Call centers: Enabling a previously-impossible customer experience via the cloud, from Sheila McGee-Smith
I left business school in the early 1980s when two technologies under development for decades were about to become mainstream.
The first was the cell phone. Before 1973, mobile telephony was limited to phones installed in cars and other vehicles — devices that weighed a couple of pounds, delivered about 30 minutes of talk time, and took 10 hours to re-charge.
Being the daughter of a life-long Western Electric manager, I read with some skepticism articles in the company magazine discussing cellular technology that would eventually mean everyone would have a mobile phone in their pocket. The promise was of pocket-sized phones that would transparently know where you were—anywhere in the world.
The other technology was personal computing. In both college and business school, I used punch cards to feed data into mainframe computers to perform statistical analysis for research projects.
Even after I took my first job at AT&T …
What conversational messaging means for business
Today, the four largest messaging platforms, including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat, have more active users than the four largest social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn –– 4.1 billion versus 3.4 billion.
It’s a sign of the times. A decade ago, the rise of social media pushed communications into the public sphere, incentivizing businesses to broadcast content to their followers. Now, consumers prefer secure, 1-to-1 communication, or group channels.
Overwhelmed by as many as 63.5 notifications per day, they’re muting notifications from non-essential mobile apps providing a singular function or one-off transaction. Only 12 percent of consumers prefer a company’s mobile app for receiving communications from a business. These shifts in technology and preferences are driving consumers to seek out more secure, authentic communications.
A powerful opportunity to engage
For companies, this shift represents an opportunity to transform how they connect with customers through personalized, context-rich conversations. …
What conversational customer engagement means for business
I attend about 25 industry events a year, including chairing CRM Magazine’s annual conference, CRM Evolution.
As you’d expect, I hear a lot of soundbites, catchphrases, and jargon coming from the main stage of these conferences. Some of it I agree with, some of it I don’t, and some of it –– quite honestly –– causes my eyes to roll and stomach to churn.
But sometimes, what I hear stops me cold and causes me to think… and then tweet. A few of those few times happened during Twilio CEO/founder Jeff Lawson’s keynote at SIGNAL last summer:
Now, this 1-2 combination was followed up a bit later with this haymaker to finish off the keynote:
Let’s look at these one at a time.
Your brand being the journey you provide? I’m all-in on this one. In fact, I included this in my latest column for CRM Magazine on important …
Introducing the 2020 State of Customer Engagement Report by Twilio, available now
Is your business in touch with the trends, events, and moments shaping customer engagement in 2020?
Digital bombardment is real—overwhelmed consumers are increasingly discerning when it comes to how they choose to interact with their chosen companies and brands.
At the same time, chatbots, voice assistants, and conversational AI are everywhere you look. Even so, consumers aren’t clear on what conversational AI can do, and the potential of the technology remains largely untapped.
The trends shaping how companies and organizations interact with customers is also shaping politics in a time when engagement—and galvanization—is higher than ever.
And through it all, the customer experience remains of utmost importance, driving top companies to hire C-level roles focused solely on CX, and its unbreakable thread throughout their organization.
Customer engagement is in a state of constant change. And, since Twilio helps 170,000+ customers engage their customers in every possible way, we have a …
How to use conversational design principles to build a better bot and improve customer engagement
For businesses, the fundamental value of a chatbot is that it scales customer engagement.
For customers, though, a chatbot is only as valuable as the speed and ease with which it can answer a question or complete a task. For that reason, AI-based chatbots, which have natural language understanding (NLU) capabilities, are vastly preferred by users.
Human-like conversations don’t happen by accident, though. AI-based chatbots that engage customers and lead to better conversations are a result of smart decision-making based on communication design principles and thoughtful conversational design.
Today, companies have a number of platforms to choose from, to provide the APIs, infrastructure, and tools needed to build intelligent bots. These platforms are commonly referred to as conversational AI platforms, and let you focus on building a bot experience that works for your users without worrying about the underlying capabilities or infrastructure.
Some of the better known of conversational AI …
How Ancestry, Deliveroo, and Podium build conversational experiences
The ground zero of business messaging is a simple one-way notification.
It gets the job done, but these days, it’s pretty impersonal.
For routine queries, companies are increasingly using in-app chats or texts to connect customers and employees to efficiently solve issues and create a better customer experience. Leading companies have figured out that the next evolution of great customer experience is through messaging.
But, integrating different messaging channels and maintaining the infrastructure to support cross-channel conversations presents a multifaceted technical challenge for businesses—including orchestration, participant management, and message archives.
Read what conversational messaging means for business.
During SIGNAL 2019, we discussed the notion of 'conversations' and how the concept could change the way we do business. We heard from three incredible presenters at different companies, all of which are building conversational experiences at scale to suit their unique business needs.
Here’s an abridged discussion between Twilio’s Christine Roberts, …
Marks & Spencer: Keep it simple and trust your team to build a customer service solution that lasts
As a major retailer selling everything from party food platters to duvet covers to kids' clothes, UK-based retailer Marks & Spencer has a customer base as diverse as its product offerings.
And yet, according to enterprise architect Akash Parmar, the company had, for a long time, tried to pigeon-hole customers into three or four interactive voice response (IVR) options any time a call came in.
Unsurprisingly, it didn’t go well.
“The key challenge we were facing was the fact we just didn’t understand. We were getting ten million calls a year and didn’t clearly understand what these calls were about,” he said.
It goes to show that the challenges facing a multi-billion dollar company can be the same ones plaguing a one-person start-up: namely, understanding and then communicating effectively with your target audience.
To solve this challenge, the company created a Natural Language Platform (NLP) l that captured more than …