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20th June 2001 at 10:56 #11522SANJAY BANGROOGuest
Computer telephony integration (CTI) is software that allows the components of a call center-telephone switches (PBXs), interactive voice response (IVR) units, agent workstations, and databases containing customer information-to work together effectively. First viewed as “bleeding edge” call center technology, CTI has developed into a booming business over the past six years, primarily because of its robust features and tremendous benefits.
A CTI solution involves seamlessly integrating telephone hardware (e.g., switches), computers, and software. The software should be able to deal directly with the telephone hardware, and much of what the software does (such as automatic call routing) should go on in the background. The software itself should have the following features:
A Common, Call-Specific, Data Repository
With a common, call-specific data repository, every piece of hardware, every software application, every agent has access to a single, cumulative set of data about a particular call. There is no possibility of conflicting information about a given call, because any bit of information exists only once and in one place. The caller need not be asked again and again for the same information – information is obtained once, and is then retained for the life of the call.
The data repository must have a unique identifier, uniquely associating the data with a specific call. This makes for data integrity and unambiguous identification of the caller.
Real-Time Call Qualification Services
The caller must be qualified as early, quickly, and automatically as possible. CTI provides automatic qualification, which is integrated with other modes of qualification. Automatic qualification is often based on ANI (the number from which the call has originated) and DNIS (the number being called).
The ability to qualify the caller not only enables large enterprises to react more quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively, it also allows them to bring back the same kind of personal touch that used to exist when someone would walk into a bank and be recognized by her usual teller.
The automatic qualification occurs while the customer is still hearing the phone ring. In some cases, the next stage in the call may be an interaction between the customer and a VRU: “Press 1 for … ” or “Please enter your PIN.”
Sometimes, the customer’s needs can be satisfied without human intervention. On other occasions, the call is eventually passed to an agent, who may in turn pass it to another agent. Regardless of the precise routing of the call, at each stage–automatic software qualification, VRU-elicited qualification, agent qualification-the content of the data repository grows.
The Agent’s Desktop
CTI provides comprehensive call-related information that is displayed on the customer service agent’s screen. In the call center industry, this is known as screen population, or “screen pop.” Although screen pop is the feature most commonly associated with CTI, a true CTI solution involves all of the features discussed in this column.
CTI provides a software-based telephone, or softphone, that lets agents access telephone functions from their computer screens. The softphone display reflects the state and status of the call.
One of CTI’s key features is its ability to provide the agent with as complete a picture as possible about the caller and the call:
The history of the call before it got to the current agent
The relevant information that has been obtained about the caller
If an initial call was dropped, and the caller has called back, the recovered information associated with that previous call
Good CTI software uses the information it obtains on each caller to route calls to an appropriate agent, as well as to trigger an appropriate application on the agent’s desktop. Suppose a customer is calling to report a lost credit card. By the time the call gets to the agent, the CTI software has started the “Lost or Stolen Credit Card” program on the agent’s computer, and pre-filled those entries of the accompanying form with information that had been obtained directly from the caller or from the company’s databases.
Call History Services
Perhaps as important as dealing with each call as it occurs is CTI’s ability to provide a history of past calls. Good CTI software should be able to provide call histories that contain such information as: How many calls were received in the past month? How many of these went to a VRU? How many required an agent? How many were terminated before completion by the customer hanging up? How long do calls last?
The CTI software working with specific applications should be able to provide you additional information, such as: How many calls involved customers raising their credit limit? How many wanted their checking account balance? How many were satisfied at the completion of the call? Information can be combined into summary reports, for example: How many called to both raise their credit limit and get their checking account balance in the past month?
Integration of Hardware and Software
Very few enterprises searching for a CTI solution are starting with a clean slate. Most enterprises have a heterogeneous mix of telephony hardware, coupled with proprietary computer hardware and software. A good CTI solution should be able to work with existing call center equipment, rather than requiring the purchase of new equipment.
Software telephony services should allow the agent to perform all of his activities from his computer, including answering his phone, transferring calls, putting calls on hold, placing conference calls, and hanging up.
The above list reflects only a few of the many features of computer telephony software. These features are key in realizing the significant benefits of CTI including:
Cost savings from reduced 800# charges
Decreased agent talk time
Centralized tracking and control
Improved quality of service
And most importantly, Increased Customer Satisfaction.
CTI initiatives are often cost justified on the basis of saving time. Hopefully only a small part of the analysis centers on saving time at the start of the call, the “screen pop savings of 10 to 20 seconds per call.”
A “One and Done” goal permeates many aspects of the call center’s operation, stimulates more creativity and delivers a broader range of hard and soft benefits, including:
Efficient use of enterprise resources globally throughout the business
Increased customer loyalty through delivery of complete and effective care
Anticipation of and delivery on customer needs via knowledge and relationship management applications
For most calls the programmable call flows will guide each call to an appropriate agent skill. CTI excels at identifying the customers that need particular care in order to accomplish “One and Done”, specifically:
any customer who abandons from queue, to ensure that a repeat attempt is answered quickly
a returning customer who abandons from hold, ensuring a quick answer on the next call by an agent who is proficient and knowledgeable of the earlier abandonment
customers with special needs, buying history, unresolved discrepancies or other ongoing issues that demand the attention of appropriately skilled agents, so that a less proficient or unsuitable agent does not receive the call
customers who have been repeatedly using the VRU without apparent success, to route them to live agents. Can the agents update the customers’ profiles to flag them for live agent handling?
callers from cell phones or payphones for rapid, live agent attention.
callers from suspicious sources, such as payphones or prison phones, in order for agents to assess risk of fraud
In addition, can the CTI application:
Deliver a customer scorecard to aid the agent in knowing when greater discretion should be used in resolving issues?
Deliver a cross-selling recommendation to the agent based on the customer’s activity in the VRU or on a customer profile analysis?
Enable an agent on a call to add newly acquired customer information or notes to the profile, so that customer lifecycle issues can be understood and acted upon on subsequent calls?
Permit the fulfillment of a transaction during the call to ensure the customer’s needs have been fully met, and to reduce the number of callbacks from unsure or impatient customers?
To accomplish “One and Done,” customer profiles must move beyond the simple facts of name, address, and account number, to include:
Communication needs and preferences, as to language and method of contact (e.g., e-mail)
Entitlements, such as “Premier” or “Elite” status, assigned agent or team, and applicable discretionary offers
Profile analysis, as to the customer’s standing in terms of computed lifetime revenue, profitability and referrals; present wallet share; and value in relation to other customers (e.g., a client in the 96th percentile).
Aspirations, such as cross-sell or account development opportunities identified by marketing.
Relationship management information, such as knowledge of the customer’s present, past, and anticipated relationship with the business.
Circumstances, such as open trouble tickets, complaints or unpaid bills; recent call history or online activity; workflow status of requests; and record of offers made through email, direct mail, or other contact.
CTI initiatives risk repaving an old cow path – albeit a 20 second shorter one – when “screen pop” is the first consideration. A “One and Done” goal broadens a team’s perspective prompting changes to what work is done, who does the work, how work is done, and when it is done. Situational analysis can make the most important factors actionable through CTI. The “one” call, even without the 20 seconds saved, may be the most cost-effective means in delivering the service that fuels your business’ success, one customer at a time.26th July 2001 at 09:54 #11523SANJAYGuest
BIKRAM FOR U27th July 2001 at 12:17 #11524BIKRAM SINGHGuest
Thank u sir,
thank u very very much20th August 2001 at 12:04 #11525girishGuest
thanks21st August 2001 at 05:28 #11526SANJAY BANGROOGuest
R U GIRISH DUBHIR ????