TMC (News - Alert) this year celebrates 30 years of covering customer interaction, which means it couldn’t be a better time to look at where we’ve been with customer service and where we’re going. We’re also rebranding and retooling our customer experience effort. In this installment of our CUSTOMER coverage, we talk with Lori Anne Pollock, manager of contact center product marketing for Verizon (News - Alert) Enterprise Solutions.
This division of Verizon Communications provides an array of advanced communications solutions, mobility, cloud and strategic networking services globally to large business and government customers.
We're celebrating the 30-year anniversary of TMC's Customer Interaction Solutions magazine. What has been the most important development in the past 30 years related to customer interactions?
Pollock: When it comes to delivering customer service, intelligent enterprise routing that created the virtual queue brought a tremendous benefit in terms of business cost savings and customer satisfaction. Genesys (News - Alert) broke ground here, and we are now seeing multi-site routing solutions as a standard for customer care – hosted or premises-based.
In the past decade?
Pollock: Web self service – which started over the Internet and interoperated with speech – is now increasingly accessible over smartphones. This capability has liberated and empowered consumers, while driving down costs for business.
In the recent past?
Pollock: In short, social media. Those consumers who are engaging on social media properties are driving change and a move to better customer service outcomes – whether it is the threat of bad service being broadcasted across Facebook (News - Alert) or Twitter or a good customer services story.
How has the rise of IP-based networks impacted the call center – customer interactions at large?
Pollock: Deploying Internet protocol technologies in contact centers has created opportunities and challenges of IP. IP has better enabled the centralized and virtualized infrastructure, which can create efficiencies with agent routing and IT support. Along with the new technology and architecture comes the need to re-engineer, recertify or replace critical contact center management applications like customer relationship management, workforce optimization and recording.
How is marketing changing?
Pollock: Consumer marketing incorporates newer, more personalized channels to reach customers. Businesses are testing a broad spectrum of tactics to determine which tactics help establish relevance for each product's demographic footprint.
How is the rise of cloud computing affecting how businesses target, engage with and deliver product/service/support to the customer?
Pollock: The adoption of cloud computing suggests the contact center applications may be hosted and managed in a centralized and virtual environment. A virtual contact center solution liberates a business to hire professionals all over the country – or the world – and thus create a possibility for better specialized service. And the centralization of data, and the grooming that may have taken place as part of that project, creates an opportunity to deliver better Web-based self-service solutions.
How is the widespread use of social networking technology affecting how businesses target, engage with and deliver product/service/support to the customer?
Pollock: With social media, businesses can try a huge variety of marketing strategies, including granular and broadcast tactics, much more quickly than a print magazine or mail campaign enabled in the past. The increased speed and proliferation of feedback can be both beneficial and threatening to corporate brands, depending on care and transparency used when dealing with influential consumers.