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Customer experience in the time of COVID-19 has taken on new meaning as people and businesses adjust to a new reality. If anything, the pandemic underscores the importance of creating more personalized experiences in tune with customer needs as people crave more authentic connections.
As a global customer service organization, enabling superior customer experience is at the core of the Genesys vision. In working closely with our customers, I’m inspired by how the crisis is accelerating the pivot to a digital transformation. For many organizations, this has meant moving much of their operations, processes, customer interactions and employee engagement from physical workplaces into a virtual environment — most often in the cloud.
That’s why our Genesys Virtual Xperience in May was particularly meaningful in offering key learnings on how organizations can turn disruption into a catalyst for change. At the virtual gathering of customer experience leaders focused on transformation, I had the opportunity to interact with a few customers and I gained valuable insights on their stories of growth and progress.
Our customers, some of the world’s leading brands, have been at the forefront in dealing with challenges posed by the pandemic. Companies include Homesite Insurance, TechStyle Fashion Group, Western Governs University (WGU), SITA, Principal Insurance and AvMed. Even though they operate in varied industries, the common thread throughout has been an accelerated pace of innovation. They’re on a journey of transformation — building more agile operations, optimizing employee collaboration and personalizing customer engagement to adapt to the new normal. Here are my top three takeaways.
Companies already in the cloud have demonstrated more agility in handling the transition to remote working as a result of the pandemic. The cloud model has served as a critical enabler in ensuring sufficient scalability in computing requirements, deploying services, ensuring adequate capacity for uninterrupted customer services and securing data transfers.
Beyond the pandemic, cloud technology also enabled Florida-based AvMed to swiftly shift workloads to the at-home agent model in an emergency to efficiently manage spikes in calls. The company, which is located in a hurricane-prone area, can help ease customer concerns when demand arises — no matter the situation.
Tony Graczyk, Assistant Director of Engagement of WUFM at Principal Insurance, shared how his company had been working with remote agents for the past five years — and how work from home, supported by cloud, will emerge as the new norm for business continuity. It will also help reduce the need for an alternate IT remote location. While it’s highly unlikely for organizations to keep their entire employee base working remotely after the pandemic ends, there likely will be more options for teams to work from home. The benefits of improved productivity, reduced impact on the environment and lower costs are factors that might see us embracing a larger percentage of work from home agents moving forward.
Agility and speed are high on the agenda for most organizations. “We are in an environment where we need to be agile enough to integrate a multitude of third-party applications to improve end-to-end customer experiences,” said Vichaig Douangpaseuth, Senior Manager, Service Improvement SDN Network and Voice Practice at air transport IT company SITA. “This can be costly and time-consuming to do with on-premises software.”
Cloud introduces an on-demand approach to resources and technology, making them available to employees — any time, anywhere, 24/7. Migration to the cloud allows companies to do this with better efficiency and at a lower cost, enabling businesses to scale up or down across geographies, time zones and periods of the year based on customer requirements. Speedier and frictionless service deployments to customers mean fewer worries about maintenance and security concerns.
For me, one of the most profound aspects of this health crisis has been its impact on customer and employee engagement. Being transparent, timely and relevant is vital to improving interactions and building meaningful relationships with customers and employees. Technology is a key enabler to realizing this goal.
Having better visibility over customer needs and behavior across multiple digital channels — and using these insights to deliver more personalized and relevant communications — will go a long way in building long-term customer loyalty. Adam Davis, Director of Operations at the online university WGU, and Aarde Cosseboom, Senior Director of GMS Technology, Analytics and Product at online fashion company TechStyle Fashion Group, highlighted the need for businesses to have the right tools to help drive greater collaboration, simplify decision-making and enhance productivity as more employees work remotely.
Promoting cross-team community-building activities like daily email digests, chatroom collaborations and gamification are areas to consider in keeping employees engaged and supporting talent development. Regular training and upskilling are critical prerequisites to keep agents updated with the fast-changing virtual environment.
Tony Alonzo, Customer Engagement Solutions Leader at Homesite insurance, opined that investing in employee welfare and wellness is emerging as a critical business priority. “Supporting employee wellness and wellbeing expectations in real time, leveraging digital tools is increasingly a ‘must-have’ if organizations want to retain and attract the best talent,” noted Alonzo.
It’s clear that this period of uncertainty is challenging businesses to demonstrate their preparedness in rapidly adapting processes to ensure business continuity. I believe innovation and technology are key to powering through and coming out stronger.
Listening to the diverse ideas of our customers at Virtual Xperience makes me feel hopeful for the future. I’m truly excited to be part of this transformation journey in shaping the future of employee and customer experience.
To learn more, access our recordings from Virtual Xperience.
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