Just a couple of decades ago, people thought that 2021 would surely look like The Jetsons. This popular cartoon, which was the first program broadcast in color on ABC, aired for a few years in the early 1960s and was later revived in the mid-80s. It depicted the life of the Jetson family, complete with a robotic housekeeper and flying cars. Everything was futuristic, fast, and automated. And we all believed that was our future.
While our cars still have four wheels on the ground right now, technology is advancing at an unprecedented rate, and the power to program, code, and invent is accessible to all of us. Technology is being democratized. So much so that Gartner put democratization of technology on the list of 10 strategic technology trends for 2020. They defined it as providing people with easy access to technical or business expertise without extensive (and costly) training.
This means that anyone, not just graduates of MIT or Stanford, has the chance to get involved in the technology (r)evolution at their companies -- specifically, the customer experience (CX) they deliver. Accenture’s recent Technology Vision 2021 report says, “With democratized technology, every employee can be an innovator, empowered to create technology-driven solutions on their own.”
This level of accessibility and the flexibility to make changes on the fly is especially crucial as companies across all industries move their contact centers to the cloud, lower their in-house IT staff, and continuously iterate their CX to stay ahead of the competition.
The report also shares, “Natural language processing, low-code platforms, and robotic process automation (RPA) are adding a grassroots layer to enterprise innovation strategies.” We built Edify Huddle CX with these capabilities and functions in mind in order to make it possible for anyone to set up a workflow, modify a program, and become an innovator. We are putting the power of technology in everyone’s hands. Not just the developers. Not just a third-party vendor working to support countless businesses. Your own employees, the very people most in tune with your business’ needs and goals (and customers), can tweak a code, modify a program, and set up a workflow in minutes.
Today, every employee has the ability to innovate. It doesn’t take days or weeks or months, but rather minutes. And that’s a big deal.
Customer needs are always changing, and the pandemic has only fast-forwarded that truth. It brought a lot of things to light and perhaps gave us all a clearer perspective of what’s important and what needs to be done. We’ve learned that giving agents access to a wider arsenal of tools has clear benefits: faster resolutions, deeper customer relationships, stronger loyalty, increased revenue, and a better CX. And when people at the front line have the power to fix what's broken (or breaking), customer experiences get better and better.
That's why it's thrilling that there are (finally) solutions that let us cut the IT chains that have held us captive for far too long. No-code/low-code solutions free us from relying so heavily on one department, decentralizing the power to make changes and bringing it closer to the customer. It sets brands up to be more nimble (even if they're big) and able to tweak the way they deliver service on the fly based on input and desire that comes directly from customers. Now every employee can innovate and iterate to improve the experience being served to customers. And this can happen in-house, in moments vs weeks or months.
Imagine if your customer service agents could update their own scripts as an interaction unfolds, enhancing the experience for themselves and for the customer. In this scenario the elusive “exceptional CX” that every brand is on the hunt for becomes possible. Every agent is empowered to provide a more customized, accurate, personalized, and elevated experience than ever before. Well, no need to imagine. We call it Workflows.
Workflows allow companies to use the building blocks of code to execute on numerous features depending on their unique needs, like getting customers and their information exactly to where they need to go, updating information in real-time, and acting as the heart of most inbound interactions - webchats, calls, texts. Workflows make every agent an innovator thanks to user-friendly drag-and-drop tools. It couldn’t be more intuitive, yet the capabilities are incredibly advanced. No-code Workflows replace IVR, IVA, and RPA with a single tool.
As the Accenture report says:
“Democratized technology lets people optimize their work or fix pain points on their own. Without having to request major IT projects, people can create a custom dashboard for a group’s finances, build an app to approve and automatically fulfill purchase orders, and much more. Suddenly, the ability to create technology solutions belongs to people all across the enterprise.”
Add in enhanced dynamic scripting capabilities, and the scenario above is real. Teams from every department can now solve a lot of problems with technology on their own... if their current software allows for it.
Reporting is another essential aspect of flexible technology solutions. Contact center technology vendors have long promoted their reporting capabilities since they can significantly improve the way a contact center operates. If managers have intel on which inquiries are bogging down agents, know the most common customer complaints, or can trace a rapid increase in inquiries to a newly-discovered product issue, then they can make necessary adjustments to staffing and training. Reporting and analytics tools make all of this possible. However, not all tools are created equal.
Helpful reporting tools offer real-time reporting and analytics that give customer service managers and agents the power to tweak campaigns and workflows on the fly. They enable contact center managers and CX directors to make sound business decisions based on real-time data and historical reports customized to their specific needs. This type of information is mission-critical, which is why it’s included in the Edify solution.
Edify gives supervisors and managers the tools to fine-tune customer experiences and optimize agent utilization. Dashboards provide real-time performance metrics, while easy-to-build historical reports enable users to manage interactions spanning every channel. Leaders can get a complete picture of contact center performance and pinpoint where they need to make adjustments instantly -- all in a single view.
They’ll even be able to add proactive care into the CX mix when they want to, without having to wait on a third-party partner or overburdened IT staff to make every little change.
Teams were forced to go remote in 2020, and many have stayed there. On top of that, CX entered the spotlight in a whole new way as online shopping reached new heights and customers needed more help than ever. For example, online grocery shopping exploded in Q2 2020, increasing over 50%. This rapid rise meant lots of virtual shoppers encountered tech snafus, shopping issues, pricing questions, and more. After all, when business booms, customer inquiries, problems, and the desire to interact with a brand expert rise, too. COVID-19 sent customer expectations skyrocketing and now they want, as Harvard Business Review says, “anticipatory, personalized experiences across the entire customer journey.” Are you prepared to do this?
Here’s a real-life example of how accessible and intuitive technology, like Edify Workflows, enables proactive customer care: Edify developers are utilizing our ML-powered smart bot, Hammond, to capture form data on a company’s website. Once a customer fills out the web form, it triggers a workflow to deliver an interaction prompt to an agent, complete with all of the customer information given on the form. When the interaction is automatically delivered to the agent, the agent can proactively contact the customer within seconds -- showing up to serve instead of waiting to be called on with an issue.
Proactive and rapid-response customer service like this is increasingly important (and even expected) in order to create and nurture meaningful relationships that motivate customers to patronize you because of the care you provide. CX expert and CEO, Fara Haron, tells us in a recent Customer Think article that, “adapting strategies means ensuring customer service teams are ready and able to meet consumer demands, which includes interacting on channels they use the most and building strong relationships and loyalty.” Give your people the power, confidence, and tools to adjust and modify on the fly to anticipate and meet customer expectations, delivering the kind of care and experience customers didn't even know they needed.
Now, when brands claim 'customer service is everyone's job,' they can actually mean it and deliver on it! It's true that we have to stop pretending only contact center agents and frontline workers matter when it comes to the customer experience. If you work for a brand that has customers, you serve those customers.
A 2019 Forbes article was spot-on when evaluating the fast-moving changes and opportunities that democratized technology has brought to the table:
“Leaps in technological innovation in areas like AI, cloud computing and software robotics are powerful democratizing factors in business, allowing companies to scale processes more quickly than ever before and reduce barriers like infrastructure or cost. [With chatbots], even lean startups can deliver personalized experiences and exceptional customer service to build deep customer relationships."
Perhaps the most exciting transformation is the total overhaul of how humans work. Thanks to the cloud-native, WFA, mobile-friendly enterprise communication solutions, we have removed the shackles that once bound humans to their desks and agents to their contact center cubicles. We've given them smart bots to take the repetitive stuff off their hands and make it faster and easier for customers to help themselves (which, come on, is what they typically want anyway). And in the process, we free our people to focus on tasks that provide accomplishment, purpose, and fulfillment. Agents don’t need (or want) to act like robots who handle every interaction with the same stale script. They want to act like people who are empowered to help other people.
Plus, by putting the entire organization on one solution that unites CCaaS + UCaaS + CPaaS technologies, you bring the contact center into the fold of the rest of the business. This opens up the biggest knowledge base we have (our own people) and clears the way for the entire employee population to be part of delivering the customer experience this era demands.
As the Forbes article said:
“When every worker counts, [leaders] must decide where the focus of your workforce must be. Will that focus be on what human beings do best — creativity, collaboration, [and] solving our toughest challenges? … When technology is created by people and for people, its higher-order purpose is not to just improve business performance; it must improve people’s lives… This must be the democratic state of technology.”
Just because your organization has long relied on a legacy system doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. Antiquated contact center processes, inflexible tech, and slow-moving CX changes can be replaced by a cloud-native, all-in-one business communications solution that was built with agents and customers in mind.
However, providing the building blocks of a great "programmable" contact center is not enough. You shouldn’t have to build your own solution from scratch unless that's what you want. You should have the ability to make the tweaks and modifications needed for your particular business and customers.
Edify strikes a perfect balance between ease of use and completeness of function. You can use it out of the box or customize it in infinite ways that work best for you. Best of all, functionality typically viewed as "extra" is already built-in. Machine learning. Reporting and analytics. The knowledge base is accessible inside the app (whether housed externally or not). Even UC is there. Everything you and your agents need is in one place.
And architecture is of the utmost importance when it comes to democratized technology. Edify was architected in the cloud from scratch, with a foundation of REST APIs, which are easier to build and scale; that means adding features and functionality to Edify itself is much easier. For the end-user, REST APIs are far simpler to use which means contact center data is readily available.
To experience the power of Edify for yourself, set up five free users in our sandbox environment. No credit card is required. And check out our per-user per day pricing model. No hidden extras. Go see our API documentation. Don’t just take our word for it. But know that we’re here if you have any questions.