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Updated:January 11, 2019
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Cisco Unified Contact Center Express Overview
® Unified Communications Solutions unify voice, video, data, and mobile applications on fixed and mobile networks, delivering a media-rich collaboration experience across business, government agency, and institutional workspaces. These applications use the network as the platform to enhance comparative advantage by accelerating decision time and reducing transaction time. The security, resilience, and scalability of the network enable users in any workspace to easily connect anywhere, anytime, and anyplace, using any media, device, or operating system. Cisco Unified Communications is part of a comprehensive solution that includes network infrastructure, security, wireless, management applications, lifecycle services, flexible deployment and outsourced management options, and third-party applications.
Cisco Unified Contact Center Express is designed to enhance customer contact interaction management by supporting a highly available virtual contact center with integrated self-service applications across multiple sites. It provides automatic call distributor (ACD), network-to-desktop computer telephony integration (CTI), interactive voice response (IVR), and multimedia contact management to contact center agents over an IP network. It meets the needs of departmental, enterprise branch, or small to medium-sized companies that need easy-to-deploy, easy-to-use, highly available, and sophisticated customer interaction management for up to 300 agents.
Cisco Unified Contact Center Express is ideal for informal call centers requiring features such as routing and agent screen pop; it can handle as few as a single agent or as many as 300 agents and 300 full-featured IVR ports*. Cisco Unified Contact Center Express is provided in three versions: Standard, Enhanced, and Premium to better match product functions with your customer contact interaction management requirements.
Following are details specific to Cisco Agent Desktop for Cisco Unified Contact Center Express. For complete Cisco Unified Contact Center Express product details, please visit:
Cisco Agent Desktop and Cisco Supervisor Desktop are powerful software solutions for the customer contact center. They give customer contact agents and supervisors Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA)-based tools to increase productivity, improve customer satisfaction, and reduce costs.
Cisco Agent Desktop is easily deployed as a transparently integrated component of Cisco Unified Contact Center Express.
For supervisors of agents, the Cisco Supervisor Desktop provides the management framework to monitor, coach, and train centralized or virtual teams:
• Manages contact center environment and process
• Displays snapshots of crucial customer contact center metrics in real time
• Monitors and records agent calls*
• Provides collaboration and intervention tools to help agents meet customer needs and call center objectives
For customer contact agents, the Cisco Agent Desktop provides a unified set of customer contact application tools in Windows-integrated deployments:
• Presents caller information in real time
• Allows one-click automation of routine operations using the task toolbar
• Provides performance reports that present snapshots of crucial metrics
• Offers integration to business applications, providing easy access to customer data
For managers or administrators, Cisco Desktop Administrator provides the ability to configure workflows and desktop settings, and integrate business applications in a packaged paradigm - with no programming required. Cisco Desktop Administrator:
• Allows effortless scaling of the Cisco Agent Desktop suite from single-site to multisite IP-based contact centers
• Offers an intuitive GUI, decreasing IT dependency and simplifying customization, maintenance, and change management
Cisco Unified Contact Center Express also offers the option to employ Cisco Unified IP Phone Agent using supported Cisco Unified IP Phone models. This option requires only a Cisco Unified IP Phone for the agent; no PC is required.
Cisco Agent Desktop for Cisco Unified Contact Center Express Enhanced and Premium Versions
Cisco Agent Desktop for Cisco Unified Contact Center Express Enhanced and Premium versions allows agents to perform customer interaction directly from their desktops using supported Cisco Unified IP Phones or the Cisco IP Communicator soft phone. Basic customer interaction functions include make/answer call, terminate call, hold call, transfer call, conference call, agent work state control (allowing changes to the status of an agent's availability), call status display, and agent status display (Figure 1). Customer information is presented to the agent through an enterprise data window and optional screen pops (Figure 2).
Figure 1. Basic Customer Interaction Functions of Cisco Agent Desktop
Cisco Agent Desktop gives agents a full-featured user interface for managing calls and their work state. Chat messaging between the agent and the supervisor or, if enabled, between agents, allows the agent to get timely information while assisting callers. "Reason" codes allow management to accurately track agent state (status) changes. Cisco Agent Desktop also supports the Cisco IP Communicator soft phone, allowing the agent's PC to act as the phone instrument. Cisco Agent Desktop is extremely flexible in presentation, requires minimal screen space, and is easily configured to meet varied and specific needs of the customer contact center. Standard features include:
• Call control: Agent soft phone can answer/drop, hold/unhold, conference, transfer calls using dashboard toolbar buttons.
• Agent ACD state control:
– Log in and log out
– Ready or not ready
– Reason codes for log out and not ready
• Agent or supervisor chat: Agents and supervisors can exchange messages one on one or in a conference with other agents.
• Phone directory: Displays phone book to automate dialing of an outgoing call.
• Real-time reporting: Agents can see their real-time statistics directly on their desktop application.
• Agent state log: Work state changes are logged with a time and date stamp to allow detailed tracking and troubleshooting of agent state transitions.
• Contact appearance: Displays data about the agent's current call status.
• Integrated browser (Figure 2): This feature provides a browser application within Cisco Agent Desktop to improve productivity in processing a customer request. The integrated browser can also be used in event triggered workflows to automate screen pop. This feature is only available with the Premium version of Cisco Agent Desktop.
Figure 2. Cisco Agent Desktop: Premium Version with Integrated Browser
• Screen pop options (available for most Windows or browser-based applications on an agent's desktop):
– Caller data: Cisco Agent Desktop displays caller data, including caller ID, Automatic Number Identification (ANI), Dialed Number Identification Service (DNIS), as well as queue time, talk time with thresholds, and administrator-defined variables.
– Caller-entered information: Workflow values.
• "Hot desking" and extension mobility support: This feature provides the flexibility for agents to sit at any available agent station while maintaining their unique settings.
• On-demand recording: This feature enables agents to record any call on demand.*
• Task automation: Using a single-click method, agents can execute frequently performed predefined actions, like creating an email, blind transfer to a specific extension, launching/login to another desktop application, etc.
• Event-triggered workflows: This feature enables a sequence of actions to automatically happen when a specific inbound call event occurs, like displaying a screen pop when a call is delivered to an agent, changing agent work states when the call is dropped, or starting call recording when a call is answered.
Cisco Unified IP Phone Agent For Cisco Unified Contact Center Express
The Cisco Unified IP Phone Agent (Figure 3) provides ACD functions on supported Cisco Unified IP Phones. Although the Cisco Unified IP Phone Agent is available for the Standard, Enhanced, and Premium bundles, for Cisco Unified Contact Center Express 5.0(2) this phone service is the sole agent interface for the Standard version. (Cisco Agent Desktop Software is not available in the Standard version.)
The Cisco Unified IP Phone Agent does not support all features of the Cisco Agent Desktop, but in many cases it eliminates the need for a Cisco Agent Desktop to be installed on the agent's PC.
Features of Cisco Unified IP Phone Agent for Cisco Unified Contact Center Express Standard include:
• Call control using the standard Cisco Unified IP phone capabilities
• Agent ACD state control:
– Log in and log out
– Ready or not ready
– Reason codes for log out and not ready
• Hot desking (extension mobility)
• Display of real-time statistics for number of calls in queue and longest call in queue
• Display of caller data
Cisco Unified IP Phone Agent for Cisco Unified Contact Center Express Enhanced includes all the features of Cisco Unified IP Phone Agent for Cisco Unified Contact Center Express Standard plus:
• Work wrap-up agent state: Agents can complete work from a previous call and, when finished, will be available to receive routed calls.
• Agent initiated recording: Agents can start and stop recordings of any call on demand.*
Figure 3. Cisco Unified IP Phone Agent
Cisco Supervisor Desktop for Cisco Unified Contact Center Express
Cisco Supervisor Desktop for Cisco Unified Contact Center Express allows supervisors to perform management and agent collaboration functions directly from their desktop; these functions include agent status, agent state control, silent monitoring, barge-in intercept, chat, team messaging, and record (Figure 4). The Cisco Supervisor Desktop gives the virtual contact manager an extensive list of tools to interactively collaborate with agent teams to efficiently manage and improve contact center performance metrics.
Through the Cisco Supervisor Desktop, the supervisor can view a display of agent states (login, logout, and ready), change agent states, and view call information. Monitoring features also allow the supervisor to silently monitor agent-client interaction, status, enterprise data, and call history, as well as recorded agent-customer conversations.
When intervention or assistance is necessary, the Cisco Supervisor Desktop also provides the means to silently communicate with agents through text chat and with the entire team through team messaging.
Cisco Supervisor Desktop for Cisco Unified Contact Center Express Standard includes the following features:
• Monitoring and collaboration with agents in real time: Improve performance and customer satisfaction through the use of advanced supervisor features:
– Agent monitoring: Supervisors can monitor agent state and agent phone status with caller data.
• Changing the agent state: Supervisors can change an agent from logged in to logged out or from ready to not ready
• Real-time display: Supervisors can view agent and skill-group statistics.
• Hot desking and extension mobility support: This feature gives organizations flexibility by allowing supervisors to sit at any available workplace while maintaining their unique settings.
Figure 4. Cisco Supervisor Desktop
Cisco Supervisor Desktop for Cisco Unified Contact Center Express Enhanced and Premium includes all the features of Cisco Supervisor Desktop for Cisco Unified Contact Center Express Standard plus:
• Silent monitoring: Supervisors can silently monitor agent and caller interaction.
• Barge in: Supervisors can join any call in progress.
• Call intercept: Supervisors can move any call from any agent to themselves.
• Recording: Supervisors can perform on demand recording and playback of agent calls*
• Chat: Supervisors can use instant messaging capability to coach to agents.
• Scrolling marquee team messages: Supervisors can send text messages to broadcast important news to all agents on their team.
Cisco Supervisor Desktop control of IP phone agents for Cisco Unified Contact Center Express Standard includes:
• Ability to change an agent from logged in to logged out or from not ready to ready
Cisco Supervisor Desktop control of IP phone agents for Cisco Unified Contact Center Express Premium and Enhanced also includes the following features:
• On-demand recording: This feature enables agents to record any call on demand*
• Monitoring of agent status, silent monitor, barge in, and intercept: Improve performance and customer satisfaction through the use of advanced supervisor features.
– Agent monitoring: Supervisors can monitor agent state and agent phone status with caller data.
– Silent monitoring: Supervisors can silently monitor agent and caller interaction.
– Barge in: Supervisors can join any call in progress.
– Call intercept: Supervisors can move any call from any agent to themselves.
Cisco Desktop Administrator
The Cisco Desktop Administrator allows system administrators to define and configure the behavior of agents' desktops and to configure workflow from a centralized location. Administrators can choose which controls are visible on the agent's toolbar, define unique icons for agent toolbar buttons, configure reason codes and phone directory, and customize the user interface of agent desktops. It also allows flexible configuration of Cisco Agent Desktop to meet various operational needs and maintain overall workflow automation efficiently and cost-effectively.
From the Cisco Desktop Administrator interface, system administrators can configure the automatic transition of agents to the next ACD state or set up automatic answering, reducing ring time and increasing agent efficiency. Keystroke macros allow administrators to easily set up routine actions that change applications and accelerate task completion, without software coding. Cisco Desktop Administrator also provides simplified administration for high-end functions, such as screen pops, task automation, reminder and utility actions, Web integration, and launch of external applications.
Cisco Agent Desktop Workflow and Enterprise Application Integration
Cisco Agent Desktop for Cisco Unified Contact Center Express Enhanced and Premium versions integrates easily with third-party applications without custom programming. This capability reduces call duration and allows agents to resolve a client inquiry in a single call. Events such as startup, shutdown, agent state change, ringing, answering, and hang-up can be used to trigger evaluation of workflow rules and initiate actions.
For example, consider the following workflow:
Step 1. A call is received by Cisco Unified Contact Center Express.
Step 2. Call data is collected and delivered to by Cisco Unified Contact Center Express to Cisco Agent Desktop.
Step 3. Cisco Agent Desktop uses call data to execute workflow action to retrieve customer specific record or data from customer-relationship-management (CRM) system and performs screen pop to display information to the agent prior to answering the call.
Integration actions include the following: Web integration (Premium only), launch external application, and run macro action as follows:
• Web integration action: Integration with applications accessible from a browser
– Call information is used as input to URL search strings for integrated browser screen pops.
• Launch external application action: Integration that starts custom or standard Windows applications on agent's PC and passes data to it
– Call information is passed to a third-party application for a screen pop.
– Call information is sent to a Visual Basic or other external application structured to write to a third-party database or other application.
• Keystroke macro action: Integration with applications on the agent's PC that automates the steps for repeatable, recurring actions between Cisco Agent Desktop and Windows rich-client applications
– A macro executes a word-processing application for recording call data and completing notes at the end of a call.
– A macro executes an e-mail application at the end of a call with standard sections of the e-mail message completed (the e-mail address, the subject, etc.)
Features of the Cisco Agent Desktop software packages differ in the three versions of Cisco Unified Contact Center Express to meet the price and performance needs of today's call centers (Table 1). Each Cisco Agent Desktop software package includes the full suite of applications: Cisco Agent Desktop, Cisco Unified IP Phone Agent, Cisco Supervisor Desktop, and Cisco Desktop Administrator.
Table 1. Feature Content for Cisco Agent Desktop Software Packages
Cisco Supervisor Desktop
Change agent state
Real-time skill and agent statistics, logs, and report displays
Silent monitor, barge in, and intercept
Calling and recording viewer (up to 32 simultaneous recordings/playbacks)*
Call recording and recording viewer (up to 80 simultaneous recordings/playbacks)*
Cisco Agent Desktop
Cisco IP Communicator support
Real-time agent report displays
Automated recording (as part of workflow)*
Cisco Unified IP Phone Agent
Caller data display
Queue status data
Work wrap up agent state
Agent initiated recording
Supervisor initiated barge-in, intercept, monitoring, and recording*
Cisco and its certified partners can help you deploy a secure, resilient Cisco Unified Communications solution, meeting aggressive deployment schedules and accelerating business advantage. Cisco's portfolio of services is based on proven methodologies for unifying voice, video, data, and mobile applications on fixed and mobile networks.
Cisco's unique lifecycle approach to services defines the requisite activities at each phase of the solution lifecycle. Customized planning and design services focus on creating a solution that meets your business needs. Award-winning technical support increases operational efficiency. Remote management services simplify day-to-day operations, and optimization services enhance solution performance as your business needs change.
Cisco Unified Contact Center Express offers an integrated, full-featured solution for managing customer voice contacts while retaining all the benefits of fully converged IP telephony deployment. Cisco Unified Contact Center Express meets the need for adjunct ACD as well as both formal and informal contact centers by delivering sophisticated call routing, management, and administration features for departmental, enterprise branch, or small to medium-sized enterprise customer-care needs. Three Cisco Unified Contact Center Express version options - Standard, Enhanced, and Premium - help ensure a better match of product functions with your customer contact interaction management requirements.
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.
Cisco Agent Desktop software suite provides agents, supervisors, and administrators with powerful tools to increase productivity and reduce costs in the contact center. Cisco Supervisor Desktop provides the management framework for monitoring, coaching, collaborating, and training centralized or virtual teams in performance metrics. Cisco Agent Desktop provides accurate information to agents' desktops for more efficient, personalized call handing. It can also reduce wait times and hold times and facilitate quicker call resolution, leading to enhanced customer experience and improved customer satisfaction. Transparent integration to Cisco Unified Contact Center Express allows companies to quickly and easily deploy CTI and desktop work flow functions at new locations as customer contact operations expand-continuing the evolution toward a true customer interaction network.
*The actual maximum number of simultaneous recording or silent monitoring sessions that can be deployed on a given hardware server depends on the performance and capacities of that server as well the number and type of other features also deployed on that server. Your Cisco or Cisco partner account team can assist you in determining the maximum number of simultaneous recording or silent monitoring sessions available for your deployment.