2013 has been a year of ginormous communications changes, from the mind-blowing growth of smartphone usage to the game-changing addition of WebRTC. Organizations have been increasingly focusing on improving customer service, recognizing that while voice is still king, customers need to know that they can reach companies in other ways too, like through social media or video chat or instant messaging. Big data has made it possible to begin anticipating issues and improving and personalizing communications.
Throughout it all, more and more organizations are recognizing the importance of testing, monitoring and analyzing their communications systems. It’s become critical to preempt technology issues, ensure peak level performance, and predict the smartest actions to take in order to improve business and customer service.
According to Gartner, Smartphone sales accounted for 55% of mobile phone sales in the third quarter of 2013. Significant portions of mobile service providers’ revenue is centered around data services, so it’s no wonder that the focus of nearly all wireless carriers has become data services. The advantage of being able to understand where new resources must be added to handle the increase in data demand is obvious. And it doesn’t appear that customer demand for data – and speedy data transfer – is going to decrease any time soon.
Moreover, the world is becoming more connected. 2013 is the true beginning of the widespread use of connected devices and the Internet of Things. In 2014, we’ll see even more of that world opening up, as connected devices become standard in the house, in the car, and in our lives.
WebRTC Joins the Game
Contact centers that implement newcomer WebRTC solutions are going to find value in simplifying their networks and being able to provide multi-services through a single interface: the web browser. When Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) are interfacing with customers via WebRTC, interactions are driven from an HTTP/application/browser data path. Therefore, additional context about each customer will be available. This will arm CSRs with business intelligence, so they can immediately understand why customers are calling and how to address their needs. Such efficiency will drive productivity and increase customer satisfaction.
Customer Experience and the Move from NOC to SOC
It’s clear that things are changing in companies’ relationships with their customers. Relationships built on trust and brand loyalty have been important for a while, but now people it’s become central to business success. Yet every organization has to deal with so many devices, network components and different software-based services in order to ensure an end-to-end quality customer experience.
Organizations need to take a proactive approach based on business intelligence derived from their networks. They need tools that can collect, extrapolate and correlate key data. This data will guide cross organizational teams into being more productive, by arming them with the right data about their customers’ experience. In other words, we need to make the move from being network-oriented people – NOC-centric – to service oriented people – SOC-centric.
Contact Center Improvement
Customers now expect that you will communicate with them on their terms, whether it’s via voice, instant message, video chat, social media or some other venue. While this makes total sense from the customer point of view, it also means that contact centers have become infinitely more complex.
Testing and monitoring your contact center has gone from a “nice to have” to a “need to have.” Allowing technical glitches to get in the way of a great customer experience is a big no-no, especially in light of the afore-mentioned fact that customers MUST have a great experience. From end-to-end preparation and planning to tactical, execution-related considerations, you have to plan out your testing and monitoring strategies from the start. Only then will you be able to ensure the high level of experience that your customers expect and deserve.
Big Data and Business Analytics
It’s exciting to imagine the ways Big Data can transform multiple customer, network, and operational data streams into valuable insights that reveal key trends and illuminate micro causes. Organizations will revolutionize service with analytic solutions that will help them make smarter decisions, build stronger customer loyalty, and reduce churn.
But in order to make this data accessible, organizations have to have the right technology – something powerful enough to be able to analyze and correlate the data so it becomes useful. And imagine what you can do using a dashboard that allows you to quickly manipulate data and customize reports for specific job functions. Or how about predicting how you can meet customer needs or reaching out to customers before a problem arises. Soon service and solutions will be tailored and personalized in a way that feels natural and increases loyalty.
2014 and More…
What do you see coming down the road for communications in 2014? Let me know in the comments below. Whatever happens, one thing is definite – the landscape is changing at the speed of light. I look forward to seeing what amazing things are on the horizon for the coming year.