I always find it fascinating to read about companies that take standard Skype and add additional features that make it a great solution for various business processes beyond just VoIP. One such company is OnState, the creator of OnState ACD for Skype
, which adds ACD & call center functionality to Skype. They recently announced support for Zimbra
, a popular open source server and client software for messaging and collaboration - email, group calendaring, contacts, and web document management and authoring. The mashup of Zimbra and Skype
will delivers a low-cost Unified Messaging solution.
Today, OnState has announced their multi-modal solution is being used by B4 Consulting. Specifically, B4 Consulting's tech support uses OnState chat and call center capabilities to deliver 24x7 customer support globally featuring VoIP, chat, voicemail, call recording, callbacks, CRM integration, and more.
To be honest, this is the kind of functionality that Skype should offer to businesses themselves instead of that joke
known as Skype for Business
. Skype gets a bad rap for being too consumery - and deservedly so because they haven't added any features to Skype for Business worth mentioning. Fortunately, third-parties like OnState are extending Skype and adding business-class features. Another example is VAPPS
, which offers high-definition conferencing that works with Skype. But Skype shouldn't be relying on third-parties for business-class features.
In any case, check out the news...
OnState Communications, innovating new-generation contact center solutions, today announced a multi-modal call center solution for technical support services. The solution has been adopted by B4 Consulting, an SAP® channel partner that has achieved gold-level status, which uses the OnState CallCenter for Skype to deliver real-time customer support. The OnState CallCenter for Skype™ is integral to B4 Consulting’s delivery of its global Application Management Services for the SAP Business One application, SAP’s affordable business management solution for growing businesses. B4 Consulting’s Web-integrated call center capitalizes on the full range of OnState’s multiple communications modes and customer contact options. This includes concurrent Skype chat and voice, Skype voicemail, dynamic call recording, and callbacks. Customers can initiate contact with agents via live chat, free inbound Skype calls, toll-free inbound lines, as well as non-Skype traditional landline and email. Additionally, the OnState CallCenter is integrated with B4 Consulting’s customer relationship management system.
“To deliver technical support services on a global basis, B4 is leveraging nearly every feature within OnState’s portfolio of customer contact solutions,” said Pat Kelly, president and CEO of OnState. “And, they are using them in a completely integrated manner and sometimes simultaneously to deliver highly-responsive support services to their customers using SAP Business One.” Moreover, as call center and support portal functions are Skype-based and Web-enabled, support can be delivered from anywhere at anytime. Therefore, B4 Consulting’s support customers can rely on call center agents who are subject-matter experts in SAP Business One.
“When we launched our Application Management Services [AMS] for SAP Business One, we couldn't afford the time and resources to establish a traditional call center – yet we wanted to provide premium, enterprise-level services on a global basis," noted Frank Paetzold, vice president of delivery and AMS at B4 Consulting. "Establishing a sophisticated call center was quick, easy and affordable with OnState. The beauty of OnState, however, goes beyond affordability. Implementing OnState requires no server hardware or software and minimal agent-based client software installation. OnState eliminates barriers to communication, enabling us to give customers the freedom to decide how and when they want to communicate with us as well as the option for self-service through our online knowledge portal.”
B4 maintains that most customer conversations begin with voice and evolve to other communication modes, principally chat. “Currently, live chat is most often used by customers," noted Paetzold, "it's a quick way for customers to communicate issues and an efficient information-gathering mechanism for our agents.” All customer contact, conversations, email, and chat exchanges are easily recorded in B4 Consulting’s CRM system for historical reference. “As the market matures, I'm sure customers will use a wider variety of communications methods,” continued Paetzold, “and find a lot of creative ways to use them.”