Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Contact Center Solution Trends -Austin Here We Come

September 19, 2012

As the editor of the Contact Center Solutions community, it is one of my greatest pleasures to be able to interact on a periodic basis with the thought and market leaders of our industry. In preparation for TMC’s annual ITEXPO West event to be held in Austin, TX October 2-5, we thought it would a great time to check in with Joe Staples, chief marketing officer, Interactive Intelligence to get his insights on where we are, what he sees as trends and what people attending ITEXPO can expect.

Joe as always generously agreed to answer a few quick questions.

ContactCenterSolutions: What’s been the most important trend in business purchasing decisions this year?

Staples: Definitely the shift to the cloud. Just about every business that’s looking at a communications technology refresh is at least considering the cloud. The benefits are strong, such as increased flexibility, faster deployment time, and reduced IT requirements. From discussions with our customers and prospects, this will be a market driver for the foreseeable future.

ContactCenterSolutions: What is the smartest thing companies can do from a technology perspective to prepare for the future?

Staples: Companies need to stay informed. What trends are gaining mindshare? What are vendors delivering? There are a lot of great resources out there to be able to plan for future technology.

ContactCenterSolutions: What role should video play in business communications?

Staples: We are seeing a heightened interest in video communications. Enterprises are being driven by the benefits of video conferencing, point-to-point video, and video collaboration. Contact centers are also exploring these technologies, but from the perspective of how they can result in a more personal customer experience.

ContactCenterSolutions: What’s the one technology item you want most? Why?Staples: Un-dropped cell phone calls!

ContactCenterSolutions: What will attendees experience at your booth/session that will be unique at ITEXPO?

Staples: We’ll be demonstrating our complete line of unified communications and contact center solutions with a specific emphasis on the cloud. As a part of that, we’ll be highlighting our new Interaction Mobilizer solution that enables companies to more easily deploy and manage transactional mobile apps, while increasing customer satisfaction by bridging the gap between mobile self-service and live assistance.

ContactCenterSolutions: What are you looking forward to at ITEXPO?

Staples: ITEXPO is always a great place to get a firsthand look at new technologies. It’s also an excellent opportunity to talk to customers about what they’re trying to accomplish and the problems they’re trying to solve.

The plug for the show was much appreciated. Reality is that despite the growing importance of video and unified communications, and with all due deference to the fantastic capabilities of our exhibitors, being there at important industry gatherings remains a uniquely valuable experience. As Joe noted, key events are great places to kick the tires of the latest and best, hear industry experts (analysts, customers, colleagues, and dare I say competitors and even senior editors) swap war stories and best practices, and spend quality time with customers and partners in a stimulating environment. Let’s face it, such events are also invaluable places for networking. In short, they remain pivotal as venues where the business of our business takes place. 

I also wanted to amplify a few items mentioned in the trends answers that will be prominently showcased at ITEXPO West. There are few if any better venues for getting a comprehensive view of the fast moving developments surrounding what companies can and should be considering about the cloud be it for contact centers, unified communications, business process outsourcing or vertical market concentrations like accounts receivables and collections and the hot insurance technology market. 

More importantly, here is my short list of things to find out more about:

  • How to handle multi-channel interactions with customers
  • How to leverage in a BYOD and increasingly mobility-centric world the use of focused applications
  • The proper use of social media for improving customer intimacy
  • The importance of “big data” for producing actionable insights
  • The role of real-time speech analytics
  • The best ways to use a variety of new tools to improve agent performance so they can better handle in-bound calls and administrators can mount and monitor successful outbound campaigns are all going to be topics of intense discussion

And, the best part is this will all be available under one big roof.

Finally, on a personal note, as someone who went to grad school in Austin and visits frequently, if you have not been you have missed out on a customer experience that is uniquely enjoyable. Joe forgot to add this to his list of why he likes ITEXPO, but I happen to know he agrees. In fact, please look both of us up. I can promise to let you in on some of the best things to see at the show, and the best places to go for food and entertainment while you are in town. 

Thank you Joe. I hope to see and speak to all of you in Austin.   

Interactive Intelligence is a Platinum sponsor of ITEXPO West 2012. To be held Oct. 2-5 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, TX, ITEXPO is the world’s premier IP communications event. Brandon Rowe,Solutions Marketing Manager, will be a keynote speaker at the event. For more information on IEXPO West 2012 click here.

Edited by Brooke Neuman