The Future of Customer Engagement is Omni-channel – and Integrated

September 12, 2018 Dharma Rajagopalan

 

Dharma Rajagopalan is the Vice President & General Manager of Conduent Multichannel Communication Services.

In my last post, I discussed the topic of the shift from companies transacting with their customers to a world where omni-channel digital interactions take center stage. This subject matter is not new — most people and businesses today are acutely aware of the fundamental digital shift that’s been happening over the past decade. Powered in great part by the introduction of the smartphone, today’s consumers expect more individualized, immediate and intelligent interactions with companies than ever before.

Businesses large and small are responding to those expectations — finding new ways to interact with their customers beyond phone calls and emails. From intelligent chatbots and interactive voice systems to intelligent SMS and AI-powered digital assistants such as Alexa and Siri, companies are working to meet their customers wherever they are — communicating with them in the ways that are most natural and convenient to each individual. But for enterprises to achieve the greatest success from those interactions, the most important question for the future will be: are those omni-channel engagements fully integrated?

Creating a true omni-channel experience isn’t easy

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a tremendous shift in our own business at Conduent. For example — just three years ago, all of the statements we delivered on behalf of our financial and healthcare clients were sent via US “snail mail.” Although those industries have been some of the most reluctant to adopt digital channels for a variety of reasons, the tide is quickly shifting to a more digital consumer experience that thrives on engagements instead of one-way communications.

What that means for the future is, it’s not enough to just text, call or email consumers. The goal for today’s successful businesses must be an integrated communications experience where all the channels can interact and “talk to” one another.

For many B2C businesses today, interactions related to servicing existing customers happen in three primary silos:

  • Outbound communications: These are communications generated by companies such as statements, bills, policies and other correspondence (Conduent processes 3 million pieces/day)
  • Inbound communications: This is data coming in – typically via form completion that may be electronic or paper and read using OCR or AI technology — or entered manually by associates (Conduent process two million images/day)
  • Customer engagement: Put very simply, these are the interactions that are received by live agents, chat, or IVR technologies (Conduent handles 100,000 phone calls/day)

Many enterprises are acutely focused on creating more interactive experiences within each of these silos and all of those efforts have value, but the question that looms overhead (and one that I think is most critical to the future of consumer experience) is: how can we collapse these silos to create a unified and uniquely personalized set of interactions for every customer?

Omni-channel integration collapses the silos

Here’s a quick example of how business interactions can work without the silos.

Imagine a new scenario where we receive a claim via inbound processing and immediately apply AI to verify that all the claim information is correct. Next, we analyze the type of claim using AI and analytics. From there, we generate predicative communications to the claimant informing them of the status of their claim and timeframe for processing. In an instant, we update the customer care system with both the claim qualification results and the predictive communications. What if we can do all of this before the claim data is handed off to the client’s systems for processing?

In an integrated omni-channel world, one that Conduent is building today, this is how we’ll deliver a superior customer experience while saving time, money and phone calls to customer care. Enterprises will have more meaningful conversations and interactions with their clients, fueled by AI, connected technology platforms and highly personalized customer journeys. Digital engagements and payments will all be part of one consumer experience that is seamless and customized to each individual.

How do we get there?

When companies do digital interactions right, they can have zero paper, zero calls and zero physical mail coexisting with 100% satisfied customers. This is not a pipe dream – it’s the future. And for some companies, it’s already happening now.

At Conduent, we’re making all the right connections to create a different kind of experience for our clients and the customers they serve. We’re excited about what the future holds for the true integration of inbound, outbound and customer engagement channels – resulting in the ultimate omni-channel experience for all of our clients (and their customers too).

Conduent’s AI and analytics platforms make us ideally positioned to help companies accelerate their interactions forward in this direction. In future posts, I’ll provide more details about some of our current client projects and how we’re tackling the future of customer interactions together.

Stay tuned!

About the Author

Dharma is the Vice President & General Manager of Conduent Multichannel Communication Services.

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