Route Right

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Size shouldn't be a factor in determining call center functionality. Yet, too often, only the largest call centers can afford robust call center technology. Not so with Rockwell's Transcend, a customer contact routing application for Windows NT.

Specifically tailored for the small to midsize contact center, Transcend offers all the functionality enjoyed by larger centers, including intelligent routing, queuing and reporting capabilities, at an affordable price. The system is flexible and scalable, and can grow as the contact center grows.

The application's functionality has been boosted further by the addition of an e-commerce suite. As was announced in January, Transcend e-Commerce can be deployed in Internet Protocol P-based environments, thus eliminating the cost of voice hardware. The suite supports e-mail, Web callback and chat, VoIP and other channels.

"I think this is the most robust routing application in the industry," says Lisa Sotelo, product marketing manager for Rockwell. "When I say it's based on open standards, I mean this is meant to be the heart of the contact center. It's totally versatile, so it can be popped into any environment without changing the infrastructure around it."

Transcend offers tier-based routing, priority queuing and auto-attendant. A conditional routing feature provides 35 system, application and real-time variables that route contacts based on the real-time conditions of the contact center. The application can be integrated into the user's existing telephone system and can be "installed and up and running within half a day," Sotelo says.

It also offers ease of use for those who are new to the contact center environment. For example, more than 75 standard reports are built into Transcend, Sotelo says, "so people who are not call center savvy and don't know how to do (reports) can click in."

The e-Commerce edition integrates Transcend with Rockwell's Web-enabled customer contact solution. The e-Commerce add-on allows the user to expand Transcend's call routing capabilities, becoming a tool for businesses to route, manage and control communications from multiple customer touchpoints.

Using e-Commerce, "the product manager can take not only voice calls but multimedia contacts without having to sign out of different interfaces and without having to get out [of the system]", says Bob Brittan, senior product manager for multimedia and new technologies. The system can route e-mail and Web chat and offers Web callback functionality. Agents in the middle of a Web chat can track the Web page the customer has been visiting with the click of a button, according to Sotelo, to allow for better communication and easier problem resolution.

Another feature of the e-Commerce edition is a "quick message" function. "The user can type in a quick message or a key phrase," Brittan says, "and actually populate the entire session so the agent doesn't have to repeat the same question over and over. The agents can create their own responses."

Says Sotelo, "The benefits of this are many. We help customers increase revenues and keep their relationships with their customers rock-solid. We help our customers increase their profitability because now their entire contact center is more efficient. We help you increase your efficiency, which will translate into a bigger bottom line for you. Because this is so easy to use, you're not going to spend a lot of money on implementation."

All-Around Tool
The experience of VirtualSellers.com bears out Sotelo's assessment. Sari Levy, customer service manager at the Chicago-based company, says Transcend and Transcend e-Commerce allow her to improve relationships with those at all levels of her job: from clients to customers to the sales agents she supervises.

"We've been using [e-Commerce] close to six months, and at this point it's really improved our level of customer service," she says. VirtualSellers.com provides transaction processing for companies that have products to sell on the Internet, Levy says. "Customers" occur on two levels: the clients VirtualSellers.com serves, as well as the clients' customers who come to Levy for support. At the same time, Levy manages a number of agents.

"In managing my clients, I'm able to see how many calls they're bringing us and I can track what the nature of the phone call is and if necessary, can help them make marketing decisions," she says. "...As far as managing agents, I can see how long they're spending on calls, how many calls they're getting, what my peak call times are." In addition, Levy runs her payroll off the system's functionality and "can run a multitude of reports" to keep her informed of an agent's progress.

And when talking about the exterior customers, Levy says Transcend's e-Commerce has allowed her organization to realize a new level of service. "It allows us to deliver to customers a number of ways to contact us for service," she says. "We're no longer stuck in the days where a customer has to pick up a phone to call us for service. We've gone beyond that to deliver service to customers remotely. With the click of a button, [a customer] can reach an agent who's trained to answer all her questions the same way as he does on the phone. What that piece has done is allowed us to improve our levels of customer service and deliver world-class service to customers in any fashion they want."

The e-Commerce solution lets Levy's agents go directly to the exact spot on the Web from which an inbound call is originating. Agents can then walk the customer through problem areas. Further, the support service interactions can be individually tailored to the exact client, rather than forcing agents to rely on the more generic "support center" response Levy's center previously used. "Because we're a third party and deal with so many multiple Web sites, to know which Web site a customer is shopping on is a great advantage," she says.

Transcend's open architecture and easy integration were especially attractive to VirtualSellers.com, according to Levy. "And also the fact that Rockwell's very easy to work with. It was all one purchase, and it was all one decision. We interviewed several vendors and this seemed to be the easiest to integrate and to have the most features we were looking for."

Integration was a smooth process that took less than a day. Since implementing the system, Levy says, phone costs have decreased, and customer issues are resolved more quickly. But the system's main return on investment is hard to categorize with a dollar figure.

"From the client's perspective, it pleases them to have a happy customer," Levy says. "That's the return on investment, and you can't put a dollar amount on that. What I can say is that overall it makes us more accessible." She adds, "In establishing our call center, we chose to be a full contact center. What led us to go there was a drive to be the best and have the ability to deliver the best service to our clients and customers. This is something that enhances what we do here."

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