• November 15, 2007
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

A NICE Way to Handle Cranky Holiday Calls

As the holiday season approaches, retailers can expect to receive angry phone calls from disgruntled customers, with complaints ranging from entire shipments gone missing to sweaters delivered in the wrong color or size. With the aggressive retail competition that plays out each holiday season, companies know they can lose a fortune by not immediately resolving the concerns of unhappy customers. "When you get a lot of calls, you need to react very quickly," says Yoel Goldenberg, vice president of contact center and enterprise solutions at NICE Systems. To help retailers prepare for the inevitable avalanche of customer complaints, NICE Systems has put together a five-part contact center product suite called NICE SmartCenter. This technology, built from the combination of existing NICE applications with workforce and performance management tools gained during NICE's acquisitions of IEX and Performix late last year, allows companies to fully monitor employee and customer interactions to resolve conflicts early on. The NICE SmartCenter offers:
  • call recording;
  • quality management;
  • interaction analytics;
  • customer feedback surveys; and
  • Pperfomance/workforce management. Other components of the SmartCenter application include keyword-spotting based on phonetic searches, call-logging, transcription generation, text mining, and emotion detection. Everything in the product suite is linked back to the user's CRM and sales tools as well. The system can be programmed to spot hundred of keywords, and even has a component that will allow managers to know when a customer's decibel level became elevated or when foul language was used. These pieces of the solution, though, operate not in real time but in near-real time. "It's better to let the agent handle the call, and if more action is needed after the interaction has ended, then the call center manager can get involved," Goldenberg explains. "You do not want to send the message that as soon as a customer says the 'F'-word a manager will get on the line." The delayed response also lets the manager get all the background before dealing with the customer, and to get back to him only when she's ready, Goldenberg adds. It also eliminates unnecessary files and records, allowing managers to respond only to those calls that require further action. "If the customer called, got what he needed, and hung up, you do not need to have a full transcript, etc." Goldenberg says. "You only need it if the customer is having problems." Goldenberg describes the NICE SmartCenter as "an electronic market analyst," letting customer service agents and managers know what customers like and don't like about a company and its products, what they're complaining about, and even, in some cases, what the competition is doing. The two major advantages of the system, he says, are its speed and accuracy. "If a customer is threatening to leave [the company], you can catch it earlier and have a better chance to save [the business]."

    Related articles: NICE Smartens Up The company's SOA framework will fuse its own capabilities with those acquired from workforce management player IEX and performance management specialist Performix Technologies. NICE Systems will acquire IEX and Performix; is it the start of a major trend in the contact center solutions industry? IEX and Performix Find a NICE Home Feature: Checking the Pulse of the Contact Center Contact center performance management provides a holistic view of agent performance; use that data to spur desirable behaviors that will help reps beat center and corporate goals. Feature: The 2007 Service Leader Awards, Part 1 With two smart acquisitions (IEX, last year's category winner, and Performix), coupled with its own depth in QM, analytics, and e-learning, NICE's first entry on the WFO leader list is as the category winner. Feature: The 2006 Service Leader Awards, Part 1 The contact center industry was hot last year, as providers of customer service and support technologies and services strengthened their commitment to delivering first-class service. Tech Solution: Workforce Optimization Tools Business Problem: Contact Center Managers Cannot Staff and Manage Their Call Center Effectively A 2006 Online Holiday Spending Projection Thanks to convenience and consumer comfort with online shopping, a report states that this year's online holiday retail sales may touch $27 billion. Viewpoint: 'Tis the Season for Holiday Returns Seven tips for dealing with difficult customers. Getting Carded: An Early Holiday Sales Report Gift cards help retailers beat some holiday sales forecasts, with spending up 8.7 percent. Happy Holiday Marketing "You don't want to wait until next year to see what you should be changing." Shoppers Are Dreaming of a Multichannel Christmas Holiday consumers continue to prefer offline purchasing. Cyber Mondays, So Good to Marketers A new report stresses the importance of marketers understanding consumers' online purchasing habits -- the peaks and valleys -- between Thanksgiving and Christmas. E-Retail's Great Expectations A recent report reveals the best and worst retail Web sites evaluated by online shopping experiences. Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday Web merchants are offering ways to lure in customers as online retail sales are expected to jump 25 percent this holiday season. Keeping Your Eye on the Presents New technologies from two vendors help shoppers better locate and track gifts this holiday season. Jolly Holidays Businesses gear up in the hope that shoppers soon will be there.
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