Cisco Unified Contact Center Express 9.0 Data Sheet
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Updated:January 25, 2015
® Unified Contact Center Express meets the needs of midmarket and enterprise branch offices or companies that need easy-to-deploy, easy-to-use, secure, virtual, highly available, and sophisticated customer interaction management for up to 400 agents. Cisco Unified Contact Center Express support for powerful, agent-based service as well as fully integrated self-service applications results in reduced business costs and improved customer response by providing sophisticated and distributed automatic call distributor (ACD), interactive voice response (IVR), computer telephony integration (CTI), and agent and desktop services while offering the flexibility to scale to larger, more demanding environments. Cisco Unified Contact Center Express helps ensure your business rules for inbound and outbound voice, email, and web chat; and customer interaction management helps ensure that each contact is delivered to the right agent the first time.
To help companies provide efficient, effective, customer-focused service in the contact center, supervisors must have the tools they need to manage team performance. Cisco Unified Workforce Optimization for Cisco Unified Contact Center Express helps supervisors and other managers align contact center performance with business objectives by integrating workforce optimization into the team's daily workflow. Cisco Unified Contact Center Express is provided in three packages: Standard, Enhanced, and Premium, to better match product functions with your customer contact interaction management requirements. All Cisco Unified Contact Center Express products are tightly integrated with Cisco Unified Communications Manager.
This document applies only to Cisco Unified Contact Center Express 9.0 and later.
Features and Benefits
Maximum ROI for contact centers is provided when your company's business rules can influence the behavior of the contact center. The routing capabilities of Cisco Unified Contact Center Express facilitate categorization and prioritization of customer contacts in a way that best meets your business requirements to help ensure that each contact is routed to the right agent at the right location the first time to maximize resolution on the first call. Cisco Unified Contact Center Express routing supports a wide range of routing logic that can accurately target and selectively route different classes of contacts, or even single out individual contacts for customized, prioritized routing treatment.
Cisco Unified Contact Center Express offers call-routing behaviors based on conditional events, such as time of day, day of week, or holiday routing, as well as the ability to specify service levels, move contacts between agent groups, and reprioritize contacts in the queue based on your business rules. With Cisco Unified Contact Center Express Premium, product integration with your enterprise's customer database can help ensure that the optimal routing decisions are made. In addition, the application can give agents extensive information on a per-contact basis through a customer-relationship-management (CRM) or other application screen pop.
Customers are turning to company websites to locate information about products and services, to seek support, and to conduct transactions. In addition, customers are seeking alternative ways, such as email, to contact customer support centers, and the volume of incoming email interactions to contact centers is growing. Cisco Unified Contact Center Express offers the Agent E-Mail feature for email management.
Agent E-Mail is a basic email queuing and response system, designed specifically for Cisco Agent Desktop for the Cisco Unified Contact Center Express platform. Agent E-Mail is a zero-footprint feature that is tightly integrated into the agent desktop embedded browser, with controls built into the toolbar and display. It enables contact centers to queue and route email messages to staff and skilled agents, helping balance email and call-handling activities. Additionally, you can configure the response process to include review of less experienced agents replies by experienced agents before their responses are delivered to customers.
Web chat, which is available with Premium licenses, provides entry-level features for managing customer interaction through the company website. Integrated into the agent desktop, web chat requires integration with a Cisco SocialMiner
™ server deployed in a demilitarized zone (DMZ). Supervisors can blend voice and chat operations with the ability to allocate or not allocate chat contacts while an agent is on a voice call. Two routing algorithms are offered - most skilled agent and most idle agent. Transcripts of chat sessions can be retained and retrieved. Historical and real-time reports that are specific to web chat are available. A tool for creating sample code for the customer website form is also included.
Workforce Management, Call Recording, and Quality Management
Cisco Unified Workforce Optimization integrated with Cisco Unified Contact Center Express helps supervisors and other managers align contact center performance with business objectives by integrating workforce optimization within the team's daily workflow - combining agent and supervisor desktop tools with workforce optimization software to unify the entire customer interaction process.
Directly integrated with Cisco Supervisor Desktop, Cisco Unified Workforce Optimization unifies the tactical tools that supervisors need to optimize team performance: Cisco Unified Workforce Optimization Workforce Management, Quality Management, and Call Recording software. The Workforce Management component allows contact center managers to develop schedules for multiple sites, manage critical performance indicators, and manage real-time adherence to schedules. The Quality Management software provides a recording and quality evaluation solution, with optional, advanced features such as screen recording for agent performance optimization. Call Recording enables simplified call recording based on business rules, 100-percent recording, or on-demand recording through an application programming interface (API). Agents and supervisors also can search for and replay recordings to verify compliance or resolve disputes.
The Cisco Outbound Option complements the powerful inbound call-handling capability of the Cisco Unified Contact Center Express platform by offering blended preview outbound dialing and outbound IVR capabilities. You can build campaigns to use preview dialing that is integrated with inbound calls to provide a blended inbound/outbound solution. These blended functions let agents serve both inbound calls and outbound campaign tasks when the inbound queue is empty, allowing for the most efficient use of agent resources for both inbound calls and outbound campaigns.
In addition to blended preview outbound dialing, Cisco Unified Contact Center Express also includes outbound IVR capabilities designed to deliver automated, IVR-based outbound communications to customers. You can use outbound IVR for applications such as appointment reminders and emergency announcements. Outbound IVR also supports Call Progress Analysis (CPA) to automatically detect voice answer, answering machine, fax and modem, busy, and reorder tones.
Please note: Increasing the number of dialing-list records in the system will affect performance. The number of dialing-list records that are supported depends on multiple factors:
• Number of running campaigns
• System load
• Database space availability
• Data retention limit for historical reporting purposes
Although no upper limit is enforced by the software for the number of dialing-list records, a dialing-list size of 400,000 (including both active and inactive records) has been validated and this limit can be considered supported.
Next-Generation Web 2.0 Reporting
Cisco Unified Contact Center Express embeds the Cisco Unified Intelligence Center to provide historical reports and dashboards with flexible presentation options. You can use existing out-of-the-box reports to view historical reports. Both the Cisco Unified Intelligence Center and Historical Reporting clients are available for viewing historical reports, and you can switch between them as required. For more information, please refer to the Cisco Unified Intelligence Center data sheet:
Computer Telephony Integration
Cisco Unified Contact Center Express can integrate with any CRM or other application that can run on the agent's Microsoft Windows desktop. Integration is achieved by using a powerful real-time programmable CTI workflow engine that invokes keystroke-macro emulation to automate the transfer of caller-entered information, or by performing an external application action. Cisco Unified Contact Center Express provides powerful integration tools through support for custom Java classes and methods that can be invoked under real-time workflow control. These features facilitate the integration of Cisco Agent Desktop with other Windows and web-based applications with minimal software development.
In addition, Cisco Unified Contact Center Express Premium allows you to apply HTTP integration to provide integration and a screen pop with browser-based applications such as Salesforce.com running in the Cisco Agent Desktop embedded browser.
Finally, a Cisco Unified Contact Center Express third-party CTI protocol provides for deep integration with ACD and IVR subsystems for traditional custom CTI integrations.
IVR and Self-Service Capabilities and Benefits
Unlike many competitive products, Cisco Unified Contact Center Express does not require purchase of additional IVR services, but rather provides an integrated, ready-to-use IVR solution. Every package provides an IVR queue point, custom call treatment, arbitrarily deep voice menus, custom voice prompts, and the ability to process customer phone-keypad presses through dual-tone multifrequency (DTMF) processing to make routing decisions or to present a screen pop to the agent.
Cisco Unified Contact Center Express Premium adds the ability to have true, sophisticated, and fully automated self-service applications integrated with your agent-assisted contact interaction management. This critical feature enables significant cost reduction on a per-contact basis and provides significant flexibility in handling customer contacts.
Two, full self-service IVR ports are packaged at no additional charge with each Cisco Unified Contact Center Express Premium seat subject to the maximum ports limit per server class. In addition, support is provided for adding advanced self-service technologies such as Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR), Text to Speech (TTS), and VoiceXML. The application also supports real-time notification services through email and third-party fax or paging solutions, as well as the ability to invoke custom workflow processing (for example, web-based callback) through HTTP requests.
Cisco Agent Desktop and Cisco Unified Presence Integration
Integration of Cisco Agent Desktop with Cisco Unified Presence extends real-time collaboration into the broader enterprise by integrating the contact center desktop applications with Cisco Unified Presence. Through this integration, agents and supervisors can collaborate with relevant colleagues and subject-matter experts outside the contact center. For efficiency and convenience, the contact center defines the view to show only those colleagues who are appropriate for agents to access.
Both parties use familiar applications. Contact center personnel use the Cisco Agent Desktop and Cisco Supervisor Desktop, and subject-matter experts outside of the contact center use the Cisco Unified Personal Communicator or Cisco IP Phone Messenger. This feature helps agents connect with experts on the first try by knowing beforehand whether they are available and how they prefer to be reached.
Social Media Customer Care
Cisco SocialMiner software provides a social media customer care solution for Cisco Unified Contact Center Express that enables your company to proactively respond to customers and prospects communicating through public social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook or other public forum or blogging sites. Cisco SocialMiner software is available as a standalone option with Cisco Unified Contact Center Express. It must be deployed on a separate server, and agent entitlements are available with Cisco Unified Contact Center Express Premium licenses. By providing social media monitoring, queuing, and workflow to organize customer posts on social media networks and deliver them to your social media customer care team, your company can respond to customers in real time through the same social network they are using to communicate.
Cisco SocialMiner software searches multiple social networks to capture public customer postings - and then organizes, filters, and prioritizes these postings and presents them to your customer care team for response. Your customer service representatives could respond to a customer service problem or reach out to new customers looking for information about your products or services.
Cisco SocialMiner software combined with Cisco Unified Contact Center Express can help your company enhance customer service, improve customer loyalty, add new customers, and protect your brand.
Video and Cisco Unified Contact Center Express
Cisco Unified Contact Center Express can connect callers and agents through video in a couple of ways: through integration with Cisco TelePresence
® and Cisco Unified Video Advantage applications.
Using Cisco TelePresence conferencing in combination with Cisco Unified Contact Center Express, virtual agents can be connected to callers through the skills-based routing and integrated queuing of Cisco Unified Contact Center Express. When connected, the agent and customer appear in life size on video displays for a highly effective, face-to-face customer service interaction. This feature is ideal for applications in finance, such as branch-office experts, retail for high-end electronics sales, healthcare for remote consultations, and interpretive services, as well as for administrative services such as lobby personnel. It creates the intimacy of a one-on-one meeting and at the same time allows the agent to be in multiple places quickly and easily.
Also, agents and customers can add a level of intimacy to calls by employing video through the Cisco Unified Video Advantage camera. Each of the video-enabled endpoints can take advantage of video among all parties on the call, adding a level of connectedness between the parties that can lead to a more complete and better overall interaction between agents and customers.
Agent Capabilities and Benefits
Each Cisco Unified Contact Center Express seat provides optimal flexibility in your contact center by providing full licensing to use the seat as either an agent or a supervisor seat. Enhanced and Premium agent seats can be either PC- or Cisco Unified IP Phone-based agent stations. Standard seats provide a Cisco Unified IP Phone Agent IP Phone-based agent station. Each seat provides full licensing for Cisco Agent Desktop or Cisco Unified IP Phone Agent, Cisco Supervisor Desktop, Cisco Desktop Administrator, and Cisco Historical Reporting Client; for the Enhanced and Premium versions, Cisco Supervisor and Agent Desktop include on-demand recording in addition to full licensing. With the Enhanced and Premium versions, even if a PC failure occurs, an agent is fully licensed to continue working through the Cisco Unified IP Phone Agent.
Cisco Unified Contact Center Express keeps the agent in touch with every call through critical data and call-state information by providing the ability to present a screen pop to the agent for each call. Information presented to the agent includes customer-entered data as well as call-state information describing how long the call has been connected to the ACD, how long the call has been in queue, and how long the agent has been talking with the caller.
Cisco Agent Desktop gives agents tools to access information and respond rapidly to customer requests. Voice contact workflows, the enterprise data pane, and the integrated browser display (screen pop) show agents customer data as calls are presented, preventing redirection of calls and the necessity for customers to repeat information.
Task automation buttons and the personal phone directory allow agents to instantly activate frequently performed functions that shorten response time and automate after-call work to follow up on a customer inquiry. Collaboration tools such as chat and transfer of caller data help keep responses accurate.
Additionally, Cisco Agent Desktop offers the ability to provide workflows that process business rules based on critical call-state events, the ability to invoke any CRM or other application that can run on the agent's Microsoft Windows desktop, and the ability to display information in the form of a screen pop from the ACD or IVR subsystem to that application.
When the Premium Cisco Outbound Option with preview dialing is enabled, the Cisco Agent Desktop provides all the controls necessary for agents to participate in outbound campaigns. The Premium Outbound option enables either dedicated outbound or transparent blended inbound and outbound call handling for agents.
The ability of Cisco Supervisor Desktop to monitor critical performance metrics and actively chat, monitor, record, and send team messages allows managers to coach, train, and encourage agent behavior so that agents consistently perform their job functions and process calls efficiently. The ability to send agents scrolling team messages and chat with individual members or the entire team allows supervisors to coach agents, resolve problems, and instantly communicate business changes. Supervisors can coach agents unobtrusively on cross-sell and up-sell opportunities and help agents resolve customer situations.
Within the supervisor desktop, contact center managers can see team performance, agent statistics, and status at a glance by using easy-to-navigate tabbed pages and graphical reports. To coach agents, they can silently monitor calls and offer encouragement using chat. They can also initiate call recording for later review and training.
Supervisors can interrupt an agent's call to create a three-way conference, and then interact with both the caller and the agent to help resolve a concern. A supervisor can remove the agent from a call using the Intercept feature, allowing the supervisor and caller to complete the call on their own while the agent handles another customer request.
Supervisors can change an agent's state from their desktops. For example, agents may forget to make themselves available to take calls after a break or neglect to log out when they are away from their workstations for an extended period. With Cisco Supervisor Desktop, supervisors can easily log out missing agents or make unintentionally idle agents ready to take calls. This function is critical to highly distributed contact center deployments. Supervisors can also change an agent's skill profile in real time. This capability gives supervisors tactical tools to manage their agent teams and support contact center management objectives.
For mobile supervisors or supervisors who want to be more in tune with their team in the contact center, there is Cisco Mobile Supervisor, which allows supervisors to remain connected to real-time reporting information and monitor their teams from their mobile devices. Supervisors can view a subset of Cisco Supervisor Desktop reports, including a list of queues belonging to a selected team, the queue summary report for a selected queue, and agents belonging to a selected team or a queue, along with their current agent state. If a problem arises, the supervisor is connected, sees the problem, and can communicate with the team to adjust resources appropriately to meet or exceed customer satisfaction requirements.
Mobile skill manager, available for Android-based devices and the Apple iPhone and iPad, allows a supervisor to add skills, delete skills, assign or modify skills for an agent, and modify competencies for an agent.
Cisco Agent Desktop Browser Edition for Enhanced and Premium Versions
The Cisco Agent Desktop Browser Edition executes as a thin client from within a commercial web browser, making it easy to deploy and maintain. The Cisco Agent Desktop Browser Edition also includes an agent toolbar, contact data, enterprise data, and agent status information, making it an ideal solution in thin-client applications.
The Cisco Unified Contact Center Express web-based administration provides a run-anywhere, enterprisewide point of control for single- or multisite contact centers. Cisco Unified Contact Center Express transparently integrates information from Cisco Unified Communications Manager and integrates with the Cisco Unified Communications Manager web-based administration to provide cross access and a common interface. Cisco Unified Contact Center Express Administration allows a wide range of real-time reporting statistics across all activity within the contact center, regardless of agent or supervisor location and for all calls in process. In addition, supervisors can use administrative capabilities to dynamically re-skill agents.
The Cisco Unified Contact Center Express solution provides the real-time and historical data necessary for mission-critical contact center reporting. Real-time reports are provided at the supervisor level (integrated with the Cisco Supervisor Desktop) on a per-agent or per-team basis and also at the administration level, across the entire contact center.
The reporting function provides accurate and timely reports on contact center activity, helping managers make informed decisions regarding staffing levels, contact-handling procedures, and technology investments. Standard reporting templates provide automatically operational functions for common reporting needs. Custom reports can extend the standard reporting package to meet specific reporting needs. Furthermore, the open software architecture of Cisco Unified Contact Center Express allows for export of reporting data in a variety of formats.
When Cisco Unified Contact Center Express is deployed with high availability, all servers are members of the Cisco Unified Contact Center Express cluster and can be viewed, monitored, and taken in and out of service. Using open Internet standards and the inherent capabilities of Cisco devices, Cisco Unified Communications Management Suite helps network managers oversee their converged networks while maintaining confidence that their IP telephony environments, including Cisco Unified Contact Center Express, are performing as expected.
Cisco Unified Communications Management Suite provides real-time, detailed fault analysis designed specifically for Cisco devices in the IP telephony environment. This focus on Cisco devices facilitates monitoring of Cisco IP Telephony technology-based networks for a variety of fault conditions, analysis of these conditions, and notification of network managers through intelligent traps that detail the problem that has occurred. Functions supporting Cisco Unified Contact Center Express include server discovery, health statistics, subsystem process checks, application run-time status, and other critical network management capabilities.
System Capabilities and Benefits
Cisco Unified Contact Center Express software takes full advantage of industry-standard hardware platforms, giving you the benefits of many software functions at a modest hardware cost. The open architecture of the system, which includes an Open Database Connectivity (ODBC)-compliant database as well as Java interfaces for CTI applications, can integrate with existing contact center solutions, preserving investments in traditional systems and providing a platform for future applications.
Redundant High Availability
Cisco Unified Contact Center Express offers high-availability redundancy for dual server cluster deployments, including support for automatic failover of inbound voice ACD, IVR, and desktop services, as well as database replication and failover and load-balanced redundancy for historical reporting and on-demand recording.
Cisco Unified Contact Center Express 9.0 supports high availability over the WAN (HAoWAN). It also supports switching between Cisco Unified Contact Center Express 9.0 HAoWAN and high availability over the LAN (HAoLAN).
Note: Cisco Unified Contact Center Express 8.0 and later releases no longer support cold standby.
You can deploy Cisco Unified Contact Center Express 9.0 exclusively in an appliance model on Linux-based operating systems. The appliance model is a secure, resilient, and robust model that is less complex and provides for faster installs, easier upgrades, and less-frequent patching.
Remote deployment, operation, and support reduce the need for onsite support, potentially shortening maintenance cycles and reducing overall downtime. For example, through a command-line interface (CLI) to the server, you can perform upgrades to the inactive partition at the customer's convenience and switch to active mode quickly and easily when the updates are complete. This process can reduce overall downtime for upgrades by 50 percent or more - lowering the overall TCO for a Cisco Unified Contact Center Express solution.
Integrated Service-Creation Environments
The Cisco Unified Contact Center Express Workflow Editor is the service-creation and scripting environment for mapping business rules to call-flow behavior and call treatments. It can operate from any location on the enterprise WAN, and workflows can be uploaded and run on the Cisco Unified Contact Center Express server. This environment is a visual editor that provides a simple, drag-and-drop, easy-to-understand interface for building powerful, custom, business-communication applications.
Cisco Unified Contact Center Express can provide a contact-center-in-a-box for inbound and outbound voice on a single server for 1 to 400 agents. Dual server clusters provide a redundant, high-availability option across a virtual contact center. Cisco Unified Contact Center Express supports a Cisco Customer Interaction Network based on the Cisco Unified Intelligent Contact Management and Cisco IP Contact Center (IPCC) Peripheral Gateway, enabling prerouting, postrouting, and centralized reporting for multiple Cisco Unified Contact Center Express systems across a Cisco Unified Communications WAN.
To help maintain network security in the contact center and throughout the enterprise, Cisco Unified Contact Center Express supports Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux), which replaces Cisco Security Agent. SELinux is an integrated Linux OS feature that provides access-control policies for a secure system.
Cisco Unified Contact Center Express can be deployed as an application on a virtual machine on the VMware platform running on the Cisco Unified Computing System
™ (Cisco UCS
®) hardware, allowing Cisco Unified Contact Center Express to be part of a virtualized deployment where multiple Cisco Unified Communications applications can be deployed on the same server. By consolidating servers, virtualization results in significant cost saving and reduction in TCO.
For more details about the hardware requirements, VMware requirements, supported VMware features, virtual machine sizing, and best practices for this deployment, please visit:
Cisco Unified Workforce Optimization
The Cisco Unified Workforce Optimization suite assists contact centers in efficiently managing their personnel to deliver consistent customer service that matches their business goals. The suite consists of the following components:
• Call Recording: This user license bundle enables either audio telephony recording by preconfigured workflows with up to 100-percent recording, or on-demand recording through the recording API. In addition, the Call Recording license provides the browser-based user interface to search for and replay recorded contacts within the scope of the user's defined role.
• Quality Management: This user licensing bundle includes all of the functions listed within the Call Recording bundle plus customized contact quality evaluation and reporting on aggregate quality scores for agents, teams, or groups.
• Advanced Quality Management: This user license bundle includes all of the functions listed within the Quality Management bundle plus synchronized agent screen recording.
• Workforce Management: This system efficiently manages contact center staff and resources to meet customer service-level objectives. The Workforce Management process includes forecasting contact volume based upon historical trends, and scheduling personnel based upon their work rules to help ensure that target service-level goals are achieved. Agent and supervisor dashboards are available for tracking schedules and managing service levels on an intra-day basis.
Note that Quality Management, Advanced Quality Management, and Workforce Management are available as options only with the Premium version of Cisco Unified Contact Center Express 9.0.
Cisco Unified Contact Center Express offers an integrated, full-featured solution for managing customer voice contacts while retaining all the benefits of fully converged Cisco Unified Communications deployment. Cisco Unified Contact Center Express delivers sophisticated call routing, management, and administration features for departmental, enterprise branch office, or small to medium-sized enterprise customer care needs.
Cisco Unified Contact Center Express offers ease of installation, configuration, and application hosting, as well as reduced business application integration complexity, ease of agent administration, increased agent flexibility, and network hosting efficiencies. With all these features, Cisco Unified Contact Center Express continues the evolution toward a true Customer Interaction Network.
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