Today's leading organizations are blazing a path to contextual communications because they understand how crucial it is to improve the customer experience in the digital age.
The customer is king, after all, and these days, the king is more demanding than ever. Enhanced, intelligent corporate collaboration can help businesses meet increasing customer expectations. That being said, businesses that aren't so comfortable with serious, transformational change may find this prospect a bit daunting at the outset.
Here's how they can successfully navigate the transition and how APIs can enable it:
The Value of Contextual Communications in Corporate Collaboration
Customers now enjoy immediate access to businesses using their communications channels of choice due to cloud collaboration and mobile technology. However, mere availability isn't enough: Those same customers now also expect businesses to provide personalized, meaningful, and relevant interactions.
If you've ever suffered the existential dread that comes from being asked to repeat your customer information over and over as you're being transferred from one representative to another during a customer service call, thinking to yourself that they should already have that information in front of them, you already know why this is important. And, frankly, with the explosion of technological innovation in recent years, shouldn't this problem be solved already?
The good news is that businesses can bridge this gap by taking advantage of contextual communications. Great enablers in this journey are innovative, developer-friendly communication APIs that make it possible for businesses to make their communications relevant and personalized in a multichannel world. However, there are a few steps businesses must take as they embark on this path:
1. Build a Strong Cloud Foundation
A key starting point for any organization thinking about making the leap to contextual communications is embracing the cloud. Without a reliable cloud infrastructure in place that sets the table for APIs, it will be that much more challenging to bring together the various communications channels and data sources necessary to raise the bar on the customer experience.
For many businesses, this means first ensuring a cloud-based communications platform is in place. This way, the company has the necessary communications foundation upon which to create contextual communications. Organizations that are reluctant to leap headfirst into a major technology initiative or digital transformation endeavor will especially want to make sure they have addressed this step before proceeding further on their journey. In doing so, they will also give their employees an opportunity to become proficient in the communications features they will increasingly use when engaging with both colleagues and customers.
Enhanced, intelligent corporate collaboration can help businesses meet increasing customer expectations.
2. Identify Customer Needs
Once a business has embraced the cloud, it can begin planning in earnest how best to enable contextual communications for its customers. This can involve mapping out processes to make sure customer service professionals can instantly access the right customer information they need from wherever they're engaging with the customer — whether that's a video chat, voice call, or messaging exchange from within an app.
For example, a business could do this by making certain data in the customer relationship management (CRM) platform available to those channels via an API. This way, a representative could see at a glance exactly who the customer is, which products or services she uses, and any other relevant history about her prior communication with the company.
Creating new business processes like these often involves breaking down silos between different departments and units within the organization so the necessary information-sharing is possible. It will also require identifying the various data sources that must be included and where they reside, whether that's in a CRM or another business application, within a product, or possibly even in a third-party data source such as a local weather API. After those steps have been taken, it will be important to decide how best to use an API to integrate these data sources into the communications channels where customers engage with the business.
3. Enable Contextual Communications
After a business has determined what information it needs to make available to its customers in order to serve them better, it can enable contextual communications for the first time. Like any technology initiative, it's important to select an experienced implementation partner that has deep experience in communications APIs and can help your company ensure a successful transition to this next stage.
Fortunately, there are solutions available that don't require a business to have deep in-house development expertise. Rather, with minimal coding and expert guidance in best practices, the business can be on its way in a short time. What's more, these API solutions are scalable and benefit from the partner's carrier relationships, ensuring its contextual communications will adapt and evolve as the organization grows and changes.
4. Refine the Customer Experience
When contextual communications have been successfully enabled, it might be tempting to think there is nothing left to be done. However, thanks to the high-quality analytics provided by APIs, a company can also leverage powerful customer insights in a variety of ways. For example, until recently, it was not possible to perform sentiment analysis on a customer call in real time as businesses commonly do with their social media interactions. Nor could a company track call metadata to use in its lead generation and marketing campaigns. A business can now do these things and much more with the enhanced insights communications APIs offer.
All businesses that have embraced cloud-based corporate collaboration can embark on this rewarding journey. If you haven't yet considered the benefits of contextual communications, it may be worth seeing how it can take your business to the next level.
Find out how Vonage Business can work with your organization to deliver game-changing contextual communications for your customers. In the meantime, you and your developers may wish to explore Vonage's Nexmo API Platform.