Published: June 2019
The Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise (UCCE) solution helps enterprise customers provide a connected, digital contact center experience for their customers. The most recent release of UCCE includes more feature-rich application programming interfaces (APIs) that help eliminate the technical barriers that can stifle innovation and undermine businesses’ ability to develop new integrations and capabilities. The APIs also make integration between UCCE and third-party systems much easier than before.The Cisco Unified Customer Voice Portal (CVP) component of UCCE now includes a REST API element so that UCCE can connect the voice channel to other applications. The Cisco SocialMiner component of UCCE also supports REST API, allowing any other service to connect to UCCE via the API.Cisco IT is developing various UCCE integrations using the CVP and SocialMiner REST API to address specific business challenges. “Without using the standard API that UCCE offers, these integrations likely would require twice the amount of time to develop — and may not even have been possible in some cases,” says Mary Mazon, Cisco IT manager.
The Cisco product support group is currently developing a chatbot system to provide their customers with a better way to manage product support inquiries. The new system will also help reduce the amount of call volume to the support center by offloading some product support inquiries to the chatbot system. One technical challenge the group faces is the ability to provide a seamless callback experience for customers while they are in a chat session for support on the Cisco website. Currently, the chatbot system cannot connect customers directly to support personnel for a voice conversation. Instead, customers must locate a phone number on Cisco.com and then call the support center. The product support group reached out to Cisco IT for help in creating a less-disjointed user experience. Cisco IT’s solution for that issue is an integration of the chatbot system with the web callback system via the API, as shown in Figure 1.
Cisco IT currently has an existing web callback system that is used by some groups within Cisco, such as internal support and sales support. The UCCE solution’s SocialMiner REST API powers that system. By exposing the same API to the chatbot system, the existing web callback system can be reused to address the Cisco product support group’s integration challenge. Once this feature is enabled, customers will be able to escalate an existing chatbot engagement into a voice conversation with product support personnel.Cisco IT is now using the REST API to create other new contact center features. One example is the queue callback feature, which allows customers to opt-in to receive a callback instead of waiting in the voice queue, listening to music on hold. The traditional way to implement this feature requires complex scripting development at the voice gateway level. That approach does not scale well in large enterprise environments, especially for internal callers seeking technical support. The CVP REST API element allows for reuse of the existing web callback system to provide this feature. Figure 1 also depicts this high-level integration.
Cisco IT, in addition to pursuing large-scale deployment of the two integration use cases described above, is looking at other ways to extend the Cisco UCCE product capability using similar architecture. One initiative already underway is the integration of UCCE with Google AI to provide agent assistance functionality. This functionality will automatically provide an agent with articles and knowledge documents based on the agent’s conversation with the customer.
“With large enterprises, there is always a need to perform various integrations between different systems, Those requirements often can’t be addressed by the cloud contact center system. But through open API integration, any new or existing Cisco UCCE customer can achieve various, specific integrations required by the enterprise.”Shubo Jiang, Cisco IT architect.
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