On March 18th, Now Interact took part in the annual Innovation Showcase of the Telecom Council of Silicon Valley. A panel of judges from the most well-known brands within the Telco industry voted us as one of the companies they would most like to see at the event. We are thrilled to have been included in the event, and spent an exciting day hearing about how these household names are developing in 2016.
The Telecoms industry fascinates us. It is an industry that produces the most accessible, and globally popular, innovative products. Its products have changed the way that we see the world; it’s difficult to look back before the dawn of the first iPhone in January 2007; a time before we could access the entire wealth of the internet in the palm of our hand.
These products are now so deeply ingrained in our lives, and our eyes are now so trained to look at the most exciting, most profitable new technologies. And that’s great, but what also needs to happen is for Telecoms companies to take a step back from the dazzling whirlwind of product development and to assess whether their customer service and sales processes are developing at the same pace.
With every new upgrade, whether that be to a device or to a service, we have come to expect quicker, brighter, more personalized services. Telcos need to ask themselves if they are innovating internally to ensure that their contact channel offering matches up to the modern consumer’s expectations.
We’ve tried to make this self-assessment a bit easier by laying out three questions that every Telco should ask itself to see if its contact center provision is up to par.
- How personalized is your service?
Personalization in 2016 reaches beyond misspelling names on Starbucks cups. The ‘Internet of Things’ is actually now a relatively antiquated concept, firmly entrenched in the tech world since its conception at the height of the dot com bubble in 1999. The more recent term, ‘The Internet of Me’ is more telling of the expectations that customers currently have for brands.
The web has worked its way into every nook and cranny of our everyday lives. The relationship that we now have with web-based brands, and ‘real world’ brands with a web presence, is now more personal than ever before. And people like it. People want social networks that only serve content that they want to read, tailored offers that reflect individual tastes, stores that only stock the products that they want to buy.
This expectation naturally extends to customer service. How much do you understand your customers? Do you understand the need state of each unique visitor to your website? Do you know which contact channel is the most appropriate for their needs? Are you able to isolate individual visitors to make sure that they are only served the contact channels that work best for them?
Personalizing the way that contact channels are offered to each online visitor increases conversions and makes for a happier customer. We’ve written more about the importance of personalization here.
- How are you using customer data?
Jafar had to trick Aladdin into the fire-breathing belly of the desert to get his hands on the magic lamp that he so desperately wanted. Data is your magic lamp. You don’t need risk the life of a stranger to get your hands on it. It’s there. You’ve already got it. All you need to do is use it effectively.
Most companies aren’t realising the full potential of their datasets. The ability to understand pretty much anything about a customer, and to use this information to improve the customer experience, is in front of our noses. Are you using algorithms that absorb, react to, and learn from your customer data? Are you using data to fully understand your customers? Are you using it to optimize the customer experience?
Look at what you’re getting out of your data. You could well find that you’re only scratching the surface of what could be done.
- Is your business structured for omnichannel?
A lot of businesses work in silos. This is not a good thing. We go into more detail about how damaging ‘silo syndrome’ is for the modern business in this whitepaper (it’s a longer read, but definitely worthwhile), but essentially, businesses suffer when its departments are solely focused on achieving their own goals.
We live in an omnichannel world. Consumers expect businesses to understand what they have been doing at every stage of their purchase, or service, journey, whether that be online or offline. They, understandably, don’t like being made to repeat themselves to different people in different departments. They don’t like it when a business doesn’t understand their need for a seamless service across all channels.
The most successful businesses set up dedicated omnichannel service teams manned by the most rounded talents on the floor. In order to deal with the omnichannel customer, businesses need to enable effective cross-departmental communication. Their agents are fully aware of why each caller from online is reaching out to the call center (thanks, customer data!) and are able to track, in real-time, the customer’s continuing web journey while still on the phone. The most successful businesses understand how important it is to be omnichannel equipped.
If you’ve answered no to any of those questions, it’s time to take a sideways step away and spend some time thinking about how you could improve your contact channel offering to deliver a better customer experience.