Discussions around customer service strategies have shifted from "customer management" to "customer engagement." A recent piece in InformationWeek on "Seven Ways IT Can Improve Customer Service" highlights this shift. The article, by Forrester Research senior analyst Kate Leggett, pays a lot of attention to process improvement and process consistency. Kate is a leading expert on customer service strategies, and a member of Forrester's Business Process team, so this comes as no surprise. What is a little surprising is that she didn't call out Mobile BPM and Social BPM more directly in her analysis. These components of Appian's BPM software are playing a huge roll in the strategies our customers are rolling out to engage with their customers.
In the article, Kate talks about the importance of knowing your customer, knowing how they like to communicate, and providing a consistent experience across all possible channels. BPM software's value in stitching together disparate enterprise silos is well established, but Social BPM extends that value to the new world of social media. One powerful aspect of the Appian Tempo social interface is that is can incorporate social channels like Twitter into a business event feed. This gives companies an easy way to know when its customers are talking about the company - and that knowledge can be fed directly into process so that appropriate action can be taken in real-time. With peer-to-peer social dialogue on the rise, corporate marketing is no longer the generator and controller of the message. What matters now is knowing what conversations are happening, and having the business agility to participate.
Social BPM is more than just "social" because in addition to enabling direct customer conversations and collaborations - which any social enterprise platform can do - it also provides the means to track those interactions, keep them as an audit trail in the customer case, and learn from them to improve the product and service experience.
Disintermediation of the message is only one part of the equation. There's also the proliferation of media platforms. As Kate points out, "Your service experience should let customers start an interaction over one communication channel and complete it over another. To make this happen, CIOs must ensure that channels are not implemented in silos, but are integrated so that agents have a full view of all customer interactions." We're past phone and email. Consumers are increasingly using new channels - particularly mobile platforms. This is where Mobile BPM becomes vital to an integrated strategy. By providing a native mobile app to consumers that is tied to enterprise process - the same processes running the call centers and web service platforms - consistent cross-platform service becomes a reality, not a pipe dream.
This holistic process and data exposure is equally key to another of Kate's main points: making sure service reps are armed with the data they need to deliver a stellar customer experience. "Customer service systems must be more than just the front end of a database of customer information and cases," she says. "They should also be integrated with back office applications so that agents can retrieve real-time answers to questions such as 'when did my order ship?'"
This is where real-time data access within mobile and social process is crucial. And not just for reps in the call center. Field service personnel need it. The field sales force needs it. Any employee who comes into contact with a customer needs it.
Mobile and Social BPM are integral to the customer service strategies of the future. They are lynchpins in moving from a "system of record" mentality to a "system of engagement" mindset that will exceed customer expectations.
-Ben Farrell, Director, Corporate Communications
Appian is a software company that automates business processes. The Appian AI Process Platform includes everything you need to design, automate, and optimize even the most complex processes, from start to finish. The world's most innovative organizations trust Appian to improve their workflows, unify data, and optimize operations—resulting in better growth and superior customer experiences.