WebRTC to change the Contact Center For Ever! Enter Amazon Mayday Button!

Last month we wrote that we believed that webRTC had the potential to change the business communications landscape forever especially as it related to contact centers!  Little did we know that in less than a month, Amazon would do just that with the introduction of the “Mayday” Button.    The Mayday button does just what webRTC is destined to do, embedding a real time, text  audio and visual communications channel within a web browser!   Technical support will never be the same and as we previously proposed, neither will the Contact Center be the same!   Customer Service is about to be redefined and Amazon seems to be leading the way with the absolute first mass implementation of a webRTC application.

The button, a LifeSavior Icon, appears on Amazon’s new Kindle Fire.  Push this button and a dialog box opens with a real time video image of your technical support consultant.   You can see him, but he can not see you.  He can hear you and remotely operate your device, trouble shooting your issue and “show you how” to do a troublesome operation.   If you can not “see” the impact of this game changing technology, you most likely did not see the internet or the tablet market developing either!

What is so amazing about the technology is that the core elements for implementation are readily available.   This is not and R&D project, but more of an integration of currently available technologies.   WebRTC requires a modern  browser but does not require any plug-ins, usernames, passwords or downloads.  This technology will make peer to peer video pervasive and make establishing real time video teleconferences as easy as clicking a link!   One can only hope that Microsoft will for once, just embrace the technology and skip the always painful promotion of some other “not invented” here model like CU-RTC.

Historically, Call Centers were places that you “called” from your home phone.   Now we understand the immediacy of Contact Centers which treat email, chat and sms as readily as phone calls.  Contact Centers understand that the “home phone” is now a mobile device and there is an entire generation of customers who have never had a “land line”.      It does not take a market visionary to see the “high touch” ramifications of a video interaction and the inevitable impact it will have on the “customer service” paradigm.   Adopting video on demand or “click for support” options in the call center is not an option, it is an imperative and will quickly impact the market by segmenting customer service as quickly as new technologies buried the Polaroid!

We are now integrating webRTC Call Center applications either as an appliance or as a cloud in the form of InstaVoice, FACEmeeting, TokBox and Tawk.   Clearly, some customer service applications are more visual and can benefit more immediately than others by adding a video component.  Clearly, technical support or instructional  applications are at the top of the list.   Can American Express be far behind. Are you more likely to interact with a credit card company representative you can see in addition to hear?   (We can only guess at what the HR impact will be on Contact Centers that adopt webRTC, but that is another topic and also worthy of discussion).

We would welcome the opportunity to discuss the concept of webRTC within the context of a real contact center application, so call click or email!   You will be “seeing” a lot more of this from DrVoIP and others, so stay tuned!








UCCX Scripting – Working with XML documents

When writing call control scripts for Contact Centers (ShoreTel ECC, CISCO UCCX ) do you really have to start over each time?   Are there really that many differences between contact center applications?    Well, yes and no!  As we continue the search for the killer script, that “holy grail” of scripts which can do it all and never needs to be modified, we turn our attention to the wonderful world of XML!    Every Scripting Engineer has a library of routines that hey have emerged over time.  They accumulate over as the scripts become more refined with time and experience.   You would think there would be nothing new under the sun, but from time to time someone hits on a particularly creative solution to a common call flow requirement.

I have to credit Steven Griffin, a true rockstar of a  software engineer,  with opening my eyes to the possibility of using a “QueueOptions.xml” file to specify parameters you might otherwise hard code in a UCCX call control script.  I have learned from other engineers like Wesley Forvergne and Anthony Holloway how to build on this concept (these guys have all really advanced the state of the art IMHO)  and create scripts that are extensible, supportable and flexible!  Why have to write another script or launch other instance of a script just because the SLA, Menu or Schedule changed?  Why not have a Script that can reconfigure itself based on parameters recovered from a configuration file, using DNIS as the file index?   An inbound call to the contact center triggers a script which uses the DNIS to look up the appropriate configuration for the number dialed.

Maybe this DNIS differs from another DNIS only in as much as the On hours specified  in the Schedule?  If you have been using that “Day of Week” and “Time of Day” UCCX script step you have no alternative but to have either a bunch of “if” steps or creating the same script on another trigger so that you can have a different operating time.  What an inefficient waste of processor and system resources!   Why not just read in the Schedule from an XML file and use the same script for all your DNIS numbers, all on the same trigger?  You can even reconfigure the Menu and Prompts, change the voice mail box, determine if you should play “estimated time in queue” or not and just generally customize the script on the fly!

XML is just a powerful alternative to OBDC type solutions.  No special drivers, portable across operating systems, language independent and able to handle dynamic database changes.  Your XML document can be updated dynamically as required through HTTP and other web based technologies.  This makes it possible  to integrate your call flow based on input from a website entry!   How about SMS to XML?  Think of the possibilities!   I guess that is what we really enjoy about Contact Center scripting!  Never a dull moment and limited only by imagination.

The video discusses the creation of an Xpath specification assembled on the fly and uses a string value to index the XML document.   Great entertainment and fun for the entire family!