Experiencing growth in ticket sales and faced with aging, costly and disparate ACD systems, Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com) embarked on a technology refresh initiative for their customer-facing contact centers with set goals to improve customer service and fan satisfaction, support global expansion, and reduce operating costs. Elizabeth Gotto, senior vice president Global Contact Center Technology for Ticketmaster notes: "Ticketmaster’s contact center was in need of a complete technology overhaul, eliminating the separate ACDs that were reaching end-of-life, at capacity, expensive to maintain and becoming cumbersome to our delivering world-class service to our fans."
To achieve their goals, Ticketmaster developed a technology refresh plan that would ultimately have them implement one of the largest Genesys SIP contact centers, earning them the prestigious Genesys Customer Innovation Award in 2011:
- Consolidate the contact center technology into a handful of redundant data centers, starting with the US and Canada.
- Soon thereafter, implement similar data centers in other locations, creating a common global contact center platform.
- Leverage SIP to connect contact center agents, allowing for remote agent centers, a dramatic reduction in equipment costs and improve agent efficiency.
- Consolidate trunking facilities, leveraging SIP trunking when practical to reduce last mile facilities and per-minute charges.
- Implement new multi-media personalization, improving the fan experience.
- Improve reporting and data collection, providing management significantly improved visibility to the operational status of the contact center.
- Provide a better experience to fans complementing the Contact Center World Class Service program.
However, accomplishing the above plan included a number of unique technical challenges, requiring careful planning with a sound three-step migration strategy:
- Interfacing the existing TDM toll-free trunk lines to the new SIP-based Genesys contact center, allowing the existing voice carrier contracts to remain in a "like-for-like" configuration.
- As soon as the new Genesys contact center system transition is complete and stable, initiate a migration to SIP trunking to reduce costs by eliminating redundant TDM last-mile facilities.
- The final hurdle is to bring on-line new all-IP contact center sites in EMEA and other regions, integrating them into a single global network, requiring implementation and validation of new global IP network connectivity using a complex mesh network topology.
"A key requirement for Ticketmaster was to find a best-of-breed supplier that could deliver a gateway solution that could be used in all our global data centers," commented Gotto. "While at the same time, we wanted those same gateways to function as an Enterprise Session Border Controller (E-SBC) in the future."
Consolidate the contact center technology into a handful of redundant data centers
Additional data centers
Implement similar data centers in other geographies to create a common global contact center platform.
Leverage SIP to connect contact center agents, allowing for remote agent centers.
Consolidate trunking facilities and leverage SIP trunking to reduce last mile facilities and per-minute charges.
"AudioCodes has been one of the most reliable and stable components in the infrastructure."
To facilitate their global evolution to SIP, Ticketmaster turned to AudioCodes.
During the first “Like-for-Like” phase, Ticketmaster selected the AudioCodes Voice Gateway to provide the interface between the TDM trunk lines and Genesys SIP Contact Center. With its three high-density DS3 physical interfaces and optional High Availability redundancy, the Mediant 3000 proved to be a reliable and scalable foundation for Ticketmaster as they began their transition to SIP.
Once the US data center sites were complete, the second phase of Ticketmaster’s transition to SIP was initiated, integrating SIP Trunking using E-SBCs as a point of demarcation, solving interoperability with the SIP Trunking providers and improving security. Since Ticketmaster already owned a number of AudioCodes Mediant 3000 Media Gateways, this was an easy upgrade, facilitated by purchasing optional E-SBC software licenses for those already installed gateways. With E-SBC functionality installed, Ticketmaster was able to move the North American data centers to Verizon IP Toll-Free trunking, reducing their facilities charges and adding call routing flexibility.
When the time came to expand the Genesys SIP contact center deployment beyond North America, Ticketmaster needed to ensure service levels and voice quality would be maintained across the expanded network. To accomplish this, Ticketmaster turned to the Professional Services team at AudioCodes to perform a global Network Readiness Assessment, the goal of which was to verify the global network performance and avoid any unforeseen issues that would cause voice quality issues that might negatively affect the fan experience.
The goals of significantly improving agent efficiency, reducing operational costs and improving call data tracking have largely been realized by Ticketmaster - a side effect of their implementation of Genesys SIP contact center software operating with voice network infrastructure from AudioCodes. Almost 100% of Ticketmaster’s call traffic now enters their North American contact center via SIP Trunks, utilizing AudioCodes Mediant 3000 E-SBCs to provide interoperability and security.
"AudioCodes has been one of the most reliable and stable components in the infrastructure," commented Gotto.
When discussing the results of the global Network Readiness Assessment performed by AudioCodes Professional Services, Gotto noted that “the Network Readiness Assessment brought to light some network issues that we had no idea existed - had we not done the assessment before going live, we surely would have suffered down-time.” As a result, Ticketmaster was able to point out some specific issues to the network team and providers that linked their North American and Amsterdam sites, thereby eliminating a significant voice quality issue in advance of going live.
And in a closing comment, Gotto noted that "Genesys is highly dependent on the network it rides on. Ensuring your network is ready to support a SIP deployment is imperative." proving that Ticketmaster’s investment in AudioCodes gateways, SBCs and Network Readiness Assessment was a wise one.