How JavaScript rocks the call center and why you should care

Spoken | August 9, 2016

How JavaScript can add simplicity, speed and scalability to your call center

Javascript computer iconby Heidi Miller, Chief Conversation Officer

Even if you’re not a programmer or call center technology specialist, you’ve probably heard of JavaScript. Maybe you saw a notification about it during an interaction on your web browser. JavaScript has become the go-to language for browser-based and Software as a Service (SaaS) client side offerings, due primarily to its versatility, ease of use and publicly accessible documentation. It is all but ubiquitous, being natively built into all browsers with no additional plugins or installation required, unlike, for example, Java.

JavaScript and the call center

So why is JavaScript the savior of the call center in particular? Three little letters: CTI. Computer-telephony integration provides the means of bringing the call and the caller together for the agent and has been the thorn in the side of call centers since the invention of Interactive Voice Response (IVR). Why? The telephony data gathered by the IVR must be delivered to the call center agent’s desktop in real time. Without CTI, the caller will have to repeat her information to the agent after entering it once into the IVR–a key factor in degrading the customer experience. And CTI is the Achilles heel of most contact centers. Gilad Odinak, CTO of Spoken Communications, comments, “It’s the hardest element to maintain, the easiest to break and one of the most difficult to integrate.”

The primary reason for the difficulty of integration has to do with the fact that programming the agent desktop and programming the server side involve two entirely different disciplines and protocols. Server side and client side programming are traditionally different, and never the twain shall meet. Or rather, they could meet, but since each requires a different set of programming skills, the integration is often rather complex and brittle.

The server side

Historically, programming the server side (telephony and routing) is usually written in C or Java. The most popular manufacturers, Avaya and Cisco, have proprietary languages that require specialists to program. Most call center cloud vendors use either proprietary languages or Java. With no inherent ability to talk to other systems, those traditional server side tools require a paid specialist for CTI integration, which adds both complexity and cost. Additionally, IVR systems are often written in VXML–a language that is designed to be used statically.

The client side

Agent with salesforce screenOn the other hand, client side programming (CRM such as Salesforce or Seibel) involves entirely different languages from the server side.

These days, it’s not uncommon for client side applications to be in JavaScript, since much of the CRM work is done in a browser, which is the natural environment for JavaScript. And because the key issue with CTI complexity results from the disparity of programming languages, it’s not uncommon for much to be lost in translation between the client and server sides. As a result, the customer experience often suffers for it. Additionally, the increased complexity results in higher costs for call centers.

However, it’s still rare to see server-side telephony programmed in JavaScript, although a small but increasing number of innovative call center technology providers are seeing the value of doing so.

How to rock your call center using JavaScript

At Spoken, we are big believers in simplicity, speed and scalability. So we’ve taken the leap: the Spoken ACD, IVR products and reporting tools are all programmed in JavaScript. In order to improve the customer experience and simplify integration, Spoken has integrated both the client and server side using JavaScript. The benefits are numerous:

  • Resource conservation The same programmers can be used to code client and server side applications; no specialists required
  • Data integrity  With the same programmers on both sides, it’s inherently easier to ensure the correctness of data passed between the client and server sides
  • Increased speed and reliability The same language translates to fewer outages, fewer bugs and fewer complications. Speed to market and reliability both increase.
  • Decreased cost With increased reliability and speed as well as resource conservation, the cost to end customers is decreased.

“JavaScript is not only versatile enough to support all these programming tasks, it’s also got a huge developer community. We made the decision to unify our server and client side languages to make our products more accessible to our users,” says Odinak.

JavaScript has been on the rise of late, and some technologists are seeing the value of unifying client and server side applications using JavaScript. While this trend is just beginning to hit the call center technology market, the value in simplifying CTI integration for call centers is extraordinary. CIOs and IT managers should take note: if you enjoyed the scalability and simplicity of a cloud model, your next step is to implement JavaScript-based cloud call center technology for easier scalability and simpler integrations. The inherent benefits of decreased complexity, increased reliability and decreased cost provide enormous value over traditional server side/client side options.

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