West, a provider of cloud-based communication applications and services, has enhanced its Cloud Contact Center with the addition of multichannel capabilities, including support for email, web chat, and text messaging; network-based queuing; and inbound and outbound call blending.
Cloud Contact Center, which is geared toward large and midsize companies with more than 250 contact center seats, also now comes with preview, predictive, and progressive dialing modes that provide artificial intelligence to manage dialer pacing in real time, as well as multichannel survey, quality management, secure payment capture, screen capture, and callback functionality.
Other new elements of West's Cloud Contact Center solution include the following:
- professional services, including advanced business analytics;
- integrated inbound, outbound, IVR, call blending, and routing;
- complex multichannel routing capabilities, including connections with agents based on location or expertise; and
- support for multichannel interactions, including voice, SMS, email, and chat.
Of these, the multichannel element stands out, says Dan Gordon, senior vice president of strategy and development at West Interactive. "The addition of non-voice channels is a big change from where we were before," he says.
Also key to the solution is network-based queuing, which allows the system to hold calls in the local telecom network as opposed to the local private branch exchange (PBX). This, Gordon says, allows for more efficient routing of calls and cuts telco expenses.
Cloud Contact Center also provides native integrations to a number of CRM applications, including Salesforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics. And because the application is built with open-source technologies, integrations to other infrastructure elements and applications will be "relatively easy," according to Gordon.
That will be especially important, he points out, because most of West's customers have complex multivendor IT infrastructures from companies such as Avaya, Cisco, Genesys, and Interactive Intelligence.
So far, West's clients have included companies in the cable, satellite, and telecommunications services, as well as in the healthcare, travel and hospitality, utilities, and retail verticals. But, Gordon says, "quite a few industries are viable targets" for the solution. These include enterprise organizations with large consumer bases and business-to-consumer companies with a lot of end users, he notes.
In a statement, Skip Hanson, president of West’s Interactive Services segment, said the changes were designed to help clients "personalize" the contact center:
"These new enhancements are part of West’s ongoing commitment to driving meaningful customer interactions on behalf of our clients. Our Cloud Contact Center technology is designed to help businesses modernize and personalize their call center experience."
Gordon says Cloud Contact Center is also part of a much broader portfolio of customer experience life cycle solutions at West that includes “self-service solutions that help companies connect with their consumers more effectively.”
Cloud Contact Center is available in pay-per-minute or pay-per-seat models. "It's more of a managed service than a [software-as-a-service] offering," Gordon says.