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Cisco Contact Center Updates Create A More 'Sticky' Offering For Channel Partners

Cisco has updated its contact center to put more of an emphasis on personalized, omni-channel customer care and scale for businesses, as well as easier management for solution providers.

Cisco has unveiled a series of updates to its contact center offerings to personalize customer care for its business customers.

Cisco on Monday dropped version 12 for its two premise-based contact center offerings, as well as one of its cloud-based contact center solutions. The updates include omni-channel enhancements and a new, all-in-one user interface for call center agents and managers.

Businesses are realizing that the contact center isn't just a cost, it's also a revenue-generating center. Better experiences mean return customers, and businesses are valuing contact center features over price, Vasili Triant, general manager and vice president customer care for Cisco, said.

"The contact center is evolving and doing more than just handling customer support interactions for a business. Companies are looking to track and understand the customer's journey, and at those different points, how can [that business] respond to respond better to ultimately enhance customer happiness, which ultimately drives lifetime value," Triant said.

[Related: Cisco IoT Strategy Revolves Around Channel Partners: ‘They Are Critical In Driving Scale’ ]

The latest updates impact Cisco's premises-based contact center portfolio; Cisco Contact Center Express and Contact Center Enterprise, as well as one product in its cloud-based portfolio, Cisco's Hosted Collaboration System (HCS). In the new release, Cisco wants to improve agent and supervisor experience, increase the scale of those products to 24,000 agents, and expanding its ecosystem of partners within the platform.

The new administration portal brings together resources and third-party solutions into one platform to ease management and multi-channel interactions for both agents and managers. Cisco's contact center solutions now includes an integration with Facebook's Messenger app, and Cisco also now supports Amazon Web Services as a deployment model.

"We have to have a unified and open platform that can integrate with other software out there and with [the customer's] own business processes that are out there today," Triant said.

For Cisco's solution providers, the latest contact center updates lets them go back to existing customers for process re-engineering, in addition to the upgrade itself, he said.

"There's a lot of services revenue that partners can drag in from that. There's so many good features that the interest from customers is high, unlike other updates that customers may choose to skip," he said. "Contact center is really the sticky application. If you win contact center, you can win all the other collaboration applications."

Cisco HCS partners will also benefit from easier administration of the solution, he added.

Cisco is working on full-stack portfolio integration between its collaboration and contact center products, including calling, meetings, presence and customer care, to boost productivity and first-time call resolution.

"We want to enhance that customer journey by delivering that seamless omni-channel customer interaction, without making the customer or agent start over," he said.  

Cisco is supporting more than three million contact center agents running on its contact center technology today, according to the San Jose, Calif.-based tech giant.  

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