Integrating Skype for Business and contact center systems enables banks and other financial institutions to experience the myriad benefits of unified communication (UC).

Most companies that operate contact centers acknowledge the importance of enabling customers to contact them via multiple channels. Yet, a large number of these same companies use separate contact center and UC platforms and providers, which leads to communication silos among their channels.

In a recent study conducted by Nemertes Research, for example, only 16% of those surveyed indicated they were currently integrating their communication channels. And, while 24% said they had plans to unify communications in the future, 60% had no plans. Not surprisingly, the minority of companies that already had a unified communications (UC) strategy in place enjoyed several benefits, including:

  1. Lower Customer Hold Times. In a UC environment agents can see the presence of others, then send instant messages (IMs) or text messages to minimize or even eliminate the need to put customers on hold while they seek out information or advice.
  2. Reduced Call Transfers. Another frustration that plagues many contact centers is call escalations, especially when callers are transferred and have to repeat their stories to other agents. In a unified contact center environment, agents can avoid this scenario by using live screen sharing and/or IMs with experts to collaborate and resolve customer problems.
  3. Visual Guidance. In a UC environment, callers and agents can seamlessly convert an audio call to a videoconference, allowing the agent to show the customer the solution.
  4. Channel Efficiency. UC opens up a lot of communication possibilities, but how can your business turn this into productivity? If queuing of IMs works for your customers (e.g., for service desks or help desks), an agent may be able to handle 2-3 of these at once, upping efficiency and utilization. Allowing agents to handle both live (e.g., call or chat) and non-live (e.g., email) interactions can “flatten” the volume peaks that most contact centers experience, with agents spending time on textual communications when they have the time to do so.
  5. Streamlined Technology Management. One of the biggest challenges with non-integrated contact centers is getting the big picture on customer communication. In a UC environment, customer context can be identified and tracked, which makes it easier to gauge customer satisfaction and improve one’s performance metrics.

We’d like to highlight a specific use-case scenario that illustrates the benefits an integrated solution brings to companies and their customers.

A Bank, A Car Buyer, and Unified Communications
The video highlights a bank using UC to empower a customer, John, who is car shopping. The story begins with John at a car dealership. He is interested in purchasing a vehicle that costs $25,000 plus a $1,000 down payment. John uses a mobile app to check his account balance and confirm he has enough money to cover the down payment.

Instead of accepting the car dealership’s loan offer, he selects the “Contact Us” tab on his app to see whether his bank can offer him a better rate. The app displays the various contact channels (e.g. phone call, chat, email and call back) along with corresponding wait times (7 minutes, 15 seconds, 2 hours and 7 minutes, respectively). He selects “Chat” based on the shortest wait time, then chooses “Car Loan” from a menu of service options. Next, he types, “What kind of rate can you offer me on a $25,000 loan?”

On the other end of the chat request, Sarah, who just recently started working the loan queue, sees John’s request. Her Microsoft Dynamics CRM system, which is integrated with Skype for Business, automatically triggers a screen pop providing her with John’s account information. The bank’s contact center analytics tool informs her that there is a higher close rate for loans when speaking on the phone. Sarah responds to John’s message by letting him know she can provide him with better assistance over the phone and asks his permission to call. After John affirms the request, Sarah verifies John’s number in the CRM system and selects the “Click to Call” button. As the call connects over Skype for Business, Sarah enters the loan amount into John’s account record. Because the loan is above $20,000, the CRM triggers an alert to the contact center supervisor, Beth, who activates a supervisory monitor of the call and stands by in case Sarah needs assistance.

At the same time, Sarah is being supported by a real time speech analytics (RTSA) solution that uses phrase recognition and soft speech evaluators such as cross talk, speech ratio and tempo to ensure she remains compliant and provides a good cadence for the call. For example, if Sarah were to misstate key information or speak too quickly, she would be notified in real time to make specific corrections during the call.

After accepting the bank’s competitive offer, Sarah processes the loan and closes the interaction, which automatically triggers an email to John containing all the terms and conditions of the loan agreement along with a survey of his experience (through Office 365).

A Win For Agents And Customers
With the loan completed, the contact center supervisor (Beth) carries her tablet to Sarah’s desk to review the call and congratulate her on successfully closing her first big loan.

This sample banking use case combines four different channels of communication – mobile self-service, chat, voice, and email – into one seamless end-to-end experience for the consumer. This is the new model for customer service, where omni-channel communications are blended into a unified customer journey.

When contact center systems and phone systems are integrated, communication happens more efficiently and effectively, and everyone wins. Customers can more easily get answers to their questions or receive assistance — using their preferred, and most efficient, communication channels. Contact centers can achieve a higher first contact resolution because agents have more resources (human and digital) at their fingertips. With higher employee productivity and customer satisfaction levels to be attained, it’s surprising that more companies wouldn’t want to make UC and contact center integration a higher priority. We should expect those numbers to go up soon as more companies realize this model has a great impact on service, while simultaneously lowering overall cost.