In the event that you have been hanging out in Antarctica for the last decade, SMS is popular. It’s so popular, my 89 year old grandma does it. In 2012, Forrester Research estimated that 6 BILLION text messages are sent per day in the US (A large number of those are me asking callers to please text me instead of calling).
Interactive Intelligence introduced SMS routing in the CIC platform all the way back in version 2.3.1 around 2005. Initially, there were several entry barriers for integrating SMS with CIC in the United States, and most enhancements were geared towards international markets since the entry barriers were lower in other markets. Barriers such as mobile providers not making it easy to get short code services made getting SMS enabled tedious and long.
Recently though the SMS integration game has changed for the better. Genesys brought some much needed changes in PureCloud 2016 R4 with how SMS was handled. It could now link the original text message with a reply and preserve the entire SMS text thread. In addition, Interaction Administrator broker configuration was simplified. Also updated were:
- Improved SMS routing can route replies to the original agent or use keywords to route the reply to another agent or queue.
- Delivery receipts are supported when using selected Interactive Intelligence approved SMS brokers.
- Agents can choose different outbound numbers and even different SMS broker accounts for each outbound SMS message use case. Using the appropriate broker enables you to take advantage of lower rates for person to person outbound messages.
- Improved SMS resiliency makes SMS more like a stateful interaction channel (like Web Chat). Starting with CIC 2016 R4, the Interaction Recovery Service subsystem recovers SMS interactions with a transition that is almost seamless.
- Interaction Connect’s ability to handle inbound SMS interactions in PureConnect 2017 R3 (I could go on and bore you to tears with all the new functions added to the Interaction Connect web client in the last two years, it would resemble Ted Striker talking to his Airplane! seatmates about Elaine).
SMS brokers in the United States have stepped up to make SMS integration slightly easier. Brokers such as Twilio have made it relatively easy to add SMS functionality to your existing numbers.
PureConnect’s uses with SMS are numerous. For example, my optometrist sends automated SMS messages to her patients when they are closing the office unexpectedly. SMS interactions can be queued thru Interaction Attendant. Attendant can respond automatically informing the customer that an agent will be with them shortly, and then answered by an agent in an ACD workgroup. They can also be sent to an individual user, like a PR rep, to be answered. PureConnect can also initiate the SMS conversation by allowing the agent to send the SMS from the Interaction Desktop or Interaction Connect (2017 R3) clients. Metrics can then be pulled in reports like they are for web chat interactions.
A couple of things to keep in mind infrastructure wise:
- A reverse proxy is needed for switchover. Microsoft IIS is a commonly used solution and isn’t too difficult to setup and configure. Generally the reverse proxy resides in your organization’s DMZ between the internet and your internal network.
- SSL web certificates are needed for secure messaging between the reverse proxy and the SMS broker. Some brokers will allow you use self-signed certificates but this probably isn’t advisable. We would recommend using a 3rd party signed certificate.
With SMS integration becoming so easy, and the importance of SMS messaging being so pervasive in modern life, bringing these powerful features to bear in your PureConnect contact center for your customers really is an idea worth pursuing.
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