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TMCnet Contact Center Solutions Week in Review

December 22, 2012

As is typical this time of the year, the Contact Center Solutions Community this past week saw a nice mix of industry recognition, deals and new capabilities.

However, before getting into the core industry news, in the wake of the horrible tragedy in Newtown, CT at the Sandy Hook Elementary School only seven days ago there was an item of interest regarding the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The system which as the name implies is used in the U.S. to check the backgrounds of gun purchasers. It should be noted in their history they have processed over 100 million requests and denied 700,000. 

The news was that as a result of the large number of gun purchases in the wake of tragedy, as people rushed to make purchased in anticipation of possible stricter gun control laws, the NICS had to stop taking customer service calls. NICS highlights the role technology can hopefully play in preventing such calamities, and the fact that investments are going to have to be made for this and other data bases used to validate the backgrounds of potential gun owners along with the contact center support that is requisite for answering questions.     

I also would like to recommend my end of the year interview with Interactive Intelligence CMO Joe Staples. We covered a lot of issues, challenges and opportunities that impacted our entire community this past year and I know you will be interested in his views on what to look for in 2013.

News

As noted, the news spanned the industry and the world. A good place to start is with various announcements of new capabilities. These included:

  • Clarity Connect enhancing its Microsoft Lync integration service.
  • Stratus Contact Solutions, a U.S.-based multichannel contact center, recently signed a contract with Telrite Corporation and Life Wireless for call center support for the provision of cellular service to income-eligible customers.   
  • MediaFunnel unveiled new customizable customer service quality assurance protocols.  
  • Crittercism and Helpshift have partnered to help app developers gain greater visibility into the customer experience, increase app ratings, and improve retention across Android, iOS and HTML5 platforms.
  • The newest member in LiveOps (News - Alert) Strategic Alliance Partner program Concentric Cloud Solutions, a XO Communications company.
  • 3CLogic (News - Alert) incorporated its contact center software offering with SugarCRM

In this section, I also wanted to point out an item of interest that is a growing opportunity to see the innovation process in action. The item is that General Motors is going to utilize the AT&T Developer Summit Hackathon to expand outreach to developers for connected-car apps. The reason this should be of interest to those in the contact center solutions community is that hackathons, for those not familiar with such events, are not evil as the term seems to connote. In fact, they are great places for entrepreneurs to strut their stuff and show how they can add value to various platforms. Attending one to get a flavor for what goes on and your juices flowing on how you might wish to engage developers is certainly something to think about in 2013.

As noted, there was a lot of industry recognition this past week:

  • Altitude Software received the 2012 Frost & Sullivan Latin American Contact Center Applications Growth Leadership Award. 
  • Anana has won two independently judged awards for dedication to innovation and focus on social engagement from Genesys (News - Alert).
  • Global provider of retail derivatives, GFT Markets, was ranked by an industry-wide survey of U.K. CFD traders as number one in terms of customer service in the U.K.'s CFD industry. 

In other industry news, Aspect (News - Alert) Software revealed that its Applications Foundation platform has been selected by Experian, a global information services company. Sapporo City, Hokkaido Prefecture is getting a new call center from leading outsourcer transcosmos Inc. And, the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) has added community host Interactive Intelligence as its latest Silver Sponsor.

Thought pieces were also featured this past week and the two below are well worth a read. First, I highly recommend the contribution of special guest columnist Steve Kraus, senior director of product marketing, Pegasystems (News - Alert) and his suggestions on actions to take in 2013 to drive the customer experience. You should also read TMCnet Contributor Tracey Schelmetic’s piece about research that shows that contact centers are still lagging when it comes to incorporating social media and mobility into the way they interact with customers.

Weekend reading  

With the holidays upon us hopefully you will have time to look at all the resources the community has to offer. It is constantly being updated with new videos, whitepapers and podcasts on a variety of subjects. As I have pointed out before, if you are a Microsoft Lync customer, download the featured whitepaper from the community on integrating Lync with Interactive Intelligence’s CIC. 

Catch up on the recent webinar, Best Practices for Evaluating a New Contact Center Solution: Leading Analysts Share Their Insight and Research, as well as the webinar, The Call Center is Dead, Long Live the Contact Center! if you were not able to join them. And, please don’t’ forget to review our affiliated channels — Accounts Receivable Management, Business Process Automation, CaaS, Cloud-based Contact Centers and Insurance Technology, for more granular coverage of things specific to your needs.



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