- UC&C has done a lot of the heavy lifting to improve comms technology for business. Most tools now exist online and operate as cloud based web apps without plug-ins, which can be accessed easily from anywhere.
The next step is contextual communications, which takes advantage of the new generation of ‘always-on’ apps, and will fundamentally change how people communicate. This effectively integrates rich, real-time communication interactions with applications themselves and that puts voice, text and video capabilities inside an application, website or device. It is this technology that holds the potential to significantly impact business and customer communications.
This approach intends to make comms fluid, integrated and immediate, aligning with how employees work and how customers interact with businesses and service providers. Contextual comms apps will quickly deliver beautifully designed interactions which perfectly meet their users needs on whatever device they are using to interact. Communications will happen in the way people expect, and in fact, ultimately will not be recognisable as a distinct, friction-bearing operation.
The context of a contact centre provides a great way to visualise how contextual communications might work. For example, a service agent might be able to better predict the reason for a customer’s call by knowing which web page they’re on or if they’re making contact from an app, thereby having a better chance to quickly and successfully help that customer.
For customer-focused businesses, contextual comms can give service agents a means to quickly understand why a customer is contacting them. An agent would be able to see which web page a customer is on before they hit the ‘click to call’ button, and how they got there, and what other services they use. This puts the agent is in a much stronger position to deal with the call quickly and efficiently. Additional context such as that customer’s previous contact history can also set the stage for more meaningful interactions.
Even entirely new services could also be created. For example within forward-thinking units of the NHS who have already started to explore how they can revolutionise mental health provision to young people with remote counselling. Housing associations, and other organisations that provide accommodation to vulnerable people, are already improving daily contact for thousands of people with real-time communication software.
By analysing patterns of communication they can identify when the cognitive state of an individual is changing, and give a predictive assessment about the needs of every resident calling them before that call is even answered. Successful companies will create processes based on data analytics and what they know about their customer in a similar way.
Ultimately, communication will simply become something that happens as we move in and out of the collaboration or communication phase of a task.
The best contextual applications will provide this in a work environment by meshing in all the information needed to effectively exchange real-time and non-real-time communication flows which are appropriate to the phase of each task. The winners will be those applications that help users according to their context in a way that is intuitive.
Author: Rob Pickering, CEO at IPCortex
Rob Pickering will be speaking more about contextual communication and how it can help transform customer engagement at UC Expo on May 18th at 11.40am.