Most organisations are not able to realise the full potential of the information that they’ve inadvertently made inaccessible by having multiple, siloed communications applications.
Take a quick inventory. How many communications apps does your organisation use right now? Count all of the business phone, instant messaging, video meeting, and contact centre apps across all functions, locations, and business units. A quick litmus test is whether or not your company uses Microsoft Teams. If you do, there’s at least two more communication apps to add to your list because you also need a contact centre application and typically an external calling solution.
As a result, all of the data from each of those apps is not being aggregated into insight that can support business decisions. The incoming phone call provides an easy way to illustrate this point. Consider the number of phone calls made to your company every day. Each incoming call can be handled in one of eight different ways:
- Voicemail: leave a message for the intended recipient.
- Direct extension: The customer calls a person in your company directly. It’s the, “If you know the extension of the party you are calling, dial it now,” option.
- Receptionist/switchboard: Calls come to a central number and then are routed to the appropriate party.
- Auto attendant: The call experience is automated with messages that allow the customer to select a number for a specific department.
- Ring groups: Depending on who is available, several employees have the ability to answer an incoming call and ensure that all calls are answered.
- Call queues: Calls are placed in a virtual line and are answered based on their place in the queue.
- Intelligent IVR: An interactive voice response uses natural language processing to automate call routing.
- Virtual agent: AI automates workflows by answering certain questions, such as whether or not a particular item is in stock.
No matter how that incoming phone call is handled, the interaction generates data. Isolating each of those interactions within separate, disparate applications prevents you from maximising their full potential. The magic happens when a bit of organisation is applied to that data in the form of aggregation, transformation, and presentation (ATP)—something that’s only enabled by a communications platform.
It starts with aggregating and storing all the data to make it accessible in a timely and accurate way. This is the stage where most companies have to stop because they can’t do so with data from siloed communication apps.
Companies using modern communications platforms are able to take the next step and transform that aggregated data into information. And finally, that information can then be presented in a way that’s believable, understandable, and actionable.
One of the surprising results is that the information generated by those incoming phone calls comes in five different forms:
- Descriptive: What happened?
- Diagnostic: What broke?
- Predictive: What are the options?
- Prescriptive: The next best action
- Cognitive: Intelligent automation
Note the temporal aspect of this information. Descriptive is looking back in time, while the others are in real time. Together, they provide guidance on optimising the future. All of this information, and its various temporal perspectives, can then be used to drive three types of business outcomes:
- Automate simple tasks, such as reporting. With a single click, you will be able to generate activity reports, review how many customers didn’t receive a call back today, or even get insight into the customer journey experience.
- Turn insight into operational action in minutes. Real-time dashboards show metrics, such as hold times, the number of customers in the queue, and abandonment rates. This real-time information can be used to drive immediate action, such as adjusting the IVR to better handle an influx of calls.
- Strategic planning. As you evaluate AI-powered automation, this information can be used to support process redesign and human resource reallocation by highlighting which workflows can be redirected to chat bots, virtual agents, and digital assistants.
The pandemic caused many manufacturers to quickly invest in communications technology to maintain organisation resilience. Now, we see many companies reevaluating their current communications environment with a renewed appreciation for the strategic importance of communications. As part of the reevaluation process, consider a modern communications solution that integrates business phone, instant messaging, video meetings, contact centre, and digital channels, such as SMS and chat apps, into a single platform that makes it easy to take advantage of the decision intelligence capabilities currently locked up in all those communication apps across your company today.
This whitepaper, ‘Return of the Phone Call’, will further explain how to transform the data from phone calls and all of the other communication channels into a decision intelligence tool.