An architecture for mobile communications innovation in Contact Center


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Businesses that provide an effortless experience for customers who are using mobile sevices for voice, text, social media, video and Web interactions can gain significant advantage.

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An architecture for mobile communications innovation in Contact Center

  1. 1. An architecture for mobile communications innovation in the contact center Keeping up with mobile-connected customers It is a business maxim that the more a company knows about its customers and what they want, the better its chances of providing them a positive, fulfilling experience. With today’s ubiquitous, convenient communications methods, particularly the use of mobile devices and networks, opportunities for rich customer interactions are flourishing. Whether their interest is pricing, store locations or product support, people increasingly expect information to be available wherever, whenever and however they want it. Meeting the growing demands of customers using mobile devices falls largely on the shoulders of the contact center. As discussed in the Avaya white paper How mobile devices are driving innovations in contact centers, businesses that provide an effortless experience for customers who are using mobile devices for voice, text, social media, video and Web interactions can gain significant advantage. They can build customer and brand loyalty. And they can use the wealth of contextual data about customers that mobile devices and apps provide to improve products, services and contact center operations. Equipping the contact center for this expanded role is not a trivial undertaking, but neither is it an insurmountable hurdle. In this white paper, we explore the architecture that Avaya is using to help our clients increase customer satisfaction using visual self-service, contextual information and anytime, anywhere communication. Businesses that provide an effortless experience for customers who are using mobile devices for voice, text, social media, video and Web interactions can gain significant advantage. | 1
  2. 2. Visual self-service Thousands of mobile applications are available that provide some form of self-service to customers, offering the convenience of efficient interaction anytime and anywhere. Such applications typically connect to a company’s Web site for product or service support information; to a contact center agent via SMS text or e-mail; or, if the customer initiates a call, into an interactive voice response (IVR) application. Once a customer initiates direct contact with the contact center, well-defined interfaces already exist between self-service applications and back-end customer relationship management (CRM) systems to help agents understand the customers’ value and history. What has been missing until now is a centralized self-service framework, including CRM interfaces and routing capabilities, that can be extended with other applications to customers through mobile and Web applications. With self-service workflow centralized, the amount of effort to build new applications or to enhance existing ones is reduced considerably. For example, a visual interactive self-service experience designed specifically for mobile devices could enable users to navigate through a series of visual prompts many times faster than they would listening to the same content via a traditional IVR solution. Avaya Customer Connections Mobile is such a framework. Bringing contextual data into the contact center Avaya Customer Connections Mobile is a framework that fully integrates with existing or new mobile applications. It simplifies customer service options by offering selections based on the way a business operates, such as how it handles order status, account information and technical support. Customer Connections Mobile also enables the use of rich contextual data being generated in mobile environments, including transactional data (purchase history), situational data (location), collaboration-enabled data (photographs and online interactions) and application-driven data (self-service use). The introduction of this contextual information into the customer support process opens the door to a much richer and more fulfilling customer experience. The introduction of this contextual information into the customer support process opens the door to a much richer and more fulfilling customer experience. | 2
  3. 3. Also, when customers decide they need additional help, routing decisions must be made to send the request to the appropriate group of company representatives. With the wealth of contextual information and the capabilities of Customer Connections Mobile, this routing decision can be made very accurately and without forcing added burdens on the mobile application developer. Should the appropriate agent not be available, Customer Connections Mobile can provide the customer with an estimated wait time and options, such as receiving a callback from a contact center agent, based on their queue position or at a date and time convenient for them. Avaya Aura® Experience Portal is at the heart of Customer Connections Mobile. Experience Portal delivers the customer experience to mobile devices, as well as other channels of communication. Customer Connections Mobile can reuse this customer experience across other communications channels by extending self-service from Avaya Orchestration Designer, the service creation environment that drives Experience Portal. Customer Connections Mobile takes advantage of Orchestration Designer’s speed and flexibility to design, develop, test and deploy applications that are then automatically extended to mobile applications that use the Customer Connections Mobile Web service application programming interface (API). Using this API, companies can put less logic in mobile applications and more in the common business logic hosted by an Orchestration Designer application. This translates into much faster development time, more business agility, and lower costs for businesses deploying iOS, Android, Blackberry and Web apps. Other benefits include leveraging Orchestration Designer’s capabilities to help route requests for further assistance and Avaya Aura Experience Portal’s reporting capabilities to create a very valuable set of metrics on the relationship between contextual data and how mobile and Web users navigate the workflow. Avaya Aura® Experience Portal is at the heart of Customer Connections Mobile, delivering the customer experience to mobile devices, as well as other channels of communication. | 3
  4. 4. Putting contextual information to work Many businesses are finding that customers who use smartphones or tablets Figure 1: Company-created smartphone app provided to customers will download an application if it will help them find information or take care of business faster. Contrast these two scenarios: Scenario 1: Scenario 2: A customer uses a smartphone to call The customer has a company’s toll-free number using downloaded an app the traditional IVR menu: “Please select offered by the company, from one of the following options: in this case a financial press 1 for your account balance, press 2 institution (Figure 1). for a transfer between your accounts, As Figure 1 suggests, press 3 for your last bank statement, the same selection process or press 4 for help.” Navigating these conveyed visually can prompts can take 20 seconds or longer, take only a fraction of the as well as requiring an audio connection time required for IVR. and the customer’s attention. The extreme portability of smartphones and tablets also contributes to user convenience. Customers typically have their devices with them everywhere, and they don’t have to boot up a laptop to access the app. Offering a user-friendly self-service portal isn’t always enough, however. Customers may need the ability to communicate in real time with knowledgeable company representatives who are instantly aware of their needs. The extreme portability of smartphones and Determining what the customer wants and then routing the request to a qualified, available company representative provides the foundation for the service interaction. The customer’s intent and relevant context for the tablets also contributes session can be delivered to the representative simultaneously in a screen to user convenience. pop. The context can include what information the customer viewed prior Customers typically to requesting help as well as account information, a callback number and have their devices with them everywhere, location coordinates. Customer Connections Mobile can provide this context as a Web-based screen pop or deliver a session key to a third-party computertelephony integration (CTI) application that retrieves the context. Once the and they don’t have agent is selected and the context delivered, the customer can be called back. to boot up a laptop This process can produce significant savings in a contact center’s largest to access the app. expense — agent time. | 4
  5. 5. Exploring the architecture Like other types of applications, mobile apps need updating. The cost of refreshing apps for the various mobile operating systems can be significant. Without a common framework that centralizes common business logic, the application on each platform would have to implement the changes separately. To help avoid this complexity and expense, the Customer Connections Mobile architecture is built around four core service modules: • Session services • Visual self-service • Data-sharing services • Customer assistance services The architecture is designed to be modular and employ only those services needed to support desired features (Figure 2). Figure 2: Customer Connections Mobile architecture CC Mobile can integrate with both native and Web applications Web app Native app Customer Connections Mobile runtime Session services API Selfservice AAEP Datasharing services Customer assistance services DO/OD 6.0 app Cache Callback assist Customer Connections Mobile server At the root level, session services are used to establish a communications connection between the mobile device and Customer Connections Mobile and request other services. Session services are the foundation from which all other services are invoked and are the only mandatory service module. | 5
  6. 6. Businesses can expect If a mobile or Web application requires access to visual self-services, such as easily measurable and video chat and video IVR, the self-service module is deployed to manage the quantifiable return on investment, as well as reputational or brand- dialog interactions with one or more Avaya Orchestration Designer application. Orchestration Designer applications can be written specifically to provide content for mobile applications or be leveraged for inbound voice, short message service (SMS) and other channels. enhancement benefits, from expanding contact When contextual data associated with a session needs to be shared with other center access to applications for screen pops or reporting, the data-sharing services can be used. mobile devices. Finally, if there is a need to request live agent support, the customer assistance services APIs allow an application to place a request to Avaya Callback Assist for an agent to call the customer back. Mobile applications can invoke these services through the Customer Connections Mobile API or through a higher-level runtime that will be available in a subsequent Customer Connections Mobile release. Leveraging your contact center investment As an Avaya-built application, Customer Connections Mobile leverages existing infrastructure and uses its modules to achieve a full integration to the Avaya contact center framework, including these features: Automatic call distribution (ACD) infrastructure Customer Connections Mobile runs on Avaya Aura Experience Portal as its main application platform and fully integrates with the Avaya ACD. Internet Protocol (IP)-based integrations are preferable — either H323 or Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). SIP-based integration is also available via Avaya Session Manager. Agent tools Among the benefits of Customer Connections Mobile, the context-rich call from a smartphone can significantly improve the efficiency and quality of agent screen pops. The agent can also retrieve the customer screen prior to launching a call, potentially reducing required talk time. Recording and quality monitoring Because it is interpreted as a regular inbound phone call for the agent, Customer Connections Mobile leverages in-place call-recording mechanisms. Also, specific context data can be passed to the call-recording framework to tag and sort the call segments. | 6
  7. 7. About Avaya Avaya is a global provider of business collaboration and communications solutions, providing unified communications, contact centers, data solutions and related services to companies of all sizes around the world. For more information, please visit Reporting Customer Connections Mobile fully integrates with Avaya reporting tools. For customers with investments in Avaya Call Management System (CMS) or IQ, calls can still be monitored, historically or in real time. Routing Integrating The Avaya ACD framework will see a Customer Connections Mobile call as a requested smartphone callback and apply configured business rules in the same manner as with a regular connectivity into the contact center incoming phone call. Vector directory numbers (VDNs), as well as specific skills, can be created and allocated for Customer Connections Mobile. can introduce new efficiency and Equip your contact center for the mobile device world lower agent costs, Virtually every business faces growing customer demand for conveniently available while providing a information and the assistance of trained personnel when needed. And increasingly, framework for new customers are using their smartphones to access this support. Integrating smartphone services and apps connectivity into the contact center can introduce new efficiency and lower agent available today costs, while providing a framework for new services and apps available today and and in the future. in the future. About the authors Brian Hillis is a managing principal with the Avaya Emerging Products and Technology group. Tore Christensen is a corporate consulting engineer and Eduardo Ponciano is a solutions consultant, both with Avaya Business Communications Solutions Group. © 2012 Avaya Inc. All rights reserved. Unless otherwise noted, all trademarks identified by the ®, TM or SM are registered trademarks, trademarks or service marks, respectively, of Avaya Inc. 5/12 • GCC7037 | 7