Business Communications: Better performance or just a different kind of phone?
Executives in every industry face issues with customer relationship management. Surprisingly many can be traced to a common source: ineffective CRM processes involving human communication. At the same time, technologically speaking, communication is easier than ever. Flexible software-based communication applications are increasingly replacing isolated hardware-based communication systems. Free Internet calling on home computers has exploded in popularity. Many companies are following suit. For consumers, omission of call charges is the key benefit. Companies stand to gain far more.
From technical evolution to business revolution
Business communication systems are still often based on the idea that every device will take care of one function. Desktop phones, mobiles, e-mail and other communications tools are regarded as separate silos, with separate technical solutions – all completely detached from business applications. Transferring information between the communication silos often demands manual work. Changes in business rules are difficult and expensive to apply. Delivering a unified multi-channel customer experience requires a complicated process of integrating communication hardware and software from multiple vendors. Addressing the challenges in interpersonal interactions calls for new technological foundations. And most of all, it calls for entirely new thought models and revamped business processes.
Thinking outside the technological box
On average, just 10 percent of customer service costs result from phone and network charges. Hardware accounts for another slice of the same size. The majority of costs, up to 80 percent, result from people operating the processes. Changing to a different kind of phone without addressing the underlying business issues merely leads to wasted investments. The most important question is: “If the technology was not a limitation, how do we best conduct our business processes requiring interpersonal interactions?” It is essential to understand, for example, who is responsible for what, who has the right expertise, who is available, and where the required customer information can be found. Fundamentally, the availability of personnel and services irrespective of time, place and contact method is not about technology. It is about deeply understanding one’s own business and seeing new creative possibilities. Therein lay the opportunities that new business communication technologies, such as SAP Business Communications Management (SAP BCM) software, can offer. Together with SAP CRM, SAP BCM allows organizations to create communication-enabled CRM processes by integrating multichannel communications with customer-facing marketing, sales and service processes.
Better performance, anyone?
By enabling companies to better utilize the knowledge distributed throughout their organizations and monitor operations in real time across contact channels, companies can offer better service to their customers and significantly improve the quality and performance of their customer-facing processes. If you or your customer has already deployed a communication or a CRM solution and you don’t quite know what changed in the business, you likely still have some work to do. Pekka PorkkaVice President, Solutions ManagementSAP Business Communications Management, PTU CRM