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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

UC Escalations in Customer Contacts

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September 23, 2009

Drilling Down Into Contact Center “Escalations” With UC

Art Rosenberg, The Unified-View

UC is starting to get increasingly focused on customer contacts because that is where both business costs can be reduced and revenues improved. A recent post on the subject at by Michael Barbagallo drills down into how subject matter experts (SMEs) should be efficiently brought into contact center operations and whether their involvement should be tracked and reported.

Here is my comment to that perspective.


I am glad to see you drilling down into call center procedures, as they will apply to customer contact operations and “agent”-“expert” escalations.

While I agree with your views on including "experts" in workflow management reporting for business process performance tracking, we have to include the role of the customer in “escalating to assistance” as well. Accordingly, UC will be disruptive for customers too, since they will be increasingly "escalating" to live assistance from self-service applications (online, IVR), using multi-modal devices (PCs, smartphones). That also means it can be their choice to contextually "click-to-call," "click-to-chat," or, if there is no real rush, "click-to-message" (text, voice) for live assistance from their multi-modal endpoint devices.

Note: “Contextually” means that information about the self-service application they were using will be passed on to the person providing assistance (“screen pop”).

That also means new, UC-based "contact centers" must move away from the metric of just First “Call” Resolution to First “Contact” Resolution and apply it to both "customer" and "agent" escalation procedures. In many cases, the need for assistance and escalation requires further informational research or approval authorization, so there is no point in keeping a caller connected to wait for such resolution. Furthermore, with consumers becoming increasingly accessible and available because of personal Mobile UC, keeping them on a voice connection or transferring them unnecessarily becomes questionable from an “experience” perspective. With mobility and UC, we can always get back to them easily and quickly!

Which brings us to the next point of what I call "Customer UC," pro-active process-to-person contacts using CEBP (Communications Enabled Business Processes). With UC, we don't need to always have people deliver real-time information to people. Automated business process applications can now do that using Mobile UC tools for media flexibility and faster notification/delivery, coupled with "click-for-assistance" if necessary. That will take labor costs, as well as the "human latency," out of many business processes.

Needless to say, Mobile UC won't happen overnight and won't always be available to all customers, so the old call center "agent”/”expert” game will continue being played but on a “virtual” basis. However, on the enterprise side, “agents” and “experts” will not only NOT be collocated geographically, but will be selected for "escalation" based upon their "availability” and contextual qualifications, not by "agent" choice. This will apply to all involved customer-facing staff, who may belong to different business organizations.

What Do You Think?
You can contact me at: or (310) 395-2360.