A smart business communications platform unleashes human intelligence to deploy it where it’s needed most

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Author, Telviva CEO David Meintjes

One of the most An important consideration for businesses, as they strive to become more efficient and more competitive, is understanding that to be truly relevant and attractive to customers and staff, they need a platform. of intelligent business communication. It involves the ability to adapt and react on the basis of information in real time.

At the heart of an intelligent communications platform is ensuring that the customer journey throughout the company is easy and that the touch points are pleasant. Everyone will have a host of positive and negative experiences. Let’s take a moment and think about the last time we were stuck in a seemingly endless contact center vortex as an existing customer, where every new agent had no idea who we were, what we needed. or how to solve our problem.

These days are ending precisely because technology and innovation allow companies to unleash the human ability to deploy where it’s needed most, leaving mundane tasks to automation, because if we’re being honest machines are fine. better than us. And so, as technology makes life easier, the human brain can be deployed to handle more complex and nuanced issues.

Where does a smart business communication platform start? It starts with the person’s identity – you would like to detect your customer’s identity as soon as they contact you and greet them by name, accurately. This simple movement changes the tone of engagement. Then, if you’ve had conversations with that user before, you want to be able to have immediate access to that context to make sure you have all the information you need to delight the customer.

Many customers prefer digital interactions in the first place. One can refer to research results around the world where people are happy to deal with self-help and bot support until they have a complex problem to solve. Here they want to be transferred to a human – immediately. There’s no point in investing in FAQs and automated chatbots if, when a complex issue arises, the customer has to insert text and wait – the problem is there, they’ve invested the time, and they need to address it. at once.

Over time, we will see more and more of this ability emerge. Some industries, such as financial services, have made great strides in their self-service models, but few allow instant transfer to a human agent. This is due to a systems gap, and it requires a multitude of backend investments, including leveraging the capabilities of the cloud, but the result is an automated process, with the possibility of human intervention on demand, all by design.

We are likely to see several trends gain ground to gain even more momentum in the coming years.

1. Break down silos

Historically, various systems were managed in silos. Many customer relationship management (CRM) systems can handle different channels gracefully, but not audio, while cloud-based PBX solutions can handle all channels but still need to communicate effectively with CRM solutions, it So there is a balance. The reflection over the next few years will focus on the merger of these silos.

Until now, most business communications have been done by voice and email. Gone are the days, and to be relevant today, a business must have the ability to handle voice and email, but also the fast-paced environment of video and chat functionality on social media and the web. These channels must all work in harmony.

2. Head in the cloud

The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of the cloud. This allows businesses to further leverage the applications available in the cloud, such as high-end analytics, including transcriptions and vocal sentiment analysis. This powerful ability immediately improves the intelligence of a business.

3. Mobile first

Another trend, which we are currently experiencing, is the permanence of work anywhere, where companies are considering a full-time mixed or hybrid work model. This means that there is an increased reliance on mobile apps, and therefore, as companies seek to develop smart platforms, this thinking needs to be taken into account early on, right from the planning stage.

4. Automation

Automation, which is crucial for scaling, can be self-help, easy-to-use applications or bot-assisted support for customers, and a business may well need it. ” automate its business-to-business processes simultaneously. The key, however, is to allow the functionality – at any time – to jump to a real person when the user has a complex problem to solve.

5. Reduce reliance on the contact center

Over the next few years, we will also see an increased reliance on operational support systems to enable a seamless digital journey for a customer. At this time, this function is limited by historical legacy and on-site architectures. A technological leap must occur for businesses to truly unleash the power of these support systems.

This leap forward to adopt technology, and in particular the cloud, will see high-end cloud feature sets democratizing the customer journey landscape and reducing reliance on on-premises contact centers. Cloud applications allow businesses to take advantage of the kinds of functionality of general communication solutions that were previously the preserve of high-end contact centers.

Where from here?

The accessibility of fiber is not yet up to par. As remote working has increased over the past 18 months, this challenge has become evident as many companies have had to fall back on a mobile solution like 4G, where data costs are exponentially higher. With high data usage this just isn’t scalable, so to get the cost-effective relief we want people and businesses need access to fiber networks. This cannot be overstated.

Many companies rely on underlying operational systems that cannot support a digital journey. They must either work with partners to modify and change these systems, where possible, or move to new solutions. Only by making this bold – but necessary – move will they be able to offer self-help and automation and all the other joys of intelligent business systems.

When making the decision to adopt cloud services, companies should recognize up front that there will be a strong requirement for interoperability of solutions and systems. Businesses will need access to data, data will need to be usable on all platforms, and it will need to be secure and compliant. From day one, interoperability should be a key attribute of thinking and planning.

One challenge that is very frustrating in the C suite is that the move to automated models is inherently a start-stop process. We often see that iteration of first generation systems can be awkward, and therefore instead of improving the customer experience, they are working against it. The key here is rapid regeneration – it is essential that this process be continuous, and as systems evolve creases become less and less frequent.

Finally, a digital transformation journey is just that – a journey. It’s a long road, not just a switch, so businesses need to choose the right partner to take on the journey. Success is often not inherent in the tool itself, but rather in the service frameworks and service delivery to the organization. It is crucial for companies to work with a partner who can exist for the long term to unlock the value they want from smart communication platforms.

About David Meintjes, CEO of Telviva
Meintjes is a graduate chartered accountant who holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Johannesburg. He has been a key player in the Internet from the start, as CFO, Commercial Director and CEO of UUNET SA, the first commercial Internet service provider in South Africa in 1996. After serving as COO from software development company Korbitec Holdings, Meintjes became chairman of Connectnet and Connection Telecom. From January 2010 he took an operational role in the company to support its phase of rapid growth and changed the name to Telviva to support the international expansion of the company.

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