Illustration by Eric Jackson

Curious about the most popular topics that contact center professionals were reading in August? Take a look at our top 5 posts for the month—topics included a speech recognition primer to help you decide whether a natural language system is right for your center; an inside look at Crisis Response Network’s culture of compassion; 5 tips to ramp up staffing for the holiday peak season; insights into the appeal of cloud-based technology; and 7 tips to help your agents upsell more effectively

Speech Rec… or Speech Wreck?
We have been implementing and tweaking speech recognition systems on a pretty regular basis for the past 10 years. Many contact centers (especially the mid and larger sized ones) employ speech rec in IVR systems, and it is mainstream enough that today’s customers expect it when routing themselves through our menus. Seems like a good time to take stock of where we are and where we may be going with this technology.

Inside View: Crisis Response Network
Life is full of stressful events and pressures. Sometimes circumstances can seem so overwhelming that it leads to anxiety, depression and life-threatening crises. Phoenix metro area and Northern Arizona residents who feel desperate and unable to cope can turn to Crisis Response Network (CRN), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping individuals by inspiring hope and empowering transformation from hope to health through a range of crisis services.

Seasonal Hiring
Happy summer! It’s still hot, people are enjoying summer activities, picnics, festivals, vacations and barbecues, but for many contact centers, our season has arrived. We are in full preparation mode for what is about to hit us—the Holidays! No matter when your big season falls, you deserve a less stressful rampup for yourself and an exceptional experience for your customers. In this article, I’ll describe in detail 5 tips you can use to make your busy season the best one yet.

Why Contact Centers Like Cloud-Based Technology
Cloud vendors capitalize on a message of “fast and easy.” Get it installed quickly—as short as hours (or days). Easy goes hand-in-hand with speed. Fast set up and configuration is perhaps true for very small and simple centers or new centers, but only when using Internet connectivity. It is less true for existing centers with any complexity, including plans to improve calls flows, take advantage of new capabilities, integrate or set up private network connectivity. But the good news is a cloud solution can be faster than a premise solution (e.g., a few months vs. 6-12 months).

7 Tips for Effective Upselling
I have had the same home phone provider for 25 years. I subscribed to that same company’s Internet service 18 years ago. Three years ago, I became a mobile phone customer with that same firm. This spring, I saw a flier in my mailbox advertising that same company’s TV service. So, I called and switched from cable TV to Internet TV. I am glad I did, since bundling all of my telecom/TV services saves over $1,000 a year versus using different providers.