The Power of Dynamic Decisioning

All consumers want to feel that they are special. Thanks to advanced interactive technologies, organizations across all industries can capitalize on dynamic decisioning solutions to give their customers that feeling with every interaction and build brand loyalty in the process. What makes this possible? Providing contact center agents and store employees with real-time access to personalized customer information and other intelligent data.

In addition to improving customer loyalty and retention, dynamic decisioning can help organizations increase revenue through more effective targeting of upsell and cross-sell offers and more consistent purchases of value-added services. Costs can be reduced by limiting offers made to "lower value" customers, identifying customer issues during agent and retail interactions to improve efficiency, and sending outbound notifications proactively to curtail inbound calls.

In a challenging economy, every organization needs to maximize revenue from existing customers. Besides earning repeat sales by providing positive customer experiences, companies must be able to upsell to higher-value products or services and cross-sell to related products or services. The challenge in earning upsell and cross-sell revenue is presenting customers with buying opportunities that are relevant to their needs. Otherwise, the offers can be perceived as intrusive and unwelcome.

Organizations of all sizes are also searching for ways to reduce costs. Customer service is often an attractive candidate for cuts, but service reductions or shortcuts can negatively affect the quality of the customer experience. And in today's competitive global marketplace, providing a consistent, superior customer experience is one area in which any organization can establish a true competitive advantage. The challenge is reducing costs without reducing quality.

How can businesses kill the proverbial two birds with one stone? Utilize adaptive decisioning driven by real-time access to customer data to improve the customer experience across the enterprise with more personalized content in all channels—phone, Web, mobile, and retail locations. In simple terms: Treat each customer as if you know him or her to deliver a unique, personalized, intelligent interaction each and every time.

Implementing a multichannel solution leads to more relevant customer recommendations in every contact channel, via a contact center agent's desktop during a phone conversation, at the point of sale in a retail terminal, or on a Web site, smartphone, or in an interactive voice response (IVR) system. This improves the customer experience by optimizing and adapting to changing customer dynamics in real time at the point of interaction, regardless of where and how the interaction takes place.

Dynamic decisioning enables businesses to offer products and services based on individual customer data from CRM and other existing business systems, as well as historical offer acceptance data. Proactive offers and alerts via email, SMS, or outbound IVR channels can be triggered for time-sensitive or newly available products and services, reaching selected customers to heighten sales of value-added offerings. Organizations are able to more effectively target the needs of individual customers—not simply customer categories—while simultaneously increasing the likelihood that offers will result in successful sales. For example, a loan customer with a history of late payments could be offered a debt protection program when calling to make a payment by phone.

Dynamic decisioning also reduces the costs associated with providing these intelligent interactions by anticipating customer needs. More efficient and speedy interactions are enabled as agents and store employees alike are equipped with important contextual information to help them understand a customer's frame of mind and probable reason for calling. Channel containment also becomes more effective, with personalized content in the IVR and on the Web eliminating the need to connect with an agent. Contacts handled in automation are as little as one-tenth the cost of agent-handled calls! Identifying service issues and driving proactive outbound notifications by email, outbound IVR calls, or SMS messages—in some cases, before customers are even aware of an issue—can actually reduce the number of incoming service and complaint contacts. Here's an example:

A health insurance subscriber who has recently submitted a large claim for reimbursement receives an automated outbound email notifying him the claim has been received and that he will receive a second email when it has been processed—preventing a call to the contact center.

Organizations also have the opportunity to draw greater value from existing investments. Dynamic decisioning works with systems already in place—deriving data from CRM, billing, and other back-office and legacy systems. By centralizing and simplifying management of customer-facing business policies, companies can reduce the time and expense associated with managing enterprise-wide policies.

The challenge in creating a successful retention effort is to conduct the right actions—which can include incentive offers—to the right customers, at the right times. Dynamic decisioning technology includes sensors that can capture customer events and a robust rules engine to specify responses to those events. Customer actions, or circumstances associated with a high likelihood of attrition, can be recognized and addressed with real-time, personalized responses designed to deflect a customer's departure.

Studies by customer management company Convergys have demonstrated that loyal customers consume more products and services and contribute more revenue to enterprises they hold in high regard. In simpler times, customer loyalty was earned by organizations that came to know their customers and offered them products and services that met their individual needs. Combining real-time data analytics with a flexible dynamic decisioning engine helps your organization modernize and scale this strategy, building satisfaction and increasing loyalty with each transaction, across every channel to produce customers who advocate and promote your business.

Michael Boukadakis is the founder and chief executive officer of Enacomm, a provider of voice processing infrastructure, applications, and services that optimize customer call interactions.

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