Jeff Campbell, Marketing Manager, Cisco Collaboration Product & Solutions Marketing Group,
admit it--I'm a bit of a techno-grouch. I still play vinyl records on a
stereo system, I can hunt with a longbow, and I won't even tell you how
recently I got my first smart phone. It's not that I don't embrace new
technology--I do!--but I need to be convinced why it's worth the time,
effort, and expense to change what I'm doing.
Businesses are like that, too, and perhaps particularly so when it
comes to their contact centers. Those of us who deal with customer care
tend to be a conservative bunch, because if we blunder we're sure to
hear about it from unhappy customers--not to mention the front office.
Yet new technologies hold tremendous promise for improving the customer
journey as consumers connect with businesses and organizations over
time and across channels. The question then becomes, how can businesses
take advantage of these improvements with acceptable investments of
time, effort and expense--and with minimal risk?
Cloud-based services certainly offer an attractive approach, which is one reason why Cisco offers Spark
Within literally minutes of our first announcement of Spark, my fellow
Cisco marketers and I started getting questions like, "Can I use Spark
in my contact center?" or "How can I use Spark for customer care?" Let
me try to address those sorts of questions.
Spark--as it exists today--offers customer care capabilities. For
example, Spark's built-in auto-attendant and hunt groups help connect
callers to businesses. These features are especially attractive to
small and mid-size companies that might not need a formal contact
center, but businesses of all sizes can benefit from them.
Spark's existing messaging capabilities can also augment team
collaboration within contact centers and with knowledge workers in the
extended organization in a number of ways, including:
• Discussion of care-related topics
• Sharing news
• Facilitating agent training
• Scheduling swap requests
• Water cooler talk
• Aligning on objectives
• Social activity tracking
• Collaborating to solve customer issues
Spark's intrinsic ability to maintain conversations in user-defined
rooms makes it particularly well-suited to team-based collaboration
among agents and supervisors.
More Spark care capabilities are on the way. Soon, Spark Care Assistant
will facilitate automated and human-assisted support via Cisco Spark.
Care Assistant is a "bot" (i.e., a web robot) that acts as a virtual
assistant to pair Spark users with expert resources based on the user's
request. It doesn't require any special administration, and indeed it's
designed to be user-implemented. Care Assistant is ideal for internal
support and help desks, and like Spark's auto-attendant and hunt group
capabilities, Care Assistant will be included as part of Spark
licensing at no extra cost.
Spark is just getting started in customer care. We plan to extend Care
Assistant to support consumers who connect to a business through a web
page or chat session. As Spark evolves, Spark's care capabilities will
continue to grow. And because Spark is cloud-based, businesses can
easily take advantage of new capabilities at their own pace, using the
secure foundation that's already in place.
There's never been a better time to start experiencing customer care with Cisco Spark
. Even if you're a techno-grouch like me.
About the Author:
Jeffrey Campbell is a Marketing Manager in Cisco's Collaboration
Product and Solutions Marketing group, where he is responsible for
driving market awareness of Cisco's Customer Care solutions.
Mr. Campbell has worked as a systems engineer, product manager, and
marketing manager in the telecommunications industry for over twenty
years. As a product manager, he introduced the award-winning
Cisco Unified Customer Voice Portal to the market, and he is an
industry thought-leader in championing customer care. He holds
two U.S. patents on automated self-service technologies, and was a
finalist candidate for NASA's space shuttle astronaut program.
Mr. Campbell earned a B.S. from the United States Naval Academy at
Annapolis, and he holds advanced degrees from the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
He is the author of two published novels and plays a mean guitar.