InContact was a multitenant contact center as a service (CCaaS) application provider based in Salt Lake City, Utah since 2001. Its CCaaS application was cloud based on their own custom developed platform and provided both virtual call center and work force optimization applications to small medium businesses (SMB). The type of customer that InContact targets are SMBs with a requirement for contact centers, help desks, inbound and outbound telemarketing services as well as workforce optimization solutions.
However in October 9, 2017 – Nice-InContact announced it was rebranding as NICE Nice-InContact, bringing together the industry-leading capabilities of Nice-InContact and NICE in a joint-partnership that combined their expertise with SMB, enterprise and midmarket customers.
CXone is among the world’s top-rated cloud customer experience platforms. Moreover, CXone is believed to be the first platform on the market that combines Omnichannel Routing, Analytics, Workforce Optimization, Automation and Artificial Intelligence together as a single cloud solution. It does this by fusing the previous Nice-InContact cloud formerly known as Customer Interaction Cloud, with NICE’s cloud workforce optimization (WFO) applications and analytics. By doing so they believe they can enable SMB and enterprises to innovate and build better customer experiences.
Contact Center as a Service
Managing multi-channel communications, for example, mail, messaging, SMS, video and social media in addition to voice can be challenging for small and media businesses. However, cloud based multi-tenancy CCaaS platforms can be a cost effective and efficient alternative to on-premises solutions.
Nice-InContact’s solution provides all the key components of a CCaaS, in so much as it provides not just voice as a service but advanced tools geared towards contact center requirements. These tools include the voice service functionality of ACD (automated call distribution) and IVR (interactive voice recognition). However, where CCaaS differs from voice as a service solutions or virtual IP/PBX systems is that they manage universal queuing of an array of internet communication channels. In addition Nice-InContact, like other CCaaS providers also integrates tools for tracking CRM (customer relationship management), and for workforce optimization (WFO) which are key customer requirements for a CCaaS solution. Therefore, Nice-InContact focuses on designing solution suited to specific customer requirements such as whether they require inbound or outbound communication platforms.
Inbound Contact Center
The requirements of contact centers are typically determined by the nature of the organization, for instance whether the majority of contact is customer initiated. The organization in this case has to deal with fluctuating levels of inbound calls, emails, chats or other omni-channel methods of communication preferred by the customer. Consequently, organizations require a solution that can scale dynamically as the demand increases but without them having to over-provision bandwidth and resources. CCaaS provides the inbound scalability to handle fluctuating call volumes as well as providing advanced call queuing and intelligent call distribution through call distribution algorithms within the ACD.
ACD (Automated Call Distribution)
One of the core functions of any CCaaS is the ability to intelligently route calls to the best available contact as this improves caller experience as well as increasing the probability of a first call resolution. Nice-InContact’s ACD provides all the expected algorithms to enable skill-based call routing, as well as round robin, least called, or time of day call distribution. In addition, Nice-InContact also manages all the multi-channel communications so it also intelligently routes emails, chats and SMS to the most relevant contact within the organization. Moreover, Nice-InContact’s ACD is tightly integrated with third party CRM such as Salesforce.com, which enables seamless importing of the customers details such as account numbers, address and customer history. However, one of Nice-InContact’s key features is its integration with their own IVR as they have both been developed in-house.
IVR (Interactive Voice Recognition)
IVR provides the automated 24/7 answering services so that customer calls do not go unanswered they also provide the initial customer greeting and directory or menu so that the caller can select the extension or department related to their requirements. This call attendant or virtual receptionist feature is the basis for most virtual telephone services, however Nice-InContacts IVR enables many other features such as automated speech recognition and speech to text functions that are key to providing automated self service tools. This is because CCaaS requires more than just call routing, as many contact center callers are requiring answers to routine queries. Therefore, a CCaaS solution should have good self-service portals where a caller can be directed as this frees up contact center agents and improves system efficiency while also improving customer experience. As a result Nice-InContact’s inbound solution provides a portal that can be customized to provide customer self-service. In addition, tight integration with the Nice-InContact ACD enables third party application integration through a choice of REST and SOAP APIs so caller details can be imported automatically and presented to the agent’s computer display upon answering the call. Another useful aspect of Nice-InContacts IVR is that because it is based in the cloud it enables remote agents to service calls and incoming communication through other channels from home or from branch offices so that call agents or subject matter experts can be distributed around the world.
Outbound Contact Center
Not all contact centers are inbound centric with the vast majority of their calls coming into the organization. Some such as telemarketing companies are quite the opposite with the majority of calls being outbound to the prospect or customer. These companies will participate in outbound campaigns, which require agents dialing a list of customers or prospects, however this is not very efficient and is detrimental to agent productivity. Consequently, Nice-InContact’s contact center solution provides tools to automate the creation of dialer lists and technology to automate the dialing. The Nice-InContact dialers, which can support the different modes of dialing such as predictive, progressive and preview both timed and untimed, improve agent efficiency and productivity during outbound campaigns.
Outbound campaigns also require strict reporting so Nice-InContact provides additional reporting and analytic tools in order to aid campaign managers determine the success of a campaign. These tools provide ad-hoc reporting, real-time dashboards and detailed drill-down analytics, which provide the data managers require when determining key performance indicators related to a sales campaigns productivity.
Scripting tools also help campaign managers write dialing lists and agent scripts, which are shown on the agents display during the call. However, these are standard dialer tools, shared by most if not all dialer applications. What makes Nice-InContacts solution different is in the way it handles connecting the call. In legacy dialers, the dialer connects to the prospect before it connects the agent, and this creates a period of silence before the agent greets the dialed party. This is a telltale sign of a predictive dialer in action, so what Nice-InContact does is connect the agent before the dialed party answers the called party thereby eliminating that awkward silence as the agent can speak immediately.
Enterprise and Customer Contact Center
Many small or medium contact centers such as those deployed in Enterprises will want to start with the basic building blocks of CCaaS such as the ACD and IVR. Nice-InContact allows companies to do this due to its modular design and organizations can build up to scale as they grow. Companies can add third party CRM integration and reporting and analytics modules later. Similarly, if the organization finds they require outbound tools such as dialers, scripting and workforce optimizing tools these too can be added later.
Nice-InContact have developed a high performance workforce optimization suite of applications that can operate as a stand along workforce optimization management solution or be integrated into the CCaaS solution. The functional modules within Workforce optimization are call and desktop reporting, quality management, which work with some advanced speech and desktop analytics to provide phonetics based analysis of call or desktop recordings to identify keywords or terms within messages. Phonetics based analytics can leverage business opportunity and improve operational efficiency. Importantly they also provide PCI compliancy for companies managing credit card details.
Another functional module within the workforce optimization suite is the inView Performance Dashboard application. This module tracks key metrics for KPI management from multiple sources such as the ACD, IVR or third party CRM applications. The benefits of inView performance manager are that it allows reports and dashboards to be created and customized to provide visibility into all areas of the organization.
Nice-InContact is a suite of cloud-based applications that provide all the functionality required by SMBs to run a contact center. By being, a multi-tenant solution where all customers share the same hardware and databases Nice-InContact eases the maintenance and administration burden enabling them to provide 99.99% uptime. Nice-InContact also has data centers in the US, UK and the Philippines, which proves further system redundancy and additional reliability.
Nice-InContact’s CCaaS suite of applications provides all the required features and functions required by a small, medium or even large organization operate a contact center. Additionally in contrast to their competition Nice-InContact provides most of the suite of applications as stand-alone modules so an organization can just buy the features and functions they require. This works well with the ACD and IVR modules, which are a good starting point for any organization starting to operate a contact center. Furthermore, outbound dialers can be added if sales or marketing campaigns are planned.
Pricing is based on a pay as you go bases so customers only pay for the resources they use however application modules so require licenses. For example, the workforce optimization suite requires additional licenses.
Workforce optimization provides some basic features such as quality management with every installation but other modules in the workforce optimization suite require additional licenses. Nice-InContact’s approach to workforce optimization is to create the functionality required into a separate application suite. This is both a good and a bad thing. The positive is that it means customers that require only some of the features will not have to buy it. Unfortunately, it also means to get some of the features the customer may be required to buy a high performance application suite that is far beyond their business needs.
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