Email-Enabled Process Automation
Real World Examples in the Contact Center and Beyond
1. Regulatory compliance. Businesses have to comply with industry-specific regulations for digital communications with customers. This is a bigger challenge for multinational companies, where regulations vary from country to country. How can companies comply with these regulations without sacrificing business velocity and driving up costs? The answer lies in adopting an email management system that includes best practice workflows to enforce compliance with industry-specific rules for process and content. This serves the dual purpose of keeping businesses out of trouble and providing superior customer experience.
Example—SEC and NASD rules require brokerage firms to archive email communications with customers for at least six years and also allow audit. In addition to that, brokerage firms need to enable supervisory oversight of outgoing emails from novice agents as well as restrict who can handle what types of queries.
2. Service fulfillment. Customer service requests often require follow-on service fulfillment, such as scheduling a field service truck roll, sending a check book to a customer or escalating resolution through subject-matter experts in the enterprise. However, these follow-on activities should still fall within promised service levels. Robust email management systems are designed to manage and automate service resolution and fulfillment. Workflows can provide system alarms at every stage to inform the agent and supervisor of any lapse. The same workflows are also used to ensure that unresolved requests do not fall through the cracks in collaborative problem resolution across the enterprise.
Example—If a customer requests a new cable service, agents at the service center need to know if it is available in that area, promise the right service level, monitor the status of the request, and ensure timely completion of the task. Email management systems enable end-to-end service process resolution and fulfillment for all types of businesses.
3. Business process automation. Emails go to and fro in a relay of communication, and each email is a link that helps move customer processes forward. Also, the flexibility and universal accessibility of email makes it the perfect vehicle for process automation. Email management systems not only streamline emails but also automate business processes that span departments. When workflows drive the handling of emails, someone always “owns” the task and bottlenecks can be spotted. The alternative—enterprise application integration (EAI) —is viable but very expensive and complex and not accessible across departments. In our experience, emails are a cheaper and easier way of implementing new processes efficiently and cost-effectively.
Example—A retail chain used email-based workflows to automate two new processes in thousands of their stores countrywide, with SLAs, reporting, tracking, audit trails for compliance and task management. And it did all this without the additional cost of training agents and other employees in a new application.
4. Management of fax and paper communication. Data is easier to find when it is a click away than when it is stacked in folders. Emails are a great source of easy-to-access information. When faxes and paper communication are integrated into the email automation framework, there is little fear of losing them. This way, agents have access to multichannel customer details, while the business is able to apply email best practices to paper communication, too.
Example—A leading bank scans incoming paper-based communication (fax and postal mail) and makes it part of the email management framework for intelligent routing and handling. Paper-based communications are stored in the unified multichannel customer interaction repository for full-context customer service.
5. Proactive communication. Don’t make customers wait for news or make them contact the business for information that you know they will need. Preempt their calls and inbound emails with reminders and alerts. Answer their questions before they ask and invite their feedback through surveys. It will make the customer feel cared for and reduce the number of queries into your contact center.
Example—A leading pharmacy chain sends unified cross-channel refill reminders through email, voice and SMS, delivering a great customer experience, while reducing service costs.
Finding the Right Solution
While choosing the solution, look for a solution that is proven in the cloud and on site for deployment flexibility. Does the provider bring best practices and business process expertise? Does the solution integrate seamlessly with other communication channels? Is it scalable and multilingual? The right solution will maximize business value.
eGain is a leading provider of multichannel customer service and knowledge management software for inhouse or cloud deployment. For more than a decade, hundreds of the world’s largest companies have relied on eGain to transform their traditional call centers, help desks and Web customer service operations into multichannel customer interaction hubs (CIH). Based on the Power of One—the concept of one unified platform for customer interaction and knowledge management—eGain solutions help improve customer experience, optimize end-to-end service process, increase sales and enhance contact center performance. For additional information, please visit www.egain.com.
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