“Hello, Mr. Famous, and thanks for calling 1-800-WeCanHelp! I see you bought three items from us last week, and you IM’d with our agent Chet yesterday when you had some questions about set-up. Are you calling about that same issue, or can I help you with something else?”

Calling customer service is never this painless or this easy. I usually start what can become a long, frustrating phone call by entering my account number into an interactive voice response (IVR) system. Typically, a customer service agent asks me to repeat it moments later. My call becomes a painful process of repetition. I provide numbers, ordering history, past calls to customer service, and loads of other information. And that’s before ever getting to how to solve the problem I called about in the first place.

But fast, painless, personal customer service is no longer just a dream.

Introducing Context Service for Cisco Contact Center

Today, we’re announcing Context Service for Cisco Contact Center, a cloud-based solution that tracks a customer’s critical contextual data and immediately delivers it to the service agent. Context Service integrates data from the various ways a customer can interact with your business – such as voice, chat, social media, email and web – to help the agent be better informed and make that service experience more appealing.

Context Service Diagram

With Context Service for Cisco Contact Center, a customer service agent has access to a customer’s previous interactions with your business across a variety of channels, from traditional channels such as past phone calls and emails, to more emerging channels such as retail store visits or connected sensor information in an Internet of Things environment, via APIs. If I do have a problem that requires a customer service agent, he or she will have access to this context and can start helping me with personalized service that’s relevant to me.

Businesses have had the capability to integrate different customer buying channels for awhile now but it hasn’t been easy. Cost and complexity have prevented many organizations from putting it into practice. Although it’s been “possible,” there is a huge gap between the possible and what is common in most contact centers.

Removing Barriers to Good Service

Our vision is to remove all barriers to providing easy, effective, and context-aware customer service. Whenever a consumer calls a Cisco powered contact center, they can have a personalized experience, with an agent who has the context of their previous interactions with the business.  And the business can prioritize a consumer who has made repeat calls, reducing customer effort for multi-step customer interactions.

Context Service is a fully cloud-based service that can quickly connect to your existing on-premise and cloud-based Cisco contact centers, without additional equipment or software. Other solutions may focus on one or two channels of customer interaction, but Cisco focused on removing the technical barriers to adoption and integrating every channel your business has. And we can deliver this functionality out of the box with no incremental cost or complexity. This cloud service will allow for the storage of a virtually unlimited amount of contextual data.

With today’s announcement, we may have finally reached the tipping point for omnichannel in customer service. Context Service also offers open APIs so that partners can develop on top of this platform and take advantage of the contextual data coming over every channel. New encryption technology secures each interaction and enables a business to control access to its customer data.

So back to that phone call. Next time you dial a 1-800 number, you may be surprised at how helpful they actually are!


Tod Famous

Senior Director, Product Management

Cisco Customer Contact Business Unit