Magazine article CRM Magazine

VoIP in the Contact Center: Another Fad or Here to Stay?

Magazine article CRM Magazine

VoIP in the Contact Center: Another Fad or Here to Stay?

Article excerpt

For some progressive contact center managers, Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) has been the latest solution in the search to cut costs. But today contact centers that use VoIP are beginning to see other outcomes, especially increased flexibility.

"They're doing it now because they want a lot of freedom and that's what IP really gives them," says Betsy Wood, marketing manager for customer contact solutions, Nortel Networks. "It gives them the flexibility to have people anywhere ... who have secure, high-speed Internet access."

Mitel Networks' Todd Simons, director of applications, says that the compelling reason for moving to VoIP has less to due with cost savings and more to do with the ability to deploy applications. "Such things as an IVR application would be a lot cheaper to deploy in a VoIP setting than it is in a TDM setting--as much as 25 percent cheaper," he says. "Your VoIP telephone switch and your servers are all working on the same network and talking the same language."

The ability to have a centralized call center may also lead to an increase in the use of VoIP. Brian Hayashi, engineering director of the all-IP Vegas.com, says moving into a new building spurred the firm to find ways to conserve costs. "Having IP support on our phone switch, even if our main office was or was not on IP, allows us to support remote offices easily over our data network," he says.

This "true virtual center," says Don Van Doren, president of consultancy Vanguard Communications, will be one of the Big Ideas: "Every company will need to make a decision to move to IP within the next four or five years."

Although VoIP is growing in popularity, its adoption has been anything but rapid. Jon Arnold, Frost Sullivan's program leader, VoIP equipment, characterizes the call center market's adoption of IP as an incremental transition. Contact centers "haven't been the leading adopters of [VoIP], mainly because they're so well served by the legacy PBX vendors," he says. …

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