XML is designed to be an easy way of exchanging information between devices and it can be a powerful tool to make sure everyone in the enterprise gets the data they need when they need it.
Short for Extensible Markup Language, XML was developed in the 1990s to provide a set of rules for encoding information in a format that’s both human and machine readable. Formats based on XML are used by productivity tools like Microsoft Office and Web applications like XHTML and RSS feeds.
In a business environment this allows the exchange of material between different systems and facilitates the interchange between voice and data networks. In an environment that has IP phones this means that you can display messages on the phone itself. This allows you to show caller information or broadcast general messages via the telephone system.
Benefits of XML use
Businesses with Cisco IP phone systems for example can take advantage of Cisco XML applications to deliver a number of benefits:
* Broadcast messages across all devices
* Display information about callers
* Show status for call centre operators
* Indicate availability to other users
In a busy environment like a call centre, these features can help to make the operation more efficient in a number of ways. Broadcast messages for example can be used to send out general information such as details of meetings. They are also useful for alerting people to performance indicators such as the number of calls waiting. Messages can be shown on the phone’s display or you can opt to broadcast recorded or live audio.
Using what’s known as a screen pop application you can link your phone system to your databases to display information about customers as calls come in. Thanks to the screen space available on an IP phone this can be much more than basic caller information. You can for example choose to show the customer’s spend to date, whether an account is on stop and so on. Systems are available to link to most popular databases so that you can adapt the display information to suit your immediate needs.
Agent status display shows operators their current status in a clear, easy-to-read manner. This helps prevent mistakes like leaving the phone set to ready when the operator is away on a break. You can incorporate reasons so that supervisors can see why an operator is in a particular state and a timer to show how long the status has been set.
An extension of this is to incorporate a presence display as part of the system’s directory. This means that you can see at a glance whether someone is in the office so you don’t waste time calling people when they’re unavailable. You can get this to link to calendar application so it can automatically show the next time someone is free, making for greater productivity.
For any business that relies heavily on telephone contact with customers, an IP phone system together with Cisco XML applications can help make for more efficient operation. The information delivered ensures staff are more productive and helps deliver a better service.
AUTHOR BIO: Ben Joseph is a freelance writer and business analyst, he recommends any telephone-based business to look at customized Cisco XML applications to increase efficiency.
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