Call Centers

PRODUCT PROFILE

New Onyx Upgrade Targets Integration Bull’s-Eye

Onyx, a mid-market provider of CRM software, has unveiled upgrades to its Contact Center product that are designed to help it branch deeper into the contact-center and vertical markets. The improvements include call-center scripting and enhanced Web self-service capabilities, and they will benefit current customers that choose to upgrade, according to Onyx.

As a result of Onyx’ move toward a vertical-market focus, flexibility, integration and the incorporation of specialized business processes into CRM products are increasingly important, Patrick Angelel, vice president of marketing and alliances at the company, told CRM Buyer.

This increased flexibility sets the stage for Onyx to expand its efforts in the financial services, healthcare and government markets, where it already has a presence, as well as in new markets.

Another improvement in the new version of Contact Center is computer telephony integration (CTI) with leading vendors, including Aspect, Avaya, Concerto and Genesys.

Integration Vitals

Too often today, Onyx VP Angelel said, call-center agents find themselves trapped between needing to work with a customer and managing multiple different systems when trying to do so. “We feel strongly that call centers need more than call tracking and routing, and that they need tools that can be integrated with and model a company’s business processes,” he noted.

Indeed, integration is an increasingly pressing issue as the CRM market matures and merges with the call-center sector. Today’s systems are often configurations of multiple vendors’ equipment, and a lack of integration can put call-center agents in tough situations. For example, an agent may be called upon to a make a decision that he has no easy way to make because the systems fail to dovetail customer data in an adequate fashion.

An act as simple as calling a travel company to change reservations can mean entering a multi-digit itinerary number via phone — only to be asked again for the same information once you are directed to an agent. Such forced repetition can frustrate both customers and agents.

Angelel said he believes Onyx intelligent call scripts will help solve such issues by guiding contact-center telesales, service and support agents through customer interactions using a single, wizard-like interface that assists in real-time decision making.

Cultural Conflict

Because call-center turnover can exceed 20 percent annually, Onyx also is working toward providing solutions that help address its customers’ cultural issues.

“Improving the user interface so that it’s more intuitive and flexible enough to tailor it to a specific business is important,” Angelel noted. “Integrating multiple systems through the user interface makes call-center personnel more effective and also reduces straining time. Then there are workflow processes that require better management because of the increasing number of legislative compliance policies like the Patriot Act.”

Good Enough?

Historically, Onyx has had “good enough” functionality in the contact-center space, addressing the majority of its customers’ needs, according to Laura Preslan, research director at AMR. Now, that may be changing for the better.

“These improvements contribute to Onyx’ overall maturity in the contact-center space,” Preslan told CRM Buyer. “Web self-service is an area of high growth and investment as companies strive to reduce the cost to serve while maintaining or improving customer-service levels.”

For his part, Paul Greenberg, president of The 56 Group and author of CRM at the Speed of Light, told CRM Buyer that this upgrade is good but may not help Onyx compete against larger rivals or those that are more targeted. Even so, he said, “Onyx represents one of the strongest players left in the upper end of the mid-market. Their products are excellent and their strategy pretty smart.”

“Onyx key challenges come from salesforce.com and Microsoft CRM,” AMR’s Preslan said. “Salesforce.com is a challenger due to their lower price point and ease of deployment. Microsoft CRM is a challenge due to Microsoft’s viability, even though Microsoft CRM is less functionally robust than Onyx today.”

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