Unified Communications is a term that really just means we are connecting the ways in which we communicate. These may include the experiences we have over the web, using the telephone, self-service and telephony presence and connecting them together. The integration of voice, voicemail, email, presence and chat is ‘unified’ into one solution.
An SMS message might get the attention of a teenager, but could totally turn off a retired person. An efficient unified solution can help your business improve productivity, create opportunities for value-added customer experiences and decrease the time to bring new product/services to market for a distinct competitive advantage.
Speak to your customers in the language that they want, e.g. SMS, email, web-chat, telephone. Configure your system so that it only calls when convenient for your customer/contact – e.g. if your contact works in the day, only send them SMS messages in the daytime and only call on their home number after 6pm. This will improve your drop rate and increase agent morale by ensuring more first-call resolutions.
A key feature of unified communications solutions is presence and presence management, solutions can offer basic presence such as availability or ‘on lunch’ through to solutions that will offer the feature to contact users when they are away from the desk. Presence management can enable users to work effectively anywhere and regardless of their location. Managers can effectively manage homeworkers and remote agents in a contact centre environment.
In Contact Centers there are three key agent-facing applications that Aspect believes are directly relevant to UC projects: Workforce Management, Contact Recording & Quality Management, and Performance Management.
Workforce Management provides direct, real-time awareness of whether agents and subject matter experts are where managers have planned them to be. It allows for recalibration of the tasks allotted to agents based on how their presence and availability relates to the presence-state of the customers. In addition, it provides a routing framework to direct specific types of customers towards specific agents.
Quality monitoring & recording and performance management tools function in a similar way, although they have a somewhat delayed impact as their results are not usually managed in real time.
When extended from the contact centre to the rest of the organization, each of these management technologies can bring significant benefits. Workforce management software, for example, can play a key role in scheduling ‘experts’ into short timeslots, based on expected call volumes, to help reduce the overuse of knowledge workers outside of the contact centre who are still trying to do their ‘day jobs’
By extending Quality Monitoring across the organization businesses can also retain visibility and management control of ALL contacts, wherever they are handled. In addition, by taking reports of actual performance versus goals and combining them with aggregated knowledge of skill gaps and expectations, companies can start to deliver ‘company-wide’ quality management.
UC is making Enterprise-wide communications more streamlined, rapid and effective. It is also starting to change the way organisations work – making people more contactable on the move, multichannel communications more integrated, and business processes and workflows more efficient