Friday, September 12, 2014

Softphones for Contact Center ACD

In the ever-evolving realm of contact centers, minimizing startup and operating costs should be high on the list of items that a center should want to accomplish. There are numerous way to go about this, such as buying used office chairs instead of new ones, but if you are looking to cut costs without sacrificing functionality, using softphones instead of physical phones can be a good start.

Softphones are the functional equivalent of physical phones, but are typically lightweight applications that get installed on CSR workstations. Some of these are free, some of these are not. Since cutting costs is the main focus here, we will stick to three of the more popular free Windows versions, that work quite well with Indosoft's Q-Suite: Zoiper, 3CX, and X-Lite.

Each of these clients has its advantages and disadvantages over one and other. Zoiper consumes the smallest amount of available resources, but does not have the most eye-appealing interface. 3CX allows numerous accounts and is easy to use, but can have audio issues from time to time. X-Lite has the best looking application and is the most well-known, but is much heavier on workstation resources and can bog down less powerful desktops.

There will always be a place for physical VOIP phones, but in the rapidly changing environments of Asterisk-based ACD contact centers, there may be a desire to limit spending and space. Making the conscious decision to implement softphones is one way to help succeed in that goal.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Contact Center ACD + Zendesk = An enhanced Customer Service platform

Contact center ACDs are still a highly desirable method of allowing customers to connect and interact with customer service representatives (CSRs). Web-based ticketing systems are also a convenient method to keep track of any types of communication that may occur between customers and CSRs. The blending of Indosoft's Q-Suite with Zendesk makes for a perfect combination of a fully featured contact center with a cloud-based issue tracking system.

The Q-Suite leverages the freely available collection of Zendesk APIs in order to transfer important, necessary call information into dynamically created or existing Zendesk tickets, to more accurately store customer information without the need of the CSRs to enter this information manually. This level of automation can drastically reduce user error, when recording and maintaining valid customer information is critical to sustaining customer confidence.

Providing excellent customer service can be a huge burden in any type of business or industry in this day and age. By merging the powerful contact center ACD of the Q-Suite with Zendesk, the monumental task of administering an enhanced customer service platform is easier than ever.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Smooth and Flexible Script Building for Call Center ACD using TinyMCE

Script building can be a long, cumbersome, tedious process for contact center ACD administrators. While some agent scripts might be limited to a few pages with only a few components per page, other scripts may be dozens of pages with dozens of components contained within each page. As the length of the script grows and the number of components increases, the person responsible for building the scripts may begin to lose interest, which could lead to errors in the script, causing an increase in the troubleshooting and validation periods for any type of QA that may be performed prior to rolling out a campaign into production. With the integration of TinyMCE into the Q-Suite's powerful script builder, the monotony of the script building process should be vastly alleviated.

TinyMCE is an open source web based Javascript HTML WYSIWYG editor control. It is platform independent, and has the ability to morph HTML TEXTAREA fields and other HTML elements to editor instances. Using this robust module, the textareas in the script components are transformed into fully-fledged, fully-featured text editors, which resemble common forms of word processors, forum comment entry boxes, and blogging sites.

One of Indosoft's main goals is to improve the user experience, especially when it comes to the front end client facing interface. With the fusing of the user-friendly open source TinyMCE product to the Q-Suite's script builder, building and editing script content is more fluid and feature-rich. In prior iterations, if scripts required any type of modifications, such as font colors or bolded text, the user would have been required to manually enter the HTML markup tags to the textarea. Now, with the added flexibility of TinyMCE, any and all of these edits are possible with the click of a button.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Realtime Workforce Assignment for Contact Center ACD

When operating an inbound ACD contact center, it is quite often the goal of the center to minimize the amount of calls that fall outside of the specified service level agreements for their queues. Clients may lose faith in the center's ability to handle the expected call volumes if these numbers are too high. Abandoned calls are not a desirable outcome either, as those calls get aborted in the IVR and never had the chance to get routed to an available CSR. In this situation, it is vital for managers to be able to reallocate CSRs to the appropriate queues.

On the opposite side of the coin, center's may find themselves in a scenario where there are too many available resources for the current call volume. It can be counter-productive and costly to keep these abundant CSRs on the clock, so floor managers and supervisors may need to decrease those numbers on the fly. These two important use cases can be solved by the ability of the Q-Suite to reassign employees on demand.

As a manager or floor supervisor, monitoring the center in realtime is paramount to ensuring that the center is running in an optimal fashion. By utilizing realtime reporting and the dynamic capability to assign CSRs, in a skills-based manner, to overwhelmed queues or to remove agents from queues whose volume is lower than expected, agents will be better situated to work in a much more productive manner.

With these tools and features in place, Asterisk-based center's are able to manage their workforce with exceedingly effective methods, which should translate into superior results for the client. These favorable outcomes will strengthen the relationship with the client, which should be the end goal for any and all businesses.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Dynamic Script Switching for Customer Service Representatives

Here is a situation we have all encountered over the years. When dealing with service providers via their contact center ACD, whether it is a cable, internet, phone, or insurance company to name a few, we will offer our best description about our issue to the current customer service representative (CSR). Too many times we are presented with the outcome of needing to be transferred to someone else who can better handle this particular inquiry. Once on the line with the next CSR, we are then forced to reiterate the exact same scenario that we had explained to the first CSR. This is not how a caller wants to spend their time.

There are certain circumstances where the current CSR may be capable of handling the issue (based on skills based routing), but does not have the proper scripting available given the selected path that the caller chose while navigating the IVR. This is where dynamic script switching comes into play. Using the script builder to integrate the script switching mechanism (currently in alpha phase) into the script, CSRs using the Q-Suite's agent interface can leverage a new script component that will allow them to swap out the current script for the desired script at the click of a button, while maintaining their connection to the customer.

This functionality could also be used effectively for upselling or cross-selling certain products or services. Using the service provider as an example, the customer makes a call and asks to upgrade their internet service. With the active customer's data on the screen, the agent notices that the customer lacks a home telephone service. The agent can then make the pitch to the customer about the home phone service and if the caller wishes to pursue this, the agent can finish up with the internet based script and initiate the script switching component to dynamically load the home phone script while maintaining their live connection to the customer.

This new feature of the Q-Suite call center software will allow for a more streamlined process, for aptly skilled CSRs, when situations arise on a customer call that may have resulted in a transfer in previous iterations of Indosoft's Q-Suite product.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Impact of Cloud Contact Center Services on Inbound Call Routing

Cloud contact center services are a natural progression of distributed computing where both voice and data services are made available through hosted platforms. Cloud-based solutions offer flexibility and benefits where services can be scaled on-demand and does away with the need to implement and maintain, hardware or platforms.

Inbound call routing services benefit most from distributed setup. From a customer service perspective, this provides opportunity for 7x24 operation with employees from different regions and time-zones working normal eight hour shifts to provide a round the clock operation. It is also a convenient way to handle overflows as different time-zone working hours overlap.

Skills and queues are the fundamental to Automatic Call Distribution. Within a contact center ACD (Automatic Call Distributor), every queue should have an assigned priority with associated skills required for handling its calls. The employees of the contact center operation have skills with skill-levels identifying the their proficiency in the skill.  The ACD routes the inbound calls to the appropriate queue based on the dialed number or the IVR selection. If multiple employees are available to handle the call, it will be routed to the highest skilled employee immediately without making the caller wait in the queue. In the case of a tie, the longest waiting employee will handle the call. When no one is available immediately, the calls waits in the queue.

There are functionality available to improve customer service when callers are forced to wait in a queue. An ACD capable of callback capability will permit the caller to either accept a callback based on caller-id or leave a different callback number, while preserving the priority of the call. Another option is setting up multiple queues with same skill requirements but with different priority. This allows preferential treatment to customers who are valued based on a variety of factors. It is also possible to move calls from one queue to another after the lapse of a specified wait time where more employees (like supervisors) are available to handle the call.

With all this in mind, a Cloud contact center solution opens up the possibility for ACD call routing as more employees from different time-zones are included there by enhancing customer service.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Integration to Cloud Contact Center Services using API

Application Program Interfaces (API) are essential for integrating business and third party systems into the contact center solution work-flow. This is an important consideration when selecting a Cloud contact center solution. Mature service providers offer web services API that allow external applications to automate tasks. Almost all contact center software functionality available through a user interface can be exposed through Web API. 

There are four distinct areas of integration associated with contact center solutions: 
  1. Setup, management and operations of the contact center solution
  2. Dialer and contact center ACD data integration 
  3. Integration to third party and back-end business application to manage the work-flow
  4. Reporting data and Analytics to measure contact center performance 
The maturity of a cloud contact center service can be judged by the extent of the availability of Web services API for the solution. Service providers are offering Cloud contact center solutions based on different telephony engines but Asterisk based Cloud services have stolen a march over other telephony platforms by offering a powerful, cost effective, and open solution.