Networking services provider Azzurri has expanded its managed cloud communications service, ICON, to include cloud-based contact centres.
The firm said the development came in response to customer challenges around the changing role of contact centre agents, who have gone from performing a largely transactional function to working in more complex environments.
Azzurri CTO Rufus Grig explained: “Agents take longer calls, more varied call types, dealing with a wider range of issues, and need greater integration between the front office and back office. The contact centre is a more demanding place to be from a human skills perspective.”
Grig said that buying on-premise contact centres was a lot like buying hi-fi separates, in that customers had to select various options to suit their needs, whereas current cloud-based offerings were more “take it or leave it”, which, he explained, may suit the SME market but left enterprises unable to take full advantage of the cloud.
Its ICON Contact solution aims to address this discrepancy. Based on Azzurri’s Callmedia contact centre platform, with telephony technology from Mitel and hosting from VMware, the service will also include a number of workforce management software options from Azzurri partners, to be selected on an as-needed basis.
“Contact takes the benefits you get from on-premise and makes it a genuine enterprise-class cloud solution,” said Grig.
Customer Endsleigh Insurance has already deployed an Avaya-based workforce management offering via Azzurri. The financial services firm decided that, with a customer base made up of young professionals and students, it needed to better equip its contact centre agents to deal with new types of service engagement, such as SMS, Twitter, webchats and so on.
It decided its existing resource planning needed to be upgraded to better utilise its existing contact centre human resource, and matching of agent skills to tasks, to improve service levels.
Endsleigh has already achieved operational savings of £1.3m as a result, and has seen side-benefits in terms of agent retention and morale.
Although Endsleigh has not yet signed up to the ICON service, Grig said customers were free to pick and choose which elements of the package to deploy. It already offers ICON-branded mobile management and unified communications services in the cloud, and would be encouraged to take various ICON modules to take advantage of a more joined-up approach to cloud-based networking.