This article originally appeared in the May 2011 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY.
Calabrio (News - Alert) Inc. got its start in 2007 with an integrated suite of workforce optimization software that it says is easy to implement, use and maintain. As a spin out company, Calabrio has more than 20 years of product development experience behind its software, which it distributes through channel partnerships and via an OEM relationship with Cisco (News - Alert). It’s a member of the Cisco Developer Network and a gold member of the Avaya DevConnect program.
Tim Kraskey, Calabrio’s vice president of marketing and business development, recently spoke with INTERNET TELEPHONY about the company and the opportunities it sees in the enterprise social networking.
What does Calabrio sell to whom?
Kraskey: Calabrio builds workforce optimization software applications – including call recording, quality management, speech analytics, workforce management and performance management for enterprise or service provider end users. We sell these applications through an authorized partner network around the world.
Why is it important for enterprises to embrace social networking?
Kraskey: They really have no choice. Either they embrace it, or the users of their products and services will do it for them. Imagine an unhappy customer who bought a new mobile phone. If the person doesn’t get acceptable service from either the mobile provider or the mobile phone manufacturer, he or she may just use a social media channel to tell the disservice story to thousands of possible readers. It could be a Tweet; blog post; Facebook (News - Alert) comment; LinkedIn comment; or other site that has thousands or even millions of eyes. This has already happened to many companies today, and they can no longer ignore the social networks. Companies need to embrace the change and get ahead of it.
Calabrio this spring unveiled its redesigned call center agent desktop, which now incorporates Web 2.0 and social media features like widgets. Tell us about this new product and what kind of new benefits it can deliver to customers.
Kraskey: Calabrio ONE is the first workforce optimization suite to draw on proven techniques of the social web (www.opensocial.org) to deliver workforce optimization tools that are intuitive, flexible and simple to support. The Calabrio ONE suite allows for a personalized dashboard, which is presented as a series of widgets. Each user can choose from the widget library of performance graphs and activities, then position and configure the dashboard according to his or her own needs and preferences. For example, an agent can set his or her dashboard to monitor his or her own schedule, adherence metrics, average quality scores for the day or the week, alerts and overall performance against team key performance indicators.
It’s about personalization and an efficient user experience with intuitive navigation. The user is just a click or two away from any task, and there is a consistent look and feel between all applications. These factors are designed to improve user satisfaction, eliminate wasted time moving from application to application, and dramatically reduce training time (the goal is no user manuals and intuitive learning through great design). Other advantages of the suite include freedom and flexibility, whether it is delivering applications to users on mobile devices or setting up time-saving task workflows.
Some of your competitors are already delivering social networking tools as part of their call center solutions. What is Calabrio’s unique angle on this?
Kraskey: Calabrio has been working with its customers to deliver a solution that addresses their needs in this area. An example is the ability to do quality evaluations on Facebook, Twitter and chat interactions, for example. This is an area of growth, and we are at the early stages of helping our customers establish a practice in this area.
We added the capability to do QA for social networks in this latest release. It includes key areas such as adding the feature for hyperlinking to other data. We are also adding scheduling capabilities in our workforce management application. This is only just the beginning of what we will be delivering in this area.
Beyond the call center, where else might businesses want to consider enabling social networking capabilities?
Kraskey: Another key area where these tools and applications are being provided is in marketing and human resources departments, and not just the call center. Sales should also be aware of conversations in social networks because they affect their potential future sales.
What’s next for enterprise social networking?
Kraskey: This is somewhat happening by trial and error and there is necessity now to make it more formalized in companies. Consolidation of the various applications and channels will be necessary. Tools like Cisco Social Miner will be key to bringing that discipline. Enterprises will need to define an owner (i.e. contact center vs. marketing), provide training and implement policies and best practices. It is not unlike the way contact centers had to shift to address e-mail when that channel was new to the contact center.
The demographics of users are changing. For example, hiring Gen X and Y into the call center will change how we use tools and applications. These same groups are also more likely not to call for help but send an e-mail, tweet, chat, etc. They will use their thumbs before they speak!
Edited by Stefania Viscusi