Avaya Launches Next-Generation Contact Center Solutions to Enhance Customer Service Experiences

New Avaya Aura™ Contact Center Drives Real-Time Collaboration and Agent Productivity; Can Improve Customer Satisfaction by up to 50 Percent

For Immediate Release: 20-Jul-2010

Basking Ridge, NJ – Avaya, a global leader in enterprise communications systems, software and services, introduced its next-generation of contact center solutions to meet the real-time demands of a rapidly evolving customer service environment. The new solutions – which include innovations in multimedia work assignment, workforce optimization and outbound self-service – can help businesses more effectively manage customer experiences in an always-on world. These advancements drive improvements in customer satisfaction, agent productivity, and cost-savings throughout contact center operations.

Central to the new offerings is Avaya Aura™ Contact Center, a multimedia work assignment application for mid-size contact centers that connects customers and their information to the right agent or expert via any communications mode (i.e. voice, video, e-mail, chat). It uses the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)-based collaborative session model of Avaya Aura – the company's business communications applications platform – to enhance the efficiency and quality of customer service. Avaya Aura Contact Center complements the large enterprise solutions of Avaya Aura Call Center Elite, and will serve as its multimedia extension.

Avaya Aura Contact Center's collaboration capabilities help a business understand the full context of a customer interaction – including the customer's mode of communications, history and present needs. The solution also brings collaborative sessions to customer service, eliminating the process of having customers repeat information to several people as they progress through a call. By bringing the customer, agent and expert into a session to share information, a company can reduce customer frustrations, increase first-contact resolution and enhance experiences. Through this approach, Avaya Aura Contact Center can improve customer satisfaction by up to 50 percent.1

Customer experiences are critical, yet most businesses are not aware of the disconnect they have with their own customers. A study by Webtorials Editorial shows that 80 percent of companies believe they provide a good or superior customer experience, while only 20 percent of consumers agree. Additionally, 82 percent of consumers say their experience with the contact center is important or very important in their opinion about a company's image.

"SIP and web services enable contact centers to do what used to require highly customized and costly computer telephony integrations (CTI) to accomplish," said Drew Kraus, research vice president, Gartner, Inc. "It makes multi-modal customer service widely accessible, instead of limited to just big-budget contact centers. With continued adoption of multi-modal contact centers, and an evolving social media space, SIP is a growing area of interest for companies.

Avaya Aura Contact Center also enables increased agent productivity, since agents no longer have to juggle separate communications channels across multiple systems. A single desktop agent application can be used to track and manage up to six types of transactions simultaneously – one voice and five non-voice (email, web chat, etc). It also lets businesses deliver advanced work items, such as online applications or claims, to agent desktops via an 'open universal queue', which used to require a separate workstream. Additionally, during incoming customer instant messages or chats, the solution identifies context-sensitive keywords, which are matched up with prepared textual responses the agent can use to speed interactions. Keywords can also be used to create a list of relevant available experts, reducing the time spent searching for them.2

New Solutions Deliver End-to-End Experience Management

All of today's introductions provide a foundation for end-to-end Experience Management, which uses open communications so businesses can orchestrate people and information, learn customer data, bring full context to sessions, and immerse agents and customers into a collaborative session. Other new solutions unveiled today include:

Avaya Aura™ Workforce Optimization (WFO): Avaya introduces its first integrated offer in workforce optimization, enabling companies to make more informed decisions about customer service. WFO includes recording and quality monitoring to capture and synchronize an agent’s audio and screen activity so supervisors can see the full scope of interactions. Insight gained through quality monitoring has been forecast to reduce agent training time by 30 percent.3

The solution also includes a workforce management application that collects information and historical trends from a contact center, such as call volumes for a given time, to determine ideal staffing requirements. This reduces excess costs and accelerates return on investment. More effective workforce scheduling can lead to a 20 percent cost-reduction.4

Avaya Proactive Outreach Manager: Designed to let businesses reach out to customers via self-service, Proactive Outreach Manager places all multimedia interactions on a single platform. This enables businesses to go beyond outbound calling to more effectively use outbound notification campaigns incorporating several modes of communications. Hotels, for example, can use it to send room availability notices and promotions, while manufacturers can more effectively provide real-time updates on shipments.

Outbound self-service can drive new revenues and savings, with one customer reporting a 10 percent increase in payments, and $50,000 in annual savings from automated appointment reminders. This solution also delivers the ability to manage both outbound and inbound self-service using a Web browser accessible system, simplifying management and reducing the costs of outbound self-service, since the same systems can now be used for both functions.

Other introductions include Avaya Aura™ Call Center Elite 6.0, the new version of Avaya’s call routing software for large enterprises, which now offers greater capacity and includes the adaptive, predictive routing capabilities of Business Advocate as an entitlement. The company also delivers Avaya IQ 5.1, the company's powerful reporting and analytics solution, which gains improved capacity (900 simultaneous users), availability, and graphical views.

"As next-generation communications takes hold, businesses recognize that customer expectations continue to move in one direction – up," said Anthony Bartolo, general manager, Contact Center Solutions, Avaya. "Avaya Aura Contact Center and our new people-centric collaboration solutions provide the tools to more effectively manage experiences, both for customers and the agents who serve them."

Avaya is the 2009 leader in the worldwide contact center market (measured by contact center agent end user revenue),5 and 88 percent of Bloomberg Businessweek's 2010 Customer Service Champs use Avaya contact center solutions.6

ATGStores to Raise Real-Time Customer Service Levels with Avaya Aura Contact Center

A business preparing to reap the benefits of Avaya Aura Contact Center is Washington-based ATGStores, a premier shopping destination for industry professionals and homeowners wanting to build, remodel, and beautify their homes and businesses. The online retailer features over 3 million products from more than 1,800 name brand manufacturers – including lighting, plumbing, furniture, hardware, appliances, and more.

With 96 percent of its business conducted virtually, ATGStores counts on their contact center for driving customer interactions and real-time customer service. The company expects Avaya’s latest offering to enhance multimedia customer communications, helping to improve agent productivity and customer experiences.

"Our goal is to deliver 'one-touch resolution’'where a customer's question or problem is solved right then and there," said Brad Halbach, vice president, ATGStores. "To do this, our agents must quickly understand customer needs, gather pertinent information, and seamlessly bring in experts. We require the best tools for multi-tasking across all types of interactions, and Avaya Aura Contact Center is the solution we've been waiting for. I'm looking forward to the software's ability to create collaborative sessions, with key data intact."

According to Halbach, Avaya Aura Contact Center is a great fit for an online business like ATGStores, which has seen Web chat interactions more than double since coming into use. He expects agents to benefit from managing Web chat and other customer interactions via the solution’s single streamlined portal, instead of using multiple interaction windows. For example, a phone order for a chandelier, a Web chat on a faucet question, and an e-mail inquiry about a new crib can be more easily tracked and handled by agents.

ATGStores is owned by Allied Trade Group, which owns and operates an extended family of more than 500 online stores, including Lighting Universe, Fixture Universe and Outdoor Living Showroom. For more information, visit their web site at ATGStores.com.

For additional information, including a detailed backgrounder on the new Avaya contact center products and a white paper, please visit the Avaya press room online.

About Avaya

Avaya is a global leader in enterprise communications systems. The company provides unified communications, contact centers, data solutions and related services directly and through its channel partners to leading businesses and organizations around the world. Enterprises of all sizes depend on Avaya for state-of-the-art communications that improve efficiency, collaboration, customer service and competitiveness.

1Based on customer case study
2Feature functionality based on configuration
3Source: ITNavigator, Avaya partner and customer
4Source: ITNavigator, Avaya partner and customer
5Gartner report: Contact Center Market Share, Worldwide Totals, 2009, Drew Kraus, March, 2010
6Based on Avaya tabulation of Bloomberg Businessweek 2010 Customer Service Champs listing

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