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Cisco integrates its cloud contact center and communications tools for better customer experience

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Cisco Systems Inc. today announced at its WebexOne 2022 conference a reimagined Webex Customer Experience portfolio that integrates its collaboration, cloud contact center and cloud communications platforms under a single banner.

Webex CX, as the new portfolio is called, is a comprehensive suite of tools for handling customer communications, with support for voice calls, instant messaging and other channels. According to Cisco, Webex CX is all about delivering smart, proactive and personalized customer experience capabilities that will help improve brand loyalty and increase customer adoption. The offering gives businesses a way to engage with consumers across the full extent of their customer experience journey, supporting both digital and human interactions.

Jeetu Patel, executive vice president and general manager of Cisco Security and Collaboration, said today’s digital-first consumers demand a more responsive and personalized experience from the brands and companies they engage with. “This trend is driving companies to reconsider their approach to CX,” Patel said. “They want a single vendor offering that brings together advanced CX capabilities with the security and reliability they’ve come to expect from Cisco.”

If that’s the case, then Cisco Webex CX appears to be just what the doctor ordered, with its promise of a “seamless omnichannel experience” that results from the tighter integration of Webex Connect and Webex Contact Center. Cisco said this integration enables customer experience teams to engage with their clients over more digital channels, with support for Instagram and Google Business Messages among the latest additions.

There are plenty of other improvements too, with Webex Contact Center now certified for Microsoft Teams, meaning it can perform skills-based routing of inbound Teams calls. Agents can then tap into data sources such as Salesforce, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure to handle those call better.

And it’s a rapidly growing market, with 1 million new agents each year, Lorrissa Horton, senior vice president and general manager of Webex Calling and Contact Center, noted in an interview with SiliconANGLE. “It’s a quickly evolving market,” she said. “Contact centers are now a strategic part of your customer engagement.”

In terms of agent experience, Webex Contact Center now incorporates the artificial intelligence-powered background noise reduction technology that first appeared in Webex, helping to eliminate distractions and improve comprehension for both customers and agents. In addition, Cisco announced a new Cisco Headset 720 series for CX agents, which features a lightweight 276° rotation boom arm with flip-to-mute, as well as one-button access to join for Webex and Microsoft Teams.

Administrators get a new, cloud-based supervisor dashboard within Webex Contact Center that enables them to monitor agent performance, send messages within the Webex application and view detailed agent information and highlights of important calls. Analyzer reports are being expanded too, helping supervisors to optimize agent performance through real-time and historical insights, Cisco said.

And on the automation side, Cisco said Webex Connect can now enable “bot capabilities” that leverage a unified natural language processing node, with support for 93 languages. By enabling bots, the company explained, customer experience teams can offload routine calls to a virtual agent and free up their human agents to focus on more complex customer interactions.

Finally, Cisco said, Webex CX is introducing more possibilities for customization with the launch of its Customer Experience Developer Portal, which provides access to the application programming interfaces and documentation that developers need to create more personalized contact center experiences. Cisco said there are APIs for customizing agent desktops, routing, orchestration, automation, AI and more.

Liz Miller of Constellation Research Inc. told SiliconANGLE that Webex CX bundles Cisco’s existing communications-as-a-service, unified communications-as-a-service and cloud communications-as-a-service tools into a single, unified offering that can power new experiences. Until now, she said, companies have always struggled to unite such capabilities.

“In this age of fast-moving digital-first customers and employees, we don’t have time to waste,” Miller said. “So these integrations are about realizing that when it comes to how we deliver the capacity to communicate and engage as the core experience, it should be less about where it works and in which direction, and more about it aligning to how our customers expect to communicate.”

The launch of the revamped Webex CX portfolio follows multiple enhancements to the Webex suite that were announced yesterday on day one of WebexOne. Focused on improving the hybrid work experience for enterprises, those updates included new collaboration devices, a tighter integration with Microsoft Teams and new features within Webex itself.

With reporting from Robert Hof

Photo: Cisco

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