Easy On Hold, the leading innovator in streaming music on hold and queue music for contact centers has received a prestigious partner recognition: Genesys Technology Partner.
The need for multichannel communications platforms has never been stronger. A leader in customer engagement solutions is Genesys, makers of Engage, Genesys Cloud, and PureConnect platforms. The $2 billion Daly City, California-based company, founded in 1990, focuses on medium and large business enterprises by providing complex contact center software. In 2019, Easy On Hold began working on a unique streaming queue music solution for the Engage platform, resulting in two successful product launches in 2020.
Innovative Streaming Queue Music Audio Solution
Easy On Hold’s Streaming Queue Music solution is a powerful streaming audio solution for contact centers. It efficiently improves customer satisfaction in the contact center voice channel by replacing repetitive, inflexible queue music and messaging with automated, easily managed streams of custom audio content. Curated licensed music (including popular artists) and carefully timed announcements create meaningful, differentiated caller experiences. SQM significantly reduces time spent managing audio files and eliminates the risk of playing out-of-date messages.
This innovative solution was built to enhance and maintain quality customer experiences in the contact center queue, which was historically limited by the requirement to use static audio files. Streaming in-queue audio messaging can be aligned with caller profiles and various stages in the customer journey. Prerecorded emergency or “standby” announcements can be launched with a single click in the Easy On Hold Cloud Customer Portal.
Genesys Engage Platform Integration
One or more streams generated by the EOH Cloud Streaming Server are processed by the Streaming Queue Music™ appliance (cloud or premise) into a format accepted by the Media Control Platform (MCP). The Genesys Engage supports HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) when treatments are applied on a Routing Point when a call on the DN is placed on hold, or when a call is waiting on an ACD Queue. To use this feature, SIP Server must be integrated with MCP version 220.127.116.11 or later.
The marketing and business development teams are able to log in to the Easy On Hold user portal to configure all content (schedules, message priorities, music selection, etc.). Streams are generated by the EOH Cloud Streaming Server and connectivity is managed by the Stream Queue Music Server.
Customer-generated content can be hosted, or music and voice content can be provided by Easy On Hold. Contact centers should consider customizing streams with music that supports the brand image. Easy On Hold offers fully licensed music, including popular mainstream music. Another benefit of streams over files is that streams allow an unlimited number of tracks.
Content in the stream is no longer delivered as a single audio presentation (a loop of music with the same topics in the same order). Instead, individual topics are randomized, which removes the predictability that often causes “hold time” to be perceived as longer than it is. Voice scripts are brief, crafted “for the ear” and managed by automated start and stop dates. Time-sensitive topics can be prioritized to play more often than other messages.
Streaming Queue Music Technical Notes
- The EOH Streaming Queue Music™ appliance (cloud or premise) transcodes to one or more customized HLS streams (standard HLS does not work in MCP).
- Streams are generated by a proprietary EOH streaming engine in 128k or 192k http mp3.
- MCP handles streams as MOH resources assigned to skills.
- The use of caching web proxy servers on-prem will reduce incoming traffic.
- If necessary, MCP can failover to static, local audio files and attempt stream re-connection.
- SQM is load balanced to provide redundancy.
- Stream status and connectivity are continuously monitored.
- Logging and monitoring are viewable in SQM dashboard (where made available).
- Volume and audio EQ can be modified in SQM.
Streaming Queue Music Development Motivated by Customer Experience
The development of Streaming Queue Music in Genesys Engage has been driven by Easy On Hold clients’ interest in improving the customer experience in the contact center. Customers stay loyal to a brand as a result of the experience they receive, say experts.
A SuperOffice study found that customer experience will be the top priority for most businesses in the next 5 years (see above graphic). Customer needs are rightfully receiving ultimate priority in today’s business strategy.
Brands need modern tools to quickly and efficiently satisfy customer needs, which is why contact center technology is more important than ever. Platforms such as Genesys Engage bring together multiple customer touch-points (chat, social, voice, etc.) to accommodate customers regardless of the communications channel they choose. Still, the channel of choice continues to be voice (the phone).
A 2019 Clutch Survey concluded, “Nearly 9 in 10 people (88%) prefer speaking to a live customer service agent over a phone menu, indicating the importance of a human touch.” And that was before the COVID-19 pandemic made face-to-face interaction obsolete, causing spikes in call volumes and epic hold times. 86% of consumers say they have to wait on hold every time they call a business (as reported by talkto.com).
In light of the importance of customer experience, the significant preference for the voice channel, and the inevitability of hold-time, contact centers must reassess the way callers are brought into queues and held while waiting for the human voice they desire.
There’s been a major move to chat, email, and other channels. But COVID-19 has shown the importance of voice as a channel, and for most organizations, voice isn’t going away. COVID has highlighted a new need for contact centers to be resilient. And nothing is more resilient — or faster to respond to changing problems — than an agent on the phone.Craig Robinson in the Genesys Blog
Streaming Queue Music Replacing IVR Announcements Inserted Over Hold Music
In most communication platform designs, the customer journey begins with an automated greeting. Next comes queue audio, (not the “on hold” audio), typically a background music file that repeats. The IVR is programmed with a variety of announcements, anything from, “all agents are busy” to information about self-help options, etc. These announcements “barge in” to interrupt the music. This arrangement sounds like a queue. It is what we think of when we think of waiting for an agent.
Why replace the typical IVR/queue voice interruptions over a background music track? The common format brings to mind countless unhappy experiences.Tim Brown, Easy On Hold Founder
In a recent article, Easy On Hold founder Tim Brown listed the shortcomings of the IVR/Queue when used as music and messages on hold. Brown recommends using streaming queue music with automated announcements designed by the marketing and business teams.
- Voice recordings are intrusive, abrupt and unprofessional
- Music is limited to “royalty-free” sound; the best music is licensed
- When background music “loops” or repeats, callers feel their hold time is longer than it is
- IVR announcements often fail to address caller needs; lack of customization
- Voices and voice quality change throughout caller experience, causing concern
- IVR announcements are owned by the contact center, not marketing or business teams
- IVR announcements are often programmed with no plan to change and update