05 Oct Convergence Technologies
The Future of Digital Messaging– Part 2/3
Tech UK 2015 – Convergence Technologies
We discussed how an organisation can introduce seamless interaction over digital communication channels into their business processes, and the benefits they can enjoy. However, the problem that many organisations face when it comes to seamless interaction is the management of communications to stakeholders via a number of siloed applications, each performing a different business function.
This is expensive, time consuming, and it is disjointed, and can lead to wasted employee productivity, lack of real-time visibility, integration complexity and cost, and ultimately dissatisfaction amongst customers. But by consolidating the communications from each siloed application through a single gateway, and introducing 2-way intelligent messaging, you enable the siloed applications to work together, and achieve automation across a single workflow. Actions from one application can be used to trigger activities within a completely different application.
A Telco customer has a technical issue with their broadband and phones in to report the problem:
- By reporting the problem, they trigger a workflow within the organisation’s CRM application, which handles any support requests raised by customers.
- Communications go out by SMS to organise appointment availability with the customer.
- Meanwhile, the Enterprise Resource Planning application, used to manage the scheduling of an engineer to attend the issue, is polling for this information at regular intervals.
- When the customer responds to confirm a specific date and time, the ERP application captures this and triggers a subsequent workflow, which will send out communications to engineers requesting confirmation to attend the issue.
- The engineer’s response will automatically be captured by the CRM system and notify the customer that their appointment has been confirmed.
However, what happens if the customer is unable to respond immediately? Would the automation stop at that point because it relied on the stakeholder’s actions to move the workflow forward? And, what if there is a second notification to that customer, would the application have to wait for their response?
Many applications have the capability to create complex business rules to respond in situations like this. However, they have an inherent flaw with regards to managing digital messaging, and reaching beyond their own ecosystem. This is known as the last mile, and has posed a persistent problem to organisations looking to automate processes involving distributed stakeholders.
A variety of communications routes have been used to try and resolve this problem: call centres, internet, mail, smart phone apps, despite each having inherent disadvantages. Call centres are expensive to run and can degrade customer service, the internet relies on the customer or staff member to go to it, post is slow and smart phones with apps provide very limited penetration. Email has always been a very useful tool to notify and update a customer on the progress of an issue. However, the read rate for emails is very low and spam rules in many organisations can mean notifications being lost – resulting in more engagement and cost within the Contact Centre.
How do we solve the problem of the last mile?
This is where intelligent 2way messaging steps in as it has the ability to seamlessly integrate disparate business applications and distributed end users. If the right commercial decision is made to deploy this type of solution, the longevity of existing infrastructure can be extended and substantial investment in new technology can be avoided. By simplifying the process for the end user (respond ‘1’ to do X or ‘2’ to do Y, rather than filling out application forms), and using business logic to drive the interaction, reliance on expensive mobile devices and the overheads for end user training can be minimised.
Furthermore, the ability to distribute multiple communication channels through a single gateway to a mobile device that can manage multiple communication channels, means it is possible to target end users by their preferred choice of communications channel and escalate where necessary. An organisation has complete control over the distribution of communications and can react if the end user fails to respond.
This results in an extremely versatile solution that can be integrated and configured into any number of workflows required by an organisation, and offer real-time visibility into a workflow process.