Tag Archives: customer journeys

Why Tech Start-Ups Should Start Their Customer Journeys Early

There are more and more start-ups in the tech industry every year. They have become an integral part of our business landscape, driving innovation and entrepreneurship.

All of these start-ups begin with a vision and a few individuals who want to bring it to life. Over time, they will find investors to back them up and the people to transform it into a product. Everyone works hard for the success of the newly founded company. But building this success is difficult, and developing a product to a point where it is marketable requires a lot of hard work and fortitude.

At the beginning, the product is the one and only focus. It’s about developing a platform for the business idea to come alive and building the artifact (product, app, etc.) that customers will want to use or buy because without the product, there is no business.

Later, once the product has matured and larger audiences start using it, the business aspects need to be embedded into the process. Customers need to be managed, sales handled, licensing applied, and even more importantly, the moment the first customers are on board (while the product is still in an infant stage), customer service is crucial to keep the users engaged.

Today, success is not only defined by a vision or product itself, but also by timing and the execution of the company’s ability to attract users. This becomes even more crucial once others start to copy your business model.

However, customer service does not just stand for troubleshooting anymore. These days, customer engagement represents a journey, which starts with:

1. Attracting a consumer to your product (marketing)

2. Followed by collecting information about the product usage (analytics)

3. Then supporting the consumer through common early stage issues (support)

4. To finally – building a brand allegiance that leads to future purchases (overall business)

It is no secret that great products fail due to poor execution of those steps.

But how can start-ups succeed in those areas without devoting too many resources? Last thing anyone wants is to jeopardize the execution of the product itself.

Well, I believe that it is important to pay attention to those business aspects right from the beginning. The product vision needs to be combined with the customer engagement vision.

The Power of CRM in Building Customer Journeys

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a key aspect of the customer journey and should be done using the right tools instead of improvisation. At some point, the Excel worksheets and emails won’t cut it anymore and then it will be even more difficult to migrate the loosely collected data to a proper CRM solution.

Since we are dealing with a start-ups, cost is obviously an important factor. Today’s CRM cloud solutions with their different tiers and subscription models help mitigate large financial commitments.

Investing into a CRM tool as soon as the product gets released is a logical choice. However, there are advantages to signing up at an even earlier time. If the product supports connectivity features that allow for an Internet of Things (IoT) business use case, there is an option to collect valuable information about the device and its usage.

The collected data can be very valuable when making product roadmap decisions or for marketing purposes. In the situation of a support service request, having access to the device information can be crucial in locating a root cause and solving the problem.

Of course, there are many ways to implement such a solution. Plus, there are many platforms that offer great services. Salesforce is one of the top cloud CRM companies, and it is named a leader for the ninth consecutive year in the Gartner Magic Quadrant in the CRM space. This platform should definitely be on the list of vendors to evaluate.

Besides being a very feature-rich CRM, what is often overlooked is the development platform Salesforce is built on, including its large set of APIs and tools to integrate with (Standard SOAP/REST APIs, custom SOAP/REST APIs using Apex, Javascript toolkits, Heroku, etc.). A great number of options are offered for integrating your product or other systems with your customer data.

On the business side, everything is there and ready when you need it. Whether it is marketing, sales, customer service, billing… As long as you maintain your customer data on the platform, you can plug in those functions and use them whenever you are ready. And with the per-user payment model, the cost will only grow when your company does.

Using a CRM application early allows you to start building customer journeys right when your product hits the market. Using a CRM may not guarantee the success of your innovation, but it significantly decreases your chances of failure. Plus, it can set you up for a much quicker transition from a start-up to an established, successful company.

If you require assistance in optimizing Salesforce, enabling omnichannel, or integrating it to various business systems – see us at Dreamforce 2017 or contact us here.

 

Enable Orchestrated Routing for Customer Journeys, Mobile and More!

Although voice is still the primary channel customers use to interact with contact centers, representing 54% of all interactions handled, according to Dimension Data, digital is on track to overtake phone by end of 2016.  Your business needs to keep up with this trend of customer preferred channels by developing an awareness of each customer journey. To do so, you’ll need to migrate to automated, or orchestration-ready, routing.

If you are an on-premise Genesys customer and still on Interaction Routing Designer (IRD) driven routing strategies, but looking to enable capabilities like customer journeys, mobile, and Virtual IVR through your routing strategies—first things first—you need to move to Composer routing.

The transition to a new routing platform can be onerous. It’s important to understand whether your contact center requires the transition. If it does, consider these factors before making the move.

How Do You Know if this Transition is Right for You?

  • You and your team find it increasingly hard to alter the existing solution in a timely, effective manner. Your current system may be unable to support the requested changes or has gotten to a point where it is no longer maintainable.[su_spacer size=”10″]
  • Your team has been tasked with implementing a mobile customer service initiative. Tying customer service more closely to mobile use is a smart strategy for companies but older platforms may not support this or other modern functionality.[su_spacer size=”10″]
  • You want to integrate self and assisted service interactions. To do this, you need the convenience of a common development platform, which is not available in IRD.

Challenges with Typical Transition Approach

If we were to explore the typical transition approach, truth is, it’s easier said than done.

The transition from Genesys IRD to Composer and Orchestration Server is a platform change that requires the new application to be designed and developed from the ground up. This presents challenges:

  • Documentation on your current IRD routing is often limited or non-existent.
  • Features in place for years may work, but may not be well-understood.
  • As enhancements were added over the years, the code has become more complex.
  • Reverse engineering existing strategies is time-consuming.

[su_spacer]Ultimately, the main concern with this approach is that it’s risky and can take many months to implement. The longer the project takes, the higher the cost.

Best Practices and Considerations  for Planning a Routing Migration

Routing is the center of the universe for contact centers.  It drives most of your agent-assisted customer experience, ensures the use of agent resources are optimized and enables reporting and analytics.

Making the transition to orchestration should be planned carefully.  Here are some considerations for a successful implementation that ensures you are meeting your business needs well into the future:

  • Keep the initial Orchestration routing implementation basic and plan for enhancement phases. A routing assessment from an experienced Genesys Systems Integrator can help in developing a project roadmap.[su_spacer size=”10″]
  • Evaluate skillsets and tools available to your routing developers and administrators.
    • Do they have the open source development skills or Composer development experience from other Genesys platforms like IVR?
    • Is there adequate tools and processes in place to manage version control when changes are required to the routing solution?[su_spacer size=”10″]
  • Consider implementing a pre-built routing solution vs. a customized solution. Knowledge of new Genesys Orchestration routing components is a key input into the design of the new routing solution.

Include the Upgrade to Orchestration as Part of a Different Project

Transitioning to orchestrated or automated routing doesn’t mean you have to obtain funding for a routing upgrade project. Likely there are other initiatives you’re already planning where you might include an upgrade to orchestration, such as:

  • A Genesys Upgrade: Upgrading your Genesys Customer Experience Platform to 8.5 or changing the hardware platform requires a full regression test. Why not upgrade routing at the same time?[su_spacer size=”10″]
  • VOIP/SIP transition or PBX Replacement: This kind of initiative requires changes to routing anyway, so consider including Genesys Orchestration and Composer Routing too.[su_spacer size=”10″]
  • Deploying new channels (email, chat, text, and others): Deploy them on Orchestration instead of IRD and only Universal Routing Server.[su_spacer size=”10″]
  • Enabling customer journeys and personalization: Deploy this solution on a platform that will best enable this customer experience initiative by including Genesys Orchestration.[su_spacer size=”10″]

Routing is a key component to delivering omnichannel customer experience. If you are planning any of these projects, consider adding the routing component and transition to Genesys Orchestration to enable modern Genesys capabilities for delivering the consistent and personalized customer experience.

Transition from IRD to Composer with SWIFT™ Routing

The process of migrating doesn’t have to be costly and long. With SWIFT™ Routing, you can complete the transition in fewer than 90 days with a cost reduction of 25% to 75%, depending on the complexity of your requirements.

SWIFT™ Routing is a pre-built and tested solution based on requirements from thousands of projects Aria Solutions has implemented. This means that risks associated with the design, development, testing, and implementation phases are much reduced. See the comparison of risk and effort between SWIFT™ Routing and the typical custom routing approach:

routing-orchestration-project-implementation
The comparison of risk and effort between SWIFT Routing and the typical custom routing approach

SWIFT™ Routing enables quick deployment and allows you to jump right into configuring your routing strategy. All features can be easily configured by any group within the organization. Compared to other solutions on the market, SWIFT™ Routing doesn’t box you in.

SWIFT™ Routing, designed with Genesys-supported capabilities within Composer, uses applications such as Genesys Administrator Extension for configuration. If you decide to add only voice now, you can easily add email and chat later on. If SWIFT™ Routing doesn’t support everything you need, the routing solution can be customized as easily as a routing solution built from scratch.

Currently, SWIFT™ Routing is available in the United States and Canada only. Visit the Genesys AppFoundry to learn more!

5 Keys to Effective Customer Journey Maps

As companies compete for market leadership position, it is quite easy for them to focus internally – either on processes to improve efficiency in delivery of their product, or on research and development to remain competitive. This can distract from understanding the market for which they are competing. Understanding how the market views, interacts and deals with their company is equally important.

Customer Journey Maps are an effective tool for companies to document customer perspective and identify key interaction points to monitor measure and improve upon the entire customer journey. This practice results in enhanced customer satisfaction, reduced churn, increased revenue, and greater employee satisfaction. The more touch points you have, the more complicated it becomes.

Creating Customer Journey Maps can be arduous, but the end result, if done correctly, can help all facets of the company understand how customers interact with, and perceive the company in the market. Consider these points when creating Customer Journey Maps:

1. Don’t rely on generic client demographic data, instead determine the segmentation of your customer base

Find an appropriate balance between high level demographic based research and result data from an existing customer base.  For example, the general expectation is that older customers are less likely to use alternative communication channels, such as chat, social media or SMS.

However, in the print media industry, a segment of their interactions come from a more senior population who own multiple properties and migrate between them throughout the year. These senior clients are largely migratory and do not own a land line. Instead, they perform their interactions from a mobile device and are proficient in the use of alternative media channels.

Often, decisions are made on general assumptions about customer behavioral traits that aren’t always true. Most companies don’t regularly gather customer perspectives or share the insights when they do. But without an outside view on what is important, and what does or doesn’t work, your journey map will lack an accurate view of the customer, leading to decisions based on incomplete or flawed information.

2. Avoid analysis paralysis

Given the breadth of data available, it’s easy to include lots of it. This can result in dizzying complexity.

Remember, you are creating a tool to help you easily understand the customer and identify what is most important to them.

Create customer journeys that represent the largest customer interaction segments to achieve consensus to move forward with design, measurement and optimization. As with any collaborative process, define a decision structure with the right levels of empowerment. The goal is not to make everyone happy, instead, find the most efficient solutions to satisfy the customer experience.

Keep your strategic goals in the forefront to guide you in your employment of journey maps.

3. View as a living iterative process

What may be true today may not be true tomorrow. Invest in efforts to maintain a customer journey map that evolves according to the changing needs of the customer. Customer habits can change quickly in the new social world and must be reviewed regularly to address new habits.

4. Establish key interaction points

Identify points of bottleneck, inefficiency, and positive service levels. Journey events of significant impact have a greater bearing on the customer’s perspective of the company. Great journey maps separate critical moments from the rest.

A customer journey map helps to identify gaps, and disjointed or painful customer experiences, such as:

  • Gaps between information channels when users receive mixed messaging across various channels
  • Gaps between departments where users get frustrated with internal communication issues

5. Measure value at key interaction points

Contact Centers are a collection of complex software processes that generate a tremendous amount of interaction data. Most contact centers rely on traditional analysis, such as manual data gathering, text editors and generic log analysis tools in an attempt to understand the data and the customer experience.

Identifying those key customer touch points is not enough. You must set up your environment to correctly measure and track outcomes around key interactions.

A centralized system that breaks down the silos of measurement, minimizes the need for multiple tools, establishes a common set of measurements, and offers a holistic view of all interactions is a key consideration. The solution must have the ability to:

  • Capture all events around all customer interactions and easily enable analysis of that data
  • Provide a near real-time visibility to trends and issues
  • Provide the ability to anticipate trouble in key interaction areas
  • Allow quick drill down and provide cradle to grave visibility of the entire interaction experience

Investigating a customer experience from cradle to grave with traditional tools requires intensive manual efforts and consolidation of data form various systems. Streamlining tools, such as CIMplicity Visualizer, captures as much of the experience as possible, by reducing analysis and maintenance overhead.