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The Intersection of CRM, CCaaS and Ecommerce

April 19, 2017 No Comments

Featured article by Rajeev Shrivastava, CSO at inContact

A customer is four times more likely to go to a competitor if they have a service-related problem versus a price- or product-related issue, according to research from Bain & Company. Consumers today have very high expectations for brand communication in any and every channel they are on, and contact centers offer the perfect opportunity to strengthen communication standards. They are positioned at the center of where brands create and nurture customer relationships.

If companies don’t put a comprehensive solution in place that allows for proactive engagement with customers across a host of touchpoints in real-time, they will fall short of strengthening the emotional connection customers have with brands. This is where CRM, Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) and ecommerce intersect; when combined, a rich set of data is unlocked – making contextual selling not only possible, but easy.

What solutions can help?

While siloed CRM and CCaaS platforms can deliver an omnichannel experience, it is a much more optimized experience if these systems are aligned – and when integrated, they can deliver bottom line benefits to the business. If applicable, also integrating an e-commerce application can bring many benefits to the table. With access to the rich set of data unlocked by coalescing these technologies, agents are better able to identify products or services that best match customers’ behaviors and needs – related to previous transactions – in order to up-sell and cross-sell. Understanding this level of detail about customers and knowing what they might do next will help contact center agents deliver seamless, personalized and relevant recommendations to guide purchasing decisions.

In addition, when these three critical systems are properly aligned and integrated, companies will begin to deliver the right omnichannel experiences for their customers, seeing optimal results. For example, say a customer is shopping online and has a question about a product or service. At this moment in their journey, the customer is interacting with an ecommerce system. To facilitate an interaction with a customer service agent, CCaaS and ecommerce systems must work seamlessly together to complete the order in an assisted fashion – versus unassisted, where ecommerce is the only system involved in transaction. To maintain a 360-degree view of the customer, both must still integrate with CRM.

How does it work?

There are a few different ways to go about integrating each of these systems, and it is not a one-size-fits-all process. Below, I’ve outlined a few scenarios along with pros and cons for each in hopes it will help your company find the best fit.

Scenario 1: The Clean Split

In this scenario, CRM is the system of record, holding all customer profile information that gets fed into a CCaaS platform, which handles routing and interactions for all channels. The ecommerce data also feeds directly into the CCaaS solution, and there is two-way communication between all systems. This means the eCommerce, CRM and CCaaS systems are tightly aligned with data integrations.

Pros: Companies can deliver true omnichannel capabilities along with the full benefits of a completely integrated workforce optimization (WFO) and analytics, providing a single view of the interactions and insights. Typically, CCaaS systems have the most sophisticated routing engines and can most efficiently distribute all requests for agent assistance. This model also works well for cross-channel conversations, such as when the conversation switches from a live chat to a voice call, and for universal agents who can engage in any interaction type (email, chat, voice, social).

Cons: This scenario is most appropriate for customer service operations that include voice as a popular channel or have multiple digital channels deployed. This may not be a great option for smaller, single-site organizations that mainly deal in email and chat support.

Scenario 2: The Digital Divide

For this option, CCaaS handles all voice interactions and CRM handles inquiries through other digital channels, such as email and live chat. The ecommerce data still feeds directly into the CCaaS solution, as well as the CRM system, and there is two-way communication for tightly aligned data integrations.

Pros: This is more common for organizations trying to add channels beyond voice. It provides a flexible approach to quickly adding agents with newer skills like chat onto a CRM platform.

Cons:In this set up, achieving seamless customer journey gets more challenging, and it is more common to observe fragmented experiences. There is a need for a tight integration between voice and digital channels with WFO and analytics to ensure a unified experience. It also may be very difficult to move to a universal queue or universal agents across channels, due to the use of distinct routing engines and agent interfaces.

Scenario 3: The Pragmatic Beginning

In this scenario, CRM provides system of record and system of engagement for limited digital channels, such as email and chat. Where there is no CCaaS, ecommerce data would flow into the CRM solution, and two-way communication exists to align with data integrations.

Pros: This scenario suits small businesses with lower volumes of service interactions in a limited number of channels. CRM would typically suffice for the initial investment.

Cons: As companies scale and complexity of interactions increase, there would be a need to scale up and add voice and other channels to improve customer experience. In addition, the lack of a sophisticated and rigorous approach to route queries to the most appropriate agents can ultimately lead to higher customer abandon rates.

What are you waiting for?

Aligning CRM, CCaaS and eCommerce systems allows companies to deliver rich omnichannel experiences to their customers, which will decrease the number of customers that jump ship due to poor experiences. When these critical systems are aligned properly, companies will see benefits to their bottom line through the reduction of customer churn, improved contact center efficiency and more satisfied customers overall.

Rajeev Shrivastava 150x150 The Intersection of CRM, CCaaS and Ecommerce

Rajeev Shrivastava is Chief Strategy Officer for inContact, the global leader in cloud contact center software, responsible for market strategy and leadership of the partner product ecosystem, business development and product management. Shrivastava has more than 20 years of business management experience, leading global product marketing and business development with deep expertise in products, marketing, partnerships and corporate development. He specializes in developing and growing SaaS, cloud infrastructure and software businesses focused on B2B and enterprise markets.

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