• May 6, 2020
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Talkdesk Launches CX Cloud and Connections at Opentalk Virtual Event

Talkdesk, a cloud contact center solutions provider, today unveiled Talkdesk CX Cloud, an end-to-end customer experience solution on a single, unified platform, and Talkdesk Connections, a cloud-based integration platform designed specifically for contact centers to help them pull in data from any source.

Talkdesk introduced both products during a virtual event today that took the place of its Opentalk user conference, which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Talkdesk CX Cloud offers a customer experience platform powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Features include omnichannel support, workforce engagement tools, an integrated agent desktop, mobile agent, workforce management, quality management, call recording, deep data analytics, collaboration solutions

Talkdesk CX Cloud offers companies more than 60 out-of-the-box integrations to CRM systems and other popular business applications, including Salesforce, Zendesk, ServiceNow, Slack, and Microsoft Teams, and one-click access to more than 50 contact center productivity apps with a 30-day trial with Talkdesk AppConnect Marketplace.

"Most companies are tired of cobbling together multiple systems with product silos, fragmented customer experiences, integration issues, and compatibility issues, leading to a poor agent experience, which translates into a dismal customer experience," said Tiago Paiva, CEO of Talkdesk, in a statement "Today's customer-obsessed enterprises need a unified end-to-end solution that can meet all their needs while also reducing costs. Talkdesk CX Cloud is that solution."

Charanya Kannan, chief product officer at Talkdesk, called CX Cloud "an end-to-end CX solution."

CX Cloud, she added, includes five key elements: customer engagement, workforce engagement, collaboration, artificial intelligence and knowledge, and analytics.

Talkdesk also used the online event to launch Connections, a platform for custom integrations to home-grown apps, core industry systems, and on-premises data within minutes. Connections extends Talkdesk's "clicks, not code" philosophy, enabling contact center integrations with any third-party system using simple configurations direct from the Talkdesk CX Cloud interface.

"The importance of streamlining customer interactions requires organizations to adopt cloud-based platforms designed to unify and integrate connections," said Mark Smith, CEO and chief research officer at Ventana Research, in a statement. "Talkdesk CX Cloud and Connections bring the power of integration and platform as a service into a single offering that ensures the reliable and secure integration of technologies to enable a high-quality customer experience with a strong return on existing technology investments."

CX Cloud and Connections are products 15 and 16 in the Talkdesk 20-in-20, an ambitious effort to introduce 20 new products and services in 2020.

"This has been an exciting first 20 weeks at Talkdesk," Kannan said.

Paiva emphasized the push to the cloud, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, which he said has forever changed the contact center industry.

At the start of the pandemic, only 43 percent of contact center agents worked from home. During the pandemic, that jumped to 95 percent, and Talkdesk expects 57 percent of agents to continue working from home through the second half of the year, even after U.S. businesses open back up.

Talkdesk, Paiva said, worked with hundreds of organizations around the world to set up remote workforces during the pandemic, some in as little as 24 hours.

"Now is the time to move to the cloud, and Talkdesk is here to help do that," he stated.

But contact centers have more work to do to survive the ongoing business disrtuption brought about by COVID-19, according to Chad Gaydos, chief customer officer at Talkdesk.

Gaydos outlined a five-step plan, called the CX Reframe, as they respond to the pandemic:

  • Step 1 – Resolve: mitigating health and safety issues for employees and customers.
  • Step 2 – Resilience: drafting and implementing a business continuity plan.
  • Step 3 – Return: drafting and implementing an agile plan for reopening.
  • Step 4 – Reimagine: creating new customer journeys.
  • Step 5 – Reform: creating a framework for innovation in the future.

Dennis Snow, a former CX executive at Disney, the Opentalk keynoter, also emphasized a new way of handling customer experiences in the wake of the pandemic and its aftermath.

At times of crisis, it's easy to focus on tasks rather than customer experiences, but companies need to emphasize the latter, he said.

Snow identified three principles that he said are "at the heart of a service-driven mentality."

The first is looking at everything through the lens of the customer. When companies do this, they can start to understand why customers do what they do and why they ask the questions they do, according to Snow.

Key to implementing this principle is what he called "service mapping," in which companies look at every step in their customer service processes and then consider what mediocre and excellent service would look like in each process. Mediocre service, he said "is a sin of omission."

The second of Snow's principles is paying attention to the details. Everything speaks volumes, either enhancing or detracting from the brand's image.

The third principle is creating what he called "moments of wow." These moments don';t need to be grandiose, according to Snow, because even "little wows can add up."

"Customer service, Snow explained, hinges on accuracy, availability, partnerships, and advice. Customers expect accuracy and availability, but when contact centers can also make customers feel like partners in the overall experience and offer advice, "that's when you create wow moments," he said.

"If you follow these three principles, the natural outcome is customer loyalty," Snow stated.

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