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Transform Your Customer Contact

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Good afternoon, my name is Dan Gordon with West. I work across our organization between our sales groups, and our marketing groups, and product development, and really help drive solutions for clients and in our markets and develop go-to-market strategies. And one of the things that we're hearing a lot of our clients talk about is their effort and their desire to mirror the ways in which customers communicate with them. And it's an evolving trend, it's an explosion of channels that's happening that customers are really trying to figure out how they connect and how they help their customers navigate.

So I'm gonna talk a little bit about that transformation process. But, first, I want to tell you a quick story about a recent interaction I had with my bank in trying to refinance my house. So maybe I share this experience with others in the audience as well. So I went to the web, tried to do a little bit of research around what my options were for refinancing, what some of the rates were. Filled out some of the application online, got kind of frustrated with the web experience, and so I thought, "Well, you know, I'll try to call in and talk to a representative."

So I got connected into the IVR, started down that process, navigating the menu and inputting my account number again, answering the questions that try to get me to route it to the appropriate agent. And when I did get connected to the agent, you know, the process basically started all over again with what I was trying to do from the initial transaction, all the way through what my account number was, what my address was, and all of the data that I had entered into the web, and even some of the data that entered in the IVR, and it never got transferred to the agent. And it was really beyond some of the basic transfer of data, but was more around, you know, the experience of using different channels to try to solve one issue.

And by the time I got to the agent, it was, you know, pretty frustrating in terms of that experience and trying to start all over again. So I don't know if I share that experience. My guess is that I probably do share the experience with quite a few people that are listening to this. And so when we talk about what we're hearing from our clients and mirroring the communication channels that customers are now using, we talk about how we're helping our clients transform their customer contacts. So when we share our CCT strategy with our clients, we're talking about the transformational changes in the way that consumers now interact amongst each other, with the companies that they prefer to do business with, whether it be banks, or retailers, or insurance companies, or healthcare providers, and how we enable those enterprises to mirror those consumer communications and connections.

Consumers have more choices for communication now than they've ever had before. They have more control over when and how they wanna communicate, and enterprises are quickly realizing that they're no longer in control of the communication. Customers now learn, connect, search, and share in different and unprecedented environments than they have in the past and in an environment that enables consumers channel choice and one that demands immediacy. So enterprises are now realizing this environment is a new frontier of expectations as consumers move from channel to channel, and enterprises are beginning to understand it's not just about channel choice, but it's also about channel integration and connectivity.

It's about analyzing those interactions, and changing the business processes to effectively connect with consumers in their preferred channels, and delivering communication that's persistent and predictive. And yet as these organizations, you know, see these changes and they start to understand them, we find that, you know, many of the enterprises we work with are still aren't sure how to quite act on these changes, how to start that transformation, where the biggest value is for the consumer. And so they're faced with this sense of, you know, "How do I effectively address this change from control at our end to control at the consumer end, this control or this consumer-driven care in this multi-channel, given the... How do I do that and manage the day-to-day? How do I act on this when my organization has silos of data and silos of perceived ownership of the customer relationship?"

Oftentimes, you know, marketing believes they own the customer relationship, care believe that they own it, and in some cases, the receivables group even thinks that they own the relationship. So not only is there silos of data, but there's silos of perceived ownership of the customer themselves. And so, in working with organizations, we find that, you know, the speed of which customers are interacting amongst each other, sharing data across each other, or sharing data amongst each other, excuse me, and the immediacy at the pace in which that happens is different than it's ever been in the past. So it's that challenge, and I think there are a couple of others when we talk about, you know, the transformation process. And so, you know, I'll start at the highest level. Oftentimes there's a lack of a clearly defined desired customer experience and how that experience will be consistent, and proactive, and predictive across different channels, whether it's social media, web, e-mail, chat, IVR, etc.

The second challenge we see is a lack of real visibility and access to actionable data. So, as I explained in that story I just told you about the mortgage, you know, it's not unusual to find organizations that don't have underlying infrastructure that will connect those channels together and allow the business the ability to analyze that data, not only within that channel but across those channels, so ultimately they can figure out ways in which the business processes need to be changed to ultimately reduce customer frustration as a customer moves from channel to channel to channel. So there's access to data, that's a challenge. There's the speed in which consumers are reacting, and communicating, and sharing, that is a challenge, and then, you know, optimizing or how do we mobilize those experiences and how do we take those experiences and deliver them or enable customers to deliver them in an immediate way and in a mobile way as the world becomes much more global, much more social, and much more searchable.

We find that consumers of our customers' organizations may start the interaction in one channel and finish it in another. And the challenge that can be, you know, how do I connect those channels together? What technology do I use to underpin those channels? And then how do I mobilize that interaction? How do I analyze that? So ultimately I can try different communications that are predictive and persistent from channel to channel, and ultimately I can begin to predict why Dan called, and I can look across the web and his IVR interaction and understand, "Geez, he's trying to refinance his house, and here's where he fell out, and here's where the conversation picked up."

So those are the struggles and challenges that we see organizations deal with when they talk about this transformation of connecting and communicating with their customer. And as we continue down that path with those customers, it really becomes a matter of where do we start the journey and where do we begin this process, knowing that, you know, geez, we have some of these channels already, but maybe they haven't been designed in such a way that they're connected, or maybe they haven't been designed in such a way that it's been thought through that the consumer's gonna transfer from one channel to another. So the challenge for organizations then once they have identified that, you know, these channels exist and oftentimes they're unconnected or the data is disparate, most of the times organizations then realize, "I can't do this all at once."

You know, it's too big of an effort and initiative to start and build a single strategy and a roadmap around, "Geez, I'm gonna do this entire thing." You know, it's like the dog catching the fire engine, right? Doesn't know when it happens what to do. So we advise clients the best way to go about this is through a phased approach and really analyzing where your customers are most frequently interacting with the organization and is that existing channel optimized first. And then as they start to optimize that existing channel, they can realize, for example, "Geez, here is a number of times customers call, and they do this in the IVR."

So if that's the case, then we can begin to work with the client and say, "If this is happening in the IVR, then how do we mobilize that transaction, for example? How do we put a native application out there so that consumers have another channel that they can choose and not just connect to the IVR?" So a phased approach in realizing or understanding what's happening in the current communication channels, and whether or not those are optimized, and are you getting the most out of those existing channels, and then starting to phase in and layer in additional channels that will drive more value to the customer and the consumer at the other end.

And then identify really where the silos exist in the organization, not just from a data perspective but also from an ownership perspective. At the end of the day, the consumer really looks at an organization as one brand or one front door, so to speak, to that organization. They don't look at it in terms of individual process or individual organizations or departments within an organization. They look at the customer, at the client, the enterprise, for example, as a single entity. And I think that's one of the biggest challenges that internal enterprises faces. How do I change the business process? How do I reduce the silos? And how do I share ownership of the client and data from channel to channel?

So ultimately, at the end of the day, one of the major goals for the enterprise becomes reducing customer frustration, right? And so the less you force your kind of consumer, the consumer's forced to communicate in ways that isn't convenient for them, isn't preferred for them, the less apt they are to continue to wanna do business with that organization or that enterprise. So the more channels that you provide, and the more preference that you provide, the more intelligence you provide around that interaction, likely the chance that client or that consumer, excuse me, is gonna continue to interact with your organization and ultimately will become a promoter of your organization, which will drive loyalty, and ultimately, at the end of the day, that turns into increased revenues, increased margins, and growth for the organization.



West Corporation

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