Winter '21 release

In this page

General Availability Features

Cadence

Thanks to an ever-growing list of communication channels, people have never been more accessible. Yet, ironically, they’ve never been more difficult to connect with. They’ve become immune to attempts to make contact due to communication overload across channels, and the contact center is no exception. It’s becoming far harder to get in touch with customers or prospects.
Cadence is a solution built with process automation at its center and flexibility in its application, with the core focus of making valuable connections driven by your data, improved by our insight. This is currently a Salesforce-only offering, with plans to support other CRMs in the future.

Dynamic Lists

Your Prospect List is the bucket of records your sales representatives or agents will be attempting to connect with. Your list criteria and ordering priority will be defined within Salesforce, using our Lightning Dial List Builder. This will allow you to create filtering and ordering criteria on not only your focus record, but any related record. Once you’ve saved your dial list, it will be selectable from within the VCC platform, where you create your prospect list and ultimately assign it to a cadence. Once activated, we start dynamically refreshing the data within your cadence, either hydrating your initial step with fresh
prospects/customers, checking up on existing records to ensure they still meet your criteria, or checking if any other key information has changed on the CRM record, such as ownership.

List Prioritization

We’ve built Vonage Cadence to be flexible. You may have several different calling patterns depending on the urgency of your prospect lists, whether they use the same cadence or not. Within the Prospect List configuration, you’re able to prioritize lists against each other. You can also dictate what is considered the most important priority element within each prospect list; for example, records within existing steps that are overdue, or fresh records because speed to lead is imperative.

Automatic Distribution

Vonage Cadence was designed to remove the process from sales representatives/agents and allow them to focus on the core demands of their role. However, we recognize no two contact centers have the same use case. Some sales or service leaders would prefer their users to have a level of autonomy over their working day, so they can select to work from an individual cadence in either manual or automatic mode, directly from within Salesforce.
If preferred, you can remove even this small overhead and simply provide your users a start/stop button within ContactPad. This assesses the priority of lists assigned to the user across all cadence’s and their intra-list priority (overdue vs. fresh). Once started, we push records to the user in accordance with your defined priority.

Conditional Step Outcomes

When creating your steps, you’ll define how prospects or customers flow through the cadence. Rather than a linear flow, you can branch prospects through the cadence, changing the time between steps or even moving to a different step entirely through conditional evaluation of the saved outcome. Of
course, you’re always in control, so the sales representatives or agents only see what outcomes you’ve predefined.
As an example, you may wish to follow up within 15 minutes if the customer’s phone was engaged when you tried to call vs. two hours if they simply didn’t answer. Or you may want to follow up with an email if you left a voicemail, before then calling again in two hours.

Activity Logged in Salesforce

All information related to a cadence step is logged within Salesforce as an activity in the same way we already do for traditional calls. The following information is added for your insight:

  • Cadence name
  • Prospect list name
  • Step name
  • Step outcome
  • Call outcome
  • Call notes

The call outcome is selected by the sales representative or agent, and that determines the step outcome. Based on your configuration, any outcome will either be defined as positive or negative exits from the cadence, or as a neutral step that simply moved the prospect through the cadence onto the next step.
Ensuring this information is logged within Salesforce allows you to exercise your incumbent solutions for things like email or SMS, contingent on the call or step outcome.
Cadence allows you to improve the efficiency of your teams by allowing them to focus on the call rather than the process. Taking insights from Conversation Analyzer, understanding how the call was conducted, and merging that with advanced stats, will enable you to make your teams more efficient and
effective. For example, you will be able to understand who says what on which call in the cadence process that leads to the highest sales, upsells, or CSAT.

Interaction Plan Management

In the Winter '21 release, we are making the Interaction Plan Management area of the Vonage Contact Center Admin Portal available. Interaction Plan Management provides the following benefits:

Destination mapping

Previously, in Interaction Architect, individual destinations—phone numbers or route plans—were tied to individual interaction plans. If admin users wanted to use the same interaction plan for two phone numbers, for example, they had to duplicate the interaction plan. The user had to then maintain two interaction plans.

Using Interaction Plan Management, you will be able to map multiple destinations to a single interaction plan. You can also configure individual destinations to pass different variables into the interaction plan. Such variables might include language, priority, line of business, and the agent ID for personal queue routing. You can set up the interaction plan to behave differently depending on the variables passed in.

Interaction plan versioning

Interaction Plan Management, you can create new interaction plans from scratch, or clone an existing interaction plan to create a new version to iterate from. You can add tags that describe the interaction plan and help when filtering a long list of plans.

To manage interaction plans, you can delete any that are not in use or are no longer required. You cannot delete interaction plans that are in use.

Controlled testing environment

Using mappings in Interaction Plan Management, you can easily test interaction plan changes and then deploy to production when you are ready. Configure the mapping so that any test interactions, recognized by their source—phone number, for example—go to the test interaction plan. Customer interactions continue to go to the production interaction plan.

Testers use the same destination as your customers. Testers will experience the new interaction plan exactly as customers would if the new plan was in production.

One-click roll on/roll off

When your interaction plan testing is complete, an admin user can point all destinations within your mapping to a new interaction plan. This change involves just one setting in the mapping.

If you need to switch back to the original interaction plan for any reason, you can revert the change just as quickly.

Transferable interaction plans

If enabled for your account, in Interaction Plan Management, admin users can specify which individual interaction plans are transferable. This functionality enables you to create interaction plans specifically for internal transfers providing the following benefits:

  • Adding skills to interactions to ensure customers get to the right team second time around

  • Reprioritizing an interaction to ensure the caller queues for less time second time around to improve their experience

  • Bypassing the menus or announcements at the front end of the interaction plan, also improving the customer experience

Contact our account management team if you want to learn more about Interaction Plan Management, or see Interaction Plan Management.

Omnichannel

Multiple Route Support for External Routing

Prior to this release, external routing through Salesforce would route all interactions through the same interaction plan. For Winter ‘21, we are introducing multiple routes, allowing an organization to configure external routing to multiple interaction plans. Consider the following example: An organization using
Salesforce to provide chat within their website has two chat buttons, located in two different areas on their website. The first button is on their sales page and the second is on their support page. Before Winter ‘21, both of these buttons would be set up to route chats through the same interaction plan,
meaning the plan needed additional configuration to route to the appropriately skilled agents. With multiple routes, a route for sales can be set up independently from a route for service, allowing for faster and more efficient setup, simpler configuration, easier maintenance, and easier support.

Messaging Support (Beta)

This feature enables VCC to route messages to agents via Salesforce external routing. Your company can have conversations with customers in ways that are most convenient for them, using messaging apps such as SMS and Facebook Messenger. Agents will have messaging routed to them in the Service Console, based on the contact center routing logic and the agents skill, capacity, and availability.
If you are interested in implementing any of the Beta features or would like to learn more about the program, contact either the Customer Success Team or your Account Manager.

Case Support (Beta)

This feature enables VCC to route cases to agents via Salesforce external routing. Your company can capture work to be done, using web-to-case and email-to-case, among other methods. Agents will be routed cases in the Service Console, based on the contact center routing logic, the agents skill, capacity,
and availability.
If you are interested in implementing any of the Beta features or would like to learn more about the program, contact either the Customer Success Team or your Account Manager.

Routing

Custom (including multilingual) place in queue announcements (available in December 2020)

When a call enters a queue, the Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) can optionally announce the caller's place in that queue.

After the Winter '21 release, you will be able to customize the audio files used for this announcement. When this is enabled, you will be able to upload your audio files using your preferred voice artist, including across any of your supported languages, to VCC's Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) storage area.

Dynamic Call Connect Router (available in December 2020)

The current Call Connect Router can try to route an incoming call to up to 30 hard-coded phone numbers. As part of the Winter ‘21 release, we have enhanced the Call Connect Router applet. You will be able to add an unlimited number of phone numbers. You will also be able to use variables to specify the phone numbers rather than hardcoding them.

For more information, see Call Connect Router (CCR) applet.

Agent experience

Address book with VBC presence

The Spring ‘20 release included the ability to integrate Vonage Contact Center and Vonage Business Communications accounts. After integrating your accounts, ContactPad’s address book contains both VCC agents and VBC users. VCC agents' availability was shared with VBC but not the other way around.

From Winter ’21, VCC agent and VBC user presence will be fully synchronized and ContactPad’s address book will display the availability of VBC users.

VBC user available

VBC user unavailable

For more information, see Using Vonage Contact Center with Vonage Business Communications.

Internal call enhancements

Currently, if an agent makes an internal call to another agent, the telephone number of each agent appears in the other agent’s ContactPad. The agents cannot easily identify each other.

From Winter ‘21, if enabled for your agent, the agent’s name appears in the other agent’s ContactPad, meaning that they can instantly identify one another. Agent names will also appear in browser notifications—if enabled—instead of telephone numbers.

For more information, see Working with an inbound call and Making an outbound call.

Analytics

Call Connect Router Reporting

This feature provides detailed statistics for interactions that enter a Call Connect Router (CCR) applet. These statistics are available using the Insights Stats API and within our Advanced Reporting and Statistics package in Salesforce.

The following statistics appear in NVM Call Summary records for calls that pass through a CCR applet:

  • External Consult Time

  • External Transfer Phone

  • End Applet

  • Last State

For more information, see How do I identify Call Connect Router channels? and Vonage Call Summary fields.

Conversation Analyzer

Category Editor

Conversation Analyzer is a powerful analytics solution available with your Vonage Contact Center solution. It enables you to unlock actionable insights by tapping into your customer conversations and contextualizing the conversations with your Salesforce/CRM data. To achieve this, you need to be able
to identify which words and phrases to look for and place them into categories and subcategories for reporting purposes.
The Conversation Analyzer Category Editor provides a tool that replaces the current JSON file upload. The editor allows you to do the following:

  • Create/edit/delete profiles
  • Create/edit/delete categories
  • Create/edit/delete sub categories
  • Create/edit/delete rules
  • Clone profiles, categories, and subcategories with the respective child objects
  • Set rule word proximity
  • Set speaker for a rule
  • Create/edit/delete substitution and reaction rules
  • Set language and minimum call duration
  • Search for rules, subcategories, categories, and substitution and redaction
  • Back up and restore category profiles
  • Log changes in the audit trail
  • Control access

For information about using the Category Editor, see Category Editor for Conversation Analyzer.

Administration

User Administration

Agent-level pause and resume of recording

Currently, whether agents can pause and resume call recording is determined at account level; if enabled, every agent in your account can pause and resume call recordings.

Some countries, regions, and business segments have regulations which prohibit or limit the control that an individual agent should have over call recordings. Agents working in these areas should not be able to pause and resume recording, while other agents who are not working in these areas, should be able to.

In Winter ‘21 the granularity of the ability to pause and resume call recordings will change. Admin users will be able to control, in User Admin, exactly which agents can control call recordings.

For information about enabling agent users to control call recordings, see How do I enable an agent user to control call recordings? in Configuring individual users.

Last login details added into export

Today within User Admin an admin user can export a list of users and their settings.

In the Winter '21 release, we are extending that export to include the date and time that users lasted logged in. This additional information will enable administrators to manage inactive users more effectively.

For more information, see Creating or editing multiple users from a CSV file.

User Admin consolidation and supervisor access (limited early access)

In the Summer ‘20 release we announced the ability for supervisor users to manage skills within User Admin. Building on that in the Winter '21 release, we are consolidating and simplifying user administration capabilities into User Admin and open it up to supervisors.

The first improvement we intend to release to the early access group is the ability to archive all user types, at an individual level, or using bulk actions or CSV import.

For information about archiving users, see How do I archive and delete users? in Configuring individual users.

Important announcements

Configurable Data Retention ***Attention required

Following the Winter ‘21 Release you will be able to configure your own data retention policy for Interaction Content (including content such as call recordings and transcripts) within the VCC Portal. This ability gives Administrators greater control of their data, and visibility of retention periods contracted with Vonage. In addition, we are launching a new Data Retention Service Description that provides the details of how this policy is managed.

For information about Data Retention, see Data Retention.

EMEA Infrastructure Refresh

As part of our continued technology life cycle in order to provide our customers with a stable, secure, and scalable service, over the coming months Vonage will be updating and refreshing our infrastructure within the EMEA region. We expect this to have no impact on the vast majority of customers; those with bespoke configurations will be contacted to manage any impact on a case by case basis.

These changes will introduce new public IP addresses. EMEA customers that make use of an allowlist (formally known as whitelist) will need to update their allowed IPs as detailed in the Technical prerequisites before 1st Oct 2020.

Feature Retirement

Along with the exciting new functionality added to the product with every release, we are also working to retire older parts of the product. The removal of functionality within our product is completed in up to these stages:

Intent to deprecate

This is an optional stage that gives users early warning of our intent to deprecate functionality. It is most commonly used when an alternative is announced, and gives users the ability to migrate ahead of the functionality becoming deprecated. At this stage we encourage customers to stop using the mentioned product functionality, and migrate to an alternative.

Deprecated

This indicates that a piece of functionality is no longer supported. The functionality will continue to work, but no new enhancements or bug fixes will be made (with the exception of security vulnerabilities) and new functionality may not be compatible. We commonly announced the target End of Life date when deprecating. At this stage customers must stop using the mentioned product functionality, and migrate to an alternative.

End of life

The date in which we will remove functionality is referred to as the End of Life. After this date the functionality will either cease working entirely, or become completely unsupported.

Cloud Based URLs—end of life

As previously announced, Vonage introduced new URLs to access the Contact Center platform within each region. The regional URLs ensure that your agents and users benefit from our active-active cloud infrastructure, such that in the event of an outage, no users will be required to change their URL to access VCC and can simply log back in to resume their work. Instead of using specific cloud numbers in your URLs, we ask that you update your links and bookmarks to use the regional URL stated below. You can also find an article in the Vonage Community Hub called “How Can I Configure Salesforce for Enhanced Disaster Recovery?”.

Old URL

New URL

cloud11.contact-world.net

emea.newvoicemedia.com

cloud8.contact-world.net

cloud16.contact-world.net

nam.newvoicemedia.com

cloud17.contact-world.net

cloud12.contact-world.net

apac.newvoicemedia.com

cloud14.contact-world.net

The cloud-based URLs are now formally end of life and all users accessing VCC using these URLs will receive a warning during login.

Legacy CRM Applets—end of life

The following applets are End of Life immediately following the Winter ‘21 Release:

  • CRM Call Connect Router Applet

  • CRM Take Message applet

  • CRM Send SMS applet

All affected customers have been informed and these applets are no longer in use.

Insights Stats API Version 2—deprecated

As announced in previous releases, version 3 of the Insights Stats API is now available. Version 3 provides parity with version 2, with the addition of omni channel support and many other improvements. Immediately following the Winter ‘21 Release version 2 will be deprecated, and all customers making use of that version should plan to migrate to version 3.

If you are unsure which version you are using check your “accept header”. For information, see Versioning.

Projected end of life: Second half of 2021.

Salesforce Managed Packages—deprecated (incomplete)

The following packages and earlier versions will be deprecated:

Package

Supported Versions

Deprecated Versions

Vonage Contact Center for Salesforce

18.232 or higher

18.231 or lower

Vonage Contact Center Connect

16.118.1 or higher

16.118 or lower

Vonage Contact Center Advanced Reporting

2.45 or higher

2.44 or lower

End of life for deprecated versions: Spring '21 release.

Skill Management—end of life (delayed)

We announced the deprecation of Skill Management in Summer ‘20. Based upon your feedback we have decided to delay the end of life of this feature until Spring ‘21. This will give us time to improve the user experience and access controls within User Admin, before we remove the Skill Management interface.

Projected end of life: Spring '21 release.

Call Recordings (Search Page)—end of life (delayed)

We announced the deprecation of the Call Recordings page in Summer ‘20. To give us time to improve the performance of its replacement (Interaction Content Search) we have decided to delay the end of life of the Call Recordings page until Spring ‘21.

Projected end of life: Spring '21 release.