Delivering Against Evolving Customer Service Experience Standards Demands More Than an 800 Number

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Guest blog, originally posted by VeloCloud at:  http://www.velocloud.com/sd-wan-blog/outcome_driven_customer_service/

It's no secret companies that deliver truly exceptional customer service and support experiences have a competitive edge when all other things are equal. Why? Because nearly everyone has an innate need to feel special and companies that satisfy that throughout the customer journey set themselves apart. In this post, our guest blogger, Michael Wood, VP of Marketing at VeloCloud, explains how the right network infrastructure can help organizations deliver against this agenda.

Preparing for the end of customer loyalty as we know it

At a time where brand loyalty is declining and customers can change brands with a click of a mouse, it's critically important to maintain a strong focus on delivering a superior customer experience. 

There are two essential things that differentiate companies seeking to deliver an exceptional customer service experience:

  1. Skilled, empathetic support personnel driven to solve customer issues and to keep that customer coming back.
  2. A network infrastructure to enable the growth of services and applications that empower those support personnel to do their job well.

 Let’s take a closer look at how these two concepts work together from a customer’s perspective.

Responding with speed and knowledge

Typically, when a customer reaches out to a company with questions, for technical support, or problem resolution, they want to encounter two things: speed and knowledge. 

Let’s focus first on speed.  The days of waiting on hold for hours or for a return call or email are long gone. Having a single method of reaching a vendor is no longer acceptable, either. To accommodate both the sense of urgency and desire for multi-channel communications options, companies need to provide multiple ways to connect, including live customer service personnel, chat, service portals with documentation, video tutorials, email and a mix of social options. 

While there should be a varying degree of human touch behind these interfaces, many can be automated, which requires large amounts of data, transactions and bandwidth to achieve, in addition to reliability and 24/7 availability. 

After speed comes knowledge. Plain and simple, as customers, we want the companies we do business with to know who we are and maybe even have an idea of why we’re calling. No one wants to reach a customer contact center and then have to explain their specific situation and history each and every time they’re transferred to a different service representative. That just increases the anxiety and frustration level, and slows time to resolution. In an ideal world, we choose our preferred method of communication, our situation is quickly identified, and resolution happens shortly after.

The role of end-to-end visibility

Those companies that have end-to-end visibility into customer records and interactions can anticipate immediate needs and respond quickly to gain a competitive advantage. The network solutions supporting this activity must have the capability to bridge all of these communications channels together, with the power to support customer service representatives and service interfaces to use big data analytics that help deliver answers in seconds. 

To create the type of outcome-driven customer service program today’s customers desire requires a vast amount of data collection, storage and analysis, along with the ability to synthesize and deliver results drawn from that data in seconds. While response time to the customer is key, it also needs to be backed by deep knowledge of the customer’s account, usage and potential pain points. Behavioral/usage data needs to be collected and delivered to a central repository, housed appropriately, and delivered instantly upon a customer-initiated contact, via the application or channel of choice. Bandwidth and storage capabilities become significant dependencies. 

Companies, and specifically CIOs, need to not just look at customer service programs that  support this type of integrated, dynamic and evolving customer demand. Rather, they need to ensure their network infrastructure is capable of scaling to meet the demands of those systems and applications. The size, speed and security of the data being transferred between the company and customer requires high levels of bandwidth and a transport systems that can scale accordingly.

SD-WAN empowers companies to rise to the customer experience challenge

Today’s traditional network infrastructures will struggle with the ability to scale to meet these kinds of current and more importantly, future demands. To do that, these infrastructures need to be updated or enhanced with services that enable secure, high performance and reliable cloud and on-premises data, application and information delivery. 

SD-WAN is one essential new technology that is bringing companies into the modern age quickly, providing a future-proof outcome-driven architecture. SD-WAN is non-disruptive to an organization's’ existing infrastructure, transport and resources since it acts an overlay, using their existing connectivity infrastructure such as MPLS, broadband, fixed wireless and LTE services. 

Because SD-WAN drives the rapid and efficient delivery of traffic, maximizes bandwidth capabilities, and enables the incremental addition of customer service applications, it can support the connectivity required to deliver against comprehensive customer service initiatives. Since it’s an overlay that can help unify the entire network, it will have an immediate impact on a customer service representative or service application’s ability to gain rapid access to all customer-related data. 

To find out more about  implementing a platform that results in the kinds of customer service experience outcomes your organization desires, listen to the webinar "How to Build an Outcome-Driven SD-WAN Network."  Armed with the right technology and partners to deliver it, you’ll be more than ready to get started.