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September 1999

An Array Of High-Tech Solutions

Editors' Choice award Precision Call Processing Software From Xantel

Recognizing high-value customers has not been one of the fortes of traditional automatic call distributors (ACDs), which have been in use since the 1970s. Xantel has recently introduced its Connex 80/20 PCD (precision call distributor) to precisely identify high-value customers and route their calls to the appropriate person best suited to handle them. The Connex 80/20 PCD is a Windows NT-based software application that combines a patented rules-based routing engine, an agent desktop application, a set of enterprise collaboration features and full functionality for non-call-center users.

The Connex 80/20 PCD is designed to provide seamless integration with the call center infrastructure and co-exists with the PBX/ACD, IVR, LAN, WAN, database and voice mail systems. Its SQL server database layer provides open platform integration with all voice and data technologies, and allows the integration of information from front- and back-office systems. It is switch independent, integrates in front of or behind a customer's PBX and does not require that switches be upgraded with proprietary CTI protocols. It is also designed to handle up to 120 simultaneous conversations and up to 2,400 calls per hour.

The Connex 80/20 PCD's rules-based routing is typically integrated with the client's database so that calls can be intelligently routed and customer screens presented to agent desktops. The rules engine is activated once there is positive customer recognition using ANI, DNIS or any discrete numeric identifier such as account number, Social Security number or trouble ticket number. If none of these exists, a personalized number may be assigned with Connex. Service tiers can then be constructed to segment and manage different groups of customers, and personalized greetings can be played. Once customers are recognized, calls can be delivered to agents or agent workgroups using multiple call distribution methods including a "find me follow me" capability for calls that need to be routed to mobile workers. Xantel also provides Web-based click-to-call functionality with its WebClick feature.

The Connex 80/20 PCD desktop application, the PowerCSR, provides call center agents with queue visibility of multiple calls to permit real-time priority decisions on managing customer calls. PowerCSRs are enabled with the capability to set up custom routing rules, personalized greetings and status messages, all designed to provide one-to-one service. PowerCSRs manage voice mail, faxes and missed calls from one unified messaging box and can pull a real-time call log of historical interactions with customers. PowerCSRs can also make one-to-one customer-to-agent assignments for a specified length of time or fixed number of calls with Xantel's PersonalAgent Linking (PAL). All future calls from that customer are automatically routed to the PersonalAgent. PowerCSRs can also send instant messages across the enterprise with Connex Notes, view other agent and non-agent availability with workgroup member visibility and teleconference up to eight parties on a single call. Text labels can be attached to transferred calls so customers do not have to explain their problems again.

Xantel provides remote agent capabilities through a standard LAN, WAN, RAS or Internet connections, and remote agents have access to full client functionality. Remote, mobile or geographically dispersed agents can access real-time reports and can manage voice mail, faxes and e-mail through a simple telephone user interface for remote call management.

No. 529, www.ccsmag.com/freeinfo

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Editors' Choice award Web-Based Customer Care Software From Octane

Few will dispute that the Internet has challenged traditional business methodologies. In response to those challenges, Octane Software, Inc. has released Octane 99, a front-office application designed specifically to meet the needs of what Octane terms the Digital 1000, or the new generation of market leaders using the Internet and related technologies as an integral part of their business strategy. Octane 99 features patent-pending technologies that are designed to enable companies to deliver real-time, personalized customer care. Octane 99 is designed to allow companies to unite new and existing communication channels, such as the Web, e-mail and phone, into a single customer care solution; use real-time business intelligence to personalize interactions; and quickly adapt e-commerce sites to address changing market and customer demands to provide real-time, personalized customer care.

Octane 99 uses industry-standard, object-oriented technology, allowing businesses to provide customers with the information they want in the method they wish to receive it. Octane 99 is designed to provide multichannel support and real-time customer profiling capabilities.

For example, screens are created on-demand, presenting personalized information to both the customer and the agent, based on the information being collected during each interaction. As a result, users receive targeted, timely and relevant assistance, while organizations enjoy greater flexibility and do not need to create and customize screens.

All Octane users — including agents, customers, partners/resellers and remote/mobile employees — can access Octane 99 functionality anytime, anywhere, using standard Web browsers such as Microsoft’s Internet Explorer or Netscape’s Communicator.

Rather than requiring separate processes and applications to manage new media channels such as the Web and e-mail, Octane iChannels provide universal queuing, enabling agents to orchestrate multiple customer communications channels through a single interface. As a result, companies can now provide the same high levels of service that traditionally were available only through the most expensive channel — the telephone — at a lower cost to both the customer and the business. In addition, Octane 99 allows customers and agents to switch between contact channels conveniently at any point during their interaction. For example, a customer can browse a company’s Web site for information, fill out an information request, then call in over the telephone and reach an agent who can continue the transaction from the point where the customer left off.

Octane has developed iCubes to quickly identify and meet customer needs. iCubes are data centers that incorporate strategic business intelligence into each customer interaction. Using online analytical processing (OLAP) techniques, iCubes collect and analyze information from multiple sources throughout the enterprise. The results are then fed instantly back into customer care processes in real-time. Surveys can be taken unobtrusively through any channel, and customers profiled and segmented based on opportunity. This information is then used to adapt screens and processes dynamically to reflect users’ personal preferences, present upselling and cross-selling opportunities and tailor services to strengthen the customer relationship.

Octane’s design package, Octane Studio, is intended to minimize the time and effort spent documenting, coding and generating complex business processes through rapid process modeling methodology. Using Studio’s Visio-like flowchart interface, business analysts can create and test “best in class” operations with drag-and-drop ease, then deploy them instantly. A library of existing process templates provides comprehensive out-of-the-box functionality, which can be customized as the business grows and changes.

No. 530, www.ccsmag.com/freeinfo  

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Editors' Choice award ASP Customer Relationship Management From Synchrony Communications
For companies looking to provide live, integrated customer support, but do not have the up-front financial resources to invest in software packages, or do not have the IT resources to set up and then maintain a Web-based customer interaction system, or are looking for rapid integration and deployment of such a system, or that are simply looking to outsource these functions, application service provider (ASP) Synchrony Communications, Inc. has announced the availability of SYNCHRONY, its Web-based electronic relationship management (ERM) application that is designed to route all of a company's customer interactions into one synchronized source.

SYNCHRONY synchronizes all customer phone, fax and Internet communications, such as phone calls, e-mail, live Web chats, Web forms, faxes and voice over IP into a single view on agents' PCs. To use SYNCHRONY, all the agents need on their desktops are a Web browser, a PC and a phone. Agents access SYNCHRONY through a Web browser, so all forms of contact are available on their screens. Also, the agent sees what Web page the customer is on and can also push pages to the customer. These pages are available to be stored in an information tree that is always accessible.

When a customer contact arrives at an agent's screen, the customer's entire history, such as what they bought, what they returned, who they contacted and when, also arrives with it. Agents can also perform searches using the search engine that is provided on their screens.

SYNCHRONY can queue all contacts regardless of type and route specific types of contacts to specific agents, so the best agent available will handle the contact.

SYNCHRONY can also be tied into existing back-office resources and provides multiple levels of security and authorization, so the client decides on who has access to proprietary and confidential data and who does not.

Synchrony Communications, since it is an ASP, provides the customization, maintenance and upgrading for its clients. SYNCHRONY is delivered as a subscription service via the Web, and usage costs are paid as they are incurred, with SYNCHRONY assuming total responsibility for the solution.

The SYNCHRONY solution is based on integration of proprietary technology and industry-standard solutions from Oracle, Cognos, Genesys, InFact, Lucent and Cisco Systems.

No. 531, www.ccsmag.com/freeinfo    

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Editors' Choice award All-In-One Call Center System From [email protected]
[email protected] has brought to market a veritable Swiss Army knife of a call center product, [email protected], which, through its NT-based enterprise communications server, processes customer interactions whether they originate on the telephone, fax, e-mail or the Web. [email protected] provides PBX, ACD, queuing, automatic mail distribution, call blending, IVR, voice mail, fax, unified messaging, Web callback, optional predictive/preview dialing, remote agent and supervision capabilities and optional voice over Web and voice over IP capabilities.

Through [email protected], agents can access net-enabled visual call control and remote screen pops and gain instant access to all help desk data and information stores. [email protected] also provides remote agent monitoring and coaching capabilities.

The built-in server-based PBX can generate dial tone for internal, physical extensions and allow users to make internal calls without taking up a line. It also allows on-site as well as remote agents to receive and transfer calls, place callers on hold and create conference calls with visual call control. The PBX can also support virtual extensions or use a voice over IP option.

[email protected] provides skills- based routing capabilities and built-in customizable IVR menus. Callers respond to menus with touch-tone entries or use the system’s optional speech recognition capabilities. Calls are routed based on a customizable, weighted calculation that includes agent skills, agent cost and/or idle time.

[email protected] also provides advanced queuing features and automatic mail distribution, which distributes all voice mail, faxes and e-mail sent to general departments among those in the appropriate workgroups.

The agent interface, the Interaction Manager, enables agents to switch between inbound and outbound campaigns. The Interaction Manager provides a banner that tells the agent if the current call is an inbound call from the ACD or an outbound predictive, preview or Web callback call.

The built-in IVR enables the customization of call flows based on DNIS and provides callers with IVR voice menus that gather call routing information and deliver prerecorded announcements at various points in the call. The Interaction Scripts that appear on the agent’s desktop will vary based on the caller’s touch-tone entries.

Built-in fax capabilities include the ability to send and receive faxes over the LAN, WAN or Internet as well as via dial-up or private network. Unified messaging enables local and remote agents to retrieve all of their voice mail, faxes and e-mail from Microsoft Outlook or any other e-mail client via LAN, WAN, private network, dial up or the Internet.

[email protected]’s built-in Web callback functionality enables Web site visitors to request an automatic callback immediately or at a specified time. The Enterprise Server will call an appropriate agent at the specified time and instruct them to hold for a Web callback connection. The server then makes another outbound call and connects the agent to the person who made the callback request.

Optional predictive and preview dialers allow remote agents to stay connected to handle outbound calls in sequence while the Interaction Manager’s user interface provides them with campaign-specific Interaction Scripts and synchronized screen pops of prospect information. The automated dialer option makes outbound calls and plays recorded announcements when calls are answered, or it can be configured to give people the option of transferring to a live agent after the message is played.

No. 532, www.ccsmag.com/freeinfo    

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