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Avaya Mixes It Up to Give Customers a Seamless Experience

Avaya Mixes It Up to Give Customers a Seamless Experience

Say a customer gets into an accident and uses her smartphone app to connect to the insurance company. She'll be able to punch through a few self-service items to file an initial claim and then send a photo of the damaged vehicle. She can also speak with a rep, who can then add more details to the claim. It "dramatically changes her experience with the auto insurer," said Avaya's Laura Bassett.

By Erika Morphy CRM Buyer ECT News Network
06/28/12 9:42 AM PT

Avaya has added new products and enhanced existing ones in its Customer Experience Interaction Management portfolio. The overarching goal of the changes was to allow users to reach out to customers via any channel the customers chose -- for example, mobile application, social media or phone.

Such accessibility has become key to many companies and industries, said Laura Bassett, director of marketing for customer experience and emerging technologies at Avaya.

"In general, I would say there is a huge focus on customer experience as a differentiator in the market," she told CRM Buyer. "To truly orchestrate that experience, one has to be able to provide a unified experience across a variety of channels."

In the end, the consumer could care less what touch point a company prefers or has the best ability in, Bassett said. "He or she just wants to get the problem solved."

At its heart, Avaya's Customer Experience Interaction Management application is a contact center product -- but one that focuses on extending traditional contact center services to other channels and to diverse outposts of a company, such as its branches, retail locations, or remote back-office operations.

A Mobile Connection

Hence the addition of Customer Connections Mobile, a new feature that allows a user's customer to navigate smartphone menus for self-service related inquiries and tasks.

It also provides support if the customer wants to be connected to a service rep. Like it would with a customer service phone call, the mobile app gives the customer an estimated wait time if no agent is immediately available. Customers can choose to wait, request a return call, or schedule one for a more convenient time.

"If I were to give a simple explanation, the Customer Connections Mobile feature brings the app into the customer service experience," Bassett said.

Consider the hypothetical example of an auto insurance company that uses the feature to support an app it provides to customers, she suggested. Say a customer gets into an accident and uses her smartphone to connect via the app to the insurance company. She'll be able to punch through a few self-service items to file an initial claim and then send a photo of the damaged vehicle at the accident site. She can also speak with a rep, who can then add more details to the claim, which was already opened via the app.

"That the customer can do this from her phone at the site of the accident dramatically changes her experience with the auto insurer," Bassett said.

One-Touch Video, Social Media Enhancements

Enhancements to existing functionality allow for similar scenarios. Avaya added One Touch Video to the product portfolio to facilitate customer contact. A hyperlink embedded on a Web page or sent via email enables voice and video collaboration between agents and customers via their Internet-connected device.

Avaya also beefed up functionality in the Social Media Manager, adding support for additional languages and integration with Google Alerts, RSS and YouTube, in addition to Facebook and Twitter.

Call Center Elite

Avaya also increased capacity and functionality in Call Center Elite, its routing and distribution technology. Enhancements have improved performance, simplified administration, and streamlined hardware, upgrade and maintenance.

This new iteration, Call Center Elite 6.2, can handle up to twice the calls as previous versions. Avaya has also developed new 96x1phones, which offer faster access to common agent features and embedded agent greetings.

What Is Good, What Is Missing

There is a lot to like about this product line, Nucleus Research Vice President Rebecca Wettemann told CRM Buyer. "Avaya recognizes that customers want to interact with multiple channels, and that type of functionality is no longer a 'nice to have' but a 'necessary' if a company wants to deliver a positive customer experience."

Such multichannel support functionality will increase as aging contact centers replace their equipment and software, she predicted.

Avaya's application is missing some pieces, however, Wettemann continued -- namely social monitoring and e-commerce functionality.

"That is understandable, given Avaya's focus on the contact center," she said, "but it will still need to support these activities at some point sooner or later."

One possibility, Wettemann suggested, would be to partner with vendors such as IBM or Oracle to provide it.


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