What is Aspect Zipwire?
Aspect Zipwire is a cloud-hosted app that provides call center services and multi-communication channels, both inbound and outbound. It is designed for organisations of all sizes and provides tools to manage sales, marketing and customer service. It is one element of a suite of contact center, communications and customer management products produced by Aspect; the others include Aspect Via, Aspect Unified IP, Aspect Prophecy, and Aspect CXP (Customer Experience Platform).
With Zipwire, customers can be assisted across all self-service and agent-assisted communication channels – these include email, web, SMS, mobile, video, live chat and social media. All background customer activity and data is captured and can be accessed, so customers can move from one communication channel to another, without an agent having to ask unnecessary questions or understand intent.
The solution uses intelligent skills-based routing to ensure that, with a minimum of waiting, customers to a call center are connected with the right agent. Outbound call functionality enable users to manage marketing campaigns, with advanced tools such as automated IVR (interactive voice response), automatic and manual dialling, and lead processing.
Although the product is theoretically aimed at businesses of all size, in reality the capabilities on offer and the resultant price tag makes it more suited to businesses of mid-size and enterprise-level. Aspect Zipwire is used in a range of industries, including healthcare, financial services, retail, telecoms, transport, travel and hospitality, education and government.
Zipwire integrates with a number of leading CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solutions. These include Salesforce, Zendesk and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. These integrations provide important customer information to call center agents when responding to, or making calls, and also help personalise self-service interactions via a company’s website. They also provide valuable additional data for reporting and analysis purposes.
Furthermore, through its APIs, Zipwire can be integrated with the other products in the Aspect suite.
Other Strategic Alliance Partners
Beyond its CRM integrations, Aspect also has strategic partnerships with a number of leading technology and customer service companies, most notably Microsoft and AWS (Amazon Web Services). Through its tie-up with Microsoft, users can integrate their call center capabilities with programs like Skype, Dynamics 365, Office 365 and Azure. Meanwhile, through AWS, subscribers get access to the latest advances in cloud computing technology.
With the unified desktop, agents can manage customer interactions which come for multiple communication channels – voice, email, SMS, video, social media and more. They can also switch between them seamlessly.
Zipwire offers a range of tools which enable managers and supervisors to monitor agent performance and availability, and to support them in their work, including call recording and listening, screen-sharing and interaction scoring.
Aspect offers a workforce management application. This enables organisation to automate employee scheduling, track both current and historical performance, and create logic-based business rules and workflows, and model “what-if” scenarios.
Because the solution is entirely cloud-hosted, it can be scaled up or down as business requirements dictate, without the need for additional investment in hardware. That means extra capacity can be added to deal with seasonal demand or major sales promotions, and then scaled down again when business volume returns to more normal levels.
Aspect is a large company with several thousand employees. That means that all their products are well-supported and resourced, with teams dedicated to continual improvement and development of them. It also means that they can offer service levels and support which smaller vendors just cannot match.
Automatic Call Distribution (ACD): Zipwire offers ACD capabilities to ensure that customers are connected to the right agents with the minimum delay. Companies can configure their systems so that calls are diverted to the next available agent, or use intelligent routing so that calls are allocated to agents or teams with the appropriate skills or knowledge to answer specific customer enquiries. IVR functionality allows customers to choose from a range of menu options when connected with a company, or to opt for a selection of self-service tools.
The functionality can also be deployed to enable an organisation to carry out automatic post-enquiry customer satisfaction surveys.
Call Recording: All inbound and outbound calls are automatically recorded by the system. They can later be listened to by supervisors for the purposes of agent performance monitoring and evaluation, as well as for coaching and training purposes.
Aspect recognises that consumers nowadays demand, and expect, to be able to contact a business through multi-channels, and to switch between them according to need or convenience. Accordingly, the application supports voice, web, live chat, video, SMS, IM, and social media transactions. Furthermore, it helps users because, irrespective of which channel a customer chooses, their information is captured and made available to call center agents. Customers do not have to repeat information, or state their intent again and again.
In addition, the application ensures customer continuity when they switch between self-service functionality and live interaction with an agent.
Intelligent Outbound Dialling Capabilities
Zipwire offers several different outbound call dialling options, both automatic and manual. Auto dialling allows businesses to call phone numbers automatically, until a call is answered. Once a respondent picks up the phone, they will either be connected to a live person, or will hear a recorded message.
Predictive Dialling: Mainly used to call customers or sales prospects, predictive dialling enables an agent to call multiple numbers at the same time. A call will only be connected when somebody answers their phone. The tool will automatically scale up, or down, the number of simultaneous calls an agent makes, based on dropped call rates, or the goals of a specific marketing campaign.
Preview Dialling: This is a manual way to make call. Frequently used by agents when making a B2B (Business-to-Business) call, Preview Dialling allows an agent to access customer records and history on-screen. To make a call, they just need to click a button.
Precision Dialling: Precision dialling is becoming an increasingly important tool for call and contact center agents, as successive governments and jurisdictions tighten-up the legislation on cold-calling. The most recent example of this has occurred in the UK, where only customers who have specifically “opted-in” for such a service can be called. Companies now, in many countries, run the risk of large fines and even criminal sanctions for breaching the regulations on nuisance calls.
Zipwire uses intelligent precision dialling to optimise dialling activities. This means that calls are only made to selected customers or leads, at the right time and with the right message, and by agents with the appropriate skills.
Audio and Video Chat
Users can choose, with a simple click of a button, whether to enable audio only, or audio and video conversations, between call center agents, and customers.
Local and Toll Free Numbers
Zipwire enables organisations to provide their customers with both local and toll-free numbers. Local numbers have been proven to increase customer response rates significantly – people are more inclined to answer an unknown caller if the call originated in their locality. Toll-free numbers encourage customers to call a business, knowing that it will cost them nothing. In fact the solution goes further by giving customers the option of using the same toll-free number, whether they are calling an organisation or sending an SMS message.
Workforce Management Tools
Workforce management tools help organisations ensure that their contact centers are staffed by the right people with the right skills at the right time. A real-time directory, for example, lets agents know if their colleagues are on or off-line, are engaged in a call with a customer, or are busy with follow-up work and so are unavailable to answer calls. Chat and conferencing tools allow agents to talk together, or to conference in colleagues on customer calls, when additional knowledge or expertise is required to answer a client query.
Tools such as call recording, customer interaction scoring, screen-sharing and screen-capture can be used by supervisors to provide feedback on agent performance. They can also be used for training and coaching purposes.
Reporting and Analytics
With Zipwire, managers and supervisors can easily access and drill down on KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) across all communication channels. This helps them more easily identify operational and quality issues, and design and implement appropriate corrective strategies. The solution offers a range of pre-configured templates and reports that can be configured to analyse historical data according to business needs.
Performance management can also be pushed down to agent level, by setting KPIs for them that are aligned with corporate metrics, following the time-honoured maxim of “what gets measured, gets done”.
In addition, the solution provides real-time dashboards which can be customised to display key analytical data relating to agents, sales campaigns and business metrics.
The application allows agents working in blended call centers – those handling both inbound and outbound calls – to switch effortlessly between the two modes. This means, for example, that in periods of high demand, or during peak business hours, agents could primarily focus on incoming call traffic to respond to customer demands and issues. They could then switch to outbound calls to sales leads and prospects at less busy times, or when sales and marketing campaigns are being run.
Unlike the overwhelming majority of other Customer Service and Support Apps, Aspect Zipwire does not offer a subscription plan. Instead pricing is on a quotation-based pay-as-you-go-model. Interested parties need to contact the vendor directly for more details.
Equally, there is no free trial of the solution on offer either. However, there is a product video which can be viewed from their website.
Aspect Zipwire is a cloud-hosted web-based platform that supports Windows and Mac Operating Systems. The solution offers a web and mobile API that integrates with various mobile devices and websites, enabling customers, with just a single click, to initiate text, video or voice chat with a call center agent.
Via Zipwire Mobile, and Zipwire API, customers and agents are able to share documents, images and videos across websites and mobile platforms, such as tablets and smartphones.
Their website offers a range of developer resources, including an introduction to their APIs and their benefits. In addition, guidance is provided for integrating third party technologies with Aspect products in order to provide customised solutions. In addition, Aspect makes available a range of tools which companies can use to create their own Self-Service capabilities on company websites, or through separate customer portals.
The website can be accessed in a number of languages, with German, Spanish, Portuguese and Japanese among the options, along with several versions of English.
Aspect is a large company, and provides appropriately resourced customer support. Customers can access email and telephone support 24/7, with all issues dealt with through a case management basis. There are tiered escalation procedures in place to ensure priority is given to business critical issues. The vendor also offers a live chat facility for sales enquiries.
For those who prefer a self-service option, the Aspect Community Portal gives them access to a forum where they can access expert knowledge, and share their experiences with other subscribers.
Aspect adopts a proactive approach to support; their Customer Care programme ensures that customers get free software updates, and regular service packs.
In terms of training, the vendor offers a subscription service, the Aspect Active Learning Portal. This gives users access to a range of learning tools, online classes, webinars and videos. In addition, subscribers who are appropriately geo-located can attend physical classes in one of their 5 worldwide training centres. In addition, Aspect offers a well-stocked Resource Library on their website, Customer Success Stories, a glossary of terms, and a helpful Call Center capability self-assessment tool.
Beyond that subscribers to Zipwire get access to Aspect’s team of solution engineers. They specialise in developing complex integration solutions with multiple technology platforms, helping business optimise the investment they made already have made in IT applications. They offer a number of dedicated practices including Agent and Desktop Experiences; Digital Solutions; CRM platforms, Collaboration and Business Processes; and Microsoft and Oracle Integration.
Aspect appears frequently at customer events, trade shows and conferences.