Business Communications A to Z: Second in a Series

    Receptionist+on+Phone+1Previously, we blogged about how confusing industry jargon can be for those new to the world of VoIP/UC or business communications in general. When you're not familiar with the lingo, encountering acronyms like CTI or CDR in a white paper can leave important details on the table.

    ShoreTel to the rescue. We're all about simplifying your UC (that's unified communications) experience. We've created a business communications glossary that can give you the ABCs of VoIP UC, PDQ.

    This blog is the second of a series that will demystify key UC phrases. First we'll make a statement loaded with specialized terms, then we'll translate it with help from our downloadable glossary.

    Our first blog in this series started at the historical beginning of UC and at the beginning of the alphabet, with a focus on the As.  This post focuses on the Cs and introduces:

    Collaborative Contact Centers

    Through advances in purpose-built UC, the old call center has become a full fledged, multimedia contact center. CTI has leveraged Caller ID with  CRM programs and other  communications-enabled applications, to give agents easy access to up-to-the-minute customer data, from CDR to expanded key CEBPs.  CSRs have so many more time-saving and information-enhancing advantages with a full contact center, from click to call to conferencing.  Today we are seeing the future: cloud-based VoIP UC, leading to lower capex.


    Through advances in unified communications solutions designed specifically to leverage lightning-fast Internet delivery and today's processing power, call centers have been transformed. What used to be a centrally-located bank of operators who handled sales and service phone calls has become a sophisticated network of information workers who handle large volumes of inbound and outbound calls, emails, chats, faxes and instant messages. These contact centers, with their advanced tools for account management, allow agents and supervisors to respond with a new immediacy and relevancy.

    Computer-telephony integration (CTI) has revolutionized customer service. Caller ID displays caller information before the phone is even answered. Customer relationship management  (CRM) software puts all customer sales and service history at a contact center agent's fingertips. Other communications-enabled applications directly integrate communications functionality into collaboration and notification tools  as well as reporting and analytics. For example, call detail records (CDRs)itemize all call activity for metrics analysis, and computer enabled business processes (CEBP)can integrate supply chain, accounting and shipping applications with the contact center's front-end sales.

    Customer service representativeshave so many more time-saving and information-enhancing advantages with a full contact center, from click to call's ability to launch a call directly from an on-screen contact list, to conferencing's ability to connect multiple team mates and resources simultaneously and share virtual meeting space. Business communications solutions continue to improve, and today we are seeing the future: cloud-based VoIP UC. A cloud-based "voice over Internet protocol" unified communications solution-- like ShoreTel Sky-- is not installed on-premise.  Instead, the business phone system is both hosted and managed by the provider, utilizing the provider’s secure data centers. Removing on-premise hardware and software installations can lead to lower capital expense (capex) for many businesses.  The future is here.

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