November 10, 2005, 12:00 AM

VoIP brings new functionality to customer service, U.S. Auto Parts finds

A new Voice over IP-based customer service center is providing increased functionality over conventional systems, such as instantly directing particular types of calls to skilled customer service agents, U.S. Auto Parts Network says.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

 

A new Voice over IP-based customer service center is providing increased functionality over conventional systems, such as instantly directing particular types of calls to skilled customer service agents, Sol Khazani, founder of U.S. Auto Parts Network, says. U.S. Auto Parts Network is the parent of PartsTrain.com, No. 161 in the Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide to Retail Web Sites.

U.S. Auto Parts, using a VoIP system from Interactive Intelligence Inc., has found the system capable of greater flexibility in routing calls and integrating with other systems, Khazani says. By also giving managers greater ability to monitor and manage the activity of contact center reps, the system has enabled U.S. Auto Parts to sharply reduce the amount of time customers have had to wait to reach an agent, he adds. “The main thing is that customers don’t stay on hold for 5 minutes,” Khazani says. “We brought that from a maximum of 5 minutes to about 1 minute.”

“Voice over IP makes it possible for retailers to direct calls to one or more agents based on skill and priority to any location on their network,” says Peggy Gritt, director of product marketing at Interactive Intelligence.

The system also supports quickly scaling up during peak seasons, she adds. “Retailers who experience call spikes or busy seasons can use software licensing and VoIP connections to increase seat licenses rather than expensive hardware that remains dormant in non-busy seasons,” Gritt says. “They can also add home-based agents during busy seasons to add to their labor pool at a lower cost without adding space in their contact center for those spikes.”

The VoIP technology is also designed to integrate with complementary systems, such as voice-response applications. “New applications can also be implemented faster, such as voice response applications to handle returns, change of address, promotional programs using speech automation, integrated web promotions,” Gritt says.

 

 

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