Telecom Asia

BT brings multimedia call-center solution to Asia

BT brings multimedia call-center solution to Asia

Joseph Waring

To tap into the rapidly growing CRM market in Asia, BT has introduced its multi-channel contact-center system that enables companies to transform a traditional voice-based call center into a multimedia contact operation. The launch, announced in Kuala Lumpur at Customer Contact World Asia, comes after more than 100 clients have implemented BT’s Contact Central solution in the UK over the past two years.

The system, which supports multiple Asian languages, integrates IP-based technology with CRM software, allowing agents and customers to communicate seamlessly through voice, email, Internet, WAP and SMS.

One of the system’s most compelling elements in the price-sensitive Asian market is its commercial flexibility, says Simon Burke, managing director of Contact Central, BT Asia Pacific.

“It has the capability to start small with a handful of seats, and after the value is proven, can quickly be scaled up to hundreds or thousands of seats.” It also enables clients to try new types of customer service technologies, such as Internet collaboration, Internet self-service and speech recognition, at a low cost without a complex systems infrastructure.

The company says Contact Central is designed as an out-of-the-box system that can be operational within a few weeks. Because it can network call centers across the region, companies have the option to consolidate their centers and centralize operations.

The driving force behind the system is that BT found a great deal of commonality that system integration companies are typically re-inventing for each client. “If you look at a caller contact system, particularly as you move into multimedia capabilities, joining al[the components–email management, CTI middleware, CRM application, voice recording and IVR system–together in a unique way for each client is basically a waste of time,” says BT Contact Central CEO Paul White.

He says BT has pre-packaged the core components to make an effective multimedia offering that gives client a certain degree of flexibility. “This allows customers to concentrate on the business process elements of what they’re trying to achieve with their CRM solution and not have to focus on the underlying technology.”

In developing this package, White says BT has leveraged its experience managing 60,000 call center agents in the UK across everything from high-end B2B transactions to high-volume B2C contacts. “Moving from traditional voice contact, which might involve a two-minute conversation, to Internet collaboration, which could take ten minutes or more, BT has worked out how to get the value out of those multimedia transactions and improve productivity,” he explained. “We’ve built this BT ‘best practices’ into Contact Central.”

The solution comes in two versions. The high-end solution is based on Siebel’s CRM platform, which BT resells as part of the Contact Central offering. The base version is the Communicator, which enables clients to multimedia enable any application from traditional vendors such as Oracle and Onyx.

BT has signed deals with four Asian companies. Scicom, which operators multiple call centers in Asia that handle interactions in 15 languages, has installed a Contact Central system for its pan-Asian customer contact centers.

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