Gerrit V Lydecker Jr.
Since 2010, Gerrit V Lydecker Jr. has been the CEO of OpenMethods, a leader in omnichannel software and integration solutions...
Read Full Bio >>

Gerrit V Lydecker Jr. | February 09, 2017 |


CX Effort Made Easy

CX Effort Made Easy Emerging interaction integration platforms are enabling companies to automate and personalize interactions to reduce the customer experience effort.

Emerging interaction integration platforms are enabling companies to automate and personalize interactions to reduce the customer experience effort.

We live in a time in which reducing customer effort rules. At the core of today's digital darlings, such as Netflix, Uber, and Google, are business models that focus on reducing customer effort, almost to the level of effortless. Most of us remember the Blockbuster experience of getting in the car, walking the movie aisles, being disappointed that the new release isn't in, renting something else, forgetting the movie in the VCR, and groveling over late fees. Now, we simply slump in our couch, push a few buttons, and we are binge watching our favorite show on Netflix.

Even our customer metrics have evolved to embrace effort reduction. We have relied on customer satisfaction, embraced Net Promoter Scores, and some have turned to Customer Effort Scores as being the highest correlated with positive and negative purchasing behavior.

Moving in the Wrong Direction...
Yet, in today's contact centers, customers still often have to exert more effort than ever to get their questions answered. They often start on the Web self-service, escalate to chat, call the 1-800 number, navigate the IVR, try one agent, get transferred to another agent, and hopefully, at some point, get the answer to their questions. Data from CFI Group's 2016 Contact Center Satisfaction Index verifies the customer frustration, with total time to resolution up, first caller resolution down, instances in which multiple reps are needed to resolve up, and overall satisfaction down.

As an industry, we focus too much on the "wow" moments and first-contact resolution. Instead we really need to be focusing on simply making our interactions easier, more personalized, and quicker. High-effort experiences, after all, really knock down customer loyalty, as research has long shown.

Driving Toward a Solution
The age-old problem of complexity is the culprit for high-effort customer experience in contact centers. Where once contact centers just had the phone channel, now customers have email, chat, social, text, mobile, self-service, and who knows what in the future. And, more so than ever, knowledge and data are scattered throughout an enterprise, and even outside the enterprise.

The proliferation of interaction, data, and knowledge has exploded so fast within contact centers. To reduce customer effort, contact centers need a better way to connect customers with their context, and customer questions with the right answers, on a grand scale. The old school integration solutions, such as CTI and middleware, are too cumbersome, take too much custom development, and aren't extensible or scalable.

We need a new type of solution... an interaction integration platform that automates the actual integration of interactions, data, and knowledge. Contact centers need a similar renaissance that the Web development world realized through Wordpress, a simple but powerful visual design platform that enabled non-developers to drag and drop their way to beautiful and advanced websites.

In much the same vein, we need interaction integration platforms that enable seamless connectivity among a contact center's ACD, workforce automation, quality apps, email, text, chat, CRM, knowledge databases, data warehouses, Web systems, ERP, e-commerce, and other systems. Such a platform, of course, is not just for the sake of connectivity, but for driving the ability to personalize, customize, and streamline the customer experience.

When a non-developer can simply link interaction data (e.g., a phone number), with a customer in the CRM database, with that customer's last order, and the fact the customer just visited the returns Web page, a company has all the context it needs to enable a genuine and purposeful conversation between agent and customer. And, if you can design, develop, test, and deploy these types of integrations in a matter of minutes, it will be the dawn of the contact center customer experience revolution.

Typical contact center customer experiences are fraught with high-effort interactions, driven by silos of interactions, data, and knowledge. Just look at the typical customer flow to better understand how silos drive effort.

Yet, with an interaction integration platform, a company could quickly personalize and streamline the customer experience by integrating the interactions with the relevant contextual customer data and knowledge. The customer experience outlined below is what an interaction integration platform would be able to do for most contact centers.

The beauty is, a few interaction integration platforms have recently emerged, and we are at the beginning of their adoption curve. Typically these platforms today connect to the CRM (Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce), since you need to start and end with the customer data and workflows if you want to create a customer-centric experience.

The initial wave of clients that are utilizing these platforms are quickly realizing 30+ seconds in average handle time reduction, personalized interactions, along with a slew of other benefits, including accelerated verifications, improved fraud detection, automated compliance, increased data and workflow accuracy, and any more. And, they are at the tip of the iceberg in terms of benefits, as it takes time to train customer experience engineers on an interaction integration platform, and educate contact center and IT leadership on new capabilities available via the platform. But, once they embrace the platform capabilities, they quickly become the customer experience benchmarks in their industries.


October 24, 2018

With disparate workplaces and ever-expanding volumes of information to manage, the challenges for collaborating effectively are only intensifying. Many critical applications are not integrated, and

October 10, 2018

Businesses are growing across international borders quicker than ever, but scaling operations to follow suit can be a harder, longer process.

This webinar focuses on scaling your next-generat

September 26, 2018

Join Kevin Kieller, Microsoft UC&C expert, along with Ribbon Communications and Polycom, for an update on Microsoft Ignite, and a focus on critical things you need to know about your voice deployme

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.