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VoIP Call Centers Adding Social-Media Functionality

VoIP Call Centers Adding Social-Media Functionality
By Barry Levine

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VoIP call centers have evolved from an "infancy of simple interactive voice response units to complex communications platforms that enable customers to communicate with customer service" through a variety of devices and networks, said Analyst Denise Culver. Centers o must interact with clients via voice, IM, chat, or social networking.
 


Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) call-center platforms are going social. According to a new report, new social-media features and functions are being added by makers of the platforms in order to draw on social networking benefits and to support the move toward mobile devices.

The report, called VoIP Call Centers Adapt to a BYOD [bring your own device] World, is from Heavy Reading IP Services Insider, a subscription research service of research firm Heavy Reading. The companies analyzed in the report are Aastra Technologies, Avaya, Enghouse Interactive, Interactive Intelligence, Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, M5 Networks (a division of ShoreTel), VisionOSS, and Voxeo Corp.

'Interact with Anyone'

Denise Culver, an analyst at Heavy Reading IP Services analyst and author of the report, said in a statement that, "until recently, enterprises and service providers generally created separate applications for voice and other customer applications." But, she added, this separation has been upended by the trend of consumers and employees to "bring your own device," where "they expect to interact with anyone they choose."

Culver also noted that VoIP call centers have evolved from an "infancy of simple interactive voice response units to complex communications platforms that enable customers to communicate with customer service" through a variety of devices and networks.

According to the report's research, contact centers of all kinds must allow interaction with clients or consumers via the customer's preferred channel of communication, which could be voice, IM, chat, or social networking.

The report acknowledges that the long march toward unified communications has struggled in the marketplace, which it attributes largely to complexity and a lack of standardization. As a result, it said, there is an enormous opportunity for VoIP call center providers.

Streamlining Business Processes

It also found that the financial services industry, in particular, is a key market for VoIP call centers, because that industry is oriented toward ways to streamline business processes and to consolidate communications into a single platform. In fact, some companies are increasingly looking at VoIP call centers as revenue-generating profit centers, and not only as customer-support tools.

The report noted that many business solutions these days are either entirely or partly cloud-based, an approach that is helping to drive down the cost of VoIP call centers as well as make possible the integration of VoIP over time, rather than all at once.

One area of exploration in the world of BYOD, according to Heavy Reading, is the need for vendors to address how the variety of mobile devices interact and integrate with the call center.

Heavy Reading is an independent research organization providing analysis of emerging trends in the telecommunications industry, particularly as it applies to network operators, technology suppliers, and investors. It is the research arm of Light Reading Communications Network, which also provides online communities and events for the global communications industry.
 

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Posted: 2012-06-02 @ 7:59am PT
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