Each year TMC Labs analyzes a plethora of applicants looking for the most unique and innovative products. Some of the standouts this year include a few that focus on enterprise search such as HP Autonomy and RightAnswers as well as Cicero with its “record everything tool,” Discovery. Votacall won with its Viper VoIP quality monitoring tool and Calabrio continues to innovate with its ONE platform.
In all, you’ll find a wide-range of products, which handle numerous customer interaction tasks across a wide range of companies. As expected, more solutions are moving to a cloud-based or hybrid model. In all, there is an exciting group of winners here. Congratulations to them all.
Drishti-Soft Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
Ameyo is an all-in-one communication suite from Drishti. A multi-channel and multi-modal communication solution, it can be integrated easily in centralized and distributed (multi-site) contact centers, and improves efficiency and productivity. It helps build strong customer relationships; delivers enhanced customer satisfaction levels, low cost per contact, high contact center uptime and revenue per customer; ensures efficient management of your workforce, customers, processes, performance parameters; and provides capabilities for inbound, outbound, and blended campaigns.
Ameyo is a customer interaction management technology enabling companies to reach out to potential customers, connect with them, complete their orders, manage their complaints, deliveries, and provide feedback through an integrated interface.
The company has delivered lots of innovations to the contact center space such as IVR templates and intelligent predictive dialing, which takes into account agent skills when routing calls. In addition, the company provides agent-assisted IVR, which allows low-skilled agents to choose prompts to be played while receiving a call. Moreover, these calls can be quickly routed to skilled agents as needed.
The company provides many of the features of larger players in the market but does so at a lower cost. Moreover, its installation in a number of BPOs and financial companies means the technology is continuously tested at scale.
Recent improvements include enhanced compliance support, speech analytics tied into quality monitoring, improved voice quality through better echo cancellation and other audio enhancements, and a module designed for financial traders.
ac2 Solutions Inc.
Advanced Workforce Optimization (AWO) Portal
ac2 Solutions is a leading provider of next generation contact center optimization and supply chain management technology, which the company provides using proprietary forecasting, simulation, optimal scheduling, performance optimization and strategic planning technologies, offering customers a sustainable cost and service quality advantage.
While patents are not necessary when building great products, the company currently holds five U.S. patents, with another about to be issued on its advanced workforce optimization, contact center, and supply chain integration technologies.
As a customer, this is important as these patents offer some protection against lawsuits brought from larger companies – not from patent trolls.
The company’s AWO Portal is completely web-based, giving users access to Performance Optimizer and Agent/Supervisor Workstation. Many other WFM systems have client-server architecture but with ac2, there is no software to be installed or maintained on the workforce managers, supervisors, or agents’ computers. The company touts this as a reason why its solution has much lower IT support costs and far easier upgrade cycles.
Other benefits include advanced time series forecasting methods including Box (News - Alert) Jenkins ARIMA, Exponential Smoothing (10 versions), Multi-linear Seasonal Regression, Expert System for forecasting, the Palm Model for staffing with abandonments, advanced simulation skills-based scheduling, Concurrent Scheduling to optimize all agent schedules, integrated strategic planner, advanced performance optimizer and agent skills and routing manager.
Recent improvements include an upgraded forecasting module, upgraded reporting module, and an upgraded integration module. A partial list of clients includes Dell, Delta Airlines, DialAmerica, and Intuit.
Mattersight Predictive Behavioral Routing
Mattersight Predictive Behavioral Routing is used by organizations with contact centers, typically with 50 to 100 seats, to improve customer-employee interactions to increase sales conversion rates, reduce cost of service, increase first contact resolution, and improve customer experience and satisfaction, or other contact center business metrics that drive value.
The company’s solution matches callers with agents based upon personality, communication style, and behavioral characteristics decoded from customer-employee interactions. This is accomplished by utilizing a communications-based psychological model originally developed in conjunction with NASA for astronaut pairing.
The company takes advantage of the fact that customers have different expectations and behaviors while employees have different call handling strengths and weaknesses. By pairing the two in an optimal fashion outcomes are improved.
Mattersight’s algorithms predict the best available agent to handle each specific caller based upon performance, personal strengths, and behavioral characteristics such as personality and communication style.
Although the solution is cloud-based, a small footprint server does reside on premises to interface with the client’s telephony systems and interact with the rest of the cloud-based technology stack. Moreover, pairing/matching data is provided to the client’s existing routing architecture in under 200 milliseconds for each call via a secure network connection.
Since last year, the company now offers a no-cost Impact Analysis, whereby it analyzes historic call center meta data, comparing it to the company’s database of more than a billion interactions, to develop agent score cards. This helps demonstrate personality-based routing variability based upon caller personality and the overall lift in target metrics at a group, site, or company level.
Cicero Discovery enables companies to gather Desktop Activity Intelligence by monitoring, capturing, storing, and reporting activities and events across applications in an effort to measure and manage how people, processes, and technology work together. DAI allows companies to focus on areas for improvement in business processes, compliance, training, and application usage as well as support other initiatives such as capturing the customer journey at various touch points within an organization.
Companies use it to evaluate how people work, to determine where coaching and training are needed, to root out repetitive manual tasks, to determine application response times, and to find out which unauthorized applications may be running.
Cicero Discovery is invisible to the end user – it gathers data about what they do, what applications they run, how those applications are used, the health of their computer, and the type of data with which they are working. This data is collected and stored centrally and can be tracked in real time or via deferred processing.
Using Cicero Discovery is an iterative process allowing companies to configure, deploy, collect, and analyze data from desktops across the enterprise. Once in production, additional processes and objects can be identified for monitoring and reporting and easily deployed using Cicero Discovery Studio. In addition, Cicero Discovery can be used to validate changes to processes or desktop applications that have been implemented.
An example of using this iterative process would be the handling of an insurance claim. Using Cicero Discovery, an insurance company’s business analysts could define the attributes (status, amount, claimant, adjuster, etc.) of a claim it wants to track and define one or more processes to follow as templates. These initial templates define how the business analysts expect the claim to be processed probably at high-level 3-4 steps. As the actual claim goes through the processes, Cicero Discovery collects key data about who worked on it, what attributes changed, etc., as well as which defined step(s) the claim was in during the process. This data can then be used to compare how the claims were actually processed, versus how the analysts believed they were supposed to be processed. If additional information is needed, they can define further steps in the processes, deploy the changes, and collect the data for additional analysis. Furthermore, the business analysts can make changes to their processes and use Cicero Discovery to validate their changes, and identify other areas for improvement.
Recent improvements include the ability to track business objects through multiple applications, multiple workstations, multiple users, and multiple interactions throughout their lifecycle as well as the ability to run without back-end database and support for 64-bit server.
Empirix Conference Bridge Monitoring
When a company has a conference call, it is generally the wrong time to learn there is a problem with call quality. In fact, a poor conference call experience can result in delayed decision-making and productivity loss among dozens or more people within an organization.
This is why Empirix Conference Bridge Monitoring was invented. It’s an active voice monitoring solution that verifies conference server availability and measures voice quality of participants on a bridge. The solution uses scheduled voice calls to the conferencing platform to verify system availability, performance, and uptime. It places test calls into the conference bridge server to verify system availability and measure uptime. Each transaction verifies that the conference leader can successfully open the bridge and that each participant can successfully enter the bridge.
Where standard tools monitor network data feeds for packet loss, jitter, etc., this Empirix solution approaches monitoring from the user’s perspective. It tests exactly what the user is hearing during conference calls by evaluating voice clips as they play through conference bridges. Think of it as a MOS score for conferencing.
Some of the areas of focus for this new tool are determining if access numbers work, if conferences are bleeding together, and if callers are dropping off. The solution automatically sets up conference bridges of up to eight participants, dials into the conference, and plays audio clips. The solution captures the audio on the other side of the bridge and evaluates it for degradation using the industry-standard PESQ (Perceptual Evaluation of Speech Quality) algorithm. Dashboard alarms alert network management staff to irregularities with a KPI that may signal a quality problem.
KPIs include call pass/fail and length, time-to-connect to conference, and participant voice latency and delay.
The solution provides network operations staff with active, real-time performance alerts, and passive monitoring of network data. This combination enables them to respond to performance issues immediately and remediate their root causes. Using data collected through network probes, the Conference Bridge Monitoring solution provides a logical drill down that helps network operators pinpoint if a specific phone number, carrier, location, or conference bridge server is having a problem.
It can further work as a stand-alone solution or integrate with existing network management infrastructures. When you realize that companies conduct billions of dollars of business over conference bridges, you begin to see the important niche this product fills.
HP Qfiniti 10
HP Qfiniti 10 is HP’s Workforce Optimization suite of unified products designed to optimize the costs associated with people. The Qfiniti 10 product suite includes tools for workforce management, quality monitoring, liability recording, coaching and eLearning, performance management, surveying, and multichannel analytics.
Benefits include improving operational efficiency, driving interaction effectiveness, providing improved customer service, and reducing the cost of ownership.
The product allows contact center supervisors to understand, measure, improve, and track performance while managing all contact center data through a centralized system. Call logging and intelligent archiving deliver full support for compliance and quality monitoring strategies. A wide range of metrics can be monitored from a single interface, such as customer satisfaction levels, first-call resolution, handle times, and effective scheduling.
The HP Qfiniti 10 omnichannel analytics module, HP Explore, leverages the HP IDOL platform that was built to enhance enterprise search and provide connectors to more than 500 different data repositories and more than 1,000 different file types. In essence, this is a technology that was built to extract meaning – and therefore value – from the explosion of all the unstructured data that enterprises must now manage. And the contact center, the front line of real-time customer care, is a great beneficiary of this now-searchable data.
HP Qfiniti 10 is one of the only products that allows enterprises to deploy a single WFO platform for all their compliance, quality, and workforce optimization needs regardless of the number of agents and or telephony architecture. Quite often, competitive solutions require disparate islands of technology, which can require increased expense in to maximize product potential.
Recent improvements include:
- full browser-based user interface utilizing HTML5 for all eight product modules;
- SIP trunk recording using the IETF SIPREC protocol;
- evaluation plans that optimize the quality assurance process;
- ICE bookmarks that automatically attach bookmarks to the recording, enabling a user to find specific segments of a recording, such as where compliance regulations require that a sales verification was presented to the caller;
- desktop analytics modules that capture user activity at the desktop to reveal how users interact with their desktop applications, providing managers with tools for measuring and reporting on user processes;
- release of Qfiniti Optimize Workflow and Guidance, which allows users to map user activity to workflows and tasks to identify knowledge gaps and training opportunities, improve the customer experience and operational efficiency while better managing IT resources and spending; and
- release of the Qfiniti integrated forecasting, planning and scheduling module that makes quick work of any scheduling and forecasting task; Qfiniti Workforce delivers a flexible what-if analysis tool for staff planning that allows managers to accurately model a wide variety of industries and customer behaviors in addition to anticipating employee absences.
RightAnswers SmartService is a unique combination of cloud-based software, services, content, and knowledge automation. It is specifically designed for support organizations, allowing them to manage and share knowledge through agent-assisted service as well as through web, mobile and e-mail self-service, with the ultimate goal of improving support experiences.
Version 8, released this year, focuses on expanding the use of knowledge throughout the organization and through different support channels. It enhances social, mobile, video and multi-language support and enables persona-based targeting to quickly find solutions geared to specific audiences.
The company also introduced a video creation tool that lets agents create videos on-the-fly as they are working with customers and deliver them as solutions, improving customer engagement. Videos are also added to an indexed knowledgebase for subsequent access.
To encourage engagement with knowledge, the company added gamification aspects through real-time feedback to all knowledge contributors, and introduced a knowledge quality tool to manage information being added to the knowledgebase.
Moreover, the new federated knowledge cloud enriches the knowledgebase by incorporating solutions from public third-party websites, pulling relevant solutions into the results offered to those searching. More importantly, RightAnswers manages the analytics, feedback, and comments pertaining to these solutions so you can track and validate the use of third-party knowledge. Also enriching the knowledgebase is its Intelligent Knowledge Builder, which detects gaps in knowledge, based on agent and customer queries, and begins to fill those gaps by automatically creating new knowledge entries that agents are prompted to complete.
New dashboards, more than 40 standard reports and an unlimited number of custom reports, provide insight into the knowledge and knowledgebase and how to make them more effective.
Another innovative aspect of RightAnswers is its Knowledge as a Service offering, which provides services including knowledge review, authoring and maintenance, knowledge analysis and improvement, and a program that provides clients with ongoing training and mentoring to help them achieve superior results.
The company also provides social collaboration tools that enable anyone who touches the knowledge to provide feedback and comments, enhancing the knowledge in real time. Solutions crowdsourced by customers can also be added to the knowledgebase as searchable solutions. Customer comments and feedback determine the knowledge ranking and help agents and customers find the most useful answer quickly. Finally, the company’s Intelligent Knowledge Builder is patented knowledge automation technology that finds gaps in the knowledgebase, based on unsuccessful searches, and begins to fill the gaps by prompting the creation of new articles.
Confirmit Horizons Version 18
Managing the massive amounts of financial, customer, employee, and market data available is becoming one of the biggest challenges facing businesses today. Confirmit Horizons Version 18 introduces Confirmit SmartHub to resolve this business pain and empower organizations to make informed decisions for improving business processes and enhancing customer experience. Companies can now capture all interactions on all channels, map these across multiple data sources, and immediately initiate tactical and strategic actions to drive business performance improvements, all in an end-to-end closed-loop process.
A series of significant innovations in this latest release of Horizons marks Confirmit’s determination to enable organizations to gain maximum value from all data sources, delivering richer business insights to empower smarter decision making and enable faster reactions to changing business needs.
Confirmit can be used as an on-premises or as a cloud-based solution.
Version 18 introduces Confirmit SmartHub, a customer engagement hub that enables businesses to capture, analyze, and respond to customer and market feedback across multiple channels and sources in real time. It leverages the new column store feature of the latest release of Microsoft (News - Alert) SQL Server, which allows more intelligent management of the masses of data collected so that query performance can be improved. SmartHub sits at the heart of Confirmit Horizons V18, delivering the data management, modeling and mapping services that support the other new modules introduced in this release: Confirmit Instant Analytics, Confirmit Active Dashboards, and Confirmit Action Management.
Instant Analytics is a new analysis module that provides immediate, actionable insights with no setup or training. In addition, the new Active Dashboards module provides enhanced data visualization to enable stakeholders to analyze information and track trends immediately on a variety of devices. Horizons V18 also adds a new Action Management module to ensure businesses can automatically trigger actions, based on up-to-date customer, employee, or market information. Cases can be managed through to completion to ensure businesses drive change and close the loop on tactical and strategic actions.
Confirmit Horizons V18 delivers a very flexible solution to capture all the different voices from your customers, your competitors, and the market, much more power in the analytics you can perform and many more tools for driving action as a result of the insight you gain.
Recent improvements include:
- Richer insights delivered by Confirmit SmartHub
- Listen across all preferred channels with new optimized support for Windows Phone (News - Alert) 8 and Firefox OS on mobile devices, plus support for much larger telephony interviewing operations.
- Deliver a more engaging respondent experience with new support for photos and images in online surveys, and new push and continuous GPS tracking in offline surveys through SODA 3.0.
- Capture and map all insights in one central hub, Confirmit SmartHub, which integrates different data sources and intelligently maps feedback data with other business data.
Smarter decisions enabled by Active Dashboards and Reportal
- Design and manage surveys easily by using full text search across templates and surveys, and keep a full audit trail of changes in survey authoring.
- Interpret information easily using powerful dashboards created by a new wizard-based dashboard and a new chart engine for enhanced visualizations.
- Deliver relevant and immediate insight for all stakeholders on all devices and view performance and trends against Key Performance Indicators.
Faster reactions driven by Instant Analytics and Action Management
- Instantly analyze feedback to provide early insights into survey performance.
- Automate case creation based on real-time alerts and configure workflows and rules that reflect business processes.
- Easily close the loop by simply assigning cases, tracking progress, and escalating as needed.
Astute SRM (Social Relationship Management)
Astute SRM enables you to easily track social media conversations, configure analysis, and engage consumers in a number of ways.
The cloud-based solution uses both API integrations and web crawlers to search more than 150 million social networks, blogs, news sites, or general websites in real time for relevant content about your company or brand. Astute SRM then analyzes this content by breaking down the conversation by sentiment, geographic location, social media source, author information, emotion, and several other customizable metrics to allow the user to monitor, generate reports, or engage when appropriate.
Astute SRM was early to use natural language processing with social to identify sentiment analysis. NLP has the ability to look at phrases and sentences as a whole to correctly identify the true sentiment of a social conversation or post. An example is telling the difference between “Your company is the bomb!” and “I want to bomb your company.”
Astute SRM is completely integrated with Astute’s CRM solution, ePowerCenter, where NLP is also used. This creates a rare solution, which seamlessly integrates social to the CRM system.
Astute Solutions has stayed on the leading edge of technology, building WebRTC into the solution so web visitors can connect with the brand or company through a browser-to-browser conversation. Moreover it was an early innovator in the mobile space.
Another area of differentiation is bundling more value into the base package – meaning customers don’t have to worry about as many nickel and dime charges.
In addition the solution offers custom metrics, competitor tracking, automated reporting, topics analysis, and the ability to set up alerts/routing for critical conversations or mentions.
Recent improvements include:
- Private Messaging through Facebook (News - Alert) – Users can resolve customer inquiries within Facebook private messaging, directly through Astute SRM. The ability to view, and respond to, private messaging through the SRM tool further streamlines the customer service process.
- Grammar Tree Parsing – This feature identifies key elements of social conversations. Astute SRM’s Grammar Tree Parsing technology cuts through the clutter of social conversations by breaking down sentence structures and identifying the relevant parts of speech and phrases that apply to users’ key search terms. The parsing technology can sift through captured social media posts to help brands determine when a customer is ready to make a purchase or is losing brand loyalty.
- Social Profile Tracking - This feature gives users the ability to capture and display historical data between brands and social profiles. It enables users to view an author’s history with a number of different brands.
- Modification Review - Users can review brand responses before they are posted to social channels as well as review deleted brand interactions to assess their relevance.
TantaComm Capture is a versatile interaction recording tool that provides robust functionality with the ability to scale for both large and small operations. This interaction recording solution reliably records both audio and screen interactions for compliance and quality management. It further helps companies securely and easily manage storage, search, retrieval, and playback of the recorded interactions.
The platform allows businesses to analyze customer interactions. That enables them to optimize service levels, deliver high-quality customer experiences, improve operational excellence, mitigate risk (compliance, etc.), and increase customer insight and satisfaction.
Moreover, the solution is designed to boost sales performance and coaching capabilities, and meticulous care has been taken to ensure all calls get recorded. For example, there are fail safes and alerts, which have led to reliability rates as high as 99.98 percent, according to the company. Interestingly, it seems software upgrade conflicts are a main factor in why calls aren’t recorded properly.
TantaComm offers both on-premises and cloud-based solutions.
Within the application, there is an hourly reconciliation report available to system administrators to view as needed. This report can be segmented based on time of day, date, client, program, workgroup, agent, and site. The UI provides the ability to establish minimum reconciliation thresholds at each layer of metadata described above. Proactive alerts are generated whenever conditions do not meet that minimum reliability threshold.
By building deep logging and alerting, TantaComm gets complete visibility to diverse environments and deployments. With continuous visibility and review of these alerts, TantaComm has enhanced its product over the years to effectively handle and record interactions across a myriad of telephony platforms, protocols, and use cases.
Additionally, embedded watermarking ensures that TantaComm clients know that the recording is foundational evidence that they will be able to prove that the recording wasn’t tampered with at any stage of the data being saved.
Recently TantaComm Capture has been updated with the ability to reconcile events coming from Notify and Command Center to programs, workgroups, users, etc. at a client site. This data, along with the quantifiable reliability data, is stored in the database for historical reference.
As great as VoIP can be, it often can cause quality problems due to configuration issues, denial of service or port attacks, or even an ISP-related problem.
Votacall introduced Votacall Viper to provide a better level of VoIP support through a cost-effective credit-card-sized node, which sits on the customer network monitoring the customer vLAN. It continuously captures stores and dumps four hours of real-time call data for review. Now, when a customer opens a support ticket and references a dropped call, you can see if there was a disconnect message on the far end indicating the other party disconnected, or if packet loss and jitter were the root causes.
This access to call data allows for ownership of the root cause of the problem to be assigned and swift action to be carried out. The company has found that customers simply want definitive answers, accountability, and follow-through based on data with minimal involvement in the process. Votacall Viper allows a company to deliver superior support and an enhanced customer experience as a result.
Most standard VoIP tools monitor and display data up to the network edge. Once a call leaves the customer site and hits the public Internet, providers lose visibility. Viper provides simple to review data for both ends of a call and therefore allows Votacall to truly support and promote call quality.
In addition, if audio is enabled and permission is granted, , Votacall Viper can become a call recording device.
Calabrio ONE is a comprehensive suite of contact center workforce optimization software that’s easy to implement, use, and maintain. It includes call recording, quality assurance, workforce management, bundled analytics, and performance-based dashboards and reporting. Calabrio ONE provides product bundles and add-ons that make it easy for customers to begin with the right set of applications and features for their business today, then builds on their success with new applications and features as their businesses mature and their needs evolve. The solution is built on a modern Web 2.0-based architecture that allows the contact center to integrate new applications easily, as well as personalize and optimize the desktop toolset for each user – agents, supervisors, managers, knowledge workers, and executives. It includes Calabrio Analytics, a completely bundled solution that includes desktop, text, and speech.
Furthermore, the company provides a dynamic, widget-based user interface that offers key personalization for users. Agents and supervisors alike can have the data they need most front and center.
Another area of differentiation is a simpler interface allowing companies to apply analytics to unstructured voice and data.
A key advantage of Calabrio call recording is the ability for customers to choose the capture method or mix of methods to best suit the customer’s business and technical requirements—whether it’s a single center, a multi-site center, or home agents. One option, Gateway recording, provides a reliable option for capturing every call in even the most complex multi-gateway environments across the enterprise. Calabrio ONE supports robust recording of the full customer experience on every call to the enterprise regardless of capture method, including the ability to associate contact-rich metadata with every call, record and associate multiple legs of a call, and the ability to associate IVR interactions with each call.
Edited by Maurice Nagle