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On Demand Customer Communications Feature Article

[September 16, 2005]

Hopelessly Devoted: A Customer Communications Renaissance

By DAVID R. BUTCHER, Assistant Editor, Customer Interaction Solutions

Note: This feature originally appeared in August 2005 Customer Interaction Solutions magazine.

Communications between customer-facing companies and their customers in the best possible manner in efficiency, accuracy, speed, flexibility and response opportunity is at the very core of what technology providers in the customer service and communications industry must aim for. Companies often forget or completely disregard this fact. Why? Lets call it corporate ADD (attention-deficit disorder): They take on so much, target so many different customer types and purposes, and, in the end, their initial and primary intention falls by the wayside. They ease their effort in keeping a dialog going between their company/employees and their target audience/customers. The contact center industry has long been in need of a renaissance, a Customer Communications Renaissance, wherein every company finds both their agents and their customers so close in their communication that they are truly devoted to each other.

As such, one company aims to do just that with its customer communications; to improve call centers efficiency by improving agents experience, automating transactions and improving penetration rates.

SoundBite 5.0, from SoundBite Communications, is an on-demand customer communications platform that enables companies to instantly deliver interactive voice messages, as well as e-mail and text messages, to their customers via an ASP model, which further empowers those customers to respond immediately. Best-fit for companies in the financial services, telecom, collections, utilities and healthcare industries, the Web-hosted solution provides unlimited personalized calling capability; automated, real-time access and management of campaigns; high response rates; a 98 percent answering machine detection rate; the ability to directly connect with an agent; and automated self-processing.

The preceding attributes aim to deliver benefits not only to SoundBites customers, but to the recipients of SoundBite messages as well, as those messages are customized and targeted individually.

Key Features
SoundBite lays out its differentiating key features of 5.0 in the following points: Web-based script management; on-demand and blended suppression; an AutoManage tool; and enhanced enterprise support, as well as enhanced escalation.

SoundBites Web-based script management provides the ability to create and modify scripts and campaigns online. The campaigns can now be easily modified on-the-fly for emergencies or after-hours operations. Users are able to view and modify prompts, states and direct-connect numbers. Further, SoundBite 5.0 provides several built-in templates. Reports summaries and details at the campaign and sub-campaign levels can be custom-formatted; and usage reports for internal reporting are valid to this feature as well.

The on-demand and blended suppression both inbound and outbound allows for blocking phone numbers from receiving calls during a campaign; numbers can be added at any time up until a call is placed, even if the sub-campaign has already begun. With blended suppression available, users can automatically incorporate numbers received on a SoundBite inbound campaign, while numbers may be uploaded either automatically or manually.

SoundBite also provides AutoManage, wherein a series of rules is used to monitor campaign behavior in real time. For example, alert issues and call center issues, such as call rates adjustments, can be auto-managed without integration on the call center side. The status of each rule is shown on the AutoManage tab; and enterprise users can enable, disable and edit the rules.

Finally, SoundBite 5.0 provides advanced enterprise support from the previous versions. The enhancement allows for contacting Trace for a particular number within the enterprise. Detailed reports can be automatically generated upon campaign completion. Also falling under the umbrella of enterprise support are simple, online account creation, added-to security levels and administration and simplified call center login and reporting.

The goal of the escalation addition is to maximize the number of people in the list reached. Contacts/customers may be reached using a series of phone numbers or e-mail addresses. The multiple contact points offer the opportunity to reach more customers more quickly, improving the potential to reach more live people (and to leave more effective answering machine messages).

Originally, SoundBite sought to create one-on-one communications with a simple interface for better efficiency and simplicity. Now it is a commissary of enterprise-class communications, but still easy and with a focus on the companys original simple communications goal a sort of corporate Ritalin to counter an industry of corporate ADD. Bring forth the Renaissance.


David R. Butcher is Assistant Editor of Customer Interaction Solutions. To see more articles by David Butcher, please visit his archive.

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