Category: Proactive Notifications & Mobility

Category: Proactive Notifications & Mobility
West Corporation

Posted on March 16, 2016 by West Corporation 

Utilities are Stepping Up the Caller Experience in an Outage

Greg Ablett, Senior Vice President of Utilities and Business Support at West, offers his take on keeping up with today’s evolving utility customer in CS Week’s Spring edition of Newsline:

… utility customers rely on gas and electric power so much that if and when it goes out, they (understandably) tend to panic. They want to be kept in-the-know, up-to-the-minute during outage situations. There is a more user-friendly and cost effective solution. High-Volume Call Answering (HVCA) systems have transformed the way calls are fielded during extended, storm-related outage situations and on blue sky days. …

Click here to read the Newsline article (beginning on Page 3).

Join West at CS Week Conference 40, April 25-29, where we’ll continue taking an in-depth look at how the utility landscape is shifting and what companies should do to step up to the challenge. While you’re planning your trip to Phoenix, don’t forget to check out our event calendar to explore some other engaging events to stop by throughout the year!

West Corporation

Posted on February 24, 2016 by West Corporation 

US Utilities Lead the Way for UK with Outage Communications

When severe weather hits, how can utilities avoid a storm of customer dissatisfaction? The immediate response is clear: restore service disruptions as quickly as possible. But there’s another business imperative utilities can’t overlook: customer service. In general, UK utilities lag behind their US counterparts in terms of storm-related customer service. But with inclement weather on the rise in the UK — and growing demand for better service — the pressure is on UK utilities to deliver a higher standard of customer service before, during and after a storm. Read the article here.

West’s Senior Vice President of Utilities and Business Support Greg Ablett weighs in on keeping up with today’s utility customers in an article recently published by Utility Week.

Join us at CS Week Conference 40, April 25-29, where West will share more utility best practices and further explore Greg’s insights on graceful automation – and check out the rest of our event calendar to connect with us at other events over the next few months.

West Corporation

Posted on February 12, 2016 by West Corporation 

Roses are Red, the PC is Through?

Ah, Valentine’s Day. The time of year that masses of eligible singles sit at home with pints of ice cream on-hand, scrolling through nauseatingly romantic pictures in their Facebook and Instagram feeds. With each refresh comes a feeling of satisfied envy. Satisfied being the key word.

Not long ago, such Internet scrolling transitioned from mouse wheel to persistent thumb. Robert Cringley recently posted an article detailing this evolution and why a computer in our pocket trumps one at a desk.

Sitting at a desktop with Ben and Jerry’s just doesn’t paint the same picture of self-pity as a mobile device, a couch and Sleepless in Seattle in the background. It’s strangely satisfying self-pity because it’s where we want it and how we want it.

Our mobile devices are part of us; when we wear our hearts on our sleeves, smartphones are waiting in our palms to pick up the pieces. Like a best friend, they are there at all hours, ready to swoop in wherever help’s needed.

When the couch gets monotonous and a private Valentine’s Day getaway is in order, companies in every industry are fueling the peoples’ demand for mobility by: Read More >

West Corporation

Posted on January 5, 2016 by West Corporation 

Relentless Innovation, Continuous Improvement

Not long ago, the masses reveled at the possibilities of email communication. A decade later, people delighted in sending and receiving easily digestible text messages. Now focus is shifting toward multi-modal interactions and combining communication channels in the exact ways that we want.

Here we are in 2016, still filled with blissful ignorance in regard to what wonders lie ahead technologically. Yet, we are in a different place than ever before in that we have come to expect this sort of continuous improvement in all technological walks of life—especially when it comes to customer service.

Though the layperson doesn’t know exactly how their customer experience is going to improve moving forward, all seem to expect that brands keep up with their increasingly high-paced lifestyles. This is why it is so vital for companies to take on this challenge head on, and address customer concerns before they have even become a reality. We must strive to continuously improve, innovate and optimize.

Easier said than done, right? Nevertheless, staying ahead of your customers and competition is worth the work. During West’s recent Customer Summit, Michael Tchong spoke to the framework needed to “Fuel Innovation.” He broke it down into four basic principles: Read More >

West Corporation

Posted on November 13, 2015 by West Corporation 

Embracing SMS: Luv 2 ur CX

Texting isn’t just a pick-up-game. Adopted by the majority of people in the U.S., it’s increasingly seen as a “free” mode of regular communication. As brands of every type address the loud-and-clear customer preference to communicate with their thumbs, it’s important for seasoned texters and newbies alike to heed the rules of the SMS playing field.

There’s no need to worry if you don’t know the difference between a vanity short code and a dedicated short code; that’s what communication partners are for. This quick list of SMS FAQs will make it “EZ 4 U” to appreciate the details of recent opt-in regulation updates. Read More >

West Corporation

Posted on by West Corporation 

Brands are from Mars, Buyers are from Venus?

Committed personal relationships aren’t formed overnight. Customer relationship management leader JC Quintana shared his insights in October (Watch the video or check out his book.) and filled us in on three common myths among business leaders:

  1. It’s all about doing business. (Hello, silos. What’s your end-game?)
  2. Technology solves everything. (Put some thoughtful “oomph” behind that IVR!)
  3. Net Promoter Score is the be-all, end-all. (Make sure I’m yours, then we can talk about recommendations.)

Brands have to get back to the basics and start with an honest investment in building relationships. You wouldn’t propose to the apple of your eye a the first date, would you? (Certainly not with a text message!) So why do we expect it to be that easy with business consumers?

Read More >

West Corporation

Posted on September 14, 2015 by West Corporation 

One-on-One Text Conversations Make Customer Care Easier

Picture this: You’re a frequent flyer, going from city to city every week, and spending hours in airports. You have your routine down to the letter and any substantial hitch has a domino effect on your schedule – not to mention work/life balance.

You roll with inevitable delays and gate changes better than most, but you have to be in-the-know. You don’t demand flawlessness, but you do expect communication at a rate that keeps up with the countless voice messages from your colleagues, emails from your boss, texts from your spouse, in-app bill-pay alerts, etc., that are hopefully punctuated by a few moments to catch your breath.

So, you opt-in to SMS/text alerts from your airline. When you land, your phone dings with a notification that your connecting flight is delayed due to plane maintenance. “Ok. Is there a gate change?” you naturally reply, knowing that it takes 20 minutes to trek from point A to point B.

The response: Radio silence or, perhaps worse, a plain old “Thank you for flying with us.” (Why? Because that alert was sent by a machine and there’s nobody manning it on the other end.)

There’s an estimated 30-minute hold-time when you click-to-call, so you ask a rep at a nearby kiosk who, unfortunately, hasn’t yet gotten the memo that there’s a delay in the first place, much less its implications. Meanwhile, dozens of other confused passengers are duplicating efforts – spending far more of the airline’s time and money – when a simple “There is no gate change at this time,” SMS response could have taken care of it.

Pew Research tells us that 9 in 10 Americans own a mobile device and roughly 65% of them own a smartphone, proving that this scenario is a very real one – and this customer service challenge, a pleasantly solvable one. Read More >

West Corporation

Posted on August 20, 2015 by West Corporation 

How to Prep for Each Decade of Tech

Think back to 2005. If you were up with the tech-times, you may have had one of the very first camera phones in the U.S. and a 4th or 5th generation iPod. It’s possible that you were among the early undergrad Facebook adopters – or, then again, maybe MySpace was more your speed. Meanwhile, YouTube was born.

Any one of us knows first-hand that technology changes fast and we no sooner forget how much our user-expectations have risen.

Fast-forward 10 years: Facebook, now a publicly traded company, has 1.44 billion users (now ages 13+) and over 10,000 employees worldwide. Ninety percent of Americans own a mobile phone, 64 percent of which are smartphones. American Idol, one of the most successful TV shows in history, is gearing up for its farewell season, having captured more than 6 billion viewer votes cast by phone, via SMS/text or online since its debut. And likely many of those same viewers have watched Psy’s “Gangnam Style” on YouTube 2.4 billion times and counting. Read More >

West Corporation

Posted on August 10, 2015 by West Corporation 

How do you connect with 67.2M people?

Just ask companies that partner with West. In the last month alone, they made 293.5 million automated connections with 67.2 million unique customers.

From these quickly resolved inbound calls to the IVR, to proactive voice and SMS/text notifications, customers got information they needed. They got it faster, on the devices they chose, and at the times most convenient for them.

It was easy for these 67.2 million customers to check order status, bill balance and hours of the nearest facility; prescription refill reminders, back-to-school updates, insurance claim progress notifications and severe weather alerts reached them at the perfect moments. These brands know what their audiences want, and used that knowledge to deliver a better customer experience.

But you know your customers, too, so, what’s the difference between their brands and yours? They show it.

Gathering preferences, predicting activity based on historical behaviors, recognizing natural language, relying on customers to provide their information as few times as possible, sharing visibility of customer interactions across multiple channels and business functions, issuing replies at appropriate times, and using data to make continuous improvements…

Intelligently integrated communication solutions can help you show customers that your brand is on their side. You share their sense of urgency, anticipate their needs, and want to engage on their turf. You are there for them and only them. And, along the way, you gain a business ally that helps save your business a boatload of time and money.

Imagine what your brand could do, listening to what your customers are thinking… Watch this video.

As if they’re reading our minds, “Delivering Great Customer Experiences at the Speed of Digital Business” is the theme of this year’s Gartner Customer 360 Summit. West will be there in San Diego, September 9-11th, delivering a presentation with American Express. Be sure to connect with us. #ExperienceConnected

West Corporation

Posted on July 13, 2015 by West Corporation 

Insurance Claim Spin Cycle

My washing machine croaked. It wasn’t one of those slow and reasonable deaths we saw coming; it was a sudden, painful and sopping wet mess. 

The machine filled for two full hours, flooding the laundry room and kitchen. A slow trickle into the basement didn’t seem like a tremendous deal until, hours later, hanging pictures crashed, revealing just how saturated our drywall had become. Dirty clothes, ripped up flooring and industrial-strength fans haunted us for weeks; getting a new machine was the least of our problems.

This all went down months ago, but I can’t rinse away the memory because my insurance company seems to be taking us for a spin: We filed a claim. We followed up on the claim. And we waited for a response. And we had our house put back together. And we followed up. And we paid bills. And we worried. And we followed up. And weeks passed; our lives went on. And we got frustrated enough to follow up again… The saga repeats.

I won’t throw this company under the bus because it’s an all too common story. Ten years ago – even two years ago – we wouldn’t have expected anything different from an insurance provider. However, brands selling everything from pizzas and pharmaceuticals, to air travel and package delivery, have upped their game in our modern, consumer-driven world. Customer service isn’t only immediate, it’s proactive. Before I even think to check in for my flight, a notification that things are on schedule is sent straight to my cell phone. I’ve been programmed to get what I want when I need it, and now I count on it.

So what do I want from my insurance company? Immediate, frequent and accurate interaction, via the channels I’ve selected. I want peace of mind and reassurance for my family.

Speed and transparency of the claims process are top-level concerns among policyholders; and research shows that our propensity to switch providers jumps nearly 20% just by submitting a claim. Meanwhile, steep competition in the marketplace makes that likelihood tough for most insurance companies to stomach.

Although it sounds like insurance companies face an uphill battle when it comes to claims, there are strategic solutions to automate more of the customer care experience.

Smart, automated self-service has been shown to vastly improve companies’ productivity, profitability and customer satisfaction – increasing the frequency of interaction, while exponentially decreasing the money and human resources allocated for it.

Check out this infographic about boosting the success of your IVR with a few best practices from West:

  • Incorporate data to heighten caller authentication and verification, trimming time and frustration.
  • Integrate proactive SMS/text notifications to preempt inbound customer calls and decreases repeat calls.
  • Empower customers to help themselves 24/7×365 with user-friendly interfaces on multiple channels
  • Enable callers to speak naturally and self-serve more quickly with speech recognition applications.

Give your customer experience a boost. Get claimants like me out of the self-service spin cycle. Experience Connected.