Connecting with customers is the key
Originally published in the Australian Financial Review 09 October 2020
Taking advantage of the cloud to deliver its contact centre as a service, TSA Group’s next-generation customer experience (CX) platform allows businesses to push the boundaries of CX innovation rather than be hamstrung by the limitations of traditional contact centre solutions.
Running contact centres for Australia’s largest brands for more than 20 years, TSA Group grew frustrated with the shortcomings of traditional contact centre solutions – often more focused on leveraging economies of scale than meeting the needs of businesses and end users.
Such an approach is no longer acceptable as customer expectations rise in terms of omni-channel support, hyper-personalisation and a differentiated customer experience – driving the rise of customer experience as a service (CXaaS).
In response, TSA Group developed its own next-gen CX platform on top of Amazon’s cloud services to deliver a fully scalable, fully redundant, pay-per-minute contact centre solution which replaces dated legacy contact centre and telemarketing technology.
Traditional contact centre solutions have been inﬂexible, siloed and difﬁcult to integrate, presenting a signiﬁcant barrier to innovation, says Matt Sanders, group executive, innovation and strategy. ‘‘This is an industry which is steeped in legacy with monolithic on-prem solutions,’’ Sanders says. ‘‘Typical contact centre platforms are closed systems, demanding signiﬁcant upfront investments and long lead times for adopting new functionality.
‘‘The result is a signiﬁcantly reduced ability to innovate, both in terms of the customer
agent experience, which can leave businesses at a major disadvantage going forward.’’
Leveraging the cloud to run contact centres allows businesses to reduce the need to support multiple systems internally, improve stability and redundancy, and leverage the latest innovations from major cloud providers while accessing best-in-class security and compliance solutions.
This approach delivers signiﬁcant operating efﬁciencies, reduces development costs, delivers more efﬁcient pricing models and provides more ﬂexible operating models to better support businesses, agents and customers. This includes making it easier for contact centre agents working remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic to work securely, as well as support more ﬂexible working arrangements in the future.
Another key beneﬁt of TSA Group’s next-gen CX platform is the ease with which businesses can innovate and experiment, Sanders says.
Built on top of Amazon’s Cognitive suite of services, the platform can take advantage of a broad range of artiﬁcial intelligence and machine learning tools, such as automated transcription, personalisation via next-best action recommendations, and sentiment and keyword matching for conversational analytics. Meanwhile, chat and voice customer interactions can beneﬁt from natural language processing, while Amazon’s Polly neural text-to-speech voices allow for the easy creation of dynamic interactive voice response (IVR) implementations.
The solution can also connect to a wide range of third party modules, including customer relationship management, payment processing
solutions, marketing automation platforms and knowledge bases. TSA Group’s own Innovation Lab has also built a host of proprietary tools for use with the platform, including a world-ﬁrst predictive dialler, self-service analytics and reporting capability, and customer journey management.
As a result, TSA Group’s next-gen CX platform is designed to enable seamless omni-channel customer experiences, including the ability for operations teams to conﬁgure customer journeys and add new customer experience channels and solutions. Meanwhile, the business can make the most of its data to gather real-time metrics, enable self-service reporting and simplify data management and reporting through pre-built integrations.
‘‘You see so many companies adapting and restricting their business processes and customer experience to fall within the narrow range of what their technology allows, but we’re ﬂipping that around,’’ Sanders says. ‘‘Instead, we empower companies to determine what their ideal customer experiences or business processes are, and then shape the technology to deliver on that vision.
‘‘We have a Melbourne innovation lab which is dedicated to CX technology, understanding the challenges in the market and adapting the technology to meet those needs.’’
TSA’s Proactive Customer Contact is one example of such innovation, contacting customers via SMS or an app notiﬁcation in advance of an outbound call – to explain the reason for the upcoming call, such as to discuss a relevant product or service change, cross-sell or upsell.
Along with providing context for the customer engagement, it also offers customers the ability to decline receiving the call. Future iterations of the technology will allow customers to schedule when they want to be contacted and via which channel.
‘‘It can be hard to get people to answer the phone, but with Proactive Customer Contact we’ve seen call answer rates rise by around 55 per cent,’’ Sanders says. ‘‘People are much more willing to engage, which is changing the way brands can connect with their customers.
‘‘It’s all about giving customers context, choice and control, something to which they clearly respond to positively considering that they’re now willing to take those calls.’’