This article originally appeared in the Nov. 2011 issue of Customer Interaction Solutions
As companies like Apple (News - Alert) teach us the value of customer experience, more companies appear to be looking inward to figure out how they can improve both their products and their outward-facing operations and brands. Yet when it comes to customer interaction solutions, many businesses to date seem to have put more emphasis on cost cutting via automated systems and offshore call centers than on how to harness new solutions to meet and exceed customer expectations and drive new revenues. If this sounds familiar, perhaps it’s time to take a closer look at your customer contact strategy.
“The contact center can be a real competitive tool to a company, and not just to see how low you can keep the cost,” says Tom Parrott, president and founder of Digital Voice Systems Inc. “[It can] bring in new revenue and keep your customers sticky so they want to stay and keep on doing business with you.”
A former IBM employee, Parrott established Digital Voice Systems in 1987. Parrott’s company got its start providing IVR solutions for customers such as banks. Digital Voice Systems was the first Synellect reseller, says Parrott, and had great success with that. Then, in the early 1990s, Digital Voice Systems partnered with contact center outfit Edify, which was later acquired by Intervoice, and then bought by Convergys (News - Alert).
But Digital Voice Systems really hit on something special when it met up with Interactive Intelligence in 1998, Parrott says.
“I think the CIC product is unmatched in the industry right now, and our experience in the industry is unmatched,” he says.
Interactive Intelligence’s CIC, or Customer Interaction Center, is an IP-based platform that can be delivered as an on-premises or hosted basis. It features PBX/IP PBX functionality, ACD features, agent scoring, customer satisfaction surveys, IVR and self-service automation, knowledge management, multi-site routing, outbound dialing, quality monitoring and reporting, screen recording, and workforce management. The CIC solution also enables multimedia queuing to the right agent at the right time, records those interactions, and scores interactions so agents performance can be evaluated and optimized, adds Parrott.
CIC also offers speech analytics, which uses keywords during conversations to determine the most significant parts of interactions to help provide direction on how and when to act on them. Contact centers have hundreds or thousands of hours of recorded transactions, says Parrott; that can make it particularly challenging to tune in on what’s most meaningful. But CIC’s Interaction Analyzer can tag keywords and rank calls in real time, so call center managers can elect to listen to the top and bottom 5 percent of calls, for example, to see what went right and what needs to be improved.
“Before, it was a just a sea of calls,” he adds.
Parrott says Digital Voice Systems adds to that its 25 years of experience deploying contact center solutions.
When a customer wants its contact center to be a competitive advantage, that’s where Digital Voice Systems excels, he says. Customers tend to call on Digital Voice Systems when they have multiple contact center applications they want to leverage to be different or best in the industry. The company can get customers’ made-to-order contact centers up and running, and provide back-end integration with a variety of systems, including applications like SAP (News - Alert) and Seybold. Digital Voice Systems also maintains customers’ contact center solutions, most of which are premises based (although the company also sells cloud-based contact center solutions through its partnership with Interactive Intelligence).
This year Digital Voice Systems also began selling cloud-based software from RightNow Technologies (News - Alert) Inc., which Gartner in September recognized as a 2011 Magic Quadrant leader for CRM web customer service.
“Integration with RightNow and CIC is going to be big for us,” says Parrott.
While Digital Voice Systems and Interactive Intelligence together offer solutions to make the agent and the contact center more productive, Parrott explains, with RightNow it can make the customer more productive. That’s because the RightNow solution allows customers to access information via e-mail, Facebook (News - Alert) widgets, the web or other channels.
That way, agents don’t have to get involved in inquiries for which customers can find the answers themselves. This solution also caters to the preferences of the younger generation, which tends to prefer chat or self help to picking up a phone, adds Parrott. Self-help solutions also can be especially useful in cases in which the customer is involved in an activity and doesn’t want to get involved in a phone call with a customer service rep. For example, a fisherman who has a question about how to operate his gear on a boat might prefer accessing the Internet using his smartphone to get an answer as opposed to making a call to get the information from an individual, Parrott says.
Leveraging the software from Interactive Intelligence and RightNow, Digital Voice Systems addresses the needs of a wide variety of organizations. At the moment, Digital Voice Systems serves more than 100 customers with contact centers involving anywhere between 28 and thousands of agents.
“Because CIC is software based, you can buy exactly what you need, so that makes it very flexible,” adds Parrott.
Based in Northbrook, Ill., the privately owned and profitable Digital Voice Systems has deployments throughout North America, and has done some work in Latin America as well as in London and Sydney. The company caters to businesses in various verticals, including business process outsourcing, financial, oil, pharmaceutical, and more. Its customers range from those with annual revenues from the tens of millions up to much larger organizations, including Fortune 10 or 50 companies, Parrott says.
“At Digital Voice Systems, we partner with innovative organizations to deliver a solution that handles all communication channels, empowers both the customer and the agent, and management tools that improve the performance of any business,” he says. “The unified application platforms from Interactive Intelligence and RightNow Technologies provide a cost-effective and easily managed multichannel system for consistent and responsive customer service, along with end-to-end reporting and quality monitoring. Our proven solution provides real answers to the problems faced by today’s leading contact centers.”
Edited by Stefania Viscusi