The interaction game: Using IT to improve customer interaction
When it comes to customer interaction, companies often feel pressured to have a presence on all fronts. But is this the right way to go?
There was once a time when a ‘customer interaction solution’ simply meant a call centre. But with the advent of social media, text-based communication and video, there are now more ways than ever for companies to interact with their customers. Companies often feel pressured to have a presence on all fronts, leading to all-encompassing, omni-channel solutions. But is this the right way to go? And what developments have there been on the classical call centre front?
“We think that a good and balanced approach is necessary and we believe some of the organisations in the Middle East have the ability to really leap from many others in similar industries in the world by starting with digital-only processes such as electronic data capture and management as well as customer interaction especially with the high penetration of smartphones,” explains Adam Spence, head of Care and Digital Customer Experience at Vodafone Qatar.
“Middle Eastern countries, particularly in the GCC, over index on smartphone usage with many people having more than one smart device so digital has to be a key consideration in any solution. In addition, servicing customers via social media is now a basic expectation from customers. With that said, many customers prefer a human interaction and prefer to use cash for transactions so it is important to offer a channel for all customers.”
Indeed, interaction with customers has evolved over time, now technology offers channels for customer interaction as well. Broadening the avenues to help reach out to the right audience has created a greater impact in terms of customer outreach offering a faster model to organisations. Social media, web chats, video conferencing has already taken over the traditional communication channels, according to Sabu Thomas, vice president of Channel Alliances at DVCOM Technology.
“Organisations in the Middle East should adopt technology-reliant solutions that are constantly innovated taking the single most important element into consideration, i.e. ‘customer outreach’. It helps promote products, services and solutions of all kinds that are paramount today giving a way to effective interaction or communicate with the customers at all levels,” he says.
“Today, the world is experiencing a huge need of innovative and alternative methodologies that help organisations in reaching out to their customers at a much faster pace. It enhances the possibilities of effective communication, better yields, and quick decisions resulting in greater contentment with increased efficiency through adoption of innovative and alternative technologies such as e-mails, social media, video conferencing, cloud, SaaS-based solutions and services, and apps developed for smart phones.”
Indeed, this is truer in the Middle East than it is in other parts of the world. According to the findings of a global report commissioned by BT and Avaya, tech-savvy consumers in the UAE are more active on social media platforms than the global average. The report also found that the majority of these consumers will develop a higher loyalty to brands that are transforming their customer experiences beyond the traditional call centre.