Nuance and TRUSTID Partner
Nuance Communications, Inc., announced that it has partnered with TRUSTID, Inc., a leader in contact center authentication technology, to help contact centers streamline customer authentication and fight fraud at the same time. Contact centers that use Nuance and TRUSTID in combination can see an even greater reduction in average handling time (AHT), a strengthening of security and anti-fraud measures, and significant reductions in operating costs. Nuance and TRUSTID are partnering to promote and deliver their combined solutions to contact centers within leading enterprises, including financial and telecommunications organizations.
Blackboard Acquires IT Help Desk Provider Perceptis
Blackboard has extended its reach into the IT support business. The company announced that it had acquired Perceptis, which provides help desk and other services to colleges and universities. The terms of the deal between these two privately held firms were not made public. Although Perceptis also provides financial aid services for several institutions, it has built its reputation on its tech support offerings, delivered by phone, Web chat and email. Perceptis maintains its headquarters and a call center in Greenville, SC and a call center in Phoenix. According to Katie Blot, head of Blackboard's Education Services, the acquisition doubles the number of service centers maintained by her company in the United States.
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U.S. CIOs Reveal Hiring Plans For Next Six Months
The newly released Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Forecast and Local Trend Report shows that many companies anticipate bringing in IT staff in the second half of the year, and the number planning to put a hold on hiring is declining. Fourteen percent of U.S. chief information officers (CIOs) plan to expand their teams in the last half of 2014. This represents a 2-point decline from the previous survey. Another 76 percent expect to hire only for open IT roles, compared to 67 percent in the first six months of the year. Eight percent of technology executives plan to put their hiring on hold through the rest of the year, down from 15 percent in the previous survey, while only 1 percent expect to reduce their IT staffing levels.
The hiring projections for the first half of 2014 are based on interviews with more than 2,300 CIOs from 23 major U.S. markets who were asked to provide a six-month hiring outlook. Hiring projections for the last six months of 2014 are based on interviews with more than 2,400 CIOs in 24 major U.S. markets.
As for recruiting technology talent, 61 percent of U.S. CIOs said it is somewhat or very challenging to find skilled IT professionals. This is a 2-point drop compared to the first half of the year. Technology executives surveyed report that it is most difficult to find skilled talent in the functional areas of applications development (17 percent), networking (17 percent) and security (12 percent).
Confidence in Business Growth and IT Investments
The Robert Half Technology survey suggests that CIOs continue to have an optimistic outlook about their companies' growth and plans for IT investments. Eighty-nine percent of CIOs reported being somewhat or very confident about their companies' growth prospects for the last six months of 2014. This compares to 88 percent for the first half of the year.
Seventy-one percent of CIOs said they are confident that their firms will invest in IT projects in the next six months. This compares to 69 percent in the first half of 2014. Most of those upcoming investments will be in hardware upgrades (44 percent) and software upgrades (21 percent), according to the Robert Half Technology survey.
Skills in Demand
Fifty-seven percent of U.S. technology executives said that network administration tops the list of skills sets in greatest demand within their IT departments. This figure is unchanged from the previous survey. Database management and desktop support followed, each with 52 percent of the response.
PC Rebound in Mature Regions Stabilizes Market, But Falls Short of Overall Growth in the Second Quarter of 2014
Worldwide PC shipments totaled 74.4 million units in the second quarter of 2014 (2Q14), a year-on-year decline of -1.7%, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. The results reflect the smallest decline in global PC shipments since the second quarter of 2012 when declining shipments of mini notebooks combined with a surge in tablet sales to disrupt the PC market.
Despite the end of Windows XP support in early April, it appears many Windows XP migrations continue to take place. Most major vendors saw solid growth, and early indications also point to desktop shipments being stronger than expected in some areas, signaling continued business buying. The consumer side also appears stronger than expected, with growing activity among the lower-priced models as well as Chromebooks.
On a geographic basis, Europe, the United States, and Canada showed the strongest growth, reflecting more stable conditions. Japan would have joined list but for the dramatic surge last quarter and new taxes that limited second quarter growth. In contrast, emerging regions continue to see declining PC volumes as weaker economies and political issues combine to depress growth.
United States – The U.S. market showed strong 6.9% year-on-year growth in the second quarter of 2014. Continuing upgrades of Windows XP systems boosted shipments in commercial portables and desktops, helping the commercial segment. At the same time, retail acceptance of emerging product categories such as Chromebooks and ultraslims helped the consumer segment to stabilize. HP continued to hold the lead and gained 2% market share while four of the top 5 vendors experienced double-digit growth for the quarter. Lenovo and Toshiba took advantage of some consumer interest in Windows 8 and a push to build up their presence in large enterprises.
EMEA – The PC market in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) posted positive results in the second quarter, with an ongoing push of shipments in the commercial space driving the growth. Renewals, fueled in part by the end of Windows XP support, weighed positively on the market. Demand in the consumer market also improved and shipment levels continued to stabilize, particularly in Western Europe, while emerging markets remained constrained due to weak demand and political instability.
Japan – Although the market saw a decline compared to the first quarter of 2014, when the end of support for Windows XP combined with an impending sales tax increase drove last-minute purchases, the second quarter still fared better than forecast, pushing growth just into positive territory.
Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) – A faster than expected deployment of ELCOT deals in India and activity in the entry-level segment helped markets in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) squeeze ahead of forecasts. However, shipments were still down nearly double digits year-on-year, marking the ninth consecutive quarter of decline for the region.
Misleading Metrics in Customer Service Effectiveness
When viewed in isolation, customer service metrics like first-call resolution are misleading. Customer service effectiveness matters most.
Preparing New Agents for Customer Service Success
When hiring new agents, how quickly the agent can begin making a meaningful contribution is always a concern. After training, it is not logical to assume an agent is ready to begin taking phone calls. Unfortunately, managers may look at call volume, handle times and other similar metrics in making a decision to prematurely put new hires in contact with customers.
Google CEO: Fight Unemployment With Job Sharing
In the future, we will work less and enjoy more leisure time, while being shuttled around in self-driving cars, attended by artificial intelligence that makes better decisions than we do.That might sound like the setup for an episode of Star Trek, but it's the world Google's founders see ahead of us.
Clever New Techniques Airlines Have for Making You Better Appreciate Their Apologies
Airlines apologize a lot to their customers. They've made a science of saying sorry out of necessity: The Department of Transportation fines airlines for not responding to customers with "substantive" answers to gripes. In response, carriers deploy software and English majors to tell angry fliers they're sorry for mistakes in flight.
10 Things Senior Level Managers Must Know About Contact Centers
If you’re like many across the contact center profession, you’re about to enter the budgeting cycle for 2015. So what better time to take stock of the understanding your organization’s senior level leadership team has of your contact center’s environment, value and direction? There’s no way around it: To succeed, your contact center needs commitment and involvement from the top.
Redefining Operational Excellence: New Strategies for Maximizing Performance and Profits Across the Organization
by Andrew Miller
Operational excellence is a mindset, and it achieves breakthrough results. It requires a company culture that questions current models and focuses on adding value, making improvements, and increasing speed. Operational excellence is about finding money and performance boosts in areas businesses don't normally look.
Redefining Operational Excellence covers it all - processes, people, and operations - and shares specific strategies to: drive innovation and collaboration; engage customers; attract and retain top people; align strategy and execution; optimize speed; and more. Operational excellence is the relentless pursuit of doing things better.
Click here for more information!
Free Research on the Service and Support Industry
Are you looking for the latest research available (for free!) on the service and support industry? Then check out the research section of SupportIndustry.com. Some of the current offerings available to members are:
- 2013 People Issues in Customer Support Survey
- 2012 Service and Support Metrics Survey
- The 2012 Service & Support Snapshot: 5 Support Trends That Will Change Your Business
- Research Insight: Self-Service Support
- Research Insight: Average Speed to Answer, Wait Time and Handle Timet
- Research Insight: Effectively Measuring Customer Loyalty
- Research Insight: Cost Per Contact (Phone & E-Mail)
- Research Insight: First Contact Resolution
All of these reports can be accessed by clicking here...
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