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Guest Blogger

This week marks the release of the next instalment in the Star Wars series, in which Rey joins Luke Skywalker on an adventure to unlock the mysteries of the force and secrets of the past, to overcome the much-maligned dark side. Something that I’d argue most businesses can relate to and learn a lot from at this time of year…

December often feels like the dark-side

The festive period is a stressful one for most organisations as they attempt to juggle a myriad of shifting elements in what’s often termed a “half-month”. Employees are often ill or out of the office, with many needing time-off at the same time; while consumers are significantly more active and demanding. For example, utility companies often face an uplift in emergency call outs during the cold winter period, and mobile operators have to handle a dramatic uplift in sales and enquiries from those making handset purchases for Christmas and in the New Year sales. Trying to balance shifting consumer expectations, dramatic upsurges in demand and fluctuations in people power can make the festive period feel like the dark-side. Particularly as according to our research across 24,000 global consumers for ‘The Digital Tipping Point’, meeting consumer demands isn’t always simple.

Businesses need to unleash their Jedi’s

But these challenges can be overcome by businesses unleashing and empowering their Jedi’s – their employees. The old ways of working – using ‘command and control’ tactics – must give way and  enter a new era engaging and empowering the workforce encouraging collaboration to deliver excellent results. Work undertaken, in what has historically been termed the ‘back office’, should be broken out of its traditional bricks and mortar residence to become part of blended operations. Call centre, brand, field or remote resources must be unleashed to play a major role in responding to and improving the end-to-end customer interaction experience.

Empower them to unlock secrets of the past & read minds

Equipping a customer service agent with the relevant information about a customer at the right time, allows them to unlock the secrets of the past and read minds – just as a good Jedi “mind probes”. Businesses must ensure they have the right feedback mechanism in place to collect all the relevant information and channel out any background noise. By capturing information from your customer interactions, whether via phone, online, social media or email, and equipping your employees with a single detailed view of all their recent interactions, online behaviour and purchase history, you will have the knowledge and understanding to deliver a more personalised and connected experience.

And collaborate to bring “the light”

With the back-office unleashed and the right information in place, then the front and back-office must be able to collaborate to bring “the light” and make a positive impact. To improve coordination between the two, it isn’t a case of simply adding back office employees to front office systems. The two environments are vastly different and require different capabilities and skills sets. To drive the optimum outcome, agile organisations are opting to implement a back-office work optimisation solution to connect processes and tasks end-to-end to create and manage customer journeys and positive outcomes.

Immediate benefits are two-fold: front and back office teams can proactively collaborate to improve the speed and accuracy of customer service whilst the organisation benefits from increased productivity and performance and a reduction in backlogs and complaint potential. To gain the most benefit, organisations need to be able to forecast the skills, availability and capabilities required to efficiently allocate work to their increasingly blended workforce; optimising ‘downtime’ and reducing inefficiency. They need reliable, predictive analytics, alerts and notifications, that identify exactly where latency and surplus capacity exists, before things go wrong.

Just as Rey, Luke Skywalker and the rest of the rebellion started their journey feeling like overcoming the dark side was a near-impossible task, businesses can overcome it to bring the light too. The key is investing in the appropriate processes and technology to unleash their customer experience Jedi’s, empowering them to unlock secrets of the past, read minds and collaborate. Despite being a “half-month” of multiple demands, there is no longer any reason why December should be feared as much as the dark side.

Nick Nonini, Managing Director EMEA at Verint Systems
Nick has over a decade’s experience developing strong customer relationship strategies for brands like T-Mobile, Lenovo and Verint Systems.

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