Steve BrockNovember 24, 2021

It’s About Time

This week in the United States we celebrate Thanksgiving – and one of the things I’m most thankful for is the opportunity to connect once again with Avaya’s many customers and partners at the Avaya Engage Conference in Orlando, Florida.  If you haven’t signed up, you can do so here.  Also, consider participating in the Hackathon that kicks off the event --  Don’t miss this opportunity to see what the platform voted #1 CPaaS in the world by industry analysts can do.  With $15,000 in prizes at stake, I’m considering signing up a team myself!

Delivering a Total Experience is about orchestrating time with employees and customers.  Customer service focus has historically been to increase efficiency by reducing the time that customers must spend with a business.  However, in today’s Experience Economy it is businesses that increase their customer attention and time that will be most competitive.  Doing this requires both a purpose-built total experience platform and an ecosystem of experts to assist in creating and staging experiences. 

TIME AND EXPERIENCES ARE CONNECTED

“Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind.” – Nathanial Hawthorn

Time is a very precious resource because once it is spent we cannot get it back.  As one of my grade-school teachers often advised me – “Time wasted is gone forever!”  The way we spend our time shapes our lives.  Where and how time is spent can also cause relationships to grow or to wane. 

An experience is something that happens inside of each of us.  Each experience is shaped by the experiences that have occurred before it and so they are delivered over time. 

As we review our life it is often the exception to the expected that we remember.   It is the extraordinary, the extra touch, that special something that occurs “in the moment”.  As Nathanial Hawthorn states so eloquently – it is the “shadows that time leaves behind” that inform where we will spend our attention, time, and money. 

TIME AS DEFINED BY CUSTOMER SERVICE

“Time isn’t the main thing.  It’s the only thing!” – Miles Davis

One of the keynote presenters at Avaya Engage this year is Joe Pine, who co-authored the ground-breaking book “The Experience Economy” 20 years ago – a work so prolific that it was re-published this year with additional content.  Joe has devised a “time continuum” of sorts, that plots time across a spectrum consisting of time wasted, time saved, time well spent and time well invested. 

This time model works very well to describe a broad range of experiences.  For example, most of us over the past 2 years now understand that getting into a car and driving an hour to work may be “time wasted”.  The “time saved” alternative is to connect virtually. And more progressive companies are providing their employees tools (time well spent) like Avaya Spaces which goes well beyond just video conferencing to reimagine the overall workstream collaboration experience. 

In the Customer Service industry, the focus has primarily been “time saved.”  The concept of “saving time” has always been part of the employee and customer communications experience  – fostering advancements ranging from abbreviated and automated dialing to high-speed ethernet connectivity (vs. low-speed dial-up modems) to text messaging to today’s intelligent assistants.  For customer service centers, the measurements most commonly used, such as call times, are intended to drive more efficiencies and reduce the amount of time that our customers must spend with us to resolve their problems. 

But when you stop to think about this – does it make sense to have customers spend less time with you as a key business goal?

THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE FLYWHEEL

“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.” – Walt Disney

It has been said that the easiest way to turn customer interaction into an experience is to provide a bad interaction.  Recent Avaya research indicates that 2 out of 10 customers will walk away after a single bad experience and 6 in 10 will walk away after several bad experiences.  To make matters worse, they will likely inform their friends and family about bad experiences using social media.

Joe also has discussed a “flywheel” model for employee and customer interaction that I believe works much better for today’s Experience Economy.  In this model, the employee or business personalizes the customer interaction, which drives more benefit for the customer, which causes the customer to want to spend more time with the business.  And since every interaction with a customer is an opportunity for the business to learn more about that customer, the business can then further personalize à driving more benefit à causing more time to be spent.  It is an upward spiral that benefits both the business and the customer. 

A Total Experience focus involves making customers want to spend MORE time with your business, and it’s also about making employees more engaged.     

YOU NEED A TIME MACHINE

“There are really four dimensions, three which we call the three planes of Space, and a fourth, Time..”  - H.G. Wells, The Time Machine

Total Experience and Composable Applications are both cited as Strategic Trends for 2022 and beyond by Gartner.  Orchestrating the Total Experience for today’s empowered employee and everything customer requires an experience platform.  Avaya OneCloud is an award-winning experience platform that provides the required experience composability and unique tools and capabilities to drive more Speed to Value in experience delivery. 

It is like a time machine – in that it enables you to manipulate the time that your employees and customers must spend, and stage experiences that will make them want to spend more time with your business. 

It enables something called Combinatorial Innovation.  This is an industry term that refers to combining existing components to make something new. The ability of Avaya OneCloud to combine the existing with the new accelerates Speed to Value for its users.  This is because Speed to Value is determined by two primary factors:  Velocity and Required Effort.  Since Avaya OneCloud is purpose-built for composability,  it provides higher innovation velocity than monolithic platform designs.  And the fact that experience design is built on top of existing, proven UC and CC technology, and begins very high on the applications stack means that much less effort is required than with alternatives that require starting with a blank sheet. 

YOU ALSO NEED FELLOW TIME TRAVELLERS

“None of us is as smart as ALL of us!” – Ken Blanchard

But just having a platform isn’t sufficient, you need people that can use the platform to create the experiences.  Avaya Experience Builders™ is a massive ecosystem that offers every Avaya customer access to the scarce resources required for this experience creation.  It includes Avaya’s broad global customer base, over 250 tech partners, over 9,000 channel partners, and agents, and unique Avaya expertise and tools.  These fellow time travelers will assist you on your journey to transform your business into a Total Experience focused model. 

EXPERIENCES THAT MATTER

Avaya’s tagline is Experiences that Matter --- this is because we help our customers do important things – like processing financial transactions and saving lives.  The world’s top 10 airlines, the top 10 medical facilities in the US, seven of the world’s top 10 health services companies, the top 10 commercial banks in the US, the world’s top 10 auto manufacturers, and more than 100,000 customers in over 190 countries including 90% of the US-based Fortune 100 companies all rely on Avaya for the experiences they deliver to their employees and customers. 

The ability of Avaya experts, our partners, and our customers to quickly design and deliver mission-critical experiences was very evident during the pandemic.  This Avaya Experience Builder™ ecosystem delivered experiences overnight to government citizens, healthcare patients, and across other industry verticals

After researching the various perspectives on time to create this post, and also considering the experiences that truly matter,  I’ve landed on one most important observation:  We should all spend more time with the people we love.  This is one reason that I’m looking forward to the upcoming holidays, and also to the Avaya Engage event in December.

COME JOIN US!

I would love to meet you in person at Avaya Engage in Orlando, Florida in just a few weeks!  Each event and session has been carefully crafted to ensure it will be “time well spent.”  Avaya experts will be at your disposal to help you examine and elevate your existing employee and customer experiences.  Together we can work to continue to save your customers time, and also make them want to spend more time (and money) with you!  I hope to see you there!

It’s About Time

Steve Brock

Steve has broad industry experience that includes the design, engineering and global deployment of innovative communications solutions. Steve has worked with customers all over the world to solve complex consumer and business communication problems. You can follow Steve at @SteveBrockRTP.

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