Virtual Office Featured Article
Cloud Telephony Eliminates Information Black Hole in Customer Support
Virtual Office Resource Contributor
There’s a perception today that when it comes to customer support, the telephone has been supplanted by digital channels. While mobile app, social media, chat, self-service and other channels have certainly recrafted the landscape of customer support – and companies interested in keeping customers engaged need to build out these channels – it’s unlikely that the telephone as a communications media for customers is likely to go anywhere soon.
You’d never know it from watching what many enterprises are spending money on today, according to a recent article by Lee Bryant writing for IT Pro Portal. Telephony appears to be an afterthought in many company’s strategies.
“Seventy-two percent of people still preferring customer contact via the telephone, the digital approach seems to be at odds with businesses’ oft-quoted commitment to customer-centricity,” wrote Bryant. “Since telephone dialogue is often the final, pivotal conclusion of the sales or customer service process, incremental moves away from telephony appear all the more perplexing.”
Self-service can go a long way toward keeping routine calls out of the contact center. Social media is great for companies wishing to take a proactive approach to customer care. But telephony, despite its costs and the labor intensiveness of the phone, needs to remain the gold standard when all other options for the customer have failed.
Cloud telephony is helping companies put telephone back where it belongs, in a position of honor on the front lines, while helping businesses save money and giving companies access to real-time metrics that were generally unavailable with traditional telephony. It also gives companies the kind of multi-location unity of communications that were also out of reach of traditional telephone service.
“As technology has advanced, the control of routing calls has moved from the on-site hardware at each end of a call, to a new scenario where everything can potentially sit at the center,” wrote Bryant. “This cloud-based approach allows end-users to manage their own service via the web and, crucially, gain access to business-critical information in real time.”
Real-time data and analytics can also help companies be more customer-centric and gain greater insight into their operations. “Waiting for the phone bill” at the end of the month – a limitation of traditional telephony – doesn’t allow for much insight. Call management data, if it was available at all, was not in a format easily absorbed by contact center decision makers who could use the information to improve business processes and customer support quality.
“Cloud-based telephony has changed all of that,” wrote Bryant. “It has unlocked previously elusive call management information and made it freely available to businesses. What’s more, users no longer have to wait weeks to review call activity and assess vital metrics – they can have them in real time to help inform data-driven business decisions.”
Greater insight into telephony usage can help contact centers better allocate, share and adjust call resources to meet fluctuating demand, and it can help marketing departments understand the success (or failures) of campaigns. It can help companies engage in proactive customer care more easily, and understand where agents still require more training or better engagement. Best of all, it can keep the sky-high costs of traditional telephony from becoming a burden to financial success.
Edited by Maurice Nagle
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