• June 13, 2011
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Interactive Intelligence Releases Customer Interaction Center 4.0

Interactive Intelligence today released the next major version of its all-in-one IP communications software suite, Customer Interaction Center.

A major enhancement of the new CIC 4.0 is a speech analytics module that Interactive Intelligence developed in house. Called Interaction Analyzer, the real-time speech analytics module uses keyword and phrase spotting on the customer side, agent side, or both sides of a voice conversation. It can alert call center managers when certain words or phrases are spoken during a call or when certain thresholds have been exceeded.

This real-time capability enables contact center managers to be alerted to problem interactions, then monitor, coach, or intervene to better satisfy customers and improve agent performance. Customer issues can be flagged and dealt with before the customer is lost, and spotted words and phrases can be stored with the recording for quick search and trending.

Speech analytics, which is a completely new area for Interactive Intelligence, was two-and-a-half years in the making, according to Joe Staples, the company's chief marketing officer.

CIC 4.0 also includes the addition of Interaction Web Portal, a new application that enables contact center outsourcers to provide their clients with secure, branded access and real-time visibility. Outsourcer clients can monitor live calls, listen to call recordings, and view performance reports. Corporate contact center managers can also use it to give visibility to C-level staff, and agents can access it to monitor their own productivity and measure their performance against the rest of the staff.

Additional enhancements in CIC 4.0 include a new Web client, upgraded email handling, more efficient queries of call recordings, expanded and improved reporting, and more detailed logging that can involve multiple channels and agents.

Architectural improvements in CIC 4.0 provide significant scalability increases. Metrics associated with these improvements include a more than double increase in the number of automatic call distribution (ACD)-enabled agents supported on a single server; a five-time increase in the number of simultaneous interactive voice response (IVR) sessions supported; and a seven-time increase in the number of calls that can be recorded per hour. The company's increase in product scalability is part of its continued move up-market to make CIC a competitive offering for the largest global contact centers.

Another architectural improvement is the elimination of third-party call processing software from CIC and moving all media processing to the company's Interaction Media Server. With these enhancements, CIC 4.0 becomes a pure application server that can be located at a central data center with media servers at branch offices, thus creating a private cloud deployment model. This change increases scalability and enables customers to process media locally for improved business continuity and survivability.

"We designed our upcoming CIC 4.0 release to give contact centers and enterprises significantly increased scalability and reliability, an enhanced user experience, and improved management insight," said Interactive Intelligence founder and CEO Donald Brown in a statement. "We're particularly excited about our innovative speech analytics application, which gives customers an easier-to-deploy and more cost-effective alternative to what's currently on the market."

CIC 4.0 is planned for general availability in late July or early August. It is targeted at mid-sized to large contact centers and enterprises, and will be offered through the Interactive Intelligence channel of more than 300 resellers worldwide, and through the company's direct sales force. Staples expects it to be a big seller in banks, credit unions, collections agencies, and other financial institutions.

CIC 4.0 will be available as a free upgrade to all current CIC software maintenance subscribers. The modules, like Interaction Analyzer, will be sold as add-ons to the CIC suite. "CIC is the basis of what you buy, and then you can add modules individually," Staples explains.

Interaction Analyzer, for example, will come with a $3,750 server fee and a list price of $295 per user. This one-time license activation fee "is very much in line with something that every contact center can afford to pay," Staples says.

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