The Human Touch


The Human Touch

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  June 17, 2016

Providing clients and prospects with personalized service and offers is a growing trend in the customer care arena. The reason why is clear: Companies exist in a time during which there is increasing competition due to the ease with which people can browse and comparison shop online, and the rise of solution aggregators that can do that work for them.

Here are a few things that are happening on this front to enable businesses to compete more effectively in this environment.

Virtual Hold Technology (News - Alert) is helping companies increase customer satisfaction by leveraging structured and unstructured data so businesses can see all customer interactions with a brand, regardless of channel.

Here’s how this kind of thing might come into play in the travel industry: Let’s say a passenger checks the prices of different flights on the web, but does not complete the transaction. The airline can send the passenger an SMS alerting him or her that flights to the desired city are discounted 10 percent and could suggest complementary services related to the visit.

Meanwhile, another company, Directly, has introduced predictive routing that identifies what experts are most likely to be able to resolve specific contact center customer service tickets. It does that by identifying similarities between incoming tickets and past tickets that specific individuals were able to resolve. The solution was designed to be used situations in which those people involved in resolving tickets are users of the company’s products.

The Directly technology plugs into help desk solutions such as Oracle (News - Alert) Service Cloud and Zendesk, or into a website. Companies like Pinterest and FreedomPop use Directly to scale online support by routing customers’ questions to their expert users, who earn money or other rewards by resolving the questions. Unlike hourly call center workers, experts know and love the products already, and they answer questions on demand, where and when they want to. This method delivers significantly faster response times, customer satisfaction ratings of 92.5 percent on average, and higher resource efficiency, according to Directly CEO and co-founder Antony Brydon.

Yet another company, Cloud4Wi, is leveraging retail Wi-Fi to help brands connect with shoppers in new ways. Cloud4Wi recently introduced the solution, which is aimed at malls, restaurants, and retailers that want to leverage their guest Wi-Fi infrastructure to deliver branded online experiences, support trigger-based campaigns, and gather customer data.

Cloud4Wi is a three-year-old Italian company with more than 1,000 customers and installations at 1,500 locations. It serves more than 15 of the world’s 250 largest retailers, including Burger King, Chili’s, Clarks, and Olive Garden.

Prada uses the Cloud4Wi SaaS (News - Alert) platform to offer a branded online welcome page across its 3,000 stores worldwide. That page is consistent across stores, but in the appropriate language for the country each store is in, and Prada can customize the page. Prada also has the ability to detect when people come into its stores, when they are leaving, and when they are visiting a certain display, for example. All of this tracking is enabled on the retailer’s existing Wi-Fi network, Jeff Abramowitz, Cloud4Wi president, explained to me in a recent interview.

“Volare represents a significant step forward for companies building their branded in-store mobile experience,” said Andrea Calcagno, Cloud4Wi CEO and co-founder. “Our extensive work with global brands has inspired substantial new customer engagement capabilities, and we’ve made it easier for IT and marketing to manage their business and operational requirements. Brands can now deliver guest Wi-Fi globally through our cloud platform, increasing both customer satisfaction and revenue in ways that were never before possible.”

According to Adlane Fellah (News - Alert), CEO of market research firm Maravedis, the market for services platforms for guest Wi-Fi are poised to reach $25 billion by 2020.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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