Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Integrate twitter with your Contact Center

The usage of  social media has changed dramatically in the past few years, and has moved from a social engagement platform to being the most preferred platform for  customer queries and support. Customers expect a lot from social media, and according to a recent study , 42% of the customers expect to get a response within one hour of contacting the company.

To keep our contact center solution up to date with the latest technologies, we have now integrated twitter into our Contact center product - Cloud Agent.

With this we have now integrated two major social media platforms -  Facebook chat and Twitter.

Some of the key benefits are
  • Single platform for all customer interactions
  • Track and monitor all customer communication via all channels
  • Customer now has an option to switch between channels to reach out to businesses
  • Quick response to social media queries 
  • Companies can identify active brand advocates or brand naysayers
  •  Companies can analyze customer behavior via the feed coming in from FB & Twitter. Our speech recognition system(speech.ozonetel.com) is enabled with keyword spotting which can help analyze even a large volume of tweets.

If social media interaction is used to its full potential, it can help improve customer retention, increase brand awareness, improve quality of service, thus resulting in an increase in overall customer satisfaction.
Can check basic twitter integration on youtube.
If you are interested in integrating twitter and Facebook chat bot, mail us @ sales@ozonetel.com.
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Monday, 17 October 2016

How can Small & Medium scale Businesses improve their business communications?


Small & Medium businesses (SME, SMB) play a key role in the Indian economy. They contribute to more than 45%  of the industrial output, 40% of the country’s total exports and help create 1.3 million jobs every year. Currently, there are more than 48 million SME in India (source: Ministry of MSME, GoI). 

With the changing business environment, small businesses are  not restricted to any geography, and serve customers across the globe and partner with MNC’s on business deals . In this scenario, a robust communication solution is much needed. Here are some communications solutions suitable for this sector-  affordable and easy to use.

1.    VoIP for online meeting: Voice over internet protocol enables businesses to connect with anyone across the globe via chat, voice or video. Add-on advanced features like voicemail, desktop sharing, connectivity to PSTN number further aid communications. The services in this domain are Microsoft skype, Google hangout with a limited free plan to start-with. Other players in this segment are Viber, GoToMeeting, WebEx.
2.  Virtual Calling Software (virtual receptionist): In a cloud computing era small businesses can avail the facility of a virtual receptionist solution. A basic virtual calling solution comes with an IVR, call recording, call monitoring, voice mails, call related alerts etc. With a virtual receptionist solution small businesses can ensure that they never miss a call
3.     Cloud Call Center: A prompt customer service and real time support is critical to any business. A cloud based call center helps businesses to easily setup a small call center 1-10 seater with no upfront investment in any hardware or software and is maintained by the service provider. Companies can start the calling operation just by paying monthly subscription fees (SaaS).
4.    Live Chat on website: Website is one of the best platform to generate inbound leads and a live chat helps in engaging a website visitor and help in the process of converting a prospect or lead. It can  also be a preferred tool for customer support and service. According to a recent report by ATG Global Consumer(https://lewiscarroll.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/wp-worldwide-live-help-survey1.pdf) a study proved that nearly 90% of the customers consider live chat very helpful. The solution is cost effective and a single agent can handle multiple customers at one time.
5.   Facebook chat bot: Recently Facebook released its chat bot API’s for businesses. As Facebook is one of the most used messenger and a popular social media platform (1.58bn active users, source: CNBC), it can be used as a medium to address customer queries. An automated chat bot can process general customer queries, like booking a cab, flight ticket or maybe, to cancel an order.                                                                         
A chat bot can reduce human error and dependency, which helps in standardizing customer service.
Recently we integrated the FB chat bot to our calling platform Kookoo, now Kookoo developers can build their own chat bot using Kookoo API’s.

About Ozonetel: Ozonetel is a pioneer of  Cloud Telephony solutions in India. Our Service includes  virtual calling solution, Live chat, multichannel cloud call center and Facebook chat bot.
We are currently serving 1000+ customers across 20+ verticals.
For more, please visit us over the web at www.ozonetel.com or just click here (http://ozonetel.com/customersignup.html) for a free demo.
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Friday, 14 October 2016

Getting started with Inside sales

This is a post about my experience running an Inside sales operation in the somewhat choppy waters of India’s B2B market. Why I classify India as a “Choppy” market is due to the challenges faced on each aspect of a B2B sale, to name a few 

Low product awareness when it comes to new offerings in the market, amongst businesses
Low technology adoption rate amongst businesses
Extremely price conscious customers
Need for a face to face meeting, especially relevant for Inside sales teams
Limited channels of communication with B2B customers

So, how do you go about building an Inside sales organization?

Step 1 - Do you have any Inside sales process? Is it documented?

While we started out at Ozonetel with a sketchy idea on what should a rep do, we kept making trials & errors in the process. Finally, we have come up with an initial list of dos/donts and a process has been set-in place to standardize these efforts.

For a business in very initial stages, it might be difficult to identify the steps of this process and there might be a tendency to skip the entire exercise itself. This is a BIG mistake. Inside sales is a process driven operation – right from training, to pitching, to tracking, to closing, to customer success. And this process has to be uniformly implemented across the team for an optimized effort.

This is particularly true if you are in the SaaS business, as the LTV of a customer is directly impacted by a consistent effort & a documented process.

A sub-step needing mention here is the extensive usage of a CRM integrated with telephony. We use a sugar based CRM linked with our own product (Cloud agent Lite) to effectively track & monitor all customer interactions.

So now, you can set SLAs linked with opportunities, Hear what your reps speak, monitor all customer interactions in one place – Calls, SMSes, Emails, Social media.

Step 2 - Are you tracking the right metrics?
This is something we adopted late into our operations. Since we are in the SaaS business, tracking key metrics – LTV, CAC, MRR, Churn – are essential to be on track & to monitor progress.

While in the initial days, it could be a simple excel effort, there are readymade tools like Chartmogul which ease the tracking. Ideally, these metrics should be an output of your Billing software, for accuracy. 

We have elaborated further on this at - http://blog.ozonetel.com/2016/08/SaaS-Metrics.html

Step 3 - How are you hiring & training your sales reps?
Before going out to hire someone, do you have the key competencies identified, that can help you select the right candidate. A candidate might be good in Sales – Achieving quotas, Good communications skills, Result oriented, but does he/she fit into your Inside sales setup? A process driven approach deeply linked with CRM adherence is a must for success along-with the patience to be persistent but not intrusive. There’s a ton of content on how to follow-up, on sites like (Hubspot – follow-up mail best practices), Sales hacker etc. Due to the lack of a physical meeting opportunity, the need to be professional & competent is higher now. Your prospective hire should have showcased some of these qualities to be eligible for joining you.

Training process too needs to be documented and a time set out for it every week or month. Training is not a onetime effort & needs to be continuously revisited.

Step 4 - Create the right sales pitch
How much ever we might train reps on processes, products, key offerings, competition comparison – it is imperative to have a Sales pitch in place. Depending on the product one is pitching, this can be clearly crafted or built on context.

In Ozonetel’s case, while Cloud agent Lite could work on a clear sales pitch, Cloud agent would need a more consultative approach. Eitherways, there are certain points which need to be communicated.

To classify, broadly

Small sales cycle (7-10 days) + > Average customer awareness – Have a clear pitch on what your product can do, highlighting the top 3 benefits which fit into customer needs. 

Longer sales cycle (>1 month) – This kind of a product would entail a product demo, detailed commercial discussion and multi-level approvals for closure. The sales rep needs to have a repertoire of efforts to be made at each stage. 

A typical Conversation flow would be 
Intro discussion – Understand clearly what the customer needs. Here the pitch has to be around – Building trust for your brand + Key features which the customer is looking for + Identifying key pain areas in setup
Product demo – Identify 3 key areas to focus on. Do NOT showcase the entire product and confuse the customer.
1st commercial discussion – Prepare a quote in line with what similar customers pay by – Vertical, Size of company, Professional management, growth plans, need for your product. Do NOT send a high quote assuming that customer will anyway bargain. Be reasonable, but FIRM.
2nd/3rd discussion – If the customer gets in a higher authority to negotiate, so should you. You could involve your tech. team also in these discussions.
Step 5 - How are you motivating & pushing your team to achieve more?
We have only taken baby steps here. Team meetings built around knowledge sharing & company updates – other than just reviews – is one such activity done to encourage the reps to learn from each other & other resources. 
One big step in pushing your team is to lead from the front.

Written by,

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Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Leverage Speech Recognition for better customer service

We are all familiar with Siri and Alexa, the voice based personal assistants. While, speech recognition started way back in 1932 at Bell Laboratories, its use has been limited so far. Recently ICICI bank launched a new service based on this technology for phone banking and voice metrics(http://www.business-standard.com/article/finance/icici-bank-eyes-5-million-transactions-via-voice-recognition-116092500222_1.html) .

Speech recognition can be a system driven user friendly technology to enable better customer service. 

What could be some use cases for speech recognition?

Automated Interactive voice assistant (Intelligent IVR)Speech can replace the touchtone keypad during the  IVR call, thus making the experience more user friendly & efficient.

Automated call monitoring - Speech recognition can automate the agent call monitoring process by helping the supervisor monitor for specific keywords which might or might not have been spoken. This is done manually nowadays which tends to be tedious & non-standardized. Another example could be - To aid marketing campaigns with advanced analytics – One of our clients ran a high volume campaign and monitored the utterance of a particular word. This can help in getting a deeper insight into consumer behavior& help review and plan future campaigns.

Security - Voice Biometrics is an easy and secure method of authentication using an IVR system.

Ozonetel currently runs a high volume Speech recognition enabled marketing campaign for HUL, more about this at (http://ozonetel.com/casestudies/HUL-LoKarLoBaat.html)

Recently we also integrated a speech layer (Dhvani) to our cloud telephony stack (speech.ozonetel.com). Now KooKoo developers can use this speech application in their cloud telephony applications.

For more, please visit us over the web at speech.ozonetel.comTo  start speech recognition application  just signup at http://ozonetel.com/signup.html

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Wednesday, 14 September 2016

8 questions to help you choose the right contact center solution?

As they say, the sales slogan is no more ABC – Always Be Closing, but ABH – Always Be Helping. After much internal discussions & studying industry trends of the recent past, here are the 8 questions which you need to ask your Call center vendor before choosing their solution.

Do you own the full stack of the solution – Hardware + Software?
Ever since Asterisk launched its open source software sometime in the late 2000s a lot of players have adopted this platform to offer call center solutions. While it appears to work, it’s not reliable and often support issues crop up. Same goes for the hardware, while servers are from the Big brands, what is needed to bridge calls is a PRI card in the server. Your question here would be – who owns the card? What’s the SLA on its downtime? Do I need to pay an AMC for the PRI card too?

How well is the vendor known for providing support for your operations?
Do they have a dedicated team? Is it 24 x 7? Do they have support SLAs?

Is the solution a full feature contact center solution?
When one is evaluating a call center solution, it becomes critical to know how the solution is helping you monitor – Agent productivity & Optimizing call center performance. Can SLAs be automatically generated via the reports in the solution? Can I monitor my call center remotely? Does the solution provide me readily available metrics – AHT, FCR, Priority Queuing, ACW etc?

Can the contact center solution integrate with my CRM?
This is a bare minimum and is self-explanatory. It doesn’t make sense to have your call center executives toggling between 2 screens while on a call.

       Is the solution scalable – up or down?
An important point to consider is, what if I need to scale down later in the future due? Will I be stuck with my hardware?

If I need to install a software to run the solution, how will upgrades happen?
We all know the pain that comes with upgrading Windows every now and then. Even Microsoft has realized this and is moving the Windows office to the cloud, though at an Elephant’s pace.

Ask around –What do customers similar to you, use?
Your use cases would be very similar. Most probably your CRM also would be – Sugar, Salesforce, Zoho, Pipedrive etc. Makes life easy to get started once you have all the relevant integrations in place.

Finally - Is the pricing suited for my needs? What if i need to scale down?
I have deliberately kept pricing at the end – What’s the use of a system which does not fulfill the above basic needs?
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Sunday, 11 September 2016

Would your customer recommend you?

One customer, well taken care of, could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising.”  – Jim Rohn

Referrals are a great source of new business. This is true even in this digital marketing age and applicable to a company irrespective of the stage they are in – Start-up, Growing or Established.

Gauging customer satisfaction is a precursor to launching a referral program. What could be a key metric to understand customer experience?

Net Promoter Score
Net Promoter score is a way to measure your Customer experience ,you just have to track one metric i.e “Net Promoter Score”  and this one question will tell whether a customer is ready to recommend your company or not.

Net Promoter Score is a customer experience metric introduced by Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company, in  2003, widely adopted by more than two thirds of Fortune 1000 companies. 

How does it work?

NPS is a question or two asked directly to the customers, that will tell whether your customer would recommend you or not? The scoring is done on a 0-10 scale.
If a customer gives a 9 or 10 rating they are labelled a promoter. These are the customers who are more likely to recommend your company and be loyal for longer. If the customer rates between 0 to 6, customers are labelled as Detractors, and are harmful to a business . Their probability of churn is high and they could even create negative word of mouth.. Responses in the 7-8 range are Passives, and their behaviour falls in the middle of Promoters and Detractors.
Net promoter score = % Promoters - % Detractors

For Instance- A company does a survey among 200 customers, 110 are promoters, 30 are passives & 60 detractors. % of Promoters is 55% and % of detractors is 30%. The NPS is 25% (difference of 55 and 30).
Now the company just needs to track NPS, which is 25% ,as a customer experience metric. 

How to conduct survey?
Prepare the questionnaire, starting with the NET PROMOTER question, like Based on your recent experience, how likely is it that you would recommend [company]? The second question could be an open ended question, which would help the company to improve customer experience or understand customer pain areas, like What is the primary reason behind the ratings you provided?
The Survey is more effective, if done after a recent customer interaction. It can be conducted via the call center or just after a customer query resolution. By requesting the customer to give feedback and then transfer the call to an automated IVR.The other ways to conduct an NPS survey could be:
1. IVRBlast- An automated call is triggered to a targeted set of customers and feedback taken on the call.  Voice based IVR is good from the point of view that it can be be integrated into the CRM, for further analysis..
2. Google forms- Another useful free tool  from google to create questionnaires and email customers.
NPS is a metric which gives a specific output, to understand the customer’s mood, instead of needing to conduct detailed surveys & interactions – Simple, effective & fast.

About Ozonetel: Ozonetel Systems is an India based Cloud Telephony Solution provider. Ozonetel is the only Indian company that developed the complete cloud telephony platform and provide complete cloud contact center solution.

Ozonetel is currently serving 1000+ customers across 20+ verticals. 

For more, please visit us over the web at www.ozonetel.com< http://ozonetel.com/>To  start NPS survey  just signup

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Friday, 26 August 2016

Is your SaaS business viable?

If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it” – Lord Kelvin.

Emergence of the SaaS model has transformed the business model of software sales, in contrast with the conventional way of enterprise sales. The revenue flow is over an extended period (the customer lifetime) and traditional accounting metrics do not cover the nuances of a SaaS business. So what’s different in a SaaS business and what should be the key metrics to be tracked?

Let’s look five key SaaS metrics-

MRR (Monthly recurring revenue) – In SaaS, significant investment is incurred initially, in acquiring the first set of customers - in product development, marketing and sales. However, from the customer’s end, they only pay monthly subscriptions, over the period of usage. For a sustainable subscription based business, companies have to ensure a steady continuous cash flow from monthly subscription.Monthly recurring revenue is the monthly revenue generated from each customer whether the customer is paying annually (i.e. 12 months) or quarterly, one needs to get the equivalent monthly value. For instance if any customers is paying Rs 7500 for 6 months subscription, MRR is 7500 divided by 6 i.e Rs 1250. It should exclude OTC (one-time payment) and any other discounts.
CAC(Cost Acquisition Cost)- It’s the amount spent on acquiring a new customer
CAC = Total Sales and Marketing Cost/Number of new customers acquired.
Specific to a SaaS business, initially upfront investment is incurred in acquiring new customers, whether by deploying sales resources or marketing budgets and in accounting terms company cash flow is predominantly negative. And could take months to make the case flow positive. The faster the business decides to grow, the worse the losses become.

LTV(Life time value of customer) – It is an estimated of total subscription value from an average customer
LTV = ARPA (Average MRR per customer) * Customer Lifetime
ARPA = Sum of all customers MRR/ number of customers

For start-ups LTV > 3x (CAC) and Month to recover CAC < 12 months (source: http://www.forentrepreneurs.com/saas-metrics/)

As shown above CAC is Rs 7000 and MRR is Rs 1000, company cash flow is in negative till month of July. It shows that acquiring a customer puts lot of strain on the company cash flow and if the customer churns before July, it’s a loss to the company. Possible solutions could be to – Lower the CAC or push for a higher MRR.

The above case is just for one customer and as the number of customers increase in the start-up phase the cumulative CAC would multiply and negative cash flow could become unmanageable. A keen view of this metric would be critical during the initial stages of a start-up.

CCR (Customer Churn Rate) - Churn measures the percentage of customers who leave every month. Lifetime value at a product level is directly impacted by the churn % 
CCR = Number of customers who churned in a period / Total number of customer at start of period
If you have a high churn (double digits) then there’s something wrong with the product or customer service.

ARPU (Average revenue per user)-It’s the average revenue received from all active customers.
ARPU= SUM of all customers MRR/ number of customers.
An increasing trend in ARPU is expected, reflecting higher value usage by customers & scaling up of the product.

To continuously track of all these parameters, start-ups can use freely available SaaS service like chartmogul.com or a basic excel.

Ozonetel(www.ozonetel.com) is a SaaS (software as a service) company. We offer cloud telephony solution on a monthly and annual subscription. To help start-up SaaS companies we have made our metrics public and also shared base excel http://ozonetel.com/saas_metrics.html . Just download the base excel and start tracking your metrics.

Written by,
Abhay Kumar

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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Top 3 objectives of running an efficient call center

Customer calls are a reality in India for all businesses. Customers call on the spur of the moment – to track their orders, complain on quality of goods, to give feedback, to enquire more etc. While the channels of reaching out have increased whether Email, Social media, SMS or Chat, Calls are what most customers choose. In this scenario, each business needs to operate a call center with a published number. Even the government has pitched in and made it mandatory for all online businesses to have a published business number.

Now that call centers are a reality for businesses in India, what should be the key objectives of a call center?

Call centers, mostly operate as a “Cost center” and hence need to get it right the first time in choosing the right software, hardware & telecom setup. Upgrades to existing systems are often on the backburner for senior management due to the preconceived view that call centers are a bare necessity and not a tool to boost customer experience.

While there are many steps in achieving optimized call center operations, I have tried to keep the list simple, something which can be easily monitored.

How are you driving the 3 most important objectives of a call center - Sales or Support?

Improving Customer experience
Much often talked about, but not monitored, is the customer experience. While experience sounds global there are simple metrics like FTR, AHT, TAT which when done right, boost customer delight. Simple questions can help Senior management figure out whether their call center is positively impacting customer experience.
  • What is the trend in FTR? Compared to industry benchmarks
  • What is the SLA on inbound calls?
  • Are repeat inbound callers greeted by their name?
  • Is your call centers IVR too long? Compared to industry trend?
  • Can I track repeat callers who are trying to get through
See how Bigbasket does it 

Tracking customer lifecycle & all touchpoints
In line with improving customer experience, tracking customer interactions via various media becomes critical. A key output of a marketing outreach campaign could be to check whether the business has been able to engage with new customers, to what extent? It’s critical to have all such information in one window to monitor customer engagement and take immediate actions that can boost business.
  • Can your call center executive view all customer interactions in one window?
  • Are you able to run campaigns linked with the lifecycle stage of customers?
  • What is the SLA on responding to comments on social media, say Twitter?
See how Industrybuying does it 

Optimized Agent productivity
With a strong focus on costs and with the objective of driving efficiency & optimization, Agent performance metrics are key to successful operations.
  • How to track efficiency of my agents? – Total talk time, Log-in time, Time to answer calls
  • How to monitor quality of agents? Automated speech analytics to monitor keywords could be a step in this direction.
  • How to identify my top performing agents? For an outbound sales campaign, total talk-time/day could be one such metric, to monitor.
See how Agarwal packers does it

Do you have a technology mindset & would like to know more, visit - blog.kookoo.in
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Monday, 8 August 2016

Ozonetel launches Cloud Call Center in Dubai

Though we have been primarily servicing customers in India, we have been serving international customers since last year. Most of these customers have come through reference or channels. Being a bootstrapped company, we have always been a little passive in going after new geographies. Our approach has been to conquer one geography before moving onto the next one. And this approach has paid off as we are now the number one cloud call center solution in India.

That said, there has been a lot of demand from inbound queries as well as customers in India to launch the call center solution in the UAE region. We have been following up on all these requests and now we are really glad to announce our launch in the UAE region. We will be running our services out of Dubai.

We already have commits for around $1 Million ARR with around $200K already signed up. So if you have a requirement for a cloud call center solution in UAE, please send your requests to sales@ozonetel.com or provide your details on this form

p.s: Feels good to launch a new geography with customer money :)
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Thursday, 4 August 2016

Business Phone is mandatory for online companies

E-commerce “electronic commerce” or “empowering commerce” or “efficient commerce”-
This expansion of eCommerce clears indicates, e-commerce has evolved in India. According to a recent study paper by ASSOCHAM-Forrester India's e-Commerce revenue is expected to rise from $30 billion in 2016 to $120 billion in 2020, an annual growth rate of 51%, one of the highest in the world.
Even the Government of India has played an active role in making eCommerce a success - Digital India, Startup India, Make in India, initiatives targeted at making India a digital economy.
The flip side of this “eCommerce Saga” is the vulnerability of customers to fraudulent activities by companies due to the low entry barrier tending to compromise on quality customer service.
To make the customer grievance rules more rigid. Govt. of India, the Corporate Affairs Ministry has set new rules for all online business companies under the Companies Act, 2013. All online business companies now have to publish the following information on their website
Corporate Affairs ministry has also amended the Companies Act 2013, which would be applicable to an unlimited liability company, the conversion from unlimited liability to limited liability has been made stricter.
  • After conversion, name of the company should not be changed for one year
  • Dividends cannot be paid unless past debt and liabilities have been cleared. 

The above amendment would be mainly applicable to sole proprietorship firm. Since many new companies prefer setting up a Limited Liability Company, it will not affect the start-up ecosystem.
I believe these amendments would help  make online business (eCommerce) more robust in India.
About Ozonetel- Ozonetel systems (ozonetel.com) is India’s only full stack cloud communication solution provider. We also provide a professional business phone number to new businesses. Get a phone number.

Ozonetel is  Deloitte fast 50 technology company, we cater to the communication needs of over 1000 enterprise customers in India - HDFC Life, RCom, WIPRO, GE, Shaadi, Agarwal packers, United spirits, BNP Paribas, DHFL PR America, just to name a few.
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