Ahead of the Innovation Curve: On-Demand Contact Center Platforms
The age of companies housing their contact center operations all under one roof is quickly becoming a thing of the past. As consumers expect better service from companies, organizations have been forced to adapt -- distributing agents across states (and countries), revamping technology, and rethinking core strategies. The next wave of innovation in the contact center industry, according to many industry observers, has arrived in the form of on-demand platforms for hosted or managed contact center service.
Playing to that trend, virtual contact center company LiveOps has released its Spring 08 On-Demand Call Center Platform, which contains expanded capabilities for contact centers, including:
- enhanced outbound-dialing capability;
- improved call-routing user interface for business users;
- computer telephony integration (CTI) integration with external call-delivery services; and
- integration with major call-routing systems, such as those sold by Genesys Telecommunication Laboratories and Cisco Systems.
Executives at Palo Alto, Calif.-based LiveOps say they are constantly trying to stay ahead of the contact center innovation curve, and that the new platform is one result of that effort. "We're seeing a huge migration to using on-demand application in the contact center," says Azita Martin, vice president of marketing for LiveOps.
Maynard Webb, the company's chief executive officer, agrees. "We are excited to be at the forefront of developing leading-edge technology that is fundamentally changing how call centers are managed," he explains. "With quarterly enhancements of the LiveOps On-Demand Call Center Platform, we continue to bring innovation that delivers breakthrough results to our customers."
Part of that purported innovation can be found in the platform's revamped outbound-dialing capability that the company says "has been significantly optimized for highly scalable political outbound calls." The LiveOps Predictive Dialer then optimizes automated outbound calls to maximize the volume each agent can handle. LiveOps also has a patent-pending call-routing application the company believes has enhanced its results-based routing; an interface allows business users to create routing rules on the fly, using results measured directly from their CRM applications.
In order to fit with the move to Web-based services, LiveOps also infused its new platform with CTI enhancements, including data integration with external call-delivery services. According to LiveOps, data can be transferred to the on-demand platform and then sent to agents in conjunction with calls -- all without separate CTI systems. In addition to saving money, this streamlined approach also enables integration with other client systems while securing confidential data on client systems. "In order to be able to effectively manage a distributed contact center, you have to have an Internet-based technology people can just log [into] and access the information they need to allow them to handle a call," Martin explains.
LiveOps' on-demand platform also offers a Web Services Application Programming Interface (API) that enables integration with call-routing solutions from players such as Genesys and Cisco -- allowing for the LiveOps platform to work in a heterogeneous contact center environment, an absolute must in this space according to vendors and analysts alike. Tim Houlne, chief executive officer of Working Solutions, a provider of outsourced contact center solutions, says that "the hosted contact center is now becoming probably one of the hottest technological initiatives among enterprise call centers: the ability to distribute [calls] without the old switch boxes you used to have to deploy."
Daniel Hong, lead analyst for customer interaction technologies at Datamonitor, an industry research firm, also foresees on-demand contact center service providers becoming the next major force in the space. "Hosted and managed contact center services are among the fastest-growing segments within the contact center technology market," he writes. "As we roll out the tape over the next several years, hosted and managed contact center services will continue to gain significant traction in the marketplace as businesses look to greater deployment flexibility, improved resource allocation, and more economically palatable pricing."
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