Digital Customer Care : a leap into Digital Mastery

Originally published at leblogdecarlos.com on July 24, 2015.

This is the fourth of a series of articles I published between 2015 and 2017 on www.LeBlogDeCarlos.com. Unfortunately that publication is no longer online. My web host provider from back them erased it because I missed a monthly payment when my credit card expired. Luckily I have a local back up for most of it. For this very one I was only able to save the first draft I had prepared back them as well as the graphical resources chosen for it. However the final draft of the article itself was written directly in the back them blogging platform I used. So that is lost. I have nonetheless decided to bring back what was left of this content. This time on Medium.

For the past 2 years I‘ve been working in both Call Center & Digital Channel related Customer Care Technologies. Some of these digital tech is coming from start ups that I believe will change the way consumers/customers interact with companies. These organisations will play a key role in the bigger business technology picture.

How can StartUps & SMEs offering Digital Customer Care as a Service type of solutions benefit from a stake of the corresponding IT/CRM/DCX lion’s share in the major league market landscape?

What does Digital Customer Care really mean? A case-study and/or concrete examples?

  • Allow your customers to call you from your website. Your browser is also a phone!
  • Clearly, your customers should be able to [Live] Chat with your company via your Website, Mobile-Site, Mobile-App.
  • Further & beyond: 3 Examples. (1) eSinister in Insurance; (2) Post-sale experience in Telecom or Retail; (3) eContract Update & Simulation in Investment Banking.

A little bit of history : once upon a time, the “call center” and the so called customer service…

  • Call Centers have being going on forever: for more than 50 years!
  • Customer Service’s been “outsourced” at the Call Center, while both being considered as a “Cost Center”, for too long.
  • Companies have invested in callCenter/telecom/network infrastructure separate from the Business. Why? Because treating the matter separately would allow for better Cost Management or so we’ve thought. As a consequence, the Customer service Experience has been “siloed” from the company: a culture-legacy to tackle on the “ASAP”.

Why would the “call center” legacy bring issues to Business?

  • Established & Big Businesses, i.e.: companies making ~500M$ in yearly revenue, have all invested in Customer Service Set Ups that hold today legacy technologies, that are functional indeed, and that would be costly to replace on a “big bang” fashion.
  • Also/Meanwhile, these enterprises all have digital presences, touch points on their Websites, Social Media, and likely on Mobile.
  • The challenge here is to be able to “inter-connect the all” in order to gain a holistic view on your Global Customer Service while listening to the “Voice of Each Customer”, and acting accordingly.
  • One clear benefit of properly achieving the above is understanding Who is your customer in order for the company to be able to offer tailored-care to each and every “Customer Persona”: and this in turn, will enable the shift from “cost center” to “profit center”.
  • Let’s take a couple of steps back, and try to point out how does the problem look like on a wide-shot lens:

The problematic: Businesses across industries struggle to deliver “real omni-channel customer experience”.

Why is that?

  • Traditional IT Systems do not necessarily integrate seamlessly with frontSite/digitalTouch points. Think about it this way for instance: how well does your company telephony/callCenter system(s) integrates with your website or social channels?
  • Unless benefiting from a centralised infrastructure, or potentially a cloud one, Customer Data Systems might not share in Real Time the same or the most relevant information about a customer. For example: Marketing, Sales and Customer Service departments spread out in different locations and using On Premises Customer Data-Bases. [Aha! there’s the problem: the “department” concept!!]
  • There seems to be a “Mentality” factor that comes in: a phone channel experience seems more tedious than a digital (live chat) channel for example. In reality, this could be totally the opposite: the phone channel is a very warm channel, the customer is right “next” to you, the company can whisper in the client’s ear!
  • Do Customer Service Professionals seem more bored, or fed up with their job, in the phone channel than in digital channels? Isn’t a good time to open the skill set for all of these Customer Care Agents who are so critical in every business’ daily basis? From now on, we’ll talk about Contact Center (not only call center) and we believe that Customer Service Agents should become (and be trained as) MultiChannel Customer Care Gurus.
  • [Hold on: Also, the phone channel may be a digital channel too!]

What does “real omni-channel customer experience” actually mean?

  • A theoretical view: from Digital Online to Digital in-Store, a coherent, traceable, and managed Prospect or Customer Development Experience.
  • From the whole eSinister Process to Reimbursement and/or Damage Repairing Service in the Insurance Sector.
  • From the Digital Customisation of a Rent a Car Service Online to its Pick Up On-Site: including notifications, (iBeacon?), etc…

Why is it a good time for StartUps & SMEs [offering Digital Customer Care Solutions] to grab a piece of the cake or even better to create “new market opportunities” for them?

  • [Very Important: Solutions Have To Be Delivered From THE CLOUD.]
  • Ability to provide quickly a Modular Solution On Top of The Existing Infra.
  • Ability to deliver very quickly a PoC or even better a PoV in a reduced perimeter before full deployment. Full deployment could be partner with an existing Integrator-Company or not (it will clearly depend on how quick we want things to roll out).
  • Ability to provide APIs, in several formats, to easily integrate the needed features into the existing Company Solutions.
  • Ability to Innovate, Test & Learn alongside the Company, Deploy Progressively and iterate accordingly with NO impact on the company side.

How can StartUps & SMEs [offering Digital Customer Care Solutions] achieve this? A case-study and/or concrete examples?

  • a) API[aaS]: integration, delivery, management.
  • b) Example Insurance Sector: the case study. Company holding Classic/Traditional type of Customer Service technology. New Digital Solution On Top. PoC. API Integration. Full Deployment.
  • c) Example on the Investment Banking Industry?

IN A NUTSHELL:

  • Digital Customer Care is allowing your customers to call you directly from your website. It is also giving them the opportunity to get a hold of you via intelligent selfService tools such as dynamic knowledge bases and automatic chat.
  • Digital Customer Care also means gathering data from user behaviour on your website and using it wisely while this particular customer is calling at any point in time.
  • StartUps & SMEs providing Modular and “API-led”, Cloud Based, Digital Customer Care Solutions have a interesting opportunity to gain momentum in the market whether partnering with existing IT-integration Providers or Not.
  • Companies that are riding the Digital Customer Care train are accomplishing an important leap into Digital Mastery which in turn, will make them more impactful as well as more profitable than all its peers in the same industry.
  • This might just be topic of a next post, see you soon.

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Product Management + Solution Engineer @Salesforce. Jugaad Innovation Aficionado. Web Application Development. Cryptocurrencies & Open Blockchains Apasionado.