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contact center customer experience management unified communications

A Guest Blog from Aberdeen Research

In a previous article, we noted that only 37% of contact centers currently use unified communications (UC) capabilities. We also noted the potential benefits these companies are missing out on. These include improvements across key metrics such as agent productivity, first contact resolution rates, and customer satisfaction rates. In this article, we’ll highlight several key activities companies with contact center and UC integration engage in to achieve superior results.

Briefly, what does it mean to use UC capabilities within a contact center? This means contact center agents are able to communicate and collaborate throughout the business (across sales, marketing, and the back office) through phone, chat, video, web conferencing, etc. This helps agents more easily find relevant knowledgebase articles by asking for help from other agents or asking for support from subject-matter experts (SMEs) throughout the business to address customer needs. So, what does it take to maximize success in these communications and collaborations activities?

Figure 1 illustrates several of the key capabilities companies with contact center and UC integration use. First, firms with this capability are 68% more likely to enable agents to create and follow tasks through the agent desktop. This means that when speaking with a customer over the phone, an agent can take notes on the customer account about the details of the issue. The agent would then create a task and assign it to an SME who would then reach out to the customer or notify the agent when the task is completed so the agent can inform the client about an issue resolution. That SME can be another contact center agent or can be a part of a different team such as product development. Regardless of the employees involved in this process, UC integration helps bring the company together to help address customer issues.

Figure 1: The Building Blocks to Integrate UC within Contact Center Activities

companies integrating unified communications (uc) within contact center activities

In our example above, instead of creating a task that an SME would work on later, the agent could also transfer the customer to another agent who may have more knowledgeable in addressing the issue. In this case, when the new agent connects with the customer, they would need details from the first interaction to avoid asking repetitive questions and frustrate the customer while further lengthening the time to resolution. To accommodate this need, firms using UC within the contact center retain customer contact details when clients are transferred. One important note to make here regarding the details being retained is to ensure sensitive data is protected to ensure compliance with internal and external regulations.

Companies with UC integrated in their contact center activities also ensure that updates made on the agent desktop are seamlessly integrated with other enterprise systems such as CRM, ERP, and order management. This is important, as employees across multiple departments (e.g., service, sales, and marketing) typically interact with buyers. As such, employees must be able to find and use the most up-to-date and comprehensive view of customer insights to ensure consistent and personalized messages. This is also a building block of a key differentiator for many contact center: a term also referred to as ‘omnichannel’ customer engagement. Thus, use of UC helps break communication and collaboration barriers across the business, helping deliver omnichannel interactions.

Enabling contact center agents with more timely and relevant insights might also mean supervisors guiding agents in real-time. This might happen by supervisors monitoring key metrics such as average handle times, and when a call exceeds a pre-determined time the supervisor might listen to the conversation and guide the agent through chat on how to resolve it. The supervisor might also join a phone conversation to assist the customer together with the agent. Use of UC capabilities such as chat and phone conferencing make this process possible.

We highlighted four of the many key activities companies use to achieve maximum results through UC and contact center integration. Want to learn more? Listen to a webinar to discover how savvy firms maximize their contact center results through UC.

About the Author

Omer Minkara is the Vice President, Principal Analyst within Aberdeen Group. In his research, Omer covers the Best-in-Class practices and emerging trends in the technologies and business processes used to enhance customer experience across multiple interaction channels (e.g. social, mobile, web, email and call center). Omer’s research is widely consumed by senior-level Customer Care, Marketing, Sales and Service executives. He has published numerous industry research papers, which are used by executives worldwide to build and nurture strategic customer engagement programs. Omer also speaks frequently with global decision makers to discuss their customer management activities.