Cisco Review: The Power of Choice for Every Contact Centre
Read our Cisco Contact Centre solutions review
Over the past decade or two, the contact centre has taken up an increasingly central role in the planning and strategy of many businesses. From being viewed as a functional and perhaps peripheral part of operations, a means of processing customer interaction with factory-like efficiency, the contact centre has come to be viewed as a beating heart within an organisation, rather than an expendable limb.
Put simply, the contact centre is the crucible which fires relationships with customers. And in an age when businesses selling much the same products at much the same prices now compete fiercely on customer service, the ability to forge positive, strong bonds with customers has a direct relationship with profit and growth.
Given this importance, it is natural that businesses should want to equip their contact centre to optimise its impact. As with any critical business system, choosing the right contact solution has a direct bearing on the bottom line.
Why, then, should businesses settle for a narrow range of contact centre options? How likely are they to find the solution which meets their precise needs from brands offering a single off-the-shelf contact centre platform, often as a tag-on to a broader UC offering?
When choosing an ERP or productivity solution, businesses are spoilt for choice. Why should it not be the same in the contact centre?
Cisco believes modern businesses deserve the same level of choice with contact centre solutions. True to form for one of the world’s leading communications specialists catering for a huge and diverse customer base, Cisco offers a complete range of contact centre products intended to meet every need.
In this review, we will take a broad overview of the complete Cisco contact centre range, outlining the key features of each and the main differences. Before we start, please remember that UC Today is a completely independent news and insight service and does not play any role in endorsing or marketing any particular brands or products.
What can it do?
Cisco offers a total of four complete contact centre solutions:
Cisco Unified Contact Centre Express
Unified CCX, as it is known, is Cisco’s solution for small to mid-sized contact centres, or enterprise branches, with up to 400 seats. A virtual software platform for deployment on-premises, it offers integrated multi-channel contact management for voice, email, chat and social media, with sophisticated routing and in-depth reporting tools with full visualisation for dashboards and wallboards. Unified CCX supports ACD features such as conditional routing, call-in-queue and expected wait time, self-service IVR and advanced CTI.
Cisco Unified Contact Centre Enterprise
The big brother of Unified CCX, the Enterprise edition is a powerful omni-channel contact platform with built-in integration of voice, email and IM to provide what Cisco calls the ‘customer collaboration’ experience. Support for web-based communication, including social media and business collaboration, creates a continuous flow from customers’ online activity through to back office connections where agents can find the right people to answer any kind of query. Advanced routing automatically matches customers to agents and resources based on needs, and Enterprise also builds its own customer profiles based on contact history to inform future decision making.
Cisco Packaged Contact Centre Enterprise
Packaged CCE takes all of the power of Unified Contact Centre Enterprise and distills the wide variety of deployment and configuration options into a complete, ready-to-run solution. It combines a preconfigured instance of Enterprise with three of Cisco’s contact centre ‘options’ (see below) – Unified Customer Voice Portal, Unified Intelligence Center and Cisco Finesse. Delivering all of the core omnichannel functions of Enterprise, its main advantages are that it simplifies installation, management and administration, and can plug easily into existing contact centre equipment through an open architecture and available APIs.
Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution for Contact Centre
Cisco’s cloud-based contact centre solution, HCS for Contact Centre offers all of the flexibility and scalability of a hosted service, offering plug-in access to Cisco’s industry leading contact tools for organisations of anywhere between 10 and 12,000 agents. Cisco’s Hosted Collaboration Solution is a comprehensive enterprise cloud communications platform, providing access to the full range of its UC, collaboration and contact centre tools. HCS for Contact Centre offers the same features and functionality as Unified Contact Centre Enterprise, all accessed via IP.
Cisco Contact Centre Options
On top of the main contact centre options, Cisco also makes available a broad suite of tools, some of which are bundled in with specific solutions. The main products include:
Finesse: A browser-based agent and supervisor desktop which offers single-pane-of-glass access and control for all Cisco contact centre tools
MediaSense: A recording platform for capturing conversations across all channels, providing the raw materials for in-depth analysis and intelligence gathering. MediaSense has open APIs so it can plug into third party platforms to gather content as required, and can be configured for real-time listening in
Remote Expert Mobile: A collaboration platform for Android, iOS and leading web-browsers, the aim of Remote Expert Mobile is to provide access to experts in your business whenever the customer needs them. With expert routing and Finesse integration, agents can be guided to the right person to handle a query wherever they are, with a range of collaboration tools to interact with them while dealing with a customer in real time
SocialMiner: A social media contact solution, SocialMiner provides routing of customer contact via social media to the right experts in the organisation, detailed social contact metrics, and analysis of postings on social media about your products and brands
IP Interactive Voice Response: IP IVR breaks through the constraints of traditional circuit-based voice activated menus, making it much easier to create diverse and powerful self-service options. Via database programming in a user-friendly online environment, businesses can build more responsive, intelligent, meaningful IVR routes which increase customer satisfaction
Unified Intelligence Center: Cisco’s main reporting module, Unified Intelligence Center provides detailed web-based analytics across all channels
What do we like?
Cisco doesn’t do things by half. Across its whole suite of contact centre solutions, it pretty much covers all the basis – on-premises and cloud, SMEs and enterprise, pre-configured solutions and broad open architecture flexibility.
Who is it for?
Anyone looking for a contact centre solution is likely to find something to their tastes in the Cisco portfolio.
What is it compatible with?
Cisco ensures nearly all of its products, from office hardware to networking infrastructure to UC and collaboration apps, plug in easily to work with one another, meaning they can offer customers complete telecommunications solutions under a single brand. Its contact centre solutions are no exception. Many of the platforms and tools are also built around an open architecture, with APIs available to enable integration with third-party systems.
Where can I get more information?
To read all about Cisco comprehensive suite of Customer Care products, visit their website.
UC Today Opinion
Cisco has not become one of the heavyweights of global telecommunications for nothing. Its products are invariably excellent in quality and functionality, and it is a developer capable of taking a big picture view of customer requirements. And not just customers which fit neatly into one particular niche, either, but customers of all stripes, sizes and persuasions.
It demonstrates this approach perfectly with its contact centre solutions. Why make a choice between cloud or on-premise, when you can offer both? Why target businesses of one particular size or type, when your can create products for all? Of course, it takes a vendor of considerable resources and market presence to be able to make a success of spreading its attention so thin. But Cisco is an example of a vendor that can pull it off.
Do you use Cisco solutions in your contact centre? What do you use, and what is your opinion of it? As always, please share your opinions in the comments section below, and if you think friends or colleagues would be interested, feel free to post this article on social media.