Discussing Digital Engagement and Customer Services with ALE
We discuss the future of DX with Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise
Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise is a company that’s devoted to next-level technology and customer service in the modern marketplace. The organisation currently serves over 830,000 customers around the world and have earned a fantastic reputation for their award-winning services and solutions. After a recent blog post UC Today published by Xavier Martin from ALE, discussing the future of customer service, we decided to catch up with Xavier himself to discuss what digital engagement really means, and what’s driving it in the modern world.
For ALE, digital transformation (DX) allows for an expansion of the customer service experience, so that supporting the client is something that the entire company can get involved with – rather than just the contact centre. In a world where experience is king, “engagement” is all about harnessing the right solutions to support a more satisfied customer.
What Is Digital Engagement from Your Perspective?
The business world is more competitive than ever, with new people joining the field every day. To be successful in this ever-evolving environment, companies need to not only embrace the concept of Digital Transformation but consider how they can use this new technology to properly serve their customers. In his blog, Xavier refers to digital engagement as the solution that’s pushing customer service into “a new age”.
He told me:
“Digital engagement isn’t just the next stage of customer service – it’s something completely different. It’s about harnessing the powers or “forces” of the digital world, namely social, cloud, mobile, and big data analytics.”
“With the combination of those digital forces, organisations can find the best way to connect with their customers and serve them as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
What Is Driving Digital Engagement?
For ALE, and Xavier, digital engagement is a crucial step forward in the customer service space, but I wondered what might be driving this evolution forward for companies today. Martin told me that there are two main drivers. The first one comes from the fact that all companies are facing a move towards global digital transformation. This push towards a stronger digital presence requires some consideration of the customer journey. “There’s an imperative to re-define the engagement part of the transformation journey.”
From the other side of things, there’s a drive from today’s customer base, who expect that they should be able to use the same tools to communicate with businesses as they do in their consumer lives. “Generations are changing, and that’s having a big impact on customer engagement. Baby boomers and generation X will be more likely to connect through call centres and phone calls, whereas millennials won’t even think about picking up a phone. Any company dealing with customers born after the 1980s will need to think about digital engagement, or risk losing prospects.”
What are the Trends We’re Seeing Today?
As vendors around the world continue to get to grips with the concept of digital transformation, and digital engagement, I was keen to find out what ALE was seeing in terms of trends for the marketplace.
“We’re seeing a lot of companies struggle to deal with all four forces mentioned above at once. Instead, they often need to focus on things one at a time, harnessing the cloud, then mobile, then social, then big data.”
Another trend that Xavier noted was the move towards the entire business becoming more involved with the customer experience conversation. “We’ve moved beyond the restriction of the customer service agent being the only person responsible for serving customers. Now, virtually everyone in a company can act as a digital engagement representative and improve the dialogue that the brand has with its customers.”
How Does Rainbow Support Digital Transformation?
To support the discussion of digital engagement, ALE has recently introduced their own team workflow app in “Rainbow” a platform in the cloud that’s designed to enhance digital transformation. I asked Xavier how Rainbow connects to digital engagement, and he told me that Rainbow serves two functions – the first being Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), and the second being a Communication Platform as a Service.
“It’s the CPaaS approach that’s really critical to digital engagement because it means that you can integrate platforms and link customer engagement platforms. For instance, with Rainbow and APIs, you can develop a chat application for a browser or mobile device and bring real-time communications to your customers.”
“Then you can use the system to rapidly escalate chat discussions to live telephone conversations and more.”
Rainbow can also integrate with the business application, which means that companies can make sure that they have the context support their customer conversations too. Team collaboration is just one of the applications that Rainbow offers, “We’re using the platform to deliver real-time communication capabilities as part of an open experience that can fold neatly on top of everything else you do within your communication network.”
“This means that users get the best end-to-end solution for the customer journey.”
What Does the Future Look like for ALE?
For ALE and Xavier, most of the discussion around customer engagement is based on existing information – historical data that’s been compiled for a number of years based on interactions with customers. “The more data we collect and use, the more we can ensure that companies have the right information at the right moment in the conversation. We anticipate that digital engagement will push people to bring more technology into the customer service experience to add context to the answers service agents provide.”
One of the new technology functions that ALE will be delivering in the future is artificial intelligence, meaning that companies can not only retrieve information but use the data they collect to provide recommendations based on patterns that their algorithms recognise.
“The first step in the future for us is leveraging that shift to the abilities offered by AI. We’ll also be using voice biometrics and recognition to identify customers for tentative transactions, shorten the enrollment process, and automate certain activities too.”