Contextual Routing: Serving Customers Better Because You Know Them Better

For the past 29 years, I’ve observed contact center, customer service and CRM software vendors produce increasingly robust sales, marketing and customer service applications. This includes companies like LiveOps – a leader in the cloud contact center and customer service space – who continue to break new ground, integrating multichannel technology and leveraging big data in real time to improve Customer Journey Management. About a year ago, LiveOps began to offer their multichannel agent toolset that allows a contact center agent to receive and respond to customer phone calls, emails, chats, SMS, Twitter and Facebook questions, all from a single screen.

More recently, LiveOps added “real-time contextual routing,” which offers the unique capability to monitor, detect and correct or optimize critical points throughout the customer journey to ensure great experiences. For those not familiar with real-time contextual routing, this new technology leverages big data in real time, enabling brands to make intelligent customer engagement decisions that improve the customer experience and deliver significant business benefits. By tracking a customer’s events, patterns and actions taken across all channels and placing them in the context of the customer’s brand journey, the technology can offer up ways in which brands can proactively delight customers.

Many enterprise contact centers struggle to balance between providing a great customer experience while improving their operational efficiencies. With contextual routing, brands can do both – provide a quick, smart and personalized customer experience while improving business metrics such as FCR and customer loyalty/satisfaction.

Imagine for a moment that an important customer of Company X goes online to apply for a new insurance policy. The customer gets confused with questions being asked in the application, calls Company X’s help line, hangs up out of frustration for having to wait 10 minutes for an agent to take the call and then goes onto Twitter to talk about this experience. With contextual routing technology, Company X is able to collect all this data in real time from this customer’s Internet, phone and Twitter activities, identify the customer as valued and potentially frustrated, and trigger a pop-up message to the contact center agent to reach out to the customer and offer immediate assistance.

As a result of utilizing real-time contextual routing, Company X is able to track a customer’s behavior and resulting sentiment, and move quickly to engage with that customer to capture a new opportunity or to resolve an outstanding issue. Moreover, when the customer feels that Company X really cares about them and addresses an opportunity or issue in a timely manner, the customer is more likely to forgive and forget, to demonstrate loyalty, to drive advocacy, etc.

Another example involves a customer who is trying to order an on-demand movie on his TV and the transaction fails. He goes to the company’s website, but that transaction fails, as well. The customer becomes increasingly frustrated and calls customer service. The important event in this customer journey is the fact that the movie system is temporarily down and causing many of the self-service channels to fail. This type of event is not tracked down by typical real-time analytics systems and can cause significant operational problems for the company by frustrating its customers and flooding its contact center with unnecessary call volume. With contextual routing, all of this information and the customer’s interactions are tracked in real time. These can then be leveraged to inform the customer of the technical difficulty and offer a call back option to resolve the issue. The contact center can be ready for the customer’s phone call and apply a more customized routing strategy, leveraging personalized patterns, to effectively prioritize this call and enable First Call Resolution. This type of technology expands the enterprise capabilities beyond any traditional contact center systems to truly manage the customer journey and deliver the best customer experience possible one interaction at a time.

Advancements in multichannel technology and big data helped create real-time contextual routing, which is a real industry breakthrough. I applaud LiveOps for taking the leadership role and embedding real-time contextual routing technology within their application for the contact center, making immediate use of big data to streamline the customer journey and deliver an optimal customer experience one interaction at a time. I’d also like to challenge LiveOps to take real-time contextual routing to its next logical frontier, where it will be applied within context of multichannel, customer self-service.

Barton Goldenberg is president and founder of ISM, Inc., a strategic consulting firm that creates and implements customer-centric business strategies for CRM/Social CRM, big data analytics and insight, knowledge management communities, customer experience and channel optimization initiatives.  He is the publisher of CRM in Real Time, CRM Automation, and The eGuide to Mobile and Social CRM.  He is also a columnist for CRM Magazine.

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