By Ian Hunter, Journalist & former editor of Comms Business Magazine
The digital age is no respecter of organisations that have built a reputation for their brand and customer service over a generation; they are now routinely exposed to competitive pressures from new market entrants or early adopters of strategies that innovatively leverage newer technologies and applications.
By and large, the biggest threat to customer retention has undoubtedly come from the internet and the applications running on it.
For some time prospective purchasers of literally anything have been able to research products and suppliers for potential sources at the click of a button whenever and wherever they want. By the time they ‘commit to buy’ they often already know what they want and from where. This can be for both one off single purchases or for ongoing supply and services of whatever it is they are looking for.
In the digital age buyers are influenced in their decision-making by many factors beyond legacy style advertising, brochures and salesman approaches. Poor product and service reviews on sites such as Trip Advisor and Trust Pilot for example, are major factors for many buyers as are reading negative comments on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
Many companies have invested heavily in their own on-line presence and in monitoring tools for these platforms but in doing so have forgotten that business to business commerce is still largely the domain of the telephone call when it comes to customer contact. For a complete picture of customer activity business should therefore encompass management of all contact media.
And what about ‘The Cloud’?
Today, more and more business processes and applications, including telephony, are deployed from the cloud instead of or in addition to applications being located on premise in a so termed hybrid configuration.
For the user and the supplier cloud brings many benefits as well as challenges. For example, users will delight in suppliers offering 30-day supply contracts for business applications and services instead of being tied in to, say, five-year lease agreements. On the other hand, suppliers, who need to be able to offer such terms to compete in their markets, can see customers disappearing without warning.
Of one thing we are certain, the old cost barriers both for organisations wanting to take advantage of new technology and for suppliers wishing to broaden their value-added portfolio of offerings have crumbled as a result of the pay-as-you-go cloud deployment models
Thus applications such as hosted telephony, unified communications, call recording, analytics, team collaboration, computer telephony integration and even artificial intelligence are now readily available to organisations of any size in a scalable, flexible form.
Cost effective application deployment such as this can form part of a holistic, all-encompassing but modular and integrated solution to call and contact centres no matter how large or small.
The benefits to users and suppliers lies in having the capability to defend those three business pre-requisites with a scalable and flexible set of solutions for the digital era.
How can Oak help?
Oak Innovation is a provider of call recording, call analytics and payment automation solutions. We offer ‘freedom of deployment’ allowing end users to deploy on premises, in the cloud or in a hybrid configuration to meet all business needs. This approach enables Oak technology to evolve with your business. For more information see our Call Recording Delivered Your Way whitepaper