The UCStrategies Experts share their expertise in bylined articles, opinion pieces, blogs, and podcasts, to define unified communications, educate you about unified communications technologies, and help you make informed decisions about unified communications solutions.
UCStrategies.com defines unified communications as “Communications integrated to optimize business processes.” The definition of unified communications narrows significantly when you can read and hear about real-world examples that other companies are implementing right now—and apply them to your situation.
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Smartphones and tablets are revolutionizing the way customers interact with every business. About 35 percent of U.S. adults now own smartphones, and Frost & Sullivan predicts that number will rise to more than 80 percent by 2015. Those companies that provide an effortless experience for customers who are using mobile devices for voice, text, social media, video, and web interactions can gain significant advantage. They can build customer/brand loyalty and wallet-share. Furthermore, they can use the wealth of contextual data about customers that mobile devices and apps provide to improve products, services and contact center (CC) operations.
In support of this opportunity to connect businesses with their customers on the go in streamlined and contextual framework, Avaya has announced new and expanded applications for mobile, video and social media interaction to its Customer Experience Interaction Management portfolio.
Unlike other types of applications, the CCM app doesn’t require updating. A common framework centralizes common business logic with the CCM server on the customer’s premise. The CCM architecture is built around four core service modules: Session services, Visual self-service, Data-sharing services and Customer assistance services. Session services are the foundation from which all other services are invoked and are the only mandatory service module.
If a mobile or web application requires access to visual self-services, such as video chat and video IVR, the self-service module is deployed to manage the dialog interactions with one or more Avaya Orchestration Designer applications. Orchestration Designer is the CCM’s service creation environment providing the speed and flexibility to design, develop, test and deploy applications that are then automatically extended to mobile apps that use the CCM web service API. Using this API, companies can put less logic in mobile apps and more in the common business logic hosted by an Orchestration Designer application.
When contextual data associated with a session needs to be shared with other applications for screen pops or reporting, the data-sharing services can be used.
Finally, if there is a need to request live agent support, the customer assistance services APIs allow an application to place a request to Avaya Callback Assist for an agent to call the customer back. Mobile apps can invoke these services through the CCM API or through a higher-level runtime that will be available in a subsequent CCM release.
Once a customer initiates direct contact with the CC, interfaces already exist between self-service applications and back-end CRM systems to help agents understand the customers’ value and history. What has been missing until now is a centralized self-service framework, including CRM interfaces and routing capabilities, which can be extended with other apps to customers through mobile and web applications. In addition, CCM now also provides the customer with an estimated wait time and options, such as receiving a callback from a CC agent, based on their queue position or at a date and time convenient for them.
The customer’s intent and relevant context for the session can be delivered to the representative simultaneously in a screen pop or delivered as a session key to a third-party computer-telephony integration (CTI) application that retrieves the context. The context can include what information the customer viewed prior to requesting help as well as account information, a callback number and location coordinates. The introduction of this contextual information into the customer support process opens the door to improved first call resolution and a richer quality of experience (QoE).
Avaya Social Media Manager allows businesses to scan social media content (such as tweets and Facebook updates) in an automated fashion; analyzes the content for relevance; and then enables customer service agents to take action. Its key capabilities include:
Current updates add support for: additional languages such as Thai, Chinese and Japanese for text processing and sentiment; support for other social media sites with a generic Channel API to accommodate incoming mention using RSS feeds from sites like Foursquare, YouTube, Google Alerts, etc; and Improved robustness and up to date support for Facebook and twitter API.
One Touch Video enables personal voice, video and collaboration sessions between a business and its customers that have access to an Internet-connected PC, tablet or mobile device via a simple link embedded in a website, email, or instant message. When a customer initiates a session, the request is sent to the Avaya Contact Center or Contact Center Elite as an incoming SIP voice and video call, where it is routed to an agent. Agents receive both external and internal context, such as web pages visited, self-service attempts and previous contact history. Context improves knowledge of the customer, reduces the time it takes to assist the customer, and supports creation of customer loyalty. At any time during the call, the customer can receive self-help still pictures, flash content or prerecorded video content, even while waiting in queue.
Call Center Elite is Avaya's automatic call distribution application enabling unified desktop, reporting and administration. The solution has been enhanced to handle up to twice the calls in any given time period over previous versions of the product. In addition, flexibility to service observe by location has been added along with the ability to facilitate post call surveys with VDN Return Destination for internal calls.
New Avaya 96x1 phones have been tailored to CC agent needs, enabling access to common agent features and embedded agent greetings. Companies can buy these new phones as SIP or as H.323 and convert them later to SIP endpoints with a firmware upgrade for investment protection as their needs evolve.
To Customers: The introduction of contextual information into the customer support process improves knowledge of the customer, reduces the time it takes to assist the customer, and opens the door to a much richer and more fulfilling customer QoE. And given the fact that customers carry mobile devices literally in their pockets and use them continuously, contextual information introduces new ways for leveraging the CC as a competitive differentiator driving customer/brand loyalty and expanded wallet-share.
Sure, contextual data adds to the efficiency and effectiveness of the contact center. But don't view mobile customer service as a cost-cutting measure. View it as an enhancement to the level of service you provide, not as a way to cut costs.
Avaya’s Customer Experience Interaction Management Portfolio, targeted for CC’s up to thousands of agents, will help enterprises transform themselves into social businesses while addressing key IT pain points:
Of course, Avaya is not alone in offering such a solution – Cisco, Genesys, Interactive Intelligence and Nice Systems, among others, offer competing solutions that recognize the value of context and alternative social media channels for serving customers. As such, we recommend that customers assess the various competitive solutions in terms of the risk-adjusted benefits and costs of ownership with ample consideration of feature/function availability and development roadmap alignment with business requirements now and in the future.
For Partners: These updates to Avaya’s Customer Experience Interaction Management Portfolio will drive additional business through the channel on two grounds. First, businesses need to become social or as Gartner noted: “From now to 2013, 80% of companies will suffer from a loss of revenue if they do not support web-based customer service applications on smartphones.” Secondly, the Avaya Connect Partner Program accounts for over 75 percent of global product sales.
In addition there are social media pro services opportunities that will flow to Avaya Authorized Business Partners as well as to Avaya itself. These services apply to Avaya Social Media Manager and integration with Avaya Aura Contact Center.
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Communications Integrated to Optimize Business Processes.
UC integrates real-time and non-real time communications with business processes and requirements.
Uses presence capabilities for coordination, and presents a consistent unified user interface and experience across multiple devices and media types.
Learn more at What is Unified Communications all about?