Friday, January 24, 2014

Cloudagent Loves Salesforce - Supports Open CTI

Every call center needs a good CRM to provide proper service to its callers. Cloudagent works well with all CRMs and we have ready made integrations with most of the popular CRMs and support desk systems.

We had already covered how to integrate your Salesforce account to provide a contextual IVR on our KooKoo blog,

Now, we support Open CTI from Salesforce. With this, Cloudagent call center software can exist as a first class citizen in your Salesforce system.

Just login to your Salesforce account, choose the call center tab and start receiving calls. You will also automatically get click to call integration.

Contact us for more details or call us at 1-800-200-0820

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Indian Cloud based SAAS products - The correlation between Sales and Support models

Cloud ...Cloud ...Cloud ...This has been the buzz word around in the last 3 years and it is to stay. The industry is adopting Cloud based solutions , products like never before. High growth markets like India where technology adoption has just started, there is a good story to crack the market. Also, businesses are looking at new options on the cloud .The question that arises now and is very important for start-ups who offer services on the cloud - What is your Sales Model? How do you reach your target market? How do you sell?
Most often than not, this is also THE QUESTION which investors will ask you. What is your strategy or at-least the plan for scaling up operations and revenues? Having the luck to speak to some of our industry peers , friends and competitors as well in the start-up community , we have seen a mix. of ideas on the strategy for growth. But what we found from experience is quite different.

Couple of ideologies which you will hear mostly are 
  1.  We are a Cloud based company, we will sell online like any e-commerce store and support is via email or phone. No customer visits at all.
  2. We sell online/offline but we support online only and no customer site visits for support.
  3. We are reluctant to support customers at their site but yeah , we do send if it is a large customer.

Here's the catch. Does your Sales model also put pressure on customer support and the way you operate? The answer is Yes, it does and in a significant way than you can imagine. Based on our experience, we have classified into phases the growth of an organization and how your Sales and Support models change.

Phase1 - Online Sales & Support ( just started off with a SAAS model)

If you are selling online only and the only way you generate revenue is by pulling more users to your website, then yes your support model can be completely online. Even if customers insist for a site visit, you can justify and answer their queries online than visiting their office. More importantly, your product should be simple enough to support online.

Phase2 - Online or Offline Sales and only Online Support:(struggling)

This is the worst model you can look at but is the most fancy one. Basically, as an organization you are shouting out that you want to make sales & generate revenue either online or if required, by visiting a customer using a sales team but you will support customers only online or on phone but will never visit their site.

This is the worst model imaginable from a customer support / customer satisfaction perspective and lot of customers will churn easily to competition. You will want to quickly move to the 3rd phase or model- the most popular one in India. Companies which get stuck in this phase (Phase2) quickly move back to Phase1 or die down.

Phase3 - Online or Offline Sales & Support ( product is established and the need is identified, growth phase):

The Sales and Support teams visit the customer based on the size of customer, critical nature of the issue or depending on the partnership maintained.

Especially for the Indian market, it is the most dependable model for scale in revenue since the market dynamics are still mostly offline.


You could be a poster boy startup and technically the most sophisticated product in the market but to survive in the Indian market and do business, you will need to create a support system which is in line with your sales organization and customer expectations.. Also, since most of the startup's will go from phase1 to phase3 to increase the revenues, their support model too has to change as they grow. You could be a high tech. startup but to grow and survive the Indian market, you will need an offline support systems since your customers need not be as high tech. as you, they just need to be able to afford your product :) .

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pre-Sales in a Product company

Pre-Sales is a very widely appreciated team in the IT/ITES Services sector for all the back end help/knowledge they build for winning large scale bids. The Business Analysts talk to the customer and capture the requirements. Both teams function in tandem and contribute significantly to win big deals. In Contrast, when you look at a product company ( We are talking of B2B ) the BA/Pre-Sales is clubbed into the same team and not necessarily separate functions. Especially in early stage firms, when the product is new and you are building a process to sell, Pre-Sales stands to be the most important function to stabilize Product Management, Product Delivery, Training & Product Support with a role in all these functions and much more.

Now coming to the most important role of Pre-Sales - To Support Sales, Here is a quick check on what your Pre-Sales need to know or the skill set they need to have:

  • Can you show and explain any and every feature in your product?
  • Can you explain to the customer in simple terminology how your product works?
  • Can you differentiate between must have requirements and good to have requirements of the customer?
  • Can you explain customer requirements to your product team ( if they are already not available) in the language they understand?
  • Can you listen to the customer requirement and then show how it can be fulfilled using your product?
  • Can you improvise on what the customer wants and show them how to do it in a better fashion using your product?
  • Can you help your sales team win a deal with your strong industry knowledge & product experience?
  • Do you know what goes in the back end to enable a customer?
  • Do you understand the architecture of your product and its limitations it has?
  • Can you estimate how much time is needed to deploy the product based on the requirements?
  • Last but the most important part, are you in line with the company vision on the product roadmap?
If most of your answers are Yes, then you have a very strong pre-sales person else the other way. Quite often, your team will be a mix of people who can cater to only part of these questions - that is when you have to segregate the team into Business Analysts and Pre-Sales ( proposal building,solution document etc).

Most often than not Pre-Sales needs to also get involved in Delivery so that you deliver exactly what is discussed at the time of sale, Also Training which is done mostly by Pre-Sales for a considerable time, Product Management -  so that the road map of your organization is not peddled with the requirements of customers, but at the same time you create a balance where customer / market requirement is given priority and is delivered in the product version releases. Product Support -  If pre-sales is involved in the above 3 functions of delivery,training and management - the number of queries to support will be considerably less and also customers will be more reasonable since they understand the product and also know its limitations.

But till your product becomes a hit, you will need a strong pre-sales who can manage customers, train them, support them ( even if you have a support team, still the personal touch matters a lot in India) and also manage your internal product releases in sync with the market requirements.

Also, with a strong Pre-Sales in place, your delivery & customer support will face a lot less issues / complaints since there is a dedicated person who hand holds the customer from Sale to Go-Live and takes care of any minor changes,configurations etc needed.

As the company grows and you scale up, the following roles can be removed or diluted from Pre-Sales in the order of priority

  1. Support - Support definitely needs to be a dedicated team and multi-tasking is definitely not the way to go when you scale. More on this in our next blog.
  2. Delivery Management - A separate team is needed to manage the huge deliveries you will get when you scale up
  3. Product Management - A dedicated product manager is definitely needed by the time you are ready to scale to manage the large list of product requirements.
  4. Training - This can always be under Pre-Sales but if you can afford, definitely a dedicated team to build and maintain product documentation.

In short, your Pre-Sales will be the "Sun" of your Organizational System and all departments supported and backed by it after you scale up. But unlike the Sun, it will never be a role to be in lime light and will always remain the backbone system. Your customers will Love it and so does your Sales team.

Monday, September 30, 2013

CloudAgent can Increase your Ecommerce Sales. Find out How?

Ecommerce in India is currently overtaken the passion of Information Technology. While Ecommerce companies may allow clients to purchase goods and services online, customers who encounter difficulties may sometimes struggle to receive assistance. There is no substitute to a live operator offering customer support when your clients need it. And with so much talk about identity theft, you need a way for your shoppers to feel secure. Even though most e-commerce transactions are managed online, there is still a need for telephone support. 24/7 customer support is the difference between growing a base of loyal customers and leaving a bad impression of your brand that could hurt your business.

 Online customers expect useful product information, access from any mobile device, intuitive interfaces, full support, a fast checkout process that accepts all payment methods, and a place to rate their experiences. They don’t tolerate screen freezes, transactional snafus or confusing menus. An effective order taking procedure is the backbone of any business that sells directly to customers.

When you advertise a phone number on your website/TV/Radio, your customers will trust in your business more and will be more apt to purchase your products. CloudAgent can help you in converting that trust in increasing your sales.

Elevate your customer experience: Have On-going training for your agents about how to convince their customer to purchase a product. Have them in the loop of the new retention management programs that the company has announced and how does it benefit the customer. Have the Agent talk to the customer from the customer perspective instead of the your company. Redesign your IVR System, Use our platform KooKoo to address usability issues while complying with the complex call routing rules caller.  Once the caller responds by making a missed call, CloudAgent records the input and updates required for your business.

Order Management/Order Processing: Order processing is been the biggest worry for every customer, especially when the consignment doesn't reach him with the time frame. With Cloud Agent you can Integrate your existing sales CRM to CloudAgent. Quickly locate Customers previous information, reduced data entry requirements.

Click to Call Features: This feature of Cloud Agent allows you to run simple inside sales, with end-to-end call tracking and analyses. This feature is very useful to reduce most of your manual work and optimize your agent productivity.

Missed Call Services: This feature can be a very useful feature to customers who are not used to make online purchases. They can give a missed call to the number advertised on the website and talk to the agent and gain credibility of the website. Another method to effectively use the missed call services is to give feedback of the website services once the consignment is delivered to the customer.  Once a consignment is received by the customer, the customer gives a missed call to the given number for feedback and the agent calls back the customer. Once the call is finished, CloudAgent fires SMS to caller requesting for feedback using a MISSED call process.  No cost to the your dashboard. Advantages of Missed call services at CloudAgent are;
  1. Immediate feedback about the website process or about service
  2. Identify top and bottom customers as perceived by the callers
  3. Identify hidden calling patterns and customer grievance patterns
  4. Very important feedback loop established immediately after the delivery of service or Call
For enquiries please send us a email to or call us at 1-800-200-0820

Monday, September 16, 2013

The economics of Call center business in India - The way forward on Cloud

India, has seen tremendous progress in the last decade and continues the same trend even in these turbulent times of global economy. This has impacted a lot of domestic industries including the Domestic BPO market. Though, the domestic BPO market has been growing at a healthy pace in the past few years ( As shown in the graph - Courtesy NASSCOM ),it has seen turbulent times due to various market factors. Some worth highlighting are:
  • Cost of Agents - which sky rocketed with the international call center outsourcing peaking in the last few years. Domestic BPO's had to pay on par to retain talented employees.With the rupee going down like a rolling stone, International outsourcing centers are laughing their way to good margins and also giving good hikes to their employees. 
  • Real Estate costs - with the economic boom in the first decade of the millennium, Rents / Property costs in Metros & Tier-1 cities have gone up like crazy.
  • Agent Transportation costs - Travel arrangements have hit the margins of BPO's and also the transportation costs. Traffic Jams, roads, long distances to travel - every aspect of a city adds its cost.
  • Attrition - High rates of attrition due to too much competition and high living costs forcing agents to change for higher salary jobs.
Domestic BPO's have to fight their way out of these problems or the local outsourcing market will go flat sooner than later. It has now turned into a phase where - " You Adapt or Die "

The immediate option which every one thinks of is to move to the less costlier cities to run the Voice market. Lets take a look at the key challenges you will face if you move in this direction:

  1. Infrastructure - It could be leased lines for your office, power supply or basic real estate. Finding the right infra & a sustainable one in these tier-2 cities might be a challenge.
  2. Skilled talent -  You will find local talent for hire, who can speak local languages but if you are looking for English speaking population like in the metro, it might be a challenge.
  3. Resource Pool - Unlike a metro, where you will find a large set of resources ( people) with the relevant qualifications, Smaller cities means that you have limited pool of resources. So for expansion plans, you will have to open more centers.
Way Forward:

Imagine you running 20 centers across India and have to get 20 separate reports to track these centers.We at Cloud Agent, have understood these problems a long time back and that is why we have built a multi-tenant , multi location call center product. Now, you can get the reports, tracking etc in a centralized admin. Also, the other centers will act as a backup for the existing center and also increase agent utilization & productivity.

Moving to smaller Tier-3 cities, will help businesses which need - local language support for its customers, regional knowledge of places like a travel company or website, reduce cost of call to customers by giving local numbers or an SBN(Single Board Number) number.

The major advantages of adapting this strategy as observed from the trends in last 1 year : 

1) Get an agent at as low as Rs.4000 per month where as in urban areas you end up paying Rs.10000 to Rs.12000 at the minimum

2) Real Estate cost sky dives to almost 20% of cost in a metro

3) Even if you do not find the resource pool in 1 city, it does not matter. Cloud Agent can route calls to agents in any town/center within the same language group or skill group.

4) Very Low attrition - Employees are happy in their home town and doing a white collar job. With very little competition head hunting in the same location , your risk of attrition is very low.

Using the Cloud, BPO's can leverage the advantages of a multi tenant solution and cater to a larger segment of customers, at a lower cost and at the same quality. Thus, bringing a larger change to the social structure of our country and economy.

For enquiries please send us a email to or call us at 1-800-200-0820

Friday, September 13, 2013

How Can Real Estate Companies use to optimize sales

The Real Estate industry is fiercely competitive, especially among the various brands, and apart from the obvious service differentiation, it is forced to differentiate themselves in areas that influence the customer service performance. As the consumer’s primary touch point is a call centre every incoming call is business lead. This makes it absolutely necessary to employ a strategy that provides customers a defined expected treatment every time he/she calls. Customer should be absolutely sure that if he calls up customer call centre he will be able to get his job done with minimum effort and time.

Optimizing the Marketing Activities of Real Estate

v  Instead of using just one number on multiple advertising channels, Cloud Agent can help you in dealing with each telephone number for each channel to measure the effectiveness of a channel and maximize the ROI
v  CloudAgent can also be useful to call back the dropped off customers with new deals/offers to get them be a potential buyer

CRM Integration

v  Using, you can integrate your Inbound and outbound calls to your CRM. This can help you in effectively managing your Lead Management to see which calls what are the total number of calls, which once have not been attended by your sales agent. This practice also help you in single sign-in between your CloudAgent and your CRM.
v  CloudAgent can also be useful to avoid multiple agents calling the same customer. You will have a facility to route your calls for a better call management

Regional Dial-outs

v  Many Real Estate companies advertise in multiple regions across the country, when they have multiple projects running, give the phone number of their Head office where they have their customer care team. This would be a burden for the customer to call from other regions as it would be a STD call.
v   Using the Cloudagent, you can give the regional numbers of each state and still manage all these calls at one location.

Relationship Manager

v  Large Companies, usually after the down payment is done will allocate a Relationship Manager to each individual customer.
v  Many a times these companies give the direct number of the Relationship Managers so that they can be reached without dialing the corporate number.
v  In such cases the company cannot monitor the status of the conversation happening between them.
v  Using Cloud Agent the company can give its customers only one number and the routing of calls to respective Relationship Managers can happen automatically.

Lead Nurturing

v  When there is advertising activity happening over different medium’s. Real Estate companies give their numbers for the agents to reach them. When the reach of the advertisements is high, the number of customer enquiries would increase and it will be difficult for the agent to attend to all these calls. And many of the un-attended calls would not be recorded.
v  CloudAgent gives its customers a facility to record all the unattended calls from the customers and nurture them to be a effective customer.

Agent Rating Customers after attending calls

v  The agent who talks to their customers can judge’s whether he is a prospective customer or not. But, many a times the management wouldn't know about the interaction that happens between the agent and the customer. In the absence of the agent, the company wouldn't know the context of the customer and could lose a potential buyer.
v  In CloudAgent, you can create a structure where, as soon as the customer ends the conversation with your agent, your agent can give a feedback about that customer whether he is a Hot Deal, Worm Deal or a Cold Deal by assigning 1, 2 or 3 numbers respectively.

For enquiries please send us a email to or call us at 1-800-200-0820

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Secret Ingredient’s for increasing effectiveness in Call Management

Business communication is handled by the people who talk to the customers directly. Very often we hear about the difference between the top management who makes Policies and the employees who are making conversations with the customers. Many a times these policies that are made by the top management are passed on properly to their junior employees, or monitored by the top management to ensure these policies are in place. Having the Quality Management in place can help the organization ensure quality in their business communication with its customers. Quality management has become an essential monitoring for all business calls.
Few of the differences that arise out of Absence of quality management are;  
v  Lack of Knowledge of purpose for the junior employees
v  Ineffective communication or no complete communication with the customers
v  Absence if Performance evaluation or merit rating in the organization
v  Running the call operations based on internal data rather than quality benchmarking
v  Ineffective resources for call recording.
In order to ensure that the strategies framed by the top management reach its customers, there need to mechanism which ensures continuous improvement with its ground level staff which represents the company to its customers.
CloudAgent’s quality management features allow organizations to constantly monitor the conversations of ground level staff. Some of the secret ingredients for effective call management are;
1.       Adopting a universal philosophy of Sign on. Quality has to be a Central thought: CloudAgent offer’s a universal sign in policy for its employees. The management can see the amount of the time spent by its employees on calls. This can show if the resource allocated to a particular process gets utilized effectively.
2.       Culture Leadership: Organizational leadership is like spokes in a cycle tyre. The top management has to be aware of what is happening in each of their processes. Even if one spoke of the tyre is missing, would affect the productivity or the organization. CloudAgent help the management ge the complete view of the organization. It give 200+ reports which can be scheduled or evaluating the performance.
3.       Training employees: Training employees on new and the existing policies can ensure that every employee in the organization is in the same page. Ongoing weekly or monthly trainings can increase the depth of the conversations they can have with their customers.
4.       Encouraging Team Work: Employees learn quickly from their peers. Creating and encouraging the culture of team work and payoff as many employees would not want to go back to their seniors for every question they want to get clarity on. Many of the small questions can be address at a peer level itself.
5.       Introduce Self Evaluation Criteria: Assign/define performance matrix for employees and ask your employees to take up self evaluation tests. Many companies consider self evaluation as a good learning tool. It can also act as a powerful building blocks to quality improvement

For enquiries please send us a email to or call us at 1-800-200-0820