It’s never been easy to communicate with customers and this rings especially true today. There have always been complications, nuances, and best practices that make different approaches necessary at different times.
One thing that has changed in recent years, though, is it’s now less about finding what to say to whom and more about which channels, platforms, and devices best suit the audience in question.
Some years back, the concept of omnichannel for enterprise communications brought the idea of different channels and approaches working together to seamlessly drive customer engagement through a single platform. With a promise like that, and the technical capabilities to back it up, there’s no surprise that omnichannel has taken off in the way it has.
The technology behind omnichannel has grown to become a vital aspect of all business communication as a result. However, as smartphone penetration has taken hold, consumer habits have changed, and new communications services have launched, the complexity associated with introducing omnichannel communication into a business has grown too.
A new omnichannel world
In today’s world where we’re all constantly connected to each other, contextual and real-time interaction has become the key to building stronger engagement. What could once be covered by the staple combination of text messaging and email is no longer adequate for businesses trying to reach and engage users, hoping to build seamless customer journeys in a sea of other messages and distractions. And when you consider all the vastly different channels in existence today – from voice, to SMS, chat apps, push notifications, bots, and email – it’s clear that there simply can’t be a one-size-fits-all approach.
From an enterprise standpoint, therefore, engagement strategies in 2017 need to include multiple channels, devices, and failover scenarios, along with intelligent workflows to engage users when they want, where they want, and, crucially, how they want.
Seamless hand-off between channels in this environment is also essential, offering consumers the freedom to decide what and where the next step should take place rather than being funnelled in a certain direction.
Having said that, it’s important to remember not all types of communication are suitable for certain channels. Businesses need be aware of the different capabilities of each medium to ensure certain messaging do not seem out of context or potentially disengage a customer. The most pressing challenge, however, comes in trying to implement a complex smorgasbord of technologies in a joined-up way that will positively impact the bottom line.
An omni reality check
For most enterprises, implementing their own omnichannel platform using existing IT infrastructure is neither practical nor effective. Yet by looking at this problem from the perspective of an enterprise or business, it’s easy to see that, until now, they’ve been left to cobble together separate platforms, providers, and solutions for any and all communications channels they use. From email to push notifications, from chat apps to SMS, and even voice calls, a different technology has been needed for each.
It’s not an easy problem to fix, and that’s before businesses even consider the other challenges before and after a platform is in place. A customer should be at the centre of a platform so businesses need to consider how they will find out what their users prefer and how said users will act on new channels that are introduced to the platform.
Other factors include: how can they introduce cross-channel support for the wide range of services your customers have grown to expect? How do they drive users to use those channels? How should they manage different user segments? And, crucially, how do they coordinate messages being sent across them to deliver a uniform experience?
Fortunately, this issue has led to mobile operators and messaging specialists becoming the lynchpin behind making omnichannel communications a success. In turn, it’s also led to the creation of the Communications-Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS) model.
CPaaS is a recent development in the industry where a mobile messaging provider strips away all the complexity associated with omnichannel technology, managing it for them as a service.
This hands-off approach lets businesses focus time and resources on other aspects, away from the complications and potential problems that can arise from omnichannel if it’s implemented incorrectly.
The CPaaS approach to better business messaging
When you consider how omnichannel is primarily driven through messaging APIs, it becomes clear how vital the role of a messaging provider is. As omnichannel is handled through messaging APIs specific to each platform, a messaging provider is vital in this equation.
These players also have the systems in place to support any enterprise at any different stage of transformation, introducing cross-channel coordination and omnichannel capabilities whether they’re in a position to move their entire business model to the cloud or not.
Taking this into account, it’s no surprise omnichannel and CPaaS are joined at the hip. After all, to make omnichannel a success, you need a communications platform to run it on.
And that platform needs to be designed for handling millions of messages on a daily basis, along with an extensive network of connections giving global businesses the peace of mind that their messaging will be delivered all over the world.
Businesses today are constantly readdressing how they offer their services to consumers. They are constantly developing new, highly interactive, and automated customer service experiences, allowing them to better compete in the digital business environment people have today. The preferences of modern consumers are constantly changing too, and if omnichannel isn’t part of the business customer engagement mix it certainly needs to be.
Yet it’s a balancing act. If the omnichannel platform in place is not up to scratch, it will likely cause more harm than good. The question, therefore, becomes how to best introduce omnichannel and how to best handle what could amount to millions of instant messages being delivered on a daily basis. And CPaaS can make that a reality.
Sourced by Adrian Benic, VP of Products at Infobip
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