A massive volume of information pours into every contact center daily. The challenge is to somehow utilize all that information for actionable purposes, whether for organizational change or simply to better train customer service representatives (CSRs) to handle a particular kind of call. With the release of Centricity 9.7, the latest version of its workforce optimization (WFO) platform, Seattle-based Envision Telephony has chosen to highlight information-tagging as a main feature.
According to Jim Shulkin, the company's director of marketing, this tagging capability has long been available for Envision clients engaged in full-time recording -- those recording every single call, whether by choice or for compliance purposes. In Centricity 9.7, tagging is now a function that contact centers can take advantage of even if they're only engaged in selective recording.
As an example, imagine a CSR takes a call from a customer looking to cancel a subscription, and is able to convince the caller to renew instead. A Centricity-enabled CSR, Shulkin says, then notes the outcome by simply selecting from a list of disposition codes. "Afterward, there's a ‘save' option…and [the system] can tag the call and save it for a supervisor to review," he says. "You can set it for any field setting and application in the [agent] desktop."
The availability of this level of granular tagging for any contact center -- a process previously reserved for quality-assurance purposes only -- is indicative of a relatively recent change in the industry: an emerging consensus that all calls generate information that is truly valuable not only with regard to contact center performance, but as a source of insight for the entire enterprise. "More of our customers are using this for business-trending, not just [for] monitoring agents," Shulkin says.
Paul Stockford, chief analyst at Scottsdale, Ariz.–based Saddletree Research, says there's value in taking contact center capabilities further out into the enterprise, value that tagging can help generate. As for Envision's effort to provide part-time recorders equal access to that wealth of business intelligence, Stockford says it's not a revolutionary concept. "It's another step," he says, "in the evolution of understanding the true value of workforce optimization in the contact center."
While the 9.7 edition is merely positioned as a "dot release" -- an incremental upgrade -- the unified Centricity offering is still fairly new, having only debuted this past September. Shulkin says Envision's ability to incorporate customer requests is indicative of an improved, more-agile software-development model. That framework, he says, has enabled Envision to develop its own speech analytics product to add to its WFO portfolio -- an addition expected to launch in what Shulkin calls "the May timeframe."
"Our customers understand the power of speech, but there hasn't been a lot of adoption due to…upfront cost [and] processing and memory requirements," Shulkin says. Envision's pending product , he says, is designed to enable selective recorders to overcome those pain points, and to allow them to locate information that can help their businesses. "It'll pick up a percentage of calls," he says, "so you can get enough information to do analysis when things are happening with competitors in the marketplace."
With all its forward momentum, the company hopes to counter any marketplace perception that it may lag behind the giants of the WFO industry. "The company has caught up to the others, has good market understanding, and a great product," Stockford says. "This release is an indicator of bigger things to come, including its upcoming speech analytics [addition]. It's a full-court press on [Envision's] part to become a serious competitor."
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