• United States
Senior Editor

Call center advances

Sep 15, 20032 mins


You may hear a lot about IP-based customer call centers, but the fact is that real world deployments have been slow.

Sales of IP contact center gear account for just $69 million in a $1 billion North American call-center market, but the IP share will grow to $824 million by 2008, according to a report by Frost & Sullivan.

Our Special Focus author ( this week looks at a few implementations and explores the impetus to move or not to move to the technology. For example:

* “It’s no longer if customer-interaction management will be IP-based, it’s when,” says Peter Williams, project manager for an IP phone transition underway by the Ministry of Social Development in New Zealand. The agency is migrating from TDM centers based on Genesys Telecommunication Labs software to an IP system using Genesys software but based on Cisco IP Call Manager gateways.

* “I don’t know that we’re going to make the full transition,” says Keith Wallace, director of telecommunications for PC Connect, which uses a dozen IP phones to support a small contact center in Ohio to supplement its main TDM-based center in Merrimack, N.H. An IP interface extends the Nortel system in New Hampshire to Ohio.

Meanwhile, in addition to costs, businesses have to weigh long-term streamlining of their networks and new features that TDM can’t support. Although these new features/killer apps have yet to appear they may be on the horizon. For instance, Avaya says it is working on applications that enable supervisors to monitor calls in near real time and benefit from voice analysis software that detects anger in voices. If a calls is going badly, a supervisor can tap in, figure out what’s going wrong and offer suggestions via a dialog box on the agent’s workstation.