SOURCE: Aberdeen Group

August 13, 2008 10:00 ET

Unified Communications: Lifeblood of the Contact Center

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - August 13, 2008) - In a unique, comprehensive research study of Unified Communications in the Contact Center, Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS), examines the business reasons for adoption of unified communications, the relationship between unified communications and customer satisfaction, customer retention and year-over-year change in customer satisfaction, and how Best-in-Class usage of unified communications have provided business, business process benefits and operational efficiencies. This report explains how Best-in-Class companies have implemented policies and procedures designed to manage expert agent interaction, business process workflow designed to optimize the business process, presence and other unified communications technologies to support the business process, and metrics designed to measure the performance, efficiency and effectiveness of contact center performance.

Data acquired from over 190 enterprises reveal a number of impactful data points, according to David Boulanger, Research Director, Customer Management Strategies at Aberdeen, one of the study's authors. Boulanger states, "Unified communications is as much about the business, finding the right business process to UC-enable, and finding the right return on investment for the right departments. A small number -- 23% -- have some form of unified communications implemented, but an astounding 50% of customers surveyed are or will be evaluating unified communications in the next eighteen months."

The report demonstrates a direct correlation between implementation of unified communications by Best-in-Class customers and the performance in three critical customer-facing performance measures: customer satisfaction, customer retention and year-over-year change in customer satisfaction.

End-user customer feedback has indicated that customers have already invested millions in existing telephony and VoIP technologies to support the contact center, and intelligent unified communications investment needs to complement and extend this existing investment. These same customers also demonstrate the high level of confusion as to exactly what unified communications is and what each of the software vendors label their collection of technologies.

And, as anecdotal customer conversation indicates, "Unified communications for the enterprise is not unified communications in the contact center: many customers today are confused between messaging or IM, for example, at a corporate level and specific unified communications technologies implemented in the contact center."

The required actions for companies seeking to gain the most benefit from their implementation of unified communications include a commitment to identify the right business processes to UC-enable, implement policies and procedures designed to maximize effectiveness and efficiency of these cross-departmental business processes, establish a contact center unified communications strategy and approach, and implement metrics to monitor and measure contact center performance.

A complimentary copy of this report is made available due in part to underwriters Aspect Software and Avaya. To obtain a complimentary copy, visit: http://www.aberdeen.com/link/sponsor.asp?cid=5132.

To access all of Aberdeen's complimentary research please visit http://research.aberdeen.com.

About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen is a leading provider of fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having benchmarked more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is uniquely positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen™ for insights that drive decisions.

As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement - Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen http://www.aberdeen.com or call (617) 723-7890, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748 or go to http://www.harte-hanks.com.

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