Cisco Context Connects Contact Centers with Customer Journeys

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this resource by integrating the data at the back end in order to paint a more comprehensive picture of customer contacts and the level of customer service supplied."

Cisco's Context Service is an out-of-the-box cloud-based solution that connects to existing on-premises and cloud-based Cisco contact centers. The solution tags and indexes every customer contact. When a customer calls into the contact center, the information is available on an agent's desktop. By the time information gets to the customer service agent, the interaction has moved beyond "What's your account number?" to addressing the customer by name and acknowledging the issue.

"This completely shifts the service experience from one where the customer is already very frustrated to one where [he is] very surprised at the level of service and insight that the agent has when [she answers] the phone," Daniels says.

"Any time a customer is made to feel like [she is] important to a business, such as [when she doesn't have] to repeat information to agents during a service contact, or...explain to the agent with each contact what happened on the previous contact, it can only be positive for the customer and the business," Stockford said. "Not only will the level of customer satisfaction be high, so will the performance metrics scores of the contact center. That's what optimizing the customer's experience is really all about."

Interestingly, Jeff Campbell, manager of collaboration solutions marketing at Cisco, says that some form of contextual technology has been in the wings for contact centers for a while, but has faced roadblocks.

"The technology has been there, but it's been expensive, difficult, channel-oriented, and too proprietary," he says. "The intent with Context Service is to make this very easy. There's no longer a high barrier to implementation."

Cisco Context Service differs from other context solutions, Daniels says, by being available to partner applications. Since it is a cloud-based service, if Cisco's customer service organizations agree to open up their data to partner applications, partners can integrate other solutions, such as CRM applications, adding context to customer records, or Web journey analytics applications.

"We see that as a real key value because contact centers are a mix of technologies—no one is able to do everything that a contact center needs to deliver the kind of service that differentiates companies today," Daniels says.

The bottom line is that contextual services are hot right now, and are poised to gain more traction in the contact center solution marketplace.

"It's only a matter of time before context solutions are as ubiquitous as multichannel communications in the contact center industry," Stockford said."While only a small percentage of the industry, around 6 percent, is currently supporting a solution like Context Service, we expect another 35 percent to follow suit in the next two years. In the meantime, development of these solutions will continue making them more widely available to contact centers of all sizes."

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