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Cloud Cures the Holiday Crush

The ability to provide an excellent customer service experience is a key differentiator in today’s Era of the Customer for businesses of any size and every vertical market. However, according to a recently released report by Harvard Business Review, where 92% of US based respondents were from organizations with more than 1000 employees, nearly half indicated that improving the customer experience was indicated as either one or two in level of priority.

Despite the increased level of priority placed on improving the customer experience (CX), this same report indicates that only 15% of all respondents are confident in their ability to quickly adapt their CX to emerging technology trends. Everything from an evolving generation of workers, data and application security, and integration with legacy reporting systems must be considered.

For this reason, Verizon Enterprise Solutions, a recognized leader in contact center solutions and global telecommunications, has teamed with inContact, a leading provider of cloud contact center software and agent optimization tools. Combining the industry strength of Verizon with the cloud innovations of inContact brings Verizon’s advanced Virtual Contact Center solution to companies of every size in virtually every market.

Holiday Bears

A prevailing thought surrounding the concept of customer service and CX is that the “little guy” is better able, and/or more willing, to put their customers first. The question of how a small business can win the customer service battle is crucial to business success and sustainability. The Vermont Teddy Bear Company (VTBC) has been fighting this battle for more than 20 years. However, doing so has often required an inefficient operational model – especially when preparing and scaling up services for the holidays. During the traditional holiday shopping season, from early November through December, VTBC typically sees a tenfold increase in customer service traffic. Their service levels tend to normalize during January only to spike again in February leading up to Valentine’s Day. The dilemma VTBC faces annually is how to scale services up and down to meet their customers’ needs without overstaffing their contact center during normal periods.

This massive undertaking of hiring, training and scaling up their customer service infrastructure to take on a 300% staffing increase required a flexible solution. VTBC’s needs led them to select Verizon’s Virtual Contact Center Solution with inContact agent optimization tools in March 2015. The scalable and flexible nature of the cloud platform has already increased efficiencies through:

  • Skills-based routing which directs calls based on agents’ expertise
  • Customer database integration
  • Self-service options including voicemail to update mailing information and contact preferences
  • Simple system modification which enable VTBC to make on-the-fly changes based on real-time data

While Vermont Teddy Bear Company faces this massive staffing increase every year, this is business as usual for them. Thanks to Verizon’s Virtual Contact Center and inContact, they face the 2015 holiday shopping season with a different type of anticipation – that of a child with a new toy.

A drastic increase in customer service traffic and a need to bring on the assets to handle it is not exclusive to VTBC. Other service-based companies and retailers of all sizes face significant changes in volume during specific times of the year. Cloud solutions enable these companies to meet their goals and, most importantly, differentiate themselves above their competition. Cloud flexibility extends beyond operations and into the financial aspect of the business through an operational expense (OpEx) instead of a capital expenditure (CapEx) billing model. The OpEx model boils down to a pay-for-what-you-use arrangement which eliminates the large up-front investments that comes with the purchasing of all the hardware needed to support a contact center. Whereas with a CapEx model, those up-front investments may become obsolete and/or inadequate as the company grows.

Verizon’s Virtual Contact Center solution is not a one-size-fits-all solution, instead it is a fully adjustable and flexible solution that can be expanded or contracted to precisely fit virtually any business needs as they progress through all of the stages in the business growth cycle.