Enterprise Connect Conference Review
Enterprise Connect, one of the most prestigious unified communications
(UC) conference, celebrated its 25th anniversary in Orlando, FL from March
16-19, 2015. Businesses of all types turned
out to discover the latest progress while evaluating the latest systems,
software, services and applications to improve enterprise collaboration and communications.
Predominant amidst the topics discussed were facilitating the transition to the cloud-- finding effective
ways to handle the challenges it presents for security, governance, data
management, and cost, as well as determining the most effective deployment
options. Emerging WebRTC and chat solutions were also front and center.
CRMXchange caught up with five vendors with applications in the contact center
space to gain insights on how they view the marketplace.
What are the most significant recent
developments that enable enterprise businesses to better engage customers and
consistently provide superior customer experiences?
Julie Burroughs, VP Sales and Business
Development, NA, Acqueon Technologies
The constant evolution of technologies in the contact center market segment
never ceases to amaze me! There are so
many technologies that hold great promise for companies who can implement them
appropriately for their business. There
are four technologies which may not be brand new but have the power to
transform how businesses (large or small) engage their customers:
Media engagement. Some of the largest
companies have been engaging Facebook, Twitter and other technologies for some
time to reach and improve their customer’s experiences with their business. As
social media engagement strategies become more mainstream in customer care
software, we will see greater growth. Let’s
face it, the use of voice is tightly tied to demographics. Younger customer segments are moving away
from voice to alternate channels. Social
Media will continue to grow.
2) Omni-channel. Again, this technology is not new but growing
rapidly as the dependence on mobile devices grows. Giving your customer the choice of how they
will interact with a business---voice, SMS, and email will be a differentiator for
businesses. At Acqueon, we have seen a
strong uptick in omni-channel deployments with SMS and email.
Communication. For customers, it is all
about treating them well. For businesses it is about managing relationships to
ensure loyalty. If the business knows
some aspect of the business interaction has changed, i.e., product delivery
delayed, appointment changed, flight or train delayed, problem with
prescription, alerting the customer and possibly resolving it proactively will
build loyalty. Proactive communication
is more cost-effective, decreasing the number of customers calling into the
center and speaking with agents.
4) Video. This technology has the greatest opportunity
to change the customer experience- for
better or worse! No one doubts the
potential advantages of near face-to-face interactions. What remains to be seen
is how well companies will execute video within the customer care realm.
Kahan, CEO, CallCabinet Corporation In order to better engage customers and consistently provide
a superior customer experience, businesses have to ensure that the people at
the front‐end of the business
are not only fully trained, but are also implementing that training correctly
and consistently. This means businesses have to “quality control” the way in
which call center agents interact with customers by regularly monitoring agent‐customer conversations. The latest developments in call
recording solutions enable consistent monitoring – allowing for small faults or
concerns about the way in which calls are being handled to be picked up and
corrected before they are allowed to escalate into what could be potentially serious
Steve Pollema, President, eLoyalty, a TeleTech company
We now live in an “uber-connected” economy. Customers interact across multiple
channels, multiple screens and multiple interfaces, all at the same time. They
expect their experiences to be as seamless and fluid as the beautifully
designed devices they use to communicate.
Long gone are
the days when a contact center simply meant ‘operators are standing by.’ Cloud
contact center solutions developed today focus on customer experience outcomes,
so companies can overcome challenges and deliver a transformational customer
experience. These solutions are designed so that customers are not subjected to
long waits, luck-of-the-draw associates, and repeating themselves at every
turn. Instead, cloud solutions give contact center associates tools to
effectively respond to customer needs, while giving executives improved insight
and control - all at a lower cost.
Andy Kuan, CEO, Plum Voice The
adoption of omni-channel communications provide a consistent customer
experience across all communications mediums. Customers want on-demand,
accurate information and want to interact with a company using whatever device,
application or technology best suits their current needs, whether they are
using chat, SMS, voice, web, social or email.
Enterprises must also have the ability to collect and
measure customer feedback from within all these communication channels.
Refining the customer experience based on customer feedback and
operational performance data is critical for continuous improvement of the
Jaques, Director of Product Marketing, VXi
studies conducted by Vidal Consulting Group indicate that simply deploying VXi
headsets is a simple action that a company can take to improve customer
engagement and provide a demonstrably better customer experience.
How can companies most effectively
implement and/or improve collaboration in the contact center environment?
Julie Burroughs, Acqueon Collaboration comes at the juncture
of trained staff, processes and technology in a contact center
environment. You can’t be truly
successful without all three. If we were
to name one metric that companies can focus on to improve collaboration for the
benefit of customers, it would be First Call Resolution (FCR). First Call Resolution will delight customers
and ultimately reduce costs in the contact center. Technologies such as skilled based routing,
presence management, and internal communication tools will all boost First Call
Steve Pollema, eLoyalty Implementing cloud contact center solutions allows
companies to gain frictionless access to advanced management tools and omni-channel
interactions. This type of solution delivers advanced reporting metrics and
actionable data for added intelligence, enabling the constant calibration of
operations to continually improve business performance. By enabling proactive
outreach and anticipation of customer needs and preferences, companies can
foster better client relationships and customer intimacy, while personalized
customer experience tools provide better user control.
Andy Kuan, Plum Voice Our expertise lies in the
implementation of automated customer interactions. However, In order for the
entire contact center ecosystem to operate efficiently self-service
applications, business and telephony systems must share information to support
intelligent call routing and smooth transitions between automated applications
and live agents.
David Jaques, VXi Collaboration in the contact center
environment can be improved by the deployment of UC systems to facilitate
real-time text and voice messaging. Headsets with clear, natural sound
quality—that promote clear communication and collaboration—enable companies to
get the most out of their UC system.
do organizations need to take to increase both agent effectiveness and job satisfaction?
Ryan Kahan, CallCabinet Training, training and more training.
And mentoring. Agent effectiveness can only be increased if the agent has the
confidence and the knowledge to handle different and difficult situations
correctly. It is impossible to provide a script for every scenario. Agents can
often only be provided with broad guidelines on how to deal with different
scenarios. By monitoring the way in which agents are doing their jobs, training
can be tailored and thus more effective. Training also needs to be ongoing –
with agent performance consistently monitored to enable concerns to be dealt
with quickly. Confident, knowledgeable agents are more likely to enjoy their
jobs than those who are not provided with the tools and skills to do their jobs
Steve Pollema, eLoyalty Cloud contact center
deployment is speedy, typically taking weeks versus 18–24 months or longer for
premise-based solutions. In addition, organizations with cloud contact centers
spend 27% less on their annual contact center costs, and achieve an 8% to 22% improvement
in first contact resolution (FCR) rates. What’s more, shifting from a
premise-based contact center environment to a cloud platform can free up as
much as 15% of administrative staff and 40% of agent staff for other tasks and assignments,
while still increasing productivity by 20% using the workforce management
Working in a
cloud contact center environment empowers agents to deliver exceptional
customer experiences, build relationships with clients, and leverage tools that
will make their roles more effective and contributions to the company more
Jaques, VXi The same Vidal case studies cited previously showed that
agents were both more engaged and had higher job satisfaction when our headsets
What specific benefits do your
solutions or services deliver that differentiates them from other offerings in
Julie Burroughs, Acqueon We always keep the customer uppermost
in our mind when designing our solutions.
This translates to the technology and functionality we provide, to the
interaction points between the user and the solution, to the TCO. Add to that the exceptional support which we
provide our customers and you have a set of solutions that makes customers happy
for many years.
Ryan Kahan, CallCabinet From an enterprise perspective,
CallCabinet’s solutions are all fully compliant and offer a front‐end audit trail to enable at‐a‐glance
insight into when calls were recorded, where and how they were stored, when
they were accessed and by whom. For smaller companies and
subsidiaries/branches, CallCabinet offers cloud‐based solutions that enable the secure
centralization of all call management and active archiving. Our cloud‐based solutions are also one of the
first call recording solutions to enable the recording of cellular calls.
Steve Pollema, eLoyalty Our unique cloud
solution is an integrated package of advanced technology features providing
operational controls and management tools for your contact center. Designed
specifically for Cisco’s Hosted Collaboration Solution/Contact Center as a
Service (HCS/CCaaS), our solution offers additional capabilities and
flexibility onto the platform to further enable real-time control over customer
We were the first North
American partner to achieve Cisco HCS Certification and Contact Center as a
Service Designation, has received the Cisco Advanced Technology Partner
Certification for Contact Center Enterprise and Customer Voice Portal, and the
Cisco Customer Satisfaction Award every year since 2007. eLoyalty is the only
Cisco Cloud Partner offering a solution with this type of increased flexibility
and capability incorporated directly into the HCS platform.
Andy Kuan, Plum Voice We built our service delivery platform with modern enterprises
specifically in mind. Our customers need more than minutes and messages: they
demand non-stop availability, burst capacity, high performance, analytics, and,
above all, security. Plum Voice's cloud infrastructure is built on our own
voice platform and meets and exceeds all PCI level 1, SOC-2, and HIPAA
David Jaques, VXi VXi’s key differentiators are our
superior microphone noise canceling and natural sound quality. The benefits of
this competitive advantage, for both our wired and wireless/Bluetooth™
products, cannot be overstated. User productivity, customer satisfaction, brand
perception and the bottom line are all positively impacted by VXi’s advanced
(CRMXchange also posed specific questions to
How do Acqueon’s software solutions
leverage emerging technologies to enable companies to build better customer
Julie Burroughs Collaboration builds better customer
relationships. And as noted previously,
technology is only one piece. Our
challenge is to select those technologies that have a proven ROI to the
business and integrate them in a manner that business users can maximize them. Another continuing trend in the industry is
the use of the business user to administer systems as opposed to IT. Rather than simplify the functionality,
Acqueon has taken the approach to provide a simple interface that maintains all
the functionality a business requires.
Of the key technologies
we discussed previously, our solutions currently support social media,
omni-channel and proactive communication and video is in our near-term roadmap.
How do CallCabinet’s cloud‐based solutions provide
secure, compliant call recording quality monitoring and flexible, scalable
deployment at affordable prices?
Ryan Kahan All calls are encrypted at source;
they are securely stored in an encrypted file; transported over a secure
network; and stored in secure data centers with secure backup and redundancy
provided as an essential component of the package – along with full front‐end audit trails. We are a niche
player with our own software developers, which allows us to be highly
responsive to market demands at a very competitive price!
what specific ways can eLoyalty help companies reduce operating costs, improve
outcomes and create customized engagement strategies?
Steve Pollema Charting a technology roadmap for customer experience excellence,
eLoyalty offers technology services and solutions that take friction out of the
experience for both customer and associate, and cost out of the equation for
the company. Our solutions reduce operating costs while tying multiple channels
together (voice, chat, text, email, social media) to form the holistic
experience that your customers expect. Whether choosing cloud, on-premise, or
hybrid platforms, and/or incorporating Salesforce.com, we deploy the best in
technology, design and integration to make it easier for every interaction to get
straight to meaningful.
what ways do your PlumDEV and Plum Fuse hosted IVR platforms enable businesses
to rapidly deploy secure, reliable and scalable self-service solutions?
Kuan Businesses all
have different engineering capabilities and requirements. Plum DEV is targeted
at traditional programmers who need access to the maximum power and flexibility
of the VoiceXML programming language. Plum Fuse is a rapid application
development tool intended for developers who need to quickly create and manage
moderately complex applications. Both tools are built on top of Plum's robust,
secure, and compliant cloud infrastructure which means developers can focus on
building a high quality user experience instead of supporting the underlying
telephony systems and telecommunications.
do VXi hands-free headsets help organizations boost business productivity and
communication, together with better engagement and satisfaction, all promote
productivity and efficiency. Accurate, easy-to-understand communication
minimizes misunderstandings and miscommunication. When agents and customers are
heard the first time, interactions run smoothly and transactions move quickly,
benefitting all parties. That is why VXi continues to focus on both receive and
transmit sound quality.