Interactive Intelligence recently held Intelligence Interactions 2014, which I attended, and I wanted to share here some of the key takeaways from this event, which this summer drew more than 2,000 people to the Indiana Convention Center.
The group attending Intelligence Interactions 2014 – and a new collocated event called CX Hot Trends Symposium (co-produced by TMC, for which I am CEO) – was made up of partners, customers, media, guests and others.
Cloud, mobile, and social were among the key concepts discussed at the events.
Don Brown, Interactive Intelligence CEO, took the podium and announced PureCloud, a new multi-tenant cloud contact center solution.
In the past, the company offered a cloud solution, which was single-tenant in nature. But now, with PureCloud, Interactive Intelligence has a single solution powered by Amazon Web Services (News - Alert). It offers cost savings and can be used as a way to burst during peak times. Companies can also use premises-based systems and leverage PureCloud to add on cloud services such as a directory, which don’t need to live in their own data centers.
The PureCloud offering consists of these services:
• Interactive Intelligence PureMatch, which dynamically matches customer interactions with contact center agents based on multiple attributes and criteria;
• Interactive Intelligence PureCloud Social Customer Service, which enables customers to view agent profiles and performance – including their service ratings and wait time – then choose the agent best qualified to assist them; and
• Interactive Intelligence PureCloud Director, a rich corporate directory that makes available deep user profile content (e.g. skills, work experience, location, etc.), and provides bi-directional synchronization with popular systems such as Active Directory, Exchange, Salesforce, SharePoint, and WorkDay.
Up to now the company has done very well in the call center market with enterprise PBX being a small part of the business. Now, it can more effectively take on ShoreTel (News - Alert) Cloud, 8x8 and others in the market.
Interactive Intelligence and its guest speakers also tackled the subject of mobility, noting that 1.6 billion tablets and smartphones exist on the market. The continuing growth on this front means businesses need to build mobility strategies, company representatives said.
Drew Kraus with Gartner (News - Alert) spoke to tell companies how to evolve from brittle, unresponsive contact center infrastructures where the architectures are not flexible and companies are afraid to touch anything. That eventually leads to a brittle customer center experience as well, he said.
Mobility is changing the market and proactive contact applications are changing the ways companies can provide service, including dramatic multichannel improvements, he added.
As noted by Interactive Intelligence at the event, 229 is the average number of friends a Facebook (News - Alert) user has. That means a user can reach 150,000 people if you factor in two degrees of separation, meaning it is more important than ever to keep customers happy. For those of you old enough to remember, the old rule was a customer who is upset would share the experience with only 10 people.
Jay Baer, president of Convince & Convert, took the stage to talk about the impact of social media on companies. Social media, he said, fundamentally changes the relationship from master and servant to peer-to-peer, as customers have power because they can impact brand perception. As a result, he said, companies have to adapt to this change.
"If your company doesn't have to deal with social customers today, things will change soon," he said.
He also mentioned that @HiltonSuggests is a social account set up by Hilton Hotels that trolls the Internet looking for questions it can help answer – such inquiries seeking advice on a great restaurant or a website to help in a job search. Strategically eavesdropping, he said, is the future and can result in payback at a later time thanks to good will.
Keith Dawson at Ovum (News - Alert), another featured speaker, noted that 74 percent of consumers use at least three channels to engage. Companies have to deal with this challenge, he said, but most aren't approaching it in a way that is efficient at scale. He cited an example of how a customer care site presents a phone number to a consumer who can't click to call it on a mobile device. There should be continuity of experience across chat, mobile IVR, and other modes, he added, because if there’s not, you increase friction for the customer.
Edited by Maurice Nagle