Customer Service in the Cloud
One of the biggest challenges facing companies is figuring out how to serve consumers in an environment where customer engagement is rapidly shifting. Enterprises need to be agile enough to serve their customers through the channel of their choice across the customer lifecycle, ranging across voice, email, chat, mobile, SMS and social media.
Many organisations are starting to use cloud based applications to support their contact centre operations in this omni-channel environment. Supporting these channels may require significant investment in both technology and process changes, and requires alignment of these investments with corporate strategy. Some of the benefits of the cloud deployment model include:
- Enables phased implementations with incremental associated costs as more advanced capabilities are required;
- Costs can scale up or down depending in the growth or reduction in customer service requirements;
- Allows for more agile response to changes (or additions) in channel mix; and
- Ultimately, providing better customer service at lower cost, while meeting your customers in whatever channel they choose to interact with your organisation.
Ovum has developed a cloud customer service maturity model which provides a roadmap to help organisations assess where they stand in the spectrum, and understand the key dimensions along which they can expect to progress.
Phase 1: Implementation
Generally, the initial stage is focused on the initial migration from an on-premise architecture for one or two customer service channels. The desired outcomes should be cost savings and increased customer satisfaction. This is the time to start thinking with an open mind about what might be possible in later stages of maturity and avoid falling into replication business processes that were constrained by legacy systems.
Phase 2: Consolidation
The Consolidation phase tends to be characterised by a focus on further cost savings and increased customer retention/ reduced churn rates. Typically, cost savings become amplified as channels are more tightly integrated, and tools for agents and performance measurement improve.
At this stage, IT and customer care start increasing their collaboration and should begin creating joint roadmaps to achieve more strategic goals in the later maturity stages.
In my next post, I’ll expand on these two tactical phases in further detail, and talk about increasing the maturity of customer service through to the later, strategic stages of optimisation and transformation.
I’ve worked with enterprises of all sizes to migrate customer service functions to the cloud with Salesforce.com’s Service Cloud platform.
 Deploying Customer Service in the Cloud, Ovum, November 2012 http://www.oracle.com/us/products/applications/customer-service-in-the-cloud-1877101.pdf (accessed 12 Feb 2013)