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ICMI 2016 Contact Center Expo and Conference Summary


Presented By: CrmXchange

ICMI 2016 Contact Center Expo and Conference Summary

The 2016 ICMI Contact Center Expo and Conference, which took place at the Long Beach (CA) Convention Center in May 2016 provided executives, managers and supervisors with a focused educational program as well as a diverse marketplace to review the latest products and services. The event provided a variety of training and networking opportunities, case studies, and site tours of local contact centers.

Beyond the opportunity to get product information from more than 60 solution providers, professionals were able to take advantage of a number of educational and social events in and out of the exhibit hall.

One of the key themes of the event was the need for additional modern contact center technologies and processes. Among the primary topics discussed by speakers were omni-channel and cloud technologies, new rules of engagement, training and coaching tools, updated forecasting and scheduling applications, and the need to ensure that metrics were evolving to meet real-world conditions.

CRMXchange approached several exhibitors to discuss their latest solutions and gain insight on market direction.


comp.may2016 How does your all-in-one contact center solution provide companies with the right feature set, on premises or cloud-based flexibility and the ability to easily upgrade the system in the future?

Vivian Pow, Product Marketing Manager, ComputerTalk:  Over the past 29 years, ComputerTalk has helped customers across all verticals-- particularly in the government, healthcare, and financial sectors-- innovate and improve their customer service. Through these years, we’ve developed expertise in delivering complex contact center requirements, which has in turn helped us understand the feature sets that fit different customer needs.

The underlying software behind the on-premise and hosted versions is the same, which minimizes retraining and rewriting when customers move from on-premise to cloud. All the features come out of the box: they just require licenses to turn on. Combining our contact center experience with our cloud-first, mobile-first focus, we offer a solution that can be easily upgraded in the future, as business needs change.

Can you explain the rationale behind the acronym “ice” used to describe your solutions?

“ice” stands for “Intelligent Communications Exchange”, which plays a key role in ComputerTalk’s vision of enabling omni-channel communications for everyone, so that communication is possible with anyone, anywhere, on any device.

In what ways do the capabilities of your native ice Contact Center Skype for Business enable organizations to extend the life of legacy PBX systems while allowing them to conveniently connect with the global Skype community?

ice Contact Center for Skype for Business (SfB) is based on ice Contact Center, the legacy version that connected with traditional PBXs for over 20 years. We replaced our SIP (session initiation protocol) and media handling with the Microsoft API used for Skype for Business – Unified Communications Managed API (UCMA) - but kept our application engine and tools. This meant that it became a SfB/Lync native solution with a mature product and with a simple upgrade path for existing customers.

ice extends the life of legacy PBX systems by providing the following:

Unified management and single point of connectivity for all media, allowing organizations to leverage existing infrastructure without having to buy new hardware. 

Support for multichannel contacts and the ability to escalate media from one channel to another (for example, instant message to voice).

Connectivity to public networks such as Skype and PSTN. Since Microsoft has opened up the connection between Skype for Business and the 300 million Skype users around the world, ice can queue Skype calls, similar to how PSTN calls, webchats, social media posts, SMS, video calls, and emails are queued.

What differentiates your solutions from others in the multichannel contact center space?

Our 29 years of real-world contact center experience, coupled with the past 8 years of Microsoft platform development with a contact center, gives us what may be the most powerful enterprise-class, PBX-agnostic contact center available. Our relationship with Microsoft, through our gold competencies, participation in early-access developer programs, and the invite-only Microsoft Enterprise Cloud Alliance ensures that we are building our solutions on cutting-edge technology, so customers can be assured that they would not be pigeon-holed into end-of-life technology.

A key differentiator is flexibility in integrating with tools that organizations use. Our Workflow Designer, the application development engine behind ice, is a drag-and-drop Visio-like tool that allows non-developers to create applications that communications-enable existing business processes or create new communications-enabled processes. More importantly, Workflow Designer allows for integration with third-party software that organizations are already using (for example, for customer relationship management, ticketing, workforce management, speech analytics, data mining, etc.) as well as hardware to deliver kiosk-type functionality. 


game.may2016 How does enterprise gamification help ensure that customer service personnel are more engaged in their jobs and more cognizant of what’s expected of them?

Roni Floman, VP Marketing. GamEffective:  Gamification for the workforce is used to drive better performance and learning. It approaches engagement through the prism of gamification – using gamification mechanics to drive better engagement. The focus point of modern gamification systems is to engage users through a sense of intrinsic motivation. Motivation can be extrinsic (beating other people in a competition, etc.) or intrinsic (a sense of completion, a job well done). Research shows that competition (an extrinsic motivator) can be perceived as a threat, and that longer term motivation and engagement are always a function of intrinsic motivation, where gamification excels.

Using game mechanics, a clear communication of goals, incentives to complete learning tasks, employees get a better sense of what’s expected of them – and more important, how they are doing in real time, so they can correct their course.

Better informed employees, that are aware of their goals, of how they tie into larger-picture corporate goals and how they can become better, do a better job.

In real-life deployments, core customer service KPIs go up by 10% and learning completion is tripled.

How does gamification enable agents to achieve greater balance between often conflicting KPIs such as Average Handle Time (AHT) and First Contact Resolution (FCR) while maintaining their focus on improving customer satisfaction?

Doing well at the contact center is never a function of excelling at one thing. Low average handle time (AHT) is often indicative of customer issues that aren’t resolved, hurting the First Call Resolution (FCR) rate. That’s why setting individualized benchmarks that fit each employee’s role and history - and setting those benchmarks as a composite, which drives employees to improve all of them – and thus, create a balance – is the best practice.

In our deployments, we often see that growing core KPIs also results in higher customer satisfaction scores.

In describing your product, you analogize gamification as a “Fitbit for work.” In what ways can it drive performance to make “everyone a hero?”

Gamification is all about real-time performance feedback.  In many ways, it shows what real-time performance management can and will look like in the future – instead of goal-setting that occurs once a year, and feedback about performance that also happens once a year, gamification offers a different path. It enables real-time goal setting that is individualized per employee, based on their group, targets and part performance. It also shows real-time performance, offering the same gamified incentive that fitness trackers offer. Fitness trackers are proven to improve fitness activities, and the same logic applied to contact center gamification.

By “everyone a hero,” we mean that success in gamification lies in each employee improving their performance relative to his or herself, and relative to their personalized goals and benchmarks. This is a new standard, as opposed to the previous practice of using overly-competitive gamification that often alienated employees with overt, non-friendly, competition.

What elements make your gamification solution superior to other available offerings on the market?

GamEffective has several unique differentiators. It is the only platform to include full visual game narratives – providing another layer of gamification that can be very innovative, such as asking employees to bet on their performance, and grow social interaction.  In addition, it has a strong integration with learning systems, driving employees to complete learning tasks to improve their KPIs. Its other strength is no-code integration with numerous enterprise software apps.


idol.may2016 Why is it so important for businesses to have the capability to verify the mobile identity of current and potential customers?    

John Dancu, President and CEO, IDology:  As consumers increasingly adopt the mobile channel, and more organizations move to mobile platforms, there is an amplified need for mobile-specific identity verification and fraud prevention solutions. The ease of conducting transactions and doing commerce on mobile devices is pushing more and more transactions in that direction. And where the general populace goes, opportunistic cybercriminals are sure to follow. This is due to last year’s EMV transition, where fraud is moving to online channels and, ultimately, to mobile. A recent IDology survey found that only 12 percent of the respondents—senior executives from across many industries—felt prepared to detect and prevent mobile fraud.    

However, establishing a mobile identity and reducing the risk associated with the mobile environment is a complex challenge. While it is decisively important for your legitimate customers to be able to seamlessly and securely gain access to your mobile products and services, it is equally imperative to spot and stop potential fraud. Fraudsters have become quite skilled at exploiting the many nuances that accompany mobile devices – from the millions of change events to the increasing ability of fraudsters to attack mobile technology vulnerabilities with methods such as mobile spoofing, cloning and hacking.    

Why is it critical for call centers to have the capability to identify spoofed numbers in real-time?    

Call centers are becoming increasingly more vulnerable to fraud. With the proliferation of stolen identity information available on the internet, fraudsters have more than enough personally identifying information to bypass account access verifications. Additionally, fraudsters have access to technology that allows them to mask spoofed phone numbers enabling them to bypass caller ID or ANI (Automated Number Identification) systems used in call centers.   

With a call verification system that has the ability to identify spoofed numbers in real-time, contact center agents can reduce the chance of social engineering attacks and verify that the inbound call number is actually in session with the contact center number dialed.   

How does IDology ExpectID Number Verification solution help companies verify mobile numbers while remaining in compliance with TCPA regulations?

Since TCPA fines can be as high as $1,500 per violation and with the mobile channel becoming the most popular way to contact customers, it is essential for organizations to have a solution in place to verify mobile numbers and mitigate risk. Mobile numbers present a unique challenge in that many numbers are not new and are recycled. This can be problematic if a company tries to contact their customer and the number is no longer theirs and in use by another consumer.

ExpectID Number Verification works through a batch upload and is able to verify numbers prior to customer contact. The solution verifies numbers prior to customer contact by accessing more than 750 million mobile numbers in real-time directly from mobile network operators (MNOs).  The results indicate if the potential called number is ok to call, not ok or indeterminable.  An added benefit for your customers, ExpectID Number Verification does not rely on personal identifiable information (PII) to verify the number.

In what ways can knowledge-based authentication (KBA) help organizations control fraud while driving revenue and boosting their call center performance?

No question about it, it’s difficult to establish trust with new and existing customers alike when call center agents can’t look someone in the eye, or see an ID in person.  Being able to confirm someone is who they say they are in customer-not-present situations is a powerful fraud protection tool for your business.

We offer two knowledge-based authentication (KBA) solutions: ExpectID IQ – verify consumers and generate out-of-wallet KBA questions based on robust data sources and ExpectID Enterprise – create custom out-of-wallet KBA questions using internal proprietary data behind your firewall both based on an out-of-wallet questions process, that businesses can use to establish trust with their consumers and then maintain this trust throughout the entire customer lifecycle. These solutions can be used individually or together to expand out-of-wallet authentication capabilities, giving call centers the flexibility and ability to select and change the questions asked on what their customers are comfortable with and the risk tolerance the call center is comfortable with.

What elements make your solution superior to other available offerings on the market?

IDology has developed an on-demand technology platform which allows customers to control the entire proofing process and provides the flexibility to make configuration changes that are deployed automatically. This is also underscored by our fraud platform that provides a layered fraud defense to help potential fraudulent access that could lead to account takeovers. Another unique element of our solutions is that we have real-time access to mobile network operator data so that we can verify numbers with a higher degree of confidence. This helps ultimately lower risk in call centers. By leveraging this MNO access, our ExpectID Call Verification solution is able to determine if a number is being spoofed when it comes into a call center. 

With our ExpectID Number Verification solution, we have access to more than 750 million mobile numbers and we are able to verify if the number, in real time with the MNO, to determine if the number is ok to call, thus helping contact center agents and their organization to ensure the contact is in compliance with TCPA.


shak.may2016 How do you make it easy for companies to save time, reduce costs and improve the quality of hires?

Joe Murphy, Executive Vice President, Shaker: Our Virtual Job Tryout (VJT) technology impacts three value streams: 1) Improve recruiting efficiency - reducing the effort and time to advance candidates, 2) Increase new hire retention - lowering staffing waste and rework, 3) Raising quality of hires as measured by individual productivity and time to proficiency.

Our clients have reduced their interview-to-hire ratio by 25% to 30% and have stated that they spend less time interviewing poor-fit candidates. The Shaker VJT delivers an engaging and educational application process which causes some candidates to self-select out, thus reducing unwanted candidate flow and the related administrative demands. One year after implementing the Virtual Job Tryout, a recent client conducted over 2000 fewer phone interviews and over 800 fewer face-to-face interviews.

In our experience, users typically document a 30% to 50% reduction in 90-day turnover rate. Reducing waste from sourcing, recruiting and training individuals who leave in the first 90 days delivers measurable ROI. A retail client was able to reduce 90-day turnover by almost 50%, saving $1.7 million in first year of implementation. In addition, clients experience a 20-125% lift in new hire performance as documented with productivity metrics and manager ratings of core competencies. 

What makes your hiring technology solution superior to traditional approaches?

We approach client engagements with the objective of defining and implementing business process improvement with a documented a return on investment.  Our solutions are driven by the three core competencies of Selection Science, User Experience, and Measurable Results

Science. We are one of the largest employers of Ph.D level selection scientists solely dedicated to custom and pre-configured simulation based pre-employment assessments. Our work conforms to and exceeds the legal and professional standards for the use of assessments in the workforce.  Experience. Candidate and recruiter experiences impact talent attraction customer retention and hiring decision effectiveness  The VJT delivers a candidate experience that enhances brand affiliation provides candidates and opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities.  Recruiter and hiring manager experience decision support which optimizes quality of hire. Results. Every solution we deploy begins with business impact in mind. Our clients develop an improved level of rigor and measurement discipline to improve the yield of their business process called “staffing.”  The outcome is documented contribution to the bottom line of a business. 

How does providing candidates with a more realistic job preview as opposed to a job description result in a better match, easier onboarding and a higher retention rate?

VJT technology combines realistic job preview, testimonials, simulated job tasks and a multi-method assessment in one seamless candidate experience. This media-rich storytelling combined with ‘test-drive’ like experience allows the candidate to learn more about the complexity of job demands than would ever be achieved from reading a job description.

Candidate feedback indicates they leave the VJT with a clear picture of job expectations and a sense that some level of training has already begun. Candidate profile reports provide an onboarding plan and coaching guide based on the individual’s strengths and opportunities – ensuring a faster development curve as they become fully proficient in the role. And early success is a great driver of retention.

What role does predictive analytics play in the process?

Predictive analytics play a critical and ongoing role in each VJT system. The discipline of data gathering and analysis is established with each implementation.  Shaker’s team of Ph.D level selection scientists collaborates with clients and engages in regular analysis and robust predictive modeling to document business impact, refines the systems based upon insights gained, and modifies message and measurement to adapt to changing business needs. Predictive modeling documents that candidates who score well on the VJT achieve high levels of performance. 

Tata Communications

tata.may2016 How does your InstaCC Global cloud contact center solution help enterprise companies integrate applications to deliver a superior omni-channel customer experience?

Guill Munoz, Senior Director, Tata Communications: As a Tier 1 Service provider, Tata Communications owns the largest undersea cable fiber infrastructure connecting over 200 countries.  We use this infrastructure to provide MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching), Internet, SIP, ITFS (International Toll Free Service), DID (Direct Inward Dialing) and other telephony services.  We’re leveraging this infrastructure by co-locating our InstaCC Global Contact Center Solution (ICCG) in the same data centers, through which we can cross-connect MPLS, SIP and telephony services and deliver a ready-state solutions with all the required connectivity on Day One.  We also provide data center geographic redundancy for all theaters of operation and pre-connects this tested disaster recovery with ICCG

Thus, our ICCG is pre-packaged and ready for delivery on Day One with the following features:

•           Reduces Risk by eliminating all the required 3rd party products needed to connect any contact center solution.

•           Increased speed to market.  With a pre-packaged ICCG, we can deliver a new contact center in as little as 3 months rather than 9 to 12 months

•           Pay-as-you go – Customer only need to buy what they need for day to day business.  During peak periods, customer can request additional agents/resources and pay only for what is needed. 

•           Increased ROI – Customer has zero up-front investment, and zero maintenance cost

•           Enhanced customer experience by providing omni-channel agent capabilities that include voice, email, social, chat and video-enable agents

•           Enhanced Customer Corporate Brand – By using Tata InstaCC Global, each customer receives a carried grade SLA to cover all services; carrier-grade data center security and carrier-grade customer services 2x24x36

In what ways does your self-service portal enable businesses to quickly route inquiries to the most qualified agents anywhere in the world?

ICCG has a development platform to deliver integrated self-services through our IVR platform from which we can provide global services and deliver the call to any agent in a single virtual agent pool anywhere in the world.

How does your cloud-based platform ensure the security customarily associated with premise-based installations?

We provide a virtual dedicated platform to each customer, delivered through our secured carrier- grade data centers, and our private MPLS cloud.

What elements make your solution superior to other available offerings on the market?

Tata Communications is leveraging our private global fiber infrastructure to deliver ICCG in a ready state, fast delivery, minimal investment, enhanced customer experience and enhanced corporate brand

The customer can extend this private cloud contact center to partner BPOs that can provide manpower around the world and still retain control of the customer experience, irrespective of where the agents are located.