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Avaya Aura Contact Center Software Review


The CRM Contact Center Software Suite

Avaya Aura Contact Center, Avaya Aura Call Center Elite and Avaya Interaction Center are Avaya's primary contact center software management products. Avaya's contact center software products focus on call center and contact center software automaton however are often not considered in the broader CRM software category as they do not include the core CRM software tenants of sales force automation (SFA) and marketing automation. However, Avaya contact center software applications are designed to integrate well with most popular CRM products. Avaya also offers some marketing management via products such as Proactive Outreach Manager, an automated outbound campaign management feature, and Avaya Proactive Contact, a platform for the creation and management of outbound campaigns and customer communications. Many contact centers will find this level of marketing campaigns sufficient, while others will prefer the more advanced marketing automation and lead management software generally available with more traditional CRM systems.

This call center software review focuses largely on Avaya Aura Contact Center (AACC) and examines what are often the more salient components reviewed in a CRM software selection project for contact centers.

Case Management

Avaya Aura Contact Center tracks current and past interactions with a customer to give the agent contextual information about the customer's history, preferences and needs. A universal queue manages multiple channels and interaction types and the unified agent desktop is logically structured and well designed to allow agents to manage multiple simultaneous customer interactions over more than one channel. The agent desktop also provides quick access to key features such as the email editor, auto suggested responses, web push, outbound dialing, and context sensitive call management capabilities. Contact Center allows the customer to make contact through voice, email or instant messaging and permits the agent to interact or route customer communications over multiple channels without losing context or incurring interruption.

The Avaya Aura Offsite Agent is a software add-on that enables agents to use their home phone or mobile phone to accept customer interactions—a helpful feature for call centers seeking to leverage at-home agents. We also liked the UC desktop integration with the Avaya Aura Session Manager which shares customer interactions on the agent desktop with expert/buddy lists for additional on-demand collaboration or consultation using presence and instant messaging (IM), and ultimately helping to improve customer interaction responses and first contact resolutions.

Avaya Aura Call Center Elite is Avaya's call routing application. This Contact Center software can intelligently route up to six simultaneous multimedia contacts—including voice, IM, Web Chat, email, SMS text, voice mail, fax, scanned documents, and social media—through an open queue to the most appropriate resource through the unified agent interface. It has a particular strength for conditional call routing based on user selected, context-based inputs. Managers can choose whether inbound calls connect with the least busy agent, the first available agent or the one with skills that best match the customer's needs. Call Center Elite offers several levels of configuration to ensure that customers get connected to the right department in the right location. This system is only for sorting calls and may be too limited by itself for companies that want more features or integration with other channels.

Avaya Interaction Center software suite provides contact center control across voice, video, web chat, IP telephony and email. This suite is designed to keep up with customer data, maintain business rules, and comply with Service Level Agreements. Although Avaya contact center software products are multi-channel, its probably not a surprise that Avaya's core offering is telephony related. Although telephone support is giving way to a variety of other online channels for customer support, it remains the most expensive interaction channel, the go-to channel for escalations and the channel that rates highest for customer satisfaction. While self-service, online communities and other less resource intensive channels create opportunities to deflect call center volume and reduce the cost of customer service, surveys continue to show that most customers still want costly live-agent support.

Knowledge Management and Self Service

Although Avaya's software is compatible with many CRM software products that may offer a form of knowledge management, it does not provide its own knowledge management solution. Companies looking for a single contact center solution where customers can find answers for themselves in online communities, peer to peer based forums, searchable FAQs and the like will need to seek out a third party product and integration approach.

Avaya offers Call Back Assistant so customers can choose to have an agent return their call if no one is immediately available. When customers choose a call back, they are prompted to record a message with their information and the reason for their call. This reduces overall wait times and improves the customer service experience.

Avaya Aura Experience Portal can be used as an IVR front end to the Avaya Aura Contact Center. The Experience Portal is a software solution that enables intelligent agent selection with segmentation and offers advanced wait treatments. Experience Portal gathers information about the calls and callers and using the underlying ACE framework, is able to extract data from other information systems such as CRM and ERP applications. Experience Portal then parses the data in order to present it to an agent in a usable form. Agents are also presented a list of experts associated with the interaction topic of the call when the data is delivered. Orchestration Designer, a workflow tool included with Experience Portal, helps define, integrate and automate these processes.

The release of Avaya Aura Contact Center 6.2 enhanced self-service options by further improving the use of contextual information, for example by replacing static dialogs with dynamic dialogs that deliver more precise and real-time information about the customer or their incident. Similarly, using an open, universal queue for customer interactions across media and channels permits a warmer hand-off between self-service and agent-assisted interactions. Avaya's software is becoming recognized for its contextual persistence.

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