Since I last wrote about Upstream Works it has expanded its focus on contact center agent efficiency and effectiveness to include omnichannel customer experience. Each of its core products has undergone a number of developments. Its main product now is Upstream Works for Finesse, which it classifies as a smart agent desktop. This is a desktop application that enables users of contact center systems to access the information and systems they need to resolve interactions, as well as prompting the user with next best steps to complete the interaction efficiently and effectively. Upstream Works has a close working agreement with Cisco so the product is only available for users of the Cisco Finesse product.
Upstream Works for Finesse achieves these objectives through a number of capabilities. It provides an intuitive user interface that is the same no matter the type of interaction or the channel of engagement. The user’s workspace can be tailored to the type of interaction and be set up to navigate from one system to another depending on the interaction flow. The product provides various ways to connect with any type of system, whether it’s a business application or a technology system managing a specific communication channel. It can extract data from one system and deliver it to any other system integrated into the desktop, making it possible to access all customer information and connect multiple communication systems.
Combining systems enables users to connect different customer identifiers with a single customer, which in turns supports the production of customer journey maps. Some of this mapping is automated by connecting data across systems, while some requires manual input. The ability to extract data from multiple systems enables interactions to be personalized and placed in the context of previous interactions; for example, suppose that a customer began by searching the home page, engaged in a chat session and made a phone call, and then the customer and agent shared some Web pages. Upstream Works for Finesse thus improves the agent experience; providing information to personalize the interaction and provide consistent responses and information improves the customer experience. Overall interaction handling becomes more efficient and effective, thus helping to meet operational targets and produce desired business outcomes.
These capabilities are underpinned by a single set of management and reporting tools. The management tools include capabilities for all aspects of a contact center, from managing agents, teams, tasks and skills to setting up routing rules for all types of interactions. Its integration capabilities and internal data mart support reporting and analysis of all aspects of interactions handling, and its predictive analytics supports prompting of agents with information or the next best action.
A smart desktop is one of the six technologies I identified that organizations need in order to provide customers with easy-to-use, personalized, in-context and consistent experiences. This is especially true for companies that support multiple channels of engagement. Our benchmark research into next-generation customer engagement shows that the three issues organizations most often struggle with in this regard are integration of systems (49%), channels managed as silos (47%) and inconsistency of responses (33%). To overcome each of these a smart agent desktop is a pragmatic option. It doesn’t integrate systems per se but enables access to all systems and can pull and push data to as many systems as required. It also supports a common set of rules to route interactions and a common user interface to handle any type of interaction, and it has built-in rules and capabilities to present the same information regardless of the channel or the user.
I therefore recommend to all Cisco users who want to improve agent performance and customer experience that they evaluate how Upstream Works for Finesse can help those efforts.
Richard J. Snow
VP & Research Director, Customer