Innovations in the Cloud: Enabling world-class customer experience
If you’re looking to differentiate yourself from the competition by delivering the best customer experience over multiple channels, then the cloud can help you achieve this more quickly, and with better results than ever before.
A unified customer experience (messaging), yet an experience that is personalized, can help your organization achieve its commercial goals across all interactive channels – social media, web, app messaging (and even phone messages) etc.
Over the last decade, improving customer service has proved to be the differentiator between companies competing on today’s truly global stage. Although the Web, for instance, was thought initially to be a depersonalizing force, it became quickly apparent that word-of-mouth became more and more important.
Additionally, mobile, online and social media have played an increasing role in our lives. There is now an increased number of channels down which customers talk openly and honestly about their experiences.
— Robin Galipeau (@robingalipeau) November 1, 2017
Companies can struggle to keep up with those channels and provide a consistent experience for customers while retaining a 360-degree view of market trends.
The omnichannel customer experience via the cloud gives organizations the opportunity to achieve.
There are solutions out there that enable delivery of world-class customer experiences, using automated, centralized systems. These can present unified materials across the board. Internally, the same solutions can unite the different parts of the enterprise, so all internal, invested stakeholders are literally on the same page.
Key components of a great omnichannel customer experience are, in general, as follows:
- Web-based customer service. Rich experiences allow customers to search for services or products and resolve issues through self-service. Virtual assistants (chatbots, for example) can address some concerns and can notify human operators if real-life intervention is required.
- Cross-channel messaging. Right along the customer journey, it is imperative that the customer gets a unified, yet personalized message. If different, and potentially confusing messages are sent down the multitude of available channels, then the journey may be interrupted and the outcomes will be unpredictably random
- Customer profiling. By aggregating customer searches, previous purchases, historical interactions and even browsing behavior away from the organization’s core platform (by means of data-collecting cookies, for instance), the savvy organization builds an individual profile of each customer and potential customer.
- Predictive analysis. As well as empowering organizations with valuable historical data that is essential for accurate profiling (see above), the same data can be used to help plot potential future customer journeys. While different areas of the enterprise will have their own particular concepts of the ideal customer journey from their point of view, it is only by combining those views that optimum journeys can be finalized.
All of the above rely entirely on effective management of cloud-based resources. Those resources may be publically available and provided as a service, or they may be in-house (private cloud), or a combination of both (hybrid cloud).
Modern models of effective cloud deployments to provide best outcomes for customer service levels typically comprise of three layers:
- Data collection.
In old-fashioned computing terms, this would be termed ‘data input’. In today’s world, however, this layer comprises of data flowing into an organization from disparate sources.
Customer interaction data (social media interaction data, email and messaging collation etc.) will combine with supplier and partner feedback (supply change and operations data, for instance), and internal data (such as cash flow data, sales projections, and targets etc.)
- Centralized storage.
While the term centralized may suggest a single repository, today’s hybrid cloud means that topologically and geographically, storage may be spread out.
But taken as a whole, there will be a point of reference – a single-source-of-truth. It is here in the cloud that data is amalgamated, unified with regards its content and made ready (personalized, if applicable) for presentation.
— Bostjan Kovac (@boshtian) October 30, 2017
- Cloud dissemination.
From the cloud, data can be distributed – or published – across a range of endpoints.
Endpoints (an unfortunately impersonal term!) are the multiplicity of ways that customers can be reached today. To date, they consist of social media, automated (or personal) calls, SMS or messaging, email, in-store messages, physical marketing and so forth.
Because this layer is abstracted, those endpoints can be added to and changed. Why is this important to create first-rate customer service? People expect to communicate down the channels they determine by their personal choices (downloading this app, not that app, for example).
This means that as well as changes in fashion (no-one uses MySpace, everyone now uses WhatsApp), as strategic business decisions are taken, the messaging channels can change too. For instance, if you want to enter the Japanese market, add Line to your endpoints; if Korea, go with Kakao Talk.
There are several suppliers out there that will allow organizations to harness the cloud’s power to improve customer-oriented activities. Organizations need not necessarily have the in-depth knowledge required (or the resources to dedicate to the task) to fully exploit the tech without guidance.
It is imperative that such suppliers are able to guide client organizations both through the tech on offer, but also be able to help surface new possibilities to improve customer service levels.
Some suppliers offer a range of additional services that extends the cloud’s capabilities further; these offer further features attractive to different areas of the modern enterprise – HR, PR, Finance etc.
The cloud’s malleability and power make it well-suited for producing best-in-breed customer service levels. Here are three such suppliers which Tech Wire Asia think are suited to helping any organization harness this changing technology:
Acquia was founded in 2008 by Dries Buytaert, who, as mentioned above, was the original developer of Drupal. While the platform is now maintained by a developer community of over 1,000,000, Buytaert, like Linus Torvald (Linux), and Steve Wozniak (Apple) is regarded as something of an elder statesman, and more literally in Drupal’s and Buytaert’s case, a driving force.
From its position as something of a figurehead for the Drupal project, Acquia has been able to extend its commercial client base to over 4,000 enterprise customers.
The recent Acquia Engage event held in the company’s hometown of Boston, Massachusetts was used by the company to announce several new products which extend the Acquia platform. These specifically were customer journey mapping and a digital asset management (DAM) code set; this latter feature has been long regarded as a missing piece in Acquia’s portfolio, although third-party DAMs have been long-supported via the Acquia platform’s suite of APIs.
Most readers will be aware of Red Hat, whose ubiquity in high-end Linux deployments is fully-established.
Read more about Acquia here.
DigitalGenius is specifically designed to be utilized in the context of contact centers.
Its software brings applications of machine learning and AI to customer service operations, analyzing incoming messages, predicting meta-data, routing cases, and providing agents with accurate suggestions and automated responses.
While this sounds like it can be strangely impersonal, the company’s code base ensures that all suggested content is based on previous and likely interactions, so customers feel more ‘at home’ dealing with the organization in question.
This emphasis on personalization strikes a chord with organizations determined to increase their levels of customer satisfaction, as, it must be remembered, that people like to do business with people, not commercial, faceless entities.
DigitalGenius is available for major players in this field: Zendesk, SalesForce and Oracle support are built-in, plus there is an open API that allows integration with other systems, be they off-the-shelf or bespoke code.
At the core of the company’s code base are so-called ‘deep learning algorithms’, that train on historical customer service transcripts and integrate into a contact center’s workflow.
The platform automates and increases the quality and efficiency of customer support conversations across text-based communication channels like email, chat, social media and mobile messaging, as well as providing prompts for human chat interfaces or voice comms.
The Massachusettes-headquartered company is over 30 years old and purports to be the leader in software designed to improve customer engagement and operational excellence. Pega’s cloud software is built on its Pega Platform.
Pega’s USP is its speed of deployment – an advantage of a cloud solution that’s so long in the tooth – and the solution is extensible so it can react to changing strategic business decisions.
In addition to harnessing the power of artificial intelligence, the company is involved in automation to help customer satisfaction levels by means of ensuring its clients can use their existing systems more efficiently – rather than throwing away systems well-bedded in.
This aspect of its offering, confusingly, is referred to as ‘robotic automation’, which while providing imagery of metal humanoids helping customers, refers instead to automating changes required to software-based workflows.
Pega’s solutions can be based in-house or in the cloud, and the system is adaptable enough to be movable at will, depending on local conditions or changes in the market.
Pega Express is a relatively new offering and is based on the Pega 7 Platform. It allows the quick and easy build of using a visual application development environment with no coding required.
Pega Express has a free trial option, so users can test the software to see if the company’s offerings would be best-fit for their purposes.