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.
Australia Post has lodged plans for a mixed-use development with 501 dwellings to replace its Rosslyn Street contact centre in West Melbourne.
Australia Post announced in February its plans to move staff from the centre into office space on levels 21 to 26 of 180 Lonsdale Street in the Melbourne CBD. Instead of immediately selling the Rosslyn Street property, it has designed a village of five large buildings to cover the 9200-square-metre site.
The proposal includes five apartment towers between six and 19 storeys tall with 11 retail spaces and 396 car spaces. An Australia Post spokeswoman said the site would be sold after contact centre staff moved to Lonsdale Street. "We are looking to maximise the value of the Rosslyn Street site, with a view to offering it to the market in the near future," she said.
The Fukushima branch of a Japanese suicide-prevention contact centre service is seeing a steady increase in calls from people still traumatised by the 2011 tsunami and resulting nuclear crisis in the region.
The centre received a record 18,194 calls in 2013 and counselors say consultations related to the disaster still stand out from the other issues. In 2011, the hotline handled fewer calls than the preceding year (13,677 versus 16,649), but this was only because the telephone network had been damaged by the offshore quake.
Counselors said the most recent topics range from arguments between spouses over whether to leave Fukushima because of the radiation, to the way fathers feel estranged from their families after being forced to move out of the house to find work. The Fukushima contact centre was set up in 1997. More than 100 volunteers with two years of counseling training take turns on the phones.
SYDNEY, July 16, 2014 – As further evidence that customer complaints can't be kept quiet in the digital age, new research from NewVoiceMedia, a leading provider of cloud contact centre technology, reveals that 32 percent of Australian consumers take their revenge online following inadequate customer service; spreading the complaint across their network and beyond.
Thanks to social media, internet forums and review channels, the modern consumer has a convenient public platform at their fingertips and will spread negative sentiment about a business without thinking twice. The survey of 2,004 adults from Australia showed that the figure soared to 53 percent among 16-24 year-olds – clearly demonstrating the generational importance of a channel that's likely to explode in relevance as Gen Y consumers' spending power increases.
While 89% of those surveyed stated that traditional forms of communication such as email and phone were their preferred means of complaining for a fast response, a quarter (25%) of Gen Y believe social media is the most effective means of issue resolution – five times that of the over 55s.
Facebook was voted the nation's favourite social network for interacting with businesses. One respondent explained, "The company will realise the public is watching that mistake and try to improve it". Another commented, "Naming and shaming can be the fastest way of getting a response".
However, the significance consumers place on excellent service presents opportunities as well as threats, as organisations can boost their business by getting it right, even turning complainants into advocates by prioritising the service they receive through other channels. NewVoiceMedia offers social media routing through its cloud contact centre solution ContactWorld which integrates with salesforce.com and enables agents to identify callers with specific social media data before their call is answered, and prioritise accordingly.
While AUD$8 billion is lost by businesses in Australia each year as customers switch following poor experiences, 77 percent of respondents said that good service had a considerable influence on their loyalty. 76 percent would recommend the company to others, half (51%) would use the business more frequently and 35 percent are prepared to spend more money with them.
Jonathan Gale, CEO at NewVoiceMedia, who commissioned the research, comments, "Not long ago, customers would tell friends and family if they were dissatisfied with service they'd received. While this is damaging to a brand, it's not nearly as powerful and immediate as customers who take their complaints online; particularly as consumers are increasingly turning online to read about others' experiences before choosing a product or supplier. Over the next few years we expect to see these statistics soar as the younger generation matures.
"Customers want personalised and engaging experiences every time, through every channel. Great customer experience is the critical differentiator and by doing it well, organisations can drive the customer acquisition, retention and efficiency that make leading companies successful."