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August 20, 2009

Hard Questions for 'Customer UC' Panel Discussion at ITEXPO

By Art Rosenberg

As UC technology slowly but surely pervades the legacy domains of TDM telephony, the most important targets, from a business operational standpoint, are any enterprise communication contacts that are customer facing.  That would include dedicated call center “agents, as well as subject-matter “experts,” decision-makers, and mobile “action-takers (field support).”

The resulting UC “ROI” is not just from cost-reductions because of more efficient IP infrastructures, or even greater internal staff productivity, but because it can speed up revenue generation or prevent business losses through more responsive and efficient business processes, increase customer satisfaction and retention, and enable better productivity for any end users involved in a business process that requires timely contact with people.

While the role of UC technologies in contact centers is still evolving, it is very obvious that UC flexibility is not going to be restricted to internal enterprise staff, nor just to traditional call center “agents.” Customers and external business partners, along with internal business “experts,” will be affected. Accordingly, there are many kinds of changes that will take place in enterprise communications that will involve UC applications and customer-related activities, which I have labeled as “Customer UC.”

UC Questions for Enterprise Contact Centers

I will be moderating a leadoff panel discussion at the upcoming Internet Telephony (News - Alert) Conference and Expo (ITEXPO) in Los Angeles, Sept. 1, 2009, on ”UC and the Contact Center.”

Here are some of the basic “Customer UC” issues that will be addressed:

1. Who should be in charge of Customer UC migration planning? What are the different responsibility roles for IT, Operations, LOB management?
2. What traditional call center processes, including IVR self-service applications, will be changed first by UC? Which won’t?
3. What are key considerations for presence in a Customer UC environment?
4. How will UC benefit contact center “agents” differently than “experts?”
5. How will customer-facing business process applications be affected by UC and “CEBP?”
6. How should new Customer UC capabilities be “trialed” and implemented?
7. What will desktop requirements be for dealing directly with mobile, ”multimodal” customers?
8. What Customer UC features and functions benefits are most important directly to customers? How will they be measured?

Please feel free to send me suggestions for other questions that are bothering you about how UC will change customer interactions within an enterprise. I will be publishing the results of this panel discussion, including audience comments, in a future column.

What Do You Think?

You can contact me at: or (310) 395-2360.

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Art Rosenberg, a veteran of the computer and communications industry, contributes his column, The Unified-View to TMCnet. To read more of Art’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard


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