The coronavirus pandemic accelerated the shift toward remote working, fueling a boom in the adoption of unified communications and collaboration (UCC) solutions. IDC reports that worldwide UCC revenue grew by more than 25 percent in 2020 as organizations rushed to provision secure, scalable communications and collaboration tools for dispersed workforces.
As organizations move beyond crisis management toward a more permanent operational style, they are now looking to extend the value of their UCC investments. For many, that will involve integrating UCC applications with their contact center platforms.
The integration of UCC’s voice, video, collaboration and mobile capabilities helps create an omnichannel contact center in which customers can interact with businesses by phone, email, chat, text, mobile or social applications. About 42 percent of companies now have integrated contact center and UCC applications, according to Nemertes Research.
UCC integration isn’t only about enabling more communications channels, however. It also contributes to a deeper understanding of the customer experience through an end-to-end view of customer interactions over time. In addition to conventional customer feedback sources such as email and voice mail, organizations can also extract valuable insights from data contained in point-of-sale systems, website clickstreams, text messages, billing systems, social media channels and mobile applications.
By unifying the data from all interactions and channels and applying predictive analytics, UCC-driven contact centers allow organizations to see what’s happening at every point of the customer journey and pick up signals about customer preferences, intent and satisfaction. With this information, they can anticipate customer needs and route them to the right agent, which leads to a better customer experience, better contact center performance, better sales and better business outcomes.
Integration offers a number of other compelling benefits. It minimizes the total cost of telephone services, reduces network management costs and simplifies the creation of virtual contact centers in which calls are routed to agents working at home.
However, embedding UCC capabilities into the contact center platform can be a challenging project, particularly for organizations that are using different vendors and different architectures. That often requires writing custom middleware to connect the two platforms. However, the middleware will usually require frequent rewrites to accommodate vendor updates and platform changes.
Partnering with a single provider can dramatically simplify the integration process. Nemertes research shows that working with a single provider can also produce a variety of improved business metrics. For example, companies that integrated with a single provider saw a 56.7 percent increase in their customer approval ratings.
A single, unified infrastructure is also easier to use and manage. IT teams require less training because they only need to know a single platform, and new features can be rolled out more quickly without the need for integration between different architectures. A common interface across different applications simplifies things for end-users.
Mitel offers a streamlined path to integration with MiContact Center Enterprise, a rich suite of seamlessly integrated UCC and contact center applications that can be deployed either on-premises, virtualized in your data center, in a hybrid configuration or in a private cloud with native multi-tenanting. Its open architecture also makes it easy to integrate third-party business applications such as enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management and workflow management.
UCC solutions have proven invaluable for allowing dispersed employees connect and collaborate with colleagues and customers during the pandemic, but they can deliver a multitude of additional business benefits when integrated with your contact center platform. IPC has extensive experience in the design and implementation of integrated contact center solutions. Call us to learn more about extending UCC capabilities into your contact center operations.