Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Abracadabra! Bring some wizardry into your contact centre with APIs

December 13, 2017

They say patience is a virtue, but apparently not one all of the UK can claim to possess. And it’s official. According to new research earlier this year, as many as 42% of UK consumers admit to being more impatient today than they were five years ago due to their over reliance on technology to complete everyday life activities. This increases to over half (52%) in the Millennial bracket. Not so virtuous indeed.

To quell our panache for being in helluva haste, us Brits are using applications – or apps as we more commonly know them – for everything from ordering takeaways using JustEat or Hungry House, to taxis with Uber or Lyft, to publicising or super social selves on our plethora of social media channels (do you Facebook, Insta or Tweet?), where we post messages, upload images, or check-in on our latest restaurant outing or travels abroad.

Gmail allows us to manage our emails and calendars too, but you might have also noticed that you can log into other applications, such as SmartSheet with the use of Single Sign On (SSO). All made possible by the magical wizardry of using Application Programming Interfaces or APIs. That’s one-step closer to a single password world, where the days of resetting endless passwords for multiple apps and accounts you can’t remember disappear, folks!

APIs are at the core of enabling application transformation for the digital world and in the age of the internet, they have the power to plug applications into, well, almost anything.

Sharing is customer caring

Contact centres haven’t traditionally been the breeding ground of APIs. Some might be out there but are typically stagnant and old and some are even proprietary – with little use in extending out to other applications. The adoption of cloud-based applications through an organisation’s journey in the digital world, as well the emphasis on driving great customer experiences in the contact centre, is changing this and thus the need for open, easy to use APIs has never been greater.

Besides the emphasis, providing a great customer experience in the contact centre is becoming key! However, this can only be achieved when we have detailed insight into the customer so that we know how best to serve them.

Recently, Cisco announced the cloud based Context Service for it’s contact centre platforms, a capability that allows you to use RestAPIs or Representational State Transfer (REST) – simple and efficient APIs, to ‘push’ information into the Context Service cloud and ‘pull’ it out again from any application that can support REST.

Context is King

Imagine wanting to purchase a TV online, not having the information you need to make the purchase and you decide to call into the contact centre (or use any other communication channel being offered to reach the brand). Using Context Services and RestAPIs we can push information on who you are, the pages you’ve browsed, your product preferences and even the time you’ve spent reviewing the TV you’d like – or anything thats relevant, from the website itself.

This is where the real magic happens when you call in, as the back-end wizardry of the contact centre can conjure this information back from the Context Service cloud and route your call to a TV specialist – this can happen even before you choose a menu option with your phone! Better still, the person helping you will know who you are, what you’ve been looking at and help you almost immediately – no need to browse through menu options and press buttons on your phone – no need to wait to be transferred to the person that can help.

The Cisco Context Service is such a simple idea to help alleviate in some cases, so much pain and it wouldn’t be possible without APIs. It’s just one of the ways that APIs will not just improve customer experience but also transform contact centres of the future. Now that sounds more like a treat than a trick – and Halloween is only just over!

Find out more about Cisco Customer Care here.

This blog features extracts from an earlier blog by Adeel Akram. 

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