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Business Process Automation Featured Article

January 26, 2012

A Real Contact Center Solution - No Need for a Missing Lync

By Peter Bernstein, Senior Editor

In preparation for ITEXPO East next week in Miami, I created a list of things to see. At the top is kicking the tires of Interactive Intelligence’s integration of its Interaction Client.NET (News - Alert) Edition with MicrosoftLync Server 2010. This integration was a key part of the company’s release of CIC 4.0 for its flagship Customer Interaction Center (CIC) all-in-one IP communications software suite in late November. 

Why you ask? Read on. Hopefully you will put it on your list of things to see as well.  

Putting the best tools in the right hands, every time and all the time

With much of today’s contact center focus on improving the customer experience by enhancing customer engagement capabilities, at the end of the day what this boils down to are few critical factors:

  • Giving contact center agents the best (complete and accurate) information about the customer.
  • Providing contact center supervisors visibility in real-time into problems and areas of opportunity as gleaned from capabilities like real-time speech analytics. Plus, making sure insights are shared across the enterprise (and there is a reverse flow) to constantly improve work flow, market intelligence, agent skills and training.
  • Ensuring that help is at hand. This means the physical (people) and virtual (data) resources an agent needs to be responsive/productive are not just identifiable but their status is known so actions can be taken based on that status.
  • Giving customers the frictionless interaction based on their communications capabilities of time and place —wired telephone, mobile phone, text messaging and chat, full-blown fixed and mobile Internet, and increasingly via social media.
  • Speed, speed and speed.

A great customer experience results when the customer does not have to wait to be interacted with and the interaction leads to a compelling outcome. In short, their problem is solved the first time, in a time frame that hopefully exceeds expectations with an accountability trail. 

What does this have to do with the Interactive Intelligence (News - Alert) adding integration with MicrosoftLync Server 2010 to their popular Interaction Client? In a word, everything.

The link is no longer missing

In a nutshell here is what users of Interactive Intelligence will be able to do:  

  • Initiate calls to Microsoft (News - Alert) Lync Server 2010 users
  • Initiate IM sessions to Lync 2010 users
  • View real-time status of Lync 2010 users
  • Add a personal Lync 2010 Contacts list as a Directory tab in the Interaction Client
  • Initiate video calls to Lync 2010 users

Just as significantly Microsoft Lync Server 2010 users will be able to:

  • View the real-time status of Interactive Intelligence users who also are Lync 2010 users
  • Initiate calls to Interactive Intelligence users by clicking on the Interactive Intelligence user in their buddy list

Just to name a few capabilities, it means being able to: embed the client in Lync client; create a unified company directory; augment presence with the CIC status being pushed out to Lync users (Lync has five status settings and two from privacy); and audio off-hook so whatever the endpoint it automatically gets audio and several other capabilities that will be available in updates SU1 and SU2 in the coming months.    

How easy will it be for agents to take advantage of all of this? A click of the mouse expands an agent’s access to information, including presence, that can cut down response times to users inquiries and problem resolution leading to increased customer satisfaction.

Interactive Intelligence has a short video that briefly highlights the integration functionality at work. 

While seeing is believing the video barely touches the surface of the power of the integration. This is why I intend to spend some time at the show with a demo.

As I have pointed out in several articles about contact center solutions in the past, including our interview with Interactive Intelligence Chief Marketing Officer Joe Staples (News - Alert), major transformation is the order of the day in this market. Contact centers in just the past few years have gone from being viewed by enterprises as cost centers that were necessary evils to limit damage, to core components in brand stewardship. 

In fact, because of their ability to encourage loyalty and are an ideal platform for up-selling, the race is now on to make sure today’s contact centers have all of the functionality they need to properly address the needs of customers who in an increasingly disloyal world are always just a click (including the sound of a phone hanging up) away from the arms of a competitor.

Integration with the increasingly popular Microsoft Lync environment fill in a gap that was a significant missing link for helping enterprises leverage the power of information to improve four important “Ps”: productivity, performance (people, products and processes), personal engagement and profitability.   

See you in Miami. 

Interactive Intelligence is a Platinum sponsor of ITEXPO East 2012. To be held Jan. 31- Feb. 3 at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami, Fla. ITEXPO (News - Alert) is the world’s premier IP communications event. Visit Interactive Intelligence in booth 606. For more information on ITEXPO registration click here.Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO… Follow us on Twitter.


Peter Bernstein is a technology industry veteran, having worked in multiple capacities with several of the industry's biggest and best known brands, and has served on the Advisory Boards of 15 technology startups. To read more of Peter's work, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Carrie Schmelkin



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