Cisco staged its first-ever WebexOne event in December 2020. In prior years, Contact Center Summit was a more technical- and training-centered event. With WebexOne, Cisco created an agenda with appeal for contact center and CX leaders by adding industry analysts and existing contact center customers to help substantiate its prowess in its contact center offerings.
Here are our key takeaways from WebexOne for Contact Center:
- Be explicit on business outcomes – Show the ROI
- Digital interactions first
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) for contact center gets real
1. Explicit business outcomes – show the ROI
Contact Center upgrades and consolidations are notoriously long-horizon initiatives given their complexities and contingencies. To dispel buyer hesitance, Cisco delivered a one-two punch: analysts and data to substantiate return on investment with hard numbers and large customers to speak to the benefits and business results they have experienced.
- Show me the numbers. Art Schoeller, Forrester’s Principal Analyst, shared survey highlights on the benefits 600 contact center leaders experienced once they went to the cloud. Forrester has conducted 150 total economic impact (TEI) studies for contact center upgrades and spotlighted a single organization that report a 262 percent return-on-investment in a move to cloud and consolidation of eight legacy systems. The data was credible, specific and compelling. See slide excerpts at the bottom of this article “Benefit Overview 13 month payback” and “Total Economic Impact” for details.
- T-Mobile: Dynamic Enablement of a Remote Workforce. Tamara Jensen, Senior Technical Product Manager for T-Mobile, partnered with Cisco to migrate 12,000 agents to work from home in just three weeks! Now, teams are handling all calls with ease and great call quality with no drop in service level. She reports that T-Mobile agents are truly enabled to seamlessly support customers from anywhere.
- Ocean X manages fulfillment and customer experience for 25 beauty brands. It moved its contact center to the cloud starting in 2009. DeAnna Woody, Vice President of Ocean X, said her 1,000 plus agents dramatically improved their average handle time and first contact resolution. She highlighted the ease of creating custom call flows. With an improved routing strategy, they’re delivering more customers more quickly to the best skilled agent. This has reduced abandoned calls and improved service levels and customer satisfaction.
Cisco is focused on cloud contact center, more specifically Webex Contact Center (WxCC). Ryan Plant, Cisco’s Chief Technology Officer for Contact Center, revealed that Cisco has been working on this next-generation contact center platform for two years. They completely rebuilt the platform as cloud-native, made a move away from large software to evolve to micro-services, enabled open APIs that make the platform open and extensible, and infused AI throughout.
- While Cisco continues to offer on-premise, hosted and cloud native solutions, the future focus is clearly on the WxCC native cloud solution.
- This version of Webex Contact Center is based on a horizontally scalable, microservice architecture. The new solution is focused on digital interactions while continuing deliver exceptional support for voice interactions. WxCC now incorporates multiple products into a single platform to provide omni-channel, AI and contextual capabilities into the core WxCC solution.
3. Digital interactions first
No longer is the platform voice centric. Customer messages get integrated in a single pane for agents. Whether customers choose to interact via chatbots, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or SMS, agents see all interactions together for a truly omni-channel contact center.
4. AI for Contact Center gets real
AI for customer self-service, agent empowerment and workforce management. For three to four years now, we’ve been looking forward to AI being able to automate tasks and improve agents’ abilities. That time is now. Powered by Google CCAI, customer self-service is the first order of business. But using AI to provide live agents with guidance during customer interactions is now truly ready to deploy. And running it full circle, contact center directors will be able to use AI to facilitate scheduling and staffing.
With Webex Contact Center, Cisco appears to have seamlessly integrated all of its acquired solutions and partnered solutions to facilitate better EX.
- Cisco is positioning a solution to manage, track and analyze customer interactions in and out of the contact center as a new service offering that they are calling Customer Experience as a Service (CXaaS). This is based on Webex Contact Center, Webex Experience Management, Webex Contact Center Analyzer and Artificial Intelligence integration from Cisco and Google.
- There were dozens of acquisitions and new integrations announced. See our perspective on some of them in our Collaboration Takeaways article.
WWT: Our Viewpoint for Contact Center leaders
The WebexOne conference demonstrated Cisco’s commitment to cloud contact center. It’s been a bumpy ride for Cisco in their transition to delivering cloud-based contact center services. The Broadsoft acquisition didn’t provide the quantum leap toward CCaaS that partners and customers were hoping for and changes in Cisco leadership slowed the development of the CCaaS platform. The newly released Webex Contact Center 2.0 is nothing like the Broadsoft CC-One product that it was based upon. Architectually redesigned to take advantage of modern cloud delivered applications and with a new focus on customer demands for digital first engagement, this is the CCaaS solution that Cisco partners and customers have been asking for.
We also saw a seamless integration of recently acquired solutions from Cloud Cherry and Voicea into the WxCC agent desktop along with AI integration from industry leader Google. These integrations are making it simple and easy for customers to enable cutting edge technology quickly and easily without large upfront investments.
Overall, we came away impressed with what the Cisco Contact Center Business Unit, under the direction of Omar Tawakol, has done to position Cisco as a leader in the delivery of best-in-class CCaaS solutions.
Where to go from here
To learn more about AI and cloud migration, take a look at the Related Reading section below.