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I'm really excited to write this blog post. Why? Because I talk a lot each day, most of which is focused on Customer Experience (CX) and omnichannel communications that enable you to pinpoint where your customers find themselves while on their journey to interact with you. And much of this talking involves me sharing my own personal experiences and the experiences of the incredibly smart and talented people I've had the pleasure of knowing and working with over the years. But this is truly only helpful to you if you know me and my history, otherwise it's purely anecdotal. Ultimately, this will end up being an announcement of a new Avtex product, InteractionSync for PureCloud. But before I get to that, I just want to quickly set up why this product is coming to market and why I'm so excited.

Your CX Strategy

I'll take some shortcuts here and just lay out some base facts that are relevant to "a bunch of" (technical jargon) organizations:

  • You truly want your customers to see you as different than your competition and are trying everything in your power to prove it to them.
  • You want your customers to feel heard and known.
  • You want to deliver all of this while still providing value and efficiency to your business - so your service to your customers can continue thrive and grow.
  • You want your agents to like what they do because they are the crucial link to the success of your CX strategy.
  • You've found that there's no magic bullet to accomplish this; no perfect agent script, no perfect training program, no perfect product.

The Research

Without unpacking all of this here, I'll just point to this Forrester research, The Contact Centers For Customer Service Playbook For 2018. There's a lot in there. But one of the key quotes in the Executive Summary that attracted my attention was,

"The customer service technology ecosystem has grown more complex due to new communication channels, new touchpoints, new deployment methods like cloud-based solutions, and vendor mergers and acquisitions. As a result, customer service leaders struggle to enforce a consistent process and experience across their workforce."

We thought this was complex back in the early 2000's (if you're of a certain age like myself). Inside of that first sentence from the Forrester quote above are allusions to products, new ways of thinking, infrastructure, and corporate ramifications. And thanks to Moore's law and a wealth of creativity, vision, and entrepreneurial thinking, there is even more to consider and adapt to if we're truly going to be who our customers want us to be. Consistent experiences with your brand - across all channels - at all times is the expectation today. And those who do it well and quickly will reap the rewards and establish a foothold as leaders in their respective industries.

What the Forrester research doesn't get into, a thing I consider to be a huge piece missing from most CX strategies, is agent satisfaction, or concern for the agent experience. One of the first things I read when coming to Avtex was, The Effortless Experience, Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty by Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman and Rick Delisi of CEB (Gartner). Chapter 5 discusses the concept of the Control Quotient (or CQ), which is essentially five skills and behaviors that have a drastic impact on agent performance and customer satisfaction. And while these behaviors are intrinsic in nature (meaning they don't directly have anything to do with the actual tools an agent uses), the data suggests that the more control an agent feels they have over their interactions with customers, the better they actually handle those interactions. Startling to me was that the majority of agents actually have adequate to high levels of CQ, meaning other factors (or tools) get in the way of them delivering their best.

My Observations

I have known for years that a contact center platform seamlessly conjoined to the right customer relationship management (CRM) platform is the best way to successfully implement a holistic CX strategy while at the same time staying agile and adaptable to inevitable changes. Again, without getting into too much jargon, each of these systems has a core purpose: the CRM is your System of Record (SOR), or Single Source of Truth (SSOT), and your contact center is, at least from a customer perspective, your System of Engagement (SOE). (Notice for each system I noted that it should be a 'platform' - an underlying structure that can be built upon.) And you could argue that either platform IS an all-in-one engagement platform. As far as I've seen though, no one product or company has been able to blend everything that the two systems offer when brought together and be considered the industry leader. I've been writing/talking about this for well over 10 years, and I'm still waiting. On the other hand, there are true leaders out there doing one OR the other.

Let's focus on my two favorites in each area:

  • Genesys PureCloud - a feature-rich contact center platform that handles omnichannel communications and is a true cloud architecture product. The ease and speed to getting a world-class engagement center up and running (around the globe if necessary) is beyond comparison.
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 - not only what people think of as a CRM, but also a platform driven by data, intelligence, and relationships. And let's face it, because it integrates so well into the rest of the Office 365 suite, it can be one of the most powerful tools your organization can use to keep your customers, employees, and business objectives aligned.

Stage set - let's get to why I'm excited.

The Reveal

Guess what we (Avtex) just did? With the cooperation of both Genesys and Microsoft, we brought these two platforms together in a way that is truly seamless. And it's not just about wedging a little client into the CRM. It's a product where the result is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

It's InteractionSync for PureCloud. Here's a quick introduction:

"With InteractionSync for PureCloud agents now have access to fully-integrated PureCloud experience from within Dynamics 365. Fully embedded call controls such as call pickup, disconnect, hold, transfer, conference, presence management, and click-to-dial — are all tied directly into the Microsoft Dynamics 365 application. By combining the best of both worlds, Avtex InteractionSync for PureCloud uses the features of PureCloud to handle queuing, routing, measuring and reporting and synchronizes key data to Dynamics 365 to ensure consistent tracking of your customer's journey and produce the greatest customer experiences."

I'll provide some important links at the end where you can go to dig in more, but since this is a blog entry I would like to spend the rest of my limited space explaining where the real value is.

And Here's Why

Because PureCloud and Dynamics 365 are platforms that we could build upon, we were able to solve some important challenges:

  • CX is about the customer, not about figuring out which application does what. InteractionSync for PureCloud puts everything an agent needs into one screen - there's only one place to work. Simplified = more agent control.
  • It provides a clear line of delineation between activities around interaction (queues, calls, emails, chats, wrap-ups) and activities around business objectives (service, sales) while AT THE SAME TIME automatically feeding information back and forth between the two platforms, providing each system with information only the other system has. For example:
    • PureCloud knows who is calling, or knows what case the customer is calling about, so it lets Dynamics know that information so that it can be displayed when the agent receives the call. And this isn't just standard Dynamics 365 entities - we're talking custom entities as well.
  • Information surrounding the communication aspects of CX can be entered in the PureCloud side to ensure that interaction reporting is accurate, while at the same time that information is moved into Dynamics 365 in a way that makes sense for that platform. Likewise as an agent navigates through Dynamics, that information is passed back to PureCloud to make sure the right activity associations are made.
  • Data around communication and objectives can be kept separate, or aggregated together in many ways.

And these are just the big ones. There is so much more to come.

Sound interesting? What next?

  1. Here's a quick introductory video we've put together to give you the overview.
  2. Here are the downloadable details for the specifics.
  3. Check out the full solution video to get a walk through of the inbound and outbound use cases.
  4. Head over to the Genesys AppFoundry and contact us to get more information or to get started (coming soon to Microsoft AppSource). You'll be glad you did!