• October 11, 2006
  • By Coreen Bailor, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Untying Contact Center Supervisors

Spanlink Communications, a VoIP-based solutions provider and Cisco Systems partner, has released Mobile Supervisor Workstation, a portable handheld device that, according to the company, allows contact center managers to monitor and manage schedules and collaborate with agents regardless of location. The product offering comes roughly two months after Spanlink revealed that it acquired workforce management specialist Calabrio. The offering integrates with Spanlink Quality Management (its recording, evaluation, and training solution announced in March) and Spanlink Calabrio Workforce Management. Mobile Supervisor Workstation expands Spanlink's SOA-based InteractiveEdge product portfolio; much of the software suite's functionality is centered on enabling contact centers to take a virtual contact center approach. For instance, the new offering enables supervisors to interact remotely--from any location with wireless access--with agents to provide coaching; the release provides chat, barge-in, intercept and Web page push capabilities, along with silent monitoring, and on-demand recording of active agent calls. Supervisors also can receive mobile real-time display and email alerts of performance metrics, while the handheld tool's integrated browser allows supervisors to perform various tasks through one desktop app. "There is Bluetooth functionality within it, so in addition to having the desktop functionality, we have a softphone integrated, so they can actually have a voice conversation from the device as well," says Kristen Jacobsen, Spanlink spokesperson. The announcement "takes the capabilities that we have available for supervisors today in our software, which include the Cisco Supervisor Desktop, our quality management software, as well as the Calabrio [functionality] and it presents it in a mobile environment," she adds. "Instead of having to be tied to their desk to manage their teams they can be in a meeting, at home with wireless access, or walking the floor with their portable tablet, and still have visibility into the performance of their team. And their teams still have access to them. Any capability that they would have from their desktop is also available from the handheld." Sheila McGee-Smith, president and principal analyst at McGee-Smith Analytics, says she would like to see the mobile functionality available on more devices. "Today it's bundled by Spanlink with a device from Motion Computing; having at least a variety of devices might be a good thing," she says. Still, by incorporating mobility "clearly there is value here," she says. "What it made me think of...[was] when SpectraLink first announced with Aspect the ability to have even a cordless phone for a supervisor, so that a supervisor wouldn't be tied to their desk and could walk around to see what the agents were doing. One of the things call center supervisors do is they walk around a lot. So just being able to have in their hand virtually everything they would have if they were sitting in front of a screen and a phone is a pretty good step." Related articles: Spanlink Acquires Calabrio
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