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June 15, 2017

Over nearly two decades, I have spent a great deal of time working with CRM tools and contact center organizations, first as an agent, then across many roles in contact center leadership, and finally as a CRM and business transformation consultant. Many of the conversations I have with clients center on the desire to improve their contact center technology Enhance! Optimize! Innovate! These are all great buzzwords, but for many companies, they are just Post-it notes on the wall.

Commercial Innovation

For some companies we work with today, this desire has turned into a real journey and whether building a new customer engagement center, migrating from an old platform or working to drive true innovation in a complex global organization, it requires a different way of thinking. It requires us to think like a consumer, to understand our journey as a consumer.

So where should the journey begin?

Too many organizations focus on technology first. A client I worked with started a program with this quote, Lets not lead with technology. Our proclivity is to reduce things to a technology project and do something. This is a real moment of time not to do that. Before you can innovate or optimize anything, you must understand where you want to end up and more importantly why you want to get there. To do this, you need a clear vision of why your contact center exists and what it should provide. Why is your customer going to reach out to you? Why are you going to reach out to them? What is the experience you want your customers to have (customer experience)? What should your employees experience be to support them (employee experience)?

Most businesses have historically focused on the transaction, what the business needs and what shiny new technology to buy, because, well, its new. When service and support leaders look at our models and organizations, it is sometimes easy to forget that we ourselves are consumers and customers.

Bringingcustomer experience to the commercial space

Contact centers (engagement centers) should be designed to help individuals answer questions or access desired information. The design principle to support this outcome should be to provide as much of that applicable information, as close to the individual as possible, through the channel they want, when they want it, whether that individual is a customer or an employee.

Think about how you engage your friends, family and colleagues. We text, chat, Facebook, Tweet, Instagram, FaceTime, email, yes, we even still call. Think about how you purchase items on Amazon, and other online stores. How should we support our customers? It should be as easy for them as connecting with a friend or shopping online!

So how does this fit into innovation? It puts an emphasis on channel alignment, meeting the customer through the channel in which they want engage (increasingly social media-based) and understanding that as channels continue to change, we must continue to innovate. Innovation sets you on a new and agile path. Innovation drives innovation. It becomes cultural, not project based. Today, its Twitter and Instagram; tomorrow, it may be something that does not even exist now.

There are many methods to begin this journey. At TCS, we help customers determine their journey with some of the best approaches, including CX blueprinting, or on a more programmatic level, CRM modernization utilizing cloud-based platforms. Through these approaches, we validate the why, which helps us focus on a single overarching goal, a North Star if you will, based on consumer experience. Then we can build (or rebuild) the right foundation and focus on optimizing and finally innovating with fresh approaches such as social customer service.

Are you ready to find your North Star and drive a culture of innovation? Contact us to help you start your journey.

David is an ex TCSer and was the TCS Global Salesforce Practice Service Cloud Leader. He is a highly experienced strategist and transformation professional with 19+ years in CRM strategic planning, contact center and delivery operations, and project and solution management. He is also well versed in analyzing an organization's business needs, while identifying deficiencies and opportunities, and developing innovative and cost-effective solutions for driving improvements while maintaining profitability. He has worked with the platform for over 10 years and helps organizations across the sales, service, and marketing spectrum, leveraging his deep understanding of the healthcare, life sciences, and financial services industries.


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