As a parent with two sons active in athletics, I spend a lot of time attending sporting events. I am fascinated with how coaches evaluate the performance of their players to help them improve.

At the professional level, coaches use historic data to win. One example is the way a baseball manager positions outfielders, depending on where the batter is most likely to hit the ball.

Managing contact center is similar. You want to position your team to know what customers want. If your contact center team “drops the ball” — if they don’t answer a question or fail to respond in time — you can lose a customer.

At Cisco, we help contact centers keep and win customers. To help you do that, we’re constantly adjusting our solutions to industry and consumer changes. One of those changes includes the use of informal messaging for customer service.

Cisco technology is at the forefront of helping organizations learn what clients and customers want. We’ve been innovating in this area for years. We introduced SocialMiner in 2010 to help you manage social media messaging and track how your customers respond to your products and services.

With SocialMiner’s shared work queues, you can assemble a team of experts to respond to specific questions or concerns from customers.

Care Assistant steps up service

The Cisco Spark platform enables a new level of customer care messaging. The first Cisco Spark customer care offer, Care Assistant, uses artificial intelligence (AI) and human experts. If the AI recognizes a question or request, Care Assistant provides an answer. If the AI does not know the answer, Care Assistant bot escalates the question to people who either reply or start a one-on-one conversation.

Care Assistant is a good fit for teams that don’t consider themselves a contact center but do provide support. My experience working with the individuals that support thousands of Cisco salespeople gives me a good perspective of the entire team. They provide resources, support, and opportunities for the internal use of new products. The team needed an easy way to manage incoming questions and product-activation requests. Informal messaging, like traditional customer care, has many requirements, including:

  • Queuing: Track and validates whether all incoming requests and questions are addressed.
  • Reporting: Using informal commands to show simple things, like the number of questions waiting for answers. The focus here is on customers and less about the individual or team efficiency.
  • Administration: Simple management of messaging, such as limiting who can take incoming requests. (Because I’m a fan of enabling groups of experts to review requests I am still wrestling with this approach.)

Learn more about Care Assistant for Cisco Spark.

Looking ahead, informal customer care will continue to supplement formal customer care. I believe everyone in the organization should be able to provide support to customers. And I expect to see new ways of blending and integrating informal and formal customer care. Winning new clients and keeping existing customers happy is the name of the game in customer care. To that end, Saddletree Research recognized Cisco with a Kachina award for its convergence strategy for bots, AI, and messaging.

Are there places in your business that could benefit from informal care? If so, I encourage you to try Cisco Spark and the Care Assistant. Or use bot integrations with Cisco Contact Center Enterprise and Contact Center Express. I think your teams will thank you for it.



Carmen Logue

Product Manager

Cisco Customer Care Business Unit