One challenge that is near and dear to my heart, is the one the every startup goes through, and that is, scalability. It’s a chicken or the egg kind of thing. Do you make the leap of faith and invest, or do you first grow organically, and only when you’re confident that you can support the growth do you grow. The challenge is that you need one for the other to happen. So, short of playing chicken (no pun intended), what comes first, the chicken or the egg?
This, obviously, is an abstract challenge that applies equally to all industries. As with the macro scalability challenge, the same challenge exists with a business’s communications environment. In my opinion, startups (small businesses too, but especially startups) are microcosms of large enterprises. Every challenge that a large enterprise has, has a micro version manifestation within a startup environment.
A large enterprise has a finance department for accounts payable / accounts receivables. A startup has an Entrepreneur on Quickbooks. An enterprise has a marketing department. A startup has an Entrepreneur writing content. Same need, different scale. Now, let’s take communications for example. A large enterprise needs to communicate, a startup needs to communicate. A large enterprise needs a phone system, a startup needs a phone system. That’s simple enough to understand. Let’s take this comparison to the next level. How about a call center? A large enterprise typically has some form of a call center that handles a massive amount of calls per hour. What about a startup? They’re going to need some form of call center as well, since they’re doing the same things a large enterprise is doing, albeit on a smaller scale. Wait, there’s more!
Call center is such a 20th century term! In the 20th century, the only common way you can contact a business is by phone. I say common, because they had fax; however, most people did not send off a fax every time they had an issue or need. They picked up a phone and made a phone call. Hence the term, CALL center.
In this day and age, we have so many more channels with which to contact a business. There is email, chat, and social media. Due to the availability of multiple channels of communications, contemporary “CALL” centers are now referred to as Multi Channel CONTACT centers. However, it doesn’t end here. Multi Channel Contact Centers are now being left behind, in favor of OMNI CHANNEL Contact Centers! What’s that? Like a multi channel contact center, omni channel contact centers support multiple channels of communications. However, they take it a step further. With Omni Channel, your contact center maintains a seamless and consistent flow of communications to the end user across two or more channels. For example, let’s say you tweet a customer service department, they respond to the tweet. You then hit them up on a chat session, then send them an email, then call them on the phone. With omni channel, your entire interaction flow will be maintained in the contact center’s database. Each contact center agent you interact with, on whatever channel you’re on at the moment, will be aware of all your previous engagements on other channels, regarding the issue you are contacting them for.
Why should this matter to you? The answer is, that in this day and age, consumers are much better educated than ever before. Customer Service is the new paradigm of doing business. Your entire focus and strategy of doing business should be one thing, and one thing only. To serve and delight your customers, so that they award you with their repeat business. If you’re not doing this, someone else is! If that doesn’t convince you, consider the following:
As Gerald Sinclair writes in the inContact Blog, http://www.incontact.com/blog/multichannel-vs-omnichannel-and-its-impact-on-the-customer-experience, “Research done by the Aberdeen Group shows businesses that adopted an omnichannel strategy benefited with a 91% year-over-year increase in client retention rates compared to organizations that chose not to implement this type of interaction plan. Reducing the confusion of different messages across multiple engagement channels is a key attribute in retaining customers and increasing profits.”
If you’re thinking about what does it cost to deploy an omni channel contact center, think about what it costs NOT to!
Which brings us back to startups. How on Earth does a startup jump on the omni channel band wagon without overtaxing their micro budget? This technology sounds expensive! The good news, is that it’s NOT! Thanks to a trend calls SaaS, or Software as a Service. SaaS is very sassy, because it levels the playing field. SaaS enables a one man (or woman) startup to leverage the power of Enterprise grade technology, on a scale that is right for their business. With SaaS, you tap into cloud based solutions to deliver the same kind of service that the large enterprises have been used to, only at a much smaller price point. The reason being, you don’t have to purchase infrastructure, as everything is in the cloud. You just pay for what you use.
Therefore, our startup’s cloud based omni channel contact center can now compete and crush the big company’s service departments, as long as the Entrepreneur is willing to put in the time, effort, and energy to succeed. This is pure empowerment!
My question for you is, what are YOU doing in your business to differentiate your customer service experience from your competition? I’d love to hear from you, please leave a comment below.
A little bit about SimiPlex. We create simple solutions for all your telephony problems. Our goal is to ensure you have the best experience possible, while ensuring security, reliability, and excellent customer service. Above all, we work hard for you as well as providing affordable solutions. Check us out today! http://www.simiplex.com.