Text Messaging: The Uncharted Channel

Navigating the seas of customer experience management today might be compared to the challenges of the ancient mariners exploring new territories. Customer expectations, always on the move, are transforming with each new innovation in communications. Like those unknown waters of the once uncharted oceans it is difficult to know the sea lanes of positive customer interactions from the rocky shoals of dissatisfied customers and clients.


One of the ways that the tides of customer preference are shifting are how buyers and clients wish to communicate with organizations. The importance of the voice conversation is ebbing. Especially for the up and coming generations of consumers the tide of voice is on the wane. The Small Business Administration quotes Nielsen as saying, “Except for the 65-plus age group, teenagers talk the least on their phones.” The trend is just as apparent in the next two more senior demographics.

According to the Experian Marketing Services’ 2013 Digital Marketer, “48 percent of adults ages 18 to 24 say that a conversation via text message is just as meaningful as a telephone call.”

This same demographic the report continues, sends or receive 3,853 texts in an average month. As a parent of two in this age group I can attest to these numbers. When I wish to reach my sons, I text them.

Experian goes on to point out that text messaging is also becoming increasingly important to other buying groups. One important example are those 25 to 34 who have made a recent dramatic shift to valuing text messaging as a communication medium.

Yet, while mapping a course to profit and customer sustainability, relatively few organizations today have discovered text messaging. You might say that the waters today are teeming with customers who are adrift. Their S.O.S. for interactions are being missed. A significant opportunity exists to the companies that throw these customers a text messaging lifeline.

Digital Marketer Graph on Enterprise Texting

It is time for commercial and service organizations to go with the flow. It is time to incorporate more non-verbal forms of communications (including text messaging) into customer touch points.

The idea of “an app” is great if you can get a customer to download, install and consistently use your app. For more immediacy, other rigging is needed on your customer relationship vessel. This is most important at the contact center. The contact center forms the breakwater separating the raging seas of competition from the calm lee side waters of satisfied at-anchor customers.

The great news for those who have invested in Avaya communications platforms is that adding text messaging as a channel is not complex. Integrations to an Avaya Aura?Contact Center, an Avaya Aura Call Center Elite Multichannel contact center, a Proactive Outreach Manager on Avaya Aura Experience Portal implementation and other Avaya products exist. In the contact center text messaging can be added, managed and leveraged in the same way as other communications channels.

This means agents working in contact centers powered by Avaya technology can interact with customers using text messaging. The same familiar tools used to manage phone calls, emails, web chats or other contacts are used to handle text messaging. Contact center supervisors can monitor and manage agent productivity with their same familiar tools.

Agents may initiate outgoing text messages or participate in proactive outreach campaigns in which text messaging is used as a strategic tool to reach and serve customers. Text messages take their place alongside other elements of big data customer context the depths of which may be plumbed enriching the quality of customer profiles and the ability to better serve your patrons.

Today, your business can set a course to satisfying the needs of important and growing segments of the markets by charting the channel of text messaging. It is time to plot your course and set sail before your competitors hijack your text message-preferring customers and prospects.

Wish to learn more about the ways in which text messaging can be used in conjunction with Avaya products? Join me Feb 19, 2014 from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. CST for the International Avaya Users Group (IAUG)-sponsored webinar, Text Messaging: The Uncharted Channel. Please click here to register: http://www.iaug.org/p/cm/ld/fid=179

Thank you for spending a few minutes with me. In addition to this blog, please check out my Avaya Tech Talk podcasts. You may subscribe to episodes on iTunes and track the Twitter hashtag #APNpodcast.

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The Experience is Everything in Sports & Entertainment for the Biggest Event in U.S. Football

Power. Strength. Fortitude. Offense. Defense. These are all factors that will play into the Big Game on AND off the field. Players, coaches, and staff traveling from across North America will be coming together as a team to execute a winning strategy. Avaya and WBL Services will be coming together as well to execute a winning strategy for core communications powering the biggest event in U.S. Football and delivering a solution that is powered by #AvayaStrength.

Partnering with WBL Services, Avaya’s 21st-century technology and solutions create an uninterrupted game day experience that is worthy of the championship game, powering critical communications from “upstairs” to the bleachers to the turf that impact the game from coin toss to the last few seconds.

The experience is everything in sports and entertainment and WBL Services, provider of data, telecommunications, and technology for teams and venues across the National Football League (NFL), will be leveraging Avaya’s Team and Customer Engagement solutions at locations across Houston for the Big Game to ensure fans, staff, players, and other critical resources are connected at key moments. From Foxborough, to Atlanta, to Houston … it’s the “greatest day in football.” On such an important day in sports history, it’s critical to have secure, reliable communications.

The partnership with WBL Services showcases the strength of Avaya’s portfolio for delivering fast, reliable communication services when it matters most—allowing sports teams to keep their focus on the field while we focus on the experience off the field. This is the seventh year WBL Services has provided Avaya solutions at the Big Game, which with such a rich history, makes Avaya and WBL Services the MVP for an elite, scalable, and championship-like infrastructure.

This annual matchup of the top teams in the NFL draws huge crowds both at the stadium and at home viewership. Collectively, NRG Stadium is part of a group of venues (including the Astrodome), known as NRG Park. The Lone Star State’s NRG Stadium stretches across 1,900,000 square feet and has a seating capacity of 71,795, which is a lot of area to cover and a lot of fans to serve on any given day—let alone the massive personnel required to flawlessly run and televise the mega-event under the Sunday night lights. Avaya’s next-generation communication systems provide support for up-to-the-minute broadcasting for the fans, operations, and media in-house as well as they anticipate 100 million viewers at home.


Avaya Aura® will also be used by press and analysts, including 5,000 credentialed media, and game day operations personnel—serving as a mobile NFL command center at nearby facilities. A transportation command center and transportation call center will also be set up and used to dispatch transportation for the media, press, and the team. The Avaya IP Office™ Platform will be used by the AFC and NFC champions at their respective team hotels for pre-game and day-of communications that can mean the difference between game-winning play calls.

Having participated on the sidelines of the championship game, I know the commitment, blood, sweat and tears that go into victory. As a proud owner of San Francisco’s XXIX championship ring, it is with great honor and pride that I get to be a part of the Avaya sports team that carries a tradition of providing world-class technology that pays tribute to the most important day and the highest level of professional American football in the world.

We know you’ll be tuned in on Sunday, February 5, so keep in touch with us leading up to the day of the Big Game for more fun facts about how we deliver a world class communications experience for the biggest event in American football @avaya, #AvayaStrength, and #AvayaSports.

About WBL

WBL Services provides cutting-edge telecommunication services and support for CenturyLink Field and Event Center in Seattle. WBL also provides telecommunication services for large sporting events, trade shows, conferences and special events throughout the world, earning them a reputation for providing trustworthy, secure and customer-centric services.

Avaya Named a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Contact Center Infrastructure

Avaya is honored to be recognized as a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Contact Center Infrastructure worldwide. Avaya has been the only vendor having the distinction of being named a Leader for 16 consecutive years. Each year the research organization creates a market view of key players for business users, reflecting business goals, needs, and priorities.

Contact centers have gone beyond phone calls with customers now expecting to communicate on their terms via text, IM, email, chat or video. For the past 16 years Avaya has created seamless and highly personalized experiences, building brand loyalty for companies all around the world.

According to Deloitte, 85% of organizations view customer experience provided through contact centers as a competitive differentiator. Todays companies must remain relevant by creating a single interface to connect customers with the correct resource each time, supporting their preferences. Supervisors and managers need real-time performance information to adapt immediately to situations to ensure optimized customer experience.

Avaya has focused its efforts on creating next-generation contact center solutions, creating communication strategies enabling a continuous transition between channels during customer interactions.

Please visit Gartner’s page to read the full report and see how Avaya’s Contact Center infrastructure continues to deliver best-of-breed Contact Center applications. We look forward to continuing innovation and leading business communications for the digital age.


Diligent Benefits Tackles Insurance Industry Customer Experience with Avaya Cloud

Diligent Benefits represents a new breed of financial services provider, armed with innovative technology to deliver a superior experience to consumers researching and purchasing life insurance, with the goal of transforming the life insurance customer experience. To facilitate that personal touch for its customers, they turned to Avaya.

At the core of Diligent’s business model is improving the customer service experience for life insurance buyers. Diligent chose Engagement OnAvaya™ – Google™ Cloud Platform, designed with comprehensive cloud contact center capabilities. The installation helped the company enjoy the following benefits:

  • The requirements are a breeze: Agents only need an Internet connection, Chrome device and a headset or Avaya IP phone. Set up is quick for agents to immediately start using Avaya’s sophisticated customer engagement features.
  • The ability to scale quickly without missing a beat is crucial to the young company. The Avaya solution has proven an ideal fit for this fast-growth financial services company in terms of deployment speed and scalability.
  • The Avaya cloud contact center solution supports Diligent’s highly-individualized approach.

“We’re a fresh new take on the life insurance business. We don’t do one size fits all,” says John Wilhelm, founder of Diligent Benefits. “Everyone has different needs. We help our customer meet their objectives. Avaya is in many ways at the heart of what we’re trying to achieve; it brings the human touch.

“Diligent Benefits is using technology to transform the experience of buying life insurance – from increasing transparency and becoming an educational resource for consumers, down to enhancing the experience each customer has with an agent,” Wilhelm said. “The Avaya solution mirrors our methodology – a commitment to providing a turn-key solution. It’s a complete solution and it’s a great value.”

“An important reason we chose Avaya is we believe Avaya can grow with us,” said William Yuan, Diligent Benefits’ COO. “Avaya will allow us to become a very big company. We help our customer meet their objectives. Avaya enables us to do that well.”

Click here to read the full case study from Avaya.