Buying Guide: Call Center Software: Page 2
ShoreTel has noticed trends such as the dominance of cloud deployments, the blurring of the boundary between the customer service organization and the rest of the organization, the demand for tighter integration between contact center software and other enterprise applications, and the rise in importance of real-time analytics to help businesses understand the current state of customer interactions as they are happening.
“Contact center vendors are deploying some of the same technologies to help customers understand their businesses that have been traditionally used by big the data industry, with particular emphasis on the presentation layer,” said Kumar Priyavrat, senior product manager, ShoreTel. “Contact center vendors are increasingly standardizing the integration with unified communication as well as third-party applications such CRM in a big way.”
Accordingly, ShoreTel Connect Contact Center for Cloud is a full-featured cloud-based contact center which supports voice, email and chat. It has the following components:
- Contact Center Director – the graphical user interface for configuring the application. It includes all functionalities necessary to configure the business rules for routing calls, managing users and groups, configuring channels (voice, email, and chat), IVRs and DR recovery settings.
- ShoreTel Interaction Center — a web client for all agent functions and supervisor coaching functions. Supervisors can monitor agent activity and queue/group activity, and when necessary, interact with agents using monitor, whisper coaching and barge-in. Supervisors also can review key performance indicators to assess contact center performance.
- Agent Manager — used by managers and supervisors to obtain real-time statistical information concerning call center activities. The information can be displayed in tables, forms and graphic formats, providing a picture of what is going on in the call center. Agent Manager also enables supervisors to adjust resources by adding and removing agents from groups.
- Graphical Call Control Script – an administration application that allows you to create call control scripts.
- ShoreTel Connect Contact Center Reports — generates historical statistical reports that can be used in evaluating past activities and planning future actions. It contains predefined reports and customizable templates.
- Event Feed – to support third party integrations such as workforce optimization integrations.
“Before buying a contact center solution, understand the vendor roadmap,” said Priyavrat. “Make sure that the product will continue to evolve to meet your future business needs.”
Microsoft Dynamics 365’s Customer Service solution is said to make it effortless for agents to offer service anytime, anywhere on desktop or mobile device. In addition to a branded online support portal that leverages an organized, searchable knowledge base to deliver consistent, up-to-date answers, Dynamics 365 for Customer Service users gain peer-to-peer support, direct interaction with subject matter experts, integrated chat, co-browse, click-to-call and video capabilities.
In addition to core case-management capabilities, agents can solve cases faster using Dynamics 365’s machine-learning capabilities that surface related cases and related knowledge articles, including data that resides outside of the customer service application. Collaboration tools also help speed resolution and avoid escalations. Social care capabilities also leverage machine learning to identify sentiment and intent, with the ability to automatically create and route cases to an appropriate agent queue. All of this is done through the same interface. Further features include Learning Path, which helps agents and other users get up to speed faster through guided learning scenarios. Gamification improves performance and adoption as well by rewarding optimal behaviors.
“Embedded Power BI enables organizations to include data from third-party applications in their analysis for deeper business insights, analysis and exploration,” said Matt Kresch, director of product marketing, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Service. “Power BI has natural language capabilities that allow users to instantly render reports and visualizations.
Microsoft Dynamics 365
There are plenty of good workforce optimization suites on the market. For example, the Verint Workforce Optimization (WFO) suite is said to offer organizations a way to capture, evaluate, manage and analyze omni-channel customer interactions. Unified applications such as Recording (IP, TDM, SIP and screens), quality management, enterprise workforce management, performance management (including eLearning, gamification, and coaching) and desktop and process analytics help organizations access information.
“Verint WFO considers and recognizes each agent’s skills, proficiencies and preferences of when they want to work, when they want time off and when they can take on overtime,” said Rajeev Venkat, senior director of solutions marketing, Verint. “It gives agents visibility into when the center is over/understaffed as it pertains to their skills.”
This allows them to flexibly pick-up voluntary time off and/or overtime in short 15-minute interval increments. That flexibility enables employees to self-manage schedules while allowing the manager of the call center to ensure service levels are met.
Verint Performance Management
Another WFO possibility is available from Monet Software. This suite includes Monet Metrics for performance management. The analytics provided by Monet Metrics are said to make performance management faster and more accurate. Data is delivered so it is easier for mangers to identify agent skill sets and skill gaps that need to be filled via training.
To function well, performance management has to receive accurate data from workforce management and quality management applications, as well as up-to-date information from training, billing and other areas. Chuck Ciarlo, CEO of Monet, said that the elements within Monet WFO integrate so as to ensure Monet Metrics is fed accurate numbers. Done right, an abundance of work hours can be eliminated, replaced by automation.
“What formerly required stacks of paperwork and hours of manual operations can be completed automatically,” said Ciarlo.
More Options for Call Center Software
Drew Robb is a freelance writer specializing in technology and engineering. Currently living in Florida, he is originally from Scotland, where he received a degree in geology and geography from the University of Strathclyde. He is the author of Server Disk Management in a Windows Environment (CRC Press).