The Startup Call Center – Be Nimble, Be Quick

“Moving at the speed of business” is a cute slogan, but if you’re trying to get your venture off the ground quickly, that may be too slow. You’ve got dozens of things you’re trying to get going at the same time, and you can’t wait. Odds are you’re using the Cloud for a large part of your infrastructure. Your customer service line shouldn’t be any different.
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Your Call Center MVP

Your MVP has been a topic of discussion in startups and small business for a few years now. The phrase usually means “minimum viable product” – the smallest set of features and functionality that can get you off the ground and have customers buying your product. There’s an MVP for your call center as well. Continue reading Your Call Center MVP

Decision 2015: Call Center in the Cloud?

In Decision 2015: On-Premise Call Center? we looked at some of the trade-offs with on-premise call center solutions. At one time on-premise was the only viable solution, but in the last few years the march to Cloud solutions has had the momentum. Continue reading Decision 2015: Call Center in the Cloud?

Contact Center Software Integration With Sangoma Lyra

There has been a decided shift in the last decade from outbound predictive dialing or auto dialing to dialing warm leads and handling inbound calls.  A call center software suite like Q-Suite is designed to accommodate all of these, allowing a smooth transition in the call center from one type of dialing to another.  For a segment of the industry, however, mass dialing is still a required part of the business.  In these cases, Answering Machine Detection (AMD) can be a key part of making mass dialing worthwhile.  A properly tuned AMD system can be the saving grace in such a campaign.  For this reason, many dialers have incorporated AMD as part of their system.  Q-Suite allows per-campaign settings of Asterisk AMD to allow maximum performance.

The overall accuracy of AMD is good, but there is room for improvement.  Sangoma, a long-time innovator in telephony products, developed Lyra with the end result of improving the results achieved via AMD.  With their patent-pending technology and an eye to use with Asterisk, Open Source solutions and integrators can benefit from the advances made in this product.  Regulations on dropped and nuisance calls when mass dialing leads sometimes leave little leeway for errors in detection, and Lyra attempts to close this gap.  Using adaptive methods to recognize machines versus human answerers, the increase in accuracy can result in a large increase in productivity when agents are no longer connected to as many machines, and also results in an improvement in compliance metrics.

Thanks to increasing customer demand for integration of Lyra with Asterisk-based call center software, Indosoft has developed Lyra integration into Q-Suite.  This offers clients the choice of using a solid, free AMD option with Asterisk, as well as the ability to select a very impressive product in Lyra when they require it.

Dynamic Script Switching for Customer Service Representatives

Here is a situation we have all encountered over the years. When dealing with service providers via their contact center ACD, whether it is a cable, internet, phone, or insurance company to name a few, we will offer our best description about our issue to the current customer service representative (CSR). Too many times we are presented with the outcome of needing to be transferred to someone else who can better handle this particular inquiry. Once on the line with the next CSR, we are then forced to reiterate the exact same scenario that we had explained to the first CSR. This is not how a caller wants to spend their time. Continue reading Dynamic Script Switching for Customer Service Representatives

Contact Center Software for Cloud Platform

There are two distinct approaches to setting up a Cloud platform for offering contact center services. The first approach is to use a multi-tenant contact center software to build a call center solution on a given infrastructure. The second approach is to virtualize the underlying infrastructure and replicate the Contact Center ACD in each instance. The difference in the two approaches is the level at which abstraction is introduced. Cloud contact center solution does not necessarily mean multi-tenant or virtualization. When a service provider looks at building a Cloud platform to offer contact center solution as a service, these are the two available options.
Virtualization provides the ability to run multiple instances of the operating system co-existing on a shared hardware. This abstracts the underlying resources and the service provider manages multiple instances of contact centers providing dedicated instance for every customer. This approach brings out the benefit of Cloud delivery of service and centralizes the management of the infrastructure. It does not increase the operational efficiency at the Call Center ACD level. This is often the case when service providers virtualize Asterisk to offer Cloud based services.
A multi-tenant contact center software provides the ability to run multiple tenants using the same multi-channel ACD. Here the abstraction is at the contact center software layer, allowing the Cloud platform service provider to run one instance of the multi-channel ACD to deliver contact center solution to multiple, distinct, and separate contact centers. This is preferred to a virtual contact center solution as it brings about greater operational efficiency with less management overheads. There are powerful contact center solutions that support multi-tenant operation at the contact center ACD level with great degee of sophistication. Such solutions scale by increasing the capacity of the system without creating  additional virtual instances to manage.

Impact of Cloud Contact Center Services on Inbound Call Routing

Cloud contact center services are a natural progression of distributed computing where both voice and data services are made available through hosted platforms. Cloud-based solutions offer flexibility and benefits where services can be scaled on-demand and does away with the need to implement and maintain, hardware or platforms.

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Essentials of a Cloud Contact Center Service Platform

Gartner makes available for public distribution, a write-up called “Magic Quadrant for Contact Center Infrastructure”.  Aside from the market analysis and evaluation of some of the contact center solution providers, the narrative dated June 18, 2013, also provided insight into how the market perceives the technology. Under “Market Overview” it articulates that more and more solutions are now shipped as contact center software which can be run on properly configured commercial off-the-shelf servers.

Now this may be a recent phenomenon for proprietary solutions that are closed but it has always been the case with open source software driven technology platform particularly the Asterisk based contact center solutions. Linux O/S, Asterisk Telephony, MySQL Database, Apache Web Server, and all the dominant Web Browsers are open source and they form the backbone technology stack of the contact center solution. They are to a great degree, hardware vendor independent. There are many Cloud platform vendors like Rackspace and Amazon who offer the computing power and the backbone technology as a service, for deploying a cloud based contact center solution.

Cloud contact center service providers will require a contact center software that leverages a comparable technology stack and offer the essential functionality required for a contact center operation. Multi-tenant capability with a multi-channel ACD is a must for every Cloud based service provider. Skills based Routing, Dialer, and robust API for CRM integration are some of the other key elements required.

Distributed computing has been around for years. The unprecedented growth of network infrastructure and the evolution of Internet Protocol (IP) based technology methods has made it possible to move distributed computing capabilities to new heights. Cloud  platforms assemble the technology backbone and the contact center software to make it accessible through the IP networks. The shift to a service on demand model is one of the significant advantages offered by Cloud based contact center solutions.

Integration to Cloud Contact Center Services using API

Application Program Interfaces (API) are essential for integrating business and third party systems into the contact center solution work-flow. This is an important consideration when selecting a Cloud contact center solution. Mature service providers offer web services API that allow external applications to automate tasks. Almost all contact center software functionality available through a user interface can be exposed through Web API.

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Evaluating Cloud Contact Center Solutions

Cloud contact center solutions are becoming mainstream and are rapidly gaining market-share. Telecom, Internet and infrastructure service providers are diversifying into contact center services to expand their portfolio by utilizing multi-tenant contact center software. Cloud based deployments offer contact center software and associated infrastructure as a service, catering to on-demand growth. Using Cloud contact center services, with minimum capital expense, it is possible to start a contact center operation as long as there is adequate network bandwidth and connectivity. Continue reading Evaluating Cloud Contact Center Solutions