Fifteen years ago, my team of engineers and I consolidated a Fortune 100 company’s 27 call centers into one with the goal of delivering consistently superior customer service while gaining access to data and insights that would provide visibility into what was really going on behind the curtain. This was not an easy feat. It took roughly a year to complete and unveil the modern, feature-rich, IP telephony-based enterprise call center solution the organization’s leadership was looking for.
As you may imagine, each center was unique. Some had glorified round-robin configurations, and others were still managed using dial-up systems with the old familiar screeching noise announcing the connection. Various versions of hardware, firmware and software were involved, all from different vendors with their own maintenance contracts and billing cycles. And to further complicate matters, each of the vendors had their own special configuration language for communicating how to care for the call and the customer.
Ease of doing business drives ROI
Despite the complex and laborious tasks of taking inventories, migrating phone numbers one at a time, and testing, our solution finally deployed. Incoming calls were answered by customer service specialists with consistent, polished training, and supervisors were able to listen in and provide additional coaching. For the business, this new solution was a home run and — from an operations perspective — it delivered the desired consistency.
Customer information was accessed through an intuitive web interface and automatically presented on screen, enabling customer service specialists to make good use of time. This resulted in happier customers and easier, more natural upsell opportunities while simultaneously helping the company gain a deeper understanding of their customers and the market. And this evolution had another positive effect — revenue grew more than expected.
All was well — until a ticket hit my inbox
The ticket was date and time stamped with a callback number and read, “A customer complained that the call dropped mid-conversation.” I glanced at last month’s call reports beside my desk — there were thousands of incoming calls each hour. Then I walked out to the call center and saw hundreds of agents with their headsets off chatting among themselves instead of with customers and no calls coming in!
Questions rattled through my mind at warp speed, starting with where should I begin and running the gamut. Where could I find information about what happened? Was it the internet, or did the customer lose their cell signal? Did the servers fail? The list went on and on, with each critical question requiring detective work to eliminate possible root causes while customers, agents, revenue and the brand suffered.
The root cause identification struggle is real
At the time we mostly relied on some ping tools, alerts for network devices being sent to syslog, and individual server logs to help us investigate problems. We also had the ability to visually inspect the data center equipment. Extensive documentation helped as well, but it was just a snapshot of the past. And the network diagrams and telephony spreadsheets were maintained by specialized individuals who usually needed to confirm that they were even up to date.
As a result, it often took multiple days to identify a root cause. Our teams had to sift through logs and piece a theory together, hoping to identify something that would allow us to create processes to prevent repeat issues. And frankly, not much has changed since then in terms of call center management — until now.
Full-stack observability has officially entered the world of the call center
We’re thrilled to announce that the version 12.6 releases of Unified Contact Center Enterprise (UCCE) and Packaged Contact Center Enterprise (PCCE) integrate AppDynamics into the software, with a solution guide included in the release notes. This combines industry-leading call center technology with industry-leading full-stack observability, helping enterprises deliver exceptional call center experiences through flawless performance.
This milestone represents a new phase in operating a large-scale, high-traffic enterprise call center, whether on-prem or in the cloud with agents working from home.
“As a primary channel to connect with and understand customers, call centers build customer confidence and loyalty, increase sales and circumvent lost opportunities.” said AppDynamics General Manager Linda Tong. “Successfully managing and optimizing their performance leaves little room for error. By creating a unified landscape to view performance monitoring across all dependencies and integrations, AppDynamics is the only solution that fully integrates full-stack observability into Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise so our customers can quickly pinpoint and address system bottlenecks.”
The combination of UCCE or PCCE and AppDynamics provides your business with:
- Power. Monitor the behavior and health of your entire application stack, compute infrastructure and network from a single dashboard.
- Time. Isolate complex issues in real time, freeing up valuable resources.
- Value. Elevate your operations team from “fix-it crew” to business owners with custom dashboards that report mission-critical metrics.
- Remote monitoring. Rapidly pinpoint network issues, even when they occur at a customer service agent’s home.
- Confidence. Deliver exceptional customer experiences, each and every time.Oh, how I wish this solution was available over a decade ago so my team and I could have saved time and lived in less fear of the next war room! But more importantly, with it we could’ve provided more value, delivered best-in-class operations, and devoted more time to helping the company with the next innovative IT initiative. Now, it’s possible.
>>> Interested in learning more? Check out our UCCE Monitoring page and contact your account manager today.