The new channels, which include SMS texting and social media direct messaging, come aggregated on a Pega case management dashboard for customer service agents at contact centers. Organizations can use them to collect customer information, as well as track which conversations have taken place on digital communication channels. This potentially eliminates customer frustration of having to repeat information or questions as conversations move from one channel to the next.
A chat widget that comes with Unified Messaging Edition also enables customers to choose their channels of choice on the Pega user webpage.
"Being able to move across different channels is the strength of [Pega's] feature set," said Kate Leggett, analyst at Forrester Research, who added that while Salesforce and other large vendors have messaging capabilities, the dashboarding and simple handoff between channels leapfrogs Pega's platform a couple years ahead of its competitors. "It's better engagement than what CRM vendors can do today."
Just in time for pandemic
The unified messaging connected to Pega case management back-end systems has been in the works since Pegasystems acquired In The Chat, which integrates customer service teams with web chat, social media and text channels. But its release is timely, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced many contact centers to go remote -- many for the first time -- amid spiking call volumes.
John HuehnGeneral manager of customer service and sales offerings, Pegasystems
Pega customers, like those of many customer service cloud platform vendors, quickly moved contact centers to remote work in February. Digital messaging platforms have become more important for managing customer service as volumes increase, especially in verticals where phone wait times have been longer, such as financial services and travel, said John Huehn, Pegasystems general manager of customer service and sales offerings.
Huehn, formerly CEO of In The Chat, led the company's integration into the Pega customer service platform.
"Traditionally, contact centers have looked to get call volume on to digital channels and off the phone, ideally [using] asynchronous channels where the customer might not be so concerned if they send us a message and maybe it takes an hour to get back to them," Huehn said. "In light of COVID-19, every industry has said, 'We need to find faster, more effective, more efficient ways to support our customers.'"
In February, the company also released Pega Express, a low-code app development methodology for the Pega Platform, which enables quick creation of apps for employers and customer service teams. Used together, Pega users can spin up apps to offload simple customer questions to virtual agents over social, text and web channels.
Pricing of Pega Unified Messaging Edition varies with the number of users.