Stop customer frustration.
That was the mantra at G-force, the annual customer and partner conference Genesys Telecommunications Labs held yesterday in New York City. The focus was on educating the nearly 1,000 attendees about how its enterprise solutions can help companies improve customer service, as well as on showcasing previews of its G7 upgrades.
In his opening keynote presentation, Laurent Philonenko, president and CEO of Genesys, asked, "When you call a contact center, do they know you called five minutes ago? Well, most likely not." Therein lies the problem.
Thus, in forecasting what the "contact center of tomorrow" will look like, Philonenko said it will move beyond the four walls of the call center. The reason, he said, is that the scope of customer frustration goes beyond the contact center to include branch offices, knowledge workers, field staff, and even the home office. "You have to manage all of those contacts, not just the contact center anymore," he said. "You need to manage that complexity and still be one company to your customers." To do this there should be one unified messaging platform, whereby messages are transparent across the company, he said. According to Philonenko, Genesys and its G7 offerings can help accomplish this.
Genesys offers voice and Web self-service, IP telephony, business intelligence, and multimedia business routing. Genesys' middleware solutions can be delivered as on-premise or hosted solutions using time-division multiplexing (TDM, a process by which multiple data streams are packed into a single signal by separating the signal into many segments, which is then reassembled at the receiving end), Internet protocol, or both, to match a company's needs. "You define your architecture," Philonenko said. "You, not your supplier, defines your needs. And, you decide when and how to embrace [technology]."
Genesys' open architecture makes its products highly interoperable with disparate products, says Elizabeth Ussher, a vice president at META Group. This is one of the reasons North American customers awarded Genesys with the highest customer satisfaction rating in CRM magazine's CRM 2004 Service Awards.
Some of the goals for the new G7, which is in the third phase of its rollout strategy, are to help organizations improve customer interaction management and customer interaction analytics, according to Paul Segre, CTO of Genesys. To do this, the final rollout of G7 will include inbound and outbound voice callback features, will enable agents to connect to other business resources within the enterprise so they can become experts within the enterprise and to shift a company's infrastructure integration to a converged infrastructure. All of these upgrades, Segre said during his keynote, are "extensions of the G6 model."
Additional enhancements include business intelligence that can determine if a customer is ready to defect; integration capabilities that blend the back office with the front office; priority routing to satisfy service level agreements; the ability for managers to control the number of interactions on an agent's desktop that specifies the amount of voice, chat, and emails she should handle at any given time; and multiple-loop capabilities for multistep interactions, where several agents handle one part of an interaction.
Updates to the Genesys voice platform include the ability to decouple hardware from software to enable easier application development on the customer side, which will "dramatically lower the application development expenses," Segre said. "This technology is evolving rapidly. It's going to totally evolve the way we interact with machines."
G7 enables Genesys to expand into the midmarket, as well. "If you look at open IP telephony or straight SIP, you can do it at a significantly lower price point" Segre said in an interview with CRM magazine. "That's important to get into the mid-market. We're monitoring the saturation of large enterprises and the virtualization capabilities in G7 are driving more users in the high end of the market."
Separately, Genesys today unveiled its partnership with IBM to deliver enterprisewide, speech-enabled self-service solutions. The solution, based on IBM's WebSphere platform, integrates contact centers with enterprise resources and IT infrastructures. The two companies are working to link IBM's WebSphere Voice Server, WebSphere Voice Application Access, and WebSphere Studio Voice Toolkit to the Genesys Voice Platform. As part of the partnership, Genesys will run its solutions on IBM's WebSphere Internet infrastructure software to provide the link between the contact center and back-end IT infrastructure. These self-service solutions are designed to automate information delivery and transactions between an organization and its customers without the need for agent assistance. Some of the anticipated benefits include tightly integrated and improved management of Web self-service, chat, and speech-enabled caller interaction. The speech-enabled self-service solutions are slated for availability this summer.
The partnership marks a personal milestone for Ad Nederlof, chairman of Genesys. "G7 is such a sexy product that all the big players in the market want to work with us," Nederlof told CRM magazine. "A couple of years ago we had to knock on their doors. Now, they are knocking on ours."