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2017

The Takeaway: While it's tempting to multitask, agents struggle to have authentic interactions with customers. Active listening is a useful tool to improve engaging with customers.

Sometimes it feels impossible to not multitask within a given workday. When on the phone with a customer, agents are responsible for juggling the incoming information that a customer provides while processing data presented on the screen in front of them. Have you ever noticed how exhausted you feel after doing that for several hours?

The reason, wrote Olivia Goldhill for Quartz Media, is that your brain is really switching between tasks, not accomplishing them simultaneously. In addition to feeling tired, individuals who multitask also feel more stressed - which is counterproductive in a contact center, when agents are assisting customers. There are additional drawbacks to multitasking: When our brains attempt to juggle multiple projects, we lose the ability to separate important information from mindless chatter, noted Forbes' Travis Bradberry.

Agents may have more success by practicing active listening when working with customers. The Wall Street Journal's Elizabeth Bernstein laid out the definition of active listening: Fully interacting with another person, without distraction. However, this can be difficult to do when worrying about average handle time and resolving the call quickly.

 

Customers feel heard when agents employ active listening techniques.

Nip the problem in the bud when hiring agents. CJ Silva of the International Customer Management Institute recommended seeking out agents that are empathetic. In practice, that means these agents are good at identifying certain emotions in a person's voice or speech. Active listening can help agents strengthen their empathy muscles. They have the opportunity to ask open-ended questions - and without any distractions, can pay attention to a customer's tone.

Technology can also help agents become more empathetic. In a previous article, we highlighted AI that can identify when calls are going off-track. This technology can pick up on a customer's faster speech pattern or language that suggests anger. The human element - in the form of the agent - can use this information to slow down the conversation and check in with the customer, to ask if they feel listened to.

In addition, speech analytics software can help managers understand and measure their agents' empathy. The software can look for open-ended questions. When paired with other metrics - like average handle time or first call resolution - managers may be able to get a better sense of whether an agent is actively listening with a customer.

Active listening is a skill that requires dedication and maintenance. While it's tempting to multitask, both agents and customers will benefit from active engaging

How will you increase active listening?

Watch as Jim Rembach from FastLeader.net interviews our own Brian LaRoche at the recent show Call Center Week Winter 2017.  Jim interviewed Brian about how Customer Engagement Analytics can help improve call center efficiency. They also discussed how CallMiner can help automate the QA process and improve agent performance.

 

http://www.callcentercoach.com/brian-laroche-talks-customer-engagement-analytics/

Hi EO Members,

Please visit link below for the  blog :-

 

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141110142734-50578967-how-successful-people-stay-productive

 

Regards,

Pulkit Jain

 

encore

shutterstock_366617948.jpgThe takeaway: While artificial intelligence continues to advance, it does not have the ability to replace humans in situations that require creative and flexible thinking.

 

Has Artificial Technology Progressed Enough to Replace Humans?

 

A recent discussion on Engagement Optimization started by Pulkit Jain brought up an unnerving question: Can technology surpass human brains? The technology he's referring to is artificial intelligence (AI). This technology - which, in recent years, has taken the form of self-driving cars at Uber and talk technology like Siri or Watson - has achieved some amazing things. But will it make humans obsolete?

 

The Fear of Artificial Intelligence

 

This fear of AI isn't new. When Deep Blue, a computer made by IBM, engaged in a match against Gary Kasparov, the world's best chess player, the world held its breath. Kasparov said he was playing on behalf of all humans, according to Time. He was thrown off balance by the computer's human playing style, leading him to forfeit the match to the computer. A piece of technology had beaten the best chess player in the world. That was in 1997 - and artificial intelligence technology has only continued to move forward.

 

As programming for AI has gotten better, we keep circling back to the question science fiction writers like Isaac Asimov grappled with in their stories: Can technology surpass human brains? And what does that mean if it can?

 

The short answer is: not right now. Technology is not presently able to outsmart humans. As ColdFusion noted in its YouTube series about AI, these smart computers excel at certain tasks, but none have mastered the "good at everything" element.

 

 

We are creating AI that can recognize general principles and apply them. They're savants, good with memorizing swaths of information, but struggling to apply that knowledge to changing situations. And that is the current downfall of AI - and the continuing strength of humans.

 

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     Turning right on red is a sign of flexible human thinking.

 

We can take our general knowledge of different subjects and apply it in atypical situations - think of the popularity of Malcolm Gladwell and his ability to link two seemingly unrelated topics. In addition, human learning is flexible. We can adapt the rules we've learned to changing situations. Take stopping at a red light, for example. We know we can turn right on a red light if there is no oncoming traffic. All a self-driving car sees is a red light, so it waits until the light changes (much to the chagrin of the human drivers behind it).

 

Another human benefit? Our brains can think creatively. While it is impressive that artificial intelligence can create a trailer for a horror movie, AI machines are having a harder time developing their own content.

 

That doesn't mean researchers aren't preparing for the day that AI will gain flexible and creative thought. Stephen Hawking developed the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence at Cambridge University. Tech entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Sam Altman, the president of Y Combinator, invested $1 billion dollars to OpenAI, a nonprofit looking to advance AI safely.

 

Importantly, a large part of how AI progresses depends on how humans - both AI users and creators - respond. As Altman mentioned, technology will continue to move forward - the only question is how we will keep up.

 

How do you feel about AI getting smarter?

big-data-big-year-2017.jpgPost by: Frank Sherlock, VP, International, Sales

frank-sherlock-thumb.png

An Age of uncertainty is upon us” according to The Economist and many other sources.

 

Preparing for and being able to manage your business and your relationships with customers through such times will be critical. Your call centre is at the forefront of customer interactions. Utilizing the wealth of data contained in these interactions will provide the insights that you need to successfully navigate your way through 2017 and beyond.

 

We’ve put together a list of four great tactics for making sure that you use your call centre data to deliver the customer insights you need to turn a “year of uncertainty” into a “Big Year for your business”.

 

Take a look…..

 

[FULL BLOG POST]

 

This post originally appeared on CallMiner.

fitbit_800x500.pngThe Takeaway: Healthcare providers looking to increase customer engagement through apps can look to Fitbit for successful tactics, like multi-channel engagement and strong motivators.

 

If only more healthcare apps could be like Fitbit. When asked about his company's mission, Fitbit CEO James Park said:

 

"A lack of consumer engagement is missing…[it] is a critical missing element in many broad healthcare efforts such as population health and disease control."

 

He's right. An Accenture report found that only 2 percent of consumers are interacting with their healthcare providers. Why are Fitbit devices so popular? And what can healthcare providers learn from Fitbit?

 

Think Like a Brand

 

There are several components of the company's success: Fitbit as a brand has addressed a need in the marketplace. Surrounded by more Internet of Things products and a growing obsession with staying active, Fitbit created devices that give its users the ability to track fitness and health goals, making it one of the first devices to tackle the growing health trend while connecting a group of like-minded individuals. By addressing a pain point, Fitbit had a customer engagement strategy built into its product.

 

Healthcare apps have yet to do this. According to the Accenture report, only 11 percent of healthcare providers created apps that address at least one of three functions that customers want most.

 

In addition, Fitbit is using several platforms to stay in contact with customers. According to Simply Measured, Fitbit's presence across Facebook and Instagram, with the hashtag #Mondaymotivation, accounted for 20 percent of its highest performing posts.

 

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#Mondaymotivation works as an important external motivator for Fitbit users.

How can healthcare providers and apps mimic Fitbit's success?

 

UnitedHealth Group, out of Minnesota, has made headway in engaging customers with its app, Baby Blocks. Unveiled in 2011, the healthcare app serves as a poster child for a strong customer engagement strategy in the healthcare space. As noted in the group's press release, the app works to help expectant mothers on Medicaid attend all their prenatal and post-pregnancy appointments. Like Fitbit, it also reaches out to customers across multiple communication channels, sending out reminders through email and helpful tips via text message.

 

Set a Goal for Customers

 

A secondary facet of Fitbit's success as a brand is the interaction between its members. It's a form of external motivation: Friends can try to top each other's fitness goals on a daily - or hourly - basis. The goal paired with its immediate payoff is central to Fitbit's success.

 

Meanwhile, Baby Blocks, as a healthcare app, has created its own form of external motivation to reward its patients. Instead of points, it uses gift cards for maternity or baby clothes. And this is crucial in helping keep its customers engaged.

 

Wharton Professor Kevin Werbach, in his book For the Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business, warned against "pointification" or setting up loyalty programs with points associated with different tasks. Werbach argued that  points feel arbitrary. They are an intermediary accomplishment that could eventually lead to concrete rewards, yet fail to materialize fast enough. Just in the way you can immediately see if you've beaten your co-worker's number of steps for the day, patients using Baby Blocks can see a clear result from their efforts.

 

There is, of course, one huge obstacle for healthcare apps that Fitbit doesn't have to worry about just yet (though, if  a recent Q&A is to be believed, Fitbit will be moving into this space): privacy and legalities in the healthcare field. While this is a challenge, Accenture found that focusing on the functionality of existing apps may prove to be the most important part of boosting customer engagement.

 

What are you doing to creatively engage your customers?