The challenge of silos and vendor lock-in is making communication more fragmented and complex. It’s a pain point sorely felt by the channel, who are struggling to make money in a world where the proportion of business transacted through a telephone is diminishing and where their customers are starting to feel the constraints of UC walled gardens.
So how can resellers break the mould as well as create differentiation and value? Contextual communication could be the answer. This is when rich media comms like voice, text and video capabilities are embedded inside an application, website or device – as an integrated part of the workflow and process of the application or site, rather than as an adjunct. It’s open and so silos are removed. It enables person to person, and person to application, interactions to become centered around, and informed by, the specific task. Contextual communication makes it much easier for the channel to offer open, joined up solutions that allow people to interact with businesses, customers and the real world using all, and any, available media.
Applying Contextual Comms – What Could We Build?
Contextual communications presents huge opportunity for the channel to add value to their customers’ businesses by building out value added services or applications in a vast array of scenarios, for example:
- In customer-focused businesses, service agents can much more quickly and easily pre-empt why a customer is contacting them. They’d be able to see instantly which web page a customer is on before they hit the ‘click to call’ button, how they got there and what other services they use. Additional context such as that customer’s previous contact history can also set the stage for more meaningful interactions.
- Employees communicating or collaborating with partner organisations outside of their firewall will experience frictionless interactions, providing context and relevant information instantly and removing the need to download plugins. For example, a video conversation where participants simply click on a web link to get connected and that allows everyone to access the relevant current and historical documentation from within the same link – all without having to context switch to create a traditional conference phone call.
- Even entirely new services could be created. For example, forward-thinking housing associations, and other organisations that provide accommodation to vulnerable people, are already improving daily contact for thousands of people in real time. By analysing patterns of communication they can identify when the cognitive state of an individual is changing, and give a predictive assessment about the needs of every resident calling in to them before that call is even answered.
Unified communications has long provided opportunities for resellers, but the game is shifting with digital transformation (DX) and changing customer behaviour. There is far less value and opportunity in simple telephony solutions and with frustrating rich media tools built to operate within strict walled gardens. In order to effectively differentiate and add value, the channel needs to begin building new value propositions that map onto this change and embrace the flexibility needed to meet different customer requirements. Contextual communication is the open, pervasive and simple response needed to do this, opening up new opportunities to add value to customer businesses.
This article was originally published by UC Today.