Our recent benchmark research into the adoption of cloud-based systems to support contact center operations shows that around 10 percent of companies have adopted what is commonly termed communications in the cloud – that is, systems in the cloud to manage delivery of telephone calls to the right location, be it an internal extension number within an organization, a branch office number, a contact center extension or someone’s home or cell phone number. Given that telecommunication service providers manage calls in the cloud, it makes sense to intercept calls before they are delivered to a physical location, use rules to decide the correct final destination and route calls directly. NewVoiceMedia, founded in 2000, was one of the first companies to offer such services in the cloud. It first came to my attention at a UK contact center exhibition when within minutes of visiting its stand I was set up as a technical support agent and began receiving calls from its test contact center – very impressive given that with similar on-premises systems setting up such a task could take hours if not days.
At the same time Salesforce.com was changing many people’s opinion of cloud-based systems, making them more acceptable to organizations. That fact is reflected in our current research, which shows that close to 20 percent of companies have adopted CRM in the cloud. In what must now be seen as a smart move, NewVoiceMedia developed a close relationship with Salesforce, which has led to the company winning projects with several common clients and developing a special service for Salesforce clients. Back in June Salesforce announced OpenCTI, a cloud-based computer telephony integration (CTI) module that leverages the existing Salesforce API and removes the need for a software-based adapter. CTI allows computers to be connected with telephony systems, and because NewVoiceMedia was already using a similar technique to integrate its application with Salesforce, it was quickly able to produce a fully integrated version using OpenCTI that allows it to embed its call management window directly into a Salesforce window. This allows agents or other Salesforce users to manage inbound and outbound calls without leaving the main Salesforce window. This tight integration allows NewVoiceMedia to take advantage of other Salesforce capabilities and handle other forms of interactions. Future releases of its service promise to provide full multimedia handling and enhanced interaction routing that will see interactions routed to the individual most likely to resolve it at the first attempt. The company has the distinct advantage that its software has been built in-house, from the ground up, putting it in full control of future developments.
Our research examined concerns companies have about adopting cloud-based systems. Not surprisingly, some common issues came out high on the list: security (both physical and logical access to systems), backup and recovery, and integration with on-premises systems. However, number one was response times and overall system performance. In an innovative move, NewVoiceMedia provides users access to its operational testing site so that users can continuously see how the service is performing.
This combination of openness, capabilities and integration with Salesforce has allowed NewVoiceMedia to grow rapidly over the last few years. New developments to support multimedia interactions and greater personalization of responses should allow it to continue to grow. Companies looking to innovative in the ways they manage customer interactions, not just in the contact center but across the business, should look at NewVoiceMedia’s services and determine whether they can help improve their customer experience and business outcomes.
Richard J. Snow
VP & Research Director