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Cisco Focuses on Speedy Implementation and Complexity Reduction to Win Customers

Banking Customers Turn to Fast and Flexible Solutions to Handle Agent Onboarding and Hybrid Work

Webex AI product enhancements

In today’s world, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of new CX technologies and features. Many CCaaS vendors are quick to highlight the number of new features or capabilities implemented in their latest product releases, or spotlight the use of cutting-edge technologies, such as the use of generative AI and large language models (LLM).

While additional and cutting-edge features are necessary for ensuring a platform or product remains fresh and current in the marketplace, few end customers select vendors based solely on a line-by-line, feature-set comparison, instead focusing on solving for articulated and unarticulated customer needs. While the presence or absence of a certain capability or feature may raise an eyebrow among buyers, it is usually not a deal-closer or breaker.

Furthermore, true product differentiation by feature set or technology is fleeting at best; once one vendor introduces a ‘shiny new thing,’ it is bound to promptly show up in competitors’ offerings, who may, in turn, be introducing another shiny new object on their platforms.

That is why the key goal of vendors in the CX space should be to figure out a way to implement the technology with as little friction as possible, while controlling costs and supporting the buyer’s goal of improving customer experience and outcomes.

Indeed, after searching for on-premises solutions with little success, Memphis, Tenn.-based First Horizon Bank chose to work with Cisco, whose Webex Contact Center was selected to maintain and manage call center agents, and migrate to new, self-service options.

The ability to add and onboard contact center staff quickly and efficiently was a key decision driver for the bank, which officially transitioned from Cisco Call Manager to Webex Contact Center in March 2021. “We actually on-boarded 1,500 agents in just five to 10 minutes by being able to import, create, and skill users appropriately,” explains Jason O’Dell, First Horizon Bank’s VP for Voice Services Manager. “After a 15-minute training video, those individuals were operational with what they needed to answer customers during the merger and acquisition so that we didn’t have excessively long wait times for our new customers.”

Another key driver for O’Dell was the ability to implement the solution incrementally, ensuring that agents could be quickly on-boarded, without interrupting their ability to provide an excellent customer experience. That said, the use of Webex Contact Center, which includes several automations, allowed First Horizon to increase its self-service rate average to 87%, reversing the steady declines the bank had been seeing in recent years. This also allowed live agents to focus more of their effort on more complex or challenging customer issues.

First Horizon also implemented Webex Events to engender better information sharing during the COVID-19 pandemic, and used Webex Meetings and Webex Apps to keep remote employees connected and engaged.

While Cisco markets the Webex Suite as a singular, comprehensive tool, it has the ability to easily integrate other Cisco products, as well as non-Cisco, third-party tools to ensure the organization’s needs are met, first and foremost.

“An openness to work with competitors is critical for a collaboration platform,” O’Dell says. “By joining forces and working with partners, it helps keep Webex a frontrunner and leader because it can integrate with open platforms to ensure that tools are always staying current and maintaining stability.”

Another Cisco customer, Premier America Credit Union (PACU), cited simplicity and rapid implementation as its decision drivers. When the Chatsworth, California-based credit union with 110,000 members and 350 agents needed to support communications between remote contact center workers, team members, and customer members, the company sought out a hybrid-capable solution with robust security.

Deployed to allow staff to work from home, the Webex Suite establishes a single platform for internal calls, video conferencing, meetings, messaging, and company events, and allows workers to connect via a connected device that connects to a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) at PACU.

“To enable staff to work from home, we only needed to send team members with a VDI thin client, computer monitor, and headset,” says Janaki Rao, SVP & Chief Technology Officer, Premier America Credit Union. “There’s no physical phone, no PC or laptop required. It was quick and easy for us to support our members and team members.”

PACU now has 350 Webex licenses and connects 22 branches and headquarters. Webex has become part of the day-to-day work experience; it is used for staff training, all-hands announcements, and on-boarding.

In both customer stories, it is clear that rather than the presence of a “silver bullet” technology feature, Cisco was able to win customer business by focusing on their immediate needs, implementing a solution quickly, and leveraging cloud-based technology to ensure flexibility and scalability with other products within the Cisco family and third-party providers.

Author Information

Keith has over 25 years of experience in research, marketing, and consulting-based fields.

He has authored in-depth reports and market forecast studies covering artificial intelligence, biometrics, data analytics, robotics, high performance computing, and quantum computing, with a specific focus on the use of these technologies within large enterprise organizations and SMBs. He has also established strong working relationships with the international technology vendor community and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and events.

In his career as a financial and technology journalist he has written for national and trade publications, including BusinessWeek,, Investment Dealers’ Digest, The Red Herring, The Communications of the ACM, and Mobile Computing & Communications, among others.

He is a member of the Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP).

Keith holds dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Magazine Journalism and Sociology from Syracuse University.


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