By Steve Brock, Director of Product Marketing, de Avaya
Historically, the focus of customer service has been to increase efficiency by reducing the time customers must spend with a company. However, in today’s experience economy, companies that increase the attention and time they spend with their customers will be the most competitive. Doing this requires a purpose-built total experience platform and an ecosystem of experts for creating and staging experiences.
Time is a precious resource because once it is spent we cannot get it back. As one of my elementary school teachers often told me, “Wasted time is gone forever!” How we spend our time shapes our lives. Where and how time is spent can also make or break relationships.
An experience is something that happens within each of us. Each experience is shaped by experiences that have gone before and, therefore, are transmitted over time.
As we look back over our lives, it is often the exception to the expected that we remember. It is the extraordinary, the extra touch, that special something that happens “in the moment.” As Nathanial Hawthorn so eloquently puts it, it is the “shadows left by time” that inform where we will devote our attention, time and money.
Time defined by customer service
“Time is not the main thing – it’s the only thing! ” – Miles Davis
One of the keynote presenters at Avaya Engage this year was Joseph (Joe) Pine II, co-author of the groundbreaking book “The Experience Economy” released 23 years ago; a work so prolific that it was re-released this year with additional content. Joe has devised a kind of “time continuum”, mapping it on a spectrum consisting of time lost, time saved, time well spent and time well invested.
This time model works very well to describe a wide range of experiences. For example, most of us now understand that getting in a car and driving an hour to work can be a “waste of time.” The “time-saving” alternative is to connect virtually. And the most progressive companies are providing their employees with tools (time well spent) like Avaya Spaces, which goes well beyond video conferencing to reinvent the overall workflow collaboration experience.
In the customer service industry, the focus has been primarily on “saving time.” This concept has always been part of the employee and customer communication experience, fostering advances ranging from abbreviated and automated dialing to high-speed ethernet connectivity (versus low-speed dial-up modems), text messaging and today’s intelligent assistants. For customer service centers, the most commonly used measures, such as call times, are intended to drive greater efficiency and reduce the amount of time our customers must spend with us to resolve their issues.
But when we stop to think about this, does it make sense for customers to spend less time as a key business objective?
Customer experience behind the wheel.
“Do what you do so well that they’ll want to come back and see it again and bring their friends.” – Walt Disney
It has been said that the easiest way to turn a customer interaction into a bad experience is to provide a bad interaction. Recent research from Avaya indicates that two out of 10 customers walk away after a single bad experience and six out of 10 will walk away after multiple bad experiences. To make matters worse, they are likely to report bad experiences to friends and family when using social media.
Joe has also discussed a “flywheel” model for employee-customer interaction that I believe works much better for today’s experience economy. In this model, the employee or company personalizes the interaction with the customer, which generates more benefits for that customer and makes them want to spend more time with the company. Since every interaction with a customer is an opportunity for the company to learn more about the customer, the company can personalize even more, generate more benefits and make them spend more time. It’s an upward spiral that benefits both the company and the customer.
A total experience approach means making customers want to spend MORE time with your company and it also means more engaged employees.
You need a time machine
“There are really four dimensions, three which we call the three planes of space, and a fourth, time …” – H.G. Wells, The Time Machine
Gartner cites total experience and composable applications as strategic trends for 2022 and beyond. Orchestration of the total experience for today’s empowered employees and customers requires an experience platform. Avaya OneCloud is an award-winning experience platform that provides the necessary experience compilation capability and unique tools and capabilities to drive speed to value for experience delivery.
It’s like a time machine, allowing you to manipulate the time your employees and customers should spend, and organize experiences that will make them want to spend more time with your business.
It enables something called Combinatorial Innovation. This is an industry term that refers to combining existing components to make something new. Avaya OneCloud’s ability to combine the existing with the new accelerates the speed to value for its users. This is because the speed to value is determined by two main factors: speed and the effort required.
Because Avaya OneCloud is specifically designed for composability, it provides greater speed of innovation than monolithic platform designs. In addition, the fact that the experience design builds on existing and proven unified communications and contact center technology, and starts very high up in the application stack, means that much less effort is required than with alternatives that require starting with a blank sheet of paper.
You also need time travel companions
“None of us is as smart as ALL of us!” – Ken Blanchard
But having a platform is not enough, you need people who can use it to create the experiences. Avaya Experience Builders™ is a massive ecosystem that gives all Avaya customers access to the resources needed to create this experience. It includes Avaya’s broad global customer base, technology partners, channel partners and agents, and Avaya’s unique expertise and tools. These time-traveling partners will help you transform your business into a Total Experience-centric model.
Experiences that matter
Avaya’s motto is Experiences that Matter – that’s because we help our customers do important things, like process financial transactions and save lives. The top 10 airlines in the world; the top 10 medical facilities in the United States; seven of the top 10 healthcare companies in the world; the top 10 commercial banks in the United States; the top 10 automakers in the world; and more than 100,000 customers in more than 190 countries, including 90 percent of the Fortune 100 companies headquartered in the United States, all rely on Avaya for the experiences they deliver to their employees and customers.
The ability of Avaya experts, our partners and our customers to rapidly design and deliver mission-critical experiences was very evident during the pandemic. This Avaya Experience Builder™ ecosystem delivered overnight experiences to citizens in government, healthcare patients and across other industry verticals.
After researching the various perspectives in time to create this publication, and also considering the experiences that really matter, comes a very important observation: we should all spend more time with the people we love.