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Enterprise Connect Conference Review


Presented By: CrmXchange

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? 


acqueon.march2015 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:


1)  Social 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.


3)  Proactive 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.


 callcabinetRyan 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 frontend 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 agentcustomer 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 problems.


eloyaltySteve 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.


plumvoiceAndy 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 customer experience.


vxiDavid Jaques, Director of Product Marketing, VXi Corporation Case 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 Resolution.


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.


What steps 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 effectively.


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 solution.


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 meaningful.


David Jaques, VXi The same Vidal case studies cited previously showed that agents were both more engaged and had higher job satisfaction when our headsets were deployed.


What specific benefits do your solutions or services deliver that differentiates them from other offerings in the marketplace? 


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 frontend audit trail to enable ataglance 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 cloudbased solutions that enable the secure centralization of all call management and active archiving. Our cloudbased 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 experience outcomes.


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 requirements.


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 headset technology.


(CRMXchange also posed specific questions to individual companies) 



How do Acqueon’s software solutions leverage emerging technologies to enable companies to build better customer relationships?


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 cloudbased 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 frontend 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!



In 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.


Plum Voice   

In what ways do your PlumDEV and Plum Fuse hosted IVR platforms enable businesses to rapidly deploy secure, reliable and scalable self-service solutions?


Andy 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.



How do VXi hands-free headsets help organizations boost business productivity and agent efficiency?


David Jaques: Improved 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.