Guest Blog by Sascha Mehlhase, senior director of product management for West Telecom Services and Flowroute
Whether companies have a handful of customers abroad or a whole host of regional offices, today’s global businesses need global solutions. Nearly 96 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the U.S., requiring businesses to expand global customer experience (CX) strategies to support them.
How businesses engage with their customers and the level of support they provide can make the difference between business success and business extinction. For example, research suggests that one in three customers will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience, while 93 percent would completely abandon a company after two or three negative interactions. To retain customers and remain competitive in the global economy, businesses must invest in technologies that enable the widest range of customers to seamlessly communicate with the company.
To accomplish global CX, businesses need to partner with carriers and communication service providers (CSPs) that can support their growth, secure ROI on IT investments and help them compete in the global market. One service decision makers should look for from their carriers is international direct inward dialling (DID – a.k.a. DDI). DIDs are virtual numbers that allow calls to be routed directly to an existing phone number. DIDs utilise local numbers regardless of the originating number’s location, which helps businesses strengthen their global communication strategies and deliver more control and flexibility over the ways in which their customers can interact with them.
Outlined below are three benefits international DIDs can offer to businesses eager to increase ROI on cloud IT investments.
DIDs lend to global expansion because they are not bound by geographical location. Businesses that operate in multiple markets across a number of countries or that want to break into new markets can leverage international DIDs to give them a local presence in each market, even if they do not have physical offices or employees located there. Additionally, DIDs are easy to connect to existing numbers, businesses have the freedom to scale up or down at their own pace – a luxury not often possible with traditional PBX.
Further, the key to serving a new market is establishing trust. International DIDs help businesses establish credibility and trust with customers in foreign markets because they are formatted with local caller IDs. By utilising local labels, businesses increase the likelihood of customer engagement because local numbers are typically viewed as trustworthy rather than being associated with fraud or spam. Lastly, end users are not subjected to costly international fees when they call a business from a DID number because they are charged the local rate recognised by the caller ID label.
Customer service departments and contact centres can see a host of benefits from the integration of DIDs. For example, often one of a customer’s first points of contact with a business is with its customer support team or contact centre. Given this, it is imperative contact centres are equipped to handle calls to and from international customers and numbers to ensure customers receive satisfactory service. Businesses are investing in Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) models to retain customers, connect global remote employees and grow market share.
CCaaS is a cloud-based customer experience solution that allows companies to scale as operational needs change. Therefore, as more companies embrace international expansion, they will need the support of a durable and scalable CCaaS solution that will support communications for an international customer base. Integrating tools such as international toll free (ITFS), international local numbers (ITL) and DIDs allow customers to connect directly with company employees, rather than making them sit in a queue or navigate a complex calling menu. Internationally equipped CCaaS offerings can also help companies deliver omni-channel and harmonious customer communications across platforms, while also alleviating common customer service pain points.
Cloud-based DIDs provide real-time data to businesses to help them transform operations and deliver improved customer service. For example, when a customer calls a business by way of a DID, the DID will collect information such as the number of times they called (call volume), the time they called (peak calling hours), where they called from and how long they were on the phone (caller demographics and call duration). Decision makers can analyse these patterns to determine if changes are needed to improve operations at the call centre. The data may show that customers from specific countries call at a certain time of day, which the contact centre can use to inform staffing decisions based on time zones and languages. By learning the local preferences and tendencies of the customers calling the business, as illustrated by international DID data, businesses can strategically position themselves to deliver quality customer service.
Data gathered from DIDs can also be used to establish routing protocols. For example, incoming calls from a specific region or country can be automatically routed to an agent (or team of agents) who is best equipped to help them. These protocols include local laws, language, time zones, culture or product offerings. Routing calls to appropriate agents ensures personalised customer care and can play a vital role in customer retention and boost productivity.
In order to optimise enterprise communications and operate competitively on an international scale, business leaders should assess their customer service needs and determine if partnering with cloud-based CSPs and carriers is feasible. Then, as businesses deploy international DIDs, they will be positioned to provide better customer service and contact centre operations, localisation on their international presence, increased trust and improved productivity through data-rich intelligent planning. Ultimately, through the widespread adoption of DIDs, enterprises can see added value to their bottom line and ROI on IT investments as they offer domestic services at international scale.
Guest Blog by Sascha Mehlhase, senior director of product management for West Telecom Services and Flowroute, now part of Intrado
Sascha Mehlhase is the senior director of product management for West Telecom Services and Flowroute, now part of Intrado. He has more than 15 years of product management experience in software engineering and B2B SaaS platform development. Prior to joining the company, Mehlhase was the director of product management at Motorola Solutions, where he was the strategic lead as the company developed software solutions for mobile broadband work-group communications.