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Article : Mission Critical

When a company's mission is to deliver enhanced shareholder value over time, increasing revenue and reducing costs are pre-requisites. Revenue can only be increased by acquiring new customers or increasing the value of existing ones.

In the present economic climate, and in light of the research that demonstrates profits can be increased by almost 100% by retaining just 5% more customers, loyalty is more often than not the key. Equally, costs can be reduced by optimising the balance between the cost of service to each customer and their lifetime value to the company.

Customer Interaction Management (CIM) is central to making sense of these business equations. Excellent CIM optimises the choice of interaction channel available to the customer, with the maximum value for the organisation.

When we know that 70% of customer satisfaction derives from the interaction experience not from the product itself, why are so few companies realising this goal? Because, they fail to ensure the alignment of business processes, technology and people that facilitate successful customer interaction. Datapoint can help drive up shareholder value by unlocking the potential worth of those customer interactions.

CIM drives Shareholder Value
CIM enables successful inbound and outbound contacts between business and customer.

The Rise And Rise Of Multi-Channels
The contact centre market is evolving fast as customer and technology drivers encourage and enable the use of a wider variety of interaction channels. Driven by this explosive growth in internet and mobile technologies, customers now expect to be able to interact with organisations via any channel of their choice.

Latest generation contact centre technology now permits managed web, web collaboration, chat, mobile and email contact in addition to traditional voice channels. Interactive Digital TV (iDTV) and third generation (3G) mobile applications will increase the complexity and richness of customer interaction.

Companies struggle to manage single channels. For example, in a traditional call centre, the focus is on minimising call handling time and maximising the operational efficiency of call center agents without noting the impact of the company's bottom line.

The Board speak of strategy, customer retention and satisfaction while call centre managers are driven to cut costs. The Board must ensure their strategy is executed through all levels of the organisation. The call centre managers must ensure they support the organisation's strategy.

What Is Customer Interaction Management (CIM)?
CIM is the means by which businesses build loyalty through enabling 'value-add' interactions between customers and suppliers. Challenges can include;

  • Optimal use of Customer Interaction Channels - providing the customer with their interaction channel of choice and optimising its use.

  • Personalisation - customising interactions based on the customer's profile.

  • Integration - of channels so the customer has a consistent view of the company and the company has a consistent view of their customers.

Optimal Use Of Customer Interaction Channels
These challenges split in two:
1. Providing customer with interaction channel(s)
2. Optimising their use

In response to competition, companies need to provide high value customers with the interaction channel of their choice. They must offer the flexibility for customers to select any channel for a given interaction. This flexibility must focus on the customer's perception of the most convenient interaction channel for that particular instance.

Conversely, the challenge is also to provide low value customers with low cost (to the company) interaction channels. This must be supported by a migration of those customers to these low cost channels without compromising their perception of service.

Businesses must optimise the use of their channels to ensure maximum value to themselves and the customer when interactions occur. This can be a complex process whether it is a single channel, usually voice, or additional channels, the most common alternative presently being email and IVR.

Effective use of channels can increase revenue, reduce costs and improve the customer's experience so establishing customer loyalty. Technologies such as interaction (voice or email) routing, queuing and workforce management can reduce costs while improved customer experience leads to revenue improvements from higher customer retention rates.

The personalisation of customer interactions is one of the cornerstones of CRM. The goal is to deliver the one-to-one service of yesteryear in an era of mass transactions and communications. In other words, "mass customisation".

Personalisation means responding to the customer as an individual with distinct characteristics, circumstances, preferences and history with the company, regardless of whether the transaction is personal or automated.

This goes beyond generic segmentation, such as using a postal code, to treat customers in their own right, in recognition of their real-time changing status. For example, propensity marketing compares a customer's behaviour against that of previous customers. This method accurately predicts their future service needs.

Personalisation is a powerful tool in the competition for customer acquisition and retention. It allows companies to distinguish themselves by providing a better service to their valuable customers. Datapoint can help personalise customer interactions to improve customer retention and acquisition. Personalisation can improve communication effectiveness, convenience and monetary savings. This improved interaction experience is more satisfying for the customer.

Personalisation can enhance the relationship between the company and the customer. This will increase the value of that customer to the company by retention and increased sales. Within CIM, technologies such as Caller Line Identification and Speech Recognition IVR can be used to recognise callers and deliver a customised service in response.

One of the key challenges for companies is to integrate their interaction channels so that the customer experiences a consistent view of the company regardless of their channel choice. Consistency of service is an important component of customer satisfaction. It improves the customer interaction experience, improves communication effectiveness and the cost of information gathering to the customer.

For the company, the improved consistency of service encourages the retention of valued customers. It also improves cost efficiencies through quicker resolution. As a result of the improved service to customers, employee satisfaction improves, as agents are able to resolve calls more effectively.

Their motto is 1+1=5, with more than 1,200 retail stores, a catalogue business, kiosks and a website, integration of customer interaction channels is essential. When a customer is migrated from shopping through a single channel to shopping through two, they will actually spend 2.5 times as much; when they shop via three channels or more spend rises to 4.5 times as much. Staples adds incremental value and explanations for why customers should migrate, e.g. when a shopper who goes into one of the retail stores finds a product is out of stock, they can go to a kiosk, place an order for the item and have it delivered the next day.

Significant cost savings were achieved by integrating SMS to handle the 2,800 non-priority daily call-outs with a 10 second handling time for each message rather than a 90 second call handling time for messages handled via the traditional voice channel.

What Is The CIM Problem?
Creating a single view of the customer is a common problem many businesses experience. The challenge is how to align people, processes and technology to provide this single view. The complexity of this problem is illustrated conceptually below. Corporate infrastructure, business processes and customer touch points all spin round in different directions and at different speeds.

When the customer chooses to interact with the company via the touch point of his or her choice the company must be ready to take a snapshot of that individual. The complexity is, therefore, to align the channel used with the right resources, infrastructure and information depending on the "level" of the customer. This must work for every business process whatever the channel used.

The critical CIM problem is the integration of people, processes and technology to create:

  • Single view of the customer - helping the company provide consistent service and target/ segment the customer according to their lifetime value.

  • Single view of the company - irrespective of the customer's choice of touch point, they will receive seamless consistency. Consistency is crucial for customer satisfaction and helps build trust, the necessary ingredient for sustainable relationships.

What Should CIM Look Like?
CIM integrates technology, processes and people to create a unified customer touch point regardless of the channels used to deliver seamless service to customers. CIM enables successful inbound and outbound contacts between your business and your customers. The scope of CIM is illustrated in the diagram below;

Maximum value is derived by integrating people, processes and technology. Source: Datapoint

The customer interaction sits between the customer and the back office and encompasses;

  • All of the touch points - ie. all the media available for the customer to reach the organization

  • All of the business processes - the services set up to respond (passively) or to reach the customer (pro-actively) irrespective of the function (billing, sales, marketing, logistics, etc)

  • All the infrastructure systems - e.g. CRM, ERP, back office, supply chain.

The Customer interaction fits across all of these and aims to deliver a seamless service to the right customers, be it either outbound or inbound. It is therefore a key enabler for CRM.

The following conclusions can be drawn from the critical issue of Customer Interaction Management:

  • Shareholder Value is enhanced by delivering improved customer interaction experiences and this is the driver of CIM.

  • Excellent CIM optimises the choice of interaction channel available to the customer with the maximum value for the organisation.

  • Simply, CIM is management of inbound and outbound customer interactions.

  • The key components of CIM are

    • optimal use of customer interaction channels - providing the customer with their interaction channel of choice and optimising its use.

    • personalisation - customising interactions based on the profiles

    • integration - of channels so the customer has a consistent view of the company.

About Alastair Bateman:
Alastair Bateman has worked in the IT industry for 5 years and has a Masters degree in Strategic Information Systems. He is Principal Research Analyst for the Datapoint Group where he has worked for 2 years.

About Datapoint:
Datapoint is a professional services company focused on enabling companies to effectively communicate with customers using a variety of communications channels. Whether using email, telephone, the internet, iDTV or WAP, Datapoint helps companies to use multi-media communications to create business advantage.

Today's Tip of the Day - Avoid The “Knee Jerk” Reaction

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Tuesday, August 13, 2002

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2023 Buyers Guide Computer Telephony Integration

Premium Listing
Call Center Studio

Call Center Studio
Call Center Studio is the world’s first call center built on Google and is one of the most secure and stable systems with some of the industry’s best reporting. It is one of the most full-featured enterprise grade systems (with the most calling features, one of the best call distribution, outbound dialing features and integrations—including IVR, AI Speech Recognition, blended inbound/outbound calling and includes Google’s new Dialogflow and Speech API. Call Center Studio is the absolute easiest to use (with a 10 minute setup), and is the price performance leader with lower equipment cost and less setup time.

AMC Technology

DaVinci provides Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) to a library of pre-built applications + UXiPaaS (User Experience Integration Platform as a Service) built specifically for contact centers. As contact center needs evolve, organizations need to have access to extend or create new functionality, without waiting to be a part of a software roadmap. Get the benefits of CTI within your CRM like screen pop, click-to-dial, screen transfer, speed dial and more, but future-proof your contact center so you can expand and integrate how and when you want.

ComSys S.A.

CLink for CRM and Call Center Integration
CLink by Comsys is a middleware that connects in real-time the CRM and the contact center applications. CLink enhances the CRM with interaction management capabilities from the contact center that allow agents to work more productively across all communication channels.
Comsys is a provider of οmnichannel customer engagement solutions that assist companies around the world in delivering unique customer experiences. For the last 15 years, Comsys designs and implements complex projects for clients from the outsourcing, financial services, telecommunications, and retail sectors. Comsys enjoys strategic partnerships with technology vendors like Cisco®, Aspect Software®, and Microsoft® for the delivery of innovative interaction management and contact center optimization solutions.

Consilium Software

Consilium UniAgent™
Today’s call centers need their agents to work more naturally, and respond better and faster. Here, we talk about the innovations Consilium has made with the latest desktop and mobile agent releases of the UniAgent™ CRM connector. From small enterprises to Fortune 500 companies and governments across 110 countries, UniAgent™ comes into action right at the moment of reckoning, making every contact center experience engaging and personalized, powered by simplified customer identification and anticipating customer needs.
UniAgent™ provides CRM integrations between all the Cisco contact center solutions (UCCX, PCCE, UCCE and HCS-CC) and over 20 CRMs, such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics 365...
(read more)

IntraNext Systems

IntraNext Systems develops agent efficiency tools and data security software solutions for medium-to-large contact centers. Our Event Intelligence® Platform solutions include SmartCTI™, iGuard®, and SmartSIP™. SmartSIP is based on our patented SIP layer technology and provides a DTMF masking solution for VoIP environments.


CRM integration
We know how important it is for a business to obtain data from its customers and to manage them effectively, so we help small to large companies by integrating their CRM with the Virtual Switchboard.

This type of integration will simplify the work of your team and improve the management performance of the contact list and its information.


NovelVox CTI Connector
NextGen Cisco Finesse, Genesys & Avaya Embedded CTI Connectors for Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, ServiceNow, Zendesk & more.


What is PhoneIQ?
PhoneIQ is the modern cloud phone system and contact center platform built exclusively for companies on Salesforce. Our all-in-one cloud communications platform brings together power dialing, local presence, voicemail drop, Salesforce call routing, call recording and a complete PBX replacement that lives within your CRM. With support for desktop, mobile, and desk phones, PhoneIQ works seamlessly at the office or remote, logging all interactions in Salesforce and generating reports in real-time.

Best For
Companies using Salesforce and looking for a phone system, dialer, or contact center software that provides deep integration capabilities with their CRM and expert Salesforce support.


Easy Contact Center Traffic Analytics (Ec2Traffic)
Prilink Ec2Traffic provides network traffic analytics (NTA) for Internet, SIP Trunk and WebRTC traffic for on-premises and cloud Contact Centers.

Ec2Traffic analyzes network layer 2 to 4, RTP and SRTP packet loss and SIP protocols in real-time from the demarcation point or network edge, generating NTA metadata and requires little telemetry bandwidth.

Ec2Traffic provides:

- Year-round NTA metadata

- Daily CSV files upload to Customer business applications

- Capture packet to Wireshark for Deep Packet Inspection (DPI)

- detect traffic anomalies

- and more ....

Teckinfo Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

InterDialog UCCS
InterDialog UCCS - a robust contact/ call center software that helps organizations provide a seamless customer experience across all channels in the customer service journey. All interactions from various channels come to a single unified queue on the InterDialog platform. With unified view agents get to see all historical interactions , enabling him to give a resolution quickly. InterDialog UCCS is a comprehensive Contact/Call Center Software with robust CTI, Unified Q ( ACD), Reporting, Unified Agent Management, Administrator, Supervisor - Monitoring (Pmonitor)

The Primas Group

Primas CX
Primas CX is a CTI-based contact center enhancement suite that takes your contact center software to the next level.
It provides a set of tools that every contact center needs, over and above their vendor features.

*Advanced Call Back in Queue & SMS in Queue
*Agent Screen Pop
*Chatbot Automation
*Welcome Back Greeting
*Post Contact Survey
*Dropped Call Reconnect
*Digital Front Door & Many more

As a Vendor Agnostic ISV, we pride ourselves on delivering the best COTS & Custom solutions for any contact center in any industry.


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