is changing the face of quality monitoring and coaching. Expanded Measurement Today, screen capture functionality, just like a voice recording, only tells us the length of the interaction. Desktop analytics can tell you exactly how long a specific step within an interaction takes. How long is the greeting and authentication? How long does it take to setup a new customer? How long does it take the agent to research the problem? These tasks in the interaction can be analyzed with expanded measurement of specific steps made on the agent desktop. Never Seen Before Insights                                                                                                                             One of our customers told me that he once observed a new employee that never typed while on the phone. The coach played back a few calls and saw that this was consistent on all calls. In fact, he also noticed that this agent had lengthy after-call (wrap up) time. As he approached the employee during a coaching session, he saw that the agent manually wrote everything on a notepad and then used his wrap-up time to enter the notes and complete the transaction. He asked why he did it that way and the employee said, “Someone in training told me it was rude to type while the customer talked and I should write it all down and do it after the call.”  The leader was able to find the root cause of the issue and in just a few coaching sessions taught this employee (and the trainer) how multi-tasking can be done without being intrusive. Now imagine that same scenario for ALL agents. Desktop analytics is more than just understanding what can be seen during playback, but expands screen capture to identify the applications, steps and methods that your high- and low-performing agents take on each and every call. So happy birthday screen capture and welcome to adulthood. Qfiniti Observe, combined with the insights of the new version of Qfiniti Optimize are taking you into the next phase of your life.  Now let’s blow out the candles and have some cake!

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