The vision for integrated unified communication (UC) and contact centers (CC) has been discussed in industry circles for years now, and almost every UC and CC vendor has aligned themselves to sell both technologies.
Over the years, I have asked all the major vendors, what is driving the merging of these two disparate platforms. I generally get an answer that revolves around a “single throat to choke.”
Typically, I press the issue as the value should be about more than simple purchase order integration, but rarely do I get anything tangible. Recently, at the Enterprise Connect event, 8×8 announced its new Frontdesk solution, which brings together UC and CC functionality in a new application for receptionists.
The receptionist is an ideal example of a worker that talks to customers using CC tools but then need to deflect calls and messages to employees using UC applications.
The Receptionist Role Has Changed – in High Demand
The receptionist job has changed a lot since businesses sent employees home to minimize the impact of the pandemic. Now that businesses are planning a return to the office, companies are looking to hire the best possible talent, as this role is critical in ensuring a great customer experience.
An interesting data point on this topic is that between February and March of 2021, the receptionist position had the greatest LinkedIn job posts of any job, by far, with a gain of 1453%. This role is now in high demand and candidates will go where they have the best tool to do their job and Frontdesk could be used to attract top quality talent.
It’s important to note that while off the shelf UC and CC platforms might work for many knowledge workers, a one size fits all communication solution won’t meet the needs of everyone. Traditional telephony heavy roles, like receptionists needs a more customized application to perform their roles effectively.
To get a better understanding of how Frontdesk works and how it fits into 8×8’s XCaaS offering, I interviewed the company’s Vice President of Product Marketing, Dhwani Soni in a recent ZKast, done in conjunction with eWEEK eSpeaks. Highlights are below:
- Earlier this year, 8×8 announced its experience communications as a service (XCaaS) offering that brings together UCaaS and CCaaS inot a single, cloud native platform. 8×8 announced its first XCaaS application, Frontdesk, at Enterprise Connect 2021.
- Most UC and CC vendors are evolving their portfolio to include some type of unified solution, often by forming partnerships with other vendors. With this option, organizations get add-ons and multiple apps minus back-end integration.
- With XCaaS—which 8×8 has been developing for nearly a decade—organizations get an integrated platform, including administration and reporting capabilities. Therefore, it addresses the changing requirements of receptionists and front desk staff.
- Frontdesk is optimized to handle a high volume call transfers in a user-friendly interface. Unlike competitor offerings, Frontdesk provides robust queuing, so receptionists can handle multiple calls simultaneously from anywhere.
- Receptionists and front office staff can stack, prioritize, and manage calls directly in the 8×8 Work desktop app, which means organizations have no additional software to deploy. Frontdesk is provisioned directly in Work, ensuring highly personalized engagement.
- The role of the receptionist isn’t diminishing, rather the tools need to adapt to the changing nature of work. Organizations can have multiple receptionists working across different time zones from anywhere, providing customer service without interruption.
- Other telephony-driven roles are evolving to include interaction via different digital channels. Beyond Frontdesk, 8×8 is focused on expanding XCaaS capabilities for those roles within organizations with hybrid workforces.