The arrival of millennials into the business world is creating challenges for telecom resellers and the pace of change shows no sign of relenting. It’s time to embrace change to keep your customer base loyal.
It seems obvious to say that regular contact with customers is an important task for any business that wants to retain customers for the long term, but it’s equally important to have something to say. If you’re in the communications industry and have run out of exciting improvements to implement for your customers, you may want to start looking to broaden what you can talk to them about before your competitors do.
Customer demands have broadened and accelerated during the time I’ve been in the industry. Three decades ago dealers were differentiating themselves by offering low cost routing through alternate carriers such as Mercury. ISDN digital lines offered direct dial inward to an extension user, leading to a subsequent discussion regarding the implementation of voicemail and auto attendant. Sales people had something to talk about when calling their customers leading to increased sales and longer business relationships.
Providing lines and calls became popular but the writing has been on the wall since the advent of Skype and WhatsApp. The value of minutes is decreasing and in the long term will decline further with the broader adoption of WebRTC. Resellers need to address this fact and look to adopt a licensed and inclusive ‘as a service’ model in order to avoid a longer term decline in revenues.
The days of the industry driving change have gone and now it’s the customers who are informing the development cycle. Their requirements now feed into the future development road-map, which on evergreen platforms, particularly those using true cloud models, should benefit all users.
The millennial generation are of an age where they take instant communication for granted, and more to the point, they are now integrated into the workforce. The relentless flood of new mobile apps is delivering incremental improvements to their lives and they want to see these improvements within business.
They’re an impatient generation who don’t accept yesterday’s excuses.
They will choose their communication channel of choice to interact with different departments within an organisation. Voice is still a key channel however they will often switch to Twitter or Facebook to voice a complaint. They’ve discovered that web chat is an effective way of avoiding the need to call and wait in a queue; oblivious to the fact that these channels are queued in a similar way to other channels and delivered to the same screen on an agent’s browser.
Their refusal to listen to yesterday’s excuses is acting as a catalyst of change within organisations who value the benefits of improved customer experience.
Artificial Intelligence is no longer consigned to the laboratories, it’s forefront in contact centre managers’ minds as a tool to enable IVR’s to direct calls using unstructured voice input and natural language processing, or to handle the initial conversations on digital channels such as webchat and email before passing the interaction on to the best agent.
It does seem logical. Why should callers have to listen to multiple levels of DTMF driven menus when they could just say what they want? Why should I as a driver not be able to communicate instantly with an agent at my insurer’s using voice and video in the event that I have a crash?
As a supplier, the role of your sales team is to act as trusted advisers to your client base. They need to be innovative and offer a genuine advantage to your customers business. It doesn’t always need to be a ‘rip and replace’ exercise. It may simply be the case of extending the life of an existing customer asset such as an on-premise telephone system by providing a cloud based overlay solution to provide either their customers or their staff with a better experience.
Businesses thrive when customer retention is high. Regular monthly revenues sustain businesses whilst new sales power the growth.
If you value your base but your current solutions portfolio isn’t meeting your customer requirements, or you’re having to sell on price alone, then we should talk. There are many vendors who offer cloud hosted UCaaS services through channel partners, however there are very few, if any, who are able to supply and support a full inbound and outbound blended omni-channel contact solution in partnership with a reseller partner. Remember that contact centres are no longer huge sheds filled with people in today’s millennial-driven world.