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The Impact of AI on the Channel – Where are the Opportunities?

While automation has been key to finding Channel efficiencies for decades, in the last few years, AI has taken the limelight, catalysed by significant advances in Generative AI such as Chat GPT, producing a more conversational AI that better replicates the nuances of true human speech. While ChatGPT may be beneficial in enhancing chatbot services and marketing efforts, there is far more that AI can do to maximize channel margins and elevate the customer experience.  But before Channel businesses rush to incorporate various AI-powered solutions into their portfolios, certain factors must be considered, such as ensuring it increases ROI, establishing how AI will address customer needs, as well as educating customers around what AI is and is not. Promoting AI Through the Lens of Customer Needs The key question resellers must ask themselves is how AI can benefit their customers. Given AI’s relative infancy, adapting what AI is already good at is the best place to start. With that comes a need to educate clients on the practical benefits of AI beyond the buzz. This involves providing insights and education on AI tools beyond what’s commonly known, demonstrating through provable metrics the impact that AI can have in making a meaningful difference in business operations. For example, given AI’s prowess in consuming conversations and analysing them, Sentiment Analysis is a perfect place to start, especially in Contact Centres where the sheer volume of conversations prevents a more manual approach. Contact Centres are also brimming with metrics to highlight – customer satisfaction scores, call durations, repeat customer sales etc. – and if you have an AI-based product that helps boost those figures, then you’re already halfway to a sale! For example, metrics often used to prove the efficacy of Elisha Insights are 100% call coverage and average call evaluation metrics (the assessment of a call’s performance, with 100% being the ‘perfect interaction’) being pushed higher than 90%! Typically, Contact Centres only sample 5% of their total calls for evaluation, given the historical need to manually assess the call, with Elisha Insights, evaluating all call automatically. Not only does this drastically reduce the number of calls requiring manual assessment to just the ones that the AI found problematic, but it also surfaces trends that may not even have been noticed by an entire QA team, with each member analysing subsections of the full dataset. This positive cycle of assessing a higher percentage of calls and being able to extract more accurate insights from the data becomes a positive feedback loop, in turn removing agent challenges and improving agent performance far faster than manual processes ever could! Shifting AI Perception while Increasing ROI AI offers the opportunity for resellers to continue changing how customers perceive and consume IT services, especially as many managed services have already transitioned from one-off costs to subscription-based models. Positioning AI as a managed service, rather than a one-off cost, that delivers consistent gains through improved efficiencies helps to transform resellers into trusted partners rather than mere suppliers. Not only does this provide a more predictable and scalable revenue stream to maximise growth, but it also fosters longer-term relationships, which, in turn, enables resellers to have a more significant impact on customers’ businesses and reduce customer churn. Addressing Fear and Misconceptions Even with all the benefits that AI provides, there understandably remains considerable apprehension about how AI could potentially displace jobs and even entire industries. Resellers and IT providers will play an increasingly crucial role in countering and alleviating these fears by educating customers about how AI should be used to complement and enhance existing staff roles rather than replace them. For instance, AI can be pitched as a means to enhance staff engagement by automating tedious tasks and allowing employees to focus on more meaningful aspects of their work, leading to more positive interactions and a more fulfilling work experience – a win/win for all involved! Reframing Solutions to Client Needs Finally, understanding clients’ processes and pain points is essential for providing tailored AI solutions. Given that Channel customers’ communication challenges, as well as their constant compulsion to grow sales, are influenced by so many factors, selling-in a solution that helps teams be more productive and understand those pressures in greater detail becomes much easier. Identifying areas where AI can effectively resolve challenges, or at least reframing challenges in terms of the benefits that AI provides, ensures that Resellers and IT providers can package and sell AI-based services based on the value they bring to customers’ businesses rather than simply promoting what the product is and assuming the customer will be able to connect the dots themselves. By focusing on these four elements, Channel businesses can ride this tidal wave of AI popularity without making empty promises or disappointing customers to the detriment of their brand and the trust customers put in them. Sentiment Analysis is the ideal entry point to the AI market for most of the industry, as well. So, if you would like to discuss how Elisha Insights, our vendor-agnostic AI-powered solution, can help your customers understand their interactions better and find broad operation improvements, don’t hesitate to email info@elishatelecom.com

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The 5 top benefits of MS Office and Teams Integration

For more than four decades, the Microsoft Office Suite has supported business growth via apps that have become ubiquitous with productivity. Constantly evolving with the demands of the modern economy, Microsoft 365 as it’s now known, delivers a cloud-based solution via a monthly subscription, making it more flexible and accessible from anywhere. Not to mention Microsoft Teams, which proved invaluable through the first few years of the 2020’s.  But businesses still demand more, namely integrating Teams, and the rest of Microsoft’s Office Suite, into organisation’s wider operations to enhance collaboration, efficiency, and communications.  This is especially key for Teams, which many businesses want to integrate further into its communications systems, not just for video calling, but for typical voice calls too. Thankfully, it’s straightforward to integrate Microsoft Teams and the rest – with the right expertise of course – and the benefits can be significant!  1.One app for all commsBy adopting Microsoft Direct Calling and Teams Phone – services that enable you to make ‘landline’ calls through teams, you can consolidate all your communication tools into a single platform.  Then your users can make calls, hold meetings, share files and chat seamlessly within the same application, streamlining communication while enhancing productivity with less switching between apps. Adding new users, changing permissions and other management tasks also become easier too! 2. Robust Security and ComplianceAs a ‘Silicon Valley giant’, Microsoft’s products adhere to robust security and compliance standards, leveraging industry-leading technology to keep its data, and yours, secure. These same technologies also ensure your communications are protected and reliably accessible.  This is especially important for organisations that deal with sensitive information and need to comply with industry regulations, such as finance and retail businesses, with the right safeguards already in place. 3. Integration with External Phone SystemsIf your business has already adopted a Unified Communication or Hosted Telephony platform like 8×8, Avaya, Ring Central or Elisha Telecom ETPBX, integration with Teams allows you to blend the two services, providing organisations with the flexibility and cost savings of working within existing phone infrastructure. This makes the transition to Teams far smoother for businesses with diverse communication needs, such as Contact Centres, international organisations as well as start-ups that utilise Microsoft 365 and its broader suite of applications. 4. Data, AI and Automation advantagesAt the other end of the spectrum, business that have adopted Microsoft 365 and more – such as Azure and Power BI data solutions – can ‘unsilo’, or combine the potential of their communications when viewed as part of a whole, alongside the rest of their business data,creating the potential for more insightful reporting and a more accurate ‘birds eye view’ of productivity and performance over the entire operation. Even for SMEs that don’t see a need for Azure and other Cloud Data systems, they can take advantage of Microsoft’s AI capabilities built into Teams, such as transcription services and voicemail-to-text. These dramatically reduce the need for humans to perform menial tasks and enhance efficiency by handling routine tasks, such as call routing. 5. Cost SavingsWith the potential for reduced call costs, less platforms on monthly subscription, or simply getting more value from Microsoft 365 subscriptions, by integrating phone services directly into Microsoft Teams, organisations regularly see a reduction in the costs associated with maintaining their communication systems. Plus, those upgrading from legacy ISDN-based PBX systems that require standalone physical phones on each desk, those business can save even more, removing the need for costly hardware and maintenance expenses. Those same PBX systems may not even require being ripped out and replaced either! Many Teams-compatible systems can also work with existing SIP-based PBX or SIP Trunking solutions. So, whether businesses currently leverage an on-premise or cloud-based PBX, Elisha Telecom can swiftly and seamlessly integrate a SIP-based PBX with Microsoft Teams in a matter of days. If businesses are using a more modern UC, VoIP or CCaaS solution, integrating Teams could be even quicker than that, depending on the size, scope, and complexity of the solution, of course! And no matter the underlying technology, Elisha Telecom will configure and maintain the integration at an affordable monthly cost per user. Having provided enterprise-grade Cloud infrastructure with regional terminations for global capability, Elisha Telecom has the experience to guarantee 99.9% alongside Enterprise-grade SLAs and 24/7 System Technical Support. If that’s the level of support and technical proficiency you’d like your business to enjoy, get in touch with our team today.

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Business communication challenges that can be simply solved in 2024

As businesses up and down the country look to reenergise and capitalise on New Year opportunities, we wanted to highlight some of the most common communication challenges that we’ve heard from businesses looking to us for support. From finding actionable insights and optimising internal operations to developing a unique customer experience, properly integrating technology into business processes is the greatest enabler of business success in 2024 and beyond – here’s how. How to improve the customer experience For the best possible Customer Experience (CX) you need the right foundational communication services, which will most likely be a Unified Communications (UC) platform, that’s hosted in the cloud. Not only will a hosted telephony solution enable your business to introduce hybrid working, but it will also enable your teams to put all their comms – email, instant messaging, phone, video and more – in one place, for more responsive communications and better overall productivity. Plus, certain providers, such as Elisha Telecom, can work with you to develop custom features that put you ahead of the competition. For example, AA Thornton, a leading intellectual property law firm, tasked us to integrate Microsoft Teams with their ETPBX hosted telephony platform. This integration provided the customer with a unified platform for calls, messaging, and video conferencing, allowing the organisation to significantly streamline internal communication processes across offices and locations. It’s also worth emphasising that introducing hybrid working can have a significantly positive impact on your customer interactions. As agents have more control over their work/life balance and can work from where they’re most comfortable, they’ll be more relaxed and happier, which will have a trickle-down effect to your customers too! You could even help your agents deliver even better experiences by exploring system integrations that help them optimise their productivity even further… Maximising efficiency with integrations Integrations, also known as ‘APIs’ in some circles, help different systems talk to each other. For example, adding a CRM integration into your UC platform will mean all agents can check customer and product information seamlessly, without the hassle of changing applications and navigating multiple systems! Integrations can encompass other business aspects like: By integrating your various systems, your team can focus on one app for most-if-not-all their day-to-day tasks, maximising productivity and reducing operational complexity, while removing some training requirements for even more time saved! Surfacing actionable business insights Finally, businesses need to be able to take a bird’s eye view of their operation and customer interactions, to help highlight the short and long-term challenges faced by staff and customers alike. Thankfully, Elisha Telecom’ ‘Elisha Insights’ solution does just that by ingesting all necessary data and processing it through advanced AI algorithms to surface common phrases and issues mentioned on calls. All data is entirely anonymised before it’s processed, meaning there’s no GDPR implications or worries around data security, and it’s entirely flexible to what a business wants to dig into; common customer complaints, customer sentiment, agent productivity, peak demand and resourcing etc. – so no matter where a business thinks it could improve, Elisha Insights’ will stay loser-focused on that aspect alone.  With these foundational technologies and processes in place, businesses can take an honest look at their operations, find ways to improve and provide their teams with the tools they need to succeed and continue to improve long into the future. So, if you want your business to start 2024 off in the best way possible and overcome its business communication challenges, call 020 7100 1114 or click here to book a time to chat to one of our expert team!

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Three things you need to know about the Future of Telephony

As another year draws to a close, it seems as good a time as any to look to the future. There’s certainly plenty to look forward to in the telecoms channel. Change is afoot, and with change comes opportunity. Here are three things the sector should be aware of about the future of telephony in 2024 and beyond. 1.) The copper switch off is getting near People have been talking about the PSTN (copper line) switch off for what seems like years, but the actual event is creeping ever closer. Many channel resellers will use the final countdown to 2025 as a way to promote agile alternatives to legacy copper-based telephony. What seems clear to us is that the switch-off is a marker of the economy’s increasing preference for flexible wireless solutions; those with no need for complex internal or external cabling. However, this does mean businesses are putting a higher dependency on mobile services and Wi-Fi. This brings a range of new opportunities to the channel, from security to integration to automation. These are areas where successful resellers will help customers find the most value from their systems. 2) The AI revolution gathers pace AI has only just started making its mark on business communication, but the opportunities are potentially endless. To take one example, AI can enhance your telecoms offer by bringing hugely valuable analytics capabilities to unified communication (UC) systems. While the metrics and reporting currently available in contact centre platforms may be adequate for performance reporting, that’s only touching the surface of what’s possible. AI-powered analytics promise far greater qualitative insight into how services could be improved, allowing resellers to offer more value to customers. This is especially apparent in systems that automatically ingest audio, running Natural Language Processing (NLP) on all calls to gain a deeper understanding of interactions and the challenges customers and agents face. For the reseller, having the right AI portfolio is likely to become a huge differentiator in the next few years, providing base-wide security benefits, enhanced service quality, higher margins and, most importantly, more trusting customers that form longer-lasting relationships. 3) Companies are becoming digital-first Digital-first businesses rely on digital technology to make them more efficient and customer-focused. To do that they need bandwidth. Connectivity has become the great business enabler of the moment. Those businesses able to adopt cloud services, and run them efficiently via gigabit-capable connections, can adapt best to our technology-driven future. How can the channel help in all this? Selling great connectivity is one way. But where the channel can really make a difference is by helping businesses make all those systems work together, integrating them via professional services and AI to provide a unique bird’s eye view of operational performance and success.

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Using AI to transform contact centre performance

Contact centres are under pressure. They’re tasked with improving customer experience while also keeping costs under control. Whether they focus on sales, after sales, customer service or payments, contact centres are often being asked to achieve more with less. One way they can square that circle is through the intelligent application of technology. In particular, modern AI tools allow contact centre leaders to scan mountains of data for valuable insight into customer satisfaction and agent or campaign performance. What’s the practical application of that? Well, before this kind of technology was available, team leaders in contact centres would download the recordings of a small percentage of customer interactions as a quality control measure. Listening to these recordings was a hugely time consuming and somewhat thankless task, but it allowed them to check on agent performance and customer sentiment, albeit in a very limited way. They could check that agents were remembering to read out statutory legal information, for example, or that customers were not being left on hold too long. This was useful-ish, but far from complete. It used a tiny subset of interactions which may or may not have been representative (and given random chance, probably not). But it was the best many contact centres could do with the time and technology they had. The AI revolution is coming to contact centres Compare that with today. Now, AI-powered tools can scan every interaction customers have with your organisation, checking them against a range of performance indicators like speed of resolution, upselling targets or the success of scripts. They can produce reports that clearly show whether you’re meeting targets and where weaknesses in your customer communications may lie. And it’s to harness the power of AI that we developed Elisha Insights, our AI-driven customer analytics platform that is designed to transform how contact centres operate. Elisha Insights offers a host of features already, but it’s a work in progress. We’ll continually add new capabilities to the solution as they become available. Elisha Insights includes: ● Sentiment analysis: Easily monitor the tone of conversations with your customers. Elisha Insights will look for words or phrases that suggest satisfaction or dissatisfaction. If customers are unhappy, it can tag interactions for further investigation. ● Omnichannel analysis: Elisha Insights accepts customer interactions from various sources, including email threads, chat, voice, and video transcripts, and supports multiple languages. ● Customisable performance indicators: Assess how your sales agents upsell to customers, track the resolution of technical support questions, analyse conflict handling, compare interactions against your script or call flow, and much more. ● Seamless integration: Elisha Insights is designed to be used with your current contact centre software and other IT solutions. We offer APIs and embeddable code snippets that facilitate rapid integration. The acceleration of innovation There are plenty of others, but suffice to say that Elisha Insights brings AI-driven tools to your contact centre in an easy and accessible way. Nor do you need expertise in using AI tools or interpreting their results. We carry out the analysis on your behalf, and you simply pay for the analysis you need. You can scale the service up and down to suit your requirements at any given time. At Elisha, we’ve been in the telecoms business for decades, starting right back when VoIP was new and connectivity was sometimes sketchy. We’ve seen so much progress in that time, but AI has the potential to be the most revolutionary innovation of all. These tools are already helping contact centres meet targets and create better customer experiences without piling on cost. With Elisha Insights, we are adopting AI early, and offering our clients and resellers an easy way to get ahead of the game.

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Elisha Telecom and its Pioneering AI services in Comms Dealer

Elisha Telecom and its AI Services is featured in the October 2023 issue of Comms Dealer magazine. Comms Dealer magazine, the pioneering publication in the UK convergence channel, is an important resource for the comms and convergence community. Its expert team of journalists and channel specialists ensures readers stay informed about the latest developments in the ICT channel, including new opportunities and technologies and emerging market trends. The Comms Dealer website offers real-time news, comprehensive content, interviews, market analysis, and valuable insights. The article highlights the pivotal role of Elisha Telecom CEO, Jeff Green, in the transformation of contact centers through the integration of artificial intelligence (AI). Jeff Green, with a background in ICT, emphasizes the importance of AI integration rather than standalone AI tools. Elisha Telecom, established by Green and Mike Torres in 2006, has grown to serve both large end users in the Philippines and smaller UK businesses through resellers. Green recognizes that AI is not just about the tools but the seamless integration of AI services into business processes. Elisha Telecom’s latest offering, Elisha Insights, is an AI-based metrics solution designed to revolutionize contact center operations by harnessing data and AI-driven insights. Green acknowledges the evolving landscape of communication services, with a transition away from traditional desk phones towards softphones, WebRTC, and mobile devices. He places particular importance on MS Teams in this shift and ensures that his company adapts to these changing technologies. Green anticipates Elisha Telecom becoming a market leader in AI-generated metrics thanks to early adoption and the accumulation of priceless insights. He draws parallels between the potential of AI and the transformative impact of the microchip.

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