The channel is yet to do justice to the interaction, analytics and reporting opportunity, but the scales are tipping according to Gary Bennett, VP of Sales UK, MEA and Northern Europe, Enghouse Interactive.
Enghouse Interactive is seeking to bridge the chasm between partners and the vibrant market for interaction, analytics, reporting and associated technologies. “Resellers often see these as awkward to handle, difficult to understand and hard to overlay onto their existing business model,” said Bennett. “Moreover, the complexity of the market environment, with ongoing migration to the cloud and the emergence of AI, has made it difficult for resellers to give each area the right level of focus. But the situation is changing.”
In giving partners access to a pool of expertise Enghouse is enabling resellers to enter a market that would otherwise be beyond their reach. The company has a range of specialist partners in areas such as Microsoft Skype for Business, micro-verticals like housing associations and local Government, while others bring specialist technological skill sets to the table. “Channel partners work in collaboration with these technologically-focused people to bring a greater depth of specialised understanding to their customer engagements,” added Bennett.
One area that resonates with partners, he pointed out, is real-time speech analytics (RTSA), which enables contact centre managers to take real-time information about a call and interrogate it, enabling them to alert agents to compliance issues or missed sales opportunities while they are on the call. “The ability to use RTSA in the contact centre to drive sales effectiveness, help with retention and maintain compliance, is easily accessible to the channel today,” said Bennett. “Several of our partners now see it as a true value add that they can overlay onto the rest of their offering.”
The ability of RTSA to understand what is happening en masse and make real-time decisions is a key differentiator
Working with partners Enghouse gets to grips with understanding each customer and the end consumer they are serving. “Typically, we look to understand what the top five customer journeys are and identify the 20 per cent of journeys overall that drive 80 per cent of the value, 80 per cent of the revenue and 80 per cent of the customer complaints,” added Bennett. “From that point onwards it is about building a process and customer journey that layers in the right technologies and the right people at the right time.”
The contact centre offering is a key part of Enghouse’s interaction management and reporting proposition, be it a limited helpdesk option or a sophisticated solution that works across a range of channels including phone, web chat and social media. “Most interactions into contact centres are still voice-based,” stated Bennett. “In this context, having a platform that can work in real-time on a host of variables is powerful. That’s not to say it’s the perfect solution for every customer, but for those clients where it does fit it adds enormous value. The ability of RTSA to understand what is happening en masse and make decisions in real-time is a key differentiator.”
Enghouse is investing in new types of AI that cannot be classified as generic technology. These bots are designed to do prescribed pieces of work that support contact centre agents. “This approach works well when handling straight-through processes but when something exceptional happens – such as a person who has missed a flight or their credit card is rejected – then you also need a seamless hand-off to the human,” stated Bennett.
Not surprisingly therefore, a big driver is getting the balance right between the conversation and machines, and between human agents, AI and bots. “It is important to understand the role of the human in the interaction moving forward, and assess how the contact centre is likely to look in five or ten years time,” noted Bennett.
The consulting aspect of the Enghouse approach stands poles apart from the many players running around with ‘shiny new toys’, according to Bennett. “Often, they sit in the cloud, they demo well and it’s easy to get them up and running quickly,” he said. “But without understanding the top five journeys that might drive 80 per cent of the revenue and cost – and ultimately what really matters to their end consumers – organisations run the risk of their technology investment being misdirected. The channel partner needs to fully engage with customers and advise on how to implement technologies in a timely and strategic way to optimise the customer journey.”
In all of this one of the most important areas to focus on is system integration, emphasised Bennett. “No single vendor has every piece of technology required to deliver every type of customer journey perfectly, so it is always important to effectively integrate with third party systems, from CRM to ERP to supply chain management,” commented Bennett. “Do this by fully understanding what you are trying to do, ensuring that you know what you already have, and then collaborating with a competent channel partner that will allow you to integrate – through open APIs – the different technologies that are required to deliver an optimised customer experience.”