Keeping the Context – Why Lose What You Already Know?
By Eric Klein, COO and Co-Founder, Cloudonix Inc.
Every modern company is thinking about how to use its apps and web presence to interact better with customers.
Let’s start with a simple inbound sales scenario. First a look at how it works today (and for the past 20+ years), followed by some enhanced options.
Using a search or advertisement, a potential customer has found out about your product and decides they want to buy from you. They will either fill in a web form or, if they have a question or just want to speak to someone before they order they will call.
A customer calls into your call center to make a purchase.
How do they reach you? Via the phone number listed on your site or advertisement. By the time they have started this call, you have already lost key information and metrics that are of use to your company, and some that can save significant money. So, unless you are assigning a different phone number to every advertisement or offer out there (feasible, but expensive) all you know about the person calling is their caller-id.
But this means you have lost things like:
- Which item they were looking at on your site?
- Which advertisement or search term got them to your site?
If they are using your mobile app you lost even more:
- all of their user information and authentication
- their location (useful if you want to direct the sales call to the closest store or distribution center)
Why do you lose this information? Because once the call goes out to the phone network you have broken the context and connection between why they are calling and the actual call.
Is there a better way?
Actually, yes there are better options.
Now it is possible to relink these via expensive and complex solutions, but that does not always help.
These solutions can include:
- Providing a unique phone number for each digital advertisement
- Expensive hardware and software to rebind the call
- Callback the customer
- Embedded context in the data call
Case study - How do you provide support services to million users without bankrupting your business?
A leading USA-based retail services corporation (sorry still under NDA) decided to offer support services as a value add to their existing customers. After discussions with multiple Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) providers they found that costs would be based not on number of call but on number of devices connected. If they connected more than a million of their users it would mean that they paid for every device, every call, and every interconnection to their system. Resulting in tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars every month, even for users that did not use the service.
What is more, they would be taking the calls out over the phone network, losing the information mentioned above.
By using an integrated network and SDK (in this case in their mobile app) they gained access to this information. But it had some surprising additional benefits.
- As the account was tied to a specific phone, they were able to authenticate that the correct phone was being used to receive the service. This cut down fraudulent calls.
- This in turn resulted in additional sales.
It is said that it costs about $1 per minute that the agent is on the phone. As you can see in this example, by having the context of who was calling, they were able to save significantly on both phone expenses and in the time of the call center agents. This resulted in saving them more than 30% of their expenses in addition to the fraudulent calls that were not serviced.
An added bonus was that many of those fraudulent calls were upsold to become paying customers too.
Things to watch for in a solution
There are various solution options that can allow your customers to connect from a mobile application to your call center. But take a look at the various aspects that can affect your business as your service grows:
- How do prices grow as you add more users / devices?
- How does cost increase based on usage / calls?
- How do you connect to your existing system / do you need new hardware?
- Can the company become a competitor and steal your customers because you have them tied to a 3rd party API Key?
In conclusion, when adding in new solutions you need to what is needed to both connect to the new service and how it will change your existing workflows. If you need to dedicate extensive time or resources to making the integration or need to retrain your staff, then you need to consider these costs both financially in lost work time.