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Personalized Customer Engagement, Way Beyond Screen Pops

Personalized Customer Engagement today can be powered by natively integrated contact centers with CRM and ERP information, as well as by data from social media, sentiment analysis and analytics. From a single user interface, contact center agents are armed with relevant and timely information so that they can deliver better service.

Triggered by caller number or email address, data can be automatically retrieved from the master data stores in the CRM and ERP (such as Order/Delivery/Billing Status) and other related databases so that contact center agents are equipped with an abundance of information about the customer. This allows highly customized and personalized services that can be tailored to customers' needs, including greeting the customer by name.

Best of all, by knowing the context of the customer's last interaction, (i.e.: placing an order, an order that was not completed, or calling with a problem, etc.) the agents can be prepared and already anticipating what the call will be about.

These more advanced integrated systems can fulfill the promise of technology that goes back two decades. Back in the 90s, we were delivering "Screen Pops" to call center customers, which at the time was a revolutionary step forward in being able greet a customer personally. Screen Popping launched a screen of data to a call center agent with an incoming call. This was the apex of personalization.

Even to provide comparatively basic information, screen popping was a complex undertaking, linking Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems to a customer database and a call center. This was really hard work, requiring highly skilled "C" programmers to write code; it also required lots of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and complex integrations with both the computer and phone systems. Over time, those tasks became easier with scripting tools and Web services, yet the overall complexity of integrating to multiple systems may not have improved in this period--in many respects, it has become more difficult. Why?

* An increasing number of software technologies are deployed in the contact center.
* As software evolves and capabilities are enhanced, APIs need to change to take advantage of those improvements.
* Many of the new or enhanced capabilities have not grown organically. They are the result of acquisitions, and the priority has been introducing new features, not integrating underlying software that is less visible to the customer.

During an initial implementation, the challenges that multiple software technologies present are not apparent. Yet all of these factors add to the complexity of a multi-vendor environment in which it is difficult to test the vendors' latest versions of multiple combinations of software. The net result is delaying or avoiding innovations in the future because the deployment cost becomes too high, thereby depriving the enterprise of a robust roadmap.

The greatest advantage of having a fully integrated system solution is that the enterprise can focus on developing a continuous stream of business improvements, instead of having to devote resources to resolving the technical issue of trying to get disparate systems to work together.