Canadian UC and VoIP provider Mitel refreshed its flagship Mitel Contact Center software, adding support for multichannel and mobile communications, social interactions and improved management functions for enterprise and small- to medium-sized call centers.
Enterprises are contending with customers who want to avoid the dreaded call center process, opting for emailing and live chatting with a company representative rather than being stuck on the phone. At the same time, call center agents need a consolidated tool that gives them access to voice, email, chat functionality and social media interactions to better serve these customers. Amid all this change, call center managers need mobile management tools that free them from their desks so they can move freely about the call center and help agents while still having visibility into their environments.
Mitel Contact Center expands options for callers, simplifies processes for agents
Mitel's new MiContact Center version 7.0 expands self-service options for callers, an important feature for companies whose customers want to avoid the phone. Mitel has developed a multi-channel customer support application that enterprises can embed into websites and link to MiContact Center 7.0. The application can help users choose the best way to request support by presenting expected wait and response times for different communications channels.
"More often today, people want different ways to get a hold of a company rather than calling and sitting on hold," said Todd Simons, director of solutions marketing for Mitel. "You can now give people choices on how they'd like to contact your business and what method would work best for them."
The latest contact center software has a unified interface that offers call center agents full visibility into the caller, regardless of the communication channel. "Having a common interface is important so agents using different tools -- like addressing chats or email on one day and taking voice calls the next -- don't have to jump on a wildly different tool and can offer customers a more consistent experience," said Nancy Jamison, principal analyst of contact centers and information and communications for San Antonio-based Frost and Sullivan Inc.
Call centers have been adopting social media strategies and enterprises need tools that can route social media interactions and comments to contact center agents. The latest release of MiContact Center includes integrations with social media mining partners, BizVu Social, Imooty and Trackur.
Mitel has also added an outbound portfolio to its contact center offering, which will provide outbound predicative dialing, and campaign and agent scripting capabilities for multichannel communication channels, Simons said.
Mitel Contact Center offers mobile management
Call center managers need a global view of their environments with insight into call volumes and service levels of all real-time communications -- like voice and chat as well as email and social interactions.
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But overseeing call center operations shouldn't tether call center managers to their desks. The new MiContact Center 7.0 allows managers to keep an eye on what is happening within the environment in real-time from iOS and Android tablets.
"Managers will be able to drill down into a call [and] pull out information about what is happening within an interaction while still being able to walk around or help a certain agent at the same time," Frost and Sullivan's Jamison said.
Swanson Health Products, a Fargo, N.D.-based natural health catalog and Internet marketing company, has upgraded its 185-agent call center to MiContact Center 7.0.
"We really like being able to watch everything that is going on in the environment and what our agents are doing at all times," said Patty Westland, call center director for Swanson Health Products. "Important management functions, like reports or routing functions, are right at our fingertips."
Customers contacting Swanson Health agents via its chat function on its website used to have to enable or install Java, but MiContact Center 7.0 doesn't require any installations for its chat function. "We have noticed a huge increase in customers using chat with us -- about a 70% increase in chats," Westland said. Thanks to the common interface, it's easy to assign call center agents multiple tasks, such as answering calls and emails, she said.
Voice still dominates, but multichannel contact centers will become more important
Small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) need contact center software that is easy to deploy, but will also be able to support new technologies as customer habits change and companies grow. "Mitel is targeting the midmarket, and has made sure these enhancements work well for smaller companies that might not have bullpens full of call center agents," Frost and Sullivan's Jamison said.
Many companies -- especially SMBs -- need flexible media options for multi-channel communications support, even if their customer interactions are still predominantly voice-based. "In the future, when some of these companies develop their social media strategies, they need an offering that will address those needs without a forklift," Mitel's Simmons said.