A new idea?  Step back a minute.  Remember the days when call blending was all the rage?  Any self-respecting vendor claimed that they could blend inbound and outbound voice queues.

Just to remind ourselves....

.... call volume builds up on an inbound campaign, breaching service targets.  The system looks for agents with the right skills and finds them on an outbound campaign.  An algorithm then starts up which assesses matters such as outbound calls in progress, how many agents are needed on the inbound campaign and without human intervention moves one or more agents across from the outbound campaign to the inbound campaign in an orderly way.  Result – SLA on the inbound campaign back under control.

Sounds straight forward, but for the operation to work effectively it means that the software must have effective control of both the inbound and the outbound activities, and that these are not siloed activities.

Now fast forward to today.  Multimedia management is all the rage and, increasingly, call centers manage queues not just for voice, but for email, chat and SMS.  What price blending now – and is it still relevant?

Well, some call center activities are undoubtedly siloed and agents will be focusing on just one activity, be it chat, outbound voice or email.  That's OK for some – but in the call center of tomorrow supervisors will want multi-skilled agents who can handle all media types to respond to shifts in the patterns of communications.  The customer will be king and will dictate how the call center responds to him.

Not only will agents have wider skills but crucially, call centers can't rely on siloed media channels any more.  Depending on workloads there will be growing demand to shift agents around to keep SLAs in check and make sure that customer response times are managed properly.

The way to do this is by blending across all media channels, hence the term multimedia blending.

Your solution may manage all media channels but the key to blending is that the software does this seamlessly, so that the blending algorithm can kick in as soon as SLAs get out of control. Be aware of any "multimedia solution" where you have to manually modify an agent or queue to keep SLAs under control.

If you want to offer a competitive service to your customers in the future, it is wise to be prepared. In the coming world of customer service, multiskilled agents and automatic or seamless multimedia blending are going to be the norm.


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