By Jarrett Schmidt, Vice President of Sales
When it comes to your communication infrastructure, which is better: multiple providers or just one?
If you said one, you may think it’s easier to have integrated solutions on one platform, managed by one entity. And if you said multiple, you must realize one provider’s tech may not always be the best at everything.
But you can get the best of both options with a provider that uses a channel-agnostic approach.
“Channel-agnostic” is often used to describe solutions that cross communication channels, like phone calls, texts, webchat and email. But there’s one more definition that goes even further.
At West, channel agnosticism means channeling the best technology into a personalized solution to create a differentiated customer experience (CX), even if the technology comes from different vendors. Let’s look at an example:
With revenue and brand loyalty up, a local insurance company decides it’s time to expand their customer service practices and establish more communication with their customers. They look to Provider A for inbound calls and Provider B for text messaging.
Unfortunately, both providers want the insurance company to buy inbound and outbound solutions together. Neither provider will manage the solutions unless the company buys the whole package. So now what?
With a channel-agnostic platform, this company could optimize performance, orchestrate its solutions and create an ecosystem for connectivity by taking advantage of three key benefits:
1. Leveraging Best-in-Breed Capabilities
Much like big-box stores, many communication companies hope to become a one-stop shop for solutions. That may sound convenient, but many have realized that’s not always the best model. That’s why Google+ never eclipsed Facebook, despite Google’s dominance in other spheres.
Providers must look beyond their own walls to make the best products. For example, West has done in-depth research on the many capabilities and strengths of various machine learning and AI vendors.
One vendor may have unrivaled natural-language processing. Another may excel in fluid conversations and another is best for text-to-speech options. By using a catalog of capabilities from top-performing vendors, we can design a highly optimized, intelligent assistant, tailor-made for specific CX goals.
Instead of lumping all solutions into one package, mature providers know their strengths and weaknesses and help clients adopt the tools that fit their CX strategy. Those providers meet a client’s goals with customized and integrated solutions, whether they built the original technology or not.
2. Connected Solutions, Managed in One Place
So the insurance company decides to buy solutions from both providers and manage them on their own. With only two solutions, that may not be too hard, but a recent survey of over 250 marketers found 28 percent of them manage seven or more technology vendors and spend about 15 hours a week — about two full workdays — coordinating their solutions.
Most professionals can’t afford a three-day work week, and more importantly, integrated technology is crucial to creating a connected CX and climbing the customer experience lifecycle management (CXLM) maturity scale.
Having a single provider might sound pretty good right now, but for business owners who have been slowly adding technology over a long career, starting over may not be an option.
You may have heard the phrase, “Taking technology out of the solution.” Many providers have said it, but it’s been overused, considering so many providers tie clients to specific technology packages that hinder a comprehensive solution.
This not only hurts business. It damages CX, which relies on connected technology as one of five core pieces of a connected communication infrastructure.
To reach the “Connected” level of CXLM maturity, your technology must break out of operational siloes, which 46 percent of organizations cite as the biggest obstacle to leveraging customer data. Along with securing and leveraging customer data, a connected technology ecosystem must:
- Be highly scalable,
- Be easy to upgrade,
- Support comprehensive reporting across interaction points,
- Traverse web, SMS, voice and other channels in a seamless interaction,
- And use APIs to consolidate a view of all channels, even if across multiple vendors.
Even if none of those features describe your organization, guidance from a channel-agnostic partner will quickly put you on track toward connecting your solutions and creating a connected CX infrastructure.
3. Face the Future and Evolve your CX
Perhaps most importantly, a provider with a channel-agnostic approach provides peace of mind. It future-proofs your investments by keeping up with ever-changing consumer expectations.
A channel-agnostic approach optimizes performance and orchestrates solutions across the business infrastructure. Assessments and consultation shift away from a one-size-fits-all approach and tailor solutions to deliver rewarding, differentiated CX wherever your customers are in the customer lifecycle.
There are vendors and there are partners. One simply wants your business. The other helps your business succeed. With this ability to customize, a channel-agnostic partner helps your business adapt to always give customers the CX they want.
So revamp your outbound strategy without ditching your email provider with a tool like Communications Hub, which aggregates communication across every vendor and channel. Or get started with agent-assisted text messaging and be ready to adopt toll-free texting, chatbots or other developing types of SMS for your business.
Contact West Interactive Services at 800.841.9000 to learn more about this approach. But remember that a solid technology infrastructure is only one piece of CX. Give your customers the experiences they crave with these five keys for exceptional customer experiences.
If managing your solutions is causing stress, it’s time to rethink your management process. Build the right partnerships to make your technology work toward your CX goals and keep your workdays focused on aspects of your core business that matter most.
Jarrett has been with West Corporation for eight years. He graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder and currently serves as vice president of sales. Jarrett connects clients with the right technology solutions to spur growth and create exceptional customer experiences. He has also served as West’s mid-market director of the Asia Pacific and has been the company’s representative director and general manager of business in Japan, Korea and Taiwan.