What Are Interactions?
An interaction is a point of contact (touch point) between an agent (human resource or automated) and a party such as a customer, customer system, or potential customer. An interaction is timed and has an outcome and result that can be tracked. A closed interaction is a historical record. When closed, an interaction is read only and cannot be altered or modified.
A single interaction can include multiple forms of communications between the customer and the agent.
For example, an interaction could be a customer call into an agent to request a printed quote. The activities would include the agent obtaining a quote and sending a fax. Hence, multiple activities are related to a single interaction.
With the above example, the interaction activities are: calling into the agent, the agent obtaining a quote, and the agent sending fax. For the first activity the media is the telephone, and the media item is a telephone call. For the second activity the media is a fax machine and the media item is a fax.
Interaction History Key Terms
The following terms are used in Interaction History:
• A touch point is an act or state of being in communication.
• An interaction is a touch point that occurs between a customer, a customer system, a resource, or a resource system. An example of a touch point is a phone call between an agent and a customer.
• Media represents the communication channel through which an activity takes place, for example, the telephone, the fax machine, ATM, or a cell phone.
• Media item is an instance of a type of media. Some examples might include a phone call, email, or fax.
• A media item lifecycle segment refers to a unit of time associated with the handling of a media item. For example, a call that was in queue for 10 seconds, worked by an agent, John Smith, for one minute, and then another agent, Rhonda Abbott, for two minutes. The call has three segments in its lifecycle.
• An activity is the event that takes place related to a media item and an interaction. It can be a transfer as in the situation of transferring a phone call or an email. It can also be business related action performed by an agent such as creating an order, sending a fax, or updating a service request.
Interactions and Interaction History
Interaction History answers the question: “Who is contacting us and why?” Interaction History tracks all customer-agent interactions and serves as a repository for interaction data. Use Interaction History to reference historical information and view traceable history of all customer contact.
For example, if a customer calls into a contact center and is upset with the resolution progress on their problem, the agent can review all interactions between the customer and the company. Because all communication with the customer has been recorded, the agent can provide better customer service.
More examples of customer interactions include:
• A salesperson enters a sales order for a customer.
• The receivables department contacts a customer by phone when the customer’s account or payment is past due.
• A customer calls the service department to report a product defect.
Media and Media Items
Media represents a communication occurrence that is handled by a CRM application or a user. It can be generated by a customer directly, by the agent, the system, or a CRM application. Media are various types of communication that can be associated with an activity or multiple activities.
Examples of media are telephone calls, e-mails, faxes, or Web chats.
• Media Items
A media item can be generated by a customer, agent, system, or an application. It can be inbound (such as an e-mail from a customer or a call from a prospective client) or outbound (such as an email to a customer or call to a prospective client). It is not required that the media item be related to a known customer within the system. For example, an agent receives a wrong number call.
• An activity is a business act performed by an agent as part of a customer interaction. Interaction activities typically relate to the communication channel (media) by which the activity occurred. Customer to Agent interactions contain activities. These activities are recorded in Interaction History and can be viewed by using the Interaction History module.
• For example, a business action of sending an e-mail to a customer gets recorded as an “outbound e-mail sent” activity.
• The activity of the interaction can involve how a media item was handled. In other words, you could say that the media (the phone call) was a transferred call. The activity can also include details about the activity as it pertains to the CRM application such as a request for product information or a balance inquiry, or providing pricing on a product.
• Examples of activities include: an agent transfers a call, an agent e-mails a marketing brochure, or a customer places an order.
Interactions, Activities, and Media Items
• Interaction History can be viewed as a container or bucket for a set of activities that can have a relationship with a media item. For example, an interaction can have an “order” activity that is related to an inbound phone call (media item) between the customer and the agent. The interaction created was an inbound phone call (how customer contacted us) to the agent (who they contacted) for 10 minutes (how long it took) and activities included the agent placing an order for supplies. Upon initiating a touch point, an interaction is created to serve as a repository for a set of business activities that will occur during the lifetime of the touch point. After all business activities for the interaction are completed, the interaction is closed and becomes a historical record.
• For example, if a new note is created and associated with a service request, a new interaction activity is recorded stating that the service request was updated. Interaction History records the occurrence of the interaction and the timestamp when it occurred. The details of the note are accessible from the Workbench tab or Tool menu of the Service Requests window.
• Interaction History provides a common framework for capturing and accessing all interaction data associated with customer contacts.
• By tracking all contacts between human or automated agents and existing or potential customers and customer systems, Interaction History supports the development of the 360 degree customer view for the user organization. Interaction data provides the agent with a detailed history of the business’s relationship with the customer, enabling agents to serve each client more effectively.
• Types of interactions and activity data tracked include customer, account number, agent, campaign, date and time, activity type, outcome and result of interaction or activity, along with duration and notes.