Keeping Up with “NORAD Tracks Santa”—Could Your Contact Center Do This?

Keeping Up with “NORAD Tracks Santa”—Could Your Contact Center Do This?

It’s that time of year again! It’s when an Avaya industry-leading contact center solution is put to its ultimate test. Every day, Avaya contact center solutions handle millions of customer calls, web chats, and texts around the world. But each December, Avaya technology must support a world record-setting flood of calls to the “NORAD Tracks Santa” hotline, which is deployed by the NORAD Operations Center at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Thousands of kids call the hotline on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. During the 23-hour period, more than 1,400 volunteers answer calls made to the NORAD Tracks Santa 1-877 HI-NORAD hotline, which is powered by Avaya.

NORAD Tracks Santa, now in its 62nd year, is a highly sophisticated program: NORAD experts carefully monitor Santa’s travels and ensure his safety using radar, satellites, jet planes, and Santa Cams positioned in strategic locations worldwide. NORAD Tracks Santa volunteers have an insider’s view of the sleigh’s progress as Santa soars through the night sky, and they share that info with callers.

Call volumes have hit unprecedented milestones. In the last couple of years, the Social Security Administration handled its 500 millionth call through its cutting-edge IP telephony network (a carrier-grade, enterprise solution that includes Network Skills-Based Routing to Dynamic Virtual Forward). In 2016, the NORAD Tracks Santa program volunteers, including Avaya staff, answered 154,192 calls (1.8 calls per second), setting a new world record, from countries around the globe, led by the U.S., U.K., Canada, Japan, and Ireland. Last year, the NORAD Tracks Santa website, available in eight languages, received nearly nine million unique visitors from more than 200 countries and territories around the world.

Each click, call, text, and social media post counts in a customer’s journey with a company or agency. Each touch must be met with complete satisfaction no matter who or where. It could be the eager child impatiently waiting for that perfect gift from Santa. A Navy officer on an aircraft carrier sending birthday greetings to his grandfather. A weary traveler checking the web for a flight status. Or a customer calling a bank’s call center agent to see if a check cleared. All interactions matter.

The capability to handle interactions across a variety of platforms makes for happier customers and constituents. Happy customers are more likely to buy products, stay loyal to the business, and share their positive experiences with friends and family. Keeping customers satisfied requires a “single view of the customer across all contact points, interactions and time lines,” according to the Frost & Sullivan study “Are You Enabling Extraordinary Customer Journeys?”

In addition to voice, chat, outbound, interactive voice response, web self-service, and expansion to newer social and mobile channels, these excerpts from the study show that Frost & Sullivan suggests a contact center solution include:

  • End-to-end, software-based platform. All-in-one deployments let companies activate new capabilities as soon as they’re ready to do so, with no obligation to take on too much at once.
  • Big data analytics. Applying analytics to the wide range of data available from all contact channels—and then integrating it with other corporate information, such as product details, supply-chain data, staffing resources, and so on—ensures companies are getting the most complete and up-to-date picture of their customers on individual and aggregate levels.
  • Application integration. Integrating all customer contact channels is critical to success. This should include a single data repository that captures and stores all data across disparate systems and applications both inside and outside the contact center (including back-office software such as CRM and marketing automation tools); a single agent desktop; centralized management and reporting tools; and web services that make it easy to link new technologies as they are added to your environment.
  • Leveraging employees throughout the enterprise will improve outcomes. One of the best ways to improve the customer experience is to involve employees outside the contact center to help answer tough questions and deliver exceptional service on a one-on-one basis. These employees know more about the products and services under discussion, and they can often answer inquiries much more quickly as a result.

Offering a seamless omnichannel experience enables the right message to the right media at the right time, every time. Applying all relevant information and context ensures a unique, personalized, and enduring experience across the customer’s entire journey, driving customer loyalty, optimizing agent productivity and delivering better business outcomes.

Can your contact center do this?

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