Advanced IVRs in Your Contact Center ACD

IVRs are the backbone for a contact center ACD. They can be pleasantly simple and they can also be quite complicated. I touched on a few of the more complex operations in the second linked post. Now I’m going to write about a few more of the IVR components that the Q-Suite features in its dialplan builder. Continue reading Advanced IVRs in Your Contact Center ACD

Enhanced multi-channel ACD routing to improve call center software efficiency

A multi-channel ACD does not imply separate queues for queuing different media  like voice, email, and social media. As a matter of fact, voice media might have many queues to take advantage of skills-based routing and queue priority. One reason to have exclusive queues for different media type is to simplify skill-set assignment. The more important consideration is to retain the ability to handle the different media calls judiciously with the realization that certain media type requires synchronous real-time communication while others require timely response, not necessarily real-time and synchronous. We know that voice conversations are real-time responses whereas emails require timely response in keeping with good customer service practice. This blog will review multi-channel ACD queue setup for skills based routing and discuss aspects of multi-channel media handling using enhanced features within a call center software.

Queuing and routing within a call center ACD is dictated by skills based routing and queue priority. Queues require specific skills to handle the voice calls, email, chat, or social media. Skills are dictated by the business requirements. For example, ability to conduct a conversation in English, Spanish, or French would each be a skill. Similarly, ability to answer customer inquiries on a specific product can be a skill required for handling calls coming into a specific queue. Writing skills and responding appropriately can be a skill essential for handling emails. Queues also have a priority that differentiates the level of service offered. A higher priority queue means it requires quicker response. Service is usually measured in terms of the average duration a customer waits before a call is handled. Employees who are involved with handling calls in the queue are assigned skill levels for the skills they possess. When an employee is logged into the call center ACD, their skills dictate the media calls they can handle and the skill level dictates the pecking order.

Queue priority is another important factor in the management of the service level within a contact center ACD. A higher priority queue will be handled before a lower one. When an employee becomes available, he or she gets the media from the highest priority queue for which they have the skills. Now let examine how to introduce efficiency in a multi-channel ACD with skills based routing and queue prioritization.

An emails do not require real-time synchronous response and therefore can be in a lower priority queue compared to a voice call. If an agent is offered an email from an email queue by the contact center ACD based on the skills based routing, it indicates that there were no calls waiting in any higher priority queue. When the employee starts working on the email response, a call can come into a voice queue that may require a faster response. With advanced call center software offering powerful ACD features like ability to re-queue media calls into a personal queue and make out of band announcement of calls waiting in higher priority queue, the employee handling an email can quickly re-queue it back into the ACD and be ready to handle the voice call. Here too, it can be re-queued into a personal queue that belongs to the employee so that they continue where they left off when it comes back to them. Such contact center ACD features will contribute to increase in the call center efficiency.

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.

Speech Analytics not a substitute for broken business process

Speech Analytics is now being offered widely as a solution to improve quality of service through contact centers. The recorded conversations are analysed by a software to extract information relating to the product and service. It can also be used to determine service issues related to center agents.

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Cloud based contact center solutions

Cloud contact centers are gaining acceptance at a rapid pace due to the availability of quality infrastructure and internet connectivity. The growth of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and the availability of larger network bandwidth at reasonable cost, started the initial migration towards centralized data centers. This infrastructure was available for use to a wider pool of geographically distributed work-force. It also reduced the cost of hiring IT and call center software experts for the management of a local infrastructure. This fueled the initial migration to Cloud contact center.
The availability of Cloud based contact center solutions as a service can be traced to the development multi-tenant software. Contact center is no exception and multi-tenant contact center software have been driving the growth of Cloud based contact center services. Multi-channel call center ACD with Skills based Routing, configurable IVR platform, Real-time and Historical reporting, and Dialer integration are the core components of a contact center software. All of these services are now available from cloud based contact center solutions.
Contact center solutions require a variety of applications like Visual IVR Call-flow Builder, Customer Interaction Scripting, CRM, voice recording, and WFM, all of which are made available as applications in the Cloud. The market share of Cloud deployments will continue to grow for the obvious reasons; contact center as a service eliminates large capital expenditures while providing the ability to scale on demand. Asterisk based contact center services in the cloud have contributed to this growth in a significant way.

Email and Trouble-ticket integration for intelligent ACD routing

At Indosoft, we support a range of customers around the world, requiring different levels of technical assistance. Our customer support department is directly manned by experienced technical staff who do everything from installation, setup, feature development, and automation, to handling phone support. Supporting a contact center software gets complicated since VoIP is an important consideration. Typical data and information systems deal will data whereas a contact center solution deals with voice and data.

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Integrating Phone, Email and Trouble-ticket support through Multi-Channel ACD

Providing good support to existing customers for your products or services will preserve customer loyalty and generate long term support revenue. This is especially true with software and information technology products and services. In the global market place, phone, email and web based support are the norm for offering customer service but they consume significant resources. With so much emphasis on sales, a lot of programs are offered to push sales, resulting in large volumes of customer inquiry. It is useful to look at how phone, email and web inquiries are organized before presenting them to a multi-channel call center software for routing.

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ACD Routing Strategy

Call routing is a critical function of an Automatic Call Distributor (ACD). Routing strategy is an abstract term indicating the measure of the flexibility available within an ACD governing its call routing capability. The strategy available within a PBX is different from the routing options within a sophisticated ACD. For an incoming call, the destination end point in a PBX is an extension. When deployed with an ACD, it is an ACD agent using the PBX extension. The ACD agents are part of different groups within the setup of a sophisticated call center software. Typically agent groups are trained to handle specific business functions.  All incoming calls for these business functions would be part of one or more queues.
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ACD Real-time and Historical Reporting

Call Center ACD reporting for productivity consists of 1) Queue 2) Agent and 3) Agent-Queue reporting metrics. Typically these reports cover different facets of the call center floor performance offering real-time and historical perspective into the overall functioning of the contact center.

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Essential Queue behavior for Multi-channel ACD

Queues are the back-bone of a modern ACD (Automatic Call Distribution). Within any sophisticated call center software, Queuing is an  abstraction of the information that represents all the various parameters and attributes of Queues and Calls. Queue management is the ability to efficiently distribute calls to the most appropriate Agent in a Call Center or an organization. The separation of queuing and queue management from the actual calls is a natural progression in the evolution of ACD. Skills based routing, Queue Priority and many other Queue manipulation features are a by-product of this progression.

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