Alternatives to the “rip out and replace” strategy

19th May 2017

One of the biggest challenges facing organisations today is how to quickly overcome their omnichannel IT challenges without ripping out and replacing a single legacy system.

Any piece of contact centre infrastructure or CRM software more than three or four years old is probably already obsolete when it comes to providing the functions that are important to customers today.

Having a choice of channel and getting a speedy resolution to their issues are what customers value most. This now means transitioning to a 24/7 omnichannel world of multiple digital devices, which is easier said than done because of those enterprise IT investments that need to play out over a certain number of years to prove their worth.

To win over customers in an always-on, omnichannel world, everything has to be joined up: business processes, front and back offices, departments, and particularly customer journeys.

IT systems even a few years old lack scalability and agility, and worst of all, they usually won’t integrate well with other systems and applications.

The challenges here are not just around integration, but also the pace of change. If you’ve just spent months of dev time integrating Messenger into your legacy and cloud apps, what you do when Facebook changes the API, or when your customers suddenly start switching to the next emerging channel?

Manage customer channels

There are currently no contact centre infrastructure or software platforms that offer all customer channels pre-integrated – and, of course, there are new channels emerging and being adopted by customers every year.

Most channels can be accessed with APIs, but the need to integrate every one of your systems with each of the channels you’d like to use is time-consuming to set up and, most of all, to keep up-to-date.

Let’s say you use Salesforce for leads, SAP for CRM, and Genesys as your contact centre platform. Rather than have each of these integrate separately with, say, Messenger, each system integrates with the orchestration layer, which in turn connects them with the channels.

When a channel API changes, or a new channel like Alexa or new function like chatbots gets added, the only thing that needs to adapt is the orchestration layer.

Some digital and mobile solutions that you may wish to consider

Using an orchestration layer to deliver customer journeys that seamlessly cross channels and mix automated and live agent assistance can deliver impressive results. Clients have reported, for instance, 40% improvements in NPS and CSAT scores, 100% faster resolution rates, 60% better first contact rates, 15% lower inbound call volumes, and a huge 25% reduction in operational costs.

A claims management company, for example, was spending 60p/minute chasing up customers for document with live agent outbound calls. Switching to proactive chat-based messaging saved one hour of time per agent per day, while 78% of customers responded within 24 hours.

One high street bank was quickly able to integrate Messenger into their suite of contact centre channels, as its social media team was being swamped by customer service queries. Now customer satisfaction rates have soared while inbound calls have dropped 15%.

A leading utility company was able to leap up OFWAT’s customer service table by delivering proactive outage alerts via SMS and automated meter readings via two-way messaging.

None of these clients had to replace a single existing IT system, as all the channel integration and the set-up of the new customer journeys was handled by the orchestration platform, IMIconnect. This centralised management layer also allows for data collection which feeds back into improving experiences and efficiency, and for the rapid prototyping and scaling of customer journeys.

When the only thing you know for sure is that everything will be constantly changing, adapting your technology infrastructure to cope with this fact is key to remaining agile and competitive.


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