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December 13, 2013

Microsoft Lync in the Contact Center: Providing a Faster, Barrier-free Customer Experience


Messaging. Collaboration. Conferencing and voice functionality. To SMBs and larger organizations, they’re some of the core capabilities that make Microsoft (News - Alert) Lync a sound foundation for implementing unified communications.

Yet for everything Microsoft Lync 2010 and now Lync 2013 do well, one area that isn’t a Lync strong suit is the contact center and differentiating the customer experience. The all-in-one multichannel Customer Interaction Center™ (CIC) software from Interactive Intelligence (News - Alert) can help.

Within a unified communications framework, integrating CIC with Microsoft Lync brings the contact center to life. Organizations using Lync and CIC enhance contact center and customer care processes across media channels of all types — voice, email, chat, SMS, fax, and even social media. The integration’s expanded collaboration features for IM, real-time presence, intelligent interaction routing, transfers, and reporting also bring contact center agents and enterprise users together more tightly, bridging gaps in collaboration across the organization.

The result is a customer experience free of barriers, from the communications channels customers choose to routing customers to the “right” employees with speed and precision — and without frustration.

Collaboration and first contact resolution

FCR has become the benchmark of the customer experience, and of building customer loyalty. Emanating from the contact center, FCR often requires agents to assemble a “team” right away to resolve the customer’s issue quickly. That is, agents must be able to locate and connect with enterprise users and subject matter experts (SMEs) on demand, via the best media channel available to all parties, including the customer. Collaboration for FCR therefore can mean having to bring workers together throughout the organization, even when employees work from remote locations.

With CIC and Microsoft Lync working in unison, organizations connect customers with the right resources quickly and avoid blind transfers and lengthy wait times. Agents and enterprise users alike have multiple media and collaboration channels to choose from, and instantly know the availability of other users. As importantly, customers can count on having their issues resolved at first contact on a consistent and reliable basis. In customer service terms, average interaction times decrease, FCR rates increase, and the customer gets their issue taken care of accurately and much faster.

The customer experience at its finest

For customer experience quality, contact centers have long realized that live customer-agent interactions must be resolved swiftly. It’s what most customers demand. FCR rates help pinpoint concerns in the interaction process to ensure that customer issues are indeed handled and resolved in rapid fashion. After all, no customer wants to be transferred aimlessly from one person or department to another when they have an issue — and asked repeatedly to provide their account information and explain their issue at each stop. Nor do customers want to be put on hold for extended periods because an agent can’t find the right information or subject matter expert to answer a question.

Customers want a quick and accurate resolution at the first point of contact they come to, no matter the communication channel. By eliminating organizational silos, the Microsoft Lync platform and unified communications are a strong first step in this direction. But taking the next step is considerably more critical — integrating Lync with the multichannel CIC contact center software.

With the levels of interoperability this integration provides, businesses are able to bring together their contact center and enterprise to enhance customer care across media channels of all types, across the business. To close organizational gaps, the Microsoft Lync-CIC integration improves presence visibility, real-time collaboration, and information flows between contact center agents and subject matter experts throughout the enterprise. These users even get a single click to multiple collaboration channels for IM, video, voice call, email, fax, and desktop sharing — a crucial multichannel consideration for improving the customer experience… and customer loyalty.




Edited by Stefania Viscusi


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