Implementing a digital customer experience can lead to higher satisfaction scores, and increases in new business, while reducing operational costs, according to Johna Johnson, CEO Nemertes Research. “You can get better, faster and cheaper,” said Johnson, who moderated a panel discussion with three communications professionals at the Wednesday General Session of Avaya ENGAGE 2019. “But we all know that improving that customer experience is a continuing journey.”
Asked to provide one actionable takeaway from the discussion, Earl McKoon, senior director, solution architect, Neiman Marcus, emphasized the importance of building partnerships with vendors.
“You should also collaborate with your business customers from the beginning,” added Melanie Totcky, global infrastructure contact center lead, Johnson Controls.
Christian Aboujaoude, senior director, enterprise architecture, Scripps Health, recommended rethinking legacy systems and processes when planning for the future.
Johnson asked each of the panelists about their current challenges and visions for interacting with customers in the future.
Neiman Marcus reached out to Avaya and its partner Carousel about two years ago and held weekly meetings ever since. “We want to enable our customer to contact us by any means they choose,” said McKoon. “If someone has a shopping cart on the web and they accidentally delete it, we want to help them recover it and get the instant gratification they want and expect.”
McKoon said Neiman Marcus has flattened and consolidated its network while adding in-store processors to maintain the customer experience even if the WAN were to go down. “We also moved store-to-store calls from the PTSN to the company’s network for significant savings,” he added. “Our auditors recently asked me to explain why we’re so far under budget.”
For Johnson Controls, the journey started in 2016 following a major merger. “We had to bring our two networks together,” said Totcky. “With our call centers, our strategy is to upgrade and stabilize. Avaya has been a great partner in helping us plan and work through the challenges.”
Looking ahead, one of the first items to add is callback assist to support field technicians calling in from a job. “This will let them operate more efficiently in a way that benefits our customers,” Totcky said. She noted that regulatory issues add a wrinkle to a company’s customer experience journey. “We want to make it as easy as possible for our customer base to do business with us,” she added.
About 18 months ago, Scripps Health began looking for ways to improve the patient experience by aligning workflows and processes, said Aboujaoude. “Our clinical and IT teams came together and built the trust that is so important for this journey.”
Aboujaoude emphasized the importance of supporting internal users. “Healthcare is a very personal business,” he said. “If you can reduce stress on the providers, that translates to a more positive patient experience. It’s like building a house. Put up the foundation first.”