Ian Sherring, Unified Communications Specialist, Cisco Systems UK&I says IP-based contact centres address the three main trends in customer interaction, being contact centre virtualisation, the driving of operational efficiency and the move towards self and assisted self service capabilities.
“By virtualising contact centre agent resources across multiple sites, the pooling of agents ensures better overall operational efficiency. Calls can be delivered to the best agent, the first time so that customers can receive a quicker, more personalised service. An IP enabled contact centre also ensures the flexible location of agents, for example at call centre sites, branch locations, at home or overseas. This flexibility often results in lower agent attrition and the flexibility in employing skilled part-time or informal / overflow agents.
Contact centre applications such as workforce optimisation, analytical applications, CRM systems, databases and voice recording applications can all be centralised, ensuring cost-effective consistent application delivery to all contact centre sites, no matter how large or small they are.
Self-service speech technology has also come a long way and speech recognition and text-to-speech capabilities are now accepted by many customers. Organisations can now deliver 24 hr services, authenticate customers and reduce the cost of handling repetitive transactions. Open standards such as Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), VXML and web architectures also ensure the interoperability and innovation between best of breed contact centre applications.
Grainger, a US services company, is using Cisco’s Customer Voice Portal (CVP) to provide local call treatment and self service capabilities across 400 branch locations. Calls are effectively queued locally at each site, removing the need for high-bandwidth links to a central site. Customers dial a local number and receive a consistent, local service that is managed centrally.”