Why your call center needs “TEXT” solutions!

21st Century Call Centers still operate with 1980 business models!

I have been working with inbound call center for some 40+ years and despite all the”omni” channel technology the inbound call center model has not changed very much.   Those of us who have call centers that support a for profit business are focused on improving the customer or patient experience.   We all want lower caller holding times, faster response times and lower costs.   I have never heard anyone say, lets add more agents!   The usual answer is lets add more telephone lines!   This strikes me as more than ridiculous!   Basically, increasing the size of the catchers mitt by adding more telephone lines,  enables the call center to increase the number of people on hold awaiting service by the same number of agents.  Now how can that make sense?   If you think about it, the only reason you have more inbound telephone lines than you have agents, is so folks do not get a busy signal.  Over the years call centers have learned that it is better to capture the call and then hold the caller than it is to generate a busy signal.

One of the major differences between a call center in the 21st century and earlier call centers, is the availability of “smart phones”!   As it relates to the American Business Landscape you are on safe ground if you just assume that every man, woman and child in America has a smart phone.   In fact, it is safe to assume that smart phones have long ago out paced wireline connections.   So why not use this resource to change the call center model?   Why have more incoming telephone lines than your call center has trained agents or customer service representatives?  Additionally, nobody is sitting at home or the office holding a phone handset while waiting for the “next available agent”.  They are driving the kids to school, or running around the market place in an ever increasingly more mobile environment.

“Now that cell phones are owned by 90% of American adults, many are ditching their landlines and going completely wireless in their households. The CDC recently reported that 39.4% of homes in the U.S. indicated having no landline phone and at least one wireless device. This trend is now being adopted by more and more households as many find it unnecessary to have both a landline and one or more mobile devices” – Green Mountain Communications 

Enable two way TEXT in your call center!

TEXT notifications are ubiquitous—from doctor appointment reminders to credit card fraud notifications, they are commonly used to send messages, alerts, and reminders. All too often, however, the message only goes one-way and the customer cannot reply with a question or text back anything other than a confirmation code or a request to stop receiving such messages. Or, the customer is provided a phone number to dial for further assistance.  Enabling two way TEXT applications in your Call Center could be a disruptive game changer!

Imagine a call center in which folks just send a ‘text’ to the call center.   The call center could respond with a useful message that estimates the wait time for a return call if an agent can not immediately call you back.  A very simple change in strategy, but the improvement in customer service and reduced operating expense should be obvious:

  • Customer Sends TEXT – “Please call me”
  • Call Center  returns either a voice call from an available agent or;
  • Call Center returns a TEXT message “We will return a call to you at this number in 5 minutes.   Is that a good time to speak with you”
  • No more IVR “call trees” or extended hold times.  The customer knows exactly what to expect and when to expect it!  Options to call another number of call at another time can be easily worked into the TEXT conversation.   NO need to have more than one telephone line per agent!

The Deep Data Integration options are enormous:

  • Customer Sends TEXT – “Please call me”
  • Call Center returns a TEXT message “Hi Peter, we see you have an appointment on the calendar for Monday, is this what you are calling about”?
  • Customer Sends TEXT – “I need to change my appointment”

The fact of the matter is it may not be necessary to speak with an Agent at all!    The application of Artificial Intelligence and “bot” technology to TEXT based information is significantly more achievable than that required of speech recognition.  It is also much less costly to implement!

No more Abandoned Calls!

A TEXT based Call Centers would drop the abandoned call statistics to zero!  Given that all calls are now scheduled and there is no caller waiting in queue on an incoming telephone line that your call center pays for, there are no abandoned calls!  This would decrease holding times and increase service levels across the board.   It is also self documenting, secure

4 Reasons Your Call Center Needs SMS

Many of the benefits SMS affords companies are specific, but there are also some big picture advantages worth exploring. Here are the top reasons why your call center needs SMS.

  1. Customers Want SMS

SMS is the new email. Customers are comfortable with texting and prefer SMS for the flexibility and convenience. While it was easy to ignore in the past (when only a small fraction of consumers used text messaging), you can no longer ignore SMS without some negative consequences.  According to industry research, call center wait times are one of the biggest turnoffs for customers. The vast majority of customers – 95 percent to be exact – feel like five minutes is the longest you should ever have to wait to speak with someone. Unfortunately, the majority of businesses force customers to wait much longer than this. Enabling SMS not only relieves call center congestion, but it also gives customers the option to ask for a callback, as opposed to waiting on the line.

  1. Self-Service Options

As you know, many of the calls your customer service department fields are simple. However, they still tie up your time, energy, and resources. What if you could automate these simple, yet time-consuming calls and free up your resources for the bigger picture issues? Well, you can.  Ultimately these self-service options benefit businesses in multiple ways. To quote our article, “consumers will often take the path of least resistance, so offering a text in service will save them having to call in, while avoiding having complaints aired in public on social media.” In the end, this leads to more satisfied customers, better brand image, and fewer wasted call center resources.

  1. Superior Service

The bottom line is that phone lines simply don’t cut it anymore. The modern consumer expects businesses to offer multiple channels of engagement and doesn’t want to be forced into placing a phone call. SMS is seen as much more convenient and service-oriented.  This is why text-enabled concierge services like GoButler have seen tremendous success. Customers feel like they’re getting more value from a company or service provider when the company is willing to communicate in comfortable and convenient ways.

Consider a cable and internet provider. Instead of needing to place a phone call and wait on hold for 10, 20, or 30 minutes, a customer could send a simple text message to the company that reads, “Hey, my internet is down. Can you help?” The provider can then respond with some simple questions about the situation and set up an appointment time without further disrupting the customer’s day.

  1. Customers Answer Texts

From the enterprise side of things, it’s sometimes necessary to contact customers. Well, the problem with contacting customers is that they’re often hard to get in touch with. Many users won’t answer numbers they don’t recognize and others rarely check their voicemails after missing a call.   SMS is an entirely different story. The Pew Research Center says 67 percent of cell phone users check their phone for messages even when they don’t notice it vibrating or ringing. Roughly 44 percent sleep with their phones next to their beds in case they receive a message or notification while sleeping.

Both of these statistics prove that customers are highly connected to mobile messaging. This rapid response makes SMS the quickest way to connect with customers, especially when the issue at hand is timely in nature.

Give TEXT a chance now!

The benefits of enabling TEXT in your call center will increase customer satisfaction, enhance the service experience and significantly increase productivity in your call center while reducing over all costs!   If you would like to experiment with TEXT in your call center, send the keyword DEMO to 424-348-4000 and we can get you setup in short order.   You might also check out www.Click2WebChat.com for some additional thinking on this subject.

The Achilles Heel of all Cloud Based Call Centers!

The Cloud Call Center Problem Statement!

A very common call center requirement is the ability to route a call based on the DNIS number dialed.  This is simple enough when you have only a few DNIS numbers to manage, but consider this application:   Consider a central call center that provides centralized appointment scheduling for some 600+ medical offices.    The call center agents are required to answer an inbound call with a custom answer greeting that is based on the medical office that cares for that patient.   The solution in place today requires the cloud platform to have a unique DNIS for each of 600 medical offices.  When a medical office wants to take advantage of services offered by the call center, they call forward their phone to the unique DNIS number on the call center platform assigned to their medical office.   On an incoming ring,  the call center grabs the DNIS and uses that number to index a connected database to retrieve the  name of the medical office and then display it to the agents on call presentation so they can provide the custom answer prompt.

As you might imagine, maintaining and updating both the relative campaign and a database of DNIS numbers is not only a nuisance with many opportunities for an error, it is also not very scalable.  The simplest solution is the ability to normalize or change SIP Headers or obtain the RDNIS in a PRI connection.   Neither of these is an option in any of the many cloud based solutions we have worked with.

The CPE solution!

In a CPE based solution we can touch the boarder controller of the incoming SIP trunk and see the various headers.   In a PRI trunk you could also see not only the CID/ANI  but the DNIS and the RDNIS.   RDNIS is commonly used in a voice mail system for example, to know the correct mailbox to open so the caller does not hear a main greeting but a custom greeting for the mailbox owner.   In either the SIP or PRI environment, we would NOT need 600 DNIS numbers to solve this application.   We could see the RDNIS or the FROM SIP header and use that field to look up the correct answer prompt or medical office name in the database.  We did a complete tutorial on this SIP header manipulation to achieve this same solution though the application was a bit different.

One for all and all for one?

Another major shortfall with cloud based call centers is that you will find it very hard to make modifications that are unique to your call center.  Keep in mind that all the cloud based call centers, with the possible exception of AWS Connect, are solutions that encompass many different clients.   The cloud provider can not make a modification for your call center unless it is applicable to all their other clients.  Likewise, when they upgrade or add a new feature, you are getting the new feature and the upgrade regardless of your desire to participate!


The Cloud is an amazing resource but it is not a one size fits all.  You will need to understand your requirements and how they match to what is generally available from your provider.  You should also understand that you will be increasing your WAN connectivity requirements to include advanced options like Software Defined Networks and MPLS, BGP along with bandwidth increases and new firewall challenges that you would not have on a CPE deployment.   You will still have phone and video end points, power over ethernet switches, network access credentials, intrusion protection and all of the IT resources you would still have with the Call Center located on site.  There are many advantages to the cloud, but make sure you know what you are hitching enterprise with!





DrVoIP CISCO CIPTV2 CCNP Collaboration 300-075 Study notes!

OverView of 300-075 Content

Like many other working VoIP Engineers, I have had to upgrade my CCNP yet again. The first time was when CISCO changed from CCVP to CCNP Voice. Now we have to convert from CCNP Voice to CCNP Collaboration. The good news is, if you have a CCNP voice you only need to pass this one test, the CISCO 300-075 CIPTV2! The test however, is remarkably difficult as the availability of study materials is limited. The available CISCO Press book “Implementing IP Telephony and Video Foundation Learning Guide” is just not going to get the job done! Certainly you should digest the book but do not expect to pass this exam with only the material contained in that book. The book is useful for at least highlighting the areas you need to study:

(a) Expressway Firewall Traversal Configuration;
(b) VCS Control;
(c) All things Mobility (Device Mobility, Extension Mobility and Mobile Voice Access);
(d) SRST;
(e) QOS for Video including RSVP options;
(f) SAF and CCD; ILS and GDPR
(g) LRG, AAR and TEHO;
(h) Translation Patterns and Voice Translation Rules;

All these areas were covered in the exam, so be prepared. The good news is I got an 820 when i took the test the first time. The bad news is that passing was 860! There was once question on Call Clearing codes that I had not idea how it got in this test, but none the less you might want to review  that material in the referenced URL

300-075 Practice Tests and Dumps

If you are just looking for a cheat sheet, I really cant help you as most of the stuff on the Internet is riddled with errors.  As near as I can figure it, all the practice tests and dumps on the net have the same source and are packed for marketing under different names.   I do find that they are useful for getting some focus on the exam content, but you need to look up every question and find a reference that supports the answer the dump indicates is correct.   I found many errors through study and research!  At the end of the day, you either know this stuff or your do not know this stuff.  Here is a list of sites that have practice materials available for no charge:


Real VoIP Engineer Study Sites

I found a few sites that are written by other engineers who are sharing their study notes as I am doing here.  Both of these are excellent examples created by other Engineers who were also cramming for this test.



https://ccieme.wordpress.com. (really great content)!

DrVoIP Study Notes on 300-075

In going through all the study materials, I noted my references and I offer them up here for others who may be following this path to certification.  The questions represent practice tests from the above sources in which they all had different answers to the same question.  So in keeping with my commitment to actually learn and digest this material, I dug deep to find CISCO references to support the answers or to sort through the wrong answer and find the correct answer.   As with all CISCO tests you need to carefully read the question and put the answers within the context of the subject they are asking about.  Many times there will be two very good answers, but only one is the one CISCO wants you to select to get the points for a correct answer!

1 – The HQ Cisco Unified Communications Manager has been configured for end-to-end RSVP. The BR Cisco Unified Communications Manager has been configured for local RSVP.
RSVP between the locations assigned to the IP phones and SIP trunks at each site are configured with mandatory RSVP. When a call is placed from the IP phone at HQ to the BR phone at the BR site, which statement is true?https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/voice_ip_comm/cucm/admin/8_6_1/ccmsys/accm-861-cm/a02rsvp.pdf

End-to-End RSVP

End-to-end RSVP configuration is available if the clusters are connected by a SIP trunk. End-to-end RSVP uses RSVP on the entire connection between the end points, and uses only one RSVP agent per cluster.

Consider the following scenario:

endpoint A — agentA — ICT1 — ICT2 — agentB — endpoint B

where A specifies an endpoint in cluster 1, B specifies an endpoint in cluster 2, ICT1 and ICT2 specify the intercluster trunks within clusters 1 and 2, and the RSVP Agents associate with the respective end points.

In this scenario, Cisco Unified Communications Manager establishes an end-to-end RSVP connection between agentA and agentB.

Configuring End-to-End RSVP Over a SIP Trunk

RSVP configuration on a SIP trunk is determined by the SIP profile that is applied to the trunk. To enable end-to-end RSVP on a SIP trunk, configure the trunk’s SIP profile as follows:

  • From the RSVP Over SIP drop-down list, choose E2E.
  • Set the Fall back to local RSVP field to your preference.
  • From the SIP Rel1XX Options drop-down list, choose an option other than Disabled.


2 – Company X has deployed a VCS Control with a local zone and a traversal client zone. To facilitate external calls, VCS Expressway is deployed and traversal server zone is set up there. Video endpoints inside Company X have registered, but are unable to receive calls from outside endpoints. Which option could be the cause of this issue?

Which Three Devices Support the SAF Call Control Discover Protocol?



CUCM, CUBE, CME, IOS Gateway, CUCM CME are CCD SAF clients!

3 – Which two steps must you take when implementing TEHO in your environment?


4 – Which two commands verify Cisco IP Phone registration? (Choose two.) . https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/voice_ip_comm/cucme/troubleshooting/guide/ts_phreg.html

For SCCP phones: Use the show ephone registered command to display the status of registered SCCP phones.

For SIP phones: Use the show voice register statistics command to display statistics associated with the registration event.  Use this command to display all the SIP endpoints currently registered with the contact address.
Router# show sip-ua status registrar

5 – A pre sales engineer is working on a quote for a major customer and must evaluate how
many Cisco VCS Expressway traversal call licenses for which to plan. Calls to and from
which three routes must the engineer include in the tally? (Choose three.)    or said another way

(When do calls on a VCS use a traversal call license?

  1. Any call where the VCS takes the media as well as the signaling is a traversal calland will use a traversal call license on that VCS. The following calls require the VCS to take the media, and are therefore traversal calls:
  • for a VCS Control, calls to or from a traversal server (i.e. firewall traversal calls)
  • for a VCS Expressway, calls to or from a traversal client (i.e. firewall traversal calls); traversal clients include other VCSs, gatekeepers, Border Controllers, or traversal-enabled endpoints
  • calls that are gatewayed (interworked) between H.323 and SIP on the local VCS
  • calls that are gatewayed (interworked) between IPv4 and IPv6 on the local VCS
  • for VCSs with Dual Network Interfaces enabled, calls that are inbound from one LAN port and outbound on the other
  • a SIP to SIP call when one of the participants is behind a NAT (unless both endpoints are using ICE for NAT traversal)

6 – What is the standard Layer 3 DSCP media packet value that should be set for Cisco
TelePresence endpoints?  (CS4/32) See Table 5-1  If the question is on Telepresense it is CS4/32 if it is a quation on Video then it is AF41/34


7 – Which two actions ensure that the call load from Cisco TelePresence Video
Communication Server to a Cisco Unified Communications Manager cluster is shared
across Unified CM nodes? (Choose two.)
https://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en/us/td/docs/telepresence/infrastructure/vcs/config_guide/X8-1/Cisco-VCS-Basic-Configuration-Control-with-Expressway-Deployment-Guide-X8-1.pdf  and See Table 11

8 – An engineer must resolve a call failure issue. When using RTMT, the engineer notices that
the Location Bandwidth Manager-OutOfResources counter is showing a positive value.
Which option is the cause of the call failure?

9 – An engineer is configuring URI calling within the same cluster. Which four actions must be
taken to accomplish this configuration? (Choose four.)

10 – Which two options are functionalities of subzones in  cisco vcs deployment (choose two). https://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en/us/td/docs/telepresence/infrastructure/vcs/admin_guide/Cisco_VCS_Administrator_Guide_X7-2.pdf


Bandwidth management

The Local Zone’s subzones are used for bandwidth management. After you have set up your subzones you can apply bandwidth limits to:

n individual calls between two endpoints within the subzone
n individual calls between an endpoint within the subzone and another endpoint outside of the subzone n the total of calls to or from endpoints within the subzone

For full details of how to create and configure subzones, and apply bandwidth limitations to subzones including the Default Subzone and Traversal Subzone, see the Bandwidth control section.

Registration, authentication and media encryption policies

In addition to bandwidth management, subzones are also used to control the VCS’s registration, authentication and media encryption policies.

Apply registration, authentication, and media encryption policies
Manage bandwidth to restrict standard definition endpoints from using more than 2 Mb of bandwidth. “Subzones are used to control the bandwidth used by various parts of your network, and to control the VCS’s registration, authentication and media encryption policies”.

11 – A voice-mail product that supports only the G.711 codec is installed in headquarters.
Which action allows branch Cisco IP phones to function with voice mail while using only the G.729 codec over the WAN link to headquarters?

Much confusion as to correct answer as some report B and others report C. The trick is in the question. The all must traverse the WAN as G.729, therefore you can not transfer at the branch. You send media to the Voice Mail at HQ as G.729 and transcode remotely at HQ. this suggests that B is the correct answer. – DrVoIP.com

12 – Which two are gatekeeper-controlled trunk options that support gatekeeper call administration control? (Choose two.) https://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/voice_ip_comm/cucm/admin/4_0_1/ccmsys/a08trnk.html#wp1098346

13 – An engineer is configuring Global Dial Plan Replication and wants to prevent the local cluster from routing the Vice President number 5555555555 to the remote cluster. Which action accomplishes this task?   Create a Block Learned pattern as outlined in this reference


14 – A PSTN call arrived at the MGCP gateway. The calling number was received as
14087071222 with number set to type international. The HQ_clng__pty_CSS contains the HQ_clng_pty__Pt partition. Which caller ID is displayed on the IP phone?


15 – Analog Voice Gateway support (See Table 1)


16 – An engineer must enable video desktop sharing between a Cisco Unified Communications Manager registered video endpoint and a Cisco VCS registered video endpoint. Which protocol must be enabled in SIP profile for VCS SIP trunk on Cisco Unified Communications Manager?


At any rate, using Dumps is a high risk.  At $300 US to take this exam, getting a “money back guarantee” on a $59 practice test is not very helpful.   I passed the on the second attempt with an 860!   I can assure you that more than 50% of the questions were NOT on any dump.  Again the only real value in these dumps is to point you in a study area.  Take every question and open a text book, or CISCO reference and make sure you really understand the subject matter.   This is NOT an easy test, but if you study, you will pass it.   Good Luck!