Avaya Adds a New Multimedia Dimension to the Picture
Jul 12, 2011 5:00 AM PT
Avaya is delivering multimedia capabilities to the front line with its Tuesday announcement of two new contact center products designed to bring agent-assisted and automated customer service up to speed with the social networking world.
Avaya Aura Contact Center 6.2 is a multimedia-assisted care application that features collaboration capabilities for unified desktop, reporting and administration; direct integration with social media; and scalability for up to 90,000 agents on a single virtual network. Avaya Aura Contact Center 6.2 capabilities are unified with the Avaya Aura Call Center Elite automatic call distribution application.
The second product, the Avaya Experience Portal, is an automated services platform for multimedia inbound and outbound interactions. Features include integration for seamless hand-off of customers; a virtualized environment capability; and the new Orchestration Designer for creating multimedia self-service applications using existing Web applications.
Avaya Experience Portal software and tools unify migration of applications from Avaya Interactive Response, Avaya Media Processing Server and the prior release of Avaya Voice Portal.
Cutting to the Chase
With these core upgrades, organizations can now leverage multiple forms of communication to assemble customer information and match it with the right agent in real-time, Jorge Blanco, vice president of contact center marketing for Avaya, told CRM Buyer. "Both products complement each other as core capabilities move forward. Call centers can orchestrate the consumer experience from outbound text to immediate Web-based, self-service interaction."
One potential scenario, he suggested, could be a customer using Twitter to broadcast dissatisfaction with a service. The software upgrade would gather and analyze that information, filter the event, and attach some analytics (e.g. how many followers that person has and where they are tweeting from).
The information would then be moved to the agent's desktop for follow-up, where the representative could establish a historical context, including other related calls, and take proactive steps to resolve the issue in the form of a phone call, email, or a response on Twitter.
"You can cross that whole stream with very little human intervention and connect the person to the right resources to solve the problem," Blanco explained.
The Wow Factor
The challenge for many contact center operators has been the integration complexity and the fact that they don't understand how pervasive the whole social media aspect is in consumer behavior, said Mike Taylor, chief technology officer, strategic products and services, for systems integrator SPS.
"Like many companies out there in the mid-size range, we have a lot of elements of traditional call centers, but struggle with the complexity and costs of adding other media options such as chat, Web and email to existing contact center components," he told CRM Buyer.
"While there are a lot of things going on around social media from the marketing perspective, it hasn't integrated with what is going on in customer support/contact center environments," he added. "But if something does go wrong, and if you can get to that information, filter it and understand how to react -- that's a huge opportunity to wow customers and provide exceptional customer service. That's much better than letting [the problem] live out there. Clearly, adding media types is a high priority for us."
Changing Customer Attitudes
Research confirms the growing need to orchestrate and integrate with a multimedia environment in managing the customer service experience. For example, 40 percent of consumers now prefer alternate methods of contact such as email, chat and text for their customer service, suggests an Avaya contact center customer preference study conducted by Fifth Quadrant.
"Not only are these [communication] modes changing, so is the demographic mix across the globe," Blanco added. "Our secondary research shows that perception levels of service are declining rapidly, and people are now willing to pay more to a company for better service."
Initial deployments for the new Avaya capabilities will likely be in the financial services, communications/cable and mobile service provider sectors, Blanco reported. "These are the folks that clearly are reaching out and beginning to leverage social media as a channel, and mining social media networks for service delivery opportunities.
"At the end of the day, we will see massive changes to consumer demographics and interaction -- as well as a significant amount of risk for companies that don't adapt to this new reality," Blanco said. "You're putting your brand on the table if you ignore it."