Discussing Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise’s Hybrid CCaaS Opportunity

Rob Scott

Hybrid CCaaS with Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise and AKIO

Discussing Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise’s Hybrid CCaaS Opportunity

The consumers have taken over. Now more than ever, customers have more control over who they buy from, how they access customer service, and even how they learn about companies. To thrive in this new environment, businesses need to ensure they have the correct solution in place to enable engaging conversations.  

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, and AKIO are two organisations in the communication landscape with plenty of experience understanding how valuable every customer conversation can be. Now, the two brands are joining forces to deliver hybrid CCaaS to the masses.  

I spoke with Product Marketing at Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, Ludovic Leclerc, and CMO of AKIO, Philippe Guihéneuc to find out more.  

How have Customer Expectations Changed in the Past Year? 

According to experts, customers are more demanding than ever. 90% of customers say an “immediate” response is very important, or important when they have a service question. Philippe told me that the things that are most important for companies today have been important in societies for a long time.  

“Increasingly, we’re learning that people want more than just products or services, they want a valuable human interaction. Customers are looking for meaningful experiences offering more than just answers to questions. People have been traumatized by the last couple of years, and they want relationships with companies to help them feel safer.” 

At the same time, Ludovic said that social media has changed our idea of “fast”, and consumer technology has elevated expectations for customer service. The pandemic period has proven we can all live in a significant environment of uncertainty, and customers want companies who can adapt quickly to changes.  

As Philippe confirmed, “People want companies to respond immediately to all their requests, regardless of the circumstances. They need to receive their package in the right time, at the right place, and if they don’t, they need to be able to reach an agent at any time, via a range of channels.” 

As a result, companies need to be able to offer a range of communication methods and ensure agents can access those methods from any device, phone, email, or other digital channels. More importantly, they need to put the customers in direct contact with the people best suited to answer their questions.” 

How Important is it to Offer a Full Range of Channels? 

As Philippe and Ludovic noted, the demand for a wider selection of effective channels for communication is greater than ever. That’s why many companies are now merging their technologies, so they can offer more to brands in search of CCaaS solutions. 

“In the old days of customer service, you’d just pick up the phone and call someone. Now there are so many ways to communicate, and every customer has their own preferences” 

As Ludovic told me, people act differently, think differently, and have different habits. Some will continue to use their phone to call customer service, when others don’t know what a phone number is. All the while, customers expect brands to be monitoring their mentions on social media and responding instantly to complaints. 

Philippe told me that new channels like Facebook Messenger, chat, and Twitter still only represent a small part of the exchanges happening between customers and brands, but they’ve been growing rapidly for a few months. “Among younger generations, these channels are becoming the number one choice. Not offering these channels means cutting off part of your customer base.” 

Ultimately, the only solution is to offer a complete digital experience, one that seamlessly addresses all the challenges required by companies and customers.  

How Can Business Leaders Leverage a Fully Unified Experience? 

With the rise of new channels also comes an increase in complexity and cost. Business leaders will need to be prepared for the impending challenges. According to Philippe, the secret to great contact centre productivity has always been in allowing agents to use multiple channels in parallel.  

“When not handling a phone request, they can handle emails, or take on two or three chats. This way, time is optimized. To make this possible, users need to proceed in stages. First, start with one or two channels, then add a third and fourth over time. The software also needs to be natively omnichannel.” 

Ludovic went on to suggest companies should start from where they are. If a customer service solution already handles calls efficiently, there’s no need to break and replace everything.  

To help companies make the transition, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise and AKIO partnered on the development of their new ALE Connect service – available since November 2021. The solution combines voice, messaging, social media, and other channels into a more convenient solution for customer service.  

In line with the trends and challenges facing companies right now, ALE Connect helps companies to set themselves apart from the competition. Teams can manage new interaction media channels and connect with customers in the way that suits them best. You can link all of your agents, consultants, and first-line respondents with a cohesive environment. 

How is ALE Connect Unique? 

ALE Connect promises companies an opportunity to unlock the benefits of the omnichannel contact centre, without having to undergo a full revolution in the company. Businesses can adapt smoothly using the hybrid cloud, and preserve past investments, while still evolving at their own pace. 

As Ludovic told me:

“The goal of ALE Connect is to ensure companies can still leverage their existing investments. For a company who already has a telephony system from Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, there’s no rip and replace or change in phone numbers and handsets. You can avoid the setting of routing rules and phone calls” 

The new services allow multi-channel engagement delivered through the cloud, with no need for complicated installations on the customer premises. Philippe told me that ALE Connect combines all the benefits of Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise’s IP PBX technology for the voice channel, with AKIO’s technology for social media, live chat and emails.  

“It’s a hybrid, but also fully-integrated PBX-CCaaS offer, designed primarily for Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise customers who want to be able to respond to their customers through additional digital channels.” 

Even better, the whole solution is completely plug-and-play, so businesses can enable new interaction channels quickly and easily, at their own pace. The ALE Connect offering has been available from November 2021 in selected countries throughout the Western Europe region. The extension of this cloud service to other regions is planned during 2022.  



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