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Unified Communications and the Contact Center – Better Together - Enghouse Interactive - Blog

Unified Communications and the Contact Center – Better Together

Enterprises tend to take a silo-based approach to operations, and technology vendors aren’t much different when it comes to their offerings. Unified Communications (UC) evolved out of the PBX market, so not surprisingly, these solutions were telephony-centric. Things have certainly progressed, but today’s UC is still built around the needs of employees as end users of communications applications. Similarly, contact center platforms serve a well-defined set of end users, namely agents and supervisors. These parallel worlds have co-existed nicely for a long time, but as businesses strive to become more customer-centric, there’s good reason to think differently now.

Technology remains a core driver for being competitive, but even more important is the overall vision of the business. Despite all the investments made in the contact center, customer satisfaction levels continue trending downward, and there are two factors to consider here. First, is the fact that most contact centers have legacy-based solutions, and simply cannot keep pace with today’s customer expectations, especially in terms of supporting their communications preferences and resolving issues promptly. Secondly, the business models driving the contact center are built more around operational performance rather than the impact on customer satisfaction and retention. In our global economy, customers have a lot of choice, and there’s little margin for error with your agents.

However, some enterprises are coming around and recognizing they’ll be more successful with a customer-centric vision rather than one only built around cost reduction or operational effectiveness. Internal performance metrics are still important, but what’s really driving business strategy is the enterprise’s ability to understand and meet customer needs. A great validation of this comes from the 2016 Global Contact Center Benchmarking Report, produced by Dimension Data. Among the many timely findings, their study shows that 82.5% of companies see the “customer experience” (CX) as a competitive differentiator, and 77.5% see it as their most important strategic performance measure. In terms of outcomes, 77.0% can cite hard cost savings as a result of improved CX.

When businesses think along these lines, building a customer-centric culture is not just about the contact center; it extends to everyone in the organization. Agents may represent the front door of CX for contact center engagement, but increasingly they must rely on data or internal experts from other parts of the organization. This may be at odds with a contact center built on legacy technology and legacy thinking, but the model today is built around the customer journey. Legacy environments simply cannot provide enough support for agents to effectively understand each customer’s journey, and a key reason lies in the silo-based approach cited earlier.

When contact centers look to make upgrades, the legacy approach is to invest in purpose-built, best-of-breed solutions. They want the right technology to streamline their operations and to better measure agent performance. Likewise, when IT decision-makers invest in UC, their focus will be on employee productivity, and not necessarily how that can support the contact center and ultimately improve customer satisfaction. In cases where the legacy mindset is still strong, it’s very possible that decisions for these two types of investments will be made independently, even if occurring at the same time.

Conversely, for enterprises that reflect the Dimension Data findings, the thought process is different. They will recognize distinct needs for each, but to fulfill the vision for being customer-centric, there will also be a strong rationale to extend UC capabilities into the contact center. This is the first step along the path to omnichannel, where there is a tight integration between these two worlds, all in the name of understanding the customer journey. While the realities of deploying omnichannel are complex, enterprises see the ultimate value, which was also reflected in the Dimension Data report. Currently, only 22.4% have omnichannel capability, but in just two short years, that level is expected to rise to 74.6%.

Extending UC into the contact center does present some integration challenges, but there’s clearly a need for enterprises with customer-centric vision, and an opportunity for the vendors. On the UC side, Microsoft’s Skype for Business (SfB) has emerged as a strong leader. Despite being ubiquitous on the desktop, their UC platform – Skype for Business – does not have a native contact center component. While SfB has certified contact center partners, most deployments are UC-only. There’s a significant opportunity here for enterprises that want to remain Microsoft-based to enhance their benefit by including the contact center as part of their UC strategy, and by extension, support the vision of being more customer-centric.

The goal is to provide businesses with a fully integrated, omni-channel solution that seamlessly connects agents with internal employees from across the organization to address customer interactions as efficiently as possible. This capability is simply not possible with legacy models, and true to the omni-channel vision, when you can cross silos to access people and data to keep the customer journey moving along your path, everyone is better off. Agents will have more powerful forms of customer engagement, employees will feel more connected to customers, the organization will become more agile, and management will be closer to realizing their vision for becoming customer-centric.

While businesses can continue to deploy UC and contact center along separate paths, given how the market is evolving, I think the case for “better together” speaks for itself.

As Principal of J Arnold & Associates, Jon is an independent research analyst providing thought leadership and go-to-market counsel with a focus on the business-level impact of disruptive communications technologies. Core areas of expertise include unified communications, cloud services, collaboration, Internet of Things, future of work, contact centers, customer experience, video, VoIP, and social media.


Publish Date: August 2, 2016

2021 Buyers Guide Telecoms

Cloud IT Services GmbH

Dialfire offers you a complete call center solution that is simple and intuitive to use and adapts to your needs. It's completely cloud-based, saving you the hassle of setting up a phone system and installing software. In addition to predictive dialing and call blending of inbound calls, you can create personalized campaigns through an intuitive and easy-to-use interface. Features include automated workflows and full control over the agent screen.

You can see the full list of features here:


Cloudonix’s smart voice calls enable frictionless experiences that drive better customer care and faster sales by merging voice and data into a complete service context. Cloudonix add Cloud capabilities to your existing on premise Call Center enabling your agents to work from anywhere in the world. Security, Privacy and more – rapidly deployed and cost effective without replacing your existing systems or retraining your team.

Connectica Solutions, LLC

PBX On The Cloud
We provide complete Cloud-based PBX/Phone Systems, including predictive and progressive dialers, phone lines in more than 75 countries and low cost international rates.
We specialize in the US and Latin American market.
PH: +1 (346) 444-3555

Layer One Technologies

Layer One Technologies provides information and communication technology (ICT) services to businesses in the greater Charlotte area. Whatever your cabling needs, we have you covered.
PH: (980) 288-4800


VOIP services
Stay in contact quickly and easily with your international offices through Megacall.

Megacall will fulfill all your telecommunication requirements and on top of that go the extra mile and surprise you with new possibilities for your business, speed to action your requests and keeping within your budget.

📞 Virtual Switchboard
🔌 SIP trunk
🔢 Virtual number
📠 Call Center Solutions
PH: +34 952 667 511


Our SNAPsolution – UC and Collaboration tools – can be quickly deployed so you can realize your ROI just as quick. netsapiens offers a comprehensive suite of unified communications (UC) & Contact Center (CC) feature-sets to service providers. Custom-built to provide our partners with unprecedented levels of flexibility, customization, and ease of use.

netsapiens allows you to control your margins in order to improve your ROI. As a provider of a facilities-based solution, you are able to personally choose your origination, termination, hardware costs, etc. to fit your budget. We also allow you to strategically price your product for a maximum return on your investment by charging on a conc...
(read more)
PH: 7608463385

Nuxiba Technologies

Build a strong business presence and improve customer relationships!

Offer custom-tailored solutions throughout your sales cycles and customer interactions and assess service levels and control corporate goal achievement through reports and statistics.

Obtain detailed reports based on relevant activity in your contact center, access our quality module to assess calls and performance, apply surveys, develop scripts, record conversations, and more!

Schedule a live demo or request a quote today!


Long Distance and Toll Free Specialists for Contact Centers
Televergence is a facilities based US Nationwide High volume/High Capacity Inbound and Outbound VoIP Carrier for Contact Centers. We specialize in termination (outbound) and origination (toll free and local DID) for the contact center. We have a technical staff that is up to date on the majority of platforms in use today, including asterisk and Vicci dial, as well as many of the currently in use software platforms.
Contact Centers generally see cost reduction and containment when using Televergence as their contact center telecom carrier. Televergence is the only active US VoIP carrier certified by the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), which enables our services to qualify for meeting corporations Supplier Diversity Needs.
PH: 213-943-2023

View more from Enghouse Interactive

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