Cookie Preference Centre

Your Privacy
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Performance Cookies
Functional Cookies
Targeting Cookies

Your Privacy

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences, your device or used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually identify you directly, but it can give you a more personalized web experience. You can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, you should know that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on the site and the services we are able to offer.

Strictly Necessary Cookies

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site may not work then.

Cookies used

Performance Cookies

These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources, so we can measure and improve the performance of our site. They help us know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If you do not allow these cookies, we will not know when you have visited our site.

Cookies used

Google Analytics

Functional Cookies

These cookies allow the provision of enhance functionality and personalization, such as videos and live chats. They may be set by us or by third party providers whose services we have added to our pages. If you do not allow these cookies, then some or all of these functionalities may not function properly.

Cookies used




Targeting Cookies

These cookies are set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant ads on other sites. They work by uniquely identifying your browser and device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will not experience our targeted advertising across different websites.

Cookies used


This site uses cookies and other tracking technologies to assist with navigation and your ability to provide feedback, analyse your use of our products and services, assist with our promotional and marketing efforts, and provide content from third parties

Become a Basic Member for free. Click Here

How to Juggle with 4 Balls (and a Chainsaw) – Part 1 - J S - Blog

How to Juggle with 4 Balls (and a Chainsaw) – Part 1

The Challenge of Converged Multi-Media in the Contact Center

Success in the contact center is all about the customer experience. Meet (or exceed!) the customer’s expectations and all is well. Once upon a time, a bank that serviced both in-branch and phone interactions well had happy customers. Rather like juggling with 2 balls, it was relatively easy. These days, to keep the customer happy a contact center must manage voice, email, web chat, video, SMS (and others) successfully. Rather like juggling with 4 balls (and a chainsaw), this can be challenging. (Chainsaw? Read on.)

Customer expectations boil down to a combination of speed and quality of response, and each has its own technological challenges. In this blog, we look at speed of response. In the next, quality. Stay tuned.

Speed of Response – Tick, Tock

Customer expectations in terms of speed of response are quite different for each media type. For instance:

  • web chat, voice, video – the customer expects an almost instant response, i.e. within seconds
  • SMS (text) – not quite instant, but still prompt (say within 1 min)
  • email – not instant (say within 1 hour)

So how do you maximise your chance of meeting these expectations? By automatic assignment of sessions to agents. We could call this ASD (Automatic Session Distribution - the multi-channel equivalent of ACD). For this, the system needs both presence information and centralised and unified queue management.

Presence Information – Are You Free?

In order to assign any session to an agent, the system must know if he is available to receive it. Trouble is, the answer isn’t just a simple yes or no. Each agent may have complex rules about how many of each media type he can handle at once; for example, agent Jim, currently on a voice call, may not be available for an incoming web chat session, but agent Sarah, already dealing with two chat sessions, may be able to handle a third.

This is further complicated by skill level; not all agents who can email effectively are good at video chat, too.

Presence information is also essential for manual transfer; Jim, trying to transfer a web chat session, needs to know if Sarah can handle it, given the other sessions she is currently involved in.

Centralised Management - The Lone Juggler

In order to juggle media sessions between agents, the left hand must know what the right hand is doing. This requires a centralised and unified control center that knows the exact state of every agent and every queue at all times. Disparate systems held together with tape just won’t work.

Now, what happens if the level of activity on any queue exceeds the assigned agents’ ability to respond within the service level agreement (SLA)? Other agents should be automatically drafted in to help, and ideally they should be put back into the original queue when service levels allow.

This could also be done manually by a supervisor, who will need the presence info to determine who can go where. We will be looking at media queue blending in more detail in a future blog.

With all these facilities in place, a multi-media contact center should be able to keep all balls in the air successfully, delivering a fast response well within acceptable service levels.

So, which one is the chainsaw? Video, actually. This needs special handling, as we shall see next time, when we look at how contact center technology can enable quality of response.

Publish Date: April 20, 2012 10:31 AM

ABOUT US IN 60 seconds!

Latest Americas Newsletter
both ids empty
session userid =
session UserTempID =
session adminlevel =
session blnTempHelpChatShow =
session cookie set = True
session page-view-total =
session page-view-total =
applicaiton blnAwardsClosed =
session blnCompletedAwardInterestPopup =
session blnCheckNewsletterInterestPopup =
session blnCompletedNewsletterInterestPopup =