By now, organizations of all sizes recognize the strong correlation between CX, customer loyalty, and ultimately the bottom line. They also recognize the significance of integrating various parts of their organization beyond the contact center. While small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) and some enterprises can use a single stack solution to connect the contact center with the rest of the organization, large enterprises with multiple vendors and products face greater challenges.
These larger organizations can create positive customer experiences by taking an enterprise-wide approach and leveraging the convergence of cloud-based unified communications (UC) and contact center applications and technologies to better serve customers. Here, we’ll further explore this concept, address barriers, and propose solutions.
The Need for Enterprise-Wide CX
For years I’ve said that responsibility for CX should expand to the entire enterprise, across various departments because creating engagement with your customers extends beyond the contact center. We’re starting to see the convergence of customer service, marketing, and sales, as well as the ability for subject matter experts throughout the organization to assist contact center agents in the collaborative contact center. Companies understand that caring for customers involves not only front-line workers interacting with customers, but also knowledge workers, subject matter experts, and specialists throughout the enterprise. Enterprise-wide CX requires converging UC and contact center tools, as well as communications-platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) to integrate various channels, as well as workflows and applications.
Unified-communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) and contact-center-as-a-service (CCaaS) tools can provide a seamless customer experience as customers move from researching a company’s website to responding to a marketing campaign or sales call, to contacting customer service. Communication, collaboration, and coordination between employees inside and outside of the contact center also require the right tools and technologies, as well as integration between the enterprise’s UC and contact center technologies.
By integrating UCaaS and CCaaS, enterprises can create a collaborative contact center, (as mentioned above) that enables agents, specialists throughout the enterprise, and customers to work together to solve CX issues.
With tools such as instant messaging or chat, telephony, two-way video, screen sharing, co-browsing from the agent desktop, and team collaborative spaces, agents can more quickly and effectively identify the customer’s problem and find a solution. Agent-customer interactions can start in a chat session and escalate to a web conference with document sharing and other collaborative tools, enabling agents to visually guide callers through a process. Agents, customers, and specialists can use team shared spaces to not only share documents and videos, but also to truly collaborate and work together to solve the customer's problem.
When you include CPaaS, the number of use cases skyrockets. Customizing solutions, integrating different applications, from customer relationship management (CRM) to vertical applications, integrating communications into business applications and workflows become much easier.
IT organizations understand that they need to more deeply integrate communications into the core experience of the user, which means that enterprises need to integrate fragmented applications and capabilities. Making this a reality, however, is easier said than done, especially for large, geographically dispersed enterprises. Integrating UC and contact center (or in most cases today, the cloud-based versions—UCaaS and CCaaS) is generally easier for SMBs than for large enterprises. That’s because SMBs are more frequently turning to full-suite vendors like 8x8, Dialpad, Edify, Mitel, RingCentral, Vonage, and others. Conversely, large enterprises generally have multiple vendors for their communication, collaboration, and contact center solutions, making integration much trickier.
Challenges Large Enterprises Must Solve
While large (and very large) enterprises know the importance of ensuring a positive customer experience throughout the customer journey and lifecycle, they’re aware it’s not easy to achieve. These organizations must overcome the following unique challenges:
- Fragmentation - While small- and medium-sized businesses can use a single provider for CCaaS/UCaaS, large enterprises generally have discrete systems for business telephony, video communications, collaboration, and contact center— often tied together through an application programming interface (API), software development kit (SDK), or native integrations. With various silos and walled gardens between departments and functions, it’s hard for large enterprises to provide a united front to best serve customers. Many large enterprises—especially global enterprises—haven’t standardized on a single provider for their telephony, let alone for telephony, collaboration, and contact center.
- Specialized Applications - Large enterprises generally have specialized applications and best-of-breed products for different applications, and contact center interaction channels. There might be one vendor for voice channels, another for digital channels, and another for virtual agents. Enterprises must somehow integrate and tie together these various technologies with their core contact center platform. Having separate vendors and products for UC and contact center limit an agent’s ability to switch channels during a customer interaction, find the right product specialist in a different department to help solve the customer’s issue or hand off a WhatsApp interaction to a specialized subject matter expert in the marketing department, for example.
- Compliance and Security - Chief Information Officers (CIOs) must be cognizant of the various security and compliance issues when integrating UC and contact center cloud services from different vendors. Adding channels, such as video, or redirecting calls over the public Internet compounds this issue.
- Different Buyers - For contact centers and UC, large enterprises typically have multiple buyers and stakeholders. Because these groups have different purchasing criteria and goals, it’s difficult to coordinate roadmaps, strategies, and purchases—hindering integration efforts.
One recommendation for large enterprises is to use a unified carrier-based platform to connect the various elements and applications.
As discussed in this white paper and associated video
, carriers can play a role in helping enterprises more deeply integrate their UC and contact center capabilities.
Achieving CX across a large enterprise is challenging, but with the right type of cloud service and underlying communication provider platform to integrate the various services and solutions, enterprises can find the right balance.
This post is written on behalf of BCStrategies, an industry resource for enterprises, vendors, system integrators, and anyone interested in the growing business communications arena. A supplier of objective information on business communications, BCStrategies is supported by an alliance of leading communication industry advisors, analysts, and consultants who have worked in the various segments of the dynamic business communications market.