A friend of mine recently joined the rest of us in the 21st Century by getting his first smartphone. Although it was a long time coming, he’s now tweeting, checking Facebook, and tracking his favorite baseball team, the Colorado Rockies, like the rest of us.
Although my friend isn’t a techno-grouch by any means, the way consumers use smartphones to interact with companies is driving a transition in the customer care industry. Not only are consumers increasingly communicating with businesses via new mechanisms such as mobile, but they’re interacting for new reasons. Using the web and social media, today’s consumers learn much more about products and services before they reach out to a business to ask a question or resolve an issue. Gone are the days of “one size fits all” contact centers. Expert, personalized customer care is now the rule rather than the exception.
Modern Customer Collaboration (or Customer Interaction, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, or even “contact center”) solutions are meeting this challenge by evolving to address not only my friend’s new-found customer service requirements, but the ongoing needs of consumers who stepped into the 21st century long before he did.
Support for current and future mobile applications is critical. Just about every company Read More »
Back in March, together with our partners, we announced plans to build the world’s largest global Intercloud. We consider this global network of clouds to be the next phase of cloud computing and a key part of the Internet of Everything.
Open and Secure Hybrid Clouds
This energy continues. In the following video, our partners share how they’re integrating our ACI and Intercloud strategies to meet the needs and demands of their customers. I find the diversity of comments and approaches our partners share in the video enlightening. Their projects represent a broad spectrum of technologies, highlighting the breadth of impact that the Intercloud will have on us all. I can see why they are all so excited and why ‘Intercloud’ is fast becoming an industry term.
As I write this, it’s World Cup time, reminding me of an old saying that in football (or soccer, as we Americans call it) there are two types of players: piano players and piano movers. Piano players perform magic with the ball. They score most of the goals … and get the big endorsement deals. Piano movers, on the other hand, toil in relative anonymity. They don’t win many style points, but they get the job done.
In some ways, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is a lot like being a piano mover. IVR is a mature, reliable, technology that’s often used to provide automated self-service to callers as a front-end to a contact center. IVR has minimal “wow” factor, and in fact it’s occasionally derided (typically due to bad application design). Yet more businesses are using it now than ever, because IVR is still one of the most cost effective ways to provide customer service.
People are often surprised when I tell them that Cisco is the world’s #1 IVR vendor--by a wide margin. Some of the world’s largest, most mission-critical IVR systems are built on Cisco. Moreover, Cisco was recently honored to receive a “Strong Positive” rating (the highest level) from Gartner in their annual IVR Marketscope report. In particular, Gartner noted Read More »
Despite having spent most of a weekend stood in mud, rain and thunderstorms at the Glastonbury festival, I’ve spent time since happily reflecting on some of the amazing collaboration between performers over the three days. Aside from the various bands, whose members (presumably) work closely together all the time to perfect their sound, there were some fairly unlikely partnerships on display too. Dolly Parton and Richie Sambora from Bon Jovi rocking to “Lay Your Hands on Me” for example. Or Ed Sheeran and Rudimental ripping it up in the middle of an electrical storm.
These combinations got me to thinking about how businesses with very different skill sets and competencies frequently come together to collaborate. For small to midsized businesses the ability to collaborate effectively with partners, suppliers and customers is often critical to success.
Many organizations collaborate specifically to accelerate growth and innovation. According to the Plante Moran 2013 Innovation Survey of 4,225 business leaders, 94% of respondents felt that Innovation was important to sustainability and growth. And three quarters felt that collaborating would increase their chances of success with innovation, with the majority open to sharing financial risk and reward.
I’m working on one of those magical cross-functional projects where we’re trying to combine multiple efforts into one result. Today, we have several tools created and managed by different groups of smart people with good intentions. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll call these tools wrenches. Not surprisingly, the wrenches have slightly different designs, definitions, purposes, and priorities. And they meet the parameters of the groups that created them. All good, right?
A challenge: The people who use the wrenches don’t always know which wrench to pick. It’s often a challenge to know which one to use or even that there’s a whole toolbox of them.
In fact, some of the people who created wrenches weren’t aware of other wrenches so similar to theirs. Granted, it’s a big toolbox with a lot of drawers. And it’s not always easy to find stuff. Or people find a wrench that works, but would be even better with a slightly different angle along the thing-a-ma-jig. Ta da, yet another wrench!
A bright idea popped up: Let’s simplify things for the people who use wrenches. Let’s align information, share resources, build connections, and work together. Let’s build a wrench – or coordinated set of wrenches — that’s easier to find, use, and understand. So, someone dug through the toolbox and brought brought together all the toolmakers to collaborate. Read More »