Driving innovative change from the cloud as communications preferences change
Many business leaders are conservative at heart. That’s not a value judgment, but rather a reflection on a mindset that doesn’t necessarily embrace change for change’s sake – no bad thing. An approach that’s been working for months or years with proven results isn’t necessarily one to change, however attractive the marketing collateral from organizations offering digital transformation opportunities that will pay for themselves many times over.
Many new technologies must prove themselves before entering into acceptance, and handling customer care, communications, and overall communication is no exception. How many businesses are already up-to-speed with Apple Messages for Business, or have an RCS strategy in place, for when those technologies become mainstream?
With consumers now using an average of seven channels to communicate with businesses they interact with, customer service functions in organizations that are the most fleet of foot are struggling to set up and maintain quality customer relationships on new channels of communication. And seamlessly switching between those channels, assimilating the often unstructured data from new channels makes giving the type of personalized, omnichannel experiences that people today crave undoubtedly beyond most.
Naturally, the human element in the workplace plays its role, too. Dis-engaged staff, bored with the same scripts they use every day and feeling that their foremost skills are underutilized tend to perform poorly, and of course, pass on their disgruntlement to the customer (or business partner, supplier or contractor, and so forth).
Whatever the time of day, when customers call, or text, or DM, or email, isn’t it best to route the customer, whose history is known immediately (thanks to clever technology) is passed to an operator who can:
- Communicate down the preferred channel for the customer
- Know the customer’s history
- Have the skill-set to deal with the communication’s likely subject
- Possess a personality proven to be best placed to communicate with the customer?
It’s innovation in technology that companies need to achieve the above, but at the end of the day, it’s the customers’ experiences that matter on just about nearly every level. While technology itself won’t provide a level of service that excels, companies not using an omnichannel, personalized communications layer will find themselves (even in the short term), out of the race.
Today’s consumers and business people are increasingly expecting organizations to “know” their stories, and even if they’re a single person among millions, they still expect a personal service. The scale of global business means technology is the only way that such a platform can be supplied.
Some of today’s most modern omnichannel contact management platforms possess the various abilities necessary to satisfy those criteria listed above, and more besides. Here’s what businesses in a procurement phase might like to consider as critical abilities of any new solution that will equip customer service agents with the tools to make impactful and positive customer experiences, faster and more easily:
- Visualize the customer journey.
- Quantify the paths taken by customers (which channels, how often).
- Discern the correlation between the customer’s “type” and the channels they empirically prefer.
- Provide labor-saving self-help or self-service channels.
- Identify why certain communication types (e.g. upgrade requests) end invariably in one channel type.
- Be able to run a “what if” scenario modeling algorithms to determine where, for instance, investments should be directed – more staff, better bots, faster internet connection and so forth.
- Offer a personalized experience based on customer history and preferences.
- Have a cognitive, predictive mechanism to improve channel deployment (and therefore strategy) over time.
Among the many suppliers of omnichannel communications management solutions, at TechHQ we’re looking specifically at cloud-hosted solutions, as the offerings in that space seem to be at something of an advantage. Given that the cloud provision of services is congruent with many of the chosen communication channels favored by people today (social media, email, direct messaging, VOIP), that might not come as a surprise.
But it’s the scalability of cloud comms management platforms that is, at present, a winning factor for us. The ability to deploy, maximize, change, drop or limit new channels at will, experiment with different technologies and deploy esoteric third-party solutions such as big data processing, makes the cloud-based solution providers our favorites. As the marketplace alters, and customers’ tastes and preferences evolve, only cloud-based platforms offer the type of flexibility that innovative businesses crave.
Foremost among the platforms on our radar at present is NICE; a company based in the US, but with a significant global presence in Europe and APAC. The company’s CXone solution offers a good balance between robust security, data protection, and malleability, meaning it is well-suited for deployments in organizations whose customers (or business partners) come in various guises.
Whether it’s the ability to line up the correctly-skilled staff with customers or associates on a new, cutting-edge comms channel, or whether your service is best explained by bot or voice call, the CXone is to our minds, leading the field.
To learn more about NICE, and how its platform can alter your communications stance positively and with a significance that will literally make your staff happier and more fulfilled into the bargain, click here to read more.