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2020 CUSTOMER TMC Labs Innovation Winners Focus on Maximizing Experience

By CustomerZone360 News December 04, 2020

The 2020 CUSTOMER TMC Labs Innovation Awards are here! This is our continuing effort to reward the best and brightest solutions from a host of companies across the spectrum of customer service, customer satisfaction, CRM, and related fields. We believe we have nailed it, as we have chosen award winners that can really help organizations improve their interactions within and beyond the enterprise – when dealing with customers.

AudioCodes RXV80 is state-of-the art conferencing hardware that ties into the company’s ecosystem of communications and collaboration solutions. NICE NEVA is the productivity-boosting tool that allows greater productivity and less manual contact enter agent work. The Panasonic KX-TPA73 is a great handset for retail applications – bringing amazing quality and battery-life to the people dealing with prospects and customers.

Star2Star’s unique UCaaS solutions brings high-quality communications and collaborations to the front line of your organization – as well as the whole team. Finally, Toast Guest Feedback targets all restaurateurs looking to better their customer experiences by improving operations, coaching staff, and resolving negative experiences. In an industry where online ratings can dramatically impact revenue, reputation management is more important than ever for the Toast Restaurant Community.



RXV80 Stand-Alone Video Collaboration Bar

AudioCodes started life developing solutions that were often purchased by developers and manufacturers that relied on the expertise of the Israeli company to transmit voice communications without sacrificing quality.

Over the years, it has taken its engineering expertise and integrated it into their own products, which were sold to end-customer organizations. The industry took notice when AudioCodes started to make phones, for example. Perhaps the company’s most-intriguing product, which is targeted at enterprise customers, is Meeting Insights, an AI-based in-meeting voice assistant, Mia which automatically joins meetings to assign action items, logs notes, track decisions made, and create a meeting summary, all in real time.

Continuing on its rollout of leading-edge collaboration solutions, AudioCodes is targeting its RXV80  at enterprises adopting Microsoft Teams for video-enabled collaboration in a wide variety of meeting rooms.

The RXV80 is a video standalone collaboration bar that delivers an intuitive meeting room experience for effective collaboration in video-enabled meeting rooms. Developed in partnership with Dolby, the RXV80 is easy to deploy and enables remote participants to see and hear everyone in the room with outstanding image clarity and enhanced voice quality. Innovative technology allows the RXV80 to effortlessly handle challenging lighting conditions and variations in room dimensions to capture every detail. Intelligent acoustics enable full-room pickup, ensuring incredible sound quality that gives every participant a voice, unhindered by meeting room shape, size or wall texture.

The RXV80 is primarily an on-premises solution for meeting rooms and executive suites. It is one of the first products available for stand-alone video collaboration in Microsoft Teams. In addition, the RXV80 is part of the AudioCodes Room Experience Suite that includes devices and meeting recording solutions, as well as centralized management and quality monitoring. The company’s partnership with Dolby allows Microsoft Teams enterprise users to enjoy great video and audio quality regardless of where they are physically located.

The RXV80 is also one of the first products of its kind on the market that takes a completely holistic approach to video collaboration across the entire meeting lifecycle. AudioCodes’ proprietary management tools assure quality sound and vision during the meeting itself.

IT managers get superior meeting management and monitoring capabilities across all devices in an organization, particularly those devices located in meeting rooms. The RXV80 includes features such as dynamic leveling and intelligent acoustics, as well as a four beamforming microphone array delivering full room pickup in any video-enabled meeting room or huddle room for consistent quality sound. It also includes a 4K camera with HDR video mapping and automatic lighting adjustment for quality visual coverage, with a wide-angle lens covering every seat in the meeting room.

AudioCodes touts its differentiator as being the only vendor that offers a full voice solution for the Microsoft UC platform, comprising SBCs and gateways, IP phones, call recording solutions and speech dialing capabilities, all seamlessly orchestrated under the same management umbrella.

We chose the AudioCodes RXV80 Stand-Alone Video Collaboration Bar to win the 2020 CUSTOMER TMC Labs Innovation Award because it embodies the decades of experience developing quality UC solutions AudioCodes has in the unified communications space. In addition, being part of a complete Microsoft Teams ecosystem means easier management and configuration of meeting solutions for IT managers. Finally, we are impressed with Intelligent Acoustics, which delivers enhanced voice quality, even in spaces with high ceilings, glass walls, and other challenging room conditions.



NEVA (NICE Employee Virtual Attendant)

For enterprise contact centers the time drain of dealing with manual processes can lead to significant job dissatisfaction as well as lost productivity for the organization. NEVA (NICE Employee Virtual Assistant) is the world’s first personified attended robot designed with the employee in mind. By executing mundane, admin related tasks, NEVA unlocks the best potential from front and back-office employees, enabling them to focus more on the customer interaction.

NEVA’s intelligent, AI driven interface responds to voice or text communication from employees. She offers employees real-time process guidance and next best action advice and in addition, has the capability to execute multiple and varied tasks on behalf of the employee. This enables employees to create more meaningful and personalized customer service experiences.

A natural integrator, NEVA can interact with any desktop application. She manipulates desktop applications in the same way a human employee would, but does so much faster, and with complete accuracy. With the ability to automate tasks in real time and handle all the process driven admin, NEVA frees up the employee to focus more on interacting and connecting with the customer, with an added human touch. Successful customer interactions rely on processing speed, accuracy and efficiency as well as personal human contact to tackle more complex customer requirements.

NEVA is always switched on and is triggered by the employee’s desktop actions (such as keystrokes or mouse clicks). She knows when to jump in and offer employees real-time process guidance. – as and when they need it.

The underlying technology powering NEVA relies on a comprehensive connectivity toolset, which allows this integration to any application – Windows or web-based, legacy or homegrown. Connectivity can be done through a deep-level approach called ‘object based connectivity’ or using the NICE innovative, AI-based ‘Simulated Objects’ connectivity feature, when there is no easy way to access the underlying application, such as in the case of a VDI deployment.

NEVA’s actions are based on business rules, which are built using the NICE Automation Authoring tool, in an easy to use, drag-and-drop interface. The same tool is used to build the NEVA guidance callouts, for guiding agents through complex processes.

NEVA can automate activities on the users' desktop, but also has the ability to trigger unattended RPA bots to execute tasks in the background, without involving the user. The NEVA on-screen callouts are dynamic and robust. They can display information from various systems, include complex options like drop down menus, field entries, links to data or applications and more.

Another benefit is full GDPR and other regulatory compliance adherence by ensuring compliant process flow and accurately processing-back office tasks and seamlessly alerting a human to intervene or authorize more sensitive matters for compliance purposes.

While hiring good salespeople is notoriously difficult to do, automation is here to help – NEVA can transform any service person into a salesperson by offering sales guidance and handling the sales execution in the backend.

NEVA is used for efficiency, by providing links to information, displaying the right content, in context to what the employee is doing right now, as well as by automating routine activities. NEVA also improves service to sales success, by guiding the service employee via sales scripts as well as executing the sales order by interacting with backend systems.

NEVA can integrate with other AI-driven NICE portfolio solutions, such as speech analytics. She also has intelligent automation process discovery capabilities. Since NEVA resides in the agent’s desktop, ready to intuitively assist them in a highly personalized manner, she can track, access and collect each agent’s desktop activities. This data collection can then be converted into valuable business insights with clear recommendations of process sequences that are best suited for automation. Not only does NEVA enable agents to reach their best performance potential, but her automation discovery capability enables organizations to embrace continuous process optimization. NEVA supports two fundamental business imperatives: Firstly by improving employee experience and performance, customer experience will naturally improve (in terms of quality, efficiency, accuracy, hyper personalization with the human touch) and the continuous process optimization aspect supports the business to streamline their business operations driving process and cost efficiencies.

NEVA with Automation Finder collects real employee desktop data/desktop actions and accurately recommends the best process sequences to automate. This solves a major challenge in the RPA industry by ensuring greater RPA deployment success as well as the potential to scale effectively. Seamless integration of unattended and attended process flows, incorporating system alerts or calling for human intervention when process errors occur.

Finally, the company’s highly-competitive pricing model provides enterprises NEVA Unlimited, which means that NICE will give potential customers an unlimited number of unattended bot to support their attended automation needs.

We chose NEVA (NICE Employee Virtual Attendant) to win the 2020 CUSTOMER TMC Labs Innovation Award because we are impressed with its functionality, its ability to reduce mundane contact center tasks, its assistance in ensuring compliance and its ability to help customers have their needs taken care of more quickly. The solution runs on Windows, Macs and Linux machines and its best feature may be its ROI, as well-designed RPA solutions pay for themselves quickly.


Panasonic System Solutions Company of North America


The Panasonic KX-TPA73B allows customers to capitalize on the shift to UCaaS while taking advantage of wireless DECT technology, helping maintain seamless communication without the borders of wired IP endpoints. Customers include SOHO, SMB, small enterprise, an any number of vertical markets, including retail, restaurant and hospitality, and more.

Panasonic’s solutions use DECT to provide customers with comfortable wireless voice communication. The KX-TPA73B works with the KX-TGP600 base station, which includes a rich product lineup that is suitable for every customer’s work style. DECT capability sets the customer free from wires. Customers can create their communication environment that is entirely suited to the different places in which their businesses operate, from the office, out into the stock yard, or anywhere else. The intuitive noise-reduction function reduces surrounding noise and enhances the clarity of each conversation. The receiver volume is adjusted automatically to an easy-to-hear level if the user moves from a quiet area to somewhere noisier. The KX-TPA73B IP Wireless DECT phone is remarkably easy to set up and manage. Its provisioning function enables remote configuration settings and handset management. The KX-TPA73 also utilizes an innovative shortcut key, enabling the user a one-touch-access to a predetermined contact. The KX-TPA73 charging cradle utilizes a cleaning mechanism ensuring the handset always make a proper connection with the charging contacts making this phone a perfect option for tougher environments.

Through the KX-TGP600, the KX-TPA73B provides handset status information through DECT, empowering service providers to enable proactive troubleshooting tools to enhance the user experience.

The Panasonic KX-TGP600 overall DECT solution, including KX-TPA73B solves the problems and issues related to old or nonexistent Cat 5 cabling.  Due to certain difficulties with cabling, there was an increased requirement for a wireless phone that had the design and features of a traditional desktop phone. The DECT TPA65 and TPA68 solved this problem as a quick and easy to deploy option, since cabling is not required.

The TPA73 is part of a series of devices, under the KX-TGP600, which provide eight simultaneous calls; eight handset capacity; six repeaters; key system; option of three handsets and two desk phones – all within a single platform. The redesigned UI/UX focuses on reducing number of steps, providing better feedback to mirror the intuition of a smart device and appeals to the user with its modern design. The charging experience is also improved upon through areas such as improved battery life, increased status and additional LEDs to provide better customer feedback.

The KX-TPA73 includes protective silicon covers available for handsets and charging cradles installed in dirty environments. The device also provides multiple specifications in a single device, 3.5mm headset jack, Bluetooth, vibration, and shortcut key.

We chose the Panasonic KX-TPA73B to win the 2020 CUSTOMER TMC Labs Innovation Award because we were impressed with the functionality of this pint-sized device. Customers can enjoy standby time of over 2 weeks, 20 hours of continuous talk time, bluetooth, speakerphone and more.



Cloud-native Communications & Collaboration platform

Star2Star’s cloud-native communications and collaboration platform revolutionizes enterprise businesses with end-to-end solutions that deliver flexibility, scalability and productivity needed to optimize daily operations. They unify voice, video, mobile, chat, fax, presence management, SMS/MMS, virtual desktops, and more into a single, easy-to-use system. Companies can select their preferred technology from a range of options, including pure to on-premises cloud, to reduce costs and enhance workflows. All Star2Star solutions include advanced UC features, built-in business continuity, and the power of SD-WAN for crystal-clear call quality.

The target market for the service is companies looking to switch to UC from Hosted or PBX, companies with UC who need a better plan/bottom line, and companies of any size looking for holistic enterprise technologies. Star2Stars’s service is available through resellers and agents.

Star2Star’s platform leverages unique cloud architecture that combines aspects of on-premises and pure cloud solutions to get the best features of both without the limitations of either.

The on-premises deployment extensively utilizes the cloud but also maintains some on-premises hardware and services, including the StarBox voice optimized SD-WAN and Star2Star’s private cloud-based network. The pure cloud version leverages the same feature set without any on-premises components.

For the on-premises platform, the StarBox voice optimized SD-WAN sits at customer location. Star2Star’s network and its suite of cloud-based services are hosted at its highly reliable, redundant data centers. The StarBox connects over IP infrastructure to Star2Star’s network backbone, which runs on a collection of call routing nodes and data centers distributed across the country. Star2Star manages and monitors the quality of customers’ phone systems continuously with built-in business continuity protection.

Star2Star believes it is the first and only provider of such a unique cloud architecture and cloud-native system of solutions. It combines aspects of both pure cloud and on-premises cloud communications solutions to create a unique, higher-quality solution – ensuring the high quality of an on-premises system with the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of a pure-cloud solution.

Other features include SMS, video meetings, team hub collaboration, advanced contact center and service insight solutions, and packaged applications for CRM integrations, mass notification, employee alerts, and urgent response capabilities.

We chose the Star2Star Cloud-native Communications & Collaboration platform to win the 2020 CUSTOMER TMC Labs Innovation Award because we were impressed with its dynamic scalability, QoS voice features, line pooling, line bursting, chat, video conferencing, fax, mobile, business SMS, SD-WAN integration and more.



Toast Guest Feedback

Toast Guest Feedback targets all restaurateurs looking to better their customer experiences by improving operations, coaching staff, and resolving negative experiences. In an industry where online ratings can dramatically impact revenue, reputation management is more important than ever for the Toast Restaurant Community. Small businesses can be greatly impacted by the effects of a negative review or experience by even just one diner, and Toast Guest Feedback was developed in response to this challenge, allowing all restaurateurs to better manage their online reputation, perform service recovery, attract new diners, and retain customers.

Restaurants looking to increase sales, create and improve not only the customer experience that consumers are looking for, but their employees’ experiences also, all benefit from Toast technology and products.

Toast provides real-time data across multiple locations to understand what’s working and what’s not. Toast Guest Feedback empowers owners to collect and act on guest reviews in real-time. It allows restaurant operators to show their commitment to customers by immediately addressing reviews, and ensuring a seamless experience.

Toast products simplify the guest ordering experience and improve throughput in high-volume restaurants, while Toast Guest Feedback simultaneously allows for the customer voice to be heard. These tools were designed to capture the guest experience instantly by measuring and collecting guest feedback in real-time, coaching and measuring staff performance, analyzing trends, and ensuring every guest leaves happy. With Toast Guest Feedback, Toast is committed to helping the restaurant industry apply technology to increase revenue, improve operations, and delight guests. This suite of tools allows restaurateurs to better manage their online reputation, perform service recovery, attract new diners, and retain guests.

The Toast Guest Feedback platform is built exclusively for restaurants to empower owners to collect and act on guest reviews in real-time via Toast hardware such as Toast Digital Receipts and ToastGo. This hardware allows for the Toast Guest Feedback feature to prompt guests to give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down while they’re paying on a handheld terminal, and if a thumbs-down is clicked, the on-duty manager will get a text alerting them of it, so they can go fix any issues before the guest leaves the restaurant (and goes home to leave a review).

Toast Guest Feedback is among the first multi-channel guest feedback platforms built exclusively for restaurants to help restaurant owners address negative experiences before disgruntled guests air their frustrations on platforms like Yelp. This is critical because a one-star increase on Yelp dramatically increases revenue for SMB restaurants.

Timely responses to negative ratings are more important than ever – a Toast study found that 65 percent of one-star Yelp reviews were posted within one day of a poor dining experience. That is the reason Toast created Toast Guest Feedback; to help restaurant owners analyze guest feedback immediately to ensure a great dining experience.

With only about two percent of restaurant customers taking the time to fill out a survey or comment card at the end of a meal, it’s crucial to have a digital, easy-to-use method to ensure success. With Toast Guest Feedback, restaurants are able to increase the number of guests giving feedback, as well as increase the amount of information they can use to assess quality of service, popular foods, and other aspects of day-to-day operations.

Real-time data is key with Toast Guest Feedback because it allows for customer issues to be addressed as they happen. This way, managers can approach situations immediately and make negative experiences right, to ensure that guests continue to come back — turning happy customers into regulars.

These tools make gathering and utilizing this information easy. Guests can be prompted with a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” option as they’re checking out, accompanied by a checkbox to indicate whether they’d be open to a manager reaching out to learn more about their experiences. This allows managers the opportunity to speak with guests who report their experiences both good and bad.

Additionally, Toast Guest Feedback can be set up to text staff or managers whenever the thumbs down is selected, so they are able to deal with customer issues before they even leave the venue. Restaurateurs don’t have to wait for a negative review to be posted onto a third party website to understand what their customer pain points are. With the click of a button or a short text message, managers can analyze customer experiences and react in real-time.

We chose Toast Guest Feedback to win the 2020 CUSTOMER TMC Labs Innovation Award because we are impressed with its dedication to multichannel customer satisfaction in restaurants, where hungry guests who are unhappy can prove to be an existential threat to a positive review.

Edited by Erik Linask
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