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The Internet of Things changes the dynamics of the Customer Experience

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been a hot topic for some time now and we are increasingly surrounded by smart devices and objects that can communicate with each other and with the user. Some examples? Training shoes that connect to smartwatches and smartphones, providing detailed information about the wearer’s sporting performance. The watch that activates your wake-up alarm earlier than usual if there’s heavy traffic on the way to work. Interconnected cars that slow down automatically if there’s an accident ahead. Hotel room doors you open with your smartphone, without needing to collect the key from front desk.

INNOVATION IoT auto

All market analysts and observers are forecasting exponential growth for the Internet of Things. Intel has analyzed the IoT scenario, reporting that 15 billion objects were connected to the internet in 2015 and estimating that this figure will reach 200 billion devices in 2020.

We are therefore witnessing the birth of a new frontier for the interconnection between people’s physical lives and digital worlds. It isn’t hard to imagine that the Internet of Things will have a strong and lasting impact on various industrial sectors, as well as on our everyday lives. This connectivity looks set to change the operating model applied by contact centers and revolutionize forever what is increasingly a digital customer experience.

A new model of customer care

If this trend continues, there will be a revolution in customer care activities too in the years ahead. With the Leonardo 2.0.14 innovation lab, Transcom is setting its sights on the future, by analyzing opportunities and empowering technology to create advanced contact center solutions and perfect the customer experience in the era of the Internet of Things.

As an example, the research lab is now focusing its attention on the new devices we can use to connect with contact centers. The telephone is no longer the only contact channel, but also cars, refrigerators, televisions, alarm clocks, shoes, keys, the washing machine… Another area of analysis is the transition from classic customer care to “proactive” assistance, in which smart objects use the data they continuously share to notify operating malfunctions by themselves and trigger operator calls to the owner. If our shoes realize we’re running too much for our profile, the contact center makes a proactive call to tell us to take a break. If the alarm rings early because there’s heavy traffic, we can activate the contact center to book a taxi, which calls us back on our mobile phone. If the washing machine breaks down, it can activate a call to the technical assistance service, which performs tests and then calls us back to help troubleshoot the issue. If our car moves but we aren’t in it, the contact center warns us, helps us activate the alarm systems and provides support.

The customer care operator can therefore display all pertinent information about the product requiring support, analyzing it and providing remote assistance like a doctor reading a patient’s clinical records. Likewise, the operator can display the geographical location of the customer or productin such a way as to provide logistics and delivery support, as well as the time and place of arrival of the customer and the product/service at their destination. Last, but by no means least, the operator will also have access to information about the customer’s preferences and habits, and so be able to offer targeted product/service support that is aligned with expectations and areas of interest.

All told, the Internet of Things really does seem to be one of the most important and promising of recent developments, increasing the quality of life for all of us in ways that are hard to predict.

How personalized services can improve the customer experience in a new Smart Digital Ecosystem

Customer Experience is a pervasive question that extends into the world of Contact Centers. Today it is vital for services offered to satisfy the needs of increasingly attentive, demanding and ‘social’ users.

Contact Centers must therefore be seen in a broader perspective than the one used in traditional approaches. This requires companies to make an organizational effort to deepen the partnership between Client and Contact Center, as they both are dependent on technology in order to implement their shared strategy.

INNOVATION

A Contact Center is not just a verbal communication window between companies and their customers. Today contact centers use a collaborative approach and represent new horizons of communication as cloud technology and integration of new smart components to support digital communication.

The digital innovation offered by Transcom’s Leonardo 2.0.14 project makes it possible to diversify and personalize the services provided to customers, as well as to support back-end and front office functions to deliver the best possible Customer Experience.

The challenges tackled by the project are:

  • How to improve the User Experience through better use of Customer profiles and associated information?
  • When to turn to customised systems and build truly tailor-made solutions around profiled customers?

.ENG INNOVATION profiling

These questions reveal how an in-depth knowledge of customers, based on profiling, is a basic requirement for offering personalised services to improve the customer experience in a new Smart Digital Ecosystem context.

The Chat Experience that affects both business results and customer service

In an ever more competitive market, adopting advanced relationship strategies with customers represents a differentiating factor and an effective way to create a sustainable, long-term competitive edge.

In this scenario, retaining customers is increasingly difficult because they are bombarded daily by often very effective marketing communications. That is why we need to turn to the latest new business models, which are increasingly directed at enhancing the customer experience. These models involve comprehensive, ongoing support for customers using a “live” User Centered Business Model.

This is the reason why live chat functions are very popular by both corporate and e-commerce websites. They make it possible to walk customers and prospects through the purchase process, as well as representing an excellent tool to increase the conversion rate (the percentage of visits that are converted into sales). A live chat solution, in fact, represents the ideal response to the expectations of consumers who, in the first instance, want to receive an immediate answer.

In the framework of the LeonarDo 2.0.14 project, Transcom is developing chat and collaboration tools to provide our clients with the best omni-channel customer engagement solutions.

In March 2015, our research team entered the prototype phase of an innovative customer care solution and  now this project has reach an advanced level.

One of the main tools developed is a live chat function, because it represents the ideal technical solution to deliver multiple results. What are they?

Increasing the level of customer satisfaction, retention and loyalty. A live chat solution is not only the most effective way to receive online support, but also one of the best channels for instant interaction with the company.
Increasing sales.   Walking customers through the purchase process and providing a rapid response  to reduce the loss rate of “undecided” users establishes a personal relationship between seller and purchaser, as well as offering the  possibility of using the “right” agent to engage the “right” visitor.
Responding to customer management issues (shipment, after-sales service) and developing the relationship with the purchaser to guarantee a pleasant and personalized experience, even after purchases have been closed, using a CRM system.
Reducing service costs.   Interaction by live chat costs less than other channels (telephone and email). The agent spend less time on each individual user interaction and can also manage multiple customers simultaneously (generally 4-5).

INNOVATION Chat image

Generally speaking, the implementation of a live chat solution simplifies the relationship with customers or prospects, providing personalized, targeted support for a company’s services or products, without requiring customers to leave the web platform. This encourages positive purchase decisions and develops the relationship that the customer/prospect has entered into with the company.

Live chat solutions available on the market provide a multichannel online platform that offers real time web interaction between customers and contact center operators without any special configuration or installation requirements (it is a cloud-based service), as well as the possibility of using a combination of various tools: chat, real-time collaboration including co-browsing and document sharing, VoIP (audio and video), callback and so on.

In the test phase, the assistance tools developed by the LeonarDo laboratory are delivering excellent results. Monitoring the services offered to our clients has revealed that the solution significantly improves the customer experience of users who are walked through the entire navigation process.

LeonarDo @ work – Transcom pilot projects to improve Customer Experience

In recent years, continuous transformation, evolving technology and huge social media growth have exponentially increased customers’ influence over your brand and radically modified the way that companies do business.

Recently, “Customer Experience” has been defined as “how your customers perceive their interactions with your company as a whole” (cit. Manning and Bodyne). This means that the customer experience is determined by each of the touch-points through which the customer interacts with the company.

Interactions with the products and services on offer aren’t the only factors contributing to the customer experience, which also include contact with the website, the contact center operator, brand image and advertising, social media conversations, information brochures, etc.

Customers judge their experience by assessing their interactions with the company based on three parameters:

Meets needs;
Easy, i.e. how easy it is to buy a product, use a service and obtain technical and commercial assistance;
Enjoyable or engaging, i.e. the emotional and rational response to the customer experience.

INNOVATION piramide Forrester ok

Transcom has launched a series of projects to strengthen the Customer Experience across the entire customer journey, with a special focus on all touch-points and in particular on Multimodality and Analytics.

Multimodal interaction allows customers to access services directly from their smartphones and tablets, using a highly evolved interface that fully exploits the device’s advanced functions (camera, data connection, payments, etc.). This translates into:

Simpler user/system interaction through a mobile interface;
Concurrent transmission and reception of data and   documentation;
Data entry on device (tax code, credit card number, etc.);
Transfer from chat to voice or video call.

Transcom Customer Care Channels

In addition, using advanced data analytics tools, Transcom has launched a project to analyze the interactions between the company and its customers in a detailed and structured way, including their behavior and preferences, in order to improve the quality of the service provided and how it’s perceived by the customer.

Here are some examples of the analytics projects under development to support our Clients:

Customer Journey analysis, Net Promoter Score (NPS)   identification and monitoring;
Advanced customer behavior analysis (heavy detractors,   detractors, neutral, promoters,…) to identify ways to maximize   satisfaction;
User profiling and customer experience personalization;
Predictive analysis to assess the customer’s needs in advance.

 

Analytics: decision tree

Analytics: decision tree

These are just some of the pilot projects developed at our LeonarDo research center in L’Aquila, where a team of experts began to work a few months ago by fully exploiting the huge potential offered by new technology.

Official opening of “LeonarDo 2.0.14” – a new research and innovation center for Customer Experience

In March, Transcom Italy presented its new Research and Innovation Center for Customer Experience to the press and the local authorities. The center is located in L’Aquila and set up jointly as a partnership with L’Aquila University and local contact center company Elleacall.

The LeonarDo 2.0.14 research project, which has been endorsed by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, will span over three years, with the aim of developing - by October 2017 new process and new technological solutions that improve the services delivered by
contact centers to consumers and citizens, based on their Customer Experience.

Transcom Contact Center in L'Aquila

 “Innovation and the constant quest for excellence are two of Transcom’s fundamental business values and we invest in resources and skills to promote them” commented Roberto Boggio, Transcom Regional General Manager for Central and South Europe, during the inauguration.

 “The strategic agenda of L’Aquila University considers the institution to be an open social laboratory and, therefore, applied research projects conducted jointly with the business system form a fundamental part of our planning,” said Professor Paola Inverardi, Dean of L’Aquila University.“One of our objectives is to strengthen this network of collaborations, and the partnership with Transcom in the framework of the LeonarDo 2.0.14 project is perfectly aligned with this strategic vision: we are convinced that it will produce benefits in terms of technological capabilities at the service of local development.”

The center has been operational for a few months now and already employs 10 researchers; over the coming three years we aim to involve about 40 customer experience professionals in the project.

Leonardo lab and meeting room & event

Technological changes impose new interrelation processes between companies and clients. Network connections and the ever more widespread use of mobile communication devices (smartphones, tablets, notebooks, etc.) are radically changing not only how we acquire information, but also the interaction between people, between customers and businesses, and between the public and the institutions. From this perspective, the work of the Transcom’s research center in L’Aquila will focus on identifying new social and digital methodologies, using technology-based tools and innovative processes.

This VIDEO, (in Italian) by a local TV network, provides a summary of the event’s key messages.

Transcom announces “LeonarDo 2.0.14” – a research and innovation program to improve the customer care process

Transcom has decided to invest in a new research and development project called “Smart Digital Ecosystem for Customer Experience Enhancement”. For simplicity’s sake we’ve renamed the project “LeonarDo 2.0.14”, combining the year of the initiative’s launch with the 2.0 that symbolizes the Digital age we live in.

LeonarDo2_logo-eng

This program has been developed by Transcom Italy on a joint basis with L’Aquila University and some local partners, and we feel that it will contribute to re-launching the local economy, heavily hit by the 2009 earthquake.

The project will run for the next three years and the aim is to define solutions, tools, methods and techniques designed to improve the customer service process and effectively exploit the potential offered by new digital technologies. A research and development center will be set up for this purpose, based on the systematic and structured exchange of know-how and expertise between academic research bodies and the customer service industry. This laboratory will be headquartered in Transcom’s L’Aquila offices and run by expert, innovation-oriented resources provided by all the partners involved in the initiative.

The solutions and operating models developed by the LeonarDo 2.0.14 project will be validated in complex customer experience environments, with the aim of creating high value-added services for clients and consumers.

Innovation and continuous development are the key competitive success factors we can offer our clients to help them win the daily fight for market leadership. Our ambition is that the LeonarDo 2.0.14 “Competence Center” in L’Aquila will act as a technical and scientific point of reference for all Transcom’s 57 contact centers worldwide.

I am confident that LeonarDo 2.0.14 will become a mine of innovative ideas and revolutionary solutions in the area of technological, organizational and process innovation, which will significantly contribute to confirm Transcom’s leading role in the global BPO marketplace. With this initiative, we are reaffirming our commitment to Transcom’s vision of being recognized as a global leader in customer experience.