May 1 2013
The Internet is rife with tales of people being victimized by one variety or another of email scheme. If you haven’t received the ‘I need your bank account information’ email, then you most likely don’t have email, a computer, a blender, or a microwave.
Have You Received The: 1,000,000,000 Winner in the UK Lottery email: Check
Have You Received The: I’m lost in Europe and need money to get out email: Check
What does this have to do with Paypal? It doesn’t have anything to do with PayPal exactly but we are trying to paint the picture of the Internet being a scary place sometimes. So scary that emails like this make people scared to give up their credit card information to online businesses like yours. 5 years ago, giving ‘Frank’s Online Halloween Costume and Watch Emporium’ your credit card information for a new Rolex and fake vampire blood wouldn’t have been much of a challenge. Today, not so much.
If you are confused about why this post is on an answering service website? Hold tight. We’ll get there.
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Apr 19 2013
There is no question that making your computer talk is pretty cool. It’s cool for the kid making a prank phone call all the way up to the executive using it in a text to speech capacity to read their emails aloud. From a call center perspective, it’s cool because talking computers, or voice synthesizers, are a huge part of IVR technology (Interactive Voice Response if you aren’t ‘in the know’). Simplified, IVR technology makes it so you can talk to computers and make them do stuff.
If you ever called your phone company or your bank and spoken commands to a computer, you are interacting with an IVR. When that ‘computer’ responds to you, that’s actually a neat little piece of programming inside the IVR software that synthesizes human speech.
Like all things in the technology world, that natural voice synthesizer you are most likely cursing at because you want to speak with a human being didn’t just fall out of the sky.
“Watch Out Below! It’s a Voice Synthesizer!”
Much like how the telephone evolution up to the iPhone is rooted in finding a better way to communicate over long distances other than just screaming really loud, human voice synthesizers as we know them today evolved from a crazy invention called ‘The Voder’.
The Voder was a manually operated speech synthesizer developed way back in 1939. Since Specialty Answering Service loves everything about communication, we thought it would be neat to make an infographic about the history of The Voder, which is really the history of speech synthesis, which is really the history of IVR and which is really why we love The Voder!
If you are hungry for more information, we’ve written a pretty extensive white paper on The Voder. It has all kinds of pictures and schematics for any telecommunications junkies out there.
And if you are thinking, ‘Hey. Specialty knows a lot about telecom stuff. I bet they are an amazing telephone answering service.’, you’d be right! Please visit the SAS homepage and explore our services.
Apr 16 2013
Call center technology used to revolve around a cubicle, a telephone queue system and a script. Pretty simple. Walk into one of those call centers and you’d hear phones ring endlessly.
Thanks to the advent of cyberspace, social media and the cloud, the concept of the virtual call center has dramatically evolved.
How Has Social Media Influenced Call Center Metrics?
Apr 11 2013
When the FTC announced a $50,000 prize last October for the best proposal to block robocalls, we were thrilled! We welcome any opportunity to stop automation in favor of live operator interaction; plus we love a good challenge!
Figuring out how to stop robocalls wasn’t easy. Our telecommunications engineers dropped everything and worked feverishly night and day to come up with a universal robocall blocker. We toyed around with various robocall filtering systems, blacklisting with data being pulled from a dynamically updated list and caller ID spoof detection.
Fast forward to last week when the winners circle was announced. Unfortunately our idea didn’t win ‘Best Overall Solution’ or the honorary ‘Federal Trade Commission Technology Achievement Award’.
While our ‘software’ may not be Federal Trade Commission Challenge worthy, we still think it’s a pretty good idea. Please see our entry below and let us know what you think!
Apr 8 2013
We couldn’t let the 40th anniversary of the first cell phone call go by without a graphical homage to the greatest advancement in communications technology since Alexander Graham Bell made ‘two cups and a string’ obsolete.
Much like Zack Morris from ‘Saved by the Bell’, we love the cell phone. Without it, we couldn’t dispatch messages to your on the go staff or make small businesses operating from a cell phone look bigger.
Kudos to you cell phone for making our role as a telephone answering service totally integrated with businesses. Because of you, the on-call staff of the world is free to roam the planet and engage with society. No more being trapped at home waiting for the phone to ring. No more cursing your boss because you were scheduled as the emergency contact person over New Years Eve 1985.
To celebrate the cell phone turning 40, we present you with our poster showcasing it’s evolution from a 45 pound / 3 minute battery life brick to the all powerful iPhone. Enjoy!
Apr 4 2013
If you have a seasonal business, you have several options available for handling your incoming calls. For instance, you could answer all of the calls yourself, hire a secretary/receptionist, let your calls go to voicemail, answer the phone then hang up, answer the phone and not say ‘hello’ but instead wait for the other person on the line to start taking first. Better yet, you can make the smart, cost effective decision and hire a live answering service.
It may be difficult for seasonal business owners to find a solution that works during both your busiest months and the rest of the year when you scale back or shut down operations. We know there aren’t too many people calling Mr. Plow at the peak of bikini and Speedo season but Mr. Plow needs to be ready for action when the snow starts a falling or he’ll risk being victimized by the Plow King who’s gonna steal business because he’s got an answering service and a flashy commercial staring Linda Ronstadt.
That name again is customer service when you need it.
If you are keeping up with the Simpsons references, then you must be a pretty savvy business owner. You know that handling your own calls might work fine during the off-season, but this is not a very effective option once business picks up. When things are in full swing, you need to be focused on managing your company. Delegating this task to one of your employees is a possibility, but this could detract from their other responsibilities and most likely adversely effect their NCAA bracket.
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Mar 29 2013
We all have heard of time management as a key to improving productivity. Today we will look at what call centers can do to address the problem of time management at an organizational level rather than leaving it to individuals.
In order to achieve the stringent productivity and quality metrics in a call center, schedule adherence is a key factor. Call centers have to make time management a key organizational priority in order to achieve schedule adherence. With the often youthful workforce in call centers, the widespread use of smart phones, mobile internet and social media combined with a geographically diverse presence make it challenging to track and manage how time is really being spent.
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Mar 22 2013
What’s worse than researching PBX providers for your new office telephone system? Deciding on a new PBX phone system without referencing our easy to follow infographic for one!
We love business phone systems; especially when those systems route to our call centers when your own staff is unavailable. Shameless plug for our service aside (using our service with your PBX is easy and you should absolutely do it), we’ve really jam packed the infographic below with some stellar information.
Everything you’ve every wanted to know about private branch exchanges has been researched, digitized, drawn, illustrated, and presented on an amazing web poster. We tell you about the advantages of PBX, different features, definitions you are going to need when dealing with salesmen, and pros and cons of 8 popular providers.
If you aren’t a picture person, you can visit our resource page where we compare PBX phone systems and service providers using a lot more words and a lot less pictures. It’s arguably not as fun but does have more information than we could fit in the above infographic.
Mar 11 2013
In the first part of this 2 part series we looked at how it is important to marry both economical analysis and customer preferences at a transaction level to create a robust channel strategy for a multi channel service offering. In this segment, we will look at ways in which customers can be motivated to select the right channel for each transaction.
Incentivize the Right Choice
One of the best ways to encourage customers to migrate from one channel to another is to incentivize the right choice. Incentives typically have a positive benefit (such as financial discounts or improved customer service) associated with the right channel and a negative outcome (such as additional fees or delayed service) associated with all the other channels for a specific transaction. The negative outcomes are typically opaque and work best in transactions where switching costs are high. For example, an airline who wants to encourage self-service check-ins would typically have more self service kiosks than counters manned by staff. This would enable customers to have shorter wait times if they opt for the kiosks and longer wait times while utilizing the manned counters.
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Mar 5 2013
With a proliferation of self service channels such as the web, mobile and kiosks – all of which are often managed by contact centers – it is important that customers must be guided, albeit subtly, to choose the right service channel so as to manage the costs of multichannel interactions. Often, customers have a preferred service channel and migrating a customer to a new channel can be a painful process for both the customer as well as the company. However, it does have long term rewards and is well worth the effort.
Years ago, companies used to have a single direct channel of delivery for their customers. Then the “call center” came into being, initially as a complaint resolution mechanism, and later on as a service delivery channel itself. Today, companies use multiple routes to reach out to demanding customers and studies have shown that revenues from multichannel customers are typically 30 percent higher than single channel methods. Moreover, channels such as the web and call centers offer big cost savings when compared to a direct channel such as a bank branch.
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