6 Developing Communications Services Trends to Watch in 2015

Is it 2015 already?? It is, if you are an IT manager in the final stages of budgeting and allocating. With a new year comes a new opportunity to begin again.

As always, we strive to help our clients begin again and plan ahead. We do this by anticipating what trends will soon be on the proverbial radar of our clients and the vendors that serve them.

In 2008, we decided to go one step further by convening a panel of experts, known by many as the “Avaya 5.” This year, our “Avaya 5” includes:

  • Mike Runda, senior vice president and president, Avaya Client Services. Mike oversees revenue, regional execution and global offers for Avaya’s holistic suite of support and managed services.
  • Linda Hartig, vice president, Avaya Global Support Services. Linda manages delivery operations on a global basis for Avaya Client Services.
  • Jenna Stanley, vice president, Avaya Cloud Services. Jenna leads the managed and hosted service delivery practice for Avaya Public and Private Cloud solutions.
  • Richard English, director, Avaya Strategic Consulting. Richard leads the company’s North American consulting teams, which deliver full lifecycle consulting engagements for global enterprise clients.
  • Stéphane Lamarre, senior director, Avaya SME Segment Marketing. Stéphane helps serve the needs of midmarket businesses — companies with between 200 and 2,000 employees.

The following is a summary of the Avaya six trends for 2015, identified by our panel and featured in our white paper, “Communications Services Trends for 2015 — Transformation Takes Hold.”

#6: The high-accountability support model emerges.

Individual support personnel will retain ownership of the customer experience and use techniques such as collaboration and “swarming” to break down the barriers of the traditional “tiered” support organization. This approach will drive a better experience for customers and ultimately make for more efficient resource utilization in support organizations.

#5: Support services transparency: Customers like what they see.

Mobility will be a growing factor, contributing to more seamless and transparent interactions that give customers instant access to rich information about their relationship with your company, your company’s products and services, and support tools and status.

#4: Social media and crowdsourcing: Are you really engaging your customers?

It will be imperative to bridge the gap between simply monitoring social platforms for conversations about your company and doing something about them — i.e., capturing, routing and responding to those conversations within your contact center and/or broader enterprise, as well as encouraging customer-employee interaction through crowdsourcing, which is often carried out in private forums.

#3: As omnichannel support matures, Web chat plays a pivotal role.

Even as video gains momentum as a high-touch channel (see Trend #2), companies will continue to use Web chat as the relatively low-expense way to initiate the customer experience from a website, to triage that experience, and to direct customers to the appropriate support channel and other support resources and tools.

#2: Video support reaches an inflection point — if you snooze, you lose.

At the end of 2013, Amazon.com became the first company to offer one-way video customer support. In 2014, Avaya became the first company to offer both one-way and two-way video support options for customer engagement. Now companies in many industry verticals are adopting—or at least piloting—some form of video. Businesses that haven’t begun to make the move to video will be challenged to catch up with their competitors.

#1: The cloud takes shape.

The market is about five calendar quarters into an eight-quarter transformation from a mindset that favored on-premise, owned equipment, to one where executives think of cloud solutions first as they consider new and upgraded communications capabilities. The hosted cloud solution will need to drive a differentiated support services experience in which users can click from within the application to get timely help.

So, what do you think? Let the debate begin… and welcome, 2015!

What trends will you be watching in 2015?

What trends did we miss?

Follow me on Twitter: @Pat_Patterson_V

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