The Evolution of Call Management
Call management software has evolved far beyond the call loggers of old, with the market continually evolving. The development of communications management over the last three years has been phenomenal and is now so much more than call logging or call management. Communications management has taken on a completely different look today compared to five years ago, let alone 10 or 15 years ago.
Today’s journey is all about understanding our customer engagement and hence involves much more than logging telephone systems in isolation, especially in this world of digital transformation.
To truly understand our customers, call management tools are transforming into business productivity tools that allow better management and understanding of customer engagement. The data derived from communications platforms such as number of calls received, made, answered within response levels, number of calls queuing and who answered them etc. can be enriched by augmenting it with information available from other business systems such as CRM tools, call and video recordings. By mining information from these sources, our understanding of that customer journey is enhanced even further. We now have insight into how many times we interacted with our customer before an order was placed and which parts of the business are operating well and which are not.
We can then apply business rules to the information that address a specific business requirement – an example would be how many times we interact with a VIP customer, or what was the average time or process that took to place that led to a successful sale or order. What was our lost basket order value based on the number of unresolved interactions and how can we improve our efficiencies to minimise these? These are the type of insights that solutions of today must be able to provide. It is about presenting a much broader picture.
From a call management perspective, over the years we have seen how augmenting information from other sources enables us to enrich the information that we provide back to our clients. Integrating call management products with other applications provides an opportunity for more detailed and valuable insights.
With APIs being more readily available, especially with web services based technologies, we can integrate more easily with external systems and this allows us to offer the full capability of these solutions at a much more affordable price – that is the key. Integration with other systems was always possible, but it was typically very expensive. This cost is coming down due to the advent of cloud and the ability to tap into other systems more easily.
Voice has always been the most difficult to integrate because it is still a bit of a black art; voice and call recording are still challenging components. Whereas newer technologies are much easier to integrate with and quicker to harness the information.
When you bring different components and communications channels together in one suite, we can capture the analytics and deliver value back to channel partners. This is not just about delivering cost-effective tools based on business productivity to the client, but also about providing valuable insights back to partners, such as how many customers have enabled certain licenses or the most popular analytics module for a particular customer demographic.
Our channel partners constantly face pressure on margins and it is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate services. Call Analytics is one very good way to address this challenge. At Tollring we have focused effort on automation and seamless provisioning of services, making upsell opportunities far easier than ever before.
Our fraud and credit management service is also integrated into the same suite, derived from the same analytics engine, but delivering information to help our partners automatically detect fraud and manage customer credit. We can now deliver back to channel partners the valuable intelligence that affects them. And it is all delivered under the same suite – one engine, one solution delivering value to different audiences.
The best way to demonstrate value to customers is to be flexible in the way services are deployed. We are seeing a higher adoption rate of cloud services, particularly in the SME space, where we typically operate.
It is important to deploy services and solutions irrespective of type. It is all about blending information and services. It doesn’t matter where the information sits or what systems you are adopting, cloud or on premise, or a bit of both, customers don’t want to see a reduction in the services that they enjoy. The answer is to deliver one solution that can be used in different ways – a desktop version that looks just like the cloud version.
For example, a customer may have some on premise CRM technologies alongside communications products in the cloud, but they still want to have rich communications management and business productivity based on the solutions that they have adopted.
We talk about on premise, hybrid and cloud because they are all equally important. We are seeing more in the hybrid area as clients adopt elements of cloud-based technologies such as Microsoft Office 365. It is important that we bring information together from different sources and deliver it in one unified form.
Parts of this article were published in Comms Business June issue.