Communication channels need to be intelligent but there’s a connectivity problem

Customer service has been evolving, albeit at a snail’s pace.

We’ve seen chatbots rise in popularity as they allow for simple queries to be resolved quickly, given they are implemented correctly. However, we’re still far away from that Google Duplex demo where robots are making appointments with other robots at our request.

The next step that is being taken by a small number of companies is intelligent business communication. This is, as described by Telviva chief executive officer, David Meintjes, “the ability to adapt and react based on real-time insights”.

Essentially this means that if a customer calls a contact centre and they are handed off to an agent, that agent is able to see past interactions, the customer’s details and more in order to effectively solve the problem. This is a basic explanation however, and the process of implementing intelligent business communication solutions is just another part of digital transformation.

One of the aspects that keeps many businesses from diving head first into these solutions however is connectivity, especially given the looming fourth wave of COVID-19 infections.

“Fibre accessibility is not yet up to par. As remote working increased over the past 18 months, this challenge became apparent as many companies had to fall back on a mobile solution such as 4G, where data costs are exponentially higher. With high data usage this is just not scalable, and so to achieve the economic dispensation we desire, the population and businesses alike need access to fibre networks. This cannot be overemphasised,” says Meintjes.

Why is this a problem?

For one, many customer service platforms exist in, or require connectivity to, the cloud in order to function at peak performance. This requires investment into connectivity so that an employee can for example, receive a call that is detected by a customer relationship management system and they are able to handle the customer’s query more effectively.

“Until now, most business communication was over voice and email. Those days are gone, and to be relevant today a business needs to have the capacity to handle voice and email, but also the high-pace environment of video and chat functionality on social media and the web. These channels all need to work in harmony,” says the Telviva CEO.

As fibre is not as widespread as we’d like it to be here in South Africa, this means that considerations need to be made for that. One of those considerations should be a “mobile-first” mentality. While it would be great to have a video calling solution for customers, how viable is that in the context of South Africa and more importantly your customers?

A computer hardware retailer may be able to offer a contact solution that doesn’t take limited bandwidth into account but a small business supplying school supplies may not be able to do the same.

What this illustrates is that there is no “one-size fits all” solution when it comes to intelligent business communications. Rather, decision makers should be looking at how to incorporate solutions that apply to its particular use case and customer needs, into the digital transformation journey.

It’s been said before but it helps a lot to enlist the help of a partner – be that an organisation, team or individual – who is able to make informed suggestions as regards how solutions can be implemented, how processes can be refined and more.

“Success is often not inherent in the tool itself, but rather the service frameworks and service delivery to the organisation. Working through these with a partner that is likely to be around over the long-term is crucial for businesses to unlock the value they desire from intelligent communication platforms,” concludes Meintjes.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]


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