Let’s step into the “way back machine.” It’s 1985, and my friends and I are waiting in a long line to purchase U2 concert tickets. We are beyond excited; they are coming to the Worcester Centrum and we are determined to score tickets for this momentous event! It’s a very, very long line at the local record store, the only one in town that sells concert tickets.
Remember those days? Not many choices and lots of in-person interactions that were time-consuming, but we didn’t know the difference back then.
It took a long time to make it to the front of that line, and you never knew if the tickets were going to be sold out before you got there. It was a wait-and-see game with very few choices.
In 2015, most of us couldn’t imagine dealing with that. We have grown accustomed to having many choices on how and when we communicate. This has greatly changed the research and purchase process, which in turn has driven the need for the highly-responsive customer care companies are starting to provide.
How does this relate to Enterprise Connect 2015? As I walked the show floor, talked with people in various booths, and watched demos, it became clear to me that there has been a shift in emphasis – the event was focused less on technology and more on communication and how that can affect positive outcomes for consumers and businesses.
Busy consumers are leveraging technology to communicate on the go. Whether it’s ordering items online, accessing bank accounts, or reaching out to a contact center for assistance, consumers can do this via their mobile device through voice, chat, the web, or video. Choice, flexibility and saving time are prevailing themes, and companies are taking advantage of the many vendors’ technologies I saw at Enterprise Connect to provide choice and deliver top-notch customer care to consumers.
Given all of this, we now see that companies have the ability to lead with a customer care strategy and then deploy the technology that will enable them to implement it. Businesses are thinking customer care first, then technology, whereas in the past it was the other way around.
Many choices are always good, right? In this case, yes–not only do consumers have choices, but contact centers do as well. Cloud offerings now provide companies with the flexibility to deploy cloud-based services that can quickly connect to existing on-premises contact center solutions. These cloud-based solutions deliver the same consumer experience as on-premise.
Featured in the Cisco booth and recently announced was Context Service for Cisco Contact Center. Context Service provides cloud-based storage, tagging, and management of the data from interactions between businesses/organizations and their customers.
The service provides history/context information of previous interactions to customer service agents, allowing them to better understand the customer’s journey up to that point and provide better service. The context/history provided by the service transforms traditional, isolated multichannel interactions from separate channels such as voice, chat, and e-mail into seamless “omnichannel” journeys that help businesses better understand and respond to the needs of their customers. Customers are happy to not have to repeat their information over and over again.
This resonated strongly with Enterprise Connect attendees, given the heavy amount of traffic around the Context Service demo. Like consumers, contact centers can now implement hybrid solutions that not only provide them with flexibility and time and cost savings, but also allow contact centers to deliver personalized service while reducing consumer effort as they interact through the channel of their choice.
Although U2 is on tour again this year, I’m glad I don’t have to wait in long lines with limited choices anymore. We’ve come a long way since 1985!