Rob Amster

This post comes from Rob Amster, Cisco’s Director of Contact Center Sales for the Americas. He directs the sales and go-to-market strategy for Contact Center sales, working in close partnership with Enterprise, Commercial and Public Sector leadership; engineering; and solutions marketing.

In my role, I speak with many business leaders about customer care strategy and goals. Sometimes, like now, our conversations turn to industry shake-ups. We saw it with Nortel in 2009, Aspect in 2016, and now with Avaya.

In times like these, you may worry about your contact-center solution – and the impact on your customers:

  • Will my solution still have support?
  • Will my maintenance costs rise?
  • What about new capabilities and innovation?

If you’re responsible for your company’s customer care or unified communications (UC) solutions, these questions can keep you up at night.

But there’s good news. Many businesses have successfully changed contact-center and UC vendors. In fact, most of our new Cisco contact center customers formerly used Avaya.

I recently spoke separately with leaders from two such companies–Apria Healthcare and Experian®—who shared some of their experiences migrating to Cisco.

Jeff Scanlon is vice president of Cloud and Platform Services at Experian, a leading global information services company.

Experian has been using multiple Avaya and Aspect telephony platforms to connect with customers, creating a complex technology ecosystem. According to Jeff, Experian’s UC environment is a “hodgepodge” of solutions.

“Moving forward, we want our customers to see one Experian,” Jeff explains. “Instead of having to hang up and dial a different phone number depending on their service needs, our customers should have one seamless journey.”

“We chose to move to a new contact-center solution because we recognized the limitations of our existing solutions,” Jeff says. “We already knew and had experience with Cisco’s strengths in networking and security. Cisco’s strength in support and customer service were also major factors.” A rigorous RFP process led Experian to choose a Cisco contact center and collaboration solution, based on breadth of capabilities, cost, and strong customer service.

“With Cisco customer care and UC technology, we plan to offer a unified customer experience across all our products and services,” Jeff says. Experian intends to offer customer service using voice and digital channels such as email, chat, and social. Mobile application integration and co-browse are also important.

I asked Jeff what advice he would give to companies that may be concerned about their existing contact center providers. “Put the consumer first, not technology,” he replied immediately. “Provide the experience they want.”

Apria Healthcare
Danielle Tucker is a senior telecommunications engineer at Apria, one of the leading home-healthcare suppliers in the United States and a provider of clinical services and equipment.

Apria’s contact center and UC environments grew in part from acquisitions, resulting in a mix of technology from Avaya, Nortel, Aspect, Evolve IP, and others. “It was getting more and more difficult for us to support and manage everything,” Danielle explains. “Even queuing calls could be a challenge.”

Apria wanted to migrate to one platform with one roadmap, in the cloud. “We wanted a customer-care solution from a vendor we felt confident in,” Danielle says. “And the cloud is a better environment for managing our many branches and home workers.”

Apria selected Cisco cloud contact center and collaboration technology delivered by a Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) partner. “We chose Cisco after an exhaustive RFP process,” Danielle explains. “Cisco supports our broad-based requirements, and we like their stability as a vendor. We also appreciate now having more control over our solution. We don’t have to pay somebody else when we want to make changes.”

Apria is looking forward to connecting patients to the right agents more quickly, and making better use of agent resources. Over time, they plan to offer support to customers via additional channels such as chat, email, video, and mobile. Ultimately, Danielle envisions a single platform for both UC and customer care that further enhances Apria’s environment and lowers costs.

Danielle was emphatic when I asked what advice she would give to other businesses who may be worried about their customer care technology or vendor: “Don’t put off switching until it’s too late! The migration is manageable if you start small and then add on,” she says. “The key is to get started.”

I can’t put it any better than Danielle and Jeff have. Their companies took action in a time of industry unrest, and they’re glad they did.

Does your business need to take action, too? Learn about our Cisco customer care solutions.


Kim Austin

No Longer with Cisco