The Anti Customer Experience….Experience

•July 11, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Today we are besieged with articles about the importance of Customer Experience.  It makes you wonder, “can there still be companies out there that don’t understand the importance of taking excellent care of their customer?”  Are there still companies that are unaware of how damaging negative social media posts about them can be if they don’t take care of their customer?  The answer is “yes”.  I’ll give just one example below.

On July 2nd, I entered my local MOR Furniture showroom in Murrieta, CA because I needed furniture for my guest room quickly.  I told the manager I was willing to buy en expensive bedroom set if it could be delivered on July 3rd.  I stressed that I had company arriving on the evening of July 3rd and that it was critical everything arrive on that day.  He assured me that they could accommodate me and that my furniture would be delivered on the 3rd.

July 3rd arrived and at 10pm in the evening, the MOR delivery person called and told me he could not arrive until after 1am the next day.  I live in a gated, secure community that does not allow deliveries that late (or early).  I was told I would have to wait until the 4th and it would be delivered then.  I blew up my air mattress and my guests had to make due.  At least it was only going to be for one night and then my beautiful, comfortable guest bedroom set would arrive.

July 4th came and went and MOR was a No Show.  I called them on July 5th and they told me I would now have to wait until the 6th, the day my guests were leaving to receive the furniture.  I asked the call center agent how they planned to make amends to me for 1. not delivering the furniture when it was supposed to be delivered and 2. for inconveniencing my guests who had to sleep on a leaking air mattress.  MOR made no apologies for their mistakes and offered me no compensation other than waiving the shipping fee.

Over the weekend, I posted about my horrible experience with MOR’s delivery, or lack of delivery, the lack of compassion by their call center agents and managers, and my overall negative experience.  I posted all over Facebook, LinkedIn and Yelp.  Do you think anyone from MOR commented or reached out to me to try and appease me?  Nope.  Of course they didn’t because MOR Furniture does not understand or appreciate how important it is to take great care of their customers.  Not only that but they are living back in time, in a time/place where you don’t have to fear Social Media nor respond to it.  What substantial company doesn’t have at least a few agents or marketing people watching Social Media for comments that they can respond to?  Who doesn’t want to address customer issues/complaints and use it as an opportunity to turn  an angry customer into a “raving fan”?  MOR Furniture for one.

It’s true, companies, by and large, are understanding that you cannot simply be in business for the money anymore.  You have to truly be of service.  Being in business today requires taking exceedingly good care of your customer.  While most are striving to become a company with a focus on Customer Experience, there are still some dinosaurs out there, waiting for extinction.

 

By Darren Prine

Cloud Routing Provider, Connect First, Announces Partnership with The Office Gurus

•August 29, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Boulder, CO (PRWEB) August 29, 2012

Connect First, a premier provider of Cloud Routing solutions for the Direct Response industry, has announced a partnership with The Office Gurus. Connect First’s Cloud Routing is a hosted solution that allows intelligent load balancing of inbound calls to multiple contact centers. The Office Gurus® has become a Certified Cloud Routing Destination for Connect First.

As a Certified Cloud Routing Destination, The Office Gurus® will have a distinct advantage over contact centers that are not Certified Destinations. Because they utilize the Connect First ACD, they will be able to provide Cloud Routing customers with a lower cost to route calls, more efficient call routing, a better answer rate and more comprehensive reporting.

The Office Gurus is a remote staffing solutions partner with call center locations in Florida, El Salvador, and Costa Rica. Using the Connect First technology, The Office Gurus® provides their B2B and B2C clients with turn-key inbound and outbound solutions that produce incredible “speed-to-contact” rates for their lead qualification and telemarketing customers, low abandon call percentages and speed to answer times for their inbound strategic partners, and tremendous reporting capabilities.

Dominic Leide, Managing Director of The Office Gurus® said, “Our clients benefit from our Connect First partnership from both an efficiency and results perspective. In addition, with the Connect First product, The Office Gurus® can offer its strategic partners a true extension of their office with complete transparency and visibility. Connect First’s flexibility and competitive rates allow us to pass on a cost savings to our customers that could amount to between 40%-60% versus what their loaded operating costs would have been for our vast array of services. We hope this partnership will help us continue growing our customer base and remain mutually beneficial for many years to come.”

Connect First CEO Geoff Mina shared “The Office Gurus® has been using the Connect First ACD for years. Now, as a Certified Cloud Routing Destination, we will be able to recommend that our Cloud Routing customers route traffic to The Office Gurus®. Because The Office Gurus® has offshore locations, they tend to have very attractive pricing plus their agents speak perfect English.”

About Connect First:
Connect First is a leading telecommunications service provider and contact center solution firm focused on enabling growth and profitability through a robust portfolio of cloud-based communications solutions. As a hosted contact center management solutions provider, Connect First offers a customized platform, designed and supported by a team of highly experienced engineers, designers and business analysts.

Connect First offers Cloud Routing, Inbound ACD, Outbound Dialing, Call Tracking, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Voice Broadcast, Disaster Recovery, Predictive Dialer, Real-Time Telemetry, CDR Reporting, Live Agent Chat and more. Through a consultative approach with each customer interaction, Connect First builds customized solutions to meet the needs of a discerning customer base.

Contact:
Darren Prine
(720) 310.8800
http://www.connectfirst.com

About The Office Gurus:
The Office Gurus® is a premium provider of cost-effective multi-lingual call center and business process office solutions. With locations in 3 different countries and a unique model that differs from conventional call centers, we create a true extension of your office within our facility. By partnering with The Office Gurus® you will profit from a 40%-60% cost savings. You will also benefit from our expertise in streamlining labor intensive office tasks and creating outbound sales campaigns that deliver a healthy return on investment!
Contact:

Dominic Leide
727.803.7114
http://www.theofficegurus.com

 

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/8/prweb9845977.htm

Connect First Announces Partnership with Bolder Calls

•August 23, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Boulder, CO (Sharewellnewswire.com) August 22, 2012 – Connect First, a premier provider of Cloud Routing solutions for the Direct Response industry, has announced a partnership with Bolder Calls. Connect First’s Cloud Routing is a hosted solution that allows intelligent load balancing of inbound calls to multiple contact centers. Bolder Calls has become a Certified Cloud Routing Destination for Connect First.

As a Certified Cloud Routing Destination, Bolder Calls will have a distinct advantage over contact centers that are not Certified Destinations. Because they are utilizing the Connect First ACD, they will be able to provide Cloud Routing customers with a lower cost to route calls, more efficient call routing, a better answer rate and more comprehensive reporting.

Bolder Calls is a leading provider of outsourced call center solutions, specializing in new customer acquisition programs and product sales since 1992. Bolder Calls currently works with a number of Fortune 500 companies throughout the United States. Prior to inbound Direct Response market, Bolder Calls focused much of their time providing outbound calling on behalf of well-known insurance providers. Bolder Calls agents are amongst the top in skill level and ability to perform complex tasks.

LeGrand Bonnet, Vice President of Operations at Bolder Calls, shared “We are very excited about the opportunity to partner with Connect First. Their solutions provide us with the ability to better service our current clients and customers, and allow scalable options to accommodate our growing business.”

Connect First President Richard Manulkin remarked “Bolder Calls has amongst the highest skilled agents of any call center we know. It is exciting to be working with them and to have them as a Cloud Routing Certified Destination. On a side note, they are located right down the street from us and are our ‘Showcase’ center for new prospective clients.”

About Connect First:

Connect First is a leading telecommunications service provider and contact center solution firm focused on enabling growth and profitability through a robust portfolio of cloud-based communications solutions. As a hosted contact center management solutions provider, Connect First offers a customized platform, designed and supported by a team of highly experienced engineers, designers and business analysts.

Connect First offers Cloud Routing, Inbound ACD, Outbound Dialing, Call Tracking, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Voice Broadcast, Disaster Recovery, Predictive Dialer, Real-Time Telemetry, CDR Reporting, Live Agent Chat and more. Through a consultative approach with each customer interaction, Connect First builds customized solutions to meet the needs of a discerning customer base.

Contact:
Darren Prine
(720) 310.8800
http://www.connectfirst.com

About Boulder Calls:

Bolder Calls is a leading provider of outsourced call center solutions, specializing in new customer acquisition programs and product sales since 1992. They provide affordable tele-business solutions for finding new customers, driving increased revenue, lowering client acquisition costs and providing unparalleled customer care results for companies nationwide.

Bolder Calls is dedicated to providing the highest quality services available in the industry, delivering a positive first impression for their clients’ products or services and converting prospects into new customers. Their team of experts thoroughly analyzes the key elements of each new client’s business and then designs custom-tailored solutions for its unique marketing challenges – solutions that produce measurable results!

Contact:
LeGrand Bonnet
303.415.9830 ext. 125
http://www.boldercalls.com

Connect First Announces Partnership with InfoCision

•August 21, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Boulder, CO (Sharewellnewswire.com) August 21, 2012 – Connect First, a premier provider of Cloud Routing solutions for the Direct Response industry, has announced a partnership with InfoCision. Connect First’s Cloud Routing is a hosted solution that allows intelligent load balancing of inbound calls to multiple contact centers. InfoCision has become a Certified Cloud Routing Destination for Connect First.

As a Certified Cloud Routing Destination, InfoCision will have a distinct advantage over contact centers that are not Certified Destinations. Because they are utilizing the Connect First ACD, they will be able to provide Cloud Routing customers with a lower cost to route calls, more efficient call routing, a better answer rate and more comprehensive reporting.

InfoCision is the industry leader in customer care services and commercial sales and marketing for a variety of Fortune 100 companies and smaller businesses. InfoCision’s Consumer Service Division specifically partners with direct response companies to help maximize their ROI. In addition, InfoCision is a leading provider of inbound and outbound marketing services for the who’s who of nonprofit, religious and political organizations.

“We are extremely pleased to partner with Connect First as a Certified Cloud Routing Destination for their clients. As much as quick call routing can impact results, so can the people representing your organization on the phone. With the superior quality of our Communicators, who are truly the best in the business, Connect First’s clients will see a significant increase in their ROI,” stated Carl Albright, InfoCision president and CEO.

Connect First President, Richard Manulkin says “We are thrilled to partner with InfoCision and to be able to offer their services to our Cloud Routing customers as a Certified Destination for their calls. They are one of the most respected names in the contact center industry and it is an honor to work with them.”

About Connect First:
Connect First is a leading telecommunications service provider and contact center solution firm focused on enabling growth and profitability through a robust portfolio of cloud-based communications solutions. As a hosted contact center management solutions provider, Connect First offers a customized platform, designed and supported by a team of highly experienced engineers, designers and business analysts.

Connect First offers Cloud Routing, Inbound ACD, Outbound Dialing, Call Tracking, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Voice Broadcast, Disaster Recovery, Predictive Dialer, Real-Time Telemetry, CDR Reporting, Live Agent Chat and more. Through a consultative approach with each customer interaction, Connect First builds customized solutions to meet the needs of a discerning customer base.

Contact:
Darren Prine
(720) 310.8800
http://www.connectfirst.com

About InfoCision:
Our clients are the household names most consumers know and depend on. As a leading provider of contact center solutions, we serve many verticals from technology to health care to financial services to pharmaceutical and telecommunications, as well as providing inbound and outbound marketing for nonprofit, religious and political organizations. No matter what market, we help establish brand, build customers, create marketing strategies and integrate teleservices into the marketing mix. Our customized core solutions can be deployed individually or combined to create a multichannel strategy that includes inbound and outbound teleservices, direct mail, fulfillment, email, Ecommerce, and business intelligence to name a few. Founded in 1982, InfoCision employs more than 4,200 in 42 call centers throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ontario, Canada. http://www.infocision.com.

Contact:
Gretchen Fri, APR
Sr. Public Relations Manager, InfoCision
(330) 670-5079

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Source: http://www.sharewellnewswire.com/connect-first-announces-partnership-with-infocision-2490.htm/#ixzz24D2WTumw

Connect First Cloud Routing Honored for Outstanding Innovation

•July 18, 2012 • Leave a Comment

For Immediate Release:

Boulder – July 18, 2012: Connect First, announced today that TMC, a global, integrated media company, has named Connect First Cloud Routing as a recipient of the 2012 NGN (Next Generation Network) Leadership Award presented by its publications, INTERNET TELEPHONY and Next Gen Mobility magazine.

With Connect First Cloud Routing, calls can be routed to multiple distributed contact centers or assigned to secondary queues such as IVR, or specialized ACD skill groups. Connect First Cloud Routing is 100% on demand, and offered as a SaaS (Software as a Service) solution.

“No other platform, service, or premise based equipment can match the level of business continuity offered by Connect First’s Cloud Routing Platform,” stated Geoff Mina, CEO, Connect First. “Clients avoid major equipment CapEx and reserves, eliminate service disruptions, and maximize customer loyalty and profitability.”

The 2012 NGN Leadership Award has recognized the growth, evolution and distinction between the applications and services designed for next generation networks and the enabling technologies that make them possible.

“Connect First has been recognized for their exceptional work in advancing next gen services and technologies. Cloud Routing has proven it is exceptional and its innovation has contributed to the transformation of the industry,” stated Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC. “We are pleased to honor Connect First for driving the next generation of technologies that will enable our communications needs.”

The NGNLeadership Award winners are featured in Next Gen Mobility ‘s September 2012 issue as well as INTERNET TELEPHONY’s website, www.itmag.com, and Next Gen Mobility’s website, www.nextgenmobilitymag.com.

For more information, please visit www.connectfirst.com


About Connect First

Connect First is a leading telecommunications service provider and call center solution firm focused on enabling growth and profitability through a robust portfolio of cloud-based communications solutions. As a hosted call center management solutions provider, Connect First offers a customized platform, designed and supported by a team of highly experienced engineers, designers and business analysts.

Connect First offers Cloud Routing, Inbound ACD, Outbound Dialing, Call Tracking, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Voice Broadcast, Disaster Recovery, Predictive Dialer, Real-Time Telemetry, CDR Reporting, Live Agent Chat and more. Through a consultative approach with each customer interaction, Connect First builds customized solutions to meet the needs of a discerning customer base.

 

Company Contact:

Darren Prine
Director of Sales
(720) 310-8800
DPrine@connectfirst.com

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Press Release: Connect First Adds Dial Plan Filtering; Improves Hosted Call Center Platform

•April 16, 2012 • 2 Comments

Boulder – April 16, 2012: Connect First, a leading telecommunications service provider and call center solution firm, has added new features to its outbound calling platform with the release of Dial Plan Filtering, available on all Domestic Outbound Dialing Campaigns. With this new capability, the hosted call center can easily gain more granular control over outbound campaigns with regional goals.

Dial Plan Filtering is now available by State or Time Zone, enabling customers to remove regions from an included list when target success numbers are reached. Sophisticated list management is simplified as identified regions are suppressed. Dial Plan Filtering is readily available on the new Tools tab in the Connect First Outbound Configuration panel.

Users easily open the Filter Screen by clicking on Dial Plan Filtering and selecting the type of filtering option (State or Time Zone). Items are moved with a drag and drop approach and changes are easily saved. At the Dial Group Level, multiple campaigns can be also be assigned Dial Plan Filtering simultaneously. Users simply access the Batch Update Campaigns command to change the filtering plan for any campaign currently in action.

Connect First outbound customers can also clone old campaigns into a new campaign to enable Dial Plan Filtering, moving lists from the old campaign to the new one. If the State option is selected, the List Loader engine attempts to normalize data into the appropriate two character state abbreviation. If the data is not present or cannot be normalized, it will be populated on the NPA-NXX of the lead phone number. Time Zone options are based on the Lead Phone Number. Filtering options can be changed after the campaign has launched.

In addition to Dial Plan Filtering, Connect First is now capable of providing estimated hold times for callers in queue on Inbound Gates; this option is easily selected in Queue Event Configuration. This feature calculates and advises callers on their estimated wait time. Administrators can determine the number of queue events within the configuration stage, and the message will only play if callers are actually holding in the queue.

“Connect First is a customer-facing company, focused on the consistent development of our hosted call center platform to optimize customer calling efforts,” said Darren Prine, Director of Sales and Marketing for Connect First. “Dial Plan Filtering will ensure increased efficiency and productivity in the outbound calling campaign, while additional improvements will deliver even more value in our proven platform.”

About Connect First

Connect First is a leading telecommunications service provider and call center solution firm focused on enabling growth and profitability through a robust portfolio of cloud-based communications solutions. As a hosted call center management solutions provider, Connect First offers a customized platform, designed and supported by a team of highly experienced engineers, designers and business analysts.

To Host or not to Host

•March 1, 2012 • Leave a Comment

To host or not to host; that is the question of many.  Depending where they are in their equipment lifecycle, many CTOs and Call Center Directors are considering moving away from premise based equipment and moving to a hosted or “cloud based” call center platform.  For example, let’s say you are at a point where your premise based equipment needs to be replaced, and assuming you are using “best of breed” equipment, you may be looking at a capital expenditure of roughly a million dollars to replace your equipment.  That  figure doesn’t even factor in service & maintenance agreements, licenses and traffic.

Providers of hosted solutions will say that hosted solutions are more versatile, scalable, redundant and cost significantly less.  Providers of call center equipment will say that their solutions may have lower monthly recurring costs, are more customizable and offer more integrations with other applications.  Is there a simple “rule of thumb” to figuring out which makes more sense for your call center?

Here’s one, which while not absolute, is a good guideline.  Most hosted call center platforms are a multitenant environment.  That basically means the platform is shared amongst multiple clients.  Providers of hosted call center solutions typically provide features that most call centers require.  Let’s use the 80/20 rule.  Hosted call center platforms provide the features, functionality and integration options that approximately 80% of call centers will require.  Likewise, when adding new features and enhancements, providers will typically only add ones that will benefit their platforms as a whole and that the majority of customers will find beneficial.

For instance – using an  inbound call center for example – most will need an ACD with Skills Based Routing, a robust queue events engine (to control how calls are handled in the queue), scripting with a screen pop, custom audio/whisper audio, call recording, live call monitoring, real time telemetry, detailed reporting, etc.  In addition, they may require data exchange or an integration with other standard, well known applications (CRM, Workforce Management, databases).   A center like this could do quite well with a hosted provider.  They should be able to get all the basic features and functionality they require with little to no Cap-Ex and can be up and running quickly. This system will be easier to manage than premise based equipment and the monthly costs should be quite reasonable.  In addition, most providers are in multiple data centers, offer both TDM and VoIP, and offer more robust business continuity solutions than most call centers have with owning and managing premise based equipment.

While premise based equipment comes with a large Cap-Ex, is more difficult to manage than hosted solutions, requires a larger technical staff (which also increases overall cost), includes the headache of occasional forklift upgrades and will eventually need to be replaced, it does have certain advantages.  Let’s use the same inbound call center example as above except we’ll say that the center needs to be able to have a custom graphical interface that shows each agent’s cubicle; depending on the prefix of the caller’s DID, the agent screen needs to be a different color, and calls need to be routed to agents based on the agent’s nationality, hair color and favored brand of blue jeans.  In this admittedly ridiculous and extreme example, premise based equipment would make more sense.

With premise based equipment, the sky is the limit when it comes to customization.  Your only limit to your customization is your pocketbook because  software developers that work for you or that you contract with will be writing the code to make your customizations possible.  That said, with premise based equipment, nearly anything you can imagine you can build and it should be possible to integrate with nearly any application.

One more item of note is that there are some cases, based on security requirements, where a center absolutely has to use premise based equipment and keep it onsite within their secure facility.  An example of this might be a security company or some government military organizations.

In closing, while premise based systems have value and there are obvious benefits to some organizations to own and manage equipment, for the majority of call centers, a hosted provider will meet their needs while providing a lower cost, easier to manage, more scalable, user friendly and redundant solution.

 

About the author
Darren Prine is a writer for the call center industry and is the Director of Sales & Marketing for Connect First; a premier provider of cloud based call center solutions.