Today’s customers expect to receive a personalised experience from all businesses with which they interact. A company hotline is no longer enough when looking to resolve a query. Customers want the option of connecting across a full range of channels, including voice, email, web chat, text messaging, and social. They want 24/7 self-service capabilities that are natural and dynamic, and they want to be connected immediately to the right resource.
“For businesses, this means employing a centralised platform to provide these capabilities while also optimising workforce capabilities and process efficiencies,” says Susan Terry, global vice president of portfolio maximisation at Avaya. “It is not just artificial intelligence, omnichannel routing or data analytics – it must be the combination of all three to deliver a seamless and efficient customer experience while improving customer satisfaction and loyalty. This is the role of today’s contact centre solutions.”
The stakes for delivering an exceptional customer experience could not be higher; research from Avaya indicates that a single bad experience can cause 20 per cent of customers to leave. Multiple bad experiences could result in the loss of over half of a business’s customers.
Avaya is helping its clients to meet these expectations and avoid losing customers through its range of contact centre solutions. “We serve the largest businesses with the most complex needs and are relied on by over 60,000 customers in 190 countries,” says Terry. “Our powerful portfolio of contact centre and communications solutions enable immersive, personalised and memorable customer and employee experiences.
“These customers all have varied approaches to innovation, and they have also made significant investments in their existing systems and processes. We are evolving our portfolio to enable our customers to innovate while protecting and building on the investments they have made.”
Central to these solutions is Avaya’s close alignment with Microsoft and its technology. “This partnership provides our customers with a unique opportunity to drive substantial workplace transformation,” says Terry. “One of the most exciting elements is the opportunity to remove the historical partition separating contact centre and general employee communications. In the future, not everyone will be a contact centre agent, but they will be a customer service agent. We are working to accelerate this by integrating Avaya communication tools with Microsoft Teams capabilities to streamline and elevate internal and external collaboration.”
The relationship simplifies processes through the integration of Microsoft Dynamics 365, Teams and Avaya’s communications infrastructure. “This provides employees and customers with seamless experiences and enables them to maximise their existing investments,” says Terry.
In 2022, Avaya also expanded its partnership with Microsoft to deliver its solutions on Microsoft Azure. “This will dramatically accelerate our customers’ digital transformation journeys and deliver unrivalled reliability, agility and scale,” says Terry. “Many of Microsoft’s largest customers have standardised on Avaya solutions, and offering these on Azure gives them an additional opportunity to benefit from their investments while connecting them with new cloud-based capabilities.
"Azure’s global footprint expands the availability of our solutions and its capabilities increase resiliency, business continuity, security and compliance with each business sector and country-specific requirements. The bottom line with our partnership is that our customers gain the benefit of expertise from two global leaders that will work together to advance their communications innovation agenda.”
The cloud computing platform enables Avaya to deliver further benefits to its customers. “Many dots must be connected when integrating new software,” says Terry. “An issue with any one of these can result in significant business risk in terms of downtime and security. Think of what a few seconds of downtime can mean to a financial business in terms of millions of dollars of transactions lost. There are also many soft costs associated with re-platforming including training, creating new processes, and updating reporting systems.
“Microsoft Azure enables us to meet our customers where they are with a modular approach that aligns the evolution of their communications infrastructure with their specific business blueprint.”
For example, the Avaya Experience Platform runs on Azure and enables businesses to deliver immersive, memorable and personalised customer experiences across all connected touchpoints. It empowers businesses to respond faster to customer needs and opportunities, by delivering seamless employee and customer connectivity, with AI-powered customer journey intelligence and workflow automation.
Avaya Enterprise Cloud also enables businesses to complement their existing on-premises software investments with cloud-based capabilities through an advanced hybrid cloud architecture. They can choose which workflows they keep on-premises or move to the cloud.
Many businesses are realising these benefits. Social enterprise Silver Spring Pathfinder uses Avaya’s communications technology to enable mobility-challenged people – who struggle with commuting to and from work – to work from home as customer service agents.
“Silver Spring Pathfinder implemented the Avaya Experience Platform to create a supportive environment for its agents who have special needs,” says Terry. “In addition to the technology capabilities, the firm obtained the support of Avaya and our partners like Microsoft. This is a case of exceptional employees delivering exceptional experiences using exceptional technology and support.”
This article was originally published in the Spring 2023 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.