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Now You Can Use WebEx Devices for Zoom Meetings

In this new hybrid work world we are in, it can be frustrating to move between multiple meeting applications like Cisco WebEx, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and GoToMeeting. Because Telcion is a Cisco shop, we’ve been using Cisco WebEx for many years. Even though WebEx has been around for over two decades, it is still the industry standard for secure web conferencing and provides many useful features for today’s hybrid environment. 

I’ll be the first to say that WebEx was caught flat-footed when the pandemic hit. It just didn’t have some of the usability features that we have seen in other platforms. I might go so far as saying they had become somewhat complacent. That’s a dangerous place to be in the technology world, as it creates room for the competition to step in. 

Having said that, what I love about Cisco is that they don’t just sit around and watch what’s happening around them—they get back to innovating at a ferocious pace.  And they have done that with excellence this past year.  Cisco WebEx has been reinvigorated with a new user interface, compelling and useful features, and gorgeous devices (how often do we say that about tech devices?).

As much as I love all these new things, there was one issue that was driving me crazy—the inability to use other meeting apps with my awesome Cisco Webex video units. 

Cisco Webex devices have been tightly integrated with the Cisco Webex app to provide a seamless and delightful user experience. Inevitably, one of our vendors would schedule a meeting with a 3rd party app. Then, rather than our team coming together in a conference room with a WebEx Board, we’d sit at our desks and use our individual laptop cameras because that was the only way we could participate in the meeting.

I’m super happy that has all changed now.

With the latest release of Cisco Webex devices, Cisco now natively supports USB-C ports to enable passthrough capabilities for camera and audio. What this means is that you can connect your laptop via USB to any Cisco Webex device and be able to use that device as an extension of your PC for the purposes of using the camera and audio.  This effectively makes the device available for 3rd party conferencing apps and removes the barriers that we’ve had in the past.   

What if you have an existing Webex device that doesn’t have a USB option?  There is an excellent 3rd party solution out there from Inogeni that will enable this same functionality by being a mediator between the PC and the Webex Board.  So if you have the older style boards, you can still get this feature capability with an add-on product.    

Now our team can use the conference room with our existing Webex video boards to seamlessly join 3rd party conferences.  This makes our investment in this technology even more useful.    

 

This post was contributed by Lance Reid, our CEO. Lance has worked in the technology industry for over 25 years. He is a Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert and serves on Cisco’s SMB Advisory Board.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Additional Reading
How to Decide if You Need A Video Unit on Your Desk
5 Reasons Why You Should Switch to Cloud Calling
The Top 4 Security Tools to Keep Your Network Protected

FAQ: Cisco WebEx Cloud Contact Center

We’ve been talking about WebEx Contact Center all month long—reasons to switch to a cloud contact center and favorite features. Today we’re answering some frequently asked questions. If you have a question that’s not covered here, let us know!

FAQ #1: How does WebEx Contact Center licensing work?

Simply, the solution is sold by agent and supervisor licenses needed. There are additional layers to this question based on functionality and agent type, as well as the buying model.

Agent types

Standard Agent — “Standard agent provides essential functionality to voice-only call centers with typical or sophisticated needs. Standard Agent functionality includes browser-based agent desktop, inbound and outbound voice, call recording, touch-tone IVR, web and voice callbacks, and standard CRM connectors.” (source)

Premium Agent — “Premium Agent includes all Standard Agent features and adds omnichannel communication such as chat and email, multi-channel reporting and analytics, and supervisor monitoring and barge-in for all types of agents.” (source)

Buying models

Concurrent Agent — “the maximum quantity of Contact Center users who are simultaneously logged in to use the Webex Contact Center Enterprise software or services.” (source)

Named Agent — “a unique Contact Center user who logs in in any given month to use the Webex Contact Center software or services.” (source)

Other features can be licensed within the solution and can be purchased a la carte via agent count. Features like Workforce Optimization can be added per your agent count requirement and will also have a committed agent amount and overage for going above committed user counts.

All user licensing is subscription-based and can be prepaid, or paid monthly or annually. Auto renewals are also available for ease of continuing with the Flex subscription model for contact center.

FAQ #2: Can I transfer my existing on-premise UCCX licensing into WebEx Contact Center licensing?

The short answer is yes!

Value Transfer Credits (Purchase Adjustments) can be entered on a per-line basis through the Cisco Collaboration Flex Plan model. The Flex plan is the subscription model used to purchase the solution. The process for calculating transfer credits and SWSS residuals take into account how many perpetual licenses you own, and the software support time left on those licenses.

FAQ #3: What are some optional add-on features for WebEx Contact Center?

WebEx Calling Integration
WebEx Contact Center supports several easy-to-provision telephony options, including integration with WebEx Calling.

WebEx Experience Management
WebEx Experience Management (WebEx XM) is Cisco’s next generation Customer Experience Management solution. It improves customer and agent experience by giving businesses greater insights across the entire user journey.

WebEx XM maps customer and agent experiences across all touchpoints in the organization before, during, and after the contact center interaction—consolidating data that was once siloed—and uses predictive analytics to make informed decisions on how to improve customer and agent experiences and create positive business outcomes.

WebEx Workforce Optimization
There are three components of WebEx Workforce Optimization:

  • Workforce management — Schedule and manage staff.
  • Quality management — Measure agent efficiency and performance.
  • WFO analytics — Analyze speech and desktop actions to gain insights.

Outbound Campaigns
This option improves agent productivity and overall contact center performance by allowing agents to spend more time talking with customers and less time trying to reach them.

PSTN Services
See next question below for more on this.

FAQ #4: What PSTN connectivity is available for WebEx Contact Center?

Cisco PSTN for WebEx Contact Center provides voice telecommunications services including toll-free inbound, DID/Local Number Service inbound, and outbound calling. Purchasing telecom services via Cisco SKUs simplifies ordering and speeds deployment (frequently within 7 days).

Cisco PSTN is available as an add-on to WebEx Contact Center and WebEx Contact Center Enterprise. This service is available in the contiguous United States, and Canada.

Some features of Cisco PSTN are:

  • Simple pricing, with a flat-rate for predictable cost with “all you can call” usage*
  • No metering/reporting of PSTN usage
  • No additional initial or recurring charge for acquiring or porting DIDs or TFNs (some limits may apply)
  • Bundles need to be purchased for all agents (not subsets)

*There are two “all you can call” bundles:

Basic telephony bundle — Inbound local number access + PSTN outbound termination to agent
Per peak concurrent agent per month

Bundle 2 — Inbound toll-free number access
Per peak concurrent calls (agent + IVR)

Available as committed and overage. Committed quantity can be zero with all overage billed monthly in arrears. Overage price is 20% higher than committed price.

FAQ #5: What certifications does WebEx Contact Center have?

  • CATO-compliant
  • HIPAA-compliant
  • GDPR-compliant
  • PCI-DSS Level 1-compliant

Additional Reading
5 Benefits of Cloud Calling
3 Reasons to Move to a Cloud Contact Center
Cloud Contact Centers: Favorite Features

Cloud Contact Centers: Favorite Features

Last week, we talked about why moving to a cloud contact center is so compelling. Today, let’s talk through the various features that are available in the cloud versus what you might typically get on-premise.  

Customer Experience

When it comes to contact centers today, your customers no longer want to interact with you strictly by phone. They are digital first.

Customers want to engage your agents using chat in real-time, often directly from your website. They want to use email. Or they want to just text from their mobile phone. 

Your job is to make it as simple as possible for your customers to reach your business in whatever method makes the most sense to them. And in today’s world, there are many options. 

Most of these features are available with traditional on-premise contact center solutions, but they require additional licensing and special configuration. 

With a cloud solution, these features can be enabled with a click. 

Virtual agents are now the norm and can be offered 24/7 to your customers along with other self-service options. They can gather the initial client request using AI and transfer to a human agent if needed.   

Call Recording

Call recording is a feature that most clients want but can’t always afford. It requires more server hardware, more licensing, and more storage. 

The cloud has none of these requirements and call recording can be spun up as needed.  Not to mention you get easy to use tools for searching and managing these recordings.  

High Availability

Another feature that’s often desired but not always affordable is high availability. 

Naturally, your contact center needs to stay online and available.  The hard part is that for on-premise solutions, you often have to keep the pair of servers in the same data center in order to meet database replication requirements. 

And, it makes it more difficult to have remote agents accessing the contact center inside your data center. 

If the data center becomes unreachable for any reason, or unreachable from certain sites, or if the call path is from a remote site that becomes unreachable, it causes a lot of problems and reduces the capacity of the contact center. 

With a cloud contact center, you don’t have these problems. You can have geographic redundancy across data centers and use an interface that just needs internet access – no VPN or phone hardware required. Just a headset and a computer and you’re good to go, on site or at home.  

Customer Experience Surveys

Customer experience surveys can be offered at the end of interactions and provide agents immediate visibility into how they can improve the experience for future customers.  

Easy Call Flow Management

One of the key components of an on-premise call center that is often difficult to deal with is the management of the scripts and call flow. This often requires dedicated resources that have specific app development experience. 

With the cloud, that is no longer the case.  The tools used to implement and manage call flow are much easier to work with and allow the business user to do the development instead of an IT engineer.   

There are many other features that are more readily available in the cloud. We recommend taking a close look at Webex Cloud Contact Center for your contact center needs. You can learn more here.

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