There are many ways to measure the success of technology projects. Some measure success by the number of users granted access to a system. Others may look at more deeply technical elements such as the number of workstations or servers involved in the infrastructure or input/output transactions.

While the technical measurements are not a bad way to gauge the successful implementation of technology, at Trilix we look to more business-centric criteria. For example, we examine the improvement in process flow, how it has been streamlined or how the same investment of time yields a better result.

Another major way we measure success are the positive effects it has on customer service and employee morale and how well the technology supports those two areas.

A regional insurance agency recently engaged us to help improve their customer service call flow. They have Avaya IP Office (a telephone platform for small to midsized businesses) and wanted to connect it to their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system Vertafore to enable key customer workflows. The most important of which was to allow their call center and other staff to know who is calling to provide a more personalized experience.

The Solution

From a technical perspective, the solution leverages Microsoft’s Telephony Application Programming Interface (TAPI) to capture information about incoming calls and use that to find customer information in Vertafore via their versatile application programming interface (API).

By utilizing the incoming number, we can provide our client’s employees with details from Vertafore on who is calling and their key account information. This information enables the interaction to start from a customer-centric point of view in that staffers can offer a personal greeting. For example, they could start the call with “Good afternoon Mr. Rumfoord, are you calling about your homeowner’s insurance policy today?”

The solution also prevents the need for customers to repeat their names and account numbers when they call and every time a call gets transferred. This not only eliminates that frustration, but also reduces the time to resolution—a great thing for all parties.

These are seemingly small enhancements that have an outsized positive effect on customer engagement and employee morale.

Technical Tools

TAPI has a lot of useful features that could be used to help businesses improve process. I asked Trilix’s Chris Giordano, the Senior Software Developer who developed the solution, about TAPI and its capabilities. “With TAPI, you can essentially get all the details from a line. For example, it provides detailed information on when a call is connected, disconnected, how long it lasted and who is calling.”

This information enables all sorts of monitoring, reporting and metrics to be recorded for a phone system.

Chris also pointed out some of TAPI’s other features, “it allows more than just observing a call, you can also control a phone with TAPI. This allows for a custom-built application to control a phone.” We know this last fact first hand as while in a more mischievous mode of his solution prototyping, Chris enabled speaker phone mode on a test device in our main office from his remote office. Suddenly his voice would be emanating from the test phone with no warning, like a school principal. The other developers seemed to enjoy the joke very much!

While we used TAPI in this case to enable Avaya IP Office integration, it can be used in other phone systems that support TAPI, too. For example, many major systems support TAPI including Cisco Call Manager, ShoreTel Sky,  Zyxel and Mitel MiCollab – to name a few.

Many phone systems also have their own APIs which can allow us to integrate to/from to introduce positive change to a client’s workflow and empower them to automate and optimize their businesses. Feature rich and documented APIs provide a world of opportunity. These types of projects allow our clients to use business measures to evaluate the success of projects and not just technical criteria that don’t capture the big picture.

When you think of the experiences of your customers, consider if there are process or system issues that are making their interactions with you more difficult or unsatisfactory. If so, what ways can you improve the experience of those who want to do business with you? If you are unsure, ask your employees how they would improve the customer experience. Not only will they appreciate being asked and involved, but their proximity to the process will provide a valuable viewpoint.

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