In a recent conversation with a chief technology officer, he asserted all digital technology changes in his organisation were being led by IT and not by marketing. It made me wonder: How long a marketing function like this could survive?
More than ever before, businesses are moving towards cloud-based solutions in an effort to streamline the customer journey and boost engagement.
Recent figures by independent telecommunications strategic planning consultancy, Telsyte have revealed improving customer experience is now one of the top five business priorities, with more businesses now looking at cloud-based solutions to improve customer experience across multiple touch points.
According to Telsyte’s senior analyst, Rodney Gedda, the data also indicated consumer have more customer experience apps on their smart devices and expect a greater level of cloud-based service from businesses they interact with.
“The average number of apps on out smartphones is 23 and one of four Australians have already tried voice commands,” he said. “So our interaction channels are growing and if you look at the likes of mobile banking, service apps, food bookings and Uber, customers expect the experience to be really high.”
Trends towards the cloud
Interactive Intelligence’s new PureCloud microservice solution has recently gained increasing traction with businesses that are adopting cloud applications as part of their overall digital transformation strategy.
Interactive Intelligence co-founder, CEO and chairman of the board, Dr Donald Brown, said the cloud-based service runs atop Amazon Web Services, and includes omnichannel customer engagement functionality, along with enterprise collaboration and business communications capabilities.
“There are still some companies have a long history of operating their own contact centres and don’t really like this whole cloud trend, but what we’re finding is certainly a growing trend of both companies and organisations that are really tired of the complexity of IT and want to push as much of it away to the cloud as they possibly can to a more simple subscription model,” Brown said.
Boosting customer engagement, social media interactions and the web chat experience
To boost customer engagement for businesses, the service includes an optional Internet-based telephony service ‘PureCloud Voice’, where customers can source toll-free numbers and DIDs directly. To improve social media engagement, PureCloud’s Twitter monitoring and routing service enables companies to respond to customers in real-time to relevant social media posts. And in order to offer a more personal and engaging customer experience, the service has a web chat functionality that enables agents to extend a customer web chat into a video call that includes screen sharing.
Meanwhile PureCloud Engage is Interactive Intelligence’s new customer engagement cloud service for businesses in Australia and New Zealand. The service helps contact centres accelerate business impact and drive the customer and agent experience.
“Contact centres are adopting new technologies to keep up with the ever-changing demands of how customers choose to interact with a business,” Interactive Inteligence’s senior vice president for A/NZ and Japan, Brendan Maree, said.
“It can quickly deliver highly reliable, scalable and innovative multichannel applications, thus enhancing the customer experience and offering managers data and insights to make the right business decisions.”
Business adopting cloud-based technology to boost the customer experience
One business leveraging PureCloud Engage is personal finance management company Quicken, which adopted the service with its customer support framework, Quicken Care.
“Given our small IT staff, we needed a cloud contact centre service that would be really simple to deploy and manage, Quicken Care’s operations leader, Ian Roberts, said. “And we needed it to easily and cost effectively scale to accommodate intervals of high call volumes.”
Roberts claimed the company selected PureCloud Engage because it not only met all these requirements but its architecture was more streamlined compared to competitors.
“This meant we would reap the benefits faster,” he added.
Another business moving towards the cloud as part of its digital transformation strategy has been Goodstart Early Learning, which operates over 640 childcare centres nationwide.
“Initially, what we discovered was we were focusing too much on applications and systems that didn’t impact our customers in any meaningful way,” said Goodstart Early Learning’s chief digital officer, Mark Hannan.
“We also realised that we’re not actually that unique or that special, and that there is a great opportunity to start actually customising, personalising and configuring. So this was a big mind shift for us.”
Following a customer journey mapping exercise, Hannan said they not-for-profit organisation found it had about 70-80,000 children, about 60,000 parents and about 15,000 staffs to manage.
“We found that while our customers and staff were using really personal apps like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and had no problem with them, when it came to our technology platforms and intranet system, it was a completely different story,” he said.
“So we began to really think about how to bring in more channels, how to collaborate better, how do we get better and integrating all the systems that we use, and how do we have data that is easily accessible.”
As part of its digital transformation strategy, Hannan claimed Goodstart rolled out a series of Ipads to all its centres, along with a more user-friendly intranet and moved towards more cloud-based services. The organisation’s deployment of PureCloud played a critical part in the company’s overall digital transformation and ongoing strategy for innovation, Hannan said.
“We wanted to focus heavily on integration, so with PureCloud there were a couple of things that gave us a great deal of comfort,” he added. “We were sceptical at first, but then we had a lot of boxes that it could tick. It integrated well with other systems and it gave us the ability to collaborate better.”