A new contact management layer ties together chats in different channels into a single experience, keeping track of each user and allowing them to switch between channels.
Vancouver-based Comm100 has reworked their customer engagement platform, with the launch of Comm100 X, its second-generation omnichannel platform. While their previous platform provided live chat, email, SMS, and social media channels, Comm100 X transitions from what had been a siloed multi-channel offering to an omnichannel approach through a single interface.
“We’ve been in the business for 10 years and until now it has been multi-channel,” said Jeff Epstein, Comm100’s VP of Marketing. “You could manage conversations, but they were siloed. There was no way to tie them together by contacts, meaning that you had no way of knowing if it’s the same person in different media. We have added a contact management layer that lets you connect all the ideas relating to the unique identity of an individual in any channel.”
This second generation of the platform’s omnichannel capability provides a unified thread across all channels, and the ability to route between channels.
“It also allows the rep to jump across channels if the customer asks,” Epstein said. “Our new contact management layer under the platform provides this capability. It’s like having a light CRM built into Comm100, so the next time someone comes in from the same ID, you will know who they are. That’s what gets you over the hump from multichannel to omnichannel. And while it’s not a CRM, it connects to core CRM systems and lets you update them.”
Epstein said that while Comm100 is not the first vendor to provide this 360 degree view of conversations, they have made theirs exceptionally easy to use. “We now join the ranks of much larger companies who claim to do that,” he said. “However, we layer in the automation with chatbots and automated conversations. Some of our competitors have chatbots built for live chat that you have to rebuild for social media. With ours, you can tick a box to make it work in SMS, or Facebook or any channel. You don’t need to rebuild or reconfigure the bot. Just tick a box. Some companies that are larger than us can’t do that.”
The extent of the changes from the first generation meant that this one is coming out about a year after it was originally planned.
“When it’s a complete rearchitecting of the underlying structure of the software, it can take longer to unravel and rebuild,” Epstein said. “We are a small company, with 50 to 60 developers. We had a number of releases scheduled to go out before the major overhaul that were delayed for a number of reasons. The actual technical changes is also new code, so we can get rid of spaghetti code which has been touched by many different dev teams. The market doesn’t really care about that. They care about stability and speed.”
“That code change was a factor in the delay as well,” said Matt Jinks, senior product marketing manager at Comm100.
Comm100 X has some other new capabilities as well.
“We have added a new channel, WhatsApp for Business,” Epstein indicated. “WhatsApp is a messaging platform that was bought by FaceBook, and it comes in two flavors – consumer and Business.”
Agent Shift Management is another new capability.
“Agent Shift Management lets managers assign departments and agents to shifts, so they get a pop-up message that a shift begins, and it logs you out at the end,” Epstein said. “That way, if the agent doesn’t log out, the system won’t think he is still there, and send him chats. This was inspired by a few larger customers who wanted to truly know who was available. It’s a very real problem for larger contact centres, and that’s why there are dedicated workforce management solutions. We don’t track hours like they do, but we let admins put settings in place for reminding to log in and logging out so system can manage based on who is available.”
“In addition, we used to have two separate tabs – one for emails and one for social and SMS – and they have been rolled into one tab and one single queue,” Jinks said.
Comm100 has also changed the way they execute SLAs with this release.
“As organizations get more sophisticated at taking calls, they need more sophisticated service to give better SLAs,” Epstein said. “We now trigger SLAs by channel as well as type of inquiry, so allow more granular prioritization of queries. This isn’t new to contact centre management, but it is new in Comm100.”
The new platform provides new integration opportunities for Comm100’s channel partners.
“We have various partners who have integrated their own or third-party solutions into the new omnichannel platform,” said Ty Rottare, Head of Global Channels at Comm100. “The routing enhancements also mean that partners who manage multiple clients can now route based on time zones for reps handling clients at different times.”
The Comm100 X platform doesn’t contain any new features specifically designed for the pandemic’s Work From Home situations, but Epstein said such capabilities have always been a part of the platform.
“We have always had the capability for customers to reach them from wherever it suits them, and the ability to unshackle the agent from the desk for ‘any time anywhere’ capabilities on a browser or a mobile app. They can pick up conversations while on their phone at lunch. We have always had those capabilities.”
Epstein said they are much more timely today, however.
“Our customers are able to pivot effortlessly for where they now have to work,” he said. “The State of Texas couldn’t route to home phones for security reasons, but they were able to move to a digital channel on us in about two days. That capability wasn’t new, but now the value rose to the top.”