Customer Experience Management (CEM)

For Cloud-Based Call Centers That Might Kill IVR, Press or Say 2

Lots of choices
RingCentral is one of several choices for cloud-based contact centers. Rival Vonage Holdings Corp. (NYSE: VG) this week announced an expansion of its own cloud-based contact center footprint, Vonage CX Cloud, built on its cloud-native Unified Communications platform, Vonage Business Cloud.

One feature of the Vonage system is use of Nexmo, an application programming interface (API) platform that can do real-time "sentiment analysis" that detects the tone as well as the substance of a customer's communications and determines the best way to handle the call.

That's also the focus of specialty customer experience management software companies such as VHT, which counts telecom carriers in its customer base. The VHT Navigator maintains a customer profile that includes all contact information from the customer, including calls, texts, emails, social media posts and customer feedback surveys. When a contact center agent receives an incoming call, information about the caller is provided real-time so that the agent is prepared for what may be an angry customer. Calls can also be automatically escalated, based on that profile, so that the person answering has the right level of authority and information and is prepared to act.

As the RingCentral report points out, however, contact centers remain not just vehicles for better customer experience but also a means of being more efficient, i.e., cutting costs. The cloud-based approaches can help achieve those efficiency goals by eliminating repeat calls and shortening call times.

Ball notes, however, that the report shows that customer engagement has become more of a driving force than cost, and he believes the cloud is enabling that by making it more practical.

"Seventy-one percent of our customers say this is why they are doing this because their customers want it," he comments. "We are starting to see people really getting it. The cloud is helping because of [its] agility and the ability to be more flexible because it is easy and practical to provide better service. It is easier to connect people within different parts of a company because each one didn't spend half-a-million dollars on a premises system that doesn't talk to the other premises system. The cloud is enabling some things that weren't possible before."

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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