Following their quiet announcement we had covered just a few short weeks ago, Vonage is once again introducing new innovations and technologies into their already impressive product portfolio. This time, instead of launching an entirely new product or platform, Vonage is expanding their existing solutions with two new API powered functionalities for not only their own, but any cloud-based Contact Center Solution.Vonage has just announced the introduction of both skills-based communications routing as well as real-time sentiment analysis to transform the way in which organizations optimize their customer experience. Delivered through the Nexmo Partner program for Vonage's API platform, these integrations are of course available for Vonage customers, and are also available to end-users of other independent contact center solutions, enabling Vonage to offer their services to entirely new clients.
Advanced Contact Center Capabilities
Now, Vonage already offers their own Contact Center solution, complete with omnichannel support. So, what's really interesting to see here is that Vonage isn't just adding in new features to their existing solution, but instead has introduced two new powerful APIs that are available to not only Vonage customers, but should work with just about any existing Contact Center solution, according to the announcement.
So, what exactly is Vonage adding into their portfolio? Well, lets break down these APIs a bit to get a better understanding of exactly what's new here. In their announcement, Vonage introduced to specific functionalities:
- Skills-based Routing
- Real-Time Sentiment Analysis
On the surface, Skills-Based Routing doesn't necessarily sound like anything new, it’s a feature common to many, if not all, contact center solutions. Supervisors can setup call routing to select the correct agent with appropriate skills for the specific call. For example, if a caller has a technical issue, then an agent with technical experience will be selected for the inquiry. However, what's unique is that Vonage is delivering this functionality as what they call a "building block." We'll expand on that new concept further in just a bit.
But beyond skills-based routing, Vonage also introduced Real-Time Sentiment Analysis, which is definitely a bit less common among existing solutions. The idea here is that real-time analytics will be provided to both agents and supervisors, reporting on the temperature and emotion of both the caller and even the agent handling the inquiry.
The intersection of these two technologies is where things really get interesting. Skills-based routing can be used along with real-time sentiment analysis to help select the best agent for the call. For example, if a customer needs technical help, AND that customer is frustrated, this emotion can be interpreted by the system, and select an agent that not only has technical experience but is best equipped to handle irate and upset callers, providing the best experience possible for that customer.
The Building Blocks of a Contact Center
What's really interesting, beyond these new capabilities, is how Vonage is going about delivering these capabilities. Like I said, instead of just including these functionalities as standard features for their Contact Center solution, Vonage is doing things a bit differently. Vonage is labeling these new APIs as "Building Blocks," which are being developed as part of the provider's Nexmo Partner Program, for Vonage's API Platform.
Now that's a bit of a mouthful, but essentially what it means is that these new functions are being offered as stand-alone APIs, building blocks if you will, for users to customize and create their own unique contact center solutions, as opposed to purchasing a pre-established platform, and paying for features that aren't truly necessary. What's also interesting is that it seems as if these building blocks, at least the Real-Time Sentiment Analysis, will be available to use for any contact center solution, not just Vonage's.
"Our new skills-based routing and real-time sentiment analysis offerings represent a brand new way for the industry to think about building an intelligent contact center — one that reflects the unique requirements of individual businesses," said Omar Javaid, Chief Product Officer for Vonage. "Vonage is redefining the contact center industry by providing businesses with building blocks to implement intelligent routing technology and the flexibility to determine where and how that routing is set up to deliver better business outcomes to their own customers."
So, Vonage is looking to shift the paradigm a bit here, and innovate on the way contact centers are purchased, delivered and even configured. This is a really interesting move to see come from Vonage, one that should hopefully put them even further on the map, especially when it comes to Contact Center functionality.
The Bottom Line
This certainly is an interesting move coming from Vonage, a name that isn't necessarily the first you think of when it comes to Contact Center solutions. Their offering has always been competitive with other options in the market but didn't exactly stand out as a truly unique platform. However, with these new building blocks, specifically with Sentiment Analysis, Vonage is beginning to push their solution even further with new innovations.
What's also interesting is the way they are going about delivering these solutions, as I discussed above. By offering these features as building-blocks for different contact center solutions, Vonage is able to spread their influence even further, offering something for entirely new customers. Overall, these solutions are all about delivering the best customer experience possible, which is probably the most critical current trend in the contact center industry.