Two of my colleagues just finished a tour of client visits in Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Singapore, Taiwan and parts of China (or other parts, depending on ones politics). Their observations are in line with what we are seeing in most parts of the world: when it comes to building a next-generation CRM desktop, mobile interface, or Customer-Centric web portal with strong capabilities for customer engagement, the choices are extremely limited.
To start off, the idea of deploying a product from a single software company to unify Web, mobile and Agent experience is unavailable for most companies and organizations in most parts of the world. Building a unified customer support interface with the right features (single view of the customer, including social media presence, business rules, next best action advise, multi-channel integration) for any but the most trivial of uses will reduce the “Choice” of vendor to one or none. Banking, medical insurance, airlines, universities, utilities – what do they get to choose from? Maybe one vendor. To build the solution that you really want requires a bit of the very new and a bit of re-animation of mostly dead matter, Victor Frankenstein-meets-IT, to get the system that is required.
What is the business owner, and the CIO, to do in order to get a project moving forward? For a large and complex customer support center, or a Customer Engagement Center, the best option can often be working on key, tactical issues that will have high value to the business without commiting IT to a new architectural choice. Amongst these are five high-power projects:
- the support of consumers/customers on mobile devices
- improving agent visibility into the true ‘state’ of the customer: emotion/sentiment, current projected lifetime value, past experience and likely intent for calling
- Better agent access to knowledge / information about the situation: articles, data, links, policies or answers
- A more responsive and intuitive web experience for the customer on your website via better customer search tools, better navigation, integrated chat features, video-based answers, and virtual assistants
- Agent connections into social media to ‘listen’ to customer experiences in social media, with an ability to engage
For each of these areas there are several excellent vendor choices, measurable benefit, and little impact on future IT direction.
So: the big projects may have to wait a bit as Cloud-based CRM software matures for complex customer engagement centers, but there are plenty of great reasons and software to excite a CIO to get something going on behalf of the customer.
Sometimes leadership and vision are best focused on small, tactical projects that collectively create a strategic position for great customer experience.
That is what we are seeing. And you?
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