Providing technical support for Information Technology (IT) or Software products world-wide is challenging enough; supporting call center software that controls and drives contact center operations is even more demanding. These operations are perceived as mission critical and demand immediate problem resolutions, often skewing the normal work-flow plans. Unlike normal software and IT systems, voice telephony based contact center solutions are more visible and attract significantly more attention from the stake-holders when things are perceived to be not functioning in the expected manner. In today’s business culture of wanting everything as a commodity, it is a difficult task to convince the upper management for the required investments up-front, like setting up fully redundant systems, doing proper trial runs and planning the production runs thoroughly. This is also largely in part due to the commercial success of excellent open source telephony platforms like Asterisk, forcing the contact center domain to become more commodity driven.
At Indosoft, when we introduced Q-Suite as a multi-channel ACD, our Director of support services wanted it deployed internally to manage customer support for our contact center software. We provide remote technical support and sometimes are the first line of IT support for many contact centers world-wide. These support operations are manned directly by our highly trained technical staff, who do other technical work like installation and training as well. They are not on the phone all the time like a contact center employee. A conventional contact center is operated on the basis of standardized metrics whereas our technical support help desk supports live contact centers acting more like the customer’s IT support with the additional responsibility of supporting VoIP telephony. We had to plan the deployment of the call center ACD in such a way that it allowed the staff to be a skilled technical worker who can deliver effective contact center support to the end customer.
Taking advantage of the multi-channel capability of the contact center ACD within Q-Suite, our help desk support line was integrated to handle phone support, email support and web based trouble-ticket support. We use a powerful web based trouble ticket system that is accessible to our customers for creating and updating their information on the support issues. For every new request, the system generates an auto-email that provides acknowledgement to the customer. Every new issue gets a unique ticket number. When new trouble tickets are created or existing trouble tickets are updated, an email is also sent to the contact center ACD.
The heart of the contact center software is the multi-channel ACD. It can queue phone calls, emails, and web generated trouble tickets in queues. Any number of queues can be setup, with each queue having an assigned priority and a set of skills required to handle it. The ability to push phone calls, emails and web requests into any particular queue is controlled using the Visual Call Flow Builder tool. Skills based routing in conjunction with queue priority is used by the contact center ACD to route calls to the most appropriately skilled employee available at the time to handle the Help Desk.
One interesting routing tool available within the Visual Call Flow Builder is the Inbound Call Router which has a unique and powerful call routing decision making mechanism essential for Help Desk support management. Using the input value obtained either from the call (like a DID or callerID) or from the caller through an IVR, this tool can compare the value to a list of values and determine where the call should be routed. The list of values can be in the database or uploaded from a file. For example, a list of postal code might determine how the calls should be routed. The destination could be a queue, an extension or even an external DID.
The Q-Suite has a powerful daemon that watches for events happening within the call center ACD and provide notifications. This event notification can be used to generate visible or audible alerts for certain events. If the technicians are busy with existing work, they may not be taking new calls. Should a call be flagged as a high priority call either by the event daemon, this alert will be seen by all the staff. The inbound Call Router can also be programmed from the Visual Call Flow Builder to pick-up key variables/parameters associated with the call so that the Help Desk technician will have the right pop-up information for the phone call.
We have been able to effectively combine the multi-channel ACD functionality within the call center software to provide an integrated Help Desk solution where the technical staff can engage in phone, email and web support integrated to a trouble ticket system. Q-Suite based solution with its powerful call center ACD can scale to multiple Asterisk servers and provide effective customer support for phone, email and web-driven Help Desk operations.