Get Callers Off Hold With Avaya Innovations Award Winner Webtext

Avaya Tech Talk host Mark Fletcher interviews Guy Clinch, a member of the board of advisors of Webtext (An Avaya DevConnect company and two-time winner of the Avaya DevConnect Innovation Award), about how SMS text messaging is increasingly being used by businesses to reach more customers and to serve them in a more convenient and familiar way. Using techniques like Webtext Call Directed to Text,™ businesses get callers off hold, servicing them faster.

Companies derive business benefits by improving key performance indicators including reduced hold times, improved first call resolution and increased customer satisfaction. Webtext can turn any toll free or incoming telephone number into a text address, allowing customers easy access to the business. Guy and Mark discuss how Webtext makes it possible for call center agents to supplement voice calls by sending important information to callers via text during or after their interactions with callers.

Mark Fletcher: Hey it’s Fletch with the Avaya Podcast Network and welcome to Avaya Tech Talk. Today, my guest is Guy Clinch. Now you may remember Guy from his time here at Avaya. Today, as an independent consultant, Guy works with technology companies helping to bridge the gaps between organizations. We’re going to be talking about one of Guy’s clients: Webtext. Webtext is an Avaya DevConnect technology partner and they are also a two-time winner of the Avaya Innovation Award. Guy is also a member of the Webtext advisory board. Guy, welcome back into the APN studios.

Guy Clinch: Hi Mark, it’s great to be back with you on Avaya Tech Talk!

Mark Fletcher: I understand since leaving Avaya you’ve been working as an independent consultant.

Guy Clinch: Yes, thanks. I have started a business working with companies that offer innovative technology solutions that complement and enhance the solutions from larger companies, including Avaya. I use my years of experience working inside large organizations to help these up-and-coming companies better leverage the investments they make toward working with the bigger players. I help create relationships, suggest strategies, help with business development, marketing and sales. I’d like to talk to you today about one of my clients, Webtext.

Mark Fletcher: So I understand that Webtext offers a cloud-based text messaging service, and they’ve integrated with Avaya’s Customer Experience contact center platforms. Tell us a little bit about how that works.

Guy Clinch: The goal of Webtext is to help companies use integrated messaging technologies to better serve their customers. They have worked closely with Avaya product teams over a number of years and created seamless integrations of their cloud-based SMS texting service across the Avaya Customer Experience platforms.

For example, Avaya customers who use Avaya Aura® Call Center Elite can make it possible for their call center agents to communicate with their customers using SMS text messaging. Webtext will text-enable the Avaya customer’s toll-free and main listed numbers.

Their ultimate customers can then send and receive text messages to and from those numbers. The call center agents can use desktop tools to respond–such as an Internet web browser–to interact with the external customer.

The same is true for Avaya customers who use Elite Multichannel, Avaya Aura Contact Center and Avaya Interaction Center.

They can gain additional benefits, including the ability for a contact center agent–while on a call with a customer–to supplement the call by sending information to a caller’s SMS-capable device. In this way, a person being served by a contact center agent doesn’t need to find a pen and something to write on in order to get those important pieces of information.

And it’s better for the contact center’s performance metrics. When they lose that piece of paper, they don’t have to call, because they’ve got that information in their phone.

Mark Fletcher: Well that’s kind of cool, how exactly does that work?

Guy Clinch: I can tell you how this works, but instead, let me give you a demonstration.

Please listen as I dial Webtext’s toll-free number from my cell phone. Maybe I’ll be answered immediately, but most likely I’ll have to wait in queue to reach an agent.

Think about this: Rather than wait on hold, what if I am offered the option to immediately receive a text message giving me the ability to get my answers by text. I can be released from on hold and get what I need.

Listen closely now and hear how it works.

    Thank you for calling the Acme Corporation. Please choose from the following options.

  • To check your balance, Press 1;
  • To make a payment, Press 2; or
  • To speak to an agent, Press 3.

Guy Clinch: I’m pressing three to speak to an agent.

₰ Music ₰

Your estimated wait time to speak to an agent is approximately 17 minutes.

I see that you are calling from a mobile phone. Press one if you would like to interact immediately with an agent using text messaging. Otherwise, continue to hold.

₰ Tone ₰

Thank you. We have sent a text message to the phone you are calling from. Please reply to this text message to begin chatting with one of our agents.

Guy Clinch: Okay, do what you just heard was: First, the system checked to see that I had called from a cell phone. After all, there’s no sense in making the offer if the person is calling from a landline. If I was on a landline, no offer would be made.

Second, once the system determined I could receive a text, a message was played that offered me the option to get off hold and communicate with an agent via text.

Third, when I signaled, “Yes I don’t need to stay on hold and would like to be served via text messages,“ I immediately received a text message that said, “How can we help?”

Finally, the system disconnected the call and registered the transaction with a resolution code favorable to the call center’s key performance indicators.

I’m happy because I got off hold and I got my answers in a familiar and efficient way.

The call center manager is happy because her hold times were reduced and I don’t need to call back later.

Mark Fletcher: OK, that makes sense, but what about those customers who already have a multimedia platform? They’ve made the investments for their contact centers, how do they take advantage of Webtext’s services?

Guy Clinch: In most cases, for existing Avaya customers, little or no additional software is needed. When designing the integrations to the Avaya products, Webtext considered the various options for where is the best place to “plug in.” They found that the most compatible way to manage SMS messages is by using the tools that many organizations already have, Web chat.

For an existing Avaya customer who is using the Web chat capabilities of Elite Multichannel, Avaya Aura Contact Center or Avaya Interaction Center, WebText is a simple addition that doesn’t require any additional software. Technicians simply configure the Avaya product as to where to look in Webtext cloud service for the secure web services.

If a customer is not using Web chat, the ability to reach nearly 8 billion SMS capable devices encourages them to take another look at the business case for adding Web chat capabilities to their excising investments. SMS is a game changer and it’s time for companies to think about the value they can receive by being able to use SMS as a tool.

And there’s one more thing. Maybe you’re not using Web chat in the Avaya platforms. Maybe you have some other Web chat platform already in service; no problem. Webtext has integrations with the most common Web chat platforms on the market. As long as there is an API, Webtext can most likely make it work.

Mark Fletcher: You mentioned the ability to text-enable any toll-free number. How does that work?

Guy Clinch: This is a really important new innovation. Without any changes or disruption to the voice service, Webtext can notify the mobile networks that any Direct Inward Dial number or toll-free number can receive text messages. This process takes a few short minutes, and once accomplished, any text messages that are being sent to those numbers can be directed into the owning company’s call center agents. This allows text messages to be managed just like any other type of contact with your customers.

Mark Fletcher: I heard an interesting anecdote that companies that have text-enabled their toll-free numbers almost immediately begin receiving text messages even without having advertised that their toll-free number is text-enabled. How do you explain that?

Guy Clinch: It’s interesting that there are now several generations of people who have grown up with SMS. For them, it doesn’t occur that there were numbers that, until recently, could not send and receive text messages. Your customers are already trying to reach you by text.

They are trying to buy your products and obtain your services via SMS. If you haven’t text-enabled your toll free numbers and made it possible for your call center agents to communicate with your customers using SMS, you are missing valuable contacts with your customers and giving up advantage to your text-enabled competitors.

Mark Fletcher: Well, we’re about to wrap up here, is there anything you’d like to leave with our audience?

Guy Clinch: Webtext is all about helping businesses to benefit by using cloud-based integrated messaging.

As one of the first companies to specialize in text-enabling contact centers, they have built considerable expertise, which they can share with customers to ensure you and your customers get the most out of this communication ubiquitous channel.

They’ve developed a group of technical solutions to help customers better manage call volumes and improve upon your key performance indicators.

Providing network access is a key enabler for setting up SMS. Webtext will take all the worry, the work and the delay out of this for you.

They will provide all the staff training and on-going support that you need.

Mark Fletcher: We’ve been speaking with Guy Clinch, an independent consultant who works with technology companies helping to bridge the gaps between organizations about one of Guy’s clients: Webtext. You’ve been listening to Avaya Tech Talk on APN, the Avaya Podcast Network.