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The Nuances of CRM
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August 22, 2014

The Nuances of CRM

By Maurice Nagle
TMCnet Web Editor

In a world where machines, code and technology are seemingly taking over, Nuance (News - Alert) is humanizing the process.  The company website states, “Technology should work in service of people, and adapt to the way people communicate instead of forcing people to adapt to the machines.” Vice President, Marketing, Strategy & Business Development, Enterprise Division, Greg Pal, echoed this sentiment and much more when he sat down with TMC (News - Alert) to discuss trends in CRM technology and more earlier this week.

The biggest trend Pal sees in the market today is that end consumers are looking to interact with technology in a much more human way and have the expectation that technology will be “smart” enough to interact intelligently.  Pal outlined several keys to overcoming this hurdle and delivering on expectations.

When making a system, for example, the first point of contact must be as intuitive as possible.  When it comes to authentication and identification, lots of vulnerabilities exist and there are countless passwords and pins.  Voice biometrics instead, offer a humanistic touch, secure access and alleviate the need to remember those countless passwords and pins. 

The ability to leverage natural language makes it possible for people to articulate and for the system to determine the meaning through an open ended question.  This improves the customer experience by correctly routing them to the proper person to handle the issue in question.

Pal’s second tip was about making the experience conversational. With the proper technology, there can be a smart structure to the dialogue and once one knows who the customer is and their goal for the call, it becomes a natural conversation.

Thirdly, Pal mentioned the importance of a voice that is personalized and contextually aware.  At that point, it is about leveraging user preferences to improve their experience. 

This leads into Pal’s next pillar, anticipating customer needs.

Based on a customer’s interactions with a platform or a company, their issue, concern or question can be deduced.  Instead of waiting for a customer to tweet something awful or write a song about their complaint and post it on YouTube (News - Alert), it allows a company to proactively reach out and put the fire out before it even starts.

A big buzzword in the CRM space right now is “omnichannel” and Nuance’s goal is to give end users a consistent and seamless omnichannel experience.  If a customer reaches out via text, the company can respond with a call and not force the customer to complain or build frustration toward the company due to an issue that most likely was a quick fix.

Pal told TMCnet during that interview that, “It’s important to have functionality in all the channels…it is also important to go a step beyond that and have all the channels work in concert.”  Nuance’s technology offers the ability to create, “connected conversations” and offer more personalized interactions.  Asking questions like, “How do you connect over time?” and “How do I take advantage of timing?” create context for each customer.

This point seems like a no-brainer, but many companies silo these applications, so if the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing, the customer reaches out on multiple platforms and gets to relive their frustration over and over - having to explain the nature of their communication each step of the way.

Nuance illustrates these principles in their success stories. For example, Dominoes deployed a new virtual assistant to help in ordering.  One of the largest mobile carriers in China is also using Nuance’s solution to steer calls to the right place as quickly as possible and Jetstar, the Australian travel website, utilized Nuance for a Web virtual assistant. 

Don’t just take my word for, the proof is in pudding, or as Pal put it, “there is power in the testimonials.” In a world where we live in a 24/7/365 media cycle, any misstep in customer service can be quite costly so it certainly pays to make the investment in CRM.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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