Clearing the Last Major Hurdle on the Path to Customer-Centricity?


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[Disclaimer: Many of you are aware that HYM has always been a “software agnostic” consultancy, and we still are. However, we’ve accepted an invitation from a software seller to participate in the launch and implementation of a new technology. Why? Because the technology requires companion process redesign to create value – including a very intense level of cooperation between the process and technology sides. I won’t reveal the name of our partner, and fortunately for objectivity’s sake, at least one other major technology provider is already in the space with more to come. But I do want to alert and introduce you to this new category, which I believe clears the highest remaining hurdle to properly aligning process to customer-centric strategy and technology to process.]

The last big hurdle?

Whenever we start a new client engagement, we’ve known we’d have a hurdle we could not often clear – effectively managing internal collaboration across the back and front office. The problem? Until now, inadequate technology. Top shelf CRM software manages customer-company collaboration reasonably well, but even the best systems don’t create complete UC (unified communication) platforms that fully meld all channels into a single process/communication log.

Moreover, and equally serious, CRM systems often lack important communication process tools such as expert routing (who can solve or answer this?), routing hierarchies (who should we try next?), “presence” management (who’s where, are they available for communication, which channel should we use?).

And last, but absolutely not least, we’re stuck using cluttered, if not plugged up e-mail systems – badly underequipped for what we ask them to do – for critical communication, much of which affects customers directly or indirectly.

However, we’re finally going to be able to optimally manage communication process and collaboration, thanks to a new, hybrid “technology solution” (a term I rarely use) that addresses a heap of frustrating issues. HYM is calling this combination of process and technology “Enterprise Collaboration” (EC).

What’s in it for customers?

The customer benefits of adopting this new category include: greatly increased work speed, accuracy; clear visibility into the status of multi-person/function activities; one face to the customer across both functions and communication channels; much faster customer access to expert staff (which will increase one-call resolution rates both at triage points and in contact centers); shorter queue and hold times.

The internal benefits include an alternative to e-mail for task-related communication; reduced office staffing requirements; but increased throughput at the same time; and substantially increased work quality. When I was first exposed to the technology it took my breath away. I got headspin thinking about what we could have done for past clients if we’d had this (and we’re going back to some).

Potential Pitfalls

The shortcomings? It can be readily twisted into “big brother” monitoring office people; while it will work beneath (and between) CRM and ERP, it will replicate some functions currently managed in either; and it may tell some companies “more than they want to know” about internal operations.

Will it be adopted?

It’s not always the most value-adding technologies or technology categories that get adopted. Look at DOS winning out over CP/M as the core PC operating system; and look at the gross under-adoption of proposal development systems in B2B. ‘Twill be interesting to how the market develops.

If you’re interested in this new category, talk to your telephony system vendor (where the core technology originates) or contact us.


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