Enghouse Interactive Review: A Partner for the Omni-Channel Shake-Up
Read our Enghouse Interactive Communications Center review
For the traditional call centre operator, the emergence of multi-channel communications into the customer service space has represented a major disruption.
It hasn’t yet, of course, affected everyone. The telephone is still by far and away the dominant medium for communication between businesses and customers, and depending on the nature of your business and your customer demographics, there may well be some time to go before that changes.
Nonetheless, change is in the air. Research suggests that as many as one in five consumers prefer to use email to the telephone if they require service from a company, while one in eight would opt for web chat.
The point is, choice is viewed as one of the great bastions of customer service. If you subscribe to that view, you should really be putting your money where your mouth is and allowing customers the choice of their preferred communication method when it comes to interacting with you.
Turning your call centre into an omni-channel contact centre which caters for email, web chat, chatbot, contact form, SMS and social media may represent some pain for a business. But it hands the freedom of choice to customers, and is widely viewed as the future of customer contact.
For those concerned about stepping into such a strange new world, there is help at hand. Contact centre solutions developers such as Enghouse Interactive have applied themselves to the task of making the switch to omni-channel as painless and as beneficial as possible.
With its Communications Center platform, Enghouse offers clients a simple proposition. Not only, the company claims, will its solution hand a complete choice of contact channels to customers, and ensure consistency of service across all, it will actually help to boost overall satisfaction rates by making first time resolution easier, cutting wait times and abandonment rates and utilising staffing resources more efficiently.
How do they do that, you ask? Read on and all will be revealed. But first, please remember that UC Today is a completely independent news and insight service for the UC industry, and does not promote or endorse any particular brands or products.
What can it do?
Enghouse Interactive’s Communications Center is a modular contact centre platform available as an on-premises deployment. It combines phone, email, web chat, SMS, social media and video contact channels into a single integrated system, with a simple user-friendly interface for agents and combined reporting and recording.
Communications Center uses a single omni-channel queuing system to ensure consistency of service no matter how a customer chooses to contact a business. Not only that, but this centralised workflow also enables more effective and efficient routing to ensure that the right queries get to the right people.
Skills-based intelligent routing across all channels greatly speeds up the journey from first contact to resolution, by cutting out the need for an agent to act as middleman in finding the right place to refer a customer to. On the other hand, should an agent need assistance and need to escalate or refer a call, they can do so with a single click from within their UX, with availability and presence information displayed as part of the internal directory.
Communications Center makes available a range of analytics and monitoring tools, allowing clients to do everything from pull out agent performance reports to track customer interaction histories, as well as display live stats and allow supervisors to manage agent availability and allocation in real time.
There is also an integrated voice and screen recording tool, supporting quality assurance and training across all channels. Routine calls can be automated with IVR self service options, while Communications Center can also be set up for blended inbound and outbound operations, for example allowing agents to switch to making sales or marketing calls during quiet periods.
As a modular solution, one of Communications Center’s most powerful features is the fact that different tools can be built up to create a bespoke solution fitting the specific needs of the individual contact centre. This is most apparent in the easy plug-in integration Communications Center offers with the full range of Enghouse Interactive solutions. For example, adding the Enghouse Communications Portal provides intelligent management of SMS marketing campaigns, sorting messages which require an agent response from those which can be dealt with automatically.
The full suite of Enghouse solutions covers quality management, knowledge management, real-time speech and text analytics, agent portal solutions and self-service.
Another key way Communications Center enables clients to customise their solution is through open integration with third-party platforms. A PBX-agnostic solution, Communications Centre can sit on top of any contact centre hardware and be deployed in a multi-channel environment. It offers close integration with Avaya, Cisco and NEC systems, and provides a native solution for deploying Skype for Business as a contact centre platform.
What do we like?
Enghouse is a Microsoft Gold Partner and has crafted a clever niche for itself turning Skype for Business into a contact centre solution – in fact, it has six times more Skype for Business contact centre seats than any other company globally. The beauty of running Skype for Business through Communications Center is not only how familiar and intuitive the UX is, but the fact that it extends contact operations throughout an organisation. If a business uses Skype for Business for its internal comms, every staff member becomes instantly available to provide front-line service.
Who is it for?
Communications Center is Enghouse’s solution for small to mid-market contact centres, up to 500 or more seats. Enghouse also offers Contact Centre Enterprise, a solution for up to 10,000 seats, and Contact Centre Service Provider, a multi-tenanted carrier grade platform for resellers looking to offer their own hosted contact centre service.
What is it compatible with?
Communications Center offers a native platform for using Skype for Business in the contact centre, plus options for integration with Avaya, Cisco and NEC contact centre systems. It is a PBX-agnostic platform so can sit on top of any contact centre hardware. Through its CRM Connector app, it can plug into SAP, Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce, providing agents with rich contextual customer data drawn from the CRM database.
UC Today opinion
However much the telephone still dominates in your contact centre today, there can be little doubt that omni-channel is tomorrow’s solution. Maybe not this year or by the end of this decade even, but there will come a point where the use of telephony starts to decline as diffusion of multimedia communication technologies picks up momentum. It makes sense for contact centre operators to be ahead of the game when that finally happens, so they are not having to play catch up adapting to new service demands.
With a solution like Enghouse Interactive’s Communications Center, you may as well begin that journey now. As a PBX-agnostic solution, it doesn’t replace your telephone system, it simply sits on top of what you already have, offering greater choice to your customers. Enghouse has also thought carefully about how to smooth the migration route to omni-channel, and its native Skype for Business solution is a great example of a strategic partnership which puts the needs of the end user first. If you already use Skype for Business, this option makes the switch to omni-channel contact virtually painless, simply extending the UC platform you are already familiar with into a customer-facing environment.
Have you used Enghouse Interactive’s Communications Center? What is your assessment of its capabilities? What about the Skype for Business platform, have you used it, and how do you rate it as a contact centre solution? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so why not add a comment below, and please also feel free to share this article with friends and colleagues on social media.