What can SD-WANs do for Contact Centres?
Guest Blog by Atchison Frazer from Talari
Atchison Frazer from Talari looks at how new Software Defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WAN) are helping contact centres deliver a more informed, reliable and responsive service.
Customer experience has become the mantra and one of the foremost strategic performance measures for organisations going through a digital transformation. In turn, customer service expectations have also risen, forcing businesses to re-engineer their contact centres to engage with prospective and current customers across multiple communications channels.
There is still demand for speaking directly with customer service reps, but increasingly, people prefer digital channels such as web and video chat, text messaging, social media and virtual assistants. All the while, expecting the same prompt, informed customer experience.
Network reliability has always been paramount to the smooth operation of contact centres, often spanning multiple locations and countries and many with agents who work from home. These trends mean that more of the applications used by contact centre agents are centralised, either in a private data centre or a cloud service, rather than run locally. As a result, connectivity headroom must be reserved at the edge or the so-called ‘last mile’ of local network access.
Calls are routed to agents based on a variety of factors, including agent availability, skill set and a customer’s importance. To sell new products or resolve problems, agents depend on speedy data lookups and screen pop-ups from their CRM systems, without worrying about latency. But the growing use of big data analytics means there is more data than ever to sift through to provide the agent with a total view of the customer relationship.
Increasingly, contact centres are turning to new, next-generation Software Defined (SD) WANs to deliver failsafe last mile connectivity to their offices and remote employees. An SD-WAN provides reliability and predictable application performance from an on-premises data centre or cloud to each office location as well as agents working from home using quality-based routing.
By routing packets deterministically based on the bandwidth suitability for each application and protocol type, real-time applications like phone calls and video chats take priority over applications that are less latency-sensitive like email, call recordings and backups. The best path through the network is chosen, packet-by-packet at every instant. If there’s congestion or other link problems, the failsafe SD-WAN solution can dynamically switch between paths in an instant, so phone calls and video chats are not interrupted by the underlying network conditions. That’s critical, not only in the case of a ‘dirty link’, but also to handle the spike demands of a successful marketing campaign, for example.
Routing decisions based on simple round-trip measurements are too simplistic for today’s digital enterprise. A failsafe SD-WAN can measure the loss, latency and jitter across every path—in each direction—to create a detailed, real-time network map. Path decisions are made intelligently and in the context of network conditions, with application QoS awareness. The result is that agents have responsive CRM applications, quick data lookups and crystal-clear voice quality.
An SD-WAN also provides the ability to use all available bandwidth that businesses are already paying for. This can add up to substantial cost savings by delaying the need for bandwidth upgrades.
Another advantage is the ability to reduce reliance on expensive MPLS. With the SD-WAN actively managing the quality of the links, contact centres can begin to replace their expensive MPLS links with broadband Internet, metro Ethernet, or other affordable, high-bandwidth connections. For virtual contact centres, this makes it easier to hire agents in remote areas where consumer-quality Internet may be the only connectivity choice.
With customer experience (CX) the number one priority for contact centres, a failsafe SD-WAN can help your meet growing expectations for a fast, informed and responsive service.
Guest Blog by Atchison Frazer from Talari