Why a Scalable Platform is Key to Great Customer Journeys

A reliable, securely connected, and scalable communications platform is crucial to providing a consistently excellent customer experience. This article is the fifth in a six-part series on how to create a great customer journey with your contact center.

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Why a Scalable Platform is Key to Great Customer Journeys

Simply put, without the right platform, a modern contact center cannot thrive. Gartner predicts that by 2020, 30% of enterprises will embed communications into digital processes using APIs and modules from CPaaS (Communications Platform as a Service) vendors. That’s a big jump from less than 5% in 2017. Enterprises who may have previously opted for mature off-the-shelf solutions, bought from established vendors, now see an innovative contact center—built on a reliable, securely connected, and scalable communications platform—as crucial to providing a consistently excellent customer experience.

Communications platforms are cloud-based; they connect calls, texts, and other forms of communication using geographically-distributed data centers around the world. Platforms like this offer the scale and reliability that make it easy for your business to grow without worrying if your contact center can keep up.

What to Look For When Choosing a Contact Center Platform

So, how do you choose the right platform for your business? These tips can help you consider your options and make the right choice.

Reputable, Established Platform

Reputable, established providers understand what it takes to build a successful cloud-based contact center, one that offers greater reliability than most businesses can afford to implement independently. You should look for a provider who can handle billions of interactions with a 99.99% service-level agreement (SLA). This level of reliability is difficult to find in premise-based contact center systems.

Global Offering

Your business may start out in one country, but why limit where you could go in the future? Choose a CPaaS provider that gives you the ability to reach everyone in the world right from the start, without having to manage infrastructure or contract negotiations with carriers in each country. Look for a platform that handles all of the logic and intricacies, like regulatory compliance, privacy, and security, so you can focus on refining the customer experience based on languages and regional preferences.

Phone Number Inventory and Quality

Some contact centers need hundreds or even hundreds of thousands of phone numbers. Look for a platform that has the inventory to support your local and toll-free number needs from 100+ countries and API control for instant provisioning. In addition to being available, you also want these phone numbers to be reliable. All phone numbers should go through a rigorous cleansing process, that includes many stages of inspection across all attributes, to ensure they’ll be free from unwanted calls and texts. Additionally, your platform should provide connectivity for all local numbers through a highly reliable global carrier network with built-in redundancy.

Omnichannel APIs

Every year, new channels become available, and each channel has nuances in terms of their capabilities and best practices. Staying familiar with all of these different communication channels and maintaining the integrations to support them can feel like a never-ending learning curve. Instead, choose a platform that gives you access to multiple channels through a single API, with all of the integrations built in. And look for one with a demonstrated history of adding new channels as they become relevant.

Compliance

No business wants to be hit with multimillion-dollar fines for spamming customers. Choose a platform that automatically manages opt-outs, so you don’t have to worry about it. Make sure the platform analyzes communications for intent using intelligence, to ensure that users can opt out even if they aren’t using the defined keywords. Find out what data compliance measures your platform has in place; you’ll want to ensure your platform never stores the content of a message and/or recipient phone number. Make sure your provider is GDPR-compliant, and consider choosing a provider who applies GDPR standards to all data, not just EU personal data. That way, you will be well positioned with data protection regulatory frameworks around the world.

Security

Providing reliable communications is only the first step in your contact center. These communications must also follow the latest security best practices and comply with strict privacy regulations and corporate policies. Your customers trust you to protect their information; choose a platform you can truly trust to handle it. Pick a provider that is ISO 27000-certified; this is a family of information security standards published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Likewise, choose a provider who is SOC2-compliant; this auditing procedure ensures secure data management.

Content Accuracy

You put a lot of effort into crafting your communications, such as SMS messages to customers. When you depend on a cloud communications platform to deliver your communications, you want to know that message content is rendered and delivered correctly around the world. Misrepresentations of challenging characters can cause big problems for businesses when, for example, a currency symbol is wrong. Ask potential providers how they perform on content accuracy tests to ensure they aren’t delivering garbled messages or messages that arrive chopped up and out of order.

Intelligent Carrier Routing

Carrier outages happen, but that doesn’t mean your contact center should go down. Choose a platform with a software layer that routes traffic based on quality between global carrier networks to ensure your service remains reliable. Look for a platform with redundant providers and automated failover, a full-time carrier ops team, real-time routing, and data centers located around the world.

Enterprise Plans

Even if your business doesn’t have strict enterprise requirements yet, make sure your contact center platform has been engineered to support your business needs at scale. Choose a platform that will easily scale with you as your business grows. Enterprise plans generally provide advanced security, access management, billing, and administration features including SSO (single sign-on), RBAC (role-based access controls), and public key encryption. Find out what your provider offers for subaccounts (such as by department), service instances (how the company sets up and runs APIs), and user-specific permissions. These settings should all be built in by default.

Scalability in Action: ING

ING, one of the world’s largest banks, knew that as the financial needs of their global banking customers evolved, they needed to grow with them. Since ING’s customers use mobile apps as a primary means to communicate, ING understood that to remain relevant in today’s market, they had to completely change the way they interact with customers. Today’s customer expectations apply to all commercial enterprises, including banks.

This shift meant restructuring ING’s entire organization to become more agile, which wasn't easy to do with more than 40,000 employees in 40 countries, and 17 disparate legacy contact centers created by different vendors at different times. So how does a multinational organization make a change this big, do it quickly, and not disrupt business? For ING, the answer was in the cloud.

ING knew they needed to completely redesign and rebuild their legacy contact center for better customer service. Henk Kolk, ING Chief Architect, knew there's only one way to do that: "using building blocks."

To get the job done, Kolk turned to Twilio to power their next-generation contact center with Twilio's building blocks: Programmable Voice, IP Messaging, Programmable Video, and TaskRouter. And since finance is a highly regulated industry, it was imperative that ING choose a reliable, secure cloud communications provider that ensured industry and regulatory compliance, 24/7 service, and had a far-reaching, global carrier network so they could scale as needed.

Underpinning the Twilio platform is Twilio’s Super Network, which powers more than 50,000 businesses and billions of interactions. The Super Network is a highly reliable network of thousands of carrier connections worldwide with built-in redundancy. This gives businesses like ING the scale and reliability they need to run mission-critical contact centers without having to manage any infrastructure or carrier relationships.

The results? ING was able to consolidate its 17 legacy contact centers into one flexible, Twilio-powered contact center. Today, a global network of 450 ING developers can interact and use flexible cloud-based APIs to quickly customize applications to deliver the agility, speed, and scale required to stay competitive.

Twilio’s Cloud Platform

The Twilio cloud communications platform runs on the Twilio Super Network, the world’s most reliable and resilient communications network. The geographically distributed and scalable platform powers 50,000+ businesses and billions of interactions. Twilio has been recognized by DMG Research as the third largest cloud contact center infrastructure platform (by the number of seats), powering innovative SaaS providers such as Zendesk, Talkdesk, and Serenova as well as large enterprise contact centers at companies like ING and Zillow.

From the world’s largest public companies to early-stage startups, people rely on Twilio’s cloud communications platform to exchange millions of calls and messages every day from web and mobile apps. These communications facilitate deliveries, power customer support, and keep mission-critical applications running without outages.

Communications Platform as a Service

The world around us is changing rapidly, and that change is driven by technology. Clients expect to contact businesses 24/7 and receive personal, top-notch service. If large enterprises which depend on legacy systems for communication want to stay relevant and move quickly, they must make the shift to cloud communications platforms—not despite their size, but because of it.

By moving your communications away from legacy premise systems and into the realm of cloud-based APIs, you can focus on building unique communication experiences with your customers instead of dealing with the messiness of traditional telecommunication and infrastructure.

Moving your contact center to the cloud empowers your developers to add real-time communications features into applications without having to build backend infrastructure and interfaces. It completely shifts how you develop products and services. Ask yourself, why shouldn’t you be able to change your contact center as often as you change your website? With the right platform, you can build the exact solution that works for your business to communicate with and service your customers and constantly iterate and improve as your business needs change.

Want to dive deeper? We wrote an entire e-book on the subject. Download the Four Essential Ingredients for a Modern Contact Center.

*Check out Part 1 for an overview of the four key ingredients for building a great customer journey, Part 2 to learn all about customizability, Part 3 for a deep dive into omnichannel communications, Part 4 to understand the importance of contextual intelligence, and don’t miss the difference between SaaS, CPaaS, and CCaaS in Part 6. *