Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Are you still using traditional phone system for business calls?

Information is a source of learning. But unless it is organized, processed, and available to the right people in a format for decision making, it is a burden, not a benefit" - William Pollard

Manual calling via a telephone or mobile phone is a conventional way of reaching out to the targeted customer segments. In this information age when companies are adapting digital technologies and moving to data based decision making, the manual calling process is outdated and it should be revamped to suit the current business environment.

Why manual calling is outdated?
  1. Cannot record the calls –  There is no call recordings, you don’t know how your executives are talking and what they are talking? Cannot do any analytics on customer conversation.
  2. No data points on number of calls - One doesn’t have any data points on number of incoming sales calls, number of missed calls, how much time your executives are spending in each customer call etc.
  3. Low productivity -  If the outbound call volume is very high, lot of time is wasted in just dialing the numbers
  4. Inconsistent communication -   If the communication solution and CRM work in silos, nothing is recorded in the CRM and one cannot recollect every point discussed during the last business or sales call with the customer.
Cloud Telephony technology offers simple ways to overcome all the above issues and also keep your organization updated with the latest in communication tech.

How cloud telephony can help businesses
  1. Call Recording – All the business calls will be recorded, you can use it for quality monitoring and better customer service, even the field calls can be recorded.
  2. Automated dialing –  You can automate the outbound calling process by using dialer. Auto dialer deceases calling time and increase agent productivity (Read More)
  3. CTI Integration – Experience seamless communication by integrating Call solution with the CRM, you can initiate call from CRM, get customer info for incoming and outgoing calls. (Read More)
  4. 24/7service to generic queries – You can standardize many customer queries by providing automated answer to generic queries, customer can
  5. Auto Attendant – No need to have any receptionist, using IVR you can directly forward the call to the right department
  6. Detailed Reports – Any advanced cloud telephony solution provides detailed call analytics and reports, which helps in decision making.
  7. Manage a distributed team – Cloud telephony can help you to setup distribute teams at multiple location and supervise  all the teams from a centralized location .

Cloud Telephony is a flexible solution and provides a complete solution required to track the customer life cycle, and it is used across verticals in different scenarios.

Ozonetel Communications(ozonetel.com) is a Delloite fast 50 technology company catering to the Contact center needs of over 500 enterprise customers in India - HDFC Life, WIPRO, GE, Shaadi, Agarwal packers, BNP Paribas, DHFL PR America, just to name a few.


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Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Why businesses need to record their sales calls

After speaking with multiple companies across many verticals, one key aspect that was missing is the recording of each business conversation.

"Recording your business calls is equivalent to making notes, only more seamless".

If you run a business interacting with customers, you should be able to relate to atleast one of these scenarios.
  • As an MD of a company, my cousin was mentioning that he has no clue what his field sales team is speaking with the customers. We all know where that leads to – wrong sales, wrong commitments, incorrect sales pitch and so on. Specific to the education sector, businesses can take a few pointers from our provided solution here.
  • Sales of your business is increasing on account of newer customers and not so much due to existing customers. As a business, have you been able to understand why? Are your customer care calls monitored? Do you have a system which can detect anomalies in the way your customer care team speak?
  • Does your sales team struggle to recollect what was spoken with a particular customer? What was the name of the customer? What was the name of the company? Which competition’s product are they using?
  • Do you recollect every point discussed during the last business or sales call with your team?
  • Is your customer making wrong allegations about discussions had with your sales, support or technical team?

In fact, every business owner I have met has appreciated the importance of this simple feature. But why is there a delay in implementing it then?

Recording the calls is only one aspect of a superior communications platform that can be used to improve customer care and build on customer engagement. But it’s a start.

Cloud telephony offers simple & easy ways for businesses to get started.
  • Not only do you get the benefit of call recording, now one can project a professional image to all callers with a “Welcome message”. It could be as simple as – “Thanks for calling XYZ company, we are connecting you to our support/sales team”.
o   All calls get recorded
o   Alerts can be created in the system for all calls – answered or un-answered
o   Connect callers to the right department in your business
o   Provide contextual & personalized information to all callers

In effect, no more missed business leads!
While telephony enables you to take care of handling your business calls, a robust CRM can enable your teams to better the customer experience. Ozonetel has done numerous implementations of CRM bundled telephony solutions for business across 20+ verticals.(Read More)

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Thursday, 2 March 2017

Bots are coming!! Will they take away the call center jobs?

Automation, AI and bots are one of the most hyped words in technology these days. One sector that could be affected by emergence of bots is customer support or in layman terms “call center”. Many experts have also predicted that the call center job, manned by a human, is coming to an end and all the call center works will be automated by a bot.

Let’s understand this in detail-

What is a bot?
The word “bot” is derived from robot. It is a machine/program that can interact with people using AI (artificial intelligence) techniques such as NLP (natural language processing), speech analytics, video processing, and past data analytics.

In the customer service industry, a bot can be a chat bot “a bot that can do text based interaction via website live chat or social media chat” or a voice based bot “a bot that can speak and converse with the customer in their language”.

How is it used in the industry?
Few companies have started using bots for customer service but mostly limited to chat support. To look at a few examples -
  1. CNN, the Wall Street Journal – The Facebook chat bot is used for giving interactive news and customers can also subscribe to news alerts using the bot.
  2. TransferWise, a UK based International money transfer startup uses the Facebook bot to assist people in money transfer. (http://www.businessinsider.com/transferwise-adds-facebook-messenger-chatbot-2017-2?IR=T)
  3. Bank of America “Erica” –  Erica is a voice based bot which recommends and suggests the right banking products & features beneficial to their customers by using real-time and past data.. It also recommends the steps need to be taken to improve credit ratings of an individual.
  4.  Starbucks Virtual Assistant – Starbucks is going to launch a virtual assistant called “My Starbucks barista” which can  take customer orders by voice or a chat. Customers can furthermodify the order and also order their favorite foods.
  5. BigBoss Facebook bot – Big boss is a famous realty TV show in India, using the bot viewers can get basic details about the contestants 24/7 and also respond to basic queries. It has been developed by Ozonetel Communications.

If you look at these examples, none of these bots are anywhere close to a human interaction and none of the above services would be a replacement of the human workforce in customer support. Bots are typically useful in

  • 24/7 chat support - Companies can respond 24/7 to social media chat and live chat
  • Generis queries and repetitive queries
  • Upselling & cross selling – The bots can do high level of data analytics and help in upselling, like Bank of America’s“Erica”.
  • New service – In the future we will see new products for customer service using bots, like BoA “Erica” or Starbucks “virtual assistant” 
What customer prefers?
Recently Talkdesk had done a primary research on customer preference for support role and what customers feel about chat support
  • 93% of Americans agrees that they value a company who staffs people for support instead of a bot
  • 88% of Americans agrees that customer service experience is better with a live person instead of a bot
  • 79% agree that talking to bots is a waste of their time. (Read More)

Well the results look optimistic for customers favoring a live person support but it doesn’t take much time to change customer preference. The result of survey can change in coming years.

Why bots can’t replace humans in customer support
  • Language – Learning a new language and communicating is a complex task even for humans. In comparison, to build this intelligence in bots which can understand languages and the underlying subtle nuances will be a mammoth challenge.
  • Detecting human emotions - Detecting emotions, sarcasm, and humor is still a distant beyond the reach area for most bots, although ongoing research holds promise
  • Understand the process and human touch -  Customer support is not only communicating an information, the support has to take care of many things like process flow, SLA, the context, customer life-time value and understanding of product/service . Developing and training a bot that can do all the activity of a call center representative with a human touch looks a tough job.

Finally, whenever new technology is adopted certain job do get affected, but new role also emerges.

Written by,
Abhay Kumar


About Ozonetel: Ozonetel is a pioneer of  Cloud Telephony and cloud contact center in India. We are currently serving 1000+ customers across 20+ verticals.

Our platform is integrated with facebook chat bot, if you want to build a facebook bot based application. Just signup for a free demo 

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Sunday, 26 February 2017

5 ways in which the Indian financial sector can benefit from cloud telephony

We have deployed a multitude of solutions for customers in the financial sector, whether Banks, Microfinance firms, Insurance firms or Brokerages, now extending even to Fin-tech startups. This gives us a ringside view of the communication patterns across various scenarios in a Finance firm.

A few of them being
  • Complaint handling in the case of banks
  • Telemarketing in the Fintech sector
  • Presales on-boarding in the Insurance sector
  • Automated inbound query resolution in consumer banking
  • Automated outbound messaging or calling for lending firms
We have covered in length the issues & challenges faced by the Insurance sector in the business communications space. You can read about it here.

Cloud telephony offers the finance sector simple ways in which many consumer conversations can be improved or automated thus impacting the overall customer satisfaction, within the overall goals of the business.

To further elaborate on these simple ways…

1. A single integrated view of all customer talk can improve complaint handling as well as get a view of the customer journey 
Looking at the recently concluded Indian customer satisfaction index survey – “25% of Indian respondents were dissatisfied with their banks' complaints handling, compared to 15% in the US and merely 2% in Singapore”.

The article further goes on to state – “Nearly one-third of the 1,313 respondents were not satisfied with their banks 
This can be directly attributed to a lack of understanding of customer queries by the teams handling them. So how does one fix that?

  • "Integrate telephony within CRM thus building more intelligence into it. The CRM continues to be the core customer database to monitor all chatter coming in via Social channels, email, live chats, calls or SMSes. 

  • This will give a direct view of
    •  What did the customer speak?
    •  What was the Support or sales team’s response?
    •  Did the customer call back with the same request again? Who spoke to the customer the 1st time?
    • Could this query have been automated?
    • Did the customer comment in any of the social channels or send an email before calling? 
    Having this intelligence at hand can help senior management introduce SOPs and process improvements aimed at improving the customer experience.

  • Proactive engagement with consumers through regular NPS surveys

  • A thing or two can be learnt by looking at how Flipkart, India’s leading ecommerce company, is transforming their customer focus using NPS. NPS is a simple measure which can be administered with a simple automated phone call. But which gives an immediate and objective feedback about the customer experience in the business.

    2. Get a right hang of marketing ROI

    Often companies, especially the Banks & Insurance firms have over a 1000 sources of leads who are reached out to by the Inside sales or the Presales team to qualify and further handover to the field sales teams.
    • Your communications platform should be able to handle this complexity as well be able to give a clear view on ROI for the marketing spend 
    A completely integrated communications solution with CRM at its core can help in addressing the marketing ROI calculation.

    3.  No worries about hardware obsolescence or software incompatibility

    Needless to say, in the present era, most businesses are moving to the cloud, to avoid the challenges associated with hardware or software obsolescence, hardware maintenance and AMCs. Moreover solutions on the cloud have better flexibility in adjusting to customer & business’s needs.

    4.    Build custom applications & features 

    Businesses need to use flexible platforms that can enable them to run custom campaigns.

    Custom IVR application – Case 1
    We recently developed a customized inbound IVRs application for India’s 2nd largest private bank’s merchant banking division.

    The team’s goal was simple – “Be reachable at all times as all vendors might reach out at the same time”.

    Being a leading player in the banking sector known for superior customer experience, the bank wanted to extend the same quality of service to their vendors using their POS machines.

    The IVR was designed in a simple way in which each region’s queries were directed to that region’s technical resource for complaint resolution – all in an automated route, simplistically put.

    Custom IVR application – Case 2
    A leading Fintech startup wanted to send Weekly & monthly reminders to their SME database on upcoming payments. This had to be linked with the information in the CRM and also not involve a human intervention.
    Ozonetel developed a custom IVR application which would trigger time-bound calls as per the CRM process flow – again all automated.

    5.  Better monitoring of Sales teams

    As mentioned in the study on customer satisfaction – “A whopping 60% said their banks sold them investment products that did not suit their requirements”.

    So how does one avoid this?

    Simply put – every customer conversation has to be monitored, recorded and logged for future review. Customer calls from an office can be monitored, simply by ensuring all teams handle calls from a regulated system only. Example – calls can be made only from the CRM, with the telephony setup working in the background.

    In case of a field sales team, the same can be achieved via a Mobile CRM interface with defined process flows.

    A simple 3 step process could be
    • Field sales rep receives a lead in the CRM while on the field
    • The rep makes a phone call from the CRM using his virtual number
    • Any further conversations with the customer is monitored from within the CRM while all calls on the virtual number get logged-in
    You can review some of our solutions here - http://ozonetel.com/casestudies.html
    To know more on how to setup such solutions, visit us at ozonetel.com or just sign up 

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    Monday, 20 February 2017

    Enabling sales transformation in the Online education sector

    India is the 3rd largest online market for education in the world estimated at 3Bn USD. And has seen lot of action in the startup community as well as amongst established businesses.
    (Source - https://yourstory.com/2016/07/future-online-education-in-india/)

    While businesses would like to reach out to prospective users via online only, the demographics of India warrant an off-line approach too. This is done either via a Telecalling team, Inside sales team or a mix of online & off-line sales teams.

    The user information is usually captured in a customer repository by the businesses either in an internal ERP or CRM. Even the CRM adoption rates have seen a surge in the past 5 years with the advent of SaaS products which offer an easy entry for even SMEs. It is equally vital that users are reached out to and users in turn have avenues to reach back, whether it is via Email, Call, SMS, Social media, or Live chat.

    Monitoring these sales or support related conversations becomes critical as each interaction leaves an impression on the end user. Couple of metrics which need to be monitored related could be -  
    • What are the number of interactions leading to a sales win?
    • Specifcally, how many calls are made to a new prospect to establish contact & gather the correct information?
    • Which sales rep makes the highest number of calls?
    • Which activity results in better wins – Online calls or offline meetings?
    • How many calls are missed? How can this be reduced?
    • What is your NPS? A simple metric which can give you an immediate feedback on your services. You can read more about it here – (http://blog.ozonetel.com/2016/09/would-your-customer-recommend-you.html)  
    At a recent discussion with a leading education services company offering GMAT, GRE, LSAT, SAT, and TOEFL preparation courses and private tutoring in multiple locations – key paint points in their process were
    • Do not know how many calls each sales rep is making?
    • Unable to track missed call from end users if agent steps out of office
    • No call recording to track the sales rep’s conversation with users.
    • Non-timely updation of the internal CRM, which was not integrated with the calling solution
    • No centralized view of operations across 18 branches spread across India  

    In summary, due to the disconnect between telephony, CRM and the existing sales process the information was not up to date and monitoring productivity was limited.

    Give us a ping at 1800-200-0820, to know more on such implementations.

    This particular case is applicable for all other industries having a mix of online and offline sales teams – Pharmaceuticals, Healthcare, B2B tech sales, Traditional educational institutes, FMCG, helping monitor all customer conversations. Needless to say, enabling the field or offline sales teams with a mobile CRM helps the overall sales outreach.

    To know more on how to setup such solutions, visit us at ozonetel.com or just sign up  

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    Saturday, 11 February 2017

    3 easy way to make the best of your business phone system

    In India, most of the CEO’s choose the customer facing number and many times a Toll Free Number with utmost care, they want the digits to be in a particular sequence and if require they also consult their personal astrologer(Fun fact: did you know that Housing spent almost half a million dollars to get a fancy number). The ultimate goal is that the chosen number be auspicious and should bring in good fortune and more customers to the company.
    Do you really care about customers call after number is functional?
    Do you know how many customers called that number?
    Do you know how many calls get missed?
    Do you know, how much time representatives spend in speaking with your customers?
    These questions look obsolete but if you want to improve the performance of customer facing number, it is very important to track these key metrics.
    3 ways you can improve the toll-free number are-
    Choose KPI & metrics for your business phone system –  Choosing the right key performance indicators (KPIs) is the first step towards measurable improvement. Today, a robust cloud telephony solution provides detailed report & analytics, just choose few key metrics that is essential for your business. Few generic metrics are number of missed calls, number of answered calls etc.
    Integrate with right telephony solution – Basic telephony solution is provided by many companies, even the telecom service provider sets up the IVR on a Toll-free number.  While taking a cloud telephony solution, make sure that your solution provider has a few advanced capabilities
    • It should provide all required reports and metrics
    • Easy to integrate with CRM or ticketing solution
    • Can create different fall back rules so that not a single call is missed
    • Record all inbound customer calls even on mobile phones
    Integrate with a CRM/ticketing solution -  Integrating with a CRM helps to record all customer conversation at a centralized location. It assists in follow up and tracking/monitoring of all calls. Many CRMs also have feature of auto generation of an enquiry or a lead for an incoming call. Integrating with CRM / ticketing make the complete process robust and seamless.
    Finally, organizations spend a lot in various marketing activities i.e. inbound/outbound, the outcome of all marketing activity is a customer call. It becomes very imperative to have a full proof process for customer call, tracking all key metrics and continuous process improvement.

    To know more about service offered to a customer facing number or Cloud Telephony , visit us at ozonetel.com or just sign up.


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    Friday, 3 February 2017

    Where is my Bus? – Travel company improves customer service

    Bus stand -Travel company provide prompt answer to all queries

    The topic looks irrelevant but for a person waiting for bus it is the most pertinent question.
    Recently I got chance to meet an owner of a travel company operating across India with a fleet of 150 luxury buses and a centralized 5 seater call center.
    The company wanted to improve their customer service, by promptly replying to all customer queries. Mostly the customer query was the same- “Where is my bus?”.

    Current State & Problem
    Currently, the company has a published number and all the calls are handled by a centralized call center.  For any customer query executives first have to take customer details, search the location of buses on the web (all the buses have GPS system) and then reply to the customer query.
    •    Handling a single query takes lot of times
    •    Many calls get missed due to high call volume

    Company’s solution
    The company has local offices at 42 locations. The management wanted to segregate the customers based on the boarding location and all calls from the registered mobile should be forwarded to the respective local office. As the local office has the detailed information about the current status of the bus going on their route, they can answer all queries within a few seconds.
    Example- For someone boarding at location X , their person mobile number gets mapped to that location. And when they call from their registered mobile number the call is automatically forwarded to the local office.
    With a cloud call center solution, this can easily be implemented. All the 42 location executives can be configured as an offline agent, all local executives can take calls on their personal mobile/ landline number.

    Key Benefits
    •             Get all the features of call center on a traditional mobile/ landline
    •             Monitor all call center operations from a centralized location i.e. headquarter
    • ·         Use the single published number to get call at all 42 locations
    •       Easily setup a distributed call center 
    To know more about cloud call center or solution offerings to travel industry, visit us at ozonetel.com or just sign up. Few of our trusted customers in travel and hospitality segment are AbhibusTreebo Hotels and BarbequeNation


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