This syndicated post originally appeared at No Jitter - Recent posts by Zeus Kerravala.

As contact centers leverage feature-rich communications
technology, session border controllers become
an important infrastructure component.

As the contact center is often the first company touchpoint for customers, we’ve all learned that a great contact center experience can leave a customer happy and ready to do more business. Conversely, a bad contact center experience can make a satisfied customer as grumpy as Patriots coach Bill Belichick when asked about Deflategate.

It’s possible for a business to offer great products yet have the experience with a product be significantly overshadowed by a subpar contact center interaction. Bad contact center experiences can hurt a company’s net promoter score, damage its reputation, and ultimately lead to revenue loss and decreased profits.

This is the primary reason why businesses have been obsessed with improving the overall contact center experience. One way to improve the experience is to shift the contact center from being driven only by voice to a more media-rich environment.

However, as contact centers evolve from legacy voice calls and leverage feature-rich VoIP, video, chat, WebRTC, content sharing and cloud, a new set of technical challenges emerges. A multichannel contact center requires interoperability among disparate platforms and applications, five-nines of reliability, and the highest levels of security. The technical challenges associated with these issues can overwhelm many businesses. However, with proper management of the challenges, a company can significantly improve customer service.

The session border controller (SBC), long a key component of enterprise VoIP deployments and service provider environments, holds the answer. While the SBC hasn’t been a core technology in contact centers, the fact is it can proactively address all of the network-related issues that can degrade the customer experience.

For example, SBCs are built to protect network and communications infrastructure from security attacks such as denial of service, fraud, or other IP-based attacks that can compromise information or degrade performance. SBCs also enable interoperability across disparate platforms such as PBXs, IP-PBXs, contact center software, and endpoints, giving organizations a way to evolve the contact center while leveraging legacy technology. Lastly, SBCs provide carrier-grade network reliability, thus ensuring all calls go through with the best quality.

SBC provider Sonus Networks this week has enhanced its contact center solution through collaboration with Numonix, which offers recording solutions that contact centers use to improve customer service and lower operational costs. Sonus has incorporated the Numonix Recite call recording technology into its SBCs, creating an integrated platform capable of handling all of the network-related challenges as well as delivering a rich set of data for analysis and quick reaction to problems as they pop up. The integrated platform also provides a level of regulatory compliance by protecting data and monitoring and recording customer interactions.

In many ways, the ability to improve customer satisfaction will become the basis of competitive advantage in contact centers. This means new ways of communicating with customers and an increased focus on security and quality. The network security and carrier-grade reliability combined with the expanded partnership gives Sonus a great platform with which to attack the contact center market, a relatively new opportunity for SBCs providers.

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Zeus Kerravala

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long term strategic advice.
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