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inContact Delivers a Personal Connection
One of the promises of cloud-based applications is a steady stream of product updates that arrive without the need to buy and deploy new servers and often require no additional licensing. True to this promise, today SaaS contact center provider inContact has announced its 13.2 release, i.e., the second release of the year.
It's hard not to see truth in CEO Paul Jarman's comment in the press release, "Unlike legacy premise solutions that lock customers into an 18-month cadence of waiting for new features, inContact gives our customers the continuous innovation they need to address their most pressing contact center challenges." It is also true, however, that newer cloud-based applications are often playing catch-up to those same legacy solutions in term of advanced capabilities.
In this release, inContact is attempting to not just catch-up but jump ahead with brand new predictive dialing capabilities. The company describes its new outbound solution, branded Personal Connection, as using patented technology to deliver the efficiency of predictive dialing with the personal agent touch of preview dialing. In fact, inContact marketing manager Jennifer Waite joked that Personal Connection is like "progressive and predictive dialing had a baby."
With traditional predictive dialing, the dialer calls numbers from a list. Call progress analysis determines the call result (e.g., no answer, voice mail, live person). When a live customer is detected, the dialer software searches for an available agent. Dialer algorithms are tuned to coordinate dialing with agent availability, but it's not a perfect system by any means. We've all picked up a telemarketing call and said "Hello" several times before the agent comes on the line.
inContact promises to deliver the efficiency of predictive dialing without losing the personal touch of an agent hearing that first hello. With Personal Connection, the agent's communication line is connected to the number the dialer predicts is most likely to answer. The outbound dialer technology is actively monitoring both voice channels--the customer and the agent's. The technology knows when a conversation begins, or does not, because it is listening to both channels. If the agent hears a voice mail message, he or she does not engage in a conversation and the technology disposes the call. Another call's ring is now sent to the agent. If the agent hears a customer voice, a conversation begins. The customer and agent are connected prior to the first hello.
inContact proudly displays the two patents this technology has been granted in the materials made available. Given how long patents take to be granted, I was curious who actually developed the technology. Turns out inContact purchased a small technology firm to speed their entry into the outbound market, and the inventor granted the patents, Rix Ryscamp, is now part of inContact.
There are other interesting elements in the 13.2 release, including an iPad application for supervisors that not only gives access to real-time information, it allows them to move agents around as calling traffic shifts.
As contact centers are increasingly looking to the cloud as a possible next generation platform, inContact's ability to quickly cross all the T's and dot the I's of enterprise RFPs helps explain the success they are having selling into larger and larger centers.