July 12, 2016
Why Phone and Business Process Integration is Mission Critical
By Peter Bernstein
One of the more interesting pieces of industry nomenclature that has caught on in the past few years when it comes to creating compelling interactions in the “Real-Time Economy,” is the necessity of having complete visibility of “The Customer Journey.” However, what exactly does this mean? And, more importantly, what does it entail?
As to what it means, the name says it all. Almost four decades ago, way before the Internet, the futurist Alvin Toffler postulated that technology would progress to the point where sellers of goods and services would have to accommodate what he called “the market of one.” In short, having the ability to cater to the needs of specific individuals—giving them precisely what they wanted, when and how they wanted it, and priced within their zone of reasonableness—would be the path to success. Fast forward, and it turns out that Toffler nailed it.
In fact, I have written on several occasions that the most profound impact of the Internet has been how it has changed the relationships between sellers and buyers. The Internet gave buyers instantaneous access information and options. Indeed, one way to understand the importance of Big Data and sophisticated analytics is that it is sellers looking to catch up on getting more perfect information about transactions. In short, it is all about the data, and all about the gathering and integration of everything there is to know about customers and their behavior, i.e., their journey.
The challenge has been that much of the data that frontline people, who interact not just with customers but with a variety of internal as well as external audiences and stakeholders, have not had access to all of the information they need to create real-time interactions that are compelling. The reasons are that not only has much of that information been siloed in various business processes like CRM, ERP, etc., but even when accessible/visible to frontline people it has not been integrated to the extent that it makes being responsive easier.
A great example, which should be intuitive to readers, is having all of the information from capabilities like Salesforce.com (News - Alert) integrated with all of the rich information gathered by customer interaction solutions being generated by today’s sophisticated contact center systems and software. It just makes sense, particularly as more and more information and interactions are done via the cloud, that competitive advantage can be gained by those who have the visibility and control to respond in real-time to inquiries. It means that communications and collaboration tools need to be integrated with other business processes to assure optimal outcomes.
Realities are that those who are not engaged in the integration of all of their systems that contain vital customer information are disconnected, and in today’s always on/always connected world, this disconnect can have catastrophic consequences.
I bring all of this up as an inducement for those of you who were not able to participate in the recent webinar, Solving the Data Disconnect: Benefits of Phone (News - Alert) and Business Process Integration on your Business' Bottom Line. During the session, Crisantos Hajibrahim, Product Evangelist for Vonage (News - Alert) Business, and I discussed in detail the current challenges across sales, marketing and IT that are making business process/CRM integration with unified communications not just a nicety but a business necessity.
We looked at:
- What is business process/CRM integration, and how it works
- The benefits of a fully integrated communications system
o Estimated ROI and Cost Savings: increase workforce productivity and mobility
o Real-time data and intelligence: automated call reporting and analytics
o Streamlined customer experience
o Increased Reliability of Calls and Applications
Plus, there was a demonstration of Vonage’s cloud-based integrated solution at work.
One graphic from the session hopefully is an inducement for you to download the archived version.
This is a case where seeing and hearing is believing. Your organization in order to be responsive to customers and potential ones, along with other stakeholders, really does need to have your frontline people armed with the best tools possible. Integrated communications with business processes quite simply translates into a customer connect rather than a disconnect. And, in a world where there are so many options, and dissatisfaction can go viral in an instant, there should be no alternative to having all of your business systems and process optimized.
As I noted in the webinar, People + Products & Services + Tools + Processes = Performance is the formula for success, but this can’t succeed without the proper integration of all of those tools and processes.
Edited by Alicia Young