ServiceNow® and the Contact Center
Bridging the Gap Between Customers, Agents and Processes
Redundancy is great if you’re talking about the number of engines on an airplane or servers running a critical application. But it can just as easily be a bad thing when it means having to repeat yourself to multiple people, or submitting the same information over and over again.
The latter type of redundancy is what we often experience as consumers in today’s world. This poor experience is usually exasperated when as an employee, you need to contact your company’s IT Helpdesk to resolve an issue.
Consider a brief example: You stop receiving work email and, already frustrated, you decide to call your IT helpdesk. The agent asks for your employee ID and name. After providing the requested info and explaining the issue, the agent advises you that he or she is not skilled to support email and will need to transfer you. Once transferred, the new agent asks for your employee ID and name. Suffering from déjà vu, you begrudgingly repeat yourself. They then advise you that the email system is down for all users and the estimated time to resolve is approximately 4 hours. Irritated, you hang up the phone. Five or six hours later, after a round of very productive golf or racquetball, you still don’t have working email and decide to call the IT Helpdesk again—repeating the entire process over and over until the issue is resolved!
Apart from bettering your golf or racquetball game, this type of redundant process is a productivity killer and incredibly demoralizing.
In a perfect world, your email would always work! Ideally, even if there was an outage, the business process for an email outage would proactively and automatically notify you via text message or voice call. Additionally, you should automatically be notified of any updates including when the outage is resolved.
Well, for both the plethora of frustrated consumers out there and the companies competing to satisfy them, there is a bright future on the horizon: work at light speed, leveraging the ServiceNow Platform.
Synergizing IT Service Management (ITSM) and the Contact Center (CC)
There are two options to solve for this type of poor customer experience (ironic, isn’t it?). The first is: you could decide to consolidate systems and run all helpdesk voice contact routing through an ITSM platform such as ServiceNow, completely eliminating your CC solution altogether. Chances are that’s what you are already doing with Email, Chat or maybe even SMS channels. But don’t rush into that, it may cause more problems than you realize!
Sure, ServiceNow and its Customer Service Management (CSM) module has a CC-like workflow routing engine, agent skills, work queueing, SLAs and plenty of reporting capabilities. It even supports routing to a crude voice channel via Twilio. However, it is not a Contact Center platform.
There are quite a few advanced CC features ServiceNow cannot provide. For example, call recording and related quality metrics, self-service IVR with TTS and ASR, and blended inbound/outbound agents, among others.
The second, and ideal solution, is to integrate the Contact Center and ServiceNow platforms. Because ServiceNow shares so many concepts with traditional and even omni-channel CC platforms, integration is relatively low effort. Typical integration is accomplished via a combination of Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) and Web Services interfaces that allow the bidirectional flow of information between the CC and ITSM systems.
ServiceNow’s web services are well documented and available for public consumption. The same is true of the most significant players in the CC market including, Avaya, Genesys, Nice, etc.
Leverage ServiceNow as the System of Action, to define the majority of your processes and associated workflows. When needed, tie in the CC platform via CTI and Web Services as the voice channel for those workflows.
The End Result: Utopia
This level of integration allows the customer experience to be reshaped. Entire workflows no longer need to be replicated in both the ITSM and CC systems. Data can simply be shared between them as needed. Voice agents can be provided contextual data about the customer journey in real-time. Predictive artificial intelligence can be used to provide voice agents with suggested courses of action. Customer satisfaction goes through the roof with proactive notifications and they are delighted to talk with agents who already know what they’re calling about before they say a word.
Stay tuned for future articles in this series in which I will provide detailed sample architecture and workflow examples for Contact Center integrations with ServiceNow.
Arrow Systems Integration, Inc. has expert developers on staff, ready to assist you in creating a seamless experience for your soon-to-be-ecstatic customers. Check out our website for more information: arrowsi.com
About the Author
Transforming enterprise communications and contact centers with innovative thinking and strategic execution for nearly 20 years, Russell blends deep technical knowledge across the industry with strong software architecture and development experience to deliver the right solution for even the most complex challenge. Russell aspires to be a well-rounded geek, with a passion for researching, architecting and developing Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Big Data, IoT and Cloud solutions. Prior to joining Arrow, Russell enjoyed 4 years in the position of Managing Director and Chief Architect within Avaya IT. In this role he led a team of solutions architects and developers to design, deploy and maintain Avaya's own solutions, internally, at Avaya sites globally. He also led the design and development effort for Avaya's latest enterprise-class UC cloud offering. From 1998 through 2012, Russell held various senior engineering and development positions with Avaya Services and R&D.More Content by Russell Singer