Chris Botting, Senior Director Product Development, Customer Collaboration, Cisco and Ross Daniels, Director of Marketing, Customer Collaboration, Cisco.
Cisco Directors, Chris Botting and Ross Daniels, stated that Cisco is globally the number two contact centre infrastructure provider with an estimated ACD market share of 18% globally, lagging number one provider Avaya who currently own an estimated share of over 35%. However, Cisco claims to be making inroads into Avaya's dominance. In the IVR market Cisco state they are ranked number one, and research from Gartner places Cisco in the 'Leaders' category within the Contact Centre Infrastructure Magic Quadrant.
Daniels highlighted Cisco's business performance within the ACD market. "Within the ACD business our share gains over the last couple of years have been impressive. We have jumped from number three or four to number two worldwide, and in certain markets, such as the US, we have closed the gap significantly on Avaya where Cisco has a market share of 29%."
Daniels continued, "Our projections have Cisco as number one in North America in the next 1-2 years. Our objective will then to be number one globally in the next 3-4 years."
When asked about Cisco's business focus Daniels confirmed that contact centres is now a key priority for Cisco. Daniels stated, "Cisco went through its own corporate struggles in 2011. Cisco came out of that having identified there had been too many priorities and too many things distracting us. There are now five priorities for the company, and the second of those priorities is Collaboration. There are four pillars under Collaboration, one of which is contact centre-or as we call it Customer Collaboration."
But Daniels admitted that the contact centres still struggle for attention across the broader Cisco business. He added, "For twenty years Cisco have been very successful selling and marketing 'boxes', talking to technical people about hardware solutions. Contact centre is about as opposite to that as you can get. First of all you do need people who can talk technology, but it is a bit more software oriented. Then you have to able to talk the Contact Centre Manager's and the Operations Manager's lingo."
In terms of Australia, Daniels and Botting highlighted that Australia is one market that has been recognised as one with significant opportunity for Cisco. Daniels stated, "We have lots of good things in place in this (Australian) market, a good solid product, good sales teams on the ground and a good set of partners. We have a lot things working on our side from a product, marketing, channel and sales point of view. With a little bit of extra investment we feel we can accelerate growth."
Along with greater support from Cisco's executive team and greater investment in the contact centre business, Daniels and Botting highlighted the role that product innovation has played in driving the positive contact centre business performance for Cisco. Daniels added, "We had a strong focus on innovation in 2010. We launched significant new products to the portfolio in November 2010 including our social solution, SocialMiner, a new agent desktop called Finesse and a new recording infrastructure called MediaSense. These were all big projects, and all wrapped around significant innovation. We hadn't been out to the Australian market with that much concentrated innovation in a long time." Daniels continued, "It was very well received."
Daniels went on to discuss how Cisco's focus has shifted. He stated, "As we have gone through 2011 our focus and message has shifted to innovation balanced with execution. This means focusing on the core products and developing solutions that are aimed at simplification to take advantage of the more 'mass market' opportunities."
Botting added, "There is more of a focus on operational simplification." Botting added, "Cisco Unified Contact Centre Express is a good example. For companies for whom contact centre is not their primary differentiator, Contact Centre Express is a nice turn-key all in one solution."
Botting continued, "What we have found is a section of the market that wants the attributes of our more powerful Cisco Unified Contact Centre Enterprise product but with the simplicity of Contact Centre Express. To target this need we have launched Packaged Contact Centre Enterprise in the last few months."
Botting concluded, "We think we have a really good opportunity, with Packaged Contact Centre Enterprise, in the Australian marketplace and the ability to deliver an easy sales cycle. Feedback from our Partner community has been very positive. We have turned what was traditionally a 12 month sales cycle into a four month cycle."
Cisco has identified the importance of simplification as a key message and has developed products and sales process to match. The contact centre world is becoming more complicated as the plethora of channels expands and customers demand better service. Therefore anything that makes life simpler for the contact centre should be welcome news.
Online retailer Mighty Ape beat out big chain stores like Dick Smiths to be ranked at the most recommended home appliance store. A retail expert says it's no surprise independent retailers beat out many of their big box rivals in an opinion survey by Consumer New Zealand.
The consumer magazine conducted a survey of 10,000 of its members to rank their experiences in four types of retail store - hardware and DIY, bedding and furniture, carpet and flooring, and home appliances and technology. Forty-five brands were involved. Online retailer Mighty Ape and independents Heathcote Appliances and 100 Per Cent Appliances ranked highly, leaving behind JB Hi-Fi, Noel Leeming, Harvey Norman and Dick Smith.
Chris Wilkinson, of First Retail NZ, said Consumer's research reflected a growing trend in retail which placed high importance on shoppers' experiences. "The reason the smaller businesses like Heathcotes have done well is because they have a much strong engagement with their market and essentially are at the heart of their communities - and consumers recognise this."
Cathay Pacific Airways has marked another important milestone for the airline as it unveiled a new livery that will be progressively introduced onto all the aircraft in its fleet. The livery was showcased on one of the airline's Boeing 777-300ER aircraft at a special event held at Hong Kong International Airport.
Ivan Chu, chief executive, Cathay Pacific said, "Today represents the beginning of a new era for Cathay Pacific. We are very happy and proud to unveil our new aircraft livery which represents our journey into the future and also celebrates the many great things we have achieved over the past seven decades as the home carrier of Hong Kong."
The update to the livery is part of a series of ongoing improvements to Cathay Pacific's customer experience. These include not only the new livery, but also the website and mobile app, as well as major enhancements to the airline's airport lounges in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Manila, Bangkok and beyond.
NewVoiceMedia, a global provider of cloud technology which helps businesses sell more, serve better and grow faster, today announced that Ritani, a leading online retailer of engagement rings, diamonds and fine jewellery, is using its ContactWorld solution to deliver unparalleled service to its customers, pushing it ahead of competitors and raising its conversion rates by 30 percent.
As a luxury brand, Ritani prides itself on being able to offer its customers exceptional support. That means no waiting times and immediate, personalised attention for every customer who contacts the company. It also means using the most innovative technology to offer the best and easiest experience to customers.
“Most of the jewellery industry hasn’t been quick to adopt innovation, and we believe that’s a major oversight”, said Simon Tam, CTO of Ritani. “Today’s consumers are used to services being quick, easy and universally accessible. With that in mind, we’ve focused on serving our customers exactly the way they want to be served. The best way to do so is by adopting technology that supports an effortless, personalised experience, which is what NewVoiceMedia delivers”.
“Ritani is really disrupting the jewellery industry because it’s applied the latest technology innovations to an industry that’s steeped in tradition and made it better”, said NewVoiceMedia CEO Jonathan Gale. “And because it’s serving customers who are much more emotionally invested in their purchases than the average buyer, the stakes are far higher than for other vendors. We’re delighted that ContactWorld has enabled the company to take such a successful approach”.
Ritani has deployed a unique clicks and brick experience by allowing visitors to its site to design a custom engagement ring and choose to either ship it directly to their home or office, or to an independently owned local jeweller in their area for a ‘free in-store preview’. This provides customers with the ultimate assurance that they are purchasing the perfect ring for their betrothed. The company is equally accommodating through all means of contact with its non-commissioned support staff; be it via online chat, email, or toll-free number, Ritani’s aim is to provide a superior experience for an exceptional product.
“When people are buying diamond rings, it’s usually one of the most important purchases of their lives”, Tam said. “They deserve to have every detail perfect, and if they have questions, they deserve immediate answers. Thanks to ContactWorld’s integration with Salesforce, NewVoiceMedia ensures we deliver what our customers expect every single time”.
Ritani also uses the technology to inform the way it structures its service organisation. The company uses the reporting feature to understand market trends and track activities through both its call centres and website, making it easier to identify correlations between the two and concentrate resources where they’re needed.