Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Aspect Debuts New Social Media Option for Contact Centers

August 15, 2011

Social media is now so pervasive in consumers’ lives that integrating its use into the contact center’s arsenal of customer contact solutions would appear to be not only logical, but essential to effectiveness. The problem is that for some time now, contact centers’ attempts to establish this integration has not been totally smooth as major technology solutions specific to contact centers have been slow to hit the market.

That scenario may soon change as Aspect, a market leading provider of customer contact and Microsoft platform solutions, announced today that it is now offering a solution it calls Aspect Social Media Channel Integration that it says will enable businesses to better manage and communicate with customers who use social media for business information purposes.

In its news announcement, Aspect said its new offering goes beyond “focus only on identification and routing of social media interactions,” and “addresses the complete business issue of routing the right issue at the right time to the right resource, managing the resources needed for an effective social media response, and measuring the efficacy of the social media strategy.”

“Aspect’s social engagement capabilities will help our customers turn social interactions with consumers into meaningful, mutually beneficial conversations,” said Serge Hyppolite, vice president of product management at Aspect.

With Aspect Social Media Channel Integration, social media communications, the company said, can be integrated into its customers’ total customer contact strategy  “as a distinct channel, leveraging existing resources and investments” because they can apply capabilities such as call center performance analytics, workflow rules and workforce optimization. Therefore, social media becomes part of “the total engagement strategy, rather than remaining an isolated medium.”

“In the past year, there has been an explosion of discussion about integrating social media into the contact center,” Sheila McGee-Smith, president and principal analyst at McGee-Smith Analytics, said. “While the number of solutions in production is still low, companies are actively seeking to understand their options for adding social media as an additional media type in the contact center with pilots and trials. Aspect’s broad contact center solution portfolio allows them to leverage not only contact center routing, queuing and reporting but also workforce optimization and analytics to help companies maximize their social media investments.”

The company said, “Aspect Social Media Channel Integration customers can productively respond, plan for, and measure social media interactions through Aspect’s core interaction management and workforce optimization capabilities.”

According to the press release, the new solution’s engagement framework is backed by Aspect Unified IP, the company’s customer contact platform.

“With Aspect Unified IP and Social Media Channel Integration,” Hyppolite said, “organizations are uniquely positioned to extract considerable business value from this communications channel through their existing operations, leveraging the disciplined, impactful, customer-centric approach implemented within their contact centers.”

In other news, ContactCenterSolutions reported that  Aspect has entered into a partnership relation with eircom, the principal provider of fixed-line telecommunications services in Ireland, to expand its presence in the Irish contact center market.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.

Linda Dobel is a ContactCenterSolutions Contributor. She has been an editor in the contact center space for more than 25 years, and has the distinction of being the founding editor of Customer Inter@ction Solutions (CIS) magazine. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell