Connecting Skype for Business to IoT could enable healthcare organizations that care for the elderly or the sick to be incredibly proactive
John Cognata, Business Development, SOFTEL Communications Inc.
Helping customers think about the future…
For more than 20 years, SOFTEL has been helping businesses to think in creative, progressive ways about their technology investments. “We evolved from a contact center company into a solution developer that understands business problems and processes that specifically touch on communications,” says John Cognata, Senior Business Development Executive at SOFTEL Communications Inc. “We’re an organization with a lot of expertise around multiplatform integration, and we’re particularly strong with Microsoft, which has a strong stack of business tools.”
Most recently, SOFTEL has been working with Skype for Business (formerly Microsoft Lync) and Microsoft Server technologies to change how businesses connect with their customers. They have developed a kiosk solution for reception areas called Sofia, a secure authentication solution for telemedicine, and Internet of Things (IoT) app to monitor the elderly, just to name a few. “Skype for Business has a lot of underlying capabilities that remain untapped, and we can tie into them through the native APIs to help businesses close some of the gaps in providing enhanced communications and authentications with their customers,” says Cognata. “Basically we ask our customers, ‘You have Skype for Business working—so what? What’s next?’”
Checking in virtually with SOFTEL Sofia
SOFTEL built Sofia, a virtual receptionist kiosk app, for businesses that need a way for customers to check in for appointments but do not want to hire a person to sit at a desk. Visitors can use the kiosk to look up their contact, see the person’s presence, and announce their arrival. The contact can let visitors in with the click of a button or start an instant messaging, voice, or video session to let visitors know where to wait. “Sofia is especially useful for smaller businesses like doctor’s offices,” explains Cognata. “Patients can check in, and a nurse can let them know their wait times and even have them fill out forms.”
The kiosk can also serve as an information center for the business, providing information about products and services for new customers. One SOFTEL customer, an auto parts manufacturer and wholesaler, enables customers visiting the plant to check into the kiosk using an email address and then browse a website that describes the company, products, and product specialists. Visitors can connect to specialists through Skype for Business if they have questions, and they can even build an order directly from the kiosk. “Product specialists can see what products visitors have viewed so they can easily answer questions and help complete the order,” says Cognata. “These are highly trained engineers, and their time is valuable. We help them focus on customers who are ready to place an order, instead of customers who are just price shopping. That offers them real, quantifiable productivity, sales, and efficiency gains.”
In addition, because the system collects email addresses and other contact info, specialists can follow up with customers who started to build an order but abandoned it for some reason. “This helps determine whether the issue was lack of product information, trouble with the website, or some other problem that caused the customer to abandon the order, which helps them to improve the experience,” says Cognata.