Cloud Contact Center Guide

Use this cloud contact center guide to reduce operational costs multi-fold. Our contact center teams use these same tips for customers. Don’t want to do these things yourself? Reach out to our contact center team for help.

Categorized as Call Center
Why use a cloud contact center

Most businesses can save a bundle (sometimes, up to 80%) by moving their customer support to a cloud Contact Center. 

Scaling up – You can support a lot more customers without having to hire additional staff. 

Set Up is a lot faster with cloud contact center without having to purchase hardware + licenses. Implementing an on-premise call center can take up to several months.

Operational expenses increase, capital expenses reduce – Ongoing costs include a monthly subscription for cloud contact centers. Meanwhile, on premise contact centers require a larger up front investment.

Full feature-set – Cloud contact centers have all the traditional features of an on premise contact center software. In addition, they have advanced technologies to feature live call monitoring, smart IVR, click-to-call, artificial intelligence, automated call summaries, integration with SMS, fax, email, social media and more.

On-premise call centers have more stable technology to help eliminate call lag or lower call quality. However, cloud call centers offer a lot more integrations with systems, plus can have high call quality at strong, reliable internet connections.

How cloud contact centers save communications costs

Most cloud contact center solutions have you pay for use.

You don’t pay unless you actually get incoming customer inquiries.  

On top of this, cloud contact centers offer multiple channels like texting, phone calls, web chat, WhatsApp, iMessage, email etc integrated so you can divert expensive phone calls to these channels as needed. That adds to yet another level of cost savings.

Considering that cloud contact centers allow work from anywhere with ease of use, this allows you to hire staff at the most cost effective places as well.

Security and compliance are generally top features of cloud contact centers, thereby allowing you to not have to hire a team of in-house security or network administrators.

If you’re using cloud contact centers for outbound communications as well, you start seeing even further efficiencies and cost savings.

All your customer service folks would need are a computer and a headset – that’s it. They can work from your office, home, anywhere in the world.

You can repurpose your support staff for more complex interactions. 

Cloud contact center software can help you service more of your customers or staff with self-service options.

When you allow self service options, you free up your customer service agents to handle more complex customer requests.

You also free up customer service agents to make more outbound phone calls (for various purposes).

You help them connect with more customers and generate more business for your business. 

That’s the power that cloud software brings to you.

Keeping your current company numbers

The ease of set up with cloud contact centers allows you to try as many features on a limited risk basis as possible.

If you want, you can make only outbound calls, texting from the cloud. Or, you can try out only inbound communications. You can mix and match inbound, outbound for only specific channels, or specific communication endpoints.

You can provision and de-provision as many numbers, channels as you want, on an ad-hoc basis.

Porting takes about 7-10 days and is totally seamless. Your customers won’t know anything.

IVR, phone greeting in a cloud contact center

It is incredibly easy for us to set up your phone greeting and your phone tree using cloud contact centers. 

There are two options – using text to speech option OR by using your custom recorded greeting. 

You can create your dial by name directory, dial by business function or however else you choose to set up your phone tree.

For each phone tree option, you can even have custom voice prompts. Same concept applies here – either TTS (text to speech) or your own custom recordings (e.g. mp3 sound files).

Record calls for training purposes

With just a few clicks, all calls can be recorded. You can choose to record only the customer, your customer service representative or BOTH. 

These call recordings can even be transcribed by the power of the cloud contact center and be sent via email if you’d like.

Cloud contact center software redacts sensitive information as well. If you are a healthcare customer, please keep in mind that the redacted call recordings are not guaranteed to be 100% HIPAA compliant.

Supporting multiple languages in cloud contact center


Most cloud contact center software support all kinds of languages. English, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazilian), Spanish – no sweat!

The top vendors keep adding language support regularly.

Can a cloud contact center connect to a CRM

Of course! That’s one of the amazing things about cloud contact center software. Once you start using cloud – you can connect it to your CRM, your EMR, your help desk ticketing system. Anything you want. Our contact center teams do this regularly.

How to move your CSRs to a cloud contact center

All your front desk / receptionist / call center agents need are:
1. A computer
2. Good internet connectivity
3. A headset

That’s it – they can work from anywhere and still provide excellent customer service.

For many small businesses, the needs are pretty simple. Here’s all you really need to do.
1. Sign up for a cloud Contact Center
2. Choose a URL that you will remember (you will distribute this to your agents)
3. Set up your phone line (one) and set up inbound/outbound calls (telephony options)
4. Choose the settings for data storage
5. Set up your business hours
6. Create an administrator
7. Allow one or more of your customer service reps to handle inbound and outbound calls. When callers call your main phone number, they will be put in a queue so that your CSRs can respond to the call if they are not on another call / away OR they can respond as soon as they become available.
8. Set up your greeting and the first contact flow
9. Add your staff. You can add your staff one by one or if you have a large number of staff, you can add them all by uploading a spreadsheet. It’s very simple.
10. If you’d like to, port your main phone number to the contact center software and begin servicing customers

That’s it.

How to reduce SPAM calls to your cloud contact center

Your contact center is invariably going to get spam calls / robocalls. 

Get an account on everyoneapi or trueCNAM.

EveryoneAPI gives you caller data (phone intelligence). It’s pretty affordable and does give a decent amount of intelligence about phone numbers.

For the purposes of this article, let’s concentrate on the variable called nuisance_score  (this is something that EveryoneAPI returns when you use their API. It’s a score from 0-100 and the higher the number, the more chance there is that it is a robocall / scam likely. 

Either way – TrueCNAM or EveryoneAPI… follow these steps
1. Integrate your contact center software with one of the above vendors 
2. For every incoming call everyoneAPI or trueCNAM will give you the spam score
3. Based on the result, you can decide to simply drop the call or add the caller ID to your own robocaller list (deny list) OR let the call through.

How to append caller identity to incoming calls

We recommend that you tie in your EMR or practice management system or CRM to your Cloud Contact Center. 

For each incoming call, do a data dip into this backend system to suggest caller identity.

Like above, integrate with services like EveryoneAPI. In addition to a nuisance score, these vendors can also tell you the caller identity (not always perfect).

It is ALWAYS recommended to have this level of information available and handy for patient identity verification sake. Imagine a patient claiming to be “Daniel Radcliffe” when the phone clearly belongs to “John Johnson”. While you cannot (of course) tell the patient that “Sorry sir, but I don’t think you are Daniel Radclife”, you can be on high alert to ensure that the patient’s ID cards match (to ensure protecting yourself from identity fraud).

Extensions and direct inward dial (DID) numbers

You can set up both options in most cloud contact center software. The same customer service representative can respond to multiple call, chat etc queues. 

Whether the caller calls in and wants to dial by extension to reach a specific customer service representative or whether the caller dials the direct phone of the representative, the call can be answered by the same person.

This is very easy to set up.

Cloud contact center and voicemails

Most top cloud contact center solutions have data streaming and storing options. This allows them to offer voicemails for all employees, departments etc.

You can even set up your system to encrypt the voicemails and deliver the same via text messages or emails.

Autodialing from cloud contact centers

The simplest use case is where call centers need to automate the manual task of punching in the phone numbers. 

The automation simply takes care of dialing the phone number and if the dialed phone number is a valid number, the call gets connected and everything proceeds as usual. 

We use this ourselves for automated appointment reminders, follow-up calls for customer no-shows, calls to schedule appointments with no show customers or customers that cancelled their appointments or patients that have fallen out of care, a first-time contact initiated from an online one-click call button or “contact us form”, or our community outreach cold calls as well.

This allows you to leave a voicemail if the person does not pick up the call. If the person does pick up the call, then we can automatically relay a very customized appointment reminder to them. E.g. “Hi John, Your appointment is on Monday August 30th at 10:30 a. If you need to reschedule the appointment, please call us at 1-800-….. We look forward to seeing you on Monday August 30th at 10:30 a. Thank you and have a great day!”

Cloud contact center software makes it incredibly easy to create a flow that helps you achieve this.

Autodialing numbers, push 1 to talk to agents.

This is also very simple to do with most cloud contact center software. All you need to do is to modify your voice note script a little bit.

E.g.
Hi John, Your appointment is on Monday August 30th at 10:30 a. If you need to reschedule the appointment, please press 1. We look forward to seeing you on Monday August 30th at 10:30 a. Thank you and have a great day!”

Then, in the contact center call flow, you will have to implement an interruptible flow and then use a “Customer input”. Based on that input, route the called person to a queue or a specific agent they should speak with.

Dynamically setting outbound numbers in cloud contact center software 

We dial outbound a LOT. Cloud Contact Center users do outbound calls a LOT. 

Customers tend to pick up calls from local numbers more than inbound calls from toll free numbers and from out of state numbers. The solution that most call centers use to work around this is to use local phone numbers in the areas they are dialing. 

So, if you are dialing in all 50 states of the USA, let’s assume that you are going to buy 50 numbers ($50 per month) or are going to “whitelist” 50 numbers. 

While there’s no 100% guarantee, it’s a bit better of a chance than showing up as UNKNOWN.
You will also need to follow the NANPA (North American Numbering Plan Administrator) guidelines to look up area codes and where they belong. Keep in mind that each state has its own guidelines so your approval of Phone number “whitelisting” by carriers will be governed by that. 

The general idea to follow is this:
1. Whitelist your phone numbers if they are not in the cloud contact center software already.
2. If you want to purchase phone numbers in the cloud, go ahead. This way you can rotate as many phone numbers as you want. We always advise over-provisioning phone numbers based on the number of agents you have (especially if you are limiting autodialing to only 200 per number per day).
3. Create a database that will hold all the phone numbers you have provisioned and the area code pools they belong in. You also need to store daily calls made from each phone number as (our recommendation) you should not be dialing more than 180-200 outbound calls per number per day. Finally, you should also store the reputation score of each number in this table.
4. Create a data dip that will be called by your contact center on each outbound call. This will look up the area code of the phone number being dialed and will look up the appropriate phone number pool to dial from. Then, it will look at the reputation score and the number of calls it has made for the day (i.e. is it allowed to make a call or not). If this number is allowed to make an outbound call, it will assign this number to the outbound caller ID associated with this contact flow queue.
5. The call proceeds and the caller sees (hopefully, in most cases) the local area phone number that the software picked.

Answering Machine Detection (AMD)

This becomes important when you’re doing a lot of calling and want to leave voicemails automatically. Some of the top cloud contact center software can detect answering machines (not perfect).

This feature allows you to call phone numbers, and upon detection of answering machines, decide to drop the call or to leave a voicemail.

How to send text messages from cloud contact centers

Some contact center softwares allow you to use the same phone number for text messaging, calling, faxing etc. some do not.

Our contact center team never uses the same phone number for text messages and calling. The main reason is that if you’re using the same number for both, and customers unwittingly report your number as spam, then it ruins BOTH channels for you – voice and text messaging.

Keep them separate. 

Having 2 way conversations with patients / customers in cloud contact centers is actually very easy due to the extensive integration capabilities they provide you.

You could even have your calling done from one software, and send/receive text messages from another cloud contact center software.

How to send SMS from your IVR automatically

Many times, in call center IVRs, you are given an option to “send an SMS / text message” or “Text me an appointment form” or “Sorry for the delay, we will call you right back” etc. This moves the conversation from a “single tasking phone call” mode to “multi tasking” chat mode.

Multitasking is a lot easier for agents to do. Chat is also a lot cheaper. Text messaging is also a lot cheaper than voice calls. Overall, the more you can guide callers over from voice calls to chat, the easier it is to scale your call center. 

Here are the few steps you need to follow:
1. You will set up a number where your customers can text you. 
2. You will set up automated help text messages for your customers / patients. You are going to need to set up a “Default Help Message” e.g. “Text APPT for appointments, BILL for billing questions, MEDS for pharmacy help. For anything else, call us at 1-888-5xx-9242.” . And also the “Default STOP message”. E.g. “Thank you. We won’t send you text messages any further”.
3. Set up the keywords you want as well. E.g. you can set up keywords that callers text you – APPT, BILL, MEDS etc. So now, if your customers text you, they will get automated responses for keywords they type.
4. Change your IVR and introduce your new SMS number to callers on the IVR itself. This will let your customers know that they can now text you at this number.
6. Create a data duo integration to send an SMS. 
7. Invoke the integration function in your contact flow

How to send SMS to customers and allow them to request a callback


It’s far more efficient to send an SMS blast to customers and allow them to request a callback. 

As an example, for appointment reminders, instead of calling patients one by one and reminding them, it is always easier to either send a personalized SMS blast or a personalized voice recording. Sometimes, patients want an option to reschedule their appointment. Usually, they call the main number, wait on hold, connect with an agent and reschedule the appointment.

We believe that this is not the most ideal customer experience. In addition to this, it also eats up your calling minutes while the customer is on hold, thereby increasing your expenses.

Instead, we send SMS blasts to patients and ask them to text a keyword (e.g. “CALL”) to get a callback from us. This immediately triggers a call to the patient to let them know that we received their SMS. In this voice recording we also let them know that one of our agents will call them back as soon as they are done with the current call. If the agent is currently on another call, they receive this customer’s number in their callback queue. 

Here’s how you get this done. 
1. Add a keyword to your call center software or texting to listen for customer intent (CALL)
2. Send personalized SMS blast to customers using this software 
3. Add a callback queue and callback contact flow to your cloud contact center 
4. Trigger a function to call the customer automatically
5. Put them all together for optimal customer experience and access

Automated Call dispositions in cloud contact center software 


With AI enabled contact center software, you can alleviate some of the tedious work of disposing calls. These software will let you automatically categorize contacts based on words uttered during the call. 

To do this:
1. Make sure you have enabled use of cloud contact center AI integration.
2. To set up this feature, add rules that contain the words or phrases that you want to highlight. 
3. You can add rules like “New Appointment”, “Reschedule Appointment”, “Cancel Appointment”, “Left Voicemail” etc. This way, at the end of the call, this analysis will be shown as the option to choose from in the Disposition dropdown.
4. The agent can still override the suggestion disposition, but at least, 90% of the work is done for them 🙂
That’s the power of the cloud and AI.

Automatic call summaries in contact center software

We all know the largest part of after call work is in summarizing the call. Everyone in a call center hates it but we all have to do it. With artificial intelligence, you can alleviate some of the tedious work of disposing calls and writing up call summaries.

To do this:
1. Make sure you have enabled use of AI in your contact center.
2. Use the AI function to automatically summarize the entire discussion or dump the entire conversation itself into the note.
3. The agent can still review, override the suggested summarization, but at least, 90% of the work is done for them 🙂

That’s the power of the cloud and AI.

How to automatically capture call quality assurance in contact centers


Most of us in the call center business know the pains of QA work (call quality audit work). All of us know that it takes a team of QA professionals to get this done and that too, we take a random selection of calls and screen them to see how our agents have been performing. This is error prone but that has been the ONLY solution for us.

But with AI in our cloud contact center, most of our work is taken care of (the tedious parts). Now, we can spend our time on the stuff – we like. COACHING!

You set up automated quality control of calls like this:
1. Enable AI in your Contact center software.
2. Create Rules for words or phrases you want to monitor. E.g. you might have specific rules that an agent has to follow that you need enforced.
3. Automatically categorize contacts based on uttered keywords and phrases against the Rules you created.
4. Pull reports on a regular basis to audit the calls as usual – only difference being that you no longer have to do random sampling and will only listen to audio recordings of calls that have been tagged by AI as “issues”.
5. Speak to your agents about the issues you and AI have identified, coach them, guide them, move on.

How to alert call center managers about angry callers

Many times we have angry or abusive callers. Either way, a supervisor or call center floor manager needs to step in. Sometimes when we are making a collection call, the called patient asks for a discount.

That’s another time the supervisor with higher discounting authorization needs to step in as well.
In any case, you can set up AI to alert supervisors about these situations. Call center managers don’t have to be glued to their laptops or computers to get these alerts either. 

To do this, you follow these steps:
1. Enable AI in your cloud Contact Center.
2. In your contact flow, enable Real Time Analytics. (not always the best transcription). Real time analytics option will always come with post call analytics as well, so there’s no need to worry about losing the post call transcription option.
4. Next, create rules that you want to monitor for. Make sure you understand how rules work and whether you need exact matches, AND OR , whether the agent should utter certain words or whether the customer / patient should utter certain words. There are a few examples here “Alert supervisors in real-time based on keywords and phrases – cloud”
5. Once you do this, your call center manager (or designated person) can start getting alerts and can actually listen in on conversations to take further action (or whatever is the protocol for your call center).

How to perform contact center call sentiment analysis


As a call center manager you will be doing call sentiment analysis over periods of time to analyze the performance of your agents, the experience of your callers and to get ideas on how to improve. AI can help you tremendously with this.

Here’s what to do.
1. First, understand the schema that cloud contact center AI produces. Understand how and where the redacted information segments start and end. Understand how and where the loudness, sentiment scores, sentiment analysis, interruptions etc are marked.
2. Have a simple web application pull data from your Contact Lens file storage S3 bucket.
3. You can search by “ParticipantRole” :”AGENT” or “ParticipantRole” :”CUSTOMER” or search by “LoudnessScore” or “Sentiment” or “MatchedCategories”  that might be of interest to you e.g.  “Swearing”, or  “Interruptions” or “NonTalkTime” etc
4. Slice and Dice the data that you find to perform sentiment analysis of past calls at your contact center.

How to create Holiday Calendars in cloud contact centers


Most cloud based contact center software comes with basic operating hours out of the box. It works well, but more often than not, it is not enough. As call center managers, we need to manage holiday calendars that are more complex than the default working hours that the cloud gives us.

Some businesses also have teams set up that revolve around doctors/ service providers. This means that these teams operate only on the days that those providers are available at those locations. This kind of variability in the operating hours quickly escalates to a nightmare if not managed appropriately. 

Here’s how you would create and manage holiday calendars in cloud contact centers for your business.
1. Create a database table that can be modified to add as many holidays as needed.
2. Create a data dip into that database table. 
3. Update your inbound cloud contact flow for checking holidays each time an inbound call is coming in.
4. If it is not a holiday, proceed with the call flow, otherwise proceed with other automation you might have set up within your contact flow.

That’s it. As simple as that.

How to handle emergency shutdowns in call center software


Creating holiday calendars is not really a big deal. But another situation does prop up from time to time – emergency call center shut downs.

Sometimes, this extends beyond a single center and cuts across to multiple locations.

For this, call center managers usually scramble and try to change the contact center settings.

Instead of doing that, while sitting in front of the computer, call center managers can set it up from their mobiles.
 
Your business decides what the emergency protocols are.

It could very well be that you want the contact flow to be exactly the same as a holiday contact flow.

Or, you might want to route all the calls to another contact center location.

Whatever your protocols are, that needs to be decided upon and needs to be baked into your alternate contact flow.

Here’s how the entire process works.
1. Create a database table that can store emergencies, type of emergency, who is authorized to activate emergencies.
2. Get a phone number that can send SMS. You don’t have to set up a 2 way SMS on this one.
3. Create a data dip into a database table. 
4. Set up another integration function that will create a random PIN on demand.
5. Set up another integration function that will update the emergency table on demand.
6. Set up a separate phone number that is used to activate these emergencies. This would not be a published number. Attach it to a contact flow. In this contact flow, cloud checks the ANI (calling number) of the administrator caller using a Check contact attribute block. If the ANI is in the list of Check Contact Attribute Block, an integration function is invoked to generate a random PIN number. 
7. Store this PIN generated by the function in the contact Flow. Then, from this function, pass this PIN to the texting software to be sent as an SMS to the administrator / call center manager. The administrator has a few seconds to enter the PIN using their phone. 
8. You are waiting for “Customer input” in the cloud contact flow block. If the PIN entered by the administrator matches the PIN sent by the texting software, the admin is considered validated, and the call proceeds to the next flow.
9. In the next part of the contact flow, the function to update the emergency database table is used.
10. After this, update your inbound cloud contact flow for checking for emergencies each time an inbound call is coming in.
11. If it is not an emergency, proceed with the call flow, otherwise proceed with other automation you might have set up within your contact flow.

A bit more complicated than the holidays one, but it allows you to handle emergencies (even emergency team meetings).

How to handle call spikes using a cloud contact center software

As call center managers we have to juggle call queues all the time. We have daily SLAs to meet and sometimes call spikes threaten our perfect SLA scores.

Cloud contact center software allows us to handle this situation quite easily.

In general, the way the solution works is that we create our agents as users and associate them with routing profiles. In these routing profiles, we associate queues.

In most contact center software, the call center manager can get an alert based on the queue wait times.

Once they see queue wait times approaching levels close to or exceeding agreed upon SLAs, they can immediately look at the load of the other queues in their call center and move some agents from one or more of the queues to the overburdened queue(s).

It’s just a matter of a few clicks.

That’s all there is to it. Once the call spike has died down and the crisis is averted, you can remove this temporary association of the agent, put them back to their original queue assignment.

How to save on telephony costs by offering a callback option

A cloud contact center software saves you up to 80% on traditional call center software by having you pay for usage only.

However, if you are facing a call spike and your callers are on hold, that hold time still counts as “usage” time.

This means that you are still paying for that phone call.
 
Plus, who likes being on hold anyway? Now, there’s a better option. You can offer callers an option to be called back as soon as an agent becomes available without them losing their position in the queue. Not only that makes the caller / patient experience infinitely better, it also saves you a lot on telephony costs.

Effectively, here’s what you do:
1. The patient calls your IVR. You have already modified your IVR to determine the wait time (approximate) of the caller based on the number of callers ahead of the current caller. You can get this information in the contact flow from the queue metrics.
2. Based on the information above, you tell the caller that they won’t lose their place in the queue and can be called back as soon as the agent is available. Then you give the caller an estimated time of the callback. This time would be the same as the wait time you had announced in the step above.
3. As the caller agrees to this, you announce the caller’s phone number to call them back on and ask them to confirm. You also give them an option to be called back at another number if that’s what they’d prefer. 
4. Then, in your contact flow, you place the call in a callback queue. As soon as the agent is done with their call, the next call in the callback queue is made available to them to answer. The contact center software handles this automatically for you. The incoming call priorities are always maintained by the system, so even if a new call comes in, they are placed in the queue and will be answered in the order they were received.
5. The caller gets a callback and if they pick up the call, they press a number to proceed with the call. If they do so, the call gets connected to the agent and continues.
6. This way, the caller is happy and you have saved a bunch on paying for the inbound call minutes as well.

How to move callers from voice to chat and save on telephony costs


This will allow the caller an option to chat with agents because agents can multitask better on chat rather than on phone calls.

We usually try to push the caller to move to chat more than being on call (based on hold time) because calls are more expensive.

There are several ways to introduce the chat channel. 

First, we always recommend adding a “start a chat” button on your website or mobile app by adding chat icons to your “Make an appointment” or “contact us” pages. 

Second, announce to callers / patients ( while they are in a voice queue) in the IVR that chat may be a faster option and let them know where on your website to find this option.

You can also offer to send an SMS with the chat link.

Finally, when voice queues exceed desired service levels (SLAs), you can proactively prompt customers to move to chat by texting them a direct link to your chat channel.

In any case, your agents can service a lot more callers / patients (benefits of multitasking ) in the same time that they would take to service a single caller / patient over the phone.

The general idea is :
1. Create a function that can call your cloud based texting software and send an SMS with the direct chat link
2. Ensure that your agent queues have chat channels enabled.
3. Update your IVR with the options mentioned above and as / when the caller chooses (or the SLAs are exceeded), send that SMS with the chat link. 
Keep in mind that you can only send an SMS to a caller that’s using a mobile phone, so your IVR should always confirm with the caller which phone number they want to receive the SMS.
4. Ensure that you’re passing an agent’s username and/or name from the contact flow to the function as this would be needed in the chat URL SMS that’s sent out. 
7. Send the SMS and have your agents service patients via chat.

That’s about all you have to do. Now, your agents can service the caller and even transfer the chats to another queue, quick connect or another agent if they want to (based on what they need during the chat session with the caller).

How to provide self service IVR with a Cloud Contact Center solution 

Inbound call centers can provide self service options in their IVR itself.

This allows callers to never even have to speak to an agent to get their queries answered.

Not only does this reduce the inbound call volume, but this improves patient satisfaction and patient experience tremendously.

Essentially, here’s what you are going to do:
1. Create a chat bot and create as many intents as you like – e.g. Create Appointment, Lookup Appointment, Reschedule Appointment, Cancel Appointment, Get Directions, Change Insurances, Change Address etc etc.. 
2. Tie in those intents with your cloud IVR itself. Update your Contact flow to invoke the chat bot and let customers self service themselves.
3. Update the contact flow so that if the patient / caller cannot find a resolution to their call, they can get in touch with a customer service agent. This is the crucial part where you should be forwarding the ENTIRE context and history of the caller / patient’s session to the agent along with all the data (2 way) that has been shared with the caller. This way the caller does not have to repeat themselves and the agent provides the caller with a seamless experience.

That’s how you provide the best customer experience possible.

How to provide visual IVR with cloud Contact Center

The above mentioned self service method is great BUT it has a problem – it is all driven by the phone… and keying in digits via your mobile phone or desk phone.

This is error prone and always a tad confusing. This also leaves very little room for errors and it is hard to correct errors that one has made.

Generally, the solution provided by the IVR is to “start over”. But that starts over the entire process.

It is possible to do better than this with visual IVRs with the help of cloud contact center software. This usually also reduces average call handling time by a minimum of 45-60 seconds.

Why? Because the caller does not have to explain themselves to the agent, plus they have already entered most of the complex / detailed information on the web page already.

This means that the agent doesn’t have to key in data and pull up the information as the system has already pulled up most of the information for them before the call even starts.

So, the basic idea of a visual IVR is that it replicates your current IVR with slight modifications:
1. You get to keep your current IVR to service your callers. You introduce this option of self service in the IVR and allow the caller/patient to get an SMS or email to continue this self service via the visual IVR web link.
2. Your callers can enter a lot more information and correct / delete incorrect data entry on simple mobile web pages – something that they cannot do on IVRs very easily. 
3. Based on the data entered by your callers, your IVR (cloud) can do data dips to any internal system you might want it to, pulling up information to service your caller. 
4. This in itself might be enough for your callers/patients. If it is not, they can still enter more data and ask more questions to your visual IVR. If they still do not find the answer, they can connect with an agent.
5. However, they do not have to repeat a single thing to the agent. The agent has a complete history of everything the caller/patient has done during this entire session, everything about the patient / caller that is in your system(s) and can simply take the baton from there.

How to predict caller intent and increase call center productivity 

When a caller calls in, you can also deduce the intent of the caller’s call. E.g. callers with existing appointments call to either find out more about their appointment or to make changes to their appointments.

Or the customer calls in to check the order status, claim status etc.

When the customer calls, your IVR system that’s running on the cloud can very easily look up the customer that’s calling.

Not only can it identify the customer that’s calling, it can also identify more information about the caller.

Based on the caller’s upcoming appointments, you can determine the intent of the caller and offer them options to confirm their appointment, learn about their appointment, reschedule their appointment etc or speak to an agent to cancel their appointment. 

What’s more? We can also check the status of their customer intake (how much they have completed) and have them finish the rest of the intake process.

We could offer them incentives, or wish them holiday greetings.

There are no limits to what you can achieve in personalizing your patient’s experience.

If your IVR is already predicting what the caller might be calling about and offering solutions to the caller / patient, it’s reducing the time the caller spends on choosing various options in your IVR, thereby reducing the minutes you pay for .. more you save.

And better customer service/ customer experience!

How to service WhatsApp customers via cloud contact centers 

WhatsApp, as we all know, is ubiquitous. Almost everyone uses it.

This is even more so the case outside of the USA. We find that (for many reasons that are beyond the scope of this article) customers seem to prefer WhatsApp over text messaging (outside of the USA).

So, does this mean that you cannot service WhatsApp connected patients and customers? Not at all – you still can!

Both via cloud contact center voice and via cloud contact center chat channels.

For WhatsApp, you need to use an authorized service provider like Twilio.

The solution you need is really quite simple.
1. Create a chat bot that responds to your customer’s queries.
2. Set up this chatbot integration with WhatsApp (let’s say that you got it from Twilio). For this, you need to set up the Twilio API integration with your contact center software. So, your Twilio Whatsapp will talk to your chat bot. 
3. Modify the chatbot fulfillment behavior so that when a certain utterance occurs (e.g. “agent” or “customer service” or “talk to an agent” etc), the conversation will be transferred to the agent via a call)
4. Create the integration function to initiate the outbound API call to the customer.
5. Set up the contact flow so that agents can answer that call. In this call, pass the conversation from WhatsApp / chat bot as contact attributes so that the agent has context of what transpired before the call was transferred.

That’s it.

How to service customers via Web Chat and WhatsApp 


The general concept here is that you can use websockets to keep a conversation going between Twilio’s Whatsapp APIs and cloud contact center Chat APIs, so this way, the need for chatbots are eliminated and your patient/customer can chat directly with your agents via Whatsapp, while your agents can respond via cloud Web Chat.

How to do customer intake automatically in cloud contact center software

Before every service appointment, you have to go through an intake process with your customers. This usually takes 5-30 mins per intake.

Patient intake doesn’t get enough attention whereas it should. Think about how much time your technicians spend “working up” patients and doing medication reconciliation for each patient visit.

If you could save 10-15 mins per patient work up, how many more patients could you see per day? Or, how much faster could you get done in a day? How much could you reduce your patient wait times by?

We recommend that you get patient intake done before the customer comes in for the visit. You can finish intake with a visual IVR, SMS only intake, voice based intake. This is entirely up to you.

Here’s what needs to be done:
1. Run a campaign that sends an SMS to each customer with an upcoming appointment asking them if they’re ready for their intake call. If they’re ready, they can respond with a text message reply “CALL” OR “YES”
2. You capture this response and trigger off a call from your cloud contact center software. It calls the customer to start the intake.
3. When the customer picks up / answers the call, the solution still authenticates the customer by asking them to verify at least 2 pieces of private/ protected information . Then, the solution does data dips into your EMR. If the customer has successfully authenticated, the customer proceeds with the intake.
4. Now, the fun part begins. Let’s say that your customer is a patient and that the patient has not provided a chief complaint yet. The patient intake process asks the patient for the chief complaint. The patient records an audio clip describing their ailment on the phone that is recorded and uploaded to a HIPAA compliant storage.
5. This triggers another cloud integration function that initiates a transcription job converting the patient’s audio clip into a transcript. This transcript contains the patient’s chief complaint.
6. This job is monitored, which triggers another function once the transcription job is completed.
7. The second function is in charge of passing the raw text of the patient’s chief complaint transcript through medical transcription software (e.g. Amazon Comprehend Medical /ACM).
8. The Medical transcription software typically helps extract medical entities, symptoms, dosage forms , their frequencies and presents them in an HTML format. For the first step, you’ve collected the chief complaint and maybe even the history of present illness over the phone.
9. These entities are then being stored in a database table that can be then used for entering data into your EMR.
10. Next, let’s say you ask the patient about their medical history, social history, surgical history etc and follow the same steps to enter data the same way into your EMR.
11. Next, the painful medication reconciliation part. Advanced medical transcription software like Amazon comprehend medical do a fantastic job of tying in with the RxNorm database so you could have patients rattle off the medications they’re taking and the dosages. Amazon comprehend medical will transcribe all those into medications, dosage forms and frequencies. You can safely record these into your EMR.
12. This is how you save a solid 10-15 Mins per patient per visit per day 😉