Voting Opens For Our 2016 Technology Awards

Voting is now open for the “Top 10 Contact Centre Technology” awards.

Back by popular demand, the awards give recognition to the best products on the market, and help contact centre managers make informed decisions about the technologies they invest in.

As our awards are voted for by our readers, the results are impartial and provide an accurate picture of the best products out there.

The last awards in 2014 were won by mplsystems. Datasquirt won in the 2011 awards and were purchased by LiveOps soon after, and RightNow Technologies won in the 2009 awards and were subsequently purchased by Oracle.

But it is down to you to decide which product will win in 2016.

We have listed all of the nominated companies and their products below, together with brief details about each product to help you choose.

Here are the basic voting rules:

  • You cannot vote if you are an employee or a distributor or an investor or have any other financial interest in the product.
  • You can alert your customer base.
  • All invalid votes will be discounted.
  • Voting closes on Thursday 28th July.
  • The winning product will be announced in early September 2016.

Products Shortlisted (in alphabetical order)

Company: Ultracomms

Product Name: AMD+

Brief overview of product: This is a patent-pending cloud-based innovation in answering machine detection (AMD). Ultracomms’ AMD+ is designed to increase contact centre agent productivity, with an average of nine per cent improvement identified in the company’s own research, and some clients achieving 40 per cent in certain campaigns.

AMD+ is also the first AMD technology to reduce the call centre administration required in monitoring abandoned outbound calls, helping to simplify Ofcom compliance and reduce the risk of significant fines for companies breaching acceptable levels of abandoned or silent calls.

The new Ultracomms solution improves contact centre productivity by using advanced algorithms to exclude outbound calls when it recognises that an answering machine is present and unlike traditional AMD technology, it is completely undetectable by agents and consumers, and is 99.98 per cent accurate.

What about the product is innovative, interesting or different?

Traditional AMD solutions are based on terminating a phone call only when the system detects that there is no human response after the call has been answered. No matter how efficiently a supplier fine tunes its solution, there is inevitably a delay of a few seconds at the beginning of every call – including calls answered by humans – while the technology is making its assessment. Once the call is presented to the agent, the delay forces the customer to repeat his or her greeting to the connected agent, decreasing efficiency and the opportunity for a positive outcome on the call. Given the popularity of answer machines, the loss in agent productivity accumulates across the working week.

As these traditional AMD solutions are not even close to 100% accurate, significant monitoring and administration is needed to ensure companies are within the levels of abandoned calls from ‘false positive’ detection deemed acceptable by Ofcom, who can now issue fines of up to £2 million to companies in breach of these rules. As a result, many contact centres rejected previous AMD technologies as counter-productive in terms of the administration required to use them versus the benefits gained.

How AMD+ works

With AMD+, Ultracomms has tackled the problem of answer machine detection with an innovative new approach. Rather than attempting to remove all answerphones with an accepted level of inaccuracy, it only removes calls from being presented to agents when it is 100% confident of the answerphone outcome. In addition, the solution is designed to be undetectable to the agents and customers. The company has developed a unique set of data-mining algorithms, which, in combination with accuracy testing against historical data covering over one million calls, enables AMD+ to automatically identify and prevent calls where an answer machine is detected as being presented to agents. The solution is purely ‘machine-to-machine’, with no manual intervention required.

Customer trials

Trials carried out with live customer contact centres found that customers are typically experiencing:

  • 8.8% gain in agent productive time (in terms of talk time and ‘wrap up’), with some achieving up to 40%
  • 28% reduction in answering machines presented to agents
  • System accuracy in excess of 99.99 % (based on a sample set of over one million phone calls

Release details: May 2015

Approx. number of UK customers using the product: AMD+ is available to all our customers.

Typical customers:

  • Uncle Buck
  • PSS
  • LeadX
  • Brightside
  • Brunel Franklin
  • Freedom to Insure
  • LifeSearch

Typical price for a 100 agent solution: AMD+ is provided to all our clients at no additional cost. The feature can be enabled or disabled by the client at any time.

Company: Aspect Software

Product Name: Aspect Zipwire

Brief overview of product: Aspect Zipwire is a feature-rich, cloud-based contact centre interface designed to rapidly accelerate operational value and customer service excellence. Able to significantly reduce demand on IT, Aspect Zipwire includes premium features such as unlimited elasticity, provisioning simplicity and 24/7/365 support.

Deployed on Aspect’s fully redundant, geographically dispersed cloud architecture, Aspect Zipwire uses the cloud to deliver the reliability and capacity needed to manage omnichannel customer interactions across voice, email, SMS, web-based messaging and video, with the capability to integrate social media and mobile apps.

What about the product is innovative, interesting or different?

Aspect Zipwire enables businesses to deploy and manage a pure cloud contact centre or Help Desk with premium features at a competitive price. It has been designed to meet the demands of the largest enterprise contact centres as well as the unique needs of smaller contact centre operations. With Aspect Zipwire’s simplicity and speed of set up, organisations can be up and running in hours with no set-up costs, helping to speed the time-to-value for contact centres by quickly getting agents serving customers.

Key benefits for contact centre operators include:

  • Improved first contact resolution and post-interaction surveys for speedy and measured customer satisfaction
  • Reduced hold times due to skills-based routing, ensuring the most suitable employee is connected to a customer each time
  • Maximising usage of advisors through blending, so that they can handle outbound and inbound queries, across multiple channels, ensuring more customers are connected first time
  • Immediate agent access to important data during interactions, such as Oracle and Salesforce, as well as Aspect’s Cloud Suite (including data-driven agent engagement suite Workforce Optimisation and self-service platform CXP), with fully-supported integration capability

Release details: Aspect Zipwire was released in September 2014 across most regions

Approx. number of UK customers using the product: 16

Typical customers: Aspect Zipwire has been deployed by businesses of all sizes, operating in all sectors.

Customers today include:

Working Links
John McKeown, Group CIO at Working Links commented: “Aspect Zipwire has really impressed us with how it has benefited our business since we went live in December 2015. We’ve been pleasantly surprised with how quick and easy it was to deploy, as well as how it provides all of the functionality we needed including integration with our Salesforce CRM system. This has been incredibly useful in helping us reduce the costs we’d otherwise be paying on our old infrastructure.”

Open Doors
Steven Schofield-Linnell, IT and Operations Director at Open Doors, commented: “We’ve gone from being completely manual with limited reporting, to sophisticated call flows and detailed reports. Our contact centre is small, with six full time advisers making and taking calls and emails; we still find that sometimes we struggle to meet demand and need to pull in extra staff. That’s why we chose to work with Zipwire, as it is highly scalable. If we need to add another user it can be arranged straight away with little notice, and we only pay for what we use. What we save in time and fixing IT problems can be dedicated to relationship building.”

Typical price for a 100 agent solution: Pricing dependent on functionality.

Company: Bright UK LTD

Product Name: Bright Navigator

Brief overview of product: Bright Navigator provides companies with an ability to capture VOC feedback at all parts of the customer journey which is used to drive operational performance, improve service levels/satisfaction metrics (CSAT, NPS, CES) and helps engage the frontline workforce.

On average clients increase customer satisfaction and NPS scores by 20% after the first three months of deployment.

What about the product is innovative, interesting or different?

Linking Performance, Employee Engagement And Voice Of Customer

The Navigator introduces industry-first technology, allowing clients to find links between three areas: customer feedback, employee engagement and internal performance metrics. Customer service operations no longer have to guess how metrics in these areas affect each other and are able to take a unique holistic view of their business areas. Using the correlation tool embedded in the software, companies for example have the ability to find (often counter intuitive) links between service levels and customer sat, productivity metrics and employee satisfaction, employee engagement and conversion rates, etc.

Other unique features include:

  • Alerts and action management – Enables the contact centre to become a true real-time information hub by proactively sharing insight on broken processes, customer dissatisfaction and sales/marketing opportunities.
  • Employee engagement – Measured and benchmarked giving clients actionable feedback on how to drive engagement and where.
  • Verbatim categorisation – All customer comments are transcribed in real time and categorised by theme and sentiment

Release details: Bright Navigator has recently added a number of new features including:

  • Integrated coaching tool – allowing managers to utilise performance, VOC and VOE data to better inform training needs and engage frontline teams.
  • Thematic categorisation and sentiment analysis 2.0 – allows companies to analyse feedback and report on findings without the need for manual intervention.
  • Branch and field service surveying proposition – VOC is no longer purely a tool for the contact centre, companies can run surveys tracking the entirety of a customer journey and analyse insight in one place

Approx. number of UK customers using the product: 40

Typical customers: TUI, Barclays, Transport for London, Littlewoods, Which, The White Company, Domestic & General, South Staffs Water, Genesis Housing, Daily Mail Group,

Typical price for a 100 agent solution: £2,300 per month.

Company: Eckoh

Product Name: CallGuard

Brief overview of product: In the UK, card-not-present (CNP) fraud losses (payments made over phone, web and mail order) increased last year by 20% to £398.2 million. Much of this increase is due to fraudsters using card details stolen through data hacks and malware.

Telephone payments expose not only the agent and call recordings to card data, but all IT networks and processes as the data is inputted into IT systems.

Since the launch of CallGuard, we have seen an increasing wave of merchants approach Eckoh to help them secure this notoriously difficult channel. Unlike competing solutions, CallGuard offers customers complete flexibility to de-scope the areas of the contact centre for PCI DSS compliance.

CallGuard enables agents to take payments from customers over the phone without card data coming into contact with agents, recordings, networks, telephony systems or processes. It meets the business challenge of securing card data for PCI DSS compliance, reducing the time, money, risk and resources of tackling it in-house.

Our clients love it, as it offers 100% caller/agent interaction and 100% secure recording of payments calls. And the CallGuard option using tokenisation has received huge interest from many merchants, as it is easily deployed and requires absolutely no changes to their IT infrastructure. As this removes a huge expensive headache from an IT as well as a compliance perspective, we’ve recently enjoyed a swathe of new customers.

What about the product is innovative, interesting or different?

CallGuard is the most flexible method of protecting customer phone payments on the market, saving vast amounts of time, cost, risk and complexity for businesses working towards PCI DSS compliance.

  • It can protect all parts of the contact centre, from just the agent and call recordings to the entire environment.
  • It can be deployed easily on premise or as a hosted service
  • Uses DTMF masking or tokenisation technology
  • Uses patented technology (2 patents)
  • Highly customisable to any customer need – not a one size fits all product
  • Can overlay existing technology without any changes to current IT infrastructure
  • Payment Service Provider agnostic – will integrate with any PSP
  • 99% customer retention rate since launch

Release details: CallGuard was first launched in 2010 under the name of EckohPROTECT as a hosted service that protected the entire contact centre environment.

In 2012, Eckoh added the patented on-site version of CallGuard offering companies the option to secure just their agents and call recordings where networks and systems were already secured by other processes.

In 2015, Eckoh launched their patented tokenisation version of CallGuard which secures the entire call centre environment but doesn’t need any integration or changes to the IT environment – a huge advantage for businesses who have complex infrastructures but want to become PCI compliant without a massive upheaval and costs to their IT/telephony environment. This development has dramatically increased the level of day to day interest in deploying CallGuard.

Since its launch, CallGuard has a retained 99% of its clients.

Approx. number of UK customers using the product: Approximately 50 companies in the UK using CallGuard, from 30 seats to 2000 seat contact centres. Largest contact centre in the US uses CallGuard has 4,000 seats.

Typical customers: Eckoh has over 160 cross-sector customers in 6 countries around the world. In the UK, customers using CallGuard include: Thames Water, Convergys, Screwfix, Royal Mail, Premier Inn, Legal & General, Hillary’s Blinds, Lebara, Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), Welsh Water and Carnival Group.

Typical price for a 100 agent solution: Prices vary for different levels of solution capabilities and the extent the customer wants to de-scope their contact centre from PCI DSS compliance.

Company: EvaluAgent

Product Name: EvaluAgent Gamification

Brief overview of product: EvaluAgent Gamification uses game mechanics like points, leaderboards, social media style news feeds and interactions to simultaneously motivate call centre agents, maintain KPIS, increase efficiency and deliver a great customer experience.

What about the product is innovative, interesting or different?

It’s the first reward and recognition platform designed specifically for call centres, unlike typical Workforce Optimisation solutions, Call Centre Gamification motivates agents and promotes efficiency without impacting employee morale. It’s all about making every day work and improving performance engaging for frontline call centre staff.

Release details: We follow agile technical development process, web-based and releases are updated once a week.

Approx. number of UK customers using the product: 3500 seats across 15 UK contact centres

Typical customers: Outsourcers like Atos and Worldline. Finance services like Investco and NS&I. Retail brands like John Lewis and Premier Inn. Travel and leisure businesses like Avios.

Typical price for a 100 agent solution: Licenses at £1,500 per month. £15 per month per user.

Company: Interactive Intelligence

Product Name: Customer Interaction Centre (CIC)

Brief overview of product: Interactive Intelligence Customer Interaction Centre® (CIC) is an all-in-one omnichannel customer engagement software suite designed for mid-size to large contact centres.

What about the product is innovative, interesting or different?

  • All-in-One, Omnichannel Platform – Seamless channel blending for an improved customer experience, increased operational performance, and simplified administration and reporting due to applications built on a single platform.
  • Open, Standards-based Architecture – Tailored solutions to meet unique business requirements, and maximum interoperability to ensure investment protection as a result of open, standards-based architecture.
  • Broad Set of Applications – Improved customer experience and reduced operational costs from a single solution offering a broad and deep set of applications, including UC apps.
  • Easy Cloud Migration – No need to rewrite applications, retrain employees, or source new vendors when migrating from on-premises version (CIC) to cloud version (CaaS) due to shared code base.

Release details: CIC was first released in 1997. CIC has been deployed at more than 6,000 organisations worldwide.

Approx. number of UK customers using the product: 186

Typical customers:, Identity & Passport Service, Arvato, Domestic & General

Typical price for a 100 agent solution: £350,000 will provide a functionally rich CIC solution with new phones, CRM integration, Installation, Education, Onsite-Training and Go Live support.

Company: Enghouse Interactive UK

Product Name: Enghouse Interactive Real-time Speech Analytics

Brief overview of product: Enghouse Interactive’s Real-time speech analytics solution (Elsbeth VocalCoach) offers fully automated quality assurance and call optimisation for every call. Innovative speech analysis technology allows organisations to monitor and improve conversations in real time both with “hard” evaluators based on phrase recognition to check whether predefined phrases and keywords were said during a call, and “soft” evaluators which assess the softer speech factors such as clarity, volume and even stress levels. The solution analyses agent and customer speech to provide live feedback to agents, team leaders and quality assurance teams about what is being said and how it is being said giving insight into the customer experience and the performance of the agent.

The real-time visual feedback to agents turns agents into their own quality assessors and allows them to correct mistakes and omissions on the spot ensuring that they meet compliance and adhere to quality rules.

What about the product is innovative, interesting or different?

EI Real-time speech analytics can evaluate over 70 hours of calls in under one hour. Using pre-defined filters, the solution will flag up calls that have not met set criteria such as the omission of terms and conditions when a sale is closed. In addition, using markers, the solution enables you to drill down into the detail of a call where a problem has been identified so that you only have to listen to that section of the call.

By covering 100% of the calls, training needs can be identified easily, put into place, and measured for effectiveness. Also, the uniqueness of Real-time Speech Analytics allows tailored coaching to agent weaknesses on the fly, with the option for supervisors to either monitor the call or take over and escalate. Live coaching provides practical help to agents as well as listening to your customers. It offers a checklist for every call and key indicators, for example warning agents against increased customer stress levels, the agent talking over the customer, long pauses in conversation, volume levels or agent interruptions. This can be fed back to the agent in real-time so that they can correct any errors during the call. This is not only dynamically improving performance but increases training efficiency by allowing agents to self-coach.

The solution also has evaluators for audio quality highlighting typical technical issues such as echoes, jitter, temporary audio loss, etc. which provides the IT department with hard evidence instead of hard-to-verify word-of-mouth reports.

The product can be integrated into almost any environment, providing data not only into its own database, but into any third-party database’s. The configuration does not require any specialist knowledge on phonetics or speech analytics. Unlike other speech analytics solutions this is a boxed and finished product.

Release details: The latest release of Real-time Speech Analytics brings with it a host of new features to enhance performance in the contact centre including:

  • Pause Evaluator
  • Dynamic phrase validation
  • Encryption of sensitive interfaces
  • Metadata evaluator
  • Analyzer: view of the call script as part of the call details
  • Analyzer: accessible evaluator modules after filtering

Approx. number of UK customers using the product: Real-time Speech Analytics is a product that has been developed in Germany and has a good footprint overseas. We have recently launched in the UK and have 2 customers on the platform. We are seeing a growing interest and demand for the product within the UK market.

Typical customers: Include any call centres in strict compliance situations (banks, insurances, financial services, debt management and debt collection, utilities etc.) as well as result-driven call centres such as telemarketing (in- and outbound) or customer service and support.

Zinc Group
The solution enables Zinc Group to make certain it is doing much more than just keeping to the regulatory guidelines. It additionally helps to ensure that it is managing the customer sensitively at all times and therefore helping to build a strong relationship with that customer based on trust. And that capability can be especially key when dealing with areas of particular sensitivity for the customer such as the reasons why they got into debt in the first place.

Dougie McManus, CEO, Zinc Group, said: “Using the soft evaluators we were able to identify which questions caused the highest stress levels on a live call. From this we changed the way in which we asked the question, ensuring that we treated the customer fairly and were sensitive to their needs. We believe this is a major step forward in the collections industry.”

Typical price for a 100 agent solution: For a basic Speech Analytics starts at around 400

Company: injixo Ltd.

Product Name: injixo WFM

Brief overview of product: Workforce management for call centres and contact centres.

What about the product is innovative, interesting or different?

injixo is a powerful cloud WFM application, packed with useful features and innovations such as the smartphone and tablet -friendly agent portal injixo ME. injixo is more than comparable with ‘big ticket’ WFM tools but is offered in the cloud for the low, all-inclusive fee of £9/user/month. injixo works on a pay-as-you-go monthly basis, so if your agent count scales up or down based on seasons or campaigns, so does your WFM spend.

Release details: As a true cloud application, injixo is subject to continuous enhancement. There is no need for an annual ‘big bang’ update project; enhancements are frequently deployed to the cloud without the customer needing to lift a ringer.

Approx. number of UK customers using the product: Approximately 200 UK contact centres, ranging in size from 25 agents to over 2,000.

Typical customers: Call centres and contact centres of all sizes and in all industries. Customers include Axa, Betfair, Care UK 111, Carphone Warehouse, Echo Managed Services, Jet2, The Law Society, Miele, The Book People and TomTom.

Typical price for a 100 agent solution: £900 per month, all inclusive. There are no optional extras, no hidden charges and no set-up fees. As a cloud application there is no need for servers or an IT project to implement injixo and full training is included in the price.

Company: Intelecom

Product Name: Intelecom

Brief overview of product: Intelecom is a complete multichannel cloud contact centre solution. This means that agents have the flexibility to respond to phone, email, webchat, social media and SMS enquiries all within one purpose built application and not a series of add-ons, to improve ease of use and speed of response. Intelecom has standard interfaces to the major CRM applications such as Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics to enable personalised enquiry handling and queue prioritisation.

In 2015 Intelecom was positioned as a ‘Challenger’ in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Contact Centres as a Service, Western Europe.

What about the product is innovative, interesting or different?

Intelecom is known for its flexibility and scalability. It can be adapted to accommodate from one to several thousand concurrent agents using any device, in any location and integrates seamlessly with multiple applications.

Intelecom’s ongoing product strategy is to develop real-time innovative solutions that boost agent productivity and enable next generation customer service. In devising our product strategy we listen carefully to our customers to ensure that their requirements are met. A case in point is our recent introduction of API level integration to Trip Advisor which enables our clients in the travel and hotel sectors to respond to reviews in a more positive and timely manner, directly from within their contact centre technology. This saves them time, helps to foster customer loyalty and protects brand reputation.

Release details: Intelecom has three releases per year in April, June and October. In close collaboration with customers, new features are added and enhancements to the core product continually made.

For example, WebRTC softphone capabilities were added in April 2016. This allows agents to answer calls directly from their computer and removes the need to rely on external communications devices such as landlines or mobiles. Other product enhancements in the April 2016 release included, Chat Survey, Unified Service Desk for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Mobile App for Agents and a Secure single Sign-on.

Approx. number of UK customers using the product: In the UK there are over 100 contact centres using Intelecom with approximately 3,000 agents

Typical customers: Affinity Water, Domino’s Pizza, Capita, Dun & Bradstreet, Figleaves, Ombudsman Services, Oxford Brookes University, Scandic Hotels and SAS Airlines

Typical price for a 100 agent solution: Intelcom provides a complete cloud based, multichannel contact centre solution. Our prices therefore depend on whether one channel is purchased, or multiple. Furthermore, we offer a wide range of additional services and features which will affect the price. If you would like to discuss your contact centre requirements in further detail, please contact us and once we have scoped your needs, we can give you an accurate price.

Company: mplsystems Ltd

Product Name: IntelligentContact

Brief overview of product: IntelligentContact provides an omnichannel contact centre solution for management of all contact channels including voice, email, webchat, social media, text and mobile. The platform incorporates all the ingredients of the traditional contact centre, including ACD, skills based routing, IVR, call recording and workforce optimisation, along with an advanced analytics engine and a flexible business rules engine to enable contact centre users to set up complex workflows and case management rules. Mplsystems uniquely combine this multichannel contact functionality with advanced Customer Service and Sales CRM on a configurable Unified Agent desktop application. Available as both a premise and a cloud solution, intelligentContact has enabled our customers to transform agent efficiency and customer experience by combining contact centre and tailored CRM in a simple, intuitive application.

What about the product is innovative, interesting or different?

In 2015 mplsystems added the intelligentResponse module to the platform to provide the seamless blending of self service and automation, alongside agent assisted service, this delivers a 40% increase in productivity of agents in a typical Contact Centre. The module uses Natural Language Processing to identify, respond to and process front and back office requests such as account changes, refunds, appointment changes and debt collection, whilst releasing agents to focus on more complex issues for which the module will equip them. By using advanced text analytics, the module ensures a natural conversation, relevant and rapid processing of requests.

Release details: The latest release of intelligentContact includes the extension of our social customer service capability and the ability to create your own live dashboards. We also combined advanced real-time scheduling and routing of field service technicians in our last applications

Approx. number of UK customers using the product: 70

Typical customers: Mplsystems works with clients across Europe including major brands such as Babcock International, Aviva and Iceland, through to small, start-up businesses who use the technology to better manage their customer experience or field service operations. Our technology is well suited to Customer Service, Support and Sales operation where there are elements of complexity in process and multiple channels.

Typical price for a 100 agent solution: Prices start from £40 per agent per month for call centre functionality, up to £90 for full multichannel and advanced CRM Unified Agent Desktop applications. Even the basic voice price includes full CTI, IVR & Voice recording as standard features.

Company: Jabra

Product Name: Jabra BIZ 2300 corded headset

Brief overview of product: As contact centre agents are the front line of any brand, organisations should ensure they invest in the right tools for them to sound as clear and professional as possible.

In Jabra’s BIZ™ 2300 world-class sound meets world-class durability in an exceptionally comfortable and stylish corded headset – keeping both agents and customers happy.

Make every conversation a great sounding experience:

  • Crystal clear sound – Breath resistant air-shock microphone to eliminate unwanted breathing noise, with noise-cancellation and HD Voice to hear and be heard clearly
    • Also available in an ultra noise-cancelling variant for noisy, open-plan office environments
  • Advanced build – Kevlar-reinforced cord, improving bend and pull force to withstand typical call centre wear and tear
  • Sound quality – Acoustical dense high quality soft ear cushions
  • Superior comfort – 20% lighter than competitors with padded ear cushions
  • All-day comfort – lightweight, ergonomically designed, adjustable headband wearing style (Mono & Duo).
  • Durability – 360 degree freespin boom-arm rotation for optimal position with the risk of breakage
  • Functional – Answer/End, Volume, Mute, Hold/Resume
  • Variant to suit all – available in Quick Disconnect and USB options: USB variant features programmable buttons
  • Health & Safety compliant – features Jabra SafeTone, which includes Jabra PeakStop™ and Jabra IntelliTone™ – enhanced hearing protection technology. PeakStop instantly removes any harmful loud sounds before they even reach an agent’s ears. This keeps the volume level in the safe range and protects hearing. IntelliTone automatically limits the average volume exposure during the working day and keeps it within acoustic safety standards
  • Practical – Flat folding – headset turns 180˚ for perfect fit and easy storage

What about the product is innovative, interesting or different?

Call centre workers generally sit at their desk for the majority of the day. They experience a high volume of calls. Handling as many calls as possible is usually the most important KPI for these employees and businesses.

  • Missed calls, bad call quality or an unhappy call centre team can all lead to lower customer satisfaction and lost business – as well as staff absenteeism
  • Stress is one of the most negative factors influencing productivity, second only to noise coming from colleagues and surroundings
  • As a result, providing easy-to-use headsets that offer optimal sound is key. It’s important they are also comfortable, provide noise reduction and remain durable
  • Work environments can also be improved by offering more space and noise-reducing tools such as sound-absorbing panels or dividers
  • Taking regular breaks and drinking water helps agents remain focused throughout the day

With this in mind, the Jabra BIZ 2300 corded headset is the voice of your brand:

  • Modern, professional and robust design to meet today’s demanding Contact Centre requirements for better audio, better build and better comfort
  • The lightest headset in its class, weighing only 68g (Duo) for increased all-day comfort and agent satisfaction
  • Best-in-class noise-cancelling performance, screening out all unwanted background noise to adhere to customer satisfaction KPI’s
  • Break-proof FreeSpin boom-arm with 360-degree non-stop rotation, to improve product lifetime and reduce the total cost of ownership
  • Plug-and-play usage to ensure no downtine and to achieve daily call stat objectives

Release details: Globally launched on 1st October 2013

Approx. number of UK customers using the product: Over 30,000 units have been sold in the UK&I alone, across both large-seat and smaller contact centres and call centric environments, such as customer service team, advisors and Public Sector

Typical customers: Sitel  – global deployment

Typical price for a 100 agent solution: Costs depend on the size of deployment/quantity being purchased and the specific reseller partner the headsets are purchased through.

Company: Genesys

Product Name: Omnichannel Engagement Center

Brief overview of product: Omnichannel customer engagement combines orchestration and journey management to provide multichannel contact centre best practices for great customer experience with compelling business outcomes. With an Omnichannel Engagement Center solution, a company can deliver consistent and personalised customer experiences across all channels, touchpoints and journeys.

What about the product is innovative, interesting or different?

The Omnichannel Engagement Center solution proactively orchestrates consistent, personalised interactions and journeys across the customer lifecycle. The solution automates the readiness, effectiveness, empowerment, and deployment of your workforce, resulting in great omnichannel experiences for both agents and customers.

The Genesys Omnichannel Engagement Center solution serves as a system of engagement to consolidate disparate technologies, and extend current enterprise architecture for customer engagement. The result is a solution that delivers exceptional customer relationships, increases revenues, builds loyalty, and gains greater business insights.

Approx. number of UK customers using the product: ~100

Typical customers: Atom Bank, BT, M&S, Welsh Water, NSPCC

Typical price for a 100 agent solution: There is not a typical price for a 100 agent solution; pricing is determined by the functionality required.

Company: Square Systems

Product Name: Opinion-8

Brief overview of product: Opinion-8 is Square Systems’ automated post interaction customer survey tool. As a cloud based solution Opinion-8 is simple and cost effective to set up. Surveys can be conducted using voice (IVR), email, online, SMS or even paper. Results are available in real time with graphs, charts and bespoke dashboards to aid interpretation. Near real time multi lingual transcription of verbatim comments from open questions is also available.

What about the product is innovative, interesting or different?

Opinion-8 spans most channels, with IVR surveys being a particular strength due to the contact centre and telephony background of the Square Systems’ founders. The IVR survey methods deployed by Opinion-8 customers include:

  • Agent transfer – caller is transferred to the automated survey by the contact centre agent.
  • Outbound survey. Respondent is called back soon after the interaction. Can be agent invitation or automatic.
  • Stealth mode. Callers are asked via IVR if they would like to complete a survey. Those electing to do so are transferred automatically to Opinion-8’s survey system the end of the call.

It is in outbound surveys where the most innovative recent advances have been made. Opinion-8 has APIs allowing data to be sent to it immediately post interaction if required. Opinion-8 is able to carry out on the fly quota management relating to survey completions for individual agents. It is able to avoid duplication and ensure that the right amount of surveys are completed per agent in a given time period rather than too many or too few as sometimes happens when leads are batched before being sent to the dialler.

The Opinion-8 solution also has the ability to link individual, team and department information to each survey meaning that all of the information collated is genuinely useful and actionable right down to individual level. Opinion-8 can also alert managers in real time if certain thresholds are breached (for example a very dissatisfied score is recorded). Opinion-8 is a truly one-stop-shop solution when it comes to measuring customer satisfaction.

Release details: Version 1.1.17

Approx. number of UK customers using the product: 30

Typical customers:

  • Telepeformance
  • Unison
  • National Friendly
  • Sony
  • Mind

Typical price for a 100 agent solution: Outbound solution UK. At 30 surveys per month per agent:
Set up £960
Usage £1540
Outbound call charges 0.7p/min to UK landlines & 3.5p to UK mobile.
Alert texts 2.2p.
Globally price is the same although call & SMS charges in country may vary.
Prices exclude UK VAT

Company: NICE

Product Name: Real Time Authentication

Brief overview of product: NICE Real-Time Authentication provides end-to-end authentication in the contact centre. Using voice biometrics, it combines a full set of technologies, real-time decisioning capabilities and unique know-how to automatically verify the callers claimed identity during the first few seconds of every call and, if needed, trigger agent guidance or fraud protection actions.

By streamlining the authentication process, NICE Real-Time Authentication allows agents to focus on providing the service and significantly shortens the Average Handle Time.

What about the product is innovative, interesting or different?

NICE Real-Time Authentication takes contact centre and authentication to a whole new level:

Secure contact centre efficiency

  • Reduce average handle time by 40 seconds per call
  • Eliminate the operational challenge of customer enrolment and consent management

Boost customer satisfaction

  • Seamless and quicker authentication
  • Zero customer enrolment effort

Implement and scale with minimal effort

  • Expedite time to value by leveraging past recordings to create voiceprints before going live
  • No complex integrations, no hidden costs

Release details: Version 6.5 is released at the end of June 2016

Approx. number of UK customers using the product: 3 contact centres. Each with ~1000 agents

Typical customers: Financial institutes, telecom operators, health organisations.

Typical price for a 100 agent solution: The pricing structure is modular and takes into account various parameters such as number of seats\calls, option to enhance with real-time fraud protection, level of agent guidance, and multiple data centre support.

Company: Rostrvm Solutions

Product Name: rostrvm

Brief overview of product: The effectiveness of a contact centre and its supporting processes can be the difference between a successful business and a failure. The rostrvm suite ensures contact is handled as professionally and efficiently as possible.

Inbound contact

From simple ACD queuing and routing of telephone calls to complex multi-site, multimedia contact handling. Our powerful call-routing engine ensures contacts are delivered to the most appropriate resource.

Outbound contact

Be proactive, stay in touch and keep promises with the rostrvm outbound suite, including predictive dialler, progressive & preview dialling combined with email and text message campaigns.

Desktop optimisation

Customers make contact for a variety of reasons and through different media. Our desktop tools for call centre agents and back office teams support business processes and bring together multiple data systems.

Managing performance

To measure and manage effectiveness our performance views look at all aspects of the operation.

What about the product is innovative, interesting or different?

Rostrvm Solutions Limited is an innovative UK-based company that designs, develops and supports customer service hub software available both as an on premise solution and from the Cloud.

With a wide range of users across multiple business sectors we have been implementing customer contact solutions for 30 years. In that time we have seen client needs change to accommodate ever increasing customer service expectations across multiple channels. Our flexible, robust applications allow our customers to work profitably, productively, efficiently and with accountability.

Release details: The current release is rostrvm 10

Approx. number of UK customers using the product: 70 contact centres supporting over 6000 agents

Typical customers:

  • Nottinghamshire County Council
  • Midland Heart
  • EDF Energy

Typical price for a 100 agent solution: £8,500 per month as a Cloud deployment

Company: Scorebuddy

Product Name: Scorebuddy QA

Brief overview of product: Spreadsheets cause us pain… Scorebuddy is a cloud based Quality Monitoring Software for Call Centres. It is designed to score customer service calls, emails and webchats, pretty much whatever you want! Stop worrying about your reports breaking (spreadsheets), everything is in one place and there’s customizable access for everyone. Scorebuddy saves time, increases accuracy and delivers an exponential return on investment. On average our customers achieve 8-10 times ROI. It’s easy to use, does not require an IT person!

Our Free Trial is very quick to set up, there are no credit card details required and there are no contracts.

What about the product is innovative, interesting or different?

Scorebuddy is a purpose built, QA Software that can’t stop developing! We genuinely listen to our customers and we develop the product (where possible) to make Scorebuddy even more useful.

Scorebuddy helps businesses to manage their QA process. Data is input via Scorecards. Simply put, you put data in and you take insights out.

Release details: n/a. Scorebuddy is constantly developing.

Approx. number of UK customers using the product: Scorebuddy is used by 100+ Call Centres, managing over 20,000 customer service agents!

Typical customers: Microsoft, Ryanair, Air bnb, Allianz, AVG,, Halfords, WWF etc

Typical price for a 100 agent solution: £309

Company: Content Guru Ltd

Product Name: storm CONTACT

Brief overview of product: Customer expectations are increasingly changing – they now demand to interact with businesses and other organisations at any time, from any place, on any device. Meanwhile technological advances such as IP, mobile technologies and social media continue to transform the communications landscape and the humble contact centre is now rapidly evolving into the multichannel, 24-hour customer engagement hub.

storm CONTACT converges channels such as email, IM (Instant Messaging), WebRTC, SMS, social media, video & voice on a single platform, enabling customers to engage with businesses however they like. CONTACT combines mass-personalised automation capabilities with live agents. Its iACD (intelligent Automated Contact Distribution) technology brings together all channels in a single blended queue, ensuring that every enquiry is connected to the best available resource.

What about the product is innovative, interesting or different?

storm CONTACT is a truly unified cloud communications platform, which supports a vast range of channels, additional services (such as secure payments, speech recognition and call recording), and third-party integrations (including CRM, WFM and ERP), through a single converged system. One of storm’s key differentiators is its ability to scale according to need, across multiple channels, to handle virtually any level of concurrent demand. This capability is deployed in a number of mission-critical environments, such as utilities, healthcare, travel and government, which are frequently subject to enormous and unpredictable surges in contact volume.

CONTACT connects people to the best automated or live resource for their enquiries across any channel e.g. SMS, IM, WebRTC, web form and social media. Using storm’s unique iACD (intelligent Automated Contact Distribution) logic, all contacts are processed through a single blended queue. This combines storm’s Mediated Interaction Matching (MIM) technology which matches contacts to agents or automated responses based on factors such as personality and skills.

Contacts are managed through storm’s innovative Desktop Task Assistant (DTA), which provides agents and supervisors with a single unified interface for all channels of communication. DTA also displays relevant contact information, e.g. previous interaction history and personal data, pulled from a wide variety of third-party systems, such as CRM resources. This allows enquiries to be handled more quickly and accurately by creating a single thread of multichannel communication history against each consumer.

Another key differentiator of storm CONTACT is its open architecture, which integration to a customer’s legacy information systems. Standard plug-ins enable seamless interoperation with hundreds of popular third-party packages, including Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics and Zendesk. Meanwhile interworking with home-grown databases is both simple and secure using storm’s award-winning tools. Therefore storm CONTACT can act as a standalone contact centre in its own right, or as an additional layer of services to existing systems, reducing expenditure by increasing both the utility and the lifespan of existing technology investments.

CONTACT’s cloud model enables Content Guru to deploy and roll out solutions quickly and easily, with services paid for on an affordable ‘OpEx’ basis, and without the need to install costly on-premise equipment. storm‘s cloud business model also facilitates unparalleled levels of flexibility & agility: CONTACT users have an unprecedented level of control over their communications, enabling them to modify and customise services whenever required, without having to wait weeks for a vendor to make changes. At the same time, powerful integrated reporting capabilities provide users with maximum levels of visibility over their contact centre and customer engagement hub services on both a granular and a macro scale, further empowering customers to optimise their performance.

Release details: storm CONTACT was originally launched in 2009. The original ACD (Automated Contact Distribution) solution, the forerunner to today’s iACD functionality, was released in 2009 to complement storm‘s popular cloud PBX solution. Additional channels have been added gradually ever since in a continuous development programme, most recently incorporating WebRTC in early 2016.

Approx. number of UK customers using the product: Not disclosed.

Typical customers: Our products & services are used by mostly Large Enterprises and Government bodies across a wide range of sectors. We have a particularly strong presence within utilities, Public Sector and travel.

Example customers include:

  • Utilities: EDF Energy, Scottish Power, UK Power Networks.
  • Travel: Jurys Inn, National Rail Enquiries, Thomas Cook Group, TUI Group.
  • Public Sector: Northgate Public Services, BBC Children in Need, Down District Council, St Albans City & District Council.
  • Contact Centre: KPN, Sodexo.
  • Security: Chubb, G4S.
  • Finance: Legal & General, Progressive Building Society, Stadsbank Oost Nederland.
  • Healthcare: HAP Zeeland.
  • Retail: Abercrombie and Fitch, Travis Perkins.
  • Education: King’s College London.
  • Online: Holiday Lettings, Rightmove plc.
  • Business Process Outsourcing: Moneypenny, Tata Consultancy Services.

‘Sweet spot’ 50 – 1500 seats.

Typical price for a 100 agent solution: Highly competitive.

Company: NICE

Product Name: Workforce Management

Brief overview of product: The NICE Workforce Management (WFM) system has provided workforce management and workforce optimisation solutions for over two decades – since 1988. With specific tools and terminology for contact centres, back office and branches, NICE WFM offers the flexibility to fit forecasting and scheduling to specific environments. While NICE WFM can operate as a standalone solution, it serves as a foundational component of NICE’s broader Workforce Optimisation platform.

The NICE Enterprise platform provides Workforce Optimisation by offering tightly integrated solutions which enable organisations to improve employee productivity, identify performance gaps, deliver targeted coaching, and effectively forecast workloads and schedule staff. NICE Workforce Optimisation enables organisations to measure, manage and motivate frontline employees to ensure best performance during customer interactions. It leverages integrated capabilities including unified operational dashboards across domains, cross-solution workflows, data aggregation from multiple sources, and unified administration. NICE Workforce Optimisation fosters performance-driven operations, leverages the power of advanced analytics, and embeds Voice of the Customer into daily operations.

NICE WFM is a scalable solution that integrates data seamlessly across the enterprise and automates many time-consuming and labour-intensive processes. It is a proven application that has been implemented in over 75 countries – 3,100 organisations and 2.4 million employees – worldwide. Highly configurable, the system allows users to adapt it to their particular needs through a wide range of operating parameters, rules, and feature enablement. This allows the system to meet a wide variety of operational needs, labour rules, and site-specific parameters, while maintaining stability and scalability.

NICE WFM is available as a hosted, onsite, or SaaS model. NICE provides full system implementation addressing each customer’s unique requirements, as well as complete onsite training in order to equip users with the knowledge and skills to use the system to its fullest capacity. NICE WFM training sessions use the customer’s own data to ensure accuracy and relevancy, and NICE also offers continuing education on the system’s features, functionalities, and upgrades. Ongoing maintenance (including 24×7 support) is available through annual maintenance agreements.

What about the product is innovative, interesting or different?

NICE WFM system integrates data seamlessly across the enterprise and automates many time-consuming and labour-intensive processes. It is a proven application that has been implemented in over 75 countries – 3,100 organisations and 2.4 million employees – worldwide. Highly configurable, the system allows users to adapt it to their particular needs through a wide range of operating parameters, rules, and feature enablement. This ensures that the system accommodates a wide range of operational needs, while maintaining stability.

  • Most advanced multi-site and multi-skilled solution on the market– Patented self learning process with embedded simulation of your ACDs, network routers, virtual queues, and cloud based multimedia routers ensures forecasts and schedules account for the interrelatedness of multi-skilled workers, across diverse work centres, handling both immediate and deferrable work volumes.
  • Most robust collection of employee self service rules-driven tools delivered via a web browser– As an overall collection, NICE WFM provides the broadest set of rules-driven tools that empower staff to be involved in the WFM processes. Rules provide the boundaries to ensure business objectives are met while allowing employees control of their schedules and performance.
  • Best long term planning module embedded in the core technology– the long term planning module – including “re-syncing” planned headcount with actual headcount – is an out of the box feature in the Personnel Planner module.
  • Broadest spectrum of change management tools that put information in the hands of the decision makers– Tools such as Meeting Scheduler, Schedule Optimizer, and change schedule wizards make schedule modification simple. Intraday views give real time updates on forecasted KPIs as schedules are modified and as ACDs deliver data. Plans can be adjusted on the fly and site managers’ plans are updated automatically, and work can be re-allocated with a couple of clicks to match work volume to staff capacity.
  • Most experienced educational services staff certified in adult learning and participant centred facilitation methods– NICE WFM Group trains customers using their own data, and advanced adult learning techniques to ensure the training “sticks”. With over 400 years of cumulative experience, our education specialists bring a wealth of knowledge into the classroom and are happy to share best practices. In addition, our Client Service Managers facilitate the customer relationship and acts as a liaison between the customer and NICE throughout the life of the customer relationship.
  • Low total cost of ownership – Multiple server configurations, multiple database options, multiple operating systems options, and support for virtualisation ensure your IT department has options to configure a platform to meet your needs at the lowest cost. NICE also provides the full functionality of our advanced WFM system in a hosted environment.

NICE WFM system can add value to your organisation through:

  • Embedded Multi-skill Simulation – Only NICE WFM simulates exact: ACD routing, employee skills, skill levels and schedules with its patented formula; self-learning algorithms create improving efficiencies.
  • Multichannel support – Ability to forecast, schedule and manage all customer contacts and back office work allowing organisations to be highly productive.
  • Robust Real Time Adherence – Visibility into agent ACD, outbound dialler and desktop activity letting you know what is happening in real time, right now in order to make the most effective decisions.

Release details: The current release of NICE Workforce Management is 6.5 and was made generally available in April 2016. Each release is a blend of customer feature requests, platform upgrades and support and new functionality. For example, this release adds functionality to make the use of Workforce Management in the back office environments easier for the back office team.

Approx. number of UK customers using the product: 156 Named customers; 315 (serial numbers) with approximately 175K licences

Typical customers: Financial institutes, telecom operators, health organisations, insurance, travel, utilities, retail

Some examples: Barclays, Sky, BoA, Admiral, RSA, EE

Typical price for a 100 agent solution: Undisclosed

Voting has now closed on our 2016 awards and the winner will be announced in early September 2016.

Published On: 29th Jun 2016 - Last modified: 22nd Dec 2016
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