Maximize Customer Lifetime Value by Improving all 360 Degrees of a Customer's Experience

The customer experience is changing ever faster today due to new technologies. The habits of customers are shifting as companies broaden when and accelerate how they deliver service. The always-on aspect of 21st century life is leading to an expectation of instant information in all areas.

Whatever the market hype, the key to creating Customer Lifetime Value requires catering to today’s expectations in all arenas and channels. So how is that relationship developed and maintained in the always-on, want-it-now, modern world?

In a webinar on January 14 (watch the recording here), Avaya’s Tore Christensen, Corporate Consulting Engineer in Innovations and Customer Experience, and Tom Hanson, Director of Product Management of Avaya Contact Center Automation Applications, explained how you can cover all 360 degrees of a customer’s experience with the right resources at the right time.

A Touching Experience



Customers are only as loyal as their last experience. Businesses must keep those customer experiences positive, or customers will defect, taking their respective revenue streams with them. Not all experiences are equal, of course. Certain “touch points… are quite memorable,” Christensen said.  “Any time that we miss an opportunity to improve that, we’re really losing an opportunity to both increase that customer value and drive more lifetime value for that customer.”

Christensen also cites research by Forrester Research showing a strong correlation between a company’s quality of customer service and its stock price.


Technology is Changing the Channels of Communication

“The formal channels are really losing out to informal channels where customers are helping themselves; looking at YouTube videos, going to Google and forums for support, and going to Facebook and Twitter for recommendations,” Christensen said. “It becomes a kind of ad hoc communication, and the idea here is to reach out and proactively interact with customers,” he continued. “Identifying the pattern is what’s important, and being able to influence it.”

And what is a very clear pattern in the behavior of modern people? Mobile phones, especially smart phones. “They’ve become the go-to device for people, and drive consumer behavior, especially around consumer expectations,” he explained. “Businesses need to handle the interactions across multiple sets of channels depending on the situation, the context and the kind of capabilities consumers will be involved with. That’s really the whole story with this, about expanding to multiple channels.”

The Customer Journey

Christensen characterized today’s Customer Journey as a “life cycle” customers go through in evaluating products. “The point of this is it’s not ‘sell it to them and then you’re done.’ Sell it to them. If they’re happy, they will come back and buy more,” he elaborated. “If they’re really happy, they will promote this, so this will become something that’s a real virtuous cycle.”


Offering the customer true value in some way is the key. This is achieved through four central principals of customer experience:


Flight or Fight?

Making customer interactions count is key. So “have timely information and make this interaction proactive, not reactive,” Christensen challenged.

For example, take a common occurrence, a delayed flight. “Wouldn’t it be nice if you got a message that says, ‘Because of the delay, you missed your connection. We set this up for you – would you want to do an alternate? Yes or no?’,” said Hanson. “That’s really the concept in trying to deal with these everyday disasters.”

“Make it relevant,” elaborated Christensen. “It is something important to this user. There’s real value you can bring to the customer. ‘Why does this matter to me now?’”

“You can get alerts,” Hanson said. “Alerts are nice, but now what? Suddenly, you start to get reactive about getting in line while they are dealing with a huge volume of calls. Typically, when you’re in the situation, and you get bad news without options, this causes a lot of anxiety. ‘What am I going to do? How am I going to get where I’m going? How am I going to solve my problem?’”

The third point? “Personalize it,” Christensen said. “No generic message. Give something that is very targeted to the person. Make it personalized to the situation so they can understand what’s going on.”

Also “have it frictionless,” Christensen urged. “There doesn’t need to be a whole set of options.” He explained it is important to “try to make that as easy as possible on the end-consumers so they are able to go through those interactions and essentially help themselves in the process.”

“There’s a value in this, and it can be done in a premium kind of way,” Hanson said, and that it’s important that things are “done in a very timely manner, where customers are notified as soon as the issue becomes known, making it relevant to the situation to where customers can find out what to do about it.”

It should be done in a way which is “personalized so they are getting very specific details, resulting in it being frictionless so the customer is provided a set of options instead of having to chase after them. People want to be communicated within their channel of choice and being able to make that part of an option is the key.”

Follow these steps to ensure that customer touch points are treated as precious opportunities. Connect with your customer at the right time, make sure it relates to the customer and the situation in a personalized way, and make it easy to utilize one of your options to solve a perceived problem. This will in turn bring the value back to the customer when they are accessible and consistent in the channel of their choosing, leading to the positive Customer Experience that ensures Customer Lifetime Value.




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IP Office Leads the Way: How Doubling Down in One Product Area Can Drive Best Practices

Just over a month ago, we released the latest version of Avaya IP Office, one of the most popular SMB/MM UC systems on the market today. Over the past year, we’ve doubled the number of partners who are offering IP Office as a cloud deployment and have now shipped more than half a million systems globally—but this kind of success didn’t come overnight.

We’ve evolved Avaya IP Office a long way over the years, growing the product from something geared towards the SMB space (typically 100 users and below) to something that can scale all the way up to the midmarket, serving up to 3,000 users. Adding this scale to the product was extremely important because as our customers and partners grow, we can now grow right along with them. It also opens up the potential market served by the product.

Evolving with Our Customers and Partners

At Avaya, we have two groups of people to keep happy—our end users and our channel partners—and both want to make long-term investments in a communications solution and trusted business partner. That’s why, instead of concentrating on multiple product lines, we’re focused on continually enhancing Avaya IP Office with new features and capabilities, such as the new release 10, which adds a number benefits for businesses in terms of security, resiliency and end-user experience.

Our partners are happy with this approach because their salespeople now only need to know one single product, making it easier to sell, manage and configure the technology for a wide range of businesses (anywhere from a 10-person to 3,000-person company). And our customers are thrilled because as they expand and evolve, they have a flexible, scalable communications solution that can still meet their every need.

Businesses can even expand the solution into a simple and robust multi-channel call center. With IP Office Contact Center or Avaya Contact Center Select, companies can integrate voice, e-mail, and web chat channels, and proactively manage the entire customer interaction lifecycle. They can start at their own pace with one channel such as voice, for example, and add other channels such as e-mail as business objectives evolve. In June, Avaya also announced a highly affordable, simple-to-deploy workforce optimization solution that enables a wide range of insights into the customer experience, allowing midsize businesses to create the most value through every customer interaction.

Providing Investment Protection

While many businesses are aware of cloud, not everyone wants it right now. Because Avaya IP Office is offered as a cloud, hybrid cloud, or premises based deployment, businesses can move to the cloud at a more measured pace—adding new features and capabilities from the cloud as they become available or needed, and leveraging the investment they have in a premises deployment.

For instance, a business could start with an IP Office solution today on premises, and then migrate to cloud or hybrid cloud in a year or even five years from now—and all the features and training they’ve given to employees will stay exactly the same because the end-user experience will be the same.

Providing further investment protection, Avaya even allows customers running on old Nortel technology to seamlessly move their user licenses to IP Office at minimal cost.

A Relentless Focus on Quality

Doubling down in one product area has also allowed Avaya to put a premium on quality. Today, Avaya’s Net Promoter Score (NPS)—a measure of the willingness of a customer to recommend a company’s products or services to others—hovers around 58, which is considered excellent in almost any industry. The Net Promoter Score for IP Office has been over 70 for the last several quarters.

This sky-high NPS is all the more impressive when you consider Avaya IP Office is for small 10-user customers and larger 3,000-user customers. This ability to meet high- and low-end needs is pretty unique in the industry, and is only achievable because of the company’s relentless focus on quality and features.

Always striving to understand the needs of our customers, we’re constantly adding new enhancements to IP Office. Leveraging much of the knowledge and experience we learned at the enterprise-level with Avaya Aura, we continue to add usability and resiliency to IP Office. In fact, the latest version of the platform features built-in signaling and media encryption for endpoints and UC clients, helping preserve privacy and data integrity. This increase in security is especially significant to the midmarket, where the number of attacks reported by midsize companies increased 64% between 2013 and 2014, according to the 2015 global survey report.

Beyond other pure cloud deployments, the latest version of IP Office also takes a unique approach to resilience, providing system failover cloud to cloud, cloud to premises, premises to cloud, and premises to premises, keeping your system active and users connected through any outage.

Moving forward, we’ll continue to add enhancements to Avaya IP Office, relentlessly driving quality and features for our growing list of customers and partners.

Heads in the Cloud: Digital Natives and Unified Communications

Millennial—a four-syllable word that may as well be a four-letter one. Millennials are polarizing, and everyone seems to have an opinion about Gen Y, especially when it comes to the workplace.

For many 20- and 30-somethings in the workforce, an unfortunate reality is a stigma around their generation—a disdain for their unwillingness to cope with the status quo of conventional workplace policies. But with that comes the realization that the guard has changed, and they now make up a majority of the workforce, driving the future of their chosen industries.

Young workers are driving a paradigm shift in the working world, putting a greater emphasis on work-life balance and striving for career advancement, with an unprecedented willingness to jump ship from a current position to find something that better suits their needs and goals. Companies need to be able to court and retain the best of the digital native generation, making adjustments to suit the employees of the future.

As a proud member of Gen Y, I can say that the technology and services available in the workplace are some of the most important factors to me, and I’m not alone. I’m part of a contingent of employees that have more than just our heads in the cloud and having access to our work anywhere and everywhere is vital. In a survey conducted by, 84% of Gen Y-ers polled said they would prefer to work remotely full time. While that may not be realistic in every situation, there’s no doubt that the workplace is becoming more mobile, and productivity is not limited to a desk in an office building. Cloud-enabled unified communications and collaboration tools are the new wave, and something that Avaya excels at.

It’s for this reason that I’m happy—even proud—to work for Avaya. They see the way technology in the workplace is moving, and continue to make it easier for companies to go through digital transformations, moving smoothly into the future. And I, like many Avayans, can speak to the quality of our products and solutions first hand.

I use Avaya solutions just about every day of my life to collaborate and get my work done, from wherever and whenever I need to. I’m still amazed at how fluidly and effortlessly I can communicate with colleagues from around the world, from any device. While it’s nice to disconnect from the working world temporarily, it’s also immensely comforting to know that through Avaya technology, I can be face to face with anyone I need to talk to in a matter of minutes.

Effective communication is important in our mobile world. My generation of digital natives comes predisposed to being connected with one another effortlessly and near constantly. Having the right unified communications technology in place to facilitate fully formed and engaging collaboration experiences is vital, and something that Avaya can do for a business of any size in any industry.

This generation of employees does not want work to be easy; rather we want it to be easier to get work done. Having technology in place that allows people to maintain flexibility in their lives while still producing quality work is a necessary step for any business that wants to retain young talent and maximize results.

Avaya and IAUG: Coming Together for a Better User Group Experience

Marilyn ShuckMarilyn Shuck serves as a Director on the IAUG Board, president of the Puget Sound Avaya Users Group, and as a UC Engineer at the University of Washington.



The combination of the Avaya Technology Forum (ATF) and the International Avaya Users Group (IAUG) flagship event, Avaya ENGAGE, is generating a lot of buzz. As IAUG members, it’s exciting for us because we’ll be there as Avaya is announcing new products and have better access to Avaya. We’re also looking forward to bringing in more technical expertise, session choice, and potential new members to IAUG.

In the past, ATF was held in February or March, and Avaya ENGAGE was in June. By the time we assembled for Avaya ENGAGE, new product lines would have been out for several months. Now, we’ll get to hear the latest announcements. Since we’re partnering with Avaya, we’ll have much more access to them, getting our questions answered, getting trained, and seeing the new products in action.

We’re also able to offer so many more sessions, some with more technical expertise. ATF has historically been a technical conference, and our IAUG attendees will have a choice of breakout sessions that will add a new dimension to the education they’ll already be receiving.

It also makes sense to hold both of these events under one umbrella. There’s some overlap between ATF attendees and Avaya ENGAGE attendees, and in organizations where travel budgets are tight or where the same person is a technical support specialist and a user, you no longer have to choose which event to attend.

Additionally, we’re excited about the possibility of introducing new members to IAUG. Some ATF attendees may not have known about our existence, but now not only will they have the chance to learn more about us but they can network with us. We can continue to share learning opportunities and even bring a whole new quality of technical users to IAUG.

Make no mistake, the foundation of the event has not changed. This is still planned with the Avaya customer in mind. However, it signals our deepening relationship by aligning all customer events.

This is going to be one of those cases where what happens in Las Vegas won’t stay in Vegas. Avaya and IAUG are aligning, and it’s going to provide valuable education and opportunities for customers, IAUG members, partners, and Avaya. The benefits of attending will resonate throughout your organization, so plan to join us in February to learn, network, and return full of ways to make the most of your Avaya implementations. You can learn more at