Contact centers are usually the bedrock of any sort of live customer service operation. As a provider of this technology, Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, a subsidiary of Alcatel, has been synonymous with assisted service. However, an acquisition last year — plus careful attention to pricing trends — has led Genesys to straddle the service fence, with one foot firmly planted in its familiar assisted terrain and the other stepping into self-service technology.
“I think one of the biggest issues in the contact business is the challenge in finding the right blend of skilled agents with enough information and resources to help customers in self-service,” Joseph Heinen, vice president of strategic marketing, told CRM Buyer Magazine.
Genesys has developed robust assisted-service technology — its suite 6 is a case in point. And the recent addition of Genesys Voice Portal to its portfolio of applications has greatly enhanced the company’s self-service side. “The combination of suite 6 and our voice portal technology makes that bridging of the self-service world and assisted world … much more powerful,” Heinen said.
The voice portal provides a new style of vXML (voice XML) access to Web data. It makes layers of information that enterprises have sought to deliver over the Web accessible to consumers or end-users by phone — simply by adding voice tags and scripting to the content. “It really expands the resources dedicated to making information available,” Heinen said.
The technology supporting the Genesys voice portal was developed by a company called Telera, which Genesys acquired last year. “We took Telera’s technology and integrated it into our contact-center service applications,” Heinen said, “so now we can [accommodate] users who might be appropriately served 80 percent of the time with self-service, but for certain cross-sales opportunities or customer service problems need to transition to assisted service.”
Suite 6, a comprehensive portfolio of customer interaction management and multichannel routing software for contact centers, is the umbrella application for all of Genesys’ assisted services. Most customers implement the suite’s framework application because it provides basic call-center functionality, Heinen said.
“Then they move on to routing, which allows them to be more sophisticated in their ability to tailor the customer experience — even moving that customer interaction to the right sort of assisted or selfservice,” he added.
Tying It to CRM
Another trend — in this case, renewed focus — driving new product development at Genesys is ever-growing demand for better integration among applications and businesses.
“One of the first things that CRM enterprise software customers ask … is, ‘How does all this contact-center technology play with what I already have?'” Heinen noted. “Being able to incorporate contact-center capabilities into an IT application is, needless to say, very important.”
To that end, Genesys has collaborated with Siebel, PeopleSoft and SAP to ensure that its framework, routing and voice portal capabilities link to the complementary functions on the CRM side.
Heinen cited the example of a marketing campaign created in a Siebel application. Once the company is ready to start pumping offers and related customer data through its contact center, “it hands the information over to our G-plus adapter that links the Siebel and Genesys suite, and we actually execute that campaign,” he said.
“It is snapping the contact center — which basically used to be a siloed operation — into the heart of CRM philosophy.”