More channels. Less hassle.

"I stayed in a really old hotel last night. They sent me a wake-up letter."

Steven Wright

There is a big difference between handling 'many channels' and managing 'multi-channel' customer communications. Although linguistically it may seem that the two expressions may be synonymous, the technological difference is vast. It is the distinction between having many disparate conversations and having a single conversation spanning all media channels. When a multi-channel approach is underpinned by a flexible light touch CRM system the result is that the customer experiences the sensation of talking to a single, coherent organisation regardless of the combination of media channels they choose at different points of their busy lives.

The transition from "call" centre to "contact" centre is a subtle one. Many have predicted the demise of the call centre as new channels of communication are poised to become the method of choice for future generations to contact or be contacted by the companies they wish to communicate with.

Reality is different. The increase in non-voice traffic has had an opposite effect to the one predicted. The number of calls to or from call centres has increased rather than decreased as a result of the proliferations of other channels. Customers still wish to talk to a human being or have the reassurance that there was someone to talk to if they chose to.

However, alternative channels of communications have had a major impact on call centres, albeit in a way different to the one predicted. Customer communications have simply become more intelligent; some would say more cunning. Different channels are used as part of a clever, integrated customer strategy.

An interaction may start with an email, move to the website, develop into a web chat session and eventually a series of telephone calls and text messages before it concludes with perhaps another email or web interaction.

Let's look at an example. Let's assume that company X has just released a new product or widget. The marketing department may then produce a list of prospects who may be interested in the new widgets as a selection of existing clients and some new candidates.

The first thing that may happen is that they may post a brochure of the new widget to each prospect and then follow that a few days later with an email. The email would be personalised and would contain a hyperlink to a specially designed part of the website where visitors can either complete a web self-service enquiry or opt to go into a web-chat session.

At this stage it may be appropriate to have a telephone call to close a deal. The organisation may choose to call the person who visited the website or the customer may choose to initiate a call during the chat session or web self-service session.

The call may then be followed by several others or simply result in a sale. Following the sale, the client may have access to a customer service website which may contain a web self-help facility but also a support desk number to call. Finally, company X may also choose to send a customer satisfaction survey in the form of an email with a link to another part of the website.

This constant communication with the customer can then continue indefinitely across a range of low-cost channels. The effect that multimedia communication has on customer contact is to introduce a level of subtlety and refinement to customer acquisition and retention. It signals the end of brute force approaches which have been seen as the hallmark of the call centre industry for too long.

The key to it all is the orchestration of all the different channels into a coherent strategy which speak with one voice. This is precisely what Synthesys™ is designed to deliver.

Synthesys™ does this by providing all channels of communication integrated closely with its underlying CRM layer. Each customer contact activity, regardless of channel, links back to a CRM record dedicated to the customer or prospect.

Furthermore, in line with Noetica's underpinning principles, all channels are also designed to allow non-technical user to deploy multimedia campaigns with ease, speed and little technical knowhow. Here are some examples.

Web Self-Service

Web self-service is just another manifestation of the Synthesys™ Scripting module, allowing scripts to be deployed on the website. All the richness of the Synthesys™ scripting tool is automatically available for use on the web. 
Multimedia - Web Self Service

Furthermore, Synthesys™ scripts can now be run in an iFrame and configured to hide and call centre specific functions (such as CTI, navigation and other toolbars) and run within an iFrame. Scripts can also be completely branded to look exactly like the website that they happen to be embedded in.

One of the great advantages of this method of deploying web self-service is the unparalleled speed with which it can be set up and modified easily by non-technical users. A professional looking web self-service activity can be created and deployed in a matter of hours.

Inbound Email

Historically, companies have found it difficult to cope with the influx of incoming email from their clients. Things are improving, but in many cases handling inbound email as remained something of a manual task with all the consequences that brings in terms of inefficiency and difficulties in adhering to SLAs.

Synthesys™ resolves this problem elegantly by linking incoming email within the coherent mixture of its other modules. Emails can be routed and delivered to teams of agents through the mechanisms provided by Synthesys™ Workflow. They can then be handled using Synthesys™ Scripting and (automatically or manually) linked to an underlying Synthesys™ CRM record to form consistent threads linked to Workflow cases. Reports on email traffic can be generated using standard Synthesys™ Reports.

The use of Synthesys™ Scripting in handling email traffic has very significant implications not only in terms of consistency and reduced training times, but most importantly in massively increased efficiency. The script can automatically generate replies based on the agents' script input. An email can be processed with a few mouse clicks rather than laborious traditional methods.

Most importantly, by using Synthesys™ Scripting for email processing, each free text email automatically turns into a structured database record which can yield priceless statistics on the email traffic and brings uniformity across all channels.

Email & SMS broadcast

Synthesys™ Campaigns provides a mechanism for sending emails and text messages as part of outbound campaigns. This allows Synthesys to use the same kind of lists which are used by the dialler to send out emails and text messages in bulk. This functionality usually has a major role to play in the context of intelligent customer contact strategies.

Emails can be sent in personalised plain text or HTML formats and can have customised and personalised attachments.

Web chat 

Synthesys™ now provides a fully featured web chat handling channel. Although web chat has existed for a while as a technology, it is only relatively recently that it has gained more significant momentum and credibility in the enterprise markets and is being rolled out extensively as a customer service and acquisition channel across most corporate websites.

Noetica, as usual, is ahead of the game in this area. Our new web chat module offers many interesting features:

  • Synthesys™ Webchat automatically links all chat transcripts to relevant Synthesys™ CRM records, so that several chat sessions can be linked back together to a single client and also associated with interactions using other channels.
  • In Synthesys™ an agent can handle up to four separate chat sessions simultaneously and the agent gets instant visual cues as to the state of each session.
  • Synthesys™ Webchat supports blending of Webchat with voice (inbound & outbound) channels, so that agents are automatically deployed wherever the need is greater.
  • The web chat channel in Synthesys™ is integrated with Synthesys™ Campaigns so that the customer's chat user interface can be branded and customised according to the context in which it is being deployed.
  • Customers have the option of downloading chat transcripts at the end of a session
  • Synthesys™ Webchat is integrated with the Synthesys™ Dialler allowing a chat session to become a telephone call if needed.

Social media

The proliferation of social media has had a major impact on society over the last few years. Although much has been said about the impact that this new medium might have on the way in which organisations communicate with their customers, a clear and accepted way of embedding this channel into the customer communications mix is yet to emerge.

Synthesys™ goes a significant way towards providing some pioneering ways of managing social media traffic. Syntactical and semantic filters can be applied to social media big data streams and the relevant traffic can then be directed to agents via Synthesys™ Workflow to be handled in ways similar to our inbound email channels.

Agents can use Synthesys™ Scripting to classify, action and respond to Tweeter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social network traffic. These workflow processes and scripts can also utilise Synthesys™ CRM to form relationships with recurring traffic relating to customers and also link this traffic to activities across all other channels.