New ShoreTel ECC and CISCO UCCX feature – Text Messaging?

We continue to focus on call center strategies that optimize the caller experience by reducing or eliminating wait time. Now clearly, you have to be in a business that actually cares about customers, we don’t expect the IRS will be implementing this feature in the near future! In our last blog we took a look at the use of Smartphone based applications that can do the “wait” for you, alerting the call center to call you back when an agent is available to speak with you. We thought we would take the state of the art to the next level, and interface an SMS resource to the call center. Using this technology, you can have your clients send a text message to your call center. The call center receives the message and queues you for call back. When an agent becomes available, the call center places a call to the phone number that originated the text message.

The smart phone applications have the advantage of offering the user a visual menu to alert the call center as to the reason for the call. “Make a Service appointment” would be a different button then “My bill has an error”. The SMS or Text message, however, has the advantage of being interactive. Sending a text message to the phone number associated with “make a service appointment” or just texting “service” could trigger a return text message that indicates available service times and the estimated wait time for your agent to call and confirm the appointment. Text messages can also contain key customer service information that can be used to trigger the CRM application when the agent does call you back.

If you don’t mind a third party service bureau, or being on a list of competitors offering a similar call back functionality you might look at the emerging players in the Smartphone market. Both and are offering Smartphone applications that you can tap almost immediately. In either case, the technology is basically augmenting the call centers existing call back feature set. We have been implementing our early SMS to CC interfaces using Twiio scripts and have just written the return telephone number to the database containing the abandoned call or call back from queue requests. These applications are relatively straight forward to implement and can be customized and refined as you call center learns more about how your clients make use of the application. The advantage of SMS approach is that you can implement it with your existing call center technology and you do not need an outside service bureau or the creation of a new iPhone application.

Call Center technology is going through a comparatively vigorous revision. If you really care about the experience your customers have when they call you, the old Music-on-hold model may not be what you want. Basically, you want to call them when they want to talk to you! Don’t make them wait on hold for the next available agent. Have the next available agent call them! We think these programs can be funded in the overall reduction in telephone lines alone. You can now size your call center based on how many agents you have not on how many clients are holding!

Send a note to with comments and questions, or better yet, text us 702-553-2706!

New ECC Feature – Smartphone based “Visual IVR”!

Imagine that you go to a restaurant, ask for the menu and the waiter hands you a phone?   You lift the handset and hear “Thank you for coming to our Restaurant home of great food and fine dining.  For breakfast, please dial one; for Lunch dial two and for our dinner selections, please press three now”.    Sound like a scene from the theater of the absurd?   Using a touch tone telephone to self-navigate through a customer relationship interaction is just as absurd in this day of Internet connected Smart phones.   It occurs to me that Smart phones should be communicating with smart call centers that have adopted, the next frontier in call center technology, “visual” menus!

Most customers contacting your call center know exactly who they want to speak with, so why do we present an audio menu tree?   We do that because we need to collect information that will help route the call to the most appropriate customer service agent.   Like teaching pigs to fly, however, it only annoys the customers and burns up expensive call center resources.   Is there a better way?   Imagine a Smartphone application, like a visual restaurant menu,  that could take the client directly to a “call me back button” representing the desired menu selection. Clicking this button passes all the relevant  customer contact and account information to the Call Center and directly places the customer in the proper queue, talking directly to the proper customer service agent.  The Agent not only knows who the client is, they are on the phone when the customer is connected.  Even when there is not available agent, the Smartphone application can trigger the call back, holding the customers place in queue, all without the annoying prompts and the extended hold times that often result when navigating the usual maze of an audio based IVR system.

Using a combination of existing technologies,  ECC Smartphone applications can eliminate customer frustration, improve the customer shopping experience and dramatically impact call center operations.  The Smartphone application actually gathers all of the needed customer input information and bypasses the “automated attendant”, hitting the call center queue only if there is an available fully informed agent, armed with the correct CRM display available before directly engaging the customer.   No more hoping the Caller ID brings up the correct CRM page!  No more fumbling while waiting for the “screen pop”!  No more conversations with angry and frustrated clients who have been waiting in queue far to long.

This ECC application couples a call back strategy with a visual navigation menu on the customers smartphone that actually places a phone call to the agent and the customer simultaneously. The inbound call request acts more like a web page or email, but is handled by the phone system as if a caller were pressing digits after being answered by an automated attendant system.   All the information that the caller would have otherwise had to enter into the IVR system has already been collected and made available to the call center.   Congestion in the Call Center, does not result in a “queue” of callers holding on very expensive telephone lines.   The same “your estimated wait time” technology has been translated into Smartphone display estimating when your call back should be expected.

The first step is for us to map our your existing IVR or Digital Receptionist to enable us to create “buttons” that take callers, using the Smartphone Applications, to there desired end points.   As a second step we integrate this call flow into your existing call center, enabling “call back” when no agents are available.  Lastly, we make sure that the account information is collected and made available to your CRM solution before the call is present to either the agent or the customer! The internet is already in place and your customers already have smart phones.  More than likely, your company maintains a very sophisticated website, complete with shopping cart.  Rather than invest in building out the infrastructure that houses more telephone lines and more customer service agents, an investment is made in more fully integrating your existing CRM and Internet technologies toward the goal of higher customer satisfaction and retention.

Give us a call or write for implementation details!