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Innovation Excellence Awards 2023

Upstream Works: We help organizations transform their customer service, gain operational efficiency and enhance engagements

Upstream Works: We help organizations transform their customer service, gain operational efficiency and enhance engagements

For more than 20 years, Upstream Works has led the way in contact center innovation. They collaborate closely with partners and clients to create adaptable and strategic solutions that address changing client needs. Upstream Works desktop solutions redefine customer experience management, enabling you to promote long-term business success.

Let’s learn in depth about the company from Rob McDougall, CEO of Upstream Works

Q. Why was Upstream Works founded? What role does the company fulfill in the market?

Upstream Works was founded with an ethos of creating innovative contact center solutions that reduce complexities and simplify workflows for agents while enabling better and more personalized customer experiences. Upstream Works provides omnichannel contact center desktop solutions that are easy to navigate with advanced features, additional channels, and integrations with artificial intelligence (AI) and business applications to help improve productivity and customer experience.

Q. What do you mean by Omnichannel contact center desktop solutions? How does Upstream Works provide these capabilities to clients?

The Upstream Works omnichannel contact center desktop solution seamlessly integrates all channels, interactions and applications in an enhanced agent desktop, removing desktop silos and complexity for agents. These desktop solutions allow contact centers to provide customers with any combination of communication channels, including voice, email, web chat, messaging, social, video, co-browse, bots, conversational AI, and more. Upstream Works normalizes and provides consistency across all channels, simplifies data access, requires fewer application switches, lowers training costs and offers better channel flexibility. The agent desktop automates workflows and integrates with multiple AI and business applications that agents use every day, including Workforce Management, Call Recording, CRMs like Microsoft Dynamics or Salesforce, and other legacy or vertical business applications. Omnichannel reports and analytics provide the same consistent set of contact center performance metrics for each channel, including AI-powered chatbots, with deeper insights across agents, teams and channels for better decision making. 

Q. Can you tell us a little about the role of innovation within the company from the start to where it is today?

The Upstream Works team is committed to providing innovative contact center solutions and a fast time-to-market. We work to provide solution flexibility and usability across a variety of contact centers. Our development team works closely with our clients to implement new customer-driven features quickly and make certain that our solutions are providing real business value. The Application Integration group is focused on using AI applications to ensure that when AI is operationalized, it can be easily and consistently used by agents, support a better customer experience, and meet the needs of the business.

Q. How does Upstream Works help contact centers improve their performance capabilities with AI?

The Upstream Works agent desktop integrates with multiple AI applications of an organization’s choice to support automation, agent abilities and interaction data strategies for a better end-to-end customer experience. Upstream Works provides a consistent agent interface and reporting across AI applications.

Our suite of AI application integration capabilities provide organizations with the flexibility  to take a targeted approach and select the AI application that meets their needs, including Amazon Lex, Amelia, Google Dialogflow, IBM Watson, Microsoft AI, Simplifai, Uniphore, and more.

AI-powered self-service provides intuitive and quick resolutions of routine inquiries. Upstream Works Interaction History identifies customer interactions that can be moved to self-service and conversational AI and chatbots serve as virtual agents so human agents can focus on more complex inquiries.

The Virtual Agent Portal is a dedicated space on the agent desktop that integrates with best-of-breed AI applications to enable real-time agent assistance during customer interactions. It aids agents with intent, sentiment, knowledge, templates and suggested responses, improving productivity, personalizing customer experience and increasing first contact resolution (FCR). The Email Bot Handler Service automates email tasks to support agents in the background and ensures fast responses.

Q. What are the products offered by Upstream Works and what platforms are they offered on?

Upstream Works provides omnichannel contact center desktop solutions that simplify and improve the agent and customer experience. The agent desktop offers a single workspace for all interactions and tasks, providing a consistent set of tools across channels. With productivity and collaboration tools, knowledge and intelligent agent assistance, the Upstream Works desktop empowers agents to provide personalized and meaningful customer experiences during every interaction.

Upstream Works desktop solutions are available on Amazon and Cisco and as a digital desktop solution for digital-only agents and back-office workers.

Q. Can you give us examples of Upstream Works’ innovative technology helping its customers achieve success?

A large financial services company with thousands of agents in multiple locations and contact centers wanted to improve efficiency while maintaining a high level of customer coverage. We worked with our client to augment their customer communication channels with conversational AI (CAI) that was integrated into their contact center, providing seamless escalations and a smooth customer experience. Given the client’s large volume of monthly emails, our Email Bot Handler Service and email API were implemented to pull and evaluate emails from queue and auto-respond to simple email requests via AI, assisting agents in the background while providing faster responses to customers. 

Q. Would you like us to highlight something important happening in your company that we may have missed asking?

The importance of the agent desktop is often understated. The contact center agent is at the center of the customer experience and is responsible for pulling together information from multiple systems in a high stress, high volume environment. Upstream Works has always focused on that ‘last mile’ in customer service – simplifying the agent interface to improve both the agent and the customer experience. We strongly believe that the agent, and by extension, their desktop, should be at the heart of any contact center investment.

Meet the leader

Rob McDougall is the CEO of Upstream Works, a provider of omnichannel contact center desktop solutions that simplify and improve agent and customer experiences. He is an accomplished contact center leader and catalyst for change with a track record of raising industry awareness of first contact resolution. Rob leads the strategic vision of Upstream Works with a continued focus on omnichannel innovation and enhanced AI integration capabilities.

“Upstream Works provides best-in-class Omnichannel Contact Center software to increase customer engagement and agent success.”

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