Avaya unveils new multimedia CRM tools

With an eye toward giving its users more ways to interact with their clients, Avaya Inc. Monday announced the release of its new Multimedia Contact Center customer relationship management (CRM) suite, which helps companies deal with their customers using the Web, e-mail, and phone.

Multimedia Contact Center is built around new releases of two existing Avaya products, Interaction Center and Operational Analyst. Using the capabilities of those two programs, Multimedia Contact Center will let companies equip their call center staffs with tools that support customers using Web chat and collaboration, e-mail, knowledge bases and more Avaya said in a statement. The software also gives companies choices of where within a call center to direct calls, support for IP (Internet Protocol) telephony, customer interaction history and sales and service scripting, the company said.

The new version of Avaya Interaction Center provides the bulk of these capabilities to the Multimedia Contact Center. The software is built around five components: Outbound Contact Management, Telephony, Web, E-mail and Agent. The Outbound Contact Management feature will allow companies to implement automated, proactive calls to customers, the company said.

Avaya Telephony handles incoming customer calls and routes them, based on the business's preferences and rules, to sales and support call center representatives or to self-service options, Avaya said.

The Web component of the program uses IP telephony to allow customers to talk with call center workers with a single mouse click while they remain connected to the Internet, the company said. This feature complements the Web component's existing online collaboration, knowledge base search, chat and call-back capabilities, Avaya said.

Avaya E-mail includes a natural-language content scanning engine designed to automatically read, understand and compose replies to customer e-mail, the company said. Replies then can be sent or modified by customer support staff. The component also includes a quality assurance feature by which e-mail messages can be routed to supervisors for inspection or modification before they are sent to customers, the company said.

Lastly, the Avaya Agent is a desktop application that call center, sales and service workers use to view previous customer interaction data, application information and more, Avaya said. The Agent also includes sales and service scripts and knowledge base information, the company said.

The second application that Multimedia Contact Center is built on is Avaya's new Operational Analyst reporting suite. Operational Analyst will allow managers and administrators to perform in-depth, real-time analysis and reporting on multiple communication channels across multiple locations to achieve an enterprise-wide picture of call center effectiveness, the company said.

Both Interaction Center and Operational Analyst will be available worldwide on June 28, with local language versions beginning their availability in August. The software is priced based on the functionality and media channels needed, but carries a typical cost of US$2,000 to $4,000 per concurrent user, Avaya said.

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