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The Need for Integration

Aligning online and phone-based communications to cut costs and enhance the customer experience

white paper

February 2010

If one can adequately capture the myriad challenges facing businesses in a single phrase, Id argue for: Achieving more for less. Whether downturn or not, delivering the same or improved service, for reduced expense, is a core imperative. In the customer contact arena, this has seen organisations focus on offshoring and outsourcing phone-based communications. And, of course, using the internet to automate customer service. The Web has transformed the customer contact landscape, slashing transaction costs and delivering convenient 24/7 service. However, there are common faults apparent in the services offered by some websites (discussed in the following section of this paper), which impair the full potential of the online customer experience. Recognition is growing of one critical issue: the fact that many companies online systems have evolved independently of their telephone operations. Lack of integration between these channels impacts business performance; Harris Interactive reveals that the consequence of abandoned online sales transactions could impact US retailers to the astonishing tune of $47.6 billion in 2009. While we cannot know the exact circumstances of the problems, I propose that if the lost shoppers had felt they had a very simple way to resolve their issue, perhaps by instantly connecting to an informed agent, a good deal of this revenue would be safely in the till. This paper examines how to close the gap between online and phone (landline and mobile) channels for customer contact, with section two focusing on how new and evolving technologies can help realise this objective. The analysis touches on phone-related technologies, IVR systems, speech recognition and hosted applications that deliver a range of advantages. These include cutting call centre costs, enhancing services, freeing agents to focus on value-added calls, and collecting data from phone and web-based contact to improve products, services and marketing; in short, achieving a good deal more for less. We trust you enjoy the paper and hope it helps you to put all your ducks in a row.

5th Annual Survey of US Online Customer Behavior sponsored by Tealeaf:

The Need for Integration

1. Situation analysis: Cutting costs and enhancing performance

In the quest to enhance the customer service experience while keeping costs down, organisations have particularly embraced two strategies: offshoring contact centres and developing engaging web services. Both developments have much to recommend them, with the internet in particular transforming the customer service landscape. But recently, concerns have emerged about the overall effectiveness of some overseas call centres. Also, evidence is growing that online services are failing to optimise the customer experience. The issues are reviewed below, with the analysis concluding that greater integration is required between online and offline operations. From offshore to onshore Offshoring call centres has been a particularly noteworthy trend over the last decade. However, major UK companies have recentlyrepatriated operations, among them Abbey, esure and BT. Moreover, high-profile brands including Nat West trumpet UK only facilities as differentiators. Commentary around repatriation moves indicates that customer service concerns are a leading driver behind the trend, as articulated by numerous surveys. One of the latest pieces of research canvassed 2,000 Lloyds TSB branch managers with 96 per cent of respondents expressing the view that customers are not happy dealing with offshore centres. Furthermore, 83 per cent reckon that customers receive poorer service2. While offshoring is predicated on reducing expenditure together with the firm belief that services will be of a similar quality, it seems the service part of the equation is not working for the majority of businesses. There is no question that offshoring is and will remain a viable option. But with concerns about the performance of overseas call centres seemingly more of an issue, perhaps it is time to review whether new technology can reduce the cost of running call centres so that UK-based facilities are more affordable. Section two highlights technologies such as Automated Speech Recognition (ASR) that can help reduce call handling costs. The customer service imperative At the heart of concerns about offshoring is, that generating operational cost savings should not outweigh negative service perceptions; in increasingly competitive markets where products and price are similar, customer service performance is one of the few remaining variables that truly differentiates organisations. The internet and the customer experience As the internet enters the Web 2.0 era, now is a good moment to reflect on its performance as a customer service channel. Certainly, it has enhanced efficiency. A typical online transaction (such as checking the status of a delivery) can cost as little as 6p, compared to 5.00 where the same enquiry is managed by an agent. But are companies making the most of the customer service potential of their sites? Common faults in web strategies suggest not:

The Times: 1 December 2009: The Numbers Up as Call Centres Return to the UK

The Need for Integration

Dropping the shopping: The research from Harris Interactive cited in the Foreword is based on a survey of 2,188 adults in the US (conducted in the summer of 2009). It shows that 80 per cent of consumers have experienced a problem when completing an online purchase. Just under a third (32 per cent) of these users jumped ship to an alternative supplier leading to the estimate of $47.6 billion in lost sales. Disconcertingly, 12 per cent of people who suffered problems chose to vent their feelings on social networks. With 54 per cent of respondents saying they use social networks to review vendors, theres reason to suggest that companies are losing not only immediate sales when the website falters, but potential revenue too. Clicking to view but not to buy: However good the online experience, the fact is there will always be customers who want to speak to an agent before signing the cheque3 Research conducted by WHB Communications online among 3,000 UK consumers suggests that, of people who bought online recently, 39 per cent prefer to use a call centre to close the deal. There are many reasons for this: o 68 per cent want specific information before buying o 34 per cent encountered problems at checkout o 27 per cent just have more confidence in speaking to a person o 20 per cent say speaking to an agent is more convenient.

Also, 64 per cent of people confided that theyre not comfortable providing credit card details online. Interestingly openended questions encouraged a significant proportion of respondents to disclose that they often fancy cutting a deal when purchasing. And however brilliant a website is, the technology is not in place yet to barter! The analysis suggests that a good deal of customers want to click to view and inform their purchasing decision but not buy. It follows that companies focusing predominantly on web strategies could be missing out on significant sales. The website as a drawbridge: For most people the internet is a convenient and fast way to contact businesses. Or is it? There are occasions when it seems virtually impossible to find a companys contact number. Underlining consumer annoyance with this issue, the website shares contact details of Often faceless organisations. Generally, companies have become much better at making clear how they can be reached to online visitors. But it seems there are still those whove yet to effectively balance using the Web as the primary forum for customer interaction, while not appearing to prevent direct dialogue with customers. Its a view backed by research from IPSOS MORI. An eye-catching finding of its report into the Imperatives of Customer Loyalty is that 71 per cent of UK consumers believe that: Most companies lack the human touch when it comes to customer loyalty.

Finding the Perfect Mix: Research among 3000 consumers into their views on self-service and agent-based service online and via call centres

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Mad for mobile: The mobile internet everyone knows its a huge opportunity to generate revenue and enhance the customer experience. And with faster networks, flat-rate data, and smart devices such as the iPhone much more affordable, the medium is coming of age. There are around 1.1 million iPhone users in the UK almost all of them (950,000) have accessed some news and information online, with 60 per cent using web search4. Furthermore, use of the mobile internet grew in the UK by 28 per cent in 20085, while data usage is predicted to surge 20-fold by 20146 But is the opportunity of the mobile internet being seized by firms with forms and applications designed to make it easy to access services and purchase products? Not according to a blog post on www.mediapost.com7 The author surveyed the websites of the top 100 brands as rated by brand consultancy, Interbrand. His conclusion? Only one in three of the companies websites provided a good experience with sites customised for mobile use. Who am I?: With a few notable exceptions (e.g. Amazon), analysis of high-profile internet sites reveals that the majority provide a one size fits all approach to handling customers. Its the exception rather than the rule that regular visitors are welcomed with an online experience built around them. A better experience that recommends products based on preferences, offers vouchers or promotions that complement their tastes, suggests a personal call or online chat with an agent to discuss their needs, and,
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every now and again, asks if they want to be sent exclusive special offers. The above analysis, complemented by insights into discussions between WHB Communications and existing and potential customers, leads to a range of conclusions: The Web isnt a panacea: However good a website, many customers still want to talk to an agent. Beware the silo: Its not unusual for phone and internet-based customer service operations to have evolved separately; so the opportunity can be lost to capture and analyse all customer contact to improve processes, products, marketing and services. Contact us, or not: On some websites the separation between online services and call centres is readily apparent as its very hard to find contact numbers. The mobile internet work in progress: The mobile internet offers great opportunity, but few companies have sites dedicated to smart phone users that take advantage of interactive communications, including SMS and call me back buttons, to address customers immediate needs. The human touch: There are examples of customer service operations that integrate phone and internet-based applications to deliver a fantastic customer experience. But issues such as lost shopping transactions suggest theres room for improving the interaction between the phone and online channels. Moreover, many customers simply appreciate more human touch from companies. The following section of the paper discusses the role that evolving technologies and customer-centric methodologies can play to affordably build fully integrated phone and online customer contact operations.

NMA: 15 October 2009 The Guardian, 9 November 2009, The Consummate Consumer 6 7 Posted 24 September 2009, Patrick Collins

2. Enhancing the service experience through integrated phone and online services
In WHB Communications experience, a significant number of companies online and phone-based communications strategies, teams and systems have developed separately. Add into the mix the fact that marketing is a separate function too and the different objectives and focus of the teams can mean that, to the consumer, communications appear fragmented. To coin a clichd management phrase, this silo structure reveals itself in a lack of consistency and continuity in customer contact from emails, to websites, to SMS marketing, to call centre experiences. Also, in the last decade, a high pace of innovation in online communications and services hasnt been matched by similar investment in either existing or new phone-based systems. This is an oversight. The phone provides the flexibility for customers to: contact businesses at times convenient to them, reduce incidents of dropped internet transactions and lost business, access a wide range of services and enjoy a more personalised customer experience. Companies can also ensure highvalue customers are recognised and cherished through special treatment (such as always being put through to an agent when they contact the business) and deploy innovative phone-led marketing programmes. Moreover, evolving business models, including hosted telephony services, enable the affordable deployment of advanced phone-based applications. The analysis moves on to explain how the phone can become more central to customer service activities. First, a practical approach is put forward to help assess the performance of an organisations customer service, followed by an introduction to the technology: illustrating where its flexibility supports dynamic and customer-centric communications to deliver a compelling, consistent, coherent and profitable brand experience. Taking stock The starting point for most change projects is to understand where we are now. The same applies here. Often teams are so busy doing, different systems and approaches adopted by online and phone-based teams evolve and these differences arent readily apparent. Stopping to take stock and reviewing customer service systems can reveal inconsistencies in structure that impede effective integration of online and phone channels. Its also useful to call the customer service operation to test the experience. Criteria to include in the review comprise: Who do we deal with? A good place to begin taking stock is from customers perspectives. Target customers comprise distinct groups with common characteristics, buying and contact behaviours. When, how and for what reasons do customers typically contact the business? How does this vary by different customer groups? Do systems still properly align to meet this need? What data can you look at to understand their behaviours better? For instance, if 20 per cent of calls tend to come in after working hours and the call centre is shut, are automated or call me back services available, and if so do callers use them or hang up? By analysing interaction, customer behaviour can be segmented to

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support occasion-based marketing. Occasion-based marketing is based on the premise that consumers are more receptive to buying on given occasions (e.g. at a set time) and that most consumers have distinct needs and expectations on different occasions. Theres no such thing as one typical customer. Customer service channels can be refined accordingly to match differing needs. Marketing and the customer journey: Whats marketing doing to generate responses to the call centre (via Web, direct mail, mobile marketing, etc.)? Take one customers experience responding to a promotion or campaign: what does that look like? Is it simple? Specific? Can they quickly reach what they want? Team structure: Do teams that cover online and phone services and marketing share common goals and campaign planning? How often do they meet? How detailed is the planning to incorporate and align all the contact channels and applications? Call centre services: With products and offerings constantly changing, are scripts and systems to support call centre teams similarly evolving? Do the call centre staff know that the website has been relaunched? Do systems properly filter calls to reach the right staff to deliver a high degree of service and provide the chance to up-sell? Do menus, announcements and automated services reflect current priorities and offers?

Consistency: Do online communications match multimedia contact e.g. do emails, text, and SMS provide a consistent brand identity? Personalisation: What Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are in place? Do these systems consolidate contact from the phone and internet? Do call centre teams know that a caller is a regular and high-value visitor to the website? Is the use of customer data optimised to deliver a personable, tailored experience across all of our channels? How much use is being made of information on the customer? What benefits could be derived from pooling customer data in one place and using it intelligently? Up-sell: Can the business offer interesting promotions to customers based on opt-in permissions where the customer has provided their mobile number together with permission for them to be contacted by text and email?

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While this analysis may appear to be a piece of major consultancy work, thats not necessarily the case. Simply taking stock and posing some very simple questions can reveal customer needs, and any gaps between customer service channels to help develop a range of areas for improvement without the need for an in-depth review by third parties. Indeed, the research can be managed in-house. But however its undertaken, WHB Communications typically sees three common issues and trends emerge. First is the need InsureandGo delivers premium services UK insurance specialist InsureandGo tightly integrates its online and offline customer communications. Around 70 per cent of the companys policies are purchased online, but the majority of revenues 60 per cent are generated by calls to agents. This reflects the fact that customers are comfortable in purchasing low-value transactions over the internet, while calling to check their requirements when buying higher-value policies: calls that Insure & Go actively encourages. Says Perry Wilson, founder of InsureandGo: Our call centres are open early and late and were moving to 24-hour service. Customers need us to be available at times convenient to them the prime time for our web use is between 9 and 11pm. He continues: We publish our contact numbers liberally on our site. We also have different numbers for different products to ensure people reach the team best qualified to serve them. Connecting people to agents enables us to provide reassurance about policies which they often research online first and sell associated services such as

for improved alignment between marketing and customer services teams to ensure objectives are shared and the look, feel, style and messaging conveyed by different channels reinforces brand identity. Second, the analysis often identifies how advanced phone applications can automate many services to free agents to focus on value-added calls. And third, customer records are often held in different databases that can impede the business from optimising its full value in customer service applications.

airport car parking. For higher-end policies, we see our website as a great lead generator that enables our agents to execute more business; the value of products sold through the call centre is 30 higher than those purchased online. The commercial advantage of investing in call centre operations to support online services is further evidenced by the fact that 50 per cent of customers, who start filling in a quote form but drop out, subsequently contact agents. And when they call the business, theyre served quickly. Technology is great. We invest heavily in it and online marketing is very important to our business, observes Perry Wilson. But it cannot replace person- to-person interaction people like talking to people. We welcome calls and use the Web to generate leads while making our business as easy to reach as possible. When a customer rings, theyve three simple menu choices buy, get a quote, make a claim and then theyre put straight through to an agent.

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Simply improving team collaboration where separate online and phonebased customer teams are in existence will have a big impact on delivering consistency in customer service communications, while technology, as outlined below, can make more effective use of agents, enhance the way customer data is applied, and better align the phone and virtual channels. Applying the technology A range of new and evolving technologies are available to enhance alignment between phone and virtual customer communications and ensure that its easy for customers to reach companies at preferred times and through their preferred channels. The developments are discussed below : automated phone services, customer data and the mobile and community opportunity. Serves you right automated phone services When a customer wants to make contact after-hours, theyll often opt for the website; but the phone can equally be used to keep the business open and, with smart phone technology, transactions can be enabled via agents, but with customers searching and identifying their requirement online, then making the call. Basic interactive voice response (IVR) technology can be used to provide time and day-based self-service options as an alternative to the Web meeting the demands of people who are more comfortable using the phone. Touchtone (DTMF) based IVR can allow customers to: navigate menus check order status request a brochure...

InsureandGo has also pioneered scratch cards for people to buy insurance last minute when at the airport using an automated phone service. Its an innovation underlining the companys philosophy of being as accessible as possible to customers. Says Perry Wilson: The scratch cards are the ultimate in occasion-based marketing providing an important last-minute service to customers whove neglected to buy holiday insurance. It exemplifies our commitment to being there for customers when they need us. The phone in many ways has been overlooked as a communications tool in recent years as developments and innovations in customer service focus on virtual channels. But the phone will always be here and must dovetail with the internet to provide the experience that customers expect. The close integration between the phone and internet certainly works for us. Automated Speech Recognition (ASR) applications have evolved to be a realistic alternative to traditional keypress (DTMF) technology, providing an effective way to handle repetitive tasks over the phone and significantly reduce transaction costs compared to when an agent handles a simple enquiry. An increasingly wide range of tasks, including more complex requirements, can be managed by automated systems. From buying travel insurance policies to asking for a brochure to requesting a balance, to providing information (i.e. meter readings), to notifying address changes, checking on a delivery, and much more. As well as providing the choice of using the phone for people who are not comfortable with the Web, ASR systems can be available 24/7, meeting the occasionbased needs of customers who expect that businesses must be easily accessible at times that suit them.

The Need for Integration

ASR applications can also be used to enquire if people would be happy to receive more information and, if they are, to leave their mobile or home phone contact details. Similarly, the ASR can also filter calls through to agents if necessary and staff speaking to customers can ask for further information and also request if theyd like to receive proactive marketing information. This information can help populate Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems for use in marketing campaigns as discussed below. Customer data CRM products have evolved markedly in recent years and are now much easier to integrate with other technologies including phone and online customer service systems. Based on the data, CRM applications can recommend specific treatment for customers depending on their status, value, and importance to tailor the way customers are managed by automated phone systems using ASR. Similarly, call centre software can change scripts for agents depending on the customers past call / service history and preferences to provide a more personal, high-quality service experience. Understandably, organisations often raise concerns about data protection and the security of information when plugging customer service applications into CRM systems. With this in mind, its important that partners who assist in this task have strong practical experience of implementing secure transaction methods. The techniques including SOAP XML and HTTPS web services ensure data remains under the direct control and ownership of the business.

Collecting customer data from all contact details and making this available across the business provides the basis for enhancing customer service and improving interaction between phone and online channels. Call Line Identification is key to proactively managing calls from existing customers and tailoring the way these are handled. When a call is made to the call centre, the customer database can check the Call Line Identification (CLI) information in real time to see it matches existing customer records. The information can be used to present agents with details on the caller and the services theyre likely to require. Callers can be greeted by name and relevant promotions can be detailed to agents based on the customers history and purchasing preferences. To access CLI information, companies need to work with their telecoms partner to make sure they have visibility of the data so it can be used by the business. CLI data can also be employed when people phone contact centres unprompted. The information can be used to present agents with details on the caller and the services theyre likely to require. Relevant promotions can then be offered based on their history and preferences. The mobile opportunity As the mobile Web develops, it presents a great new channel to customers. This said, there are teething issues with connections sometimes slow due to congestion and compatibility problems between device operating systems and web content. While the mobile phones browsing experience (due to poor site design, slow connectivity, etc.) may hamper the accessing of online services while

The Need for Integration

AdIQ: At the customers service with the right comms, at the right time AdIQ pioneers the development of mobile marketing programmes, counting leading brands such as General Motors, Greenpeace, and Sky among its clients. The full capability of the mobile phone is used to deliver integrated campaigns encompassing email, mobile internet, online, voice and SMS. The channels are used to develop creative marketing campaigns, generate leads and retain personal details where people opt in to receive future communications to help brands build, engaging their customers, and establishing ongoing dialogue. AdIQ is especially experienced at encouraging interaction between the phone and online services. For instance, insurers can send an SMS offering a call back where customers have commenced but failed to complete a quote, and consumers can easily request further information, respond to promotions, or register their details for exclusive offers by interacting online banners that capture a mobile number. AdIQ uses ASR to support marketing programmes, applying the technology to ensure all enquiries are captured and processed 24 hours a day, allowing out of hours callers to request a call back at times convenient to them. out and about, people can still use their mobile to connect to the services they need using voice calls, ASR and DTMF; so enabling companies to still use smart phones as a sales and information channel. One easy way to align online and phone communications is to include call me back buttons on key web pages. The other is using the technology to be automatically prompted to call or SMS the customer

A central tenet of AdIQs offering is to devise programs which make it as easy as possible for customers to interact with brands. Its automotive campaigns for example, use online and off-line ads with key words and short code SMS to allow people to simply request further information or a call back with call back contact rates typically in the region of 85 percent. Comments Paul Philips, CIO of AdIQ: Although we specialize in mobile marketing, we use all channels of communication to ensure thats as easy as possible for customers to respond to campaigns in the way thats most convenient for them. We are conscious that the mobile is a personal device and we always ensure we have the persons permission to contact them before communicating with them via their mobile. However, if you can build a database of customers willing to be contacted in this way using online banners for example to generate leads through SMS - its a very powerful tool. Our campaigns offer brands an innovative way to build dialogue, generate a high-rate of responses and, understand through intricate measurement tools how successful spend has been and how it can be improved in the future.

at the right time when they have dropped out of the shopping basket or enquiry form. Making the call back buttons widely available on the website can dramatically cut instances of lost sales when people abandon interactions online if theyre frustrated with the processes or due to technical problems. The button can also pop up a small form asking for some very basic details from the customer. This can


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help the agent personalise the service they receive and open the door to new business opportunities in the future by building customer data: The personal touch: Using the information provided on the call me back form, call centre staff can greet the customer by name. Also, the position of call me back buttons can be coded online. This indicates to the agent the likely activity the customer was managing when they decided to request the call to better prepare for the discussion and improve service. The up-sell: Depending on the nature of the call, screen pop-ups can recommend additional products or services to the customer, or special promotions that tie into their preferences, taking advantage of the time on the phone to build rapport and up-sell. Up-sell opportunities are especially apparent when pushing products including mobile phones, financial services, insurance and more. Many customers in these sectors not only publish call me back buttons but also liberally promote call centre numbers to create the opportunity to connect people to agents. Capture lost data services: Proactive calls can also be made when a customer has dropped off an online session perhaps a purchase. Where people have left their phone details, call centre agents can be prompted that the customer abandoned a transaction and make a call to them. This call must take place quickly after the session was lost so its viewed as a value-added example of good customer service, to enquire if further help is needed.

The community opportunity During interaction with customers, businesses will build a database of mobile phone numbers. Seeking permission of the user to be contacted by the mobile also opens new opportunities to link phone and online services by building brand communities and using push marketing techniques: Building brand communities: Companies such as Vodafone, Carphone Warehouse and M&S have developed strong communities on social networking sites such as Facebook. The communities can be used to ask people if they wish to opt into ad hoc communications via email and SMS. Its very easy to do this by creating simple drop-in widgets on company web pages or social networking sites to promote special communities and collect customer data. The information can be used to distribute exclusive offers that arent available to a wider audience. These exclusive marketing campaigns help create a community feel, which many customers who are advocates of particular brands increasingly expect and value. Location-based services: Location-based campaigns can also be deployed. For instance, when a customer enters a store, and they have their Bluetooth connection switched on, they can be sent money-off coupons via SMS. Similarly, when a frequent flyer enters a terminal, they can be sent an exclusive invite to a first-class lounge. The offers can be based on the CRM data built up using online widgets and through call centre interaction capitalising on greater integration between online and phone systems.

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3. Alignment overview and checklists

This section of the paper includes a diagram and checklist of the technologies and applications that can enhance alignment between phone- based and virtual customer service. The online and phone integration map This diagram illustrates the underlying technologies of the phone and internet and summarises many of the applications and services, discussed in this paper, that can be used to integrate the customers experience.

Mobile Internet Internet PC Access Phone d

Social networking Mobile internet PC transactions SMS MMS Mobile marketing service creation Blue tooth Smartphone aps Location based services

Applications & Services

Call me back Abandoned shopping cart notification and callback Mobile widgets Microsites Text ads Interactive banners Personalised call campaigns Download - games, screen savers, games Coupons SMS MMS broadcasts SMS quotations Text banking Location based offers Reminders Renewals Nearest supplier/service Brochure/information request Competition entries Metre readings Dedicated service contact numbers Automated secure payments 24 x 7 customer service Virtual office Virtual call centre Dialout message broadcast

Web Mobile

IVR ASR Call optimisation Call routing Telephone numbers CLI screening ID Validation Payment authorisation Hosted applications Autodiallers



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Customer service checklist can these examples help you improve and align your customer communication channels? Key:
i integration of the communications channels and/or knowledge from your CRM


Create dedicated marketing telephone numbers for a promotion or campaign used in advertisements. Calls can be directly routed to specific agents prepared to greet and take the calls. Call back request embedded in email broadcasts. Use personalised hyperlinks so agents have the contacts details from the database when they make the return call. i Publish short codes and key words for automatic text back service for campaigns. Responses can include unique promotional codes, bar-code vouchers, web links, or opt-ins for a free call back. i Send promotional texts, e.g. for the nearest service point, a list of approved engineers based on customers post codes or locationbased communications when people come into retail environments. The campaign can also be promoted using ASR systems to field calls and provide services to customers. Use the IVR to highlight the latest offer or campaign in the menu and/or on hold message. Publish telephone number for specific campaigns on relevant pages of the website or with a free call me back option. i Ensure abandoned online shopping carts and enquiry forms can be tracked and call centre agents presented with details, using Text to Speech to relay information to them and automated systems to dial the customer. i

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Send email or phone appointment reminders for engineer visits, doctors, hairdressers, etc. Response options to text or call to rebook. speak to an agent or leave a message, for example additional delivery instructions. Messages converted to text for easy processing. numbers by time of day to when a live agent is there to take the call. Option to leave a message to request a call back when customer services are open. months bill.

Check order status by text or automated service. Include the option to No need to publish your hours of service. Call routing to different

Supply meter readings to an automated service and hear the estimated Send policy or membership expiry reminders by text, email or voice Subscription/mailing list updates or removals. Freephone number Privilege numbers
broadcast. Provide response options to cancel, renew, reply numbers that route to an automated service to accept payment.

dedicated to an ASR application. Text back the subscription number and keywords. i

that avoid the queues and recognise the calling number. Based on the latest customer activity on the Web, mobile and email, the CRM anticipates the most likely reason for the call and presents this to the agents screen. i will show which promotions are successful, enabling offers to be refined so that people will value and look out for similar communications. ground, who have Bluetooth switched on, can receive special vouchers or privileges. i options for reducing the cost of its installation and management are also advancing to make the investment case more palatable. These developments are reviewed in the following section.

Analysis of campaigns

Known return customers to a store or season ticket holders at a football

Understandably, especially in the midst of recession, deploying new phonebased technologies to complement online customer service may raise concerns over expenditure. However, just as technology is evolving, the


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4. New business models

The adoption of internet standards in telephony communications is making it easier to connect once separate technologies. As network operators such as BT role out 21st century infrastructure based upon IP standards, telephony applications are areas that lend themselves to deployment on Software as a Service (SaaS) models. One of the outcomes of this advance is that its simpler and often cheaper to provide many of the services outlined in this paper using technology thats hosted by a third party. Increasingly customers are opting to host services rather than invest in installing, operating and maintaining equipment. Hosting costs The typical commercial model is largely transaction based hosted inbound voice services use a model that consists of a low start-up cost, although this obviously depends on the service and its complexity, and pay as you go transactional pricing aligned to the calls and their duration. As a consequence, the need for capital investment is minimised and costs are spread throughout the year as services are used. Finance Directors take note! Also, theres no ongoing hardware or software replacement or upgrade costs, other than whatever monthly support and transaction costs are agreed for the services at the start. The commercial attraction of hosting is based on three clear advantages. First, opting to use hosting services is generally much more cost-efficient than attempting to build equivalent expertise in-house. Second, all expenditure associated with running and overseeing telecoms equipment can be bypassed. And third, the business can focus on its core operations without being diverted by its telephony requirements, safe in the knowledge that phone services are being delivered to risk-free pre-agreed performance indicators at predefined costs. An increasingly wide range of services can be hosted including intelligent call routing, SMS messaging, voice broadcasts, and IVR (DTMF and/ or ASR). Off-the-shelf services can be implemented quickly and configured to suit business needs using open APIs that seamlessly connect the applications to organisations internal systems. Companies can also user simple web interfaces to change and update services including menus and call routing options. Furthermore, real-time statistics can be generated to evaluate the success of campaigns and, where necessary, adjust systems to better meet marketing objectives. By enabling advanced new technologies to be easily deployed and maintained, hosting presents a cost-efficient strategy for companies to better integrate phone and online channels to provide customers with a flexible, consistent and highquality service experience.

The Need for Integration