Telecom in Ten | Episode 6 | Quality Connections | Contact Center Solution (CCaaS)

Telecom in Ten | By Northland Communications Team

Jim Blackburn – Senior Product Engineer | Jay MacLean – Senior BU Technician | Stephany VanDyke – Product Line Manager

Welcome to Telecom in Ten, where we explore the quality connections between our cutting-edge technology, unparalleled service, reliable products, and you, our customer and community, as we continue to transform Telecom here at Northland Communications.

Hello everyone and welcome to our sixth episode of Telecom in Ten featuring Stephany VanDyke, Jay MacLean, and Jim Blackburn from our team here at Northland. Let’s jump right into today’s conversation about the advanced features of Business Unlimited, specifically, our Contact Center Solution (CCaaS). 

01. Cloud-Based Contact Center Solution | (0:45)

Stephany: So Jay and Jim, can you tell me in your own words, what a cloud-based contact center solution is?

Jim: Businesses are supporting multiple customers and those customers need to reach out to those businesses. For the longest time, it was just done via a phone call–that was the only way that you would contact a company. But today, it’s really called a contact center because it’s truly more than a phone call.

02. Multichannel Modes of Communication | (1:05)

Jim: It’s a combination of that phone call, email, SMS chat, chat off of website–it’s multiple contact methods to reach out to a company…

Jay: …giving your clients, the ability to call in, pick an option, and get the right person on the phone the first time. Or sending that message in and getting the right person the first time. 

Jim: And then we’re just taking that to the cloud–so we’re taking that whole functionality off premise and we’re moving it to our data center, and in this case, we’re going to be talking about Xima’s data center. 

03. Xima + Northland | (1:45)

Stephany: Xima has been a long-time partner of Northland, so before we get into the technology, can we talk a little bit about our partnership and how Xima supports us and our customers with their expertise?

Jim: Northland started working with Xima around 2010, so about twelve years ago, and we have sold the Avaya IP Office for that entire period of time–that’s really where the relationship had started. So, it made perfect sense when everything started moving to the cloud, that Xima recognized that as much as we did, and they moved their product to the cloud so they could continue to support people like us. 

Jay: And it’s nice to have that open communication with them, just like our customers have with us. 

Jim: And they really do a great job supporting our customers, which are their customers ultimately, but it’s just a really solid relationship and they are really good people.

04. Xima + Business Unlimited | (2:50)

Stephany: So we kind of touched on a few of these feature specifics, but let’s dive a little more into the technology. Our customers have so many different ways that they communicate with their customers. So, talk to me a little bit about the Xima specific technology and how that aligns with our customers’ communication needs. 

Jay: So it’s really an additional service to our UCaaS offering where you can kind of add this in and enhance the experience. Technology has come quite far in the sense that you’re no longer just ringing a group of people. Now you’re weighting your employees based on their expertise and you’re getting access to the live monitoring. 

05. Skills Based Routing | (3:35)

Jim: So the real differentiator is skills-based routing. So, with hunt groups and iACD, you have a team of people who are answering the phone. But with skills-based routing, now supervisors and managers, and even the individual agents themselves, get to rank themselves across all different types of skills and now you get to use the intelligence of Xima CCaaS to route that call based on who is available, what their skillset is, how long the person has been in queue–there’s all of these smart parameters that really go back to what Jay said in the beginning–getting that call to the right person, the first time. 

06. Queue Callback | (4:30)

Stephany: I think a major end customer feature is the queue callback. Do we want to talk about that a little bit?

Jay: With queue callback you don’t lose your position and your customers don’t have to wait on the phone for a half-hour, forty-five minutes, an hour. 

07. Increase + Decrease Licenses on Demand | (4:45)

Jay: Kind of couple with that is the ability to increase licenses on demand almost overnight, same day. 

Stephany: Yeah and the licensing with the cloud version of this dynamically allocates, so you don’t need an individual license dedicated to a specific end user. You just need the bundle of licenses for the amount of agents that you have active simultaneously.

08. Manage Your Workforce | (5:20)

Stephany: Which brings us actually to another really good point. So, rapidly changing work landscape environment–a lot of businesses are going fully remote or hybrid–tell me how some of those supervisor tools can help manage that remote workforce. 

Jay: So the supervisor dashboard, coupled with Cradle to Grave, which is Xima’s historical reporting, is going to give supervisors the ability during the working hours to look at that stuff. That’s where they are seeing what calls are queued, what chats are being responded to, and dynamically shift the workforce around to be able to handle whatever is the busiest at that time. The historical stuff is nice because you get the ability to set up reports, they are automatic and very granular–catered to what metrics you’re looking for to manage your workforce on a daily basis or more long-term reports.

Jim: I’m a big believer in the real-time displays. The fact that a business today when we talk about remote workforce–yes they may live five miles down the road, but they also may live in California, Alaska, Canada, etc. Now you can draw skillsets from all over North America to be part of your organization, where before, you were geographically limited. But businesses still have this fear of “how do I manage this?” The real-time views are customizable per supervisor, per group, so that they are looking at what they need to live every day. 

09. Make Data Driven Decisions | (7:00)

Stephany: Yeah and being able to historically report on that will also drive some major business insights like staffing needs, training needs, scoring your agents based on their skillsets and maybe reallocating those people to a more appropriate skillset group. So, to the point of our conversation, that one-call resolution. You’re distributing your skillsets where they are most needed and most important. 

Jay: You put all these different reports together in a way that you say okay this day we took this many phone calls and our scores went down so we know we need to staff more heavily in the first week or the last week of the month in the specific departments and you can really make those business decisions confidently. 

10. Scalable + Customizable | (8:10)

Stephany: Yeah that’s another really good one. So, we talked a lot about making data driven decisions and maximizing the customer results. So the last question I have for you guys is how scalable and customizable, not only the product is, but how easy it is to add onto our Business Unlimited offering. 

Jay: The nice thing is, is because it’s in the cloud and it’s hosted in a way that it’s mostly MRC (monthly recurring charges), it’s a bit cheaper because you are paying for it every month, but you have the flexibility to get rid of it if you don’t need it, or to add it. That’s as simple as giving us a phone call and saying I need these five people to be agents in these categories, etc. 

Jim: One of the other advantages of being in the cloud is that when Xima comes out with a new function or application, that just gets layered into the product and we have the ability to turn that particular feature up. So as the product continues to evolve because customers’ needs are constantly changing–when you buy something, you buy it and that’s how it works. Yes, maybe there are software updates, but this is just automatically occurring in the cloud.

Jay: Redundancy is another big thing. You buy this thing premise based and you have a piece of hardware that it’s living on, and when that thing gets popped by lightning or the hard drive fails, you’re done. Now this is living in the cloud, it’s geographically redundant, redundant within the data centers themselves–you’re never down, you’re always operational. 

Stephany: I think what we’re really trying to drive home is that old school mentality where contact center is only meant for big call centers…we really have to rethink the use case for this. You can be a small business and have a few key people who are managing your customer interactions. It’s saying how can I as a small, medium, or enterprise business, leverage these tools to make strategic business decisions and do what’s right for my company, employees, and customers. So, I think everything that we talked about today could be utilized and leveraged by any company of any size, in any industry. It’s about understanding your customers and communicating with them more effectively.