Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Contact Center Solutions Week in Review: Interactive Intelligence, Alorica and Vilynx

January 10, 2015

First, a happy and a healthy New Year to all members of the Contact Center Solutions Community. Let’s face it, 2014 was quite a year looking back, and 2015 is shaping up as a watershed one for vendors and users alike. The reasons will be chronicled as we go along, but it safe to say at a high level that intensity of focus at the C-level on enhancing the customer experience is becoming even more important (if that is possible), and that means investments in omni-channel capabilities, big data and analytics, moves to the cloud, the virtualization of the workplace, integrations with other information silos to provide a unified view of the customer journey, and a host of other technological innovations are all poised to speed the investments in transforming contact centers.  And, let’s not forget investments in people as well as technology as the skills required to provide great customer experiences are in short supply and training and new metrics for success will become paramount.

With the above as a preamble, thanks to the ways in which the holidays fell this year we have a little catching up to do in terms of how 2014 ended and what transpired already in 2015.

Before getting to all of the news, I’d like to start with two major items concerning community host Interactive Intelligence.  The first is recognition that delivering on its promise our hosts started rolling out the first of their new services on their PureCloud platform with the availability of PureCloud Directory.   Watch this space as the rest of the portfolio becomes available in the coming months. 

The second, and in the next few weeks there will be reminders, is that Interactive Intelligence will be hosting a webinar on Jan. 27 at 11:30 EST titled, What’s New for Contact Centers in 2015 and Why it Matters.  Tim Passios, VP Solutions Marketing for Interactive Intelligence we be joined by industry experts, Ian Jacobs, Senior Analyst, Forrester Research, Sheila McGee-Smith, Founder, McGee-Smith Analytics, and Don Van Doren, President, Vanguard Communications for what promises to be an incredibly insightful and import event and a great way to kick off 2015.

I also wanted to draw attention to a piece I authored about why I agreed and somewhat disagreed with the Temkin Group’s calling 2015 “The Year of the Employee.”  I liked the premise but think this will be the year where enterprises use technology not just to listen to the voice of the customer but actually hear it and do something in order to increase customer satisfaction with their experiences.

As to the rest of the news from the past few weeks there was a little bit of everything that matters to the community.   This included new offers and capabilities such as:

On the industry trends side of things going multi-lingual is becoming a necessity when it comes to improving the customer experience as exemplified by:

  • The announcement that Tokyo is already planning ahead to for the include of foreign visitors for the 2020 Olympics and will be funding and rolling out a free contact center with outsourced interpretation services.
  • There was also an interesting posting on how language interpretation is being used to improve medical customer services.
  • Ryder partnered with Language Select for interpretation services to services it increasingly multi-lingual customer base.
  • Vilynx offered insight Into video's true effectiveness and why it is becoming and increasingly popular tool.
  • E-Complish recently announced it partnered with Blue Cross of Idaho to provide Blue Cross with an interactive voice response system that offers Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance from within the E-Complish DirectPay platform. 
  • Reflective of the technology that is totally disrupting not just the automobile market but the insurance market as well, BMW revealed its ConnectedDrive store will hit the US in Spring 2015.

As noted at the top this is a catch-up week so the list of implementations and other successes is rather lengthy. It includes:

  • CounterPath being selected to equip Vodafone New Zealand’s contact center agents with softphones to enable them to fully-utilize all of the capabilities of Unified Communications (UC)  and presences.   
  • The Tata Sky contact center got speech recognition specialist Nuance Communications.
  • It was revealed that smart home solutions provider Nest and security giant ADT are preparing a multiple media partnership to augment home security.
  • The largest private department store chain in the U.S., Belk, renewed its partnership with eBay Enterprise to leverage omni-channel to better manage its customer service.
  • Philippine Airlines (PAL) announced expansion of its contact centers to serve U.S. and Canadian customers.
  • TNT UK turned to NewVoiceMedia's ContactWorld to create better customer experiences.  Spur Customer Experience

There was recognition report as Hinduja Global Solutions Limited, already recognized as one of the best call center companies in the world got a silver 'Best Large Contact Center' award at the just recently finished global finals for the Contact Center World Awards. This is actually the second award of this kind that HGS has gotten this year. The company also received the Best Large Contact Center at the EMEA finals in July of this year.  In addition, NACR, announced that it has named Sennheiser a NACR Preferred Provider.  And, Qubit was cited by Forrester Research as a leading marketing-centric digital customer experience delivery platform.

There was also a major acquisition in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) space as Alorica acquired West Corporation's Agent Services Businesses making U.S.-based Alorica a significant player in BPO.

In other industry news a few reports made headlines. The IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, a terrific source of real-time marketing information you need to check out, found that online sales this holiday season reached record numbers and highlighted the growing importance of mobile customer experiences.   And, Ann Arbor, MI-based Answers Corporation, a provider of cloud-based voice of customer solutions and owner of, has published an annual study of the state of the retail customer experience. This year's The AnswersTM Experience Index (AXI): 2014 U.S. Retail Edition (formerly called the ForeSee Experience Index) is out and some of the findings are fascinating including the finding that online customer experience champ Amazon is falling back to the pack as others improve their capabilities.  

Finally, of more than a bit of significance here in the U.S., New York State now has a law on the books that sets forth specific procedures should a gas or electric company plan to shut down a local contact center.   

Weekend Reading

As a reminder for the start of a new year, our community is open 24/7/365 as your navigation tool for linking to constantly up-dated industry news, eBooks, whitepapers, videos, insights and interesting demos if you are looking to get caught up on industry trends and news this weekend. 

Plus, visit our affiliated channels — Accounts Receivable Management, Business Process Automation, CaaS, Cloud-based Contact Centers and Insurance Technology —which contain news and insights on specific areas  of interest. 

Finally, why not spend a little time this weekend registering to attend ITEXPO Miami being held Jan. 27-30, 2015 in Miami Beach. This is a great opportunity to be warm during the coldest part of winter and more to the point, hear, see and discuss contact center issues in person with peers and subject matter experts.